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Category Archives: Fantasy

Medieval Princess Dress

I recently made a medieval princess dress that isn’t historically correct (although inspired by 14th century cotehardies), but was fun to make, and a gift for teenage me. When I was in high school I wanted to have a medieval princess dress for prom but had neither the sewing skills to make one or the money to buy one, so this is a fulfillment of a dream! IMG_9966

Yeah, it was a bit breezy that day.IMG_9980

This dress was also a reminder that costuming and sewing is supposed to be fun, even if the details are “wrong.”  This dress has inexpensive polyester velvet, a zipper down the back, shiny jacquard trim, polyester sleeve tippets and a wrap belt made from curtain fabric, an impractical train, and princess seams! To someone concerned about historical accuracy these might be a bunch of no-nos, but this gown, despite all its anachronisms, is something I would have loved and felt pretty in back in high school. This dress is a gift for little former me.IMG_9969

I used Butterick B4827 as my pattern base. I skipped the back eyelet lacing and used an invisible zipper instead. The tippets and belt were drafted by me.  My goal was to machine-sew as much as possible, so the hem, neckline, and cuffs were machine-stitched and then covered with jacquard trim.MJNT1739.JPG

The tippets are T-shaped pieces of fabric sewn together and then turned inside-out to hide the raw edges. The tops of the Ts are then overlapped to make the cuffs.

The hair consists of 2 fake braided buns on a headband:

  1. Cover a headband in fabric matching your hair; I used black velvet.
  2. Make a short braid and cover in a hair net to help control flyaways.
  3. Wire the braid to the headband using gold wire, and insert pearls as you go.
  4. Make 2 long braids and coil each one into a bun shape.
  5. Use bobby pins to secure the bun shape.
  6. Glue pearls to each bun.
  7. Cover each bun with a hair net to control flyaways.
  8. Glue the bun to each end of the headband.

Project materials:

  • 7 yards micro-velvet from Fabric Wholesale Direct: $62.93 (I had some leftover; if you are petite and cut carefully you might be able to get a dress out of 5-6 yards).
  • 1 yard gold jacquard damask 118″ wide from FWD: $10.99
  • 6 yards jacquard trim from eBay: $12.62 (including tax and shipping)
  • Thread, buttons, pearls, wire, etc. from stash: ~$5
  • 2-3 packages of fake braiding hair and headband from stash: ~$10

Total cost: All of the fabric was a gift from my friends at Fabric Wholesale Direct, so my out of pocket cost was about $27.62 (instead of ~$101.54 plus tax and shipping). Thanks FWD!

If you’d like to make a medieval dress of your own, check out this tutorial I made. Happy sewing!EJIY8518

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Vintage-Inspired Star Wars First Order/General Hux Costume

Recently I went to a themed party wearing a General Hux First Order costume with vintage styling. I had a lot of fun putting together this outfit and pretending to be sinister. Want this look? I’ve got links to all the accessories and base dress in this post.YAFE4962

General Hux wears a tunic and greatcoat with First order emblems and armbands signifying his rank, as well as a funny little hat with a metal emblem.IMG_8926IMG_8927IMG_8928

I substituted a dress for his tunic and a cape for his greatcoat. My gloves are vintage kid leather with lots of little cut outs, and my shoes are the 1940s Nita ankle strap heels from Royal Vintage Shoes.IMG_9632

I didn’t have time to make it all from scratch (except the cape) so I purchased an “Audrey Hepburn” dress on Amazon (affiliate link). The dress has a keyhole neckline and some cute button details. It has some stretch, and I would definitely size down if you are between sizes. I had to exchange the first dress I bought for a smaller size. The sleeves were a little wide on me, but I have skinny arms, so you may not have to tailor them like I did.IMG_E8909

The dress comes with a matching fabric belt with a pleather backing. I flipped the belt around, cut off the buckle, and added this metal buckle blank (Amazon affiliate link) to make it look more like a leather First Order belt. You can also buy it at your local Tandy Leather store.
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I bought the medium sized (3″ wide) shoulder patch from Mirror Universe on Etsy.IMG_E8911

You can buy the arm bands online, but I made my own using white soutache trim (Amazon affiliate link). At first I tried to sew the soutache directly on the sleeve, but it was a little difficult getting everything to stay straight. In the end, I sewed the white soutache trim onto some matte black ribbon, put Misty Fuse on the back, and ironed the ribbon strips onto the sleeve. A few tips:

  • Misty Fuse is like Wonder Under or Stitch Witchery, except it’s black and very light. It doesn’t add bulk, and is dark so even if you mess up a little it won’t show up like white iron-on adhesive.
  • Use matte ribbon, not a shiny satin ribbon, to keep your ribbon backing from being too obvious.
  • Open up the sleeve seam so that you can tuck the raw ends of your ribbon and soutache inside before sewing it closed again for a clean finish.

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My “stewardess pillbox” hat was purchased from Amazon (affiliate link). I added some vintage veiling, and added a nice metal pin that I purchased from The Empires New Clothes on Etsy.

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Just for fun, I wore a “Thirst Order” pin from Dahlia Bunny on my dress.Screen Shot 2018-06-04 at 9.28.44 PM

The cape is self-drafted, but not difficult to make. I used a soft, low-pile velvet that I draped on my dress form. Originally, I made it floor length and super full so I started with 4 yards of fabric that became significantly less in the end. A last minute addition was a red lining to make my dress stand out, which meant more last minute shopping online with Prime to get this faux dupioni (Amazon affiliate link).IMG_9619

A trick for when you have an item that is two colors (or you’re just lazy) and you can’t topstitch without the wrong color thread showing on one of the sides: sew some Misty Fuse or Stitch Witchery onto the wrong side of the fabric. When you flip it over and iron the edges your cape and lining will fuse together.IMG_9527.JPG

Since it is somewhat off the shoulder I added snaps to the dress and cape to hold them together. This was done right before the party, so it’s not lined up perfectly. Next time I think I will add more snaps or hooks and bar so the collar will hug my neck better.

Final project cost tally:

  • Dress: $29.99 from Amazon
  • Hat: $13.99 from Amazon
  • Patch: $11.74 ($7.99 + $3.75 shipping) from Etsy
  • Hat pin: $13.45 ($9.95 + $3.50 shipping) from Etsy
  • Dress pin: $9 from Etsy
  • Cape fabric: $30 from Facebook
  • Cape lining: $8.72 from Amazon
  • Belt buckle: $4.17 from Amazon
  • Soutach: $4.99 from Amazon
  • Thread and misc from stash: ~$3

Total: $129.05

The shoes, gloves, and seamed stockings are part of my regular vintage wardrobe.

I had so much fun with this outfit! I am looking forward to wearing it again! (Sorry for the slightly blurry photos; the event had really dim lighting!)

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How to Make Your Own DIY Mermaid Tail Tutorial

Happy Mermay! I recently completed a shiny sequined mermaid tail, and decorated a shell bra bikini top to go with it. I am not sure yet where I will wear this, but it was fun being a mermaid for a little while!IMG_9098.JPG

The shell bra was purchased from Aliexpress, and then I added hot-fix rhinestones and sewed on faux pearls.pic13

I used the mermaid sequin scale fabric and power mesh lining from Fabric Wholesale Direct for the tail, which has a swim mono fin inside.pic12

This is actually a pretty easy project, and a simple pattern.pic2

The complete tutorial with a materials list and illustrated instructions can be found on the FWD website.  Thanks Fabric Wholesale Direct for the fabrics and the chance to play mermaid for a day!IMG_9048.JPG

(All the fabrics for this project were provided to me by FWD, but I was not paid for this post).

Blood Vessel Dress at the PEERS Vampire Ball

Last month I attended the annual PEERS Vampire Ball. I wore a dress embroidered with blood vessels, a heart, and lungs. In a sea of black dresses I think I was pretty easy to spot! I’ve worn the dress before, and you can read about the details in a previous post.

John Carey Photographic took some photos of me at the ball (thanks John!) that he’s kindly permitted me to post here.John Carey 3from John CareyJohn Carey 2John Carey 4

If you are curious, here are some pictures that show the whole costume. (Clearly, these were not taken by John). I think for the future I would like to dye my shoes red. (These are the Tissots from American Duchess).

I am looking forward to next year’s ball, and being spooky again!John Carey 3

O-T-Tea Party 2016

Last week I went to the 2nd annual O-T-Tea Party in San Francisco. (The name is a reference to OTT, meaning over-the-top). The attendees were instructed to build opulent, imaginative, and or themed outfits using Japanese lolita fashion as a base.img_9740

I didn’t have time to make a new outfit from scratch, so I recycled an old dress I made years ago and jazzed up my coordinate with accessories and new embellishments. I wore the dress over a satin blouse with balloon sleeves and put on satin gloves with pearls and cutouts in the fabric. I carried a black velvet clutch purse with gold embroidery and had a golden rhinestone brooch at my waist. img_9704

I made my dress using a very soft and plushy black cotton velvet, screenprinted with gold. The crown motifs are accented with golden bows made of vintage jacquard ribbon and faux pearl and golden buttons I had in my stash.img_9751

I also wore a golden tiara with faux pearls (from Amazon) and a gold and black lace neck ruff from Aliexpress. These items were purchased new, but otherwise I already had a lot of things in my closet to complete my outfit!img_9755

I finished my outfit with Miss L Fire Vistas, which I previously wore with my 1920s outfit.img_9757

The event took place at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, where we had delicious food, a vendor room, and many generous raffle prizes.

We were all given these pretty acrylic brooches with a number that was used for voting in the outfit contest.img_9749

Here are some group photos taken by the Lens Collective!lens-collective-1lens-collective-4lens-collective-2lens-collective-3

Lady Tremaine’s Bodice (Mockup Process)

This past week I started the mockup process for making Lady Tremaine’s bodice. Since the sequined fabric is very precious and I won’t have time to make another special order for it before Costume College I definitely wanted to take my time with the patterning.

I am using the Vintage Pattern Lending Library Ladies’ Basque pattern. I picked it because it had the shape I wanted, but cutting out the pattern pieces made me realize it had many more seams than I wanted. (Less seams = less trouble when dealing with sequins, and more screen-accurate).

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My goal was to eliminate the center front seam, the two side back seams, and change the four front darts into two. I can do this because I’m not very curvy, I don’t plan to wear this with a corset, and it is a fantasy costume. If this was meant to be a properly fitted historical costume bodice worn over a corset, I would not recommend removing seams.

I started by tracing the paper pattern pieces without modification onto some fabric leftover with another fabric. It was navy blue and I used a silver pen so it ended up looking like architectural plans.

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Mockup #1 was not sewn together; it was placed on the dress form to determine general fit, and I was able to see that there was too much fabric in the front. IMG_8350

To make adjustments I turned the mockup inside out, and then started pinching out extra fabric and pinning. I also made one giant dart out of the two darts on each side. When satisfied with the general fit I made more notes directly on the fabric with the pen, then disassembled the pieces for my pattern.IMG_8356IMG_8359

The final pattern pieces:IMG_8362

I then made mockup #2, which is wrinkly because I was too lazy to iron the fabric beforehand. =)IMG_8367IMG_8368

Then finally I cut out my sequined fabric! The sequins are on a sheer georgette, so I had to flat-line it with satin so that any raw seams tucked under would not show. The edges were serged because the satin was fraying and the sequins were falling off.IMG_8383

A note about sequins: The “right” way to sew sequined fabric is to unpick the sequins next to your seam allowance to avoid a bulky seam, or having some of the sequins be punctured or bent by your sewing machine needle. I skipped this step for several reasons: 1) I am working with very small sequins which will hide much better in the seam than large ones. 2) I am hand-sewing the bodice pieces together so that I can feel any resistance in my needle that I wouldn’t be able to tell by machine. 3) I am lazy and short on time to unpick so many tiny sequins and sew them back on.

Here is the current bodice. I still need to add sleeves, trim the neckline and bottom, add closures, and start the scary process of flocking!IMG_8413

 

1940s Star Trek Dress (Part 2)

I’ve made some progress on my 1940s Star Trek dress. I still need to do some finishing touches, but the major parts are done. (The skirt, sleeves, and bodice bottom need to be hemmed, the zippers need finishing, and I need to make piping for the neckline. I’d like to fuss a bit with the front gathers as well).IMG_7809

Obviously it will need a good ironing once it’s done!IMG_7811

I am also trying to decide whether to buy official TNG pips or to use these fancy buttons I have from my stash.IMG_7813

You can read about Part 1 here.