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Category Archives: Other Clothes

1940s Star Trek Dress (Part 3) Finished

My 1940s style Star Trek dress is finished!  I am looking forward to wearing it to a 1940s party this weekend. (I will post pictures of the event next week).IMG_7949To summarize, the dress is made from 2 layers of rayon challis. The neckline is piped and has several gold buttons for “pips.” IMG_7939

I modified the Dahlia blouse pattern from Wearing History. I added in the extra seams in the front and back to create color-blocking and drafted the skirt myself.IMG_7944

The front is gathered at the shoulders with a puffed sleeve head.IMG_7945

The elbow is gathered, like many 1940s dresses, and the sleeves are extra long.IMG_7946

There is a curved seam where the bodice meets the skirt.IMG_7951

The rayon makes for a very nice, drapey dress. It is very form-fitting, especially around the hips. I’m afraid the construction shows off every bump and lump so proper vintage undergarments are required: a Rago girdle and a slip.IMG_7952

The dress closes on the side with a side-lapped zipper, hand-stitched in. (Originally I used invisible zippers, but this is more accurate to the time period).

I actually thought I completed it a few weeks ago, but when I put it on I wasn’t completely pleased with the way it hung, so I redid it – twice. Originally I made this as a 2-piece outfit, with a somewhat A-line skirt. I decided to change to a pencil skirt, which I felt would work better with the top. Also, I converted the outfit to a one piece, thinking the skirt would weigh down the bodice and keep the edges from flipping up. This meant I had to completely dismantle and recut the skirt, and remove 2 zippers.

Originally I prick-stitched the bodice to the skirt, which made the peplum front stand out, but the back looked a little odd. I took the dress and zipper apart again, and stitched everything together. There’s still little things I’m not 100% happy about, but overall I am very pleased with how it came together!

Final cost $87.93:

  • From Fabric.com: 3 yards black rayon challis, 2 yards mustard rayon challis, 1 spool black thread ($41.10 including tax and free shipping)
  • From Wearing History: a digital pattern bought on sale (I highly recommend you pay to get a paper pattern instead; I bought mine digitally because I needed it right away, but the paper ones are worth it!)
  • From the stash: gold buttons and zipper
  • From Thinkgeek: TNG communicator pin ($19.99 plus $6.95 shipping)
  • From Amazon: TNG phaser ($10.89 plus free Prime shipping)

I especially pleased with the communicator. It’s a quality reproduction that is on a strong magnet so I won’t get pin holes in my dress. The communicator is now available on Amazon (affiliate link) so if you have Prime you can even save on the shipping:

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I bought a TNG phaser just because it was fun and cheap. (It makes noise!): IMG_7953

I purchased some incredible Miss L Fire shoes, but sadly they are a bit big for me. I might see if I can get some inserts that won’t show in the peep toe, but for now I’ll have to wear plain black pumps with the dress.

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I also own these Capezios, which are very comfortable dance shoes, so they might be better for the event I have in mind this weekend anyway.

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Read Parts 1 and 2.

Next step is to figure out how to do hair and make-up, which are not things I excel at. Wish me luck!

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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.

Circulatory System Dress (aka the Heart, Blood, and Lungs Gown) at the Vampire Ball

Last night I attended the annual PEERS Vampire Ball wearing my circulatory system dress, complete with heart and lungs!

IMG_6037 IMG_6043I did not have time to make a new dress from scratch, so I modified a purchased dress.

I found this really neat gown that was covered in red embroidery that reminded me of blood vessels. (I think it might have intended to evoke sea coral). I thought “Hey, it would be creepy and cool to add organs to it!”

IMG_5999IMG_6005I have a friend with an embroidery machine (who has an Etsy shop), so I sent her the specs and I asked her to make me some heart and lungs in the size and color I wanted.

I cut them out of the fabric base, fray-checked the edges, and sewed them to my dress. The dress was a hit at the Vampire Ball. Lots of people told me the heart was grotesquely cool, and when I turned around they were charmed by the lungs as well. Sometimes I backed up against a friend and said “I’m breathing on you!” because I’m that kind of weirdo.

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There were lots of amazing costumes at the event. I didn’t take as many pictures as I would have liked, but they are on my Flickr account.

I originally planned to make a brain fascinator, but decided it might take the dress over the line of “elegant and creepy” into “just plain weird.” In the end I bought a red fascinator from Amazon (affiliate link: Red feather flower fascinator)

Midsummer Night’s Ball and Tulle Fairy Tale Skirt

Last night I went to the Midsummer Night’s Ball, hosted by Sam and Monica of Overattired.  I made myself a tulle skirt filled with flower petals that I am calling the fairy tale skirt. IMG_4895I originally intended the skirt to be worn with a mint green petticoat and top, so it was made with a green waistband matching sash. However, since I am busy sewing for Costume College I did not have time to make a mint green top so for the ball I decided to go with a cream coordinate, and wear the skirt over a H&M chiffon dress I already had in my closet. This is what the skirt looked like at home.IMG_4787The tulle and chiffon are from Fabric Wholesale Direct, and I wrote a step-by-step tutorial with pictures for their website. Tulle skirts are easy and fast!

My antlers are from Sweet Mildred, and are lovely both from the front and back.IMG_4916 IMG_4919The shoes are an eBay find from a few years ago. I’ve also worn them with a 20s tea outfit.

IMG_4915The belt is also from eBay, and the acorn necklace is from LOTV Designs.IMG_4921A silly pose!

IMG_4897At the ball I delivered a dress I made to Jean, editor of San Francisco/Science Fiction Magazine. I made this for myself years ago, prior to this blog, so I don’t have any construction photos to post. I am glad the dress has found a new home! It is a damask dress based on Italian Renaissance design, and trimmed with gold and white twist with gold beads. I also made the puffed-sleeve blouse worn underneath. IMG_4910

Jareth the Goblin King and Toby Labyrinth Costumes

If you are a child of the 80s I’m sure you loved the Labyrinth movie and have been secretly wanting an excuse to wear a David Bowie wig. Well, when you are a parent you have the perfect opportunity to dress up in a Jareth the Goblin King costume, and have your baby “dance magic dance.” This is what happened today:

DSCN1355I think my son looks a little worried that I might be the real Goblin King.

Jareth has a pretty snazzy bedazzled blue coat he wears during the ballroom scene, but I didn’t have the time to make it (this year).

BallroomHowever, I thought, “Hey I have gray leggings! And black leather gloves! And countless frilly shirts!”

david-bowie-labyrinthThe best part about this costume is that it can be put together by something I call “closet diving,” except for the hair, which is a newly purchased “blonde rocker” wig from Amazon. (My son’s red and white striped romper is also from Amazon). The boots are Tavistocks from American Duchess. The blouse is vintage Gunne Sax.  The vest is a cheapy Chinese corset with straps and a high back (links below).

Overall, I think the combination of lacy shirt, corset and heeled boots makes for a more femme Goblin King, but I don’t think Bowie would mind some genderbending. =)

You remind me of the Babe. What Babe? The Babe with the power.

IMG_2861I found this cool photo of me by Gaskell Ball. There are no special effects; I’m just standing in front of a purple light and the wig glowed!
10846332_974401772587205_4503172583431805018_nUpdate 9/28/15:

Wow, it’s been nearly a year already, and people are still finding this post! I realized I didn’t link to the items I purchased so to make it easier for anyone who stumbles on to my blog, here are items I purchased on Amazon (affiliate links below) [links updated again on 11/5/18]:

This is the blonde “rocker” wig. I used it right out of the bag; it didn’t need styling: Long Rocker Wig – Mixed Blonde

I bought the red/white version of the Leveret velour striped romper: Leveret “Velour Striped Coverall Rompers” Footed One Piece

(If the red/white color is sold out there’s a similar red/white set made by the same company as “Christmas PJs.“)

This is the corset-vest I used, but it runs small, so buy up 2 sizes: QinYing Women Black Classic Patterns Underbust Corset Top L

The corset vest seems to be sold out as of 11/5/18 so here’s one exactly like it: Charmian Women’s Spiral Steel Brocade Waist Cincher

I bought my original leggings at a local store but bought these when I reword the costume in 2018: Satina High Waisted Leggings in Gray

My black leather gloves came from Ross but I believe they are Isotoners, which are available in men’s or women’s sizes.
Isotoner women’s genuine leather gloves     Isotoner men’s genuine leather gloves

My boots are the gorgeous Victorian button boots called Tavistocks by American Duchess:Tavistock Victorian Button Boots

And finally, a crystal contact juggling ball! Clear Acrylic Contact Juggling Ball

Here’s a photo taken of me at a Halloween ball by Christopher Mobley. Happy Halloween!

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AAGPBL Kenosha Comets Uniform (A League of Their Own Baseball Costume!)

“There’s no crying in baseball!” -A League of Their Own

The most comfortable thing I wore at Costume College was my reproduction AAGPBL (All American Girls Professional Baseball League) WII-era uniform. There was no corsetry or special undies other than a pair of shorts, plus it was easy to pack (and wash afterwards!)

A group of us decided to do some DIY uniforms and dress up as the Kenosha Comets! (I am on the far left).

IMG_1179-2-(ZF-2606-04749-1-009)(Photo by Andrew Schmidt).

We decided to do their white home game uniforms instead of their light green ones because we had trouble finding the right color twill. We modified a basic shirtdress pattern by extending the front so that the dress buttoned off-center, like the ones in the movie, and added belt loops. I modified Simplicity 1880.

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Our team and arm patches were made by Emily, a team member, and Barbara of Of Corset.

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I was number 8, which was Pauline Pirok on the 1943 team. Sorry, my mannequin does not have scoliosis, I just put the uniform on funny.

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I added a pocket to the side, which wasn’t part of the original design.

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My hat was a custom order from The Turnip Seed, an Etsy seller who does monogrammed hats. I sent her a picture and she was able to do exactly what I wanted. Some of the other girls on the team got plain wool baseball hats from eBay and made their own patches.  Some other people bought the officially licensed hat from K&P Weaver.

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Underneath the costume we all wore green satin shorts. I drafted my own, but a pair of men’s silk boxers would probably work as well. From beginning to end the shorts took about an hour, and I think you can tell! I was rushing to get these finished, and was afraid my sewing machine was dying, since the tension started doing some weird things.

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For “cleats” I got a cheap pair of black sneakers at Target because I don’t like wearing very casual shoes, and didn’t see myself getting any use out of them the rest of the year.

We had a blast at Costume College, and plan to do it again next year! (The rest of the team photos are by Andrew Schmidt, official CoCo photographer).

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Did you spot the lonely Rockford Peach?

Improvements for the next wearing:

  1. I need to hem the dress shorter. I tend to make my skirts a little longer for modesty, but it’s pretty clear in the team photos it’s much longer than everyone else’s dress.
  2. New socks. I need to get some darker green ones.
  3. New belt. I made mine with D rings based on an example picture, then looked at some more old photographs, and found that most of the belts had buckles. I didn’t have time to make a new one.
  4. I had to order my materials online because I was home sick for a while with the flu. The “twill” that arrived in the mail was a lot thinner than what I was expecting. Part of me wants to remake the costume more properly with the right materials, but realistically, I’d rather use the time for something else!

Project costs: Although having to pay for online shipping for a lot of things upped my cost, overall this was not too bad. My general goal is to stay below $100 for each project, unless I am doing something extravagant, and I got to stick to my budget, even with shoes included!

  • Pattern: $4.99
  • Cotton “twill”: $22.39
  • Spruce Green Kona cotton: $4.62
  • Hat: $12 + $5 shipping
  • Buttons: $6.36
  • D rings: $1.09
  • Green satin: $5.89
  • Patches: $12
  • Socks: $5.99
  • Shoes: $14.99 + tax

Red Riding Hood Mantle

This was supposed to be a very quick project, but these days it is hard to find a continuous half hour of free time, so it sat on my sewing chair for a number of weeks. During my pregnancy I bought a red wool poncho when my winter coats got snug. It has pockets and arm holes, and is nice and thick. I loved how this one had a cute bow on the back, and the hood was ringed with faux fur. It made me think of Red Riding Hood, if she had a souvenir from the Wolf.

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I decided it would be nice to continue wearing the poncho with my costumes, but wanted to replace the toggle clasps with something a little less modern-looking, so I used 6 pairs of beaded black frogs.

ImageThis is what the hood looked like before.

ImageI liked it before, but like it even more now.