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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).

Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo Cosplay at Silicon Valley Comic Con

Last weekend at Silicon Valley Comic Con I premiered my Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo cosplay. I had a great time wearing this costume from Star Wars: The Last Jedi!

Although I’ve been planning this since last year, I only had a few weeks to sew it because I was busy with other events. I will have a follow-up post with more information about the construction, materials, tips and tricks, and a materials list, but for now here are some pictures from the event!

This was taken in the lobby of the convention center, not long after arrival.CMEY9799

However, before SVCC, my friend Chris Weiner took a few photos in his back yard with his superior camera!9N6A3090

The back drape of this dress is what made me fall in love it when I first saw a photo of Lauren Dern as Amilyn Holdo in Vanity Fair Magazine.9N6A3096

There were so many great Star Wars cosplayers at SVCC! I met Praetorian Guards, Stormtroopers, and Darth Vader!IMG_7881IMG_7957IMG_7958

I also met Kylo Ren, who bowed to his Disney overlords.

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I was delighted to meet another Holdo. Double Holdo, double trouble!IMG_7858IMG_7860

I also encountered General Hux, and we had a stare-off.IMG_7930IMG_7931

Lego Obi-Wan was a delight!IMG_7822

I even found and ate a stormtrooper macaron cookie.IMG_7740

And it was an honor to be one of the cosplays featured on Business Insider!Business Insider

Business Insider Melia Robinson

Photo by Melia Robinson of Business Insider

My friend Adrienne took this video of me so you can see how the dress moves as I twirl.

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SVCC was a lot of fun; I’ll be sure to be back next year! See my Flickr album for more photos from the event.

A Regency Couple at a Winery Plus Costume Hack: How to Upcycle a Men’s Regency Outfit Using Thrift Store Items

My husband and I attended a Regency-themed event called “Wine and Peace,” hosted by the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild at Wente Vineyards. My husband is not a costumer, but agreed to dress up when lured by the prospect of wine tasting. Thus, although this post contains some nice photos of the both of us, the real point is to show how a panicked person can put together a passable men’s regency outfit when time is too limited to make one from scratch.

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He certainly looks like he enjoyed himself!IMG_7454

It was too cold for me to take off my pelisse, so you can read about the silk gown I wore underneath in my previous post. The pelisse and bonnet are not new, although I’ve only had the chance to wear them once before, and you can read about those items in an older post.

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My husband’s outfit consisted of a navy blue coat, a green waistcoat, a white shirt and neck tie, ivory trousers, and black boots.IMG_7375

It is not completely historically accurate, especially the back where I had to fudge it a bit, but it did just fine for a quick outfit!IMG_7370

The coat is up cycled from a double-breasted woman’s coat. (Women’s military-stye coats are longer than men’s).  I made a number of changes:

  1. I cut an upside-down U shape out of the front of the coat to mimic the high waist of a man’s regency garment.
  2. I used that extra fabric to make cuffs, thus lengthening the sleeves for my husband’s long arms.
  3. I also used that extra fabric to make false pocket flaps for the back of the coat.
  4. I split the bottom back of the coat open to mimic a tailcoat, and added some more of the extra fabric in between the split to hide a gap.
  5. I changed the plastic buttons on the front of coat to ones that matched my own coat.
  6. I added the same buttons to the back, next to the pocket flaps.
  7. I changed the plastic buttons on the sleeves to small gold-colored ones.

Before and after: IMG_7250MMUF8222

I recommend looking for a coat like this during the winter. When the weather warms up you may have to go shopping at several places to get one!

I also recommend making sure your subject isn’t slouching or looking down when you mark the cutting line in the front of the coat. When I sewed it up I realized it was cut a little higher than I intended. The look is accurate and fashionable for the time period, but I had planned on a little more coverage.

The waistcoat is an even easier upcycle. Modern vests have pointed fronts while Regency period waistcoats have flat fronts. If you can find a vest with a nice pattern in the fabric, just fold up the front points and tack them to the inside of the vest. (We already had a vest for my husband, made by our friend Kim for our wedding in 2010).

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If the fellow doesn’t plan to take off his coat, very little of the shirt will show except the collar.  Find a nice dress shirt with a good stiff collar that will stand up. This will not work so well if you have a floppy collar that is not interfaced.IMG_7180.JPG

Flip the collar up, cut off the points, and hem nicely. The modern sleeves and buttons will be hidden by the coat.IMG_7270.JPG

The button at the throat will be covered by the neck tie, which is simply a long rectangular piece of cotton fabric. If you don’t have fabric around your home, you can cut up some textile from the thrift store. You will want the cotton to be thin, to make wrapping and knotting easy. In this case, a cheap bedsheet or semi-sheer curtain is better than a nice tablecloth that will be too thick. The neck tie I made for my husband is 2 yards long and 8 inches wide, made from cotton voile. IMG_7269

Hem the edges and taper the ends a little. IMG_7268

The trousers were a a tricky part of the outfit because of the fall-front, which is not seen in modern men’s fashions. I found a number of high-waisted sailor pants, but they were generally women’s pants in the wrong materials or cut. I then considered making them myself, but after pricing out a pattern from Laughing Moon and buying nice fabric and buttons, I realized it would cost me at least $50 to make and about $70 to buy them. Thus, the trousers were purchased from Historic Emporium. The lesson here is sometimes it’s worth buying and being done with it! (The pants come long enough for you to hem into breeches or keep as trousers).

007238_00The boots were Ovation rubber riding boots (affiliate link) purchased from Amazon for about $40. They weren’t real leather, but still looked pretty nice, and can be reused with other costumes in the future. If you are lucky, you may able to get some nice boots locally. Don’t forget to look in the women’s footwear section for larger boots! There’s a lot of “riding boot” style women’s boots sold during the fall and winter that could work with Regency.Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 8.19.26 AM.png

I hope this post was useful, and now you can keep an eye out for the right kind of coat and other items to upcycle into a Regency men’s outfit!QVLO1071.JPG

A “Quick” Regency Silk Gown

I’m calling this a quick regency dress because there wasn’t a lot of planning ahead or blogging during steps, fitting was easy because I’ve used the pattern before, and the event I’m wearing it to is next week!IMG_7216

The pattern is Butterick B6074 view B, with minor modifications. The fabric is a printed silk taffeta from my stash.IMG_7222

The bodice is gathered in the front, and the stiffness of the taffeta gives the bust more fullness than I have in real life. 😉IMG_7217

The pattern has drawstring closures at the neckline and waistline, which is period, but I prefer hooks and eyes when the fabric is not a soft cotton.IMG_7220

If you’re curious about how to put in hooks and eyes to minimize gapping, I have the hooks away from the edge, and the eyes sticking over the edge. (Some people also alternate hooks and eyes on each side. I am lazy, and also wanted to use up the last few inches of hook and eye tape that I had).

I serged the armscye and bottom of the bodice to keep them neat. The shoulder straps are sewn in by hand. Here’s an inside look at the dress.IMG_7228

I have a pelisse that I will be wearing over this if the weather is cold, so I admit to be a little sloppy in some of my construction, but eh, I find most people are too distracted by pretty fabric to care. =)

I also made a matching reticule, with my leftover fabric and lining. I made the tassel out of some thick thread.IMG_E7254.JPG

Project costs:

  • 5 yards printed silk taffeta: $38 including shipping from a destash group; I have about 2 yards left over
  • Pattern: $0, already used for another dress
  • Bodice lining: $0, scraps from another project
  • Skirt lining: 2 yards cotton voile: ~$13 with tax and shipping (purchased with other items from Dharma Trading Co.)
  • Thread, lace scrap, and hooks and eyes: ~$5 from stash
  • Silk ribbon: $0, left over from another project

Total: ~$56 (even less if I sell the leftover 2 yards of taffeta to recoup some costs). Not bad for a silk dress!

I plan to wear this dress with my Pemberly slippers from American Duchess, and some beautiful new grape earrings from The Lady Detalle.IMG_7106.JPG

I look forward to wearing this print! Simple, but cute. IMG_7115.JPG

1920s Flapper Dress and Slip Patterns and Tutorial

My last projects of 2017 were a 1920s silk slip and a lace dress, made right before New Year’s eve. Neither of them are difficult to make, and I’ve made a pattern and tutorial for both. All the fabric for these two projects were kindly provided to me, free of charge, by Fabric Wholesale Direct.

The main dress is made from their mint iris guipure lace, and the slip and sash are made from their pink silk charmeuse. Thank you Fabric Wholesale Direct for the lovely materials!IMG_5943IMG_5929

1920s Slip

This pattern makes a basic 1920s slip. Choose a slinky fabric like silk charmeuse. You do not want to use anything thick!PIC 7
1) You’ll need the following measurements:
B = your chest circumference, across the top of your bust, plus 4 inches
H = your hip circumference, plus 4 inches
L1 = the length from the top of your bust to your hip, plus 1 inch
L2 = the length from your hip to above your knee, plus 1 inch
(These measurements include ease and 1/2 inch seam allowance).
2) You are going to make a long, slightly trapezoidal shape using the measurements above. The top is B divided by 2, and the total length is going to be L1 + L2. Cut this all as one piece. (The middle line is not a seam; it’s just to make sure it’s wide enough for your hips). You can draw this on paper first, or directly onto the fabric using rulers.
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3) Cut two of these trapezoids, place them right sides together, and sew the long edges together.
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4) You should now have a long tube. Hem the bottom and top of the tube, and if you like, add lace to decorate the top and bottom edges.
5) Cut two long rectangular straps for the shoulder that are 3 inches x 15 inches. (These are extra long; you will cut off the excess in a later step). Fold each strap lengthwise (inside out) and pin and sew down the long edge, making a skinny tube.
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6) Turn the long tubes right side out and iron flat. Add lace to the straps now if you wish.
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7) Sew or pin one end of each strap to the BACK of the slip, where your shoulder blades would be.
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8) Put the slip on and then pin the other end of the straps to the FRONT of your slip, over the top of your bust, and adjusted to the right length. Cut off the extra length. Sew the straps to the inside of the slip.
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Now you are done!

1920s Dress

This tutorial is to make a simple 1920s dress. I used a lace fabric, but you can use anything with a nice drape, such as silk velvet or a thick satin.

1) For the top half of the dress, find a sleeveless tank top style to use as a pattern base. (This should be made of a non-stretchy fabric, and a little loose-fitting, otherwise your dress will be too tight). The ideal length for the tank top is to reach your hips; if it’s too long you can fold the bottom up before tracing.
2) Lay the tank top on your fabric and cut around it, leaving extra space for a seam allowance and extra fit room. Depending on how loose your tank top is, that extra space may be 1-2 inches. Don’t forget the shoulders!
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3) Use that piece you cut out to trace a second piece, just slightly wider on the sides, to be the front piece of your dress. Sew the side seams and shoulders together.
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4) Cut a rectangle panel for the skirt that is 2.5 times the circumference of your hips. The width will be the length of your hips to below your knee. (If you want a historically-accurate dress the hem should be below your knee, and if you want a more modern look cut the skirt shorter).
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5) Sew the short edges of the skirt panel (right side) together, making a big skirt shape. Turn the skirt right side out. The top edge of the skirt will be gathered and sewn to the top part of the dress, and they meet at the hip.
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6) If you have a fancy edge on your dress top, have your top/skirt seam overlap with the top showing.
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7) Finish the neck and armholes by folding or rolling the raw edges of the fabric inside the dress and stitching them down.
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8) Optional: You can cut a sash for the middle that consists of a long rectangle with pointed ends. (You can use the leftover fabric from making your slip). The length and width will depend on personal preference, but the length should be at least double your hips plus extra. (Here the one shown in the photo is 55 inches long and 7 inches wide, with the edges tucked in). Wrap the sash around the hip area of your dress, tucking in the raw edges and sewing them down. For texture and visual interest, you can “wrinkle” the fabric while pinning and sewing it down.
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9) Optional: Embellish your sash with a shiny buckle and some little ribbon flowers. You can also put more silk charmeuse, ribbons, or flowers on the front of the dress to decorate it.
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The finished dress should allow for a lot of movement and be fun to dance in.

Thanks again for the materials Fabric Wholesale Direct!

18th Century Costumes at the Legion of Honor

Yesterday I saw the “Casanova, The Seduction of Europe” exhibit with the Greater Bay Area Costumer’s Guild at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. It was full of incredible artwork, and even antique garments on display. I highly recommend it! I spent the last few weeks working on a new outfit to attend the exhibit instead of blogging about it, but it I will post more about the construction details once I get the last bit of trim on (which did not arrive in time). I wore my new mauve silk Italian gown pinned shut, as is historically correct, but will be changing it to a hook-eye-and opening. (I was paranoid about marking up the silk so I wore it a bit loose).

Many of the photos in this post are used courtesy of John Carey Photographic Imagery. Thanks John!

I love how this photo reminds me of candlelight!

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Photo by John Carey

This one is outside the museum.

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Photo by John Carey

Here’s a few full-body shots from my phone:IMG_6848IMG_6850

My shoes are 18th century black wool Dunmores from American Duchess (affiliate link) and the earrings and necklace are from In the Long Run Designs. My fan is an antique. IMG_6852

There was much gossip and court intrigue with my fellow Taffeta Sisters, Kelsey and Natalie.IMG_6955

Some of it was of a highly shocking nature!IMG_6868

There were many gorgeous costumes in attendance.

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Photo by John Carey

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Photo by John Carey

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Photo by John Carey

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Photo by John Carey

 

There was unavoidable 18th century rump shaking.

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Plus other silly shenanigans.

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We enjoyed the stunning artwork, costumes, and artifacts on display.IMG_6814.JPGIMG_6829IMG_6805

I felt quite at home with the paintings. =) Many more photos have been uploaded to my Flickr account so please take a look!

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Photo by John Carey