Saturday, May 12, 2012

May Flowers!

I avoid the garden. I have a black thumb. Really. If I look at a plant wrong, it dies. When I went off to college, my mother gave me a cutting of a plant that she was given a cutting of when she went off to college. That was in the 1950s, and my mom still has this plant. My cutting died the first semester. All I had to do was leave it in water. It didn't like sunlight. I had it on my desk away from the window and kept the vase full. It still died.

So I stay out of the garden, except to take pictures from time to time. But my husband humors me and buys and plants things in the garden that he knows I'll like. Today, he presented me with some black petunias. He loves me. He really does!

Black Petunias by *dbvictoria on deviantART


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Guardian of Enasalin Cosplay, Part I

Although I've been costuming for years (well, decades, but we don't need to go there), I've never ventured into cosplay before now. For those unfamiliar with the term, cosplay a specific type of costuming, reproducing a character and even going so far as to act like the character. It's donning the costume and becoming someone from a movie, game, etc.

I'm a wee bit fond of (*cough*obsessedwith*cough*) the Dragon Age games. The number of times I've played them through is, well, frightening, according to some of my friends. I'm not as obsessive as some folks out there, but my desire to find out every single little nuance and snippet of character dialog is well in keeping with my OC personality.

As soon as I saw the rogue armor set from chapter 2 of Dragon Age II, I told myself I would make it one day. Well, I finally started this week.

Here it is:

enasalin 11

enasalin 8

One of the problems with recreating a costume from a game or animated series is that there is a definite lack of functional seam lines and an excess of non-functional ones. The vest in particular shows this, but the pants are guilty as well. I opted not to try to fiddle with odd pieces to completely accurately reproduce this and started with a basic bodice pattern that I adjusted as needed.

First off, the pants. These were the easiest part. I've made so many pairs of pantaloons and bloomers that I can whip 'em out drunk and/or asleep. These had extra seamwork on the legs, but that was just a little bit of extra work.

I used a navy blue cotton broadcloth. Starting out with each pattern piece, I ironed and then sewed in pleats:


These were sewn down, and then cross-wise pleats were made.



The color difference comes from taking pictures with and without flash. They still need to be aged. I'm planning on hanging them off the back porch for a week or so to let the weather have their way with them. I'll then add a lining and waistband.

Here's where I admit a dirty secret. I've never learned to draft patterns. I always start with a base from a commercial pattern and tweak it as needed. I'm a lazy person and I don't believe in recreating the wheel. There's always something out there that will provide the basic shape I need. In this case it was Simplicity 4914, minus the sleeves.

It took two mockups, one straight from the pattern:


The look in this picture says it all. "Oh, yeah. The boobs."

Second mockup, adding to the seam allowances across the curvy bits:


Apologies for the blurriness. I still haven't managed the trick of taking a picture of yourself in the mirror. Guess I should practice more with my smartphone.

The fit was good on this one, but it wasn't long enough in the front, so third time's the charm. Here's what it ended up looking like with the commercial pattern for reference:


On to the real fabric. The pictures from the game had a soft look for this fabric. I was originally planning on using suede, but I found an ecru corduroy with a very fine pile instead.


(I just realized I didn't take a picture of the lining. I used a floral ivory brocade.)

The decorative work on the front and back came next:

enasalin 10

enasalin 4

Everything was first machine sewn:



After that, the stitching was done using a tapestry needle and embroidery floss.


(the vest is hanging askew on my dress dummy - she's not as well endowed as I, which makes for amusing happenings from time to time)


There ended up being a pucker at the back, but the straps will cover it once I get the harness assembled, so I am not allowing myself to twitch over it.


My hands cried uncle before I finished the binding on the armholes, and I'm leaving the collar until I get started on the rest of the leather work. I'll be working on the shirt next, though, I think. But I'm feeling rather happy about how these first pieces turned out.

International No Pants Day

No Pants Day was yesterday, if you were unaware. It occurs every first Friday in May. This tied in nicely with the theory of a friend of mine, that time travel is deleterious to the garments on the lower extremities of a time traveler. In celebration, a group of folks from the Seattle Steamrats descended on Gasworks Park for a photoshoot.

The official photos are still forthcoming, but I got the husband to snap a few shots of myself with my new red and black laced parasol. I've been holding off listing it until this shoot, as I wanted to get some pictures of it "in action," so to speak. Mission Accomplished!

Frilly Red and Black Satin Parasol Steampunk Lolita


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brass Screw Confedacy

The Brass Screw Confederacy is Port Townsend's first steampunk event, a proper Steampunk Hootenanny if ever there was. Anyone familiar with both the city and genre will appreciate the hand-in-glove fit, a perfect match of setting, community, and eccentricity.

Visit their website!

The vendors are peddling their wares during the day on Saturday, but the weekend is filled with events from Friday night through Sunday, including a pub crawl, a reading by Neil Stephenson, and a Zombie Triathalon. I'm really looking forward to this!