Costuming Year in Review 2012

2012 was actually a great year for me in terms of costuming, as I won several awards, competed in my first Masquerade and got to spend time with wonderful friends who I don’t often get to see.

It started out rather rough with my throwing out my back and missing Gallifrey One in February, but picked up pretty quickly in March with a trip to NC, DC and NYC, where I went to dinner at a Revolutionary War era restaurant in Alexandria (Gadsby’s Tavern) with some great friends:

Group Shot!

Group Shot!

I tried some new hair extensions and they were a miserable failure.  WAY too shiny.  I wore my green sari Steampunk-esque Victorian outfit again that I had last worn at Teslacon in 2011.  That is Artemisia Moltabocca on my left, the lovely Susie on my right, and Terri and Saharazara at the end of the table.  The others were friends of Saharazara.  Several people sang with the Tavern Keeper.

Rawking it out, as one does.

Rawking it out, as one does.

Rawking it out with the wee little Susie who looked stunning in her 18th century gown made by Saharazara.

The next big adventure was in May, when I attended Costume Con in Tempe, Arizona.  Quite a lot happened there.

Crazy 18th century twisted historicals.

Crazy 18th century twisted historicals.

A group of us had decided to enter the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Masquerade and thought it would be fun to wear other costumes in groups.  A group of us wore silly 18th century french costumes.  I modified my Valentine’s Day Courtesan from 2011’s Day of Wrong and turned it into a zone-front faux Redingote.  The hat was made of a large cake pan.  It is one of my most favorite costumes to wear, and I finally won a Hall Award for it at the con.  The best moment was when 2 gentlemen ran across the vendor’s room to give me an actual Valentine.

That is a lot of pink.

That is a lot of pink.

In order:  Saharazara in her cherries polonaise, the Cheap Chick (in her modified Fishing Opener Courtesan), Lis in her Cupcakes polonaise, Arte in her sewing room francaise (that I got to help drape which was great fun), and me in Valentine’s Day wear.

We also decided to do Nerfpunk, and I decided to do a Scottish/Lolita-esque/Nerfpunk.  It turned out very cute except for the wig, which made me look like Howard Stern.  Thus almost all photos are cropped at the neck.  In the interest of full disclosure, here is the only photo that is full length.  Let’s look at my adorable sporran, tam, and actual pleated silk kilt rather than the fact that black hair is not my friend.

Laura aka Howard Stern.

Laura aka Howard Stern.

I re-wore my orange Steampunk costume for the opening festivities of the Con:

Steampunk Saloon Girl.

Steampunk Saloon Girl.

In honor of the anniversary of the Titanic, many chose to wear Titanic era gowns.  However, being a full-figured sort of gal, I knew that the gowns of that period were not terribly flattering on me, so I chose to wear 1906. I tried to copy a fashion plate from 1906 and the results came out mixed, mainly due to wearing a corset that was too big.

Wearing my "Free Mr. Bates!" button.

Wearing my “Free Mr. Bates!” button.

I loved the skirt, but the belt was too high, the corset was too big, and the draping lace from the shoulders is not flattering on my shape.  I learned a lot from this experience, and re-did this outfit for Fezziwig’s in 2012.

The best part of the trip was the Masquerade.  Twelve of us entered as the 11 Doctors Who and surprise 12th Doctor incarnation, Cindy Lou Who.  We won Judge’s Choice and I won Best in Worksmanship, Journeyman.  Three other members of our group won Worksmanship awards as well.  It was some of the most fun I have ever had.  I also helped to drape the Cindy Lou Who outfit, which the Chick claims means it is a “couture” garment.

Doing my best Tom Baker.

Doing my best Tom Baker.

The knitting of my monster bustle was done mainly by my friend Anne, with an assist from me.  My friend Heather did some of the trim.  I knitted the gloves and additional trim.  Anne did the spats.  My spats and gloves buttoned up with little shrinky dink Tardis buttons made by Anne.  I used several different Truly Victorian patterns to make the outfit, and it remains one of my favorite (although heaviest) outfits ever.

All the Whos in Whoville.

All the Whos in Whoville.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience unlikely to be repeated again.

June rolled around, and along with it the Guthrie Theatre Costume Ball.  I was not terribly keen on going, until the Chick suggested we finally break down and make the costumes we have always wanted to make:  The Haynes Sisters costumes from “White Christmas.”  I was sold, and after much sourcing of materials and a fairly involved hair process for me, we happily wore our costumes to the Guthrie. The fans were smaller than in the movie, but MY GOODNESS are feather fans expensive!  We plan to modify them in the future.

The Haynes Sisters

The Haynes Sisters

Me, aka Rosemary Clooney, aka Betty Haynes

Me, aka Rosemary Clooney, aka Betty Haynes

At the end of June was the Mantorville Olde Tyme Days and three of us went as representatives of MNSOC (Minnesota Society of Costumers).  I decided to finally make the Anne Shirley dress I had always wanted to make using the lace I had been collecting for years.  I also helped the Chick with her Victorian Bathing Suit (which was ADORABLE).  I was very happy with the finished product.  The bodice is Truly Victorian and the skirt is my own design.

Your MNSOC Board Representatives.

Your MNSOC Board Representatives.

Puffed sleeves for the WIN!

Puffed sleeves for the WIN!

Then I lost 30 lbs. and suddenly none of my costumes fit.  Which meant a purging of my costume wardrobe and reworking of various other costumes.  Today I own 4 costumes which do not fit me but which I will not get rid of (Anne Shirley, Dr. Who, Valentine’s Day and Camo Elizabethan) and I currently have only 3 costumes which do fit me.  It’s pretty empty in there, folks.

In August I decided I wanted to make a Historical Recreation costume to enter in that category in the Minnesota State Fair.  Unfortunately I decided to do so 3 weeks prior to the deadline. Due to my fluctuating weight I decided to make an outfit for a friend and enter that.  I also decided that as a challenge I would make something I had never made before.  This was both good and bad, as it did challenge me, but also?  I had no idea what I was doing.  The final result won 1st prize in my category and such a positive thing happening at what was a really horrible time for me personally was a really wonderful thing.

Ashley models the finished garment.

Ashley models the finished garment.

Hello, Mr. Darcy.

Hello, Mr. Darcy.

Also in August several of us decided to attend a pirate festival in Iowa.  I wore drawstring skirts I had sitting around and my daughter’s bodice.  A fun time was had by all.

Posing with Wycked Jack Basterd.  Photo by Obadiah Jib.

Posing with Wycked Jack Basterd. Photo by Obadiah Jib.

I also bought the coolest thing ever:

Scissors dagger!

Scissors dagger!

With September came the MN Renaissance Festival.  I only went the last weekend, but my daughter attended several other times and I had to make additional costumes for her and her friends:

Lovely ladies.

Lovely ladies.

I beta-tested some bodice patterns for Margo Anderson for these outfits.  The bodices on the 1st and 2nd outfits only had boning at the back side lacing openings and in the center front.  The girls did not want to wear corsets, so the bodices are laced very tight, and thus there is some wrinkling.  The 3rd outfit was made several years ago for S, who is in the yellow outfit on the left.

Next up was Day of Wrong.  The Chick and I decided to again have coordinating outfits and went as Angel and Devil courtesans, again testing Margo’s bodice patterns.  The twist was that the Chick went as the innocent one, and I went as the devilish one.  I wore my big hair and hair horns again and with feathered wings (and a riding crop for me) the outfits were complete.

The biggest thing I learned from making these outfits was to NEVER use anything with glitter on it.  Our sleeves were glittered ribbon, and my car still has glitter in it, months later.

Angel and Devil Courtesans.

Angel and Devil Courtesans.

The fabric was horrible stuff – poly organza for the outside, and the stuff they line ovens with underneath.  It sure was fun to wander around as a devil, though.  There are MANY photos of me pretending to spank people with a riding crop out there….

The last day of Festival was also the last day there of a good friend of ours, a pirate named Obadiah Jib.  Over the years his pirate had “married” various members of our group and these wives had had “children.”  This year his latest wife had triplets, and S and her friends dug up costume pieces from the closet, purchased some red wigs and did their best to represent as pirates:

The red-haired daughters of Obadiah Jib:  Opaline, Ophelia, Jib, Olivia, Oprah and Odette.  Missing:  Odeliah.

The red-haired daughters of Obadiah Jib: Opaline, Ophelia, Jib, Olivia, Oprah and Odette. Missing: Odeliah.

Dave also plays a second character at Fest – Don Jesus Zaragosa – a virtuous yet randy conquistador who is constantly mistaken for Jib.  We decided that Zaragosa also needed daughters.  So we gave him two:

Sisters!

Sisters!

The lovely Maven (who is a good 6 inches taller than me) and I went as twins.  I had bought red silk for $1.37 a yard at Hancock’s and we added in black flocked taffeta and went crazy with the silly hats and very loose with the historical accuracy.  My sewing machine died just as I was starting the costumes, and S’s machine died as I was stitching on the last piece of trim.  I love this outfit though, as it is so very silly.  Maven and I walked around and talked in fake Spanish accents, and threw in various Taco Bell words:  “Mi hermana!  Did you see that chalupa?”  “Oh si, nachos bellgrande!”

I love this photo taken near the end of the day after I had ditched the hot sleeves and was covered in dust, mainly for the background:

Port-o-potties make an excellent backdrop.

Port-o-potties make an excellent backdrop.

October arrived and I was burnt out.  I had promised several Halloween costumes to others, so I decided to skip a costume for me and focused on everyone else.

First up was my nephew Dexter’s Jedi costume.  Being born on May the 4th, he was born to be a Jedi, so I made the closest thing to screen accurate that I could, while still being comfy for a baby and not going overboard.  My favorite parts of his costume are the plush lightsaber from Build-a-Bear and his knitted hair cap (because he was somewhat bald).

Use The Force for good and not evil, folks!

Use The Force for good and not evil, folks!

The 2nd Halloween costume was a replica of the USO Dancing Girls costume from the movie “Captain America” for my older daughter, G.  Since she also had little hair at the time, I had to style a wig for her in a 1940’s hairstyle.  The end result was so cute and she looked so much like my Grandmother it was astounding.

Full outfit on the front step.

Full outfit on the front step.

A BIG thanks to Caitlin and Kathy Kay-Dee for their resourcing, patterns and info on how to construct the outfit.

This fall I also started working on a crazy project that is turning out to be heavier than I had anticipated:  the Steampunk Automaton Circus Clown.

First I made a knitted and crocheted wig:

Side view of the finished wig.

Side view of the finished wig.

Then I learned how to make jewelry and made a beaded crown for the wig and 7 yards of beaded trim:

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

Very, very sparkly.

Very, very sparkly.

Then I took a bunch of copper mesh from the Pest Control store and made an Elizabethan ruff:

Also useful for scrubbing pots.

Also useful for scrubbing pots.

I hand beaded two silk sleeves and was very relieved when I finished them:

HALLELUJAH!

HALLELUJAH!

And with the help of my Dad and my buddy Steve, my design for the clock-work mechanism for the clown was made a reality.

View 1

Now covered in a decorative metal grill.

I also attended MNSOC’s Fezziwig’s Party and wore my modified black 1906 gown, this time with a new velvet bodice with beaded embellishment at the neckline:

Sassing it up.

Sassing it up.

I think this version of the outfit is far more flattering.  I also went the easy route and put in a zipper rather than hooks and eyes.  This was also the first ever costume event that my husband attended with me.  He prefers to not have his photo on the Interwebz, but suffice to say he looked very much like a Steampunk Gambler.

You might think that I was done for the year, but no, I still had one more outfit to make:

This is not the Dad you are looking for.

This is not the Dad you are looking for.

In a combined family effort, my Dad wound up getting an Obi-Wan Dad costume for Christmas.  He even posed with the littlest Jedi in the family:

Hoods up!

Hoods up!

BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!

For 2013 I have the clown to finish, the Dr. Who outfit to modify, a weeping angel to make and various other things for other events.

Hopefully 2013 will be as much fun in costuming as 2012 was.  I hope everyone else out there in costuming land also had a wonderful year!

5 thoughts on “Costuming Year in Review 2012

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