Playing Catch-Up

My goodness has it been awhile since I posted!  It has been a fairly busy 6 months, and I am going to quickly recap them here, with longer posts going into detail about some of the costumes in follow-up posts.

After Convergence several of my fellow Can-Can compatriots and I headed to the Bristol Renaissance Festival in Wisconsin.  Because it is always so warm there we opted for comfort, and in some cases this means silly.  I wore a modified version of my red faux “Spanish” style twin dress from last year’s MN Renaissance Festival, but swapped a long-line bra for the corset.  The lovely Jessica was my twin this time, and we served as “Pirate Protection Patrol – YARR.”  It was great fun despite being obscenely hot, and our lovely hostess The Other Jessica breaking her ankle.

My Pirate Family - older sister Opaline, her twin Ophelia, our mother Lilith, my twin Dona Margarita, and me.  Note the classy blue ball jar stemware we are sporting.

My Pirate Family – older sister Opaline, her twin Ophelia, our mother Lilith, my twin Dona Margarita, and me. Note the classy blue ball jar stemware we are sporting.

Next up was August, and I again entered the State Fair with the lovely DangerKitty.  Our 18th century gown won 1st place in Historical Reproduction, as well as the “Sweepstakes” award, which means it was the top in its category.  It was very fun to see those ribbons.  I modified my Marie Antoinette gown down to one I could actually wear, which meant that it now includes a chemise, a robe a la francaise, and can fit on pocket hoops rather than panniers.  DangerKitty did all the embroidery (we did a ton of research in trying to find modern machine embroidery designs that looked similar to extant examples) and I beaded the heck out of the embroidery while watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

The dress as pinned to my very teeny dress form, minus the corset and chemise.  The bow on the stomacher was declared overkill and removed.  The whole thing hangs much more nicely on a human being.

The dress as pinned to my very teeny dress form, minus the corset and chemise. The bow on the stomacher was declared overkill and removed. The whole thing hangs much more nicely on a human being.

I wound up with a bit of downtime as my oldest daughter had a surprise appendectomy two weeks before starting college, and our family trip was cancelled.  She is completely recovered and was well enough to wear her Mermaid Man costume for Halloween.  This costume was put together almost exclusively from thrifted finds and stuff from Amazon.  She cut down a plastic face mask that I spray painted purple, and cut the “M” out of foam.  The pink fuzzy slippers were flats covered in pink felt.

She tried to find someone to be Barnacle Boy, but no one would commit to a bald cap.

She tried to find someone to be Barnacle Boy, but no one would commit to a bald cap.

After Grace left for college we switched rooms around upstairs and I wound up with the nicest sewing space I have ever had.  Now if I could only keep it clean…

A place for everything and everything... all over the place.

A place for everything and everything… all over the place.

I also wound up making a fancy outfit for the Queen of the MN Renaissance Fair.  She is a lovely person and the plan was to make it quite obvious that she was the Queen as there are a lot of folks in tiaras out there.  We did this by focusing on a gold and red color scheme, by adding in a full crown she found on Etsy and giving her a LARGE ruff – the first I have ever made that wasn’t made of plumbing and pest control supplies.

I used Margo Anderson’s patterns, and the result was lovely on Queen Elizabeth.  Because the faire here is a fantasy faire we added in many elements that are NOT historically accurate, the main being that most of the cast wears Victorian corsets because they find them to be more comfortable.  The outfit was also made to be mix and match as she is a very hands-on Queen, so she tends to get dirtier than most.  She had several different underskirts with coordinating stomacher inserts in her doublet, 2 sets of hanging sleeves, 2 chemises with gold lace cuffs, and an over-gown.  The outfit was most inspired by the large red embroidered sari fabric I had sitting in my closet, and which made up the trim on the overgown, one of the underskirts, and the sleeves on the chemises.  She looked lovely and very regal.

With King Henry.  Photo by Darin Ewing.

We need to drop that hoop a bit.  With King Henry. Photo by Darin Ewing.

I was asked to make my nephew Dexter the Jedi a Halloween costume again this year.  Because he greatly resembles him, Dexter went as Harold with his purple Crayon.  I got a purple crayon costume that I converted into a loot bag, and bought a blue footed sleeper that DangerKitty embroidered for me.  It was quite possibly the easiest costume I have ever made.

Minus his purple crayon...

Minus his purple crayon…

Our oven went out in September and so we finally decided to remodel our kitchen, a project that I have waited 10 years for.  It was worth the 33 days of eating out of our living room and herniating a disc in my back from lifting heavy floor tile (not recommended).  However, the back injury prevented me from attending Teslacon and so all the costumes I had planned for that weekend are in various states of completion in my sewing room.  They are all circus themed.  Hopefully they will be completed next year.

Before and After.  COMPLETELY WORTH IT.

Before and After. COMPLETELY WORTH IT.

About this time my fellow Board Member at Operation Glass Slipper told me she was directing the fall play at the high school she worked at.  Since she was Director AND Concessions AND Costumer, it seemed like helping out was the right thing to do.  Little did I know that I would LOVE it, and become addicted to costuming plays.

They were doing “Much Ado About Nothing,” so I suggested we do early Italian Renaissance style costumes.  The boys’ costumes are not so much Italian, but they are all cohesive (thank you thrifted jackets turned into doublets and pants into knickers) and they do look like a military troop.  The fancy mens’ outfits were from a Simplicity pattern and they actually turned out pretty well.  The women were supposed to be in vibrant bright colors with the exception of Beatrice (who was in black and red) and Hero (who was in white and gold) and the servants.  We made Hero’s first wedding dress out of a clergy-esque gold brocade and she had a large Balzo hat.  I got to make Dogberry and Verges filthy, and made the Watch outfits to resemble those of the guards at MNRF.

Lots of people helped out by donating fabric, embroidery, buttonholes (my machine makes horrible buttonholes) etc.  Erica did all the cutting and I did most of the sewing.  The lovely Maggie assisted me when my back went out and made sashes, Hero’s first dress, etc.  The kids did a beautiful job and looked lovely.  I already can’t wait till next year.

Rehearsal for "Much Ado."

Rehearsal for “Much Ado.”

Erica and I dressed up for the last performance as a surprise.  We are giving "The Beast" a thumbs-up for bringing luck to the production.

Erica and I dressed up for the last performance as a surprise. We are giving “The Beast” a thumbs-up for bringing luck to the production.

I did manage to go to one costume event this fall – the Marscon Masquerade.  Because my back was still pretty sore I didn’t want to wear a corset, so I went looking for alternative ideas.  Jessica was kind enough to let me search her closet, and then pretty much just dressed me in her Goth clothing and wig.  I wore my new Miz Mooz boots with it and Erica did my make-up.  I had a lot of fun as a Goth and am thinking I might need to make a similar sort of outfit part of my costume wardrobe.  My Goth was kind of mixed with Stevie Nicks, thus the top hat.

Me, Erica as a pirate in my clothes, The Cheap Chick as a Steampunk Cigarette Girl, Maggie as the 10th Doctor cross-played as a female flapper (that is Gallifreyan beaded on her skirt) and DangerKitty as Renaissance Abby from NCIS.

Me, Erica as a pirate in my clothes, The Cheap Chick as a Steampunk Cigarette Girl, Maggie as the 10th Doctor cross-played as a female flapper (that is Gallifreyan beaded on her skirt) and DangerKitty as Renaissance Abby from NCIS.

The costuming year ends for 2013 with the annual Fezziwig’s Steampunk Christmas Carol party and I have a surprise outfit planned.  It incorporates a previous outfit featured on the blog, but modified to be “Victorian.”  It is one of those crazy and silly costumes and I am excited about it.  I am also finishing up my “Water” costume that Jessica will be wearing.

After that it is ALL CARNEVALE, ALL THE TIME.  I have so much to get done before February 20th, and not sure if it will all be accomplished in time.  Wish me luck.

ALSO!  The 1st Quarterly Challenge of Shear Madness is underway and ends January 2nd, 2014.  More details about it are located here in case you or someone you know might want to participate.  I am looking forward to seeing what kind of creative things people come up with.

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