Tag Archives: sewing

Costume Couture: Where to buy if you’re simply not a stitcher.

Like any acquired skill, learning to sew takes time, practice, and weathering of both successes and failures to master. Where does that leave someone who adores wearing awesome outfits, costumes and cosplays, but doesn’t necessarily know their way around a sewing machine? Costume Couture is here to help!

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Costume Couture: Spruce-up your style!

Did you ever pick a piece of clothing up during a sale or at a thrift store, thinking that it has some promise, but it just needed a little something extra? Or do you already have a garment that would look really great with a cosplay or costume of yours, but it requires a little enhancement or ornamentation to make it truly part of your look?

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With a little thought and a little money (or just some skillful scavenging) it can be pretty easy to transform articles of clothing from meh to marvelous! No matter what your style– steampunk, goth, lolita– maybe a few finishing touches is all you need to spruce-up your style. Interested in some inspiration? Keep reading to see how I took an average thriftstore find and kick its interest up a couple of notches!

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CUT! Costume and the Cinema: A review.

It’s been a busy summer for this costume designer, between mounting shows and traveling to various museums for costume and fashion exhibits. While some shows have been hit-and-miss, I never regret seeing what new museums have to offer!

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Most recently, my co-workers and I trekked up to Sandwich, Massachusetts to visit the beautiful Heritage Museums & Gardens to see the CUT! Costume and the Cinema show. It was pretty exquisite– keep reading to find-out more about the exhibition and the museum!

Continue reading CUT! Costume and the Cinema: A review.

Costume Couture: Commercial Pattern Radness!

Are you into creating your own wearable works on art? Do you not always have either the time, supplies or know-how to pattern or drape a garment from scratch? Luckily, whether you’re a seasoned stitcher or a beginning sewist, there are a plethora of commercial patterns at your disposal for your costuming needs.

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Some pattern companies are readily hopping onto the cosplay train, creating patterns that are inspired by current superhero, fantasy and sci-fi themes, while others have always catered to the historical recreationists, providing patterns based off of extant garments and other research. Today, I’m going to give an overview of some of the pattern manufacturers whom you might want to check-out when you’re next in the market to sew-up a new frock, suit or other outfit.

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All RUFFled up!

In the spirit of previous pieces like Wingin’ It and Getting Ahead, here’s a fairly easy (at least in comparison) sewing project  for a fun and interesting accessory that could be a cool addition to a period costume or cosplay.

Ruffs, like many historical garments, are a sometimes beautiful, frequently over-the-top and periodically perplexing item of clothing that originated around the time of the Northern Renaissance and saw many incarnations up to and throughout the Baroque Period. What started as a lacy collar attached to the neck of a doublet eventually became a separate piece of clothing that the wearer–usually upper class–had around his or her neck.

Elizabeth I of England, artist unknown, c. 1575. The ruff accessory seemed to have originated in menswear, but it was soon incorporated into everyone's high fashion.
Elizabeth I of England, artist unknown, c. 1575. The ruff accessory seemed to have originated in menswear, but it was soon incorporated into high fashion for all. Note the cuffs have the same treatment as the collar of this gown.

Ruffs could range from dainty little things to ludicrously gigantic, and this particular embellishment saw numerous incarnations, starting as a heavily starched collar that eventually becoming a softer, but still rather voluminous and highly decorative, neck decoration toward the end of its popularity. For a really awesome and thorough pictorial history of the ruff, check out The Closet Historian!

Continue reading All RUFFled up!

Costume Couture: What to do with a Problematic Pattern?

There are lots o’internet articles and memes nowadays concerning expectation vs. reality, from cheap garments to fast food, and a whole host of topics in-between. Even Cake Wrecks and Pinterest Fail play into this concept, because, let’s face it— no one has a 100% accuracy rate when it comes to their artistry. Whether you’re an experienced baker or a the greenest novice of crafters, there is a huge amount of trial-and-error before such things can be perfected. Plus, it’s healthy to appreciate one’s mistakes, even if it means having a laugh  from time-to-time.

Lucy's sewing project go unsurprisingly awry!
Lucy’s sewing project went unsurprisingly awry!

I recently had my own experience regarding expectation/reality when it came to a commercial pattern that I had procured a little while ago. While I’m not at all surprised that the outcome of the garment I made looked different from the image on the pattern envelope (for instance, I decided upon a different method of using the fabric), I was rather perplexed by the fact that the garment I made with the pattern pieces extracted from the the envelope didn’t actually look at all like the advertised picture. The pattern cost a mere buck, however, and I’m willing to try most patterns that look promising and interesting.

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Getting ahead[-piece].

Ever thought about a Star Wars-esque cosplay of Queen Amidala in one of her ornate, over-the-top, regal outfits? Perhaps a The Emperor’s New Groove’s Kuzco costume is more your speed. Or, maybe you have an OC that has some awesome millinery, but you’re just not sure how or where to get started on such a project. Well, hopefully this tutorial will be of some assistance!

This summer’s productions have taken me a little out of my comfort zone as a costume designer, which is great in the long run, as it helps me to build and develop new skills. Plus, with the amount of trial-and-error that occurred, my projects also taught me a lot about what doesn’t work, which, while frustrating at the time (for myself and the people assisting me), is beneficial going forward.

Unfortunately, this falls into the 'didn't quite work-out' category...
Unfortunately, this falls into the ‘error’ category…

Continue reading Getting ahead[-piece].

The Gal-lery: Elizabeth Keckley.

With awards season upon us, the question on the tip of many red carpet hosts’ tongues is ‘Who are you wearing?’ Nowadays, thanks to an omnipresent media coverage and the breakneck speed at which information travels, we’re privy to the designers of the famous and rich members of the world, from Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton, to the starlets of the red carpet brigade and beyond.

Of course, over the years, well-known designers and dressmakers have been trying to make their brands as ubiquitous as possible, but, long before even the technology of radio was available to the masses, individual dressmakers made their livings, frequently in their immediate locale, and in the process becoming lost in or simply overlooked throughout the course of history. Thus, in the hopes of shedding some light on these artisans, for this week’s Gal-lery, I present to you Elizabeth Keckley (although it is sometimes alternately Keckly), personal seamstress to a First Lady with whom many are familiar.

Elizabeth Keckly.
Elizabeth Keckley.

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Playing with dolls.

According to Merriam-Webster, a brat is a child; specifically: An ill-mannered annoying child. <a spoiled brat>. Why anyone would promote this attitude or willingly identify with such a moniker is beyond me, but one such American company has made significant bank with Bratz.

In the end, Veruca Salt certainly didn't benefit from being a brat.
In the end, Veruca Salt certainly didn’t benefit from being a brat.

With their overtly sexual nature, poor representation of what a human being should strive for in life (Really? Being a brat?), and as a toy marketed to girls who are already  bombarded with societal expectations of who and what they’re supposed to be and become, and the unattainable, airbrushed perfection of female celebrity, Bratz have pretty much been on my bad side since they were introduced back in 2001.

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