Life According to Instagram: March 2015

Another month from 2015 is officially in the past! I’m both excited and super anxious about that. We’re now about 2 months out from some of the big cons in the Dallas area, but that means I only have 2 months to finish up costumes for myself and others! I’m going to binge watch ALL THE SHOWS and sew like a demon this weekend :P.

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1. Texas (my part of it, anyway) got its last winter freak out this year a little late. We got a full 4″ of legit snow in March! Winter for us is normally a few days of ice, so real snow is a special treat. Thor loved it! Once he got used to stepping on it, he started sprinting circles around the yard nonstop.

2. I finished Belle in time for All-Con! It’s definitely not perfect, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

3. Speaking of All-Con, I definitely enjoyed it more than last year. Having con friends makes a huge difference, especially at chill cons like this one. Also, Calliopunk and I are now making this a thing for ALL of our costumes (but especially when we get around to doing Rat Queens).

4. I made a couple of improvements to my craft room this month, including installing a curtain rod above my craft table to hold my butcher/tracing paper. It makes drafting and tracing so much more convenient.

5. I finally snagged an embroidery machine! This was definitely a “treat yo-self” indulgence after I got my tax refund 😛 It’s a Brother SE400 combo sewing/embroidery machine. I like the idea of having it available as a backup sewing machine if my Singer Stylist flukes out on me at some point. Hopefully I’ll get time to play with for more than 10 minutes soon!

6. Last week, I travelled to Portland for the Association of College and Research Libraries Conference. The trip was a blast and I learned so much. I don’t talk about it much online, but I struggle with my desire (or lack thereof) to stay in my current profession. I don’t know if it’s burnout or what. I’ve been working in this field for about a decade, and now that I’m approaching 30, I’m wondering what the next step is for me. Work conferences are a good way to get excited about my career again, and ACRL is one of the best conferences I’ve attended in years. Plus, meeting G. Willow Wilson (the writer for Ms. Marvel) is basically the highlight of my nerdy life at the moment. I’m just kicking myself for not getting photos of the cherry blossoms while I was in Portland!

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Costume Notes: Belle’s Ballgown

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Photo by Gone Catawampus.

Completed: March 2015

Hours Spent: About 40 hours spread out over a month

Debuted: All-Con 2015

Why This Costume: Belle is one of my favorite Disney princesses. I made her village dress back in 2013, but her yellow dress has been one of my wish list costumes for a while. I ultimately decided to tackle this costume to practice making a corset prior to Lulu.

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Photo by Gone Catawampus.

How I Made It: So obviously, this isn’t an exact replica of the animated dress. I like the silhouette of the film version, but I looked to the Broadway version, her recent promotion art, and the park versions for inspiration. When I started this project, I knew right away that I wanted a mix of fabrics to give it some vibrancy and depth. I used the matte side of poly satin, rose print brocade, glitter tulle, and organdy.

I talked a bit about constructing the corset in my last post. It’s a 3 layer corset made using TV110. The fashion layer is interfaced poly satin with brocade on the center panels. I found some lovely gold venice lace on eBay and used it to trim the seams on the bust and at the back by the eyelets. The center panel is made from duck cloth, and the lining layer is made with Disney princess cotton. I trimmed the edges with bias tape made from scrap brocade.

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Photo by Gone Catawampus.

The skirt is self-drafted 6-panel skirt. To figure out the measurements, I took my hip measurement (since I was using an elastic waistband) and the circumference of the hoop skirt and divided them by six, adding in 1/2 on each side for seam allowance. I measured over the hoop skirt to the floor to figure out the length I needed. I multiplied that by 1.5 to get the length I needed for the top skirt.

Speaking of hoop skirts, you absolutely need on to make this skirt work. I opted for a 4-hoop skirt that I snagged off of eBay. I also used a petticoat, since the hoops show through the base skirt when I just use a hoop skirt.

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So much fluff in this skirt. Photo by Gone Catawampus.

The base skirt is made from the matte side of my poly satin and hemmed with a blind hem by machine. The top skirt is made from organdy underlined with glitter tulle. Like its cousin organza, organdy frays like a bitch, so as soon as I cut my pieces and basted them together, I ran all the edges through my serger. From there, I ran gather lines over each panel, stopping just above the bottom, then basted the top edge to my underskirt. I did a 3-thread rolled hem on the bottom of the organza, then gathered up each panel by hand, securing the basting with a zig-zag stitch. After playing with a few options, I opted for a cascading drape, with the highest gather line being in the front center.

I wanted to bling up the skirt a bit, so I found some lovely pale yellow faux roses at Hobby Lobby and used a spray glitter to give them a little gleam and added some gold glitter on top for some extra shine.

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With the lovely Ohheyabear Cosplay. Photo by Gone Catawampus.

The sleeves are made from the same combination of glitter tulle and organdy. They’re just rectangles that I finished with a French seam. I gathered them at slight angles at the center front and back of the corset. They attach with velcro, which is fused to the lining of the corset.

My wig is a Matilda from Arda in Spanish brown. It’s actually the same wig I used for my first Belle! I used this tutorial to get the bangs in order, then I used pre-styled bun from Arda. I covered the bun in a matching hair net to keep the fly aways in check. I also re-styled the curls. The yellow hair piece is a folded over rectangle made from scrap brocade. It connects with velcro.

No, Hades! Don't steal my soul! Photo by Gone Catawampus.
No, Hades! Don’t steal my soul! Photo by Gone Catawampus.

The shoes are dyeable bridal shoes I picked up from eBay. I dyed them a yellow-gold using iDye Poly in yellow (this tutorial is a great reference). To finish them off, I picked up some faux rose clips.

I picked up a few extra accessories for this costume off of Etsy, including a lovely faux pearl broach and some beautiful rose earrings. The gloves are from We Love Colors. I also made a quickie clutch from leftover fabric. The gorgeous mirror was made by Callula Cosplay.

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I love that the mirror lights up! Kudos to Callula Cosplay on this fantastic prop. Photo by Gone Catawampus.

Thoughts on this costume: I AM A PRETTY, PRETTY PRINCESS! But seriously, this costume was so much fun to wear. It was a blast getting to run around all day as a Disney princess. The kids especially loved it!

I’d like to tweak this costume a bit (mostly blinging it up a bit more with some crystals and rhinestones), but overall I’m pretty happy with it. Now to re-make her village dress! You know, once I get through Lulu. 😛

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The best part about dressing like a Disney princess? Seeing the kids’ reactions! Photo by Mutants, Maidens, and Munchkins.

Who’s your favorite Disney princess? 

All-Con Wrap-Up

This year was my first to attend All-Con, which fell on the week of spring break for me. I was more than happy to use some vacation time cosplaying and geeking out. It was a very low-key and laid back affair. I attended 3 of the 4 days: Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. I had plans to attend on Friday as well, but personal affairs (including lunch with my bestie and a St. Vincent concert) thwarted that.

Thursday: 

Thursday was very mellow with only a few attendees. I got in late afternoon and cosplayed as Fluttershy so that I could be comfortable and explore some of the happenings. The con is held at the Crown Plaza in Addison, and the bulk of the activities took place on the second floor. Other than checking out the dealer’s room, I attended a few panels and events. Cosplay Makeup 101 by Mitsu Bunny was very informative, as was the panel on corsetry. I also attended the Disney Characters Come to Life singalong and the Championship Costuming Contest.

I had the pleasure of hanging out with GlitzyGeekGirl for a bit as well. Over the last few months, I’ve had the chance to actually hang out with my cosplay Twitter/FB friends IRL, and it’s been amazing. Since I moved back to Dallas, I’ve missed hanging out with people and talking crafting and geekiness. Anna is so much fun and such a sweetheart!

Schmall Cosplay's incredible entry into the Championship Cosplay Contest.
Schmall Cosplay’s incredible entry into the Championship Cosplay Contest.
Mitsu Bunny as Rainbow Dash.
Mitsu Bunny as Rainbow Dash.

Saturday: 

Most cons are busiest on Saturdays, and All-Con was no exception. I cosplayed as Bombshell Wonder Woman. I absolutely adore this costume. It may actually be my current favorite, partly because it’s insanely comfortable.

Neither Noir had a booth setup to snag pics of cosplayers throughout the weekend. I really like the shots that I got with them. This is such a great idea. I’ll definitely be looking for these guys at future cons.

I attended a couple of panels and events: the Ms. Star Wars Competition, the Costume Contest, and the burlesque show. One of the things I love about cons is getting to try out new experiences you might not otherwise encounter. Burlesque was that experience for me this con! The show was fantastic and a lot of fun.

Of course, there were a lot of great costumes on Saturday as well. Here are a few of my favorites. The rest are in my Facebook album.

Me as Bombshell Wondie and GlitzyGeekGirl as Jessie from Toy Story 3. Her friend was there as Buzz Lightyear!
Me as Bombshell Wondie and GlitzyGeekGirl as Jessie from Toy Story 3. Her friend was there as Buzz Lightyear!
The adorbs Enasni Volz as PJ Harley Quinn.
The adorbs Enasni Volz as PJ Harley Quinn.
A lovely Ariel cosplay.
A lovely Ariel cosplay.
Oscar and his girlfriend!
Oscar and his girlfriend!
Super cute Tiny Tina from BL2.
Super cute Tiny Tina from BL2.

Sunday: 

I only attended for a few hours in the early afternoon on Sunday. I dressed as Korra so I could get some pictures with the Neither Noir folks. I’m not sure if/when I’ll get around to a photoshoot with this costume, so it seemed like a good opportunity. The only panel I attended was the Geek Match Game, but I did run into a few folks and chat for a while.

Great Raven cosplay.
Great Raven cosplay.
Princess Mononoke
Princess Mononoke
Mordecai from Borderlands
Mordecai from Borderlands
Sailor Jupiter!
Sailor Jupiter!

Overall, I enjoyed how chill this con was. There are a couple of events I missed out on that sounded like they were fun, like the Dr. Horrible Sing-Along and the Hero’s Ball. That being said, it seems like this con tends to be the same weekend as Anime Matsuri, which is really high on my con bucket list. If there’s another conflict next year, I’ll probably split my time and go to All-Con on the free days and Matsuri the rest of the time.

I don’t have any solid plans to attend another con until May, which is a good thing, since I’m playing the remastered FFX like a fiend (haha, bad pun) right now. I’m still sewing, but at a much slower pace than normal. Don’t worry, though, sewing fans, I’ll have some new stuff for you guys shortly (garments and costumes), and with decent pictures since my new camera came in!

Any other locals attend All-Con? What’d you think of it?