Costume Notes: Angel Dust (Deadpool)

Completed: October 2016

Hours Spent: Approximately 10 hours

Debuted: Dallas Comic Con Fan Days

14691148_10207060304416117_5188005275056992143_n

Why This Costume: This costume was partly a matter of convenience, partly a matter of wanting to cosplay with Callula, and partly a nudge from everyone and their dog. As I mentioned in my last post, I was out of the country for a week on vacation at the beginning of October, and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to finish up a full build for Fan Days. I loved the Deadpool movie, but wasn’t really sure who to cosplay. I think at least half a dozen people suggested I make Angel Dust before it actually clicked in my head that I look like Gina Carano’s character. And as an added bonus: it was pretty simple to make!

14671332_1010136202445819_8160876698111279431_n

How I made it: All in all, this is a pretty simple build. I bought all the pieces and modified the corset, top, and belt to be more film accurate.

Purchased pieces:

tumblr_ofrutgyrck1sxq29yo1_500

The corset was definitely the most time-consuming piece of this costume. This tutorial from Lucy’s Corsetry was a massive help with this project. I compared it to my Wonder Woman overbust corset and marked where I needed to cut. From there, I seam ripped the binding, removed the boning, and cut the corset down to the right shape. Once that was done, I cut the boning down to the new length, re-tipped it, and put the boning back into the appropriate channels. I used the excess fabric to make the straps and I used faux leather scraps from Lulu to make the bias binding, which is also what I used for the diagonal stripes. A lot of reviewers on Amazon complained about the sturdiness of the zipper, so I tore that out and replaced it with a heavy-duty zipper as well. I also swapped out the lacing for black parachute cord. Finally, I stitched some 1″ black webbing I had on hand to the center front of the corset and to the straps.

The only other part of this costume I had to sew was the shirt. I didn’t think to purchase a shirt before my cruise, so I picked up 2 long-sleeve crew neck shirts at Wal-Mart for $5 a piece. I marked where I wanted the neckline to go, cut it off, and made a neck band out of my 2nd shirt. I also cut off the sleeves to 3/4 length and made bands from my second shirt to finish it off.

tumblr_ofrusylepd1sxq29yo1_500

I styled my wig much in the same manner as my Captain Marvel wig: tease, hair spray, blow dry, and repeat for crazy volume. Though the braids are film-accurate, I think I’ll remove them for future wears as the side burns of the wig don’t come down quite far enough on me.

14731345_10208746945605877_2717021903127198274_n

Thoughts on this costume: This might be one of my comfiest costumes to date! Even though a lot of people had trouble recognizing my costume, lots of people thought it was cool and I had a ton of fun derping around with Callula and trolling Deadpools. Next time, I’ll pay a bit better attention to my shapewear (my silhouette wasn’t quite what I was going for), shorten the straps a touch, and tweak the wig a bit. Otherwise I had a lot of fun with this build!

What’s your favorite comfy costume? 

Costume Notes: Hannah (Rat Queens)

I’M NOT DEAD I SWEAR. Haha. I’m sorry for the accidental radio silence, folks. Real life got hectic, and my blog got pushed further and further in the back burner. That said, I’m back and ready to share information on some of my recent makes! So let’s start with my first fully completed costume of the 2016: Hannah from Rat Queens!

12715757_849527065173401_674086853624159889_n
Photo by Mehreen Rivzi Photography

Completed: February 2016

Hours Spent: Somewhere between 40-50

Debuted: Dallas Comic Con Fan Days

Why this Costume: Callula Cosplay and I are big Rat Queens fans and have been thinking about doing these costumes for about a year. Our lucky stars lined up beautifully when we met Space Cadet Cosplay and quickly turned her into a fan! Our friend Vicky Bane has a gorgeous Dee costume, and she joins us at cons as her schedule allows!

Rat Queens Coaplsy
Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

 

How I Made it: HAHAHAHAHA, oh man, I made this WAY harder than it needed to be. I decided early on that I wanted more natural fabrics for this costume, and specifically fabrics that had really interesting texture. I ultimately settled on silk shantung with a really nubby hand. It’s so vibrant! It was also the most expensive part of my costume at $20/yd, so I made lots of mock-ups before I got to any of the good stuff!

For the bolero, I used the shrug pattern from Kwik-Sew 3400 and the hood piece from the Avacado hoodie. I slightly underestimated how much fabric I needed, so I wound up finishing the edges with red bias tape. For the cuffs, I cut off the sleeve portion just below the elbow, then used the same piece to draft the cuffs (proper side, lining, and facing). My first step with the cuffs was to interface the exterior facing piece, then sketch and top stitch gold vinyl trim. I held the vinyl pieces in place with Wundertape. Once the proper sides were finished, I used my lighter pink pieces as the lining and cotton for my facing. I can’t turn my cuffs down this way, but it makes for a clean finish and Hannah never wears her sleeve down anyway.

tumblr_o21cchKjCF1sxq29yo1_500
Prior to adding the cuffs.

The corset is my trusty TV-110 pattern and by far the most difficult part of this costume. I made the full pattern as usual, using a peachy-pink silk shauntung as my shell fabric. The pieces are fused to duck cloth, which acts as my stability layer, and I used a pink cotton broadcloth as a floating liner. For this corset, I used twill tape for my boning channels since I used German plastic boning, which is thicker than standard spiral steel. I made continuous bias tape from my scrap fabric pieces.

Once my corset was fully assembled, I added the grommets on the front panels and cut out the front for the bust cups. This was definitely the trickiest part of this process. I decided early on that I didn’t want to do the cincher/bra approach that a lot of cosplayers use. BIG MISTAKE. I should have gone with a corset pattern with built in cups, because I had to re-do this piece 3 times. Ultimately, I settled on making a belly-dance style bra that sits under the corset so I get a bit of extra support for my girls. Check out this tutorial for an overview.

tumblr_o0x8ywocK91sxq29yo1_500
Initial corset in progress.

Creating the bra was a very time-intensive process. First, I patterned out the designs using scrap cotton and used the design to cut out my main fabric. From there, I serged my edges (the fabric was super fray-happy) and stitched a dart so that the fabric would curve over the bust. I then pinned the pieces to the bra cups, cut out my vinyl, and attached the vinyl to the bra cups with Wundertape. That provided plenty of stability when I top-stitched the vinyl to the cup pieces. After stitching the trim down, I hand-stitched the pink fabric to the cups, then hand-stitched the cups to the rest of the bra. Like I said, time-consuming, but it worked out well!

I drafted Hannah’s mini-skirt myself, but I used the Colette Iris shorts waistband pieces. This was the easiest piece, though I may take it in a bit more at the hips for future wears. The trim is pretty straight-forward and it closes with an invisible side zipper.

12916986_744200465716845_2839591454241870137_o
Photo by Alan Tijernia Photography.

For the boots and gloves, I harvested pieces from old costumes. Specifically, my Bombshell Wonder Woman boots and my Captain Marvel gloves. I stripped the paint off of these pieces, and Callula gave them a fresh coat of Angelus paint to match my maroon fabric. Once she was done, I added the gold vinyl again. For the boots, I attached the vinyl with Barge cement, and I stitched the design on the gloves.

My faux belt is made from reject Lulu leather. For it, I just measured out my high hip measurement plus a few inches for overlap and doubled the width of my belt loops. From there, I folded over my pieces length wise and edge-stitched everything down. The ends close with sew-on Velcro.

I also made a hip pouch out of my belt material. I used this tutorial as a guide.

12923300_744200535716838_1212634774176239712_n
Photo by Alan Tijernia Photography.

My wig was pretty darn fun to style. I picked up 2 pre-made buns from Arda and stuffed them with styrofoam cores in the shape I needed. Once I styled them how I liked them, I sewed the buns onto the wig using wefting thread. The buns stood out a little more than I liked, so I used long pieces from my base wig and wrapped them around the bottom of the buns to give them a more natural appearance. Since this ate up a bit more wefts than I would have liked, I hand stitched extra wefts from another old black wig for more volume. From there, I slapped on a blunt clip-on bang from Arda, and voila!

My original ears were a purchase from Yaya Han’s online store. They’re… okay. I’m not fond of the color, so if I do wear them again, I’m definitely going to paint them darker and add some shading.For my second ears, I got a pair from MadhouseFX Studio. These apply with Pros Aide or Liquid Latex. I used Callula’s pros aide, and they held on beautifully all day!

My wand was a borrowed piece from Callula! She made this in college for a theatre project. It was a great stand-in prop, but we definitely want to make Hannah’s staff from the more current issues soon!

10409265_1150753714935388_354519796546864042_n
Photo by Mehreen Rizvi Photography.

For the tattoos, I sketched out designs similar to Hannah’s, filled them in with Sharpie, then scanned them into my computer. I then cleaned up the design and printed it off with Silhouette tattoo paper. This is such a great way to save time on make-up! It is fairly time consuming to cut the pieces out, but doing so in advance means that it only takes about 2-3 minutes to apply when getting ready. I have pretty sensitive skin, so I tested it out last week and was super giddy when I didn’t have any kind of allergic reaction. Would you guys be interested if I post my digital file on Google Drive?

12938115_10154088581174878_5246846698265737023_n
Photo by Alan Tijernia. Rat Queens logo edit by Sabrina Pandora.

Thoughts: This is by far one of the most fun costumes I’ve ever worn. Hannah’s crass, rude, and blunt, and it was so much fun to be utterly ridiculous and be in-character. It was also a blast to hang out with some of my closest friends who also share this fandom with me! I can’t wait to bring these costumes out again for future events.

12705417_845203702272404_4245342789582114533_n

P.S. If you like our flasks, you can get one for yourself here. They’re Tess Fowler approved 😉

Who’s your favorite Rat Queen? 

8 Tips on How Not to Screw Up Your First Corset

Over the weekend, I’m planning to fully dive into my corset for Lulu. This will mark my fourth corset, so I thought today’s post would be a good opportunity to share some of my mishaps and learning experiences in the hopes of helping out a few other newbie corset makers.

tumblr_nkrr2mDwAg1sxq29yo1_500
Cosplayer’s first corset!

1.Do your homework: Corset making is not for the faint of heart. While none of the basic steps are particularly difficult, you do need to have a solid understanding of every step required if you want your corset to last longer than one event. Here is a list of a few tutorials and resources I found particularly helpful:

  • Corset Making by Julia Bramble is an amazing book and covers every part of beginner corsetry from types of fabrics to use to seams, grommeting, lacing, and more! Her website also has some great tutorials.
  • Sidney Eileen has some fantastic tutorials. Many take you through the entire process of making a corset, and several also focus on specific corset tasks, such as installing a waist stay or a busk.
  • Foundations Revealed is one of the go-to resources for the corset community. Tons and tons of in-depth tutorials!

2. Make a game plan: Just like other garments, there are dozens of ways you can approach a corset. Do you want a single layer corset? Do you want exposed boning channels? Do you not want visible boning channels? Think about what you want your final product to look like, because your process may change as a result.

unnamed1
Floating strength layer for Belle.

For example, I knew going into Belle that I didn’t want visible boning channels, which meant that I needed a floating strength layer. All my hardware went into this layer so that the fashion layer could retain the appearance of a bodice. This also meant that I had to construct each layer separately, which impacted the order of construction.

3. Consider your needs: Many corset makers will tell you that your corset isn’t a “real” corset unless it’s made with coutil and steel boning. Well, that might be useful if you’re planning to waist train and wear your corset on a regular basis, but many cosplayers only wear their corsets for a few hours at a time. And let’s also not forget costuming budgets. Thirty-plus dollars a yard for coutil fabric is way more than I normally spend for costumes!

Plastic boning is a perfectly viable alternative to steel boning if you don’t intend to do tight lacing, and German plastic boning is one of my favorite types of boning to use. That said, most of the boning from your big box craft stores is built more for bodices and strapless gowns and is very prone to warping after a few wears. If German plastic boning doesn’t work for your project, consider using zip ties from the hardware store as an alternative.

When one makes a geeky corset, one must include a geeky lining ;)
If you look close, you can see some of the boning I used for Wonder Woman poking out. The only places I used steel boning on this corset were in the center front and in the back by the grommets. Everything else was German plastic boning!

As for fabric, I like cotton duck or a very tightly woven twill for my strength layer. I can get either through my local craft store, and it’s about $10 a yard full price versus $30+ for standard coutil.

A note about fabric: In corsetry, your fabric is what does the work of cinching in your waist, so it’s vital to use a strength layer. The boning is there to keep the fabric from wrinkling. You can have a strength layer separate from your fashion layer, or you can fuse your strength and fashion layers together (as I did with my recent Wonder Woman) using fusible web or flat lining them.

4. Pick the right pattern: Big 4 patterns are notorious for building excess ease into their patterns for corsets, making them more appropriate for bodices. A corset is one of those garments that should have negative ease, meaning that it should be smaller than your body’s natural measurements. It’s certainly possible to make big 4 patterns work, but you’ll need to pay attention to the finished measurements on the back of the pattern envelope and absolutely make a mock-up. Many corset makers recommend going down at least 2 sizes if you use a big 4 pattern.

11040603_746740975452011_6846321515076192671_n
Callula in her Codex. I made the corset and she did everything else!

My personal recommendation would be to go with a company known for producing corset patterns even though they’re a little pricier. Truly Victorian and Laughing Moon have some great basic patterns, and TV110  is by far my favorite 12 panel corset. I’ve used it for 2 of my costumes so far as well as Callula Cosplay’s Codex, and it’s been a champ.

Matching notches is suuuuuper important with corsets, especially when working with this many layers!
Matching notches is suuuuuper important with corsets, especially when working with this many layers!

5. Mark your shit: You know those lovely marks on sewing patterns that are supposed to line up? Well, they’re super vital with corsets. Being off even as much as a quarter of an inch can throw off your final product. Make sure to mark and use those notches! Marking your seam allowances for your first couple of corsets can also be really useful.

6. Pay attention to grain lines: You know the saying “Measure twice, cut once?”. With corsetry, it’s more like, “Measure thrice, cut once.” Grain lines are hugely important to corsets. Why? Well, let’s have a brief discussion about fabric grain.

Photo by Roger Enyart on FB.
Circle skirts have large chunks of bias, which stretches over time. This is why you let them hang for a few days before leveling the hem! Photo by Roger Enyart on FB.

Woven (non-stretchy) fabrics are comprised of a grain and a cross grain that run vertically and horizontally on your fabric. These are typically the least stretchy parts of your fabric. The part of your fabric that runs diagonally to the grain and cross grain is the bias, and it’s the stretchiest part of your fabric. You know those packs of bias tape you can get at the fabric store? They’re made of material cut on this angle. Since corsets are designed to cinch everything in, it’s important to use the part of the fabric that *won’t* stretch, thus keeping the corset’s shape even when under heavy stress. So make sure everything is lined up properly when you cut!

7. Make a mock-up: I get it, making mock-ups isn’t a lot of fun. But if there’s any garment I recommend making a mock-up of, it’s a corset. Corsets are incredibly time consuming, so it’d be heartbreaking to pour 20 hours into a project only to realize it doesn’t fit. You also really need to make sure that it will be comfortable for extended wear and that you aren’t inadvertently flashing more (or less) boob than you mean to.

I normally make my corset mock-ups out of duck cloth, since that’s one less set of pieces I have to worry about cutting when I get to my final fabric. I also cut a 3″ wide rectangle of fabric the same length as my back piece to mimic the lacing in the back. Many corset suppliers also have pre-grommeted strips you can use for mock-ups, but I’m not a fan of lacing myself in and out of a mock-up multiple times for fittings. So far the basic rectangle has worked for me!

In lieu of a busk, I baste in a zipper. Speaking of basting, I also baste all my seams and press them one direction. When fitting, I turn my corset inside out and make all my markings on the wrong side so that it’s easier to see places I need to make adjustments. Taping your boning to the channels is also a useful way to see how your corset will fit!

Nearly finished corset!
Wonder Woman corset!

8. Take your time: Corsets might seem daunting when you first dive into them, but the saying, “If you can sew a straight line, you can sew a corset,” is true. The main thing to keep in mind during construction is to take your time and make sure you’re doing everything properly, and you’ll end up with a beautiful corset!

Where I buy corset supplies:

  • Corset Making Supplies : Go-to resource. Do double-check on some supplies though. Their coutil in particular is a little higher than some Etsy sellers.
  • Vogue Fabrics : Expensive shipping, but very fast and prompt customer service.
  • Farthingales : Great service, but based in Canada. Shipping takes a while.
  • Various Etsy sellers

I hope that helps some aspiring corset makers. Have you made a corset before? What tips would you share?

Costume Notes: Casual Wonder Woman (based on art by Hanie Mohd)

Photo by Anjelly Dax Macubbi on FB.
Photo by Anjelly Dax Macubbi on FB.

Completed: August 2015

Hours Spent: Approximately 30 hours

Debuted: A-Fest 2015

Why This Costume: I adore Hanie Mohd’s take on several superhero ladies and have at least 5 more of her designs on my cosplay wishlist (my first was fancy pants Ms. Marvel). I’ve wanted to make this Wondie ever since I saw it over a year ago!

How I made it: One of the reasons I love this design is because it’s simple, but still offered me the chance to try out some new things and brush up on old skills.

Purchased pieces:

tumblr_nsj7ruOaG11sxq29yo1_500The first piece I tackled on this costume was the skirt. My big hold-up was fabric. I’ve been searching for a good potential fabric since late last year, but every fabric I found was basically an American flag print or something more suitable for Elsa. I toyed with the idea of either painting the stars or appliqueing them, but both options were far too time consuming and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it justice with my super shaky hands.

This gave me the opportunity to try Spoonflower for the first time. Callula Cosplay created the file for me, and I just uploaded it to their system and printed it out on satin. Overall, the process was pretty painless and very quick, though a bit more expensive than what I try to spend on fabric, even with the creator’s discount. In hindsight, I do wish that I’d bought a swatch before ordering my final fabric. The blue is just a touch off from the original artwork in person, even though Dana pulled the color directly from the artwork. I also wish that I’d thought to ask Dana to scatter the stars in a circular pattern to flow with the way I cut the fabric.

Twirl-tastic skirt powers activate! Photos by Poisonous Kristin on FB.
Twirl-tastic skirt powers activate! Photos by Poisonous Kristin on FB.

I knew I wanted a skirt with massive volume and twirl power, so I opted to make 2 full circle skirts for ultimate swishiness. The construction was very simple. It’s 4 half circle panels, and the front panel has inseam pockets. The skirt has an elastic waistband for comfort under the corset and there’s horsehair braid in the hem for a pretty magical girl-esque waves.

When one makes a geeky corset, one must include a geeky lining ;)
When one makes a geeky corset, one must include a geeky lining 😉

I went back and forth on how to tackle the bodice. A boned bodice probably would have been more in line with the style of this art, but I also liked the idea of making a corset as another practice piece for Lulu. I opted to create this corset using the welt seam approach, partly because it’s a very strong technique and partly because I wanted to see if I liked it for Lulu. It’s not much faster than my approach for Belle, but overall I really like how it turned out. And as an added bonus, it’s perfect if/when I decide to tackle classic Wondie!

PRO-TIP: If you do this with plastic boning, add a bit of extra width to your boning channels. They’re thicker than steel bones and make life a lot more difficult of you make them just the width of your presser foot. Ask me how I know. 😛

tumblr_ntynoqvWz11sxq29yo1_500For the “armor”, I covered some foamie sheets with scrap gold spandex using this tutorial. I used this approach on Supergirl’s belt. The only thing I don’t really like about this is how it looks around the eagle’s head. I may remake it for another con. The foamie/spandex sheets attach with velcro. I hot glued the loop pieces on the back side of the foam and hand stitched the corresponding pieces on the corset. I opted for hand stitching so that I could take them out easily if I want to wear this corset on its own or with a different costume.

Prior to adding the straps.
Prior to adding the straps.

To create the shoes, I scoured eBay until I stumbled across some tan character shoes for a stupidly low price ($12 for $90 shoes, score!). Once I had them, I painted the base red and white (leftover Angelus paint from previous projects) to match the art. To create the T-strap, I snagged a scrap bit of faux leather from Dana, painted it white, then glued it to the shoe with Bondo.

Photo by Roger Enyart on FB.
Photo by Roger Enyart on FB.

Thoughts on this costume: All in all, I really enjoy this costume! It’s quite comfortable to wear and the design is so damn cute. It’s a nice combination of my desires to be an Amazon warrior and magical girl. Eventually I’d like to make a matching bolero for cold weather cons as well as a matching clutch. Next time!

Do you have a favorite comfy costume? Feel free to share below!

Costume Notes: Belle’s Ballgown

11046349_676873362438773_757955702797672902_n
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.

11053470_10103375961877370_8572517008741186953_n
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.

13762_10103375960095940_2489875770956219986_n
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.

10304444_10103375962007110_4494169510630898050_n
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.

10606538_10103375961353420_7709874832962311060_n
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.

11018318_10103375971408270_2634881121372594099_n
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. 😛

11057368_439318132900755_4114469519256749484_n
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? 

Pattern Review: TV110

Happy Friday! I’m gearing up for All-Con this weekend, so today I thought I’d share my thoughts on TV110, which I used to make Belle’s top/corset.

tumblr_nkvgo70IeT1sxq29yo1_500
HRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR… It fits! The shoulder pieces attach to the lining with velcro. 

The Basics: 

Pattern: Truly Victorian 110

Total Hours: Around 20

Fabric: A little less than 1 yd. of poly satin (matte side), 1/4 yd of rose print brocade (center piece), 1 yd of duck cloth, 1 yd of Disney printed cotton.

Alterations: Removed the busk and tweaked the fit over the bust.

Notions: Thread, eyelets (and all necessary tools), ribbon (for waist stay and lacing), self-made bias tape, German plastic and flat steel boning, boning casing, lace trim

Did it look like the pattern illustration?: Yup!

Were the instructions easy to follow?: To be honest, I barely looked at them, other than to evaluate fitting and troubleshoot a few things.

Make it again?: Definitely.

tumblr_nk349cH13S1sxq29yo1_500
Main issue with a 3 layer corset: SO MANY PIECES. 36 panels total.

Other thoughts: My initial plan with this project was to go with Simplicity 5006 since I had it in my stash. However, after some digging in the corset community, I ultimately landed on TV110. It’s pretty well regarded as a solid beginner pattern, it has pieces for different cup sizes, and it’s actually meant to be made and worn as a corset. Big 4 patterns add lots of ease to their patterns, which doesn’t work for corsets if you intend to do any waist reduction (corsets are one of those garments that should have negative ease when finished to accommodate lacing and waist reduction). Everything I read on Simplicity’s corset patterns advised cutting at least 2 sizes smaller than your actual measurements. I didn’t want to deal with that kind of headache with my first corset, so TV110 was the winner (plus it’s a good shape for Lulu, so there ya go).

I opted to go with somewhat inexpensive hardware on this project since it was my first go. I opted to use duck cloth for my strength layer rather than coutil. The idea of messing up fabric that runs at $30-40/yd was terrifying. I also used German plastic boning for the majority of the corset. This boning is stronger than standard Rigeline/fabric coated stuff you can get at fabric stores (supposedly it’s as strong as spiral steel boning), but still cheaper than steel boning. Plus, it doesn’t require fancy tools to cut.

unnamed1
A closer look at the interior hardware on the strength layer. The center bones are 1/2″ steel boning for support, and the rest are 1/4″ German plastic boning.

It’s really important in the early stages of planning a corset to decide *how* you are going to construct it. I knew going in that I wanted the shell to have an appearance more like a bodice than a corset, which mean that I didn’t want my boning channels to show through. For me, that meant a 3 layer corset with a floating strength layer. I used Sidney Eileen‘s fantastic post on the topic as a guide.

tumblr_nk8nhl5BDg1sxq29yo1_540
All 3 layers ready for assembly. The fashion layer has welted seams for a pretty finish, while the lining does not. The strength layer does all the heavy lifting, so there’s no need to do extra reinforcement unless you want to.

There were only a few areas where I scratched my head and wondered what the heck to do, and they mostly revolved around the eyelets/grommets in the back. First off, if you go with the floating layer approach, you have to trim off the seam allowance of the strength layer so that it can slide in the middle. Kind of a “no duh” moment, but it’s not explicitly written.

corset back

Also, I think I mucked up the boning placement in the back. Bones should be placed on both sides of your grommets in order to reduce pressure on the grommets. Either my bones (1/2″ steel) were too wide or I fudged the placement a bit. The 1/2″ bone I originally placed on the outside of the grommet channel pretty much overlapped the plastic bone I used on the seam, so I swapped it out for another plastic bone. I didn’t find much help in the instructions or the tutorials I was referring to, so I’ll need to investigate this more when I work on Lulu.

tumblr_nkb15lS8Ml1sxq29yo1_540
Self-drafted floating modesty panel. I added tabs at the top and bottom that the ribbon threads through to keep it in place.

All in all, this is a very well-drafted pattern, and I’d highly recommend it for any novice corset-makers. I’m really looking forward to improving my approach to it when I get started on Lulu!

tumblr_nkrr2mDwAg1sxq29yo1_500Have you made this pattern before? What did you think of it?

She’s just a skater girl

Back to regular posting! A-Kon was a blast, but I’m really, really excited that my next big con isn’t until the end of August. I’m planning to attend A-fest for a day and another smaller con in July, but I don’t currently have anything new planned for those. My apartment has been a cos-disaster for the last two months, so it’ll be nice to have some time for non-costume sewing.

knit dress
Full-body shot of my dress and corset from Dallas Comic Con. Photo courtesy of Alan Tijerina Photography.

But speaking of costumes, let me introduce you to a dress that works both for costumes as well as casual wear: my new skater dress! A knit skater dress has been on my sewing to-do list for far longer than I care to admit. My initial inclination was to make Kitschy Coo’s Lady skater since the blog-o-sphere loves it so much, but I had one issue: I wanted princess seams (basically, I wanted to make my own version of this dress to wear under my nerdy corsets). I know it wouldn’t be *that* big of a deal to draft them myself, but before I purchased the Lady Skater, I stumbled across McCall’s 6754. Bonus: it was on sale for $1. Score!

The Basics: 

Pattern: McCall’s 6754, view D with the sleeves from view C.

Fabric: 2 yds of a midweight 4-way stretch knit

Alterations: Finished the sleeves with the bands from my Renfrew.

Notions: Clear elastic.

Make it again?: Most likely. I’d love to make a few more of these for work and play.

Favorite parts: Comfort, quick finish (around 4 hours), twirl-friendly skirt, flattering bodice.

X-ladies unite! Ran into a great Storm when I wore this get-up on Friday.
X-ladies unite! Ran into a great Storm when I wore this outfit on Friday.

Other thoughts: For the most part, this is a quick and easy project to put together. My measurements would have put me at an XL, but I went off of my high bust instead and cut a L. Definitely a good call, since I would have drowned in an XL. A few other bloggers noted bagginess in the sleeve area, so I went ahead and lopped off an extra 1″ of the sleeve seam.

The pattern calls for an elastic casing at the waist to stabilize the skirt. It’s definitely necessary with the weight of the skirt, but I found the casing instructions a bit ridiculous. Instead, I just used clear elastic, much like the instructions for the Moneta.

The pattern also calls for a narrow hem on both the neckline and the sleeves. I decided to finish them off the the bands from my Renfrew. This worked well enough for the arm bands, but my neck band got all kinds of twisted (I mostly blame the fabric). Rather than rip my serging out and make the neckline scandalous (for work, anyway), I just folded my crap-tacular neck under and finished it off with my twin needle.

Scandalous neckline is extra scandalous in corsets.
Scandalous neckline is extra scandalous in corsets.

I wanted to finish this dress quickly, so I finished the skirt of the dress with a rolled hem, courtesy of my serger. It’s not as neat as I’d like, but it’s fine for a mostly play/weekend skirt.

Overall, this is a great instant-gratification project. I’d love to hack it with my Renfrew to make a cowl-neck dress when we get closer to fall. I’ll still make a Lady Skater at some point, just because knit dresses are the best (and I love supporting indie pattern makers). They’re so easy to dress up or down and are absurdly comfortable. My main purpose with this dress was to have something to wear under corsets, but I’ve worn it at least once a week since making it with cardigans, scarves, tights, funky belts, and more.

EDIT: Details on the rest of the outfit for the curious. The corset is by Lauren of Castle Corsetry. Great customer service and this corset is gorgeous. Very well made and very pretty. My wig, scarf, gloves, and shoes are all cobbled together from previous Rogue costumes.

Have you guys tried this pattern yet?

Underneath it all pt. 1

Or, my approach to shapewear, especially with spandex costumes. I have a lot of spandex-intensive costumes and projects coming up over the next few months, so I thought I’d take a few posts to talk about shapewear–what it is and why and how I use it. I intended this to be one post a week ago, but it turns out I have a lot to say about underthings 😛

Before I start, this is just my approach. Some people don’t like shapewear. That’s completely fine. Remember, it’s a hobby and you should do what makes YOU feel comfortable and have an awesome time in your costume. Personally, I like the visual effect of shapewear (smaller waist, no visible belly button, taller posture), and the mental effect. I feel like I really get into character when I start putting everything on. If you do choose to use shapewear, it’s important to try it all on before creating your costume, as your measurements can be quite different. This is especially true of non-stretchy costumes.

Bras

Let’s work from the top to the bottom. Spandex in particular is horrible about flattening out the chest area, so you can counter this by wearing a push-up bra. How much push-up I go for depends on the character and what material I’m wearing. Korra, for example, doesn’t have a particularly *extreme* body, so I just wore one of my regular bras. Anytime I wear spandex, I go for the Victoria’s Secret Bombshell, which adds two full cup sizes.

Push-up compare
A side-by-side comparison. Korra would look a little ridiculous with a massive push-up, so I used a regular bra. Rogue, on the other hand, needed that little extra due to spandex compression. Photos: Neither Noir (left) and Aperture Ashley (right)

That said, VS is not the best place to get a proper bra measurement. Check out Reddit for more info.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done any cross-play, so I don’t have experience with bust-binding. If you do, I’d love to hear about your experience/tips in the comments!

Corsets

Next, let’s talk corsets. I could write a whole post on this topic alone, but I’ll refrain.

I find underbust corsets really useful. Typically spandex will flatten my chest and widen my waistline, due to my height. Combining a push-up bra with an underbust corset gives me back my hourglass figure and also has the benefit of keeping any food babies from showing. Plus, I find that underbust corsets help me with lower back pain (years of dancing is not kind to one’s lower back) and improve my posture.

A few notes about corsets. First off, a well-made and properly sized corset should never, ever put you in pain! I can easily cinch off 3-4 inches (though I normally only go with 1-2) and still be quite comfortable. At Sci-Fi Expo, I wore an underbust corset all day and was climbing, bending, and jumping. No fainting spells whatsoever!

If you’re interested in trying out corsets, find one of the booths that makes and sells corsets at a con or ren faire. Have them measure you and teach you how to properly lace and wear a corset. I promise, they’ll be happy to help. Once you’ve figured out your sizing (which is typically 4″~ off of your natural waist), go for a simple yet solid piece. If you plan to wear your corset under spandex, go for one sans busk (that metal closure in the front of many corsets). I bought a nude underbust from Meshchantes for $99 (they have sales fairly often on eBay) a little over a year ago and it’s held up wonderfully through numerous cons and occasionally daily wear. If you want more information on corsets (wearing, sizing, brand reviews), check out Lucy’s Corsetry. This is the go-to place for corset information!

Pro-tip: Just like a pair of heels needs to be broken in for comfort, so do your corsets. Prior to a con, wear your new corset for a few (2-4) hours per day. This helps the corset conform to your body and lets you adjust to it. Again, check Lucy’s Corsetry for information. Because she’s amazing.

One more pro-tip: wear a barrier layer such as a tube top under your corset. Corsets can’t just be thrown in the wash (especially ones with steel bones), so this keeps your corset from horrid BO and protects your skin.

rogue side-by-side
A side-by-side comparison wearing the same bodysuit. The left is with a plain bra (no push-up) and no shapewear. The right is wearing a Bombshell and an underbust corset with a 1″ reduction. It’s not a huge reduction, but it conceals my funky belly button which makes me happy! Photo credit (right): Aperture Ashley

Stretchy shapewear

You’re probably familiar with the spandex style shapewear such as Spanx. This type of shapewear comes in a number of different styles, from full-body coverage, to briefs, to waist cinchers with boning. You can even get Spanx with extra booty cushion. To be honest, I prefer underbust corsets since my belly button tends to show through Spanx. Try both out and see what works for you!

That wraps up this post on underthings. In my next post on this topic, I’ll discuss about lower body wear and my process for putting everything together! Also, I want to give a shout-out to DJ Spider and xoMia, who’ve both posted great information on underthings recently!