Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wicked Witches

I covered the costumes I made for my coworkers, but never showed off what I came up with for myself! I didn't sew anything for myself, most of my costume was stuff I already had. Every year I end up buying a witches hat because I've lost the one I bought the year before. This year was no exception. Somewhere in my house I must have a stash of 80 hats *sigh*. This year I was disappointed because the only hat I could find that had hair attached had purple streaks in the hair. I wanted all black. This turned out well though. The cape I have in my collection is black velvet on the outside but purple on the inside. It tied nicely with the hat. Then when I wanted striped socks I found some grey and purple ones. Purple turned into an nice accidental accent :D

My makeup was so much fun to do. A bright green base, I outlined wrinkles, lips and brows in black. My prosthetic nose had yellow highlights on it so I added yellow to cheekbones, forehead, and chin to match. I got some odd looks from passing cars for sure :)

Not only did I do my outfit as the Wicked Witch of the West, I also did the Wicked Witch of the East. She was easy enough, an extra pair of striped socks stuffed with some red sequined slippers we sell at the store. I just tucked the free end under the checkout counter. Looks like she got the table dropped on her.

And a shot of all of us together. I had no hand in the Tin Woodsman or Glenda the Good Witch but they did well by themselves. I loved doing this and hope next year we do something new. Maybe Disney Princesses. Something for an ensemble to do that is mostly women.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Zombie Fest


My hometown does Halloween right. For 3 years now they have done "Nightmare on Chicago Street", a full blown, post-apocalyptic zombie fest! The first year I went as a lab tech who got too close to her test subjects:

Photo courtesy of the Death Maidens 

Grrr, Arrgh!

Very simple makeup with store bought lab coat and missing eye prosthetic. I had the scrubs from when I did a phlebotomy rotation in college. The store bought prosthetic was a pain, because it was made from black latex and no matter how much makeup I used, I couldn't get it to blend in with my skin tone. I made the lab badge and even had a clip board of test results of the zombie virus. Carrying around a clipboard made people keep thinking I was part of the event staff though.


The next year I wanted to go as a Plants vs Zombies character. I even found a real life traffic cone in my backyard blown in from a nearby highway. What I soon discovered, tho, is real life traffic cones are heavy and uncomfortable to wear on your head. Scrapping the idea with just hours to go before the event I had to fashion one out of construction paper. Turned out fine, if a bit childlike. I made it up with face paint tho. I think I might have a bit of a hidden talent when it comes to costume make up. Shirt was from my own wardrobe, coat and tie stolen from dad's closet.

Dad rocking his Jack the Ripper outfit.

They had a real life Plants vs Zombies game that year with
paint ball guns and plywood zombie targets.


And this past year I decided I wanted to go as a gas mask zombie from the episode "The Empty Child" of Doctor Who. The dress and cape I have in my Civil War collection even tho the episode takes place in WWII. The apron, hat and gas mask I made the day before. I love the mask, but it has some problems I need to correct. First and foremost, it fogs up as I breathe and I can't see out of it. The second and minor problem is that it isn't screen accurate. The snout is too long and I think shortening it up might fix the fogging problem. The metal rings around the eyes and snout are canning jar lid rings. The lenses are 2 half spheres that when put together make a plastic tree ornament. The picture is blurry but I'll try and get a better one of the mask. Despite the problems, I'm super proud of it.

Sorry for blurry pic

My costume and a frame from the episode I took
the idea from.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wizard of Oz ~ Cowardly Lion

The Cowardly Lion. How do you do that without having to make a whole huge fursuit? Well this was very easy. I found an ear headband and tail at the dollar store and made the cuffs and collar. One sheet of craft fur was enough for both cuffs and the collar. The back of the craft fur is very scratchy so I lined it with craft felt. Cut the rectangle of fabric into 4 smaller rectangles. Sew both long sides to the felt leaving the short sides open to run a drawstring thru. I should have tacked the collar pieces together so it wouldn't gap apart, but I threw this together as an after thought. I was just going to use the ears and tail, but the cuffs and collar added so much more I'm glad I made them.

You can see the collar gapping open. It's cute and can work
but I still wish I had tried to tack it together.

Close up of the stitching and where the collar gaps open.

Felt sewn to the back of the cuffs and collar.

Stitching at the bottom and under the fur.

Backside of the collar. I used some yarn as the drawstring.
Have your model wear a brown shirt and pants. A little face paint for a nose and whiskers and you are done! One sheet of craft fur: 3 bucks. One sheet of felt: 25 cents. Ear headband 1 dollar. Tail: 1 dollar. Total: 5.25.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wizard of Oz ~ Dorothy

This Dorothy costume is what got me making the outfits for the store. When we were thinking about dressing up, Dorothy was the one we thought for sure we'd have to buy and costumes at stores tend to be more expensive. No one wanted to spend much money on this, so I decided I'd try and make one. I bought a pattern for it but ended up never using it. It turned out more of an apron than a pinafore but still works well.

Me as the Witch and a Co-worker as Dorothy
I wish I had thought to take progress pictures so I could show you what I did to the fabric and the cuts I made. It is 2 yards of a blue and white gingham check.

Here is a pattern I whipped up to show you how I cut up the fabric.

Unfold your fabric. The majority is going to be skirt. A small square will be the bib front. The fabric to the side of the square will be your straps and drawstring. On the one that I made, I made the bib front too big and it tends to gap open at the top. Learn from my mistakes :)

You will hem the 2 sides and bottom of the skirt and the 2 sides and top of the bib. Aline the unhemmed edge of the bottom of the bib with the middle of the unhemmed edge of the top of the skirt right sides facing each other. Altho with Gingham there really isn't a wrong side, but if you are using different material then make sure your right sides are together. That sounded really confusing. Here is another picture of what I mean:

Now the next part isn't really tricky, but it is odd. You will fold down the top unhemmed skirt to make a big channel. This will make the waistband that the draw string will go thru. I did it with wrong sides together, but I regret that. You should do it with right sides together so that the channel for the waistband will be inside the pinafore, not outside where you can see it. This will require that you are careful with where the bib ends up. I accidently got the bib snarled up and had to rip the seam out because it sewed weird.

For the straps I simply sewed down one long side (Right sides together if you have a right side and wrong side) and turned them inside out so the sem was inside and it was a long tube. Press it flat and sew it to the corner of the bib. Bring it over your shoulder and pin it to the inside of the skirt. Repeat for the other shoulder. Run your drawstring thru the waist band channel and you are set to go. Tie the left over bits from the shoulder straps into bow in your hair and you are good to go! Here are some close ups of the finished apron on a manikin in our backroom. Sorry for the poor lighting and all the cardboard stacked up, we are getting ready for chirstmas and it was too cold for me to take pictures outside.

Front of the pinafore. You can see what I mean
about how I regret not making the waistband
 channel to the inside of the pinafore where you
wouldn't be able to see it. I also think I made
the bib too large.

Side and back view. The straps are pinned to
the inside of the skirt with safety pins.

Detail of the shoulder strap sewn onto the bib. I like to make
this cross pattern when sewing down straps. It makes me
think that it is stronger, tho I admit that the apron will
not be bearing much weight. And yes, I know there are
loose threads everywhere. I am a very sloppy sewer. Even
more so when I am under a deadline.

Have your model wear a white blouse and
since the skirt isn't sewn up the back she will
need to wear pants as well. Add props and
you are done!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wizard of Oz ~ Scarecrow

Oh wow, this past week was a busy one. At work we decided that we were going to dress up for the release of our christmas ornaments as Wizard of Oz characters. I was so excited! We've always wanted to dress up for these events but never actually did it. As the only one who not only had a sewing machine but also wasn't afraid of it I decided I was going to help outfit some of the girls. I made costume pieces for Dorothy, Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. I also assembled pieces for the Wicked Witch of the West. Today I'm going to show how easy and simple the Scarecrow is.

A co-worker models the Scarecrow outfit.
These costumes had to be very simple for a couple reasons. One was this was work and we couldn't be tripping over big or complex costumes. Two, I had very little time to prepare each outfit (Scarecrow took me about half an hour. Any more and I would have been late to work that day). And Three, they had to be made to fit several different people. Not only did I not know who was going to wear them this past weekend, but I don't know who will be wearing them in future years to come.

The capelet is simply half a yard of burlap folded, not in half, but unevenly so the top will be shorter than the bottom. Sew along the fold about an inch or more. This makes a nice channel for the drawstring to go thru. The burlap isn't the most comfortable material so the neck has to be wide enough so whoever is wearing it can make the hole big enough that it doesn't rub against skin.

In between the two layers of burlap I knotted lengths of Raffia and sewed it down so it looked like straw peeking out of the scarecrow's clothing.

Finally I made a drawstring out of more raffia (I'd never worked with it before and it was much stronger than I gave it credit for) and tied it in a bow in the front.

Instead of hemming edges I just pulled a handful of threads off the burlap and let the other ends free. The scarecrow is a raggedy character and it just added to his charm.

I seem to have forgotten to get a good picture of the hat but here is what I have. The hat was a store bought stiff felt like thing. I think it was originally for a Robin Hood costume, it had that shape to it. There was a red feather glued to the side but it peeled off easily. I couldn't get the line of hot glue to come off tho and tried my best to cover it with more raffia. I made a hat band of raffia and hand sewed it in places to get it to stay in place. The hat was very round and it kept wanting to slide off the top. I then folded some other lengths of raffia in half and sewed them inside the hat to either look like hair or like straw was falling out of it.

The straw "hair" tied inside the hat.

The raffia hat band sewn in place.

The line of glue where a red feather once was.

The whole ensemble on a manikin in our backroom. Sorry for the poor lighting and all the cardboard, we've been very busy getting ready for Christmas.

Have your model wear a green shirt and brown pants. Cover her nose with some brown face paint and there you have it. A very simple Wizard of Oz Scarecrow made in just under an hour and very work friendly. Cost of materials: Half a yard of Burlap: 2 bucks. Raffia: 3 bucks. Store bought hat: 5 bucks (Not purchased by me). Total for costume? 10 bucks. I was reimbursed for my materials.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sketching Ideas ~ Enterprise Poodle Skirt

I'm not a fashion designer. I've never taken anything more than my 8th grade sewing class. I have no idea how the professionals do it, but this is how I start on new ideas. Some notebook paper and scribbles till I get an idea of what I want. This is me kicking around an idea of an Enterprise Dress. I have a couple different ideas on what to do with the top and I haven't quite settled on any one of them yet. Most of my designs get this far, but no farther. Next step will be to continue to doodle until I get just what I'm looking for. Then maybe I'll peruse my box of patterns, tho honestly I rarely use patterns. Poodle skirt would be easy, its a big circle with a hole in the middle. I think the top would be a modified thrift store find. If I go with the sweater set then I really don't want to have to knit the whole thing myself. I'm a slow knitter. I'd rather modify something else.

Some Google Images pictures of the Enterprise and of Poodle Skirts. Again, I just searched these online, I didn't create any of the following images.

And found this while searching for "Star Trek Poodle Skirts". I love nerds :D

K9! How adorable is that :D

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What to do and Who to be?

I'm a big girl. Not that I'm grown up, although, yeah, I guess I'm grown up. I mean that when picking out costumes and characters to cosplay, I have to keep in mind I ain't no size 3. You will not see me Cosplaying as Slave Girl Leia. One day when I'm half the girl I am now I'd love to get a Classic Star Trek mini skirt/dress thing, but not today.

So what should I cosplay as? I've drawn up some possibilities, but I need more ideas. NOTE: None of these images are mine. I got them searching Google Images. No idea who the credit goes to for them.

~Donna Noble~

Regular Outfit

Wedding Dress

Or Donna in Pompeii
The Pros: It would be a fairly easy outfit to put together. It's all "Normal" clothes. Not much needs to be made. I could prolly find nearly everything at Goodwill or some other thrift store.

The Cons: It's rather normal looking. Not much of a costume if I could wear it to work and not get a second glance. Except for the wedding dress. I think my boss might have something to say about that. I'd prolly never get recognized except at a Whovian convention. And let's be honest here, I do it for the recognition.

~Rule 63 Jabba the Hutt~

Don't google that. I mean it, just don't.

It was an idea, but no. How do you girl-ify Jabba? Put a bow on his/her head? And I don't think my self esteem could take the hit of dressing up as Mr. Lardbutt himself. (Rule 63 states that for every male fictional character, there is a female version of it. Same for female to male) Google image search was gross and I'm not gonna do it.

~Cheery Littlebottom~

Pros: She's a character from a book so the rules regarding her are so much looser than those of a movie or tv character. And she's from a series of popular books, so the cool kids would recognize her. And I get to wear a beard :D

Cons: I'm not afraid of research, but a literary character will be difficult to get across visually. Oh, and I have to wear a beard :P


Fat cells have never been more adorable.
Pros: Very recognizable. And cute. Don't forget cute.

Cons: The only way I see this getting pulled off well is for it to be a full suit. Fursuit style. I much like making full suits and don't really like wearing them either. Adipose work better as a prop stuffed animal, not a full outfit.


Tardis dresses have become a Thing. There are no hard and fast rules regarding them, as long as you look at it and go "Huh. That's a Tardis dress".

This one I recognize. You can find the Tardis Princess on facebook.

But I'm thinking why does the Tardis get to have all the fun? What about my girl NCC-1701-D? Otherwise known as the Enterprise from Star Trek: TNG. (No images found because I guess "Enterprise Dress" isn't a thing. I need to fix that. Oooo! How about a Serenity dress too?)

Pros: No one can say your doing it wrong. Unless you misspell Police Box. Then you're probably doing it wrong.

Cons: How do you make an Enterprise dress? Other than that...umm...I'm not sure. Let me think on it and see if I come up with any other cons.

~The Bowler~

Pros: Again a costume that would be easy enough to pull together. Modifying thrift store finds is a lot of fun. The ball would be the hardest prop to find, I think.

Cons: Well the ball. The idea is not to spend to very much money. Or any money at all :) And this is a character from a movie made in 1999, and I don't think the movie did all that well at the time. And I'm not too sure I could pull off the Bowler all that well. I could try, but I don't think I'd look all that good doing it.

Well those are the ideas I've come up with since last night. I'm still thinking, but