“My embarrassing picture…”

I’ve had a few comments since I’ve been writing this blog about why I don’t post a lot more photos of myself in the costumes I’ve made.

Of course I’m proud of my costumes, proud of the research that has gone into them, the work that it takes to make them, and the results (most of the time… LOL) but I’m not always happy with the photos. Usually the photos are event photos – where I’m disheveled and half-exhausted from enjoying myself so much. I don’t have a reliable in-house (har har) photographer to always catch me as I’m heading out to an event, and when I do, usually I’m too worried about making sure I have everything before running out the door – too busy to plan the lighting and backdrop and all the rest to make a great photo.

Then I read this article

“My embarrassing picture went viral” on Salon.com.

Continue reading

Sewing ideas and inspiration

While wandering online, I’ve found some great things that I’d love to make…

Cowl/Funnel neck sweater

From J’adore Vogue – I love the grey sleeveless sweater tunic/dress on the left.  I have something with this similar funnel/cowl neckline – and I find it so comfortable, comforting, and interesting to wear.  I actually found a number of items on a recent shopping trip with this general kind of neckline.  The only problem here will be finding the knitted yardage.  Nice knits that are this heavy are reallllly hard to find.  I actually have a few things that I would like to make, if I can ever find the right fabric! (Like another long cardigan!)  Perhaps this is on the “I just learned to knit and am feeling inspired” list too?

Rebublic top

With more clubwear in mind than comfort, I also loved this cool top from Republic.  While I wouldn’t make it a super-tight mini dress with a tube-top… (that would look stupid on my body!) I really like this almost bib-like front of the top.  It’s just the front, gathered up into a halter neckline.  Very cute.  I could see this working over a spaghetti strap dress instead perhaps – or even something with a halter neckline (though I usually stay away from them, just because of the bra issue!).

The Little Things in Life

While searching for images of a green velvet dress, I came across this image from The Little Things in Life.  Yes, I know it’s a jewelry hanger,  but it’s more just inspiration, rather than aspiration!  The idea behind it could make for a very cool cocktail/evening dress – or even something club-y.  I love finding cool stuff like this that makes me think about possibilities!

You would think that with all of this inspiration I could actually find some time to SEW.

But nope!

Upcoming convention

It has been proposed that I might attend an upcoming convention (erm, upcoming being next summer, thankfully!) and while I still don’t know if I’ll go or not, it has me thinking about costumes/attire.

First up, the convention each year chooses a different theme, and has events centered around that theme.  This upcoming year the theme will be musical, and one of the sub-themes is Steampunk. Of course, this would mean a costume for the Steampunk element of the convention, but also costumes/outfits for all of the others as well….  Looking at photos from some of the public parts of the convention, it looks like while some people don’t really do much for the theme at all, some do just one or two little things, and there is a fairly nice-sized group that really does go all-out in the theme.  (Which, is a lot like a lot of the dress-up events I’ve gone to… where some people go under-board, some go overboard and some float in the middle….)

So… the Steampunk element of the convention is an activity (no, I’m not going to get too specific…), which dictates that the outfit must be something I can move around in a fair amount.  Real corsetry wouldn’t work too well, but corset-like garments that I can still bend and move around in would be fine.

The other themes include:

  • Poodle skirts and saddle shoes.  The musical theme is 1950s, though it looks like it’s a short portion of the event, so probably not really important to dress up for.
  • Music of the 1960s and the age of Aquarius. This will be a standing-around event, so pretty much anything will go…
  • Disco and the 1970s… this is a more social part of the event, and looks like in the past one of the events that a number of people do dress up for quite a bit.
  • 1980s – the event actually doesn’t sound like my cup of tea for this one, but it’s very public… very active, and very high energy.  Whatever I do for this would need to be very planned.
  • 1990s – it appears that this is the “Cher” event – or rather, Cher’s come-back… LOL (Me thinks that the host perhaps is a friend of Dorothy?) This is another social part of the event that it seems like a lot of people dress up for – more so than they do at some of the other events, so this would be an important one to have a showstopper costume for…
  • Finally they’re doing a general rock-star theme for the 2000s, which seems a bit vague to me, but it’s another social part with a lot of dressing up – so perhaps they wanted to keep it really open to encourage people to participate.

So… ideas…


My first thought when it comes to the 1950s is something with the whole poodle skirt look… then going into the whole big-skirted apron-wearing slightly classier idea… something like this:

From Naxo's Music Library

I certainly would love a dress like that – full skirted with crinoline petticoat, and wouldn’t the matching purse be adorable? Hahaha… Although knowing me, I’d want to do it in a skull and crossbone print or something like that…

Then I got thinking of movies set in the 50s.  Kind of like Grease, but my first thought was the (terrible! funny!) Cry Baby with Johnny Depp.

Photo from the Dreamland News

Which brings me to this photo of Traci Lords from the Horribly Confused blog:

From Horribly Confused

I’m thinking that the neckline on this, with the skirt of the top photo would be awesome… but a lot to pack.  That will be the hard part – and the other problem is that this is only a minor event – so perhaps just a top like this with a pair of jeans (rolled up? White socks?) I think this outfit will be LOW on the to-sew list really, since it’s not a big deal.  If worst comes to worse, I could wear a long pencil skirt like in the Cry Baby group photo above, with a t-shirt and neck scarf….


For this event, pretty much anything will work, but since I don’t think that it’s a significant dress-up event, it too will be low on my list of outfits.  I am not even sure if this one is a stand-alone event from the previous, or if they’re blending into one another..  I haven’t really thought too much about this, but I’m thinking of just something with a lot of fringe perhaps, or tie dye… neither really appeal to me though.  *sigh*


Ok, this I’m a bit more excited about – there’s ample room in the late-70’s punk movement… but, I’m thinking awesome costume-fodder in the mid-70’s KISS era…   Silver, black.  Silly cut-outs and ridiculous shoulder accessories.  HUGE platforms (not going to happen – since I won’t want to travel with 40lbs of footwear), bat-wings, silver studs, leather/pleather/vinyl…

From one-Sixth warriors

For inspiration – something from the one-sixth warriors’ message board. Obviously feminized, obviously something that would be a little bit more packing-friendly than huge spikes (hello TSA! nice to meet you!) and 20lb belt buckles… but still something over-the-top and cool…

I found this inspirational photo on a facebook page.

from a facebook page

The iconography of the KISS members might also be interesting – the Star for Paul Stanley, the Demon for Gene Simmons, the Cat for Peter Criss, and the Spaceman for Ace Frehley…. (According to Wikipedia (cus I wouldn’t know!) other members also did the Fox and an Egyptian Ankh – but I don’t think I’d do those two because it wouldn’t be as recognizable as KISS… )  I’m not about to dye my hair or anything, but I could bring one of my black wigs for this one too – though likely not…


Although the event for the 80s theme doesn’t really appeal to me that much, it’s still a good dress-up occasion, but not something I would want or need to spend a lot of energy on.  Lucky for me, enough things in my existing costume wardrobe could probably go together to create something inspired by either Cindi Lauper or Madonna…

From 80s fashion website

For Madonna – lots of beaded jewelry, lots of lace, lots of underwear-as-outerwear, full short skirts, beaded bracelets.. Although this look is all-white, lots of BRIGHT colours would also work.

From Tickified events

For a more Cindi-inspired look – not that different, just MORE colour – and more wacky-colour combinations.  Again, no hair-dying here, but one of those sideways ponytails would work with whatever hair colour I’m wearing, and perhaps for more of a Cindi-look, some of those bright clip-in extensions?


So if this is basically the era of Cher, then Cher it should be, right?  Cher is so well known for her costumes, which makes finding costume ideas easy.  The problem – Cher is also known for not exactly wearing a LOT of costume… she tends to be pretty exposed (or at least there is the illusion of being exposed) – which I just don’t have the body for!  So, whatever I do either needs to be a re-interpretation or something where I can cheat on the whole ‘exposed’ part of it.  Either way, there seems to be a LOT of glitz to Cher’s costumes.. lots of rhinestones, sequins, etc.

From SamanthaMo

The matching wig on this one is awesome – and a long/short fringe-hem dress in red glittery fabric would be doable.  I could make the neckline more wearable, or totally cheat with some flesh-toned fabric in there as well.  (Perhaps with some glittery mesh illusion over top?)   The other Cher signature is those huge headpieces she used to wear – all showgirl-style with a bit of an edge, and lots of glitz.  That isn’t going to work so well – since transportation would be an issue.


For this one the theme is so vague that I just don’t know where to start.  For easy costume-fodder, Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Shakira, Byonce or Lady Gaga would make sence I suppose, but I think the theme is too vague to really help point me in a good direction.  I suppose for this one it will more be a matter of what kind of item would I like to make, and then which female pop star/rock star has worn something similar in a video or photo spread during the general time span?

I looked around a bit, and had really hoped to find some inspiring Christina costumes (I like Shakira better, but don’t have the belly for her costumes, since they’re almost always belly-baring!) but had very little luck.  I liked the Moulin Rouge (Lady Marmelade – 2001) costumes, but eh… I don’t know that I want to do something like that.  I like the 1940’s Candyman video costumes, but since they have their own era, that might not work so much.  So.. it’s on to Gaga.  Who I really don’t actually like that much, but.. whatever..

from Funny Reign

Of the set I saw, I think this would be the most interesting to replicate, and still be very transportable.


Of course, this is the area that I’m the most excited about, which is kind of crazy since it’s just one element of the whole – BUT… be that as it may, it’s still the part that I’m the most interested in doing.  That being said, I don’t see any reason why I nessessarily need to make something specific for this event – it could just be generic steampunk too.  But… why not Steampunk +music?

For inspiration, how about Abney Park, Dr. Steel, Emilie Autumn, or Raspuntia?   Emilie Autumn and Dr. Steel would probably the most costume-y (vs. just Steampunk attire’d).

From the PETA website (with an interview with Emilie):

from the PETA site

and then from the last.fm site:

From Last.fm

I love both of these looks – but unfortunately neither of them (directly as they are at least) would really work for the event – the huge skirt would make it difficult to move around much, and the corset in the first image would be even more restrictive.  Still, the bright pink/red hair (although these two photos show a more subdued burgundy, I always think of her with bright pink hair) would be great – and possibly involve some hot pink corkscrew hair falls… or even some dreadfalls perhaps?

Ah.. just too many ideas!   I wanted to create a category for this though so that I can come back to refer – and once I know if I’m going or not – start sewing!

Steampunk Stripes

Photo from Steampunk Couture's Spring 2011 line

One of the fabrics I’ve been looking for has been a brown and black stripe, not unlike some of the striped fabrics that Steampunk Couture uses off and on. It has eluded me for a long time, but I finally found something!  It isn’t as wide of a stripe, but I think it will be good; a nice way of having both blacks and browns in one outfit – I usually wouldn’t use both in one.

The fabric I found is a wide brown stripe with a narrow black stripe (I was looking for something even, but I don’t mind this at all) but on either side of the black stripe is a single thread of black metallic.  The fabric is very light weight (about the weight of cotton broadcloth), so it certainly won’t work for pants – but I’m thinking that it would work nicely for a pair of bloomers not unlike the white ones on the left in the picture below, or the top of the skirt on the right. (From a previous post.)

Paper dolls

Here’s a photo of the fabric itself – it’s not a great photo I’m afraid.

Black and brown pinstripes with a quarter for scale.

While I was up in Edmonton not too long ago I also picked up a few other striped fabrics with the intentions of doing something neo-Victorian/Steampunk with them.

Pink and black striped taffeta from Marshall's and brown/tan/blue striped cotton from a quilting shop

At Marshall’s I picked up a pink and black striped taffeta that was super-cheap (one of the few really good deals that I got there).  I think I picked up something like 9 meters of it, so I can pretty much do whatever I choose…  At a quilting shop I picked up the bottom fabric – a brown, tan, cream, and blue stripe in cotton.  I didn’t get as much of this because it was a lot more money.

The house renos are still going on, which is frustrating, because it means even when I do have time to get creative (which is rare) I don’t have the room to do it in, or the access to all of my supplies.  I still don’t even have laundry (almost a week without it!).  I know I should just go with the flow, but I’m getting frustrated.

Steampunk Costume inspiration: ‘paper’ dolls

Even as a child I never really played with paper dolls – I had lots of real dolls with lots of clothes for them, and I would make up my own little clothes for them as well (with varying levels of taste). However, the other day I was wandering on the internet and found a digital paper doll website – and there were a number of Steampunk dolls too!  I was excited to see how different things might work together, and so made up a few of the different dolls.

The first doll, just playing around

I started just playing around to see what the game would do – this game is called Victorian Butterfly, and it’s rather cute!

The second doll, when I started thinking about using it as an inspiration tool

Next up I actually thought about plugging in something I would actually make. Oddly enough, it’s not too far off from the first one! I tried different variations (with pants and other things) and still kept coming back to this kind of look.  I thought that the skirt (without the apron-thing) would be more flattering, though the leg-o-mutton sleeves aren’t really my thing.

The third doll - less transformable, but neat ideas

Then there was another game, called Clockwork Couture (isn’t there a clothing name called that?). (p.s. yeppers there is!)  You can also play this on Deviant Art if you’re so inclined – I had hoped that maybe there would be more items, but nope.  If you don’t want to play, just go for the game’s music… I had it playing on my computer for an hour or so, even though it’s on a loop.

The graphics are probably the best thing about this game – the selection of clothing is small compared to the other two, and you can’t change the colours – but they are so beautifully drawn!  My only challenge, is that although the individual pieces are great (both Steampunk and fashionable, without being overly costume-y), I found it  hard to find things that really went together well from my perspective.  Another cool thing though is how well-transformed the clothing is by some interesting accessories. An interesting dress goes from a party dress with the addition of stockings, boots, belts, bracers, a jacket, or a hat – to a cool Steampunk look.

BTW, the same artist has an awesome pirate one too, called Polkadot Pirate.  Hmmm it makes me wonder about an airship pirate look…



The fourth doll with beautiful artwork.

The third game is called Steampunk Costume Creator – which has nice artwork (not as amazing as the previous game, but certainly beautiful!)  The best part is that there are a LOT of different fashion items, so there is a wide variety of looks.  It’s all colour-coordinated too, since it’s all in shades of brown, taupe, white, and black (with the exception of one pair of red-pink stockings).  You can adjust the item though with the Dark, Medium, Light selector.  The only problem that I have with it, is that you HAVE to use a corset, and it ALWAYS goes over top of the shirt.  Unfortunately this  means that a lot of the super-cute vests and shirts aren’t really workable, since they are always working with the corset.  That being said, there are some super-cute pieces, and some great accessories.

Four alternate looks

Have you found any other digital ‘paper’ dolls that embrace the steampunk aesthetic?  Let me know in the comments below!