Pink Ghawazee Vest (a UFO project)

wearing my long UFO Ghawazee vest with a semi-supportive wool under dress

wearing my long UFO Ghawazee vest with a semi-supportive wool under dress

Years ago, when I was attending my very first SCA events with my friend Deb (who then moved away, I lost interest, and it was only years later that I gave the SCA another go…) I was looking to make some cool costumes.

I don’t even remember how I came across the Ghawazee coat / vest, though I did end up buying a bunch of coin scarves and belts and things, and took a few belly dancing classes at different events, so I suspect the whole (fairly modern) belly dance + SCA thing was a bit of a trend at the time.

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Maiwa Handprints

Heading into Maiwa Handprints on Vancouver's Granville Island

Heading into Maiwa Handprints

While in Vancouver in late September I visited Granville Island and a few really lovely shops. I’ve visited Maiwa Handprints a number of times over the past years and it was a bit different than I remember, but still neat.

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Fabric sale

Last year I found out about this wonderful fabric sale, and this year we found it again. It’s held at a church, and if it wasn’t for reading my grandmother’s church newsletter we never would have found it again.  The sale was on April 9, but it’s taken a while to write the post.

April 9 fabric finds (close up)

Basically it’s a de-stash fabric sale.  You bring in your unwanted fabrics along with craft items, yarn, quilting supplies, etc and donate them – or just go and shop.  We did both this year.  All of the proceeds go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign.  This is the campaign that supports grandmothers who are raising their orphaned grandchildren – after loosing their own children to AIDS/HIV.  Talk about a feel-good shopping experience!  Oh… and the prices are awesome!

Most of the fabrics are just pieces – whatever someone bought for their project, and then couldn’t use.  However some people have donated entire bolts or rolls of fabric, so you can also buy those ones by the meter (though the cost is a bit higher doing it that way, but still very reasonable).  They hold the sale in a church basement, and there are rooms devoted to:

  • Yarn (and crochet cotton, etc)
  • Notions & trim (buttons, zippers, lace, cord, etc)
  • Craft supplies (various)
  • Books
  • Home Decorating/bolts & rolls
  • Quilting/Quilt fabrics
  • Books & magazines
  • Specialty fabrics (fancies, fun-fur, etc)
  • and then there are areas in the main area divided up into knits, wools, suiting, flannelette, and then just regular dress fabrics.

They also had a few sewing machines there this time too – probably last time as well but I don’t remember.

April 9 fabric finds

So, what did I get?

  • Plush solid grey fun fur
  • Variegated, somewhat striped grey and white fun fur (longer pile)
  • Pink micro pleat
  • Gold micro pleat (I had some of this before, and made a top out of it.  I also had some in silver (another top) and some in black (a dress)
  • Rust stretch velvet
  • Silk / silk-like red and gold striped fabric (I need to test it to see the content)
  • 2 pieces of copper taffeta, very much like the bronze taffeta I took to decorate the last two theme / costume parties
  • Black on black floral brocade
  • Grey wool coating
  • Navy blue wool coating
  • Copper/golden shantung silk
  • Copper/Red/Gold micro stripe
  • Large card of very narrow black lace
  • Small card of very narrow gold braid
  • Lots of open wide black braid
  • Pale pink/champagne coloured stretch lace
  • Ivory cotton lace
  • Purple and gold “Indian” braid/trim

I ended up getting a number of “warm” coloured fabrics, and even mum commented that it’s not my normal colour scheme.  Most of it I was thinking of for costumes though, which would explain why my mind was more on the steampunk-influenced colours rather than my normal more goth colour scheme.  I was also thinking of the Sultan’s Tent costume party – and I’m sure that influenced the way I was drawn to certain colours more so than others.

Now just to find the time to sew!

Dancing in the Sultan’s Tent – completed costume

Well, I seriously ran out of time to do much of anything for the Sultan’s Tent party.  I really had thought about doing a lot more than I did, but in the end time just ran out, and I ended up re-purposing something I’d made for a similar (and named the same) previous event.

The top - an older photo from when I first made the outfit.

So.. the costume included:

  • Black harem pants (sheer with a glittery stripe) trimmed in black sequins and silver baubles (not really buttons, not really beads.. somewhere in between).  These are gathered with elastic at the ankles and apart from being sheer, are really quite comfortable for short periods of time.  I wouldn’t want to walk much in them though, because I have the feeling the fabric would wear quite quickly.
  • Black and red PVC bra with a back tie, silver o-rings, red piping, and sheer ribbon lacing.  This was a feat of draping and sewing skill!  Getting the “laced” parts right, based off an existing bra took quite a lot of time, and a lot of agony to my fingertips.  The two cups also lace closed, though I must have lost some weight since I first made it, because when I put it on, I had to tighten up the lacing considerably – and regretted the fact that the lacing has some elastic to it – though it was very nice, comfort-wise.
  • Original concept sketch for this costume with notes on materials, colours, etc.

    Fringed scarf (over my belly – it’s actually attached to the bra, but was made as a separate piece) The fringe is layers of black fringe, and it’s topped off with a blue, red, and green tassel-fringe trim. Mostly I like this for the illusion of having a ‘bare’ belly – without actually really showing anything.

  • Black fishnet shirt, mostly for coverage.  In the original outfit I hung some jewelry from the shirt, but for some odd reason I couldn’t find it this time around.  The first time around I wore a purchased fishnet shirt – but this time around I wore one I made instead.
  • Tassel-belt in red butterfly brocade that laced together, with skull beads hanging from the tassels.
  • and the only new thing… the new headpiece. Originally I wore a coin belt over my head, but at least I had something new for this time around…

It was really nice to have something existing already – so that I didn’t have to freak out about not having anything.  I’ve included photos that I took a while ago, when I first made the outfit.  The bra doesn’t fit the dressform at ALL, but it gives you an idea of what I was wearing.

The pants and belt, minus the bra-top

Forgive all of the things in the background of these photos!

So, once I wasn’t worried about having an outfit, I could concentrate on doing some cool make up.  There had been someone at the party taking photographs, but I hesitate when someone wants to take my photo (for so many reasons) so I declined.  Had I known him better I might have asked for a photo or two of my make up in the early stages of the party, because instead I took a photo when I got home – and a lot of the glamour of the make up had worn off.

Edited photo of the Sultan's Tent make up

The photo is edited (of course!) but I lined my eyes in black liquid liner, then highlighted it with liquid metallic blue and copper.  There are decorations on my forehead with the blue and copper liner, and a spirit-gum applied stone.  I also have a wealth of gold and copper eyeshadow on, and darkened my eyebrows for a stronger ‘frame’ for all that was going on.  I contoured around the eye area with copper shadow, and used bronzer elsewhere for contour.  I did do sort of an “eye of Horus” curl under the eyes with black liner, but throughout the party they disappeared.  The overall look I was going for was something like the lid on an Egyptian sarcophagus.  Self-photos are hard to do well at 4am!

On another note – the copper eyeliner came off fairly well, but the black and blue both took 4 different kinds of makeup remover and a lot of time – good liner!

Sultan’s Tent Headpiece

Written April 8 – edited and published later.

So, from the Sultan’s Tent post, I figured that one of the things I’d like to make for this event is a headpiece, likely because I was inspired by the headpieces I made for the Winter Wonderland event.

This started out with three different ‘silk’ hydrangea flowers from Michael’s (50% off) in brown, red, and off-white.  I also ended up picking up a black one, but didn’t end up using it.  Before I started picking them apart, I REALLY like the combination of these colours!

I picked off a few of the flowers, using more brown than red or off-white, because I wanted this to be primarily brown, for that steampunk vibe.  I wanted red in it as well though to coordinate better with the costume I will be pulling together.  Hmm yeah, the party is tomorrow.  I am quickly running out of time to pull things together!

I cut out a base from black felt, and with a hot glue gun, added flower petals.  Then I cut out some fantastic glittery ribbon (in black, red, and copper/brown), and used them as ‘streamers’ to dangle down, then some brown satin ribbon as well.  I added another felt piece for the back along with two hair clips (one to hold the weight of the piece, and the other to hold it in place).

I glued additional pieces of the glitter ribbon into the piece to cover up blank spots and add some shimmer, and then hand-stitched on some cool twisty chain to dangle from it along with the ribbon streamers.

I had really wanted to add some copper chain like the chain I used in another project – but I didn’t have the time to get to the store where I had bought it, and didn’t see anything I liked at Michael’s – except for this cool twisty beaded chain-type-item, so I bought two pieces, linked them together, and hand-stitched that in.  (I thought I might re-use it later, since it was somewhat heavy, and this will very possibly by a one-time-only headpiece).

Forgive the messy hair, this was taken at the end of the night.

I really liked the way that this turned out – with a few caveats.

  1. I glued one hair clip in, and the other one didn’t get glued in, but rather slid in.  This was a happy accident, because it made securing the second clip much, much easier.
  2. Overall, I worried once I wore it that the brown flowers matched my hair a little too much, and they didn’t stand out.  This likely wont be an issue at another time, since it’s unlikely I’ll keep the same hair colour for long!
  3. The glittery ribbons seemed to catch on everything, including my hair.  Although I love the look of them, it’s unlikely I’d use them again for a wearable project.

Full length of the piece and the streamers

Above is a shot of the full headpiece (ignore the red sheer ribbon that it’s hanging from) including the twisty copper “chain”.

Flowers in the piece

Above is a close up of the flowers.