“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

Royal Tyrrell Museum

Another recent trip I took was to Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It started out with good intentions; one of the local Steampunk groups was organizing a group trip down there, and I thought it would be a nice chance to meet up with them, dress up a little, and visit the museum, since I haven’t been since Junior High!  My BFF came along as well, since she also hasn’t been able to go for years and years.  We got there about 20 minutes in advance, and waited around until about 15 past the assigned meeting time in the assigned meeting spot.  I sent an email to the event host, and checked the event message board on Facebook, and didn’t hear that the time was being pushed back or anything – so at quarter-past, we got tired of waiting in the heat, and went inside.  (She had another event to go to that evening, so we were working on a schedule…)

So the Steampunk part of the trip was a bit of a wash honestly… as we were leaving (more than two hours later) we passed a couple who were dressed in Steampunk attire, but at that point we were running tightly on schedule, so I didn’t even stop to say hello… 😦  I was kind of bummed out that the specific point of going was to connect with the group, and also disappointed that the organizer never did get back to me.  It’s entirely possible that she wasn’t able to make it herself, and that the two people who we saw as we left were the only ones who even made it at all.  Oh well… I’ll just have to try again to get out to meet up with them.

BUT… since it’s relevant to my blog, I thought I’d share with you some of the photos from the museum all the same.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of how I dressed up for the event, since when we were outside, it was just too hot and sticky, and when we were inside, it was like Disneyland on a Teacher’s Conference day… (insanely busy and full of children.)  Note to self… go to these things on a weekday if possible to avoid the crowds!


T-Rex is obviously well loved here – there were at least three models like this… and they are HUGE!  (Ok.. I don’t know if all of them were T-Rex, but I think they were… I’m not so into it that I can tell them all apart…)

Cool bookshelf

Along with just being a display to coordinate with their prehistoric oceans exhibits, I thought that this was a neat setting for a Steampunk-esque scientist or explorer.  Plus, I love the light-filled shelves…….. hahah

Baby Octopus

One of the displays on those light-filled shelves was this little baby octopus.  It too made me think of the Cephaopod Tea Party blog that I like reading sometimes.

Under the sea....

An interesting under the sea display.

wacky carrot-like nautiloids

The under the sea display had these really interesting nautiloids that look a lot like carrots!  There were a number of other weird ones too, but I couldn’t get a great shot of them.  😦

After the museum we grabbed some lunch (wow it was hard to find a good place to eat in town… we ended up getting stuff from the deli at the grocery store instead) and then headed out to the hoodoos, and from there, home!

If you want to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum for yourself, here’s the info:

Toll free in Alberta
310-0000 then 403-823-7707

Toll free in North America (outside Alberta)

P.O. Box 7500
Drumheller, Alberta Canada T0J 0Y0

Highway 838 Midland Provincial Park
Drumheller, Alberta Canada T0J 0Y0

More miniature millinery

Mini tricorn

After making a few mini top hats, I wanted to try something different, so I decided to try mini tricorn hats instead! I had been thinking for a really long time about HOW a tricorn hat would be laid out, pattern-wise, and then I was in Dressew in Vancouver, and tried on a full-size costume tricorn (really low quality for Halloween).  Once I had it in my hands, the pattern became obvious, and I made a mental note so I could repeat it (in miniature!) at home.

I made two of these hats – the first one is a green shot with brown taffeta – the colour changes depending on the light, between a medium green, to a grey, to a copper colour.  It’s awesome fabric… (I had it left over from a corset I made and sold.)  This one is slightly bigger than the other one.  The hat is lined in gold dupionni silk (also leftover, this time from a one-shoulder dress and an overbust corset). The brim edge of the hat is wired, so that I could curve it properly to make the tricorn effect work.

The green hat is trimmed with mini black gimp braid (You can usually find the larger variety at general fabric stores, but I’ve had trouble finding the mini variation.) and then a cockade made from black grosgrain ribbon.  I attached the ribbon to a pin back so that the decoration would be removable, and to the pin also attached three copper-toned gears.  (These are from the scrapbooking section of my nearest craft store, and are the Tim Holtz sprocket gears you’ll see alllll over the place in steampunk crafts/accessories/jewellery.)  I then made a little decoration out of peacock feather strands and curled the edges with my thumbnail and tucked them into the pin as well.

Mini Tricorn

Here is my stuffed bear, wearing the green hat. The fishnet shirt he’s wearing is mine. Gotta love fishnet!

Pair of mini tricorns

Here’s a photo of the green hat, along with the second one I made, a silver hat. The drinking glasses should give you an idea of the size/proportion of these hats.

The silver one is made from white shot with black taffeta – so the result is a silver tone, that again changes colour (from very light grey to almost black) depending on the light.  (The fabric was leftover from my Victorian gown.) This one is slightly smaller, but is made in almost exactly the same way.  This hat is lined in beautiful black rayon bemberg lining (again, another project leftover), and the eecoration is a black grosgrain cockade with a silver cockade layered over it.  The silver is the same fabric, and I singed the edges to make it work as a “ribbon”.  The cockade is also pined on with a broach pin, and is embellished with a nickle-finish Tim Holtz keyhole, with matching brads.  Hanging from the keyhole are little tiny keys charms on incredibly fine chains.  (You could get similar charms from Suzie Q Beads, which I profiled earlier.)

Mini tricorn

Teddy gets to wear this one too….

Both of these hats have hand-sewn loops to attach a comb as well, though thus far I’ve found that the location of the comb isn’t working as well as I would have hoped, so I might need to revisit this at some point.

The Art of Making Miniature Millinery - click for the Amazon listing

Mum has this book – the Art of Making Miniature Millinery, by Timothy Alberts, M Dalton King, and Pat Henry, and I think that the next hat I’ll make will be from in here – a bonnet they have a pattern for.  Other than that, I think I’d like to try to make a full-sized tricorn, not unlike some of the gorgeously embellished tricorn hats by Topsy Turvey Design, or the elegant variations at the Ruby Raven.  How awesome would it be to find a miniature ship for that matter too? 🙂

Miniature millinery

Mini top hat

A number of years ago i picked up an adorable little mini-top hat from Torrid, down in the USA.  (Las Vegas if I remember correctly).  It came in black and white, and I only bought the black (but then later wished I’d bought the white as well.. it was white sinamay instead of ‘felt’, and would have been so summer-cute…).  Since at that time I didn’t find any mini-hats locally, I got thinking about how to make one of my own.  (Truthfully, I’d been thinking of making one of my own for ages, but getting one to use as an example only pushed me further to do my own.)

This one was the first one that I made.  It started with a pre-made fake felt base, and then I added on a tulle veil, and applied random black sequins and seed beads to that veil. (Yep, each one had to be stitched on and tied off individually to avoid the floating threads.)  I also did a little grouping of black silk flowers, and some black feathers.  I attached a comb using black elastic button loops.  (You can find that in the bridal section of good sewing stores.)  The comb helps the hat stay on – I don’t care for ones set on hair bands, since the hard ones always seem to pinch my head, and both the hard and soft ones limit how I can wear my hair.

Mini Wellington

The next one I made was a mini-wellington top hat.  Wellingtons are larger at the top of the hat (crown) than they are where the hat meets the brim – think of the Mad Hatter’s top hat.  This is actually a legitimate style, not just something out of costume & fantasy… 😉

This one I made 100% from scratch – the hat base itself is heavy black cotton twill, the lining is recycled dress fabric from a bright red polyester jacquard dress, and I pleated the diamond-weave red ribbon and covered it with black sequins for the hat band.  The stiffening inside the hat is interfacing along with the base from rug-making supplies!

The brim is trimmed with black grosgrain ribbon, and the red diamond-weave ribbon creates the streamers at the back as well.  I added a few black silk flowers and leaves, and made a ribbon rosette from the same red diamond-weave ribbon and black grosgrain ribbon to decorate the back.  The centre of the rosette is a hand-made black velvet button, and a red velvet button along with some black jet (or faux jet) buttons (from my button stash) decorate the brim as well.  The final touch is a peacock feather, which references the whole Mad Hatter idea… and adds some additional colour from my ever-repeated black and red colour scheme.

This one is also worn with a comb, though it’s a bit heavier, so it has to be in the right spot or it will go off-kilter…

After this one, I also made a smaller mini-top hat… which I’m keeping to give someone as a gift – so no photos for now!

More miniature millinery to come!