Saturday, 2 November 2019

Spirit of the Mine 2019

Over the autumn school holiday and Halloween we have special tours in the mine that talk about the scarier histories. This is the time when actually talk about gruesome deaths and the mine spirit - the Lady of the Mine/Gruvfrun also makes an appearance.

I like playing the Lady of the Mine, but I have to work with what we have. There is an old white gown that has been used for a very long time in the mine and last year I bought several meters of organza to use for these special tours. I don't like the Lady being only dressed in white, since that according to folklore is a special sign and there are other stories of her being dressed as a rich woman in colorful clothes. Also during the tour I need to be able to run, quickly get out of the gown and back in again, so it still needed to be a loose garment. The solution was to simply pin swathes of organza on the white gown. My aim was to make the skirt look like she grew out of the floor and took a solid shape just above the waist

I also brought with me my own make up to try and paint her. I did use some UV paints in red and yellow to accent some features, because I show up in the dark in a segment. That's why I have a red stripe on my nose, but I still thought it looked good.

This is what I ended up looking like. The photos are taken with my phone, so they are a bit washed out, my hair and the organza are much brighter in real life.

And for some mysterious vibes

Friday, 1 November 2019

AvestaCon photos

As I said in my previous post I had the opportunity to have photos taken with Red Island Media and he has already sent some of them to me.

My main priority was to finally get decent photos of my pilot. I have had several sessions with photographers for the pilot, and then they have disappeared without sending me the photos. This has made me weary about using photographers who don't get paid, or whom I don't already know. Thankfully I know this photographer, he is also the one who did the beautful Melisandre photos last year at AvestaCon.

Then I had just recently dyed my hair and I was really happy with the result, so I chose to do some photos of me as a regular Hogwarts student, so I could show off the hair. I'm calling these photos Autumn at Hogwarts

I had to have at least one photo of me as Luna as well though, and with some nice scenery around I wanted to have her in nature where she belongs

One of the best things with AvestaCon is the location, there are simply so many interesting things in a place made from slag bricks and with nature just around the corner.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

AvestaCon 2019 report

I managed to hardly take any photos at AvestaCon, but I got the chance to do some photoshoots with red island media and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you later on.

Anyway me and Tom set off to Avesta on Friday and arrived there by lunch. Tom has been working really hard all year with AvestaCon, since we had decided that the Cosplay Dalarna network should be in charge of all cosplay related things. We had decided that instead of having a crafting corner we should have an actual exhibit to show off the variety of cosplay projects in our group.

AvestaCon is held in Verket, an old iron foundry and the main area is divided into several smaller rooms. Cosplay Dalarna had one of the rooms, and in one of the corners Wolfdog Cosplay also set up a 3d printer to show off what you can do with that.

I had brought my Melisandre costume for display, but managed to forget the necklace. That's when we came up with the idea of printing photos of us in our costumes to show what they look like when worn.

On Saturday I wore my x-wing pilot, so then my Ravenclaw outfit was on display. I wore the pilot because we did an actual troop with the Nordic Legions. It was me, two stormtroopers from Västerås, Alexandra as Leia and Ann-Sofie as Tintin. AvestaCon is the most local con so it was also fun meeting up with friends who usually don't see me in costume.

Photo from my friend Niklas and his son. Brita (Brutus Cosplay) in the background as Fiddlesticks from League of Legends
On Saturday Cosplay Dalarna also organised the Dalecarlia Championships in Cosplay.

Top 3 in the Cosplay Competition
After the cosplay competition there wasn't much going on, but the convention was still open, so we rigged up some PlayStation SingStar and I might have been the most enthusiastic about singing a lot of old pop songs.

On Sunday I wore my Ravenclaw outfit, first as a regular student and later as Luna Lovegood, so the X-wing costume went on display.

It was nice sitting and chilling in our sofa the sofa in the cosplay exhibit.

Niclas did some workshops with helping children make magic wands of chopsticks and worbla, so I made one of myself, so I don't have to always use Luna's wand. I just need to prime and paint it.

The con ended on Sunday with a scrapheap cosplay contest, where teams of up to four people could raid a load of trash and ten had 30 minutes to create a cosplay. Me and Tom hosted and judged it, together with Ann-Sofie.

The entries in the scrapheap cosplay contest, photo by woodsling

This was so much fun to watch, but really hard to judge. I think everyone taking part, or watching the contest had a great time. Then it was time to pack up everything and get home. It was an exhausting weekend, like it is when you are helping out with organizing stuff. AvestaCon is still a new con and still needs to solve some things, but overall it was a success compared to the previous year and there were more visitors as well. It still has a lot of potential to grow though.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

A fun dress for work

This spring a friend of mine who is in a bunch of sewing FB groups told me about a limited sale of a special printed fabric, and when I saw the fabric I knew that I to be in on it. It took me a while, but this is the finished dress that I made from the fabric.

I fell love in the fabric because of the symbols and the colour. While most people see this symbol as a female sign

it's also the old chemical sign for copper. There is a connection since it was originally a symbol for the love godess Afrodite or Venus, and according to Greek/Roman mythology she was connected to the island of Cyprus, and on Cyprus there were a lot of copper mines. Afrodite/Venus was early on connected with copper, in fact the word copper comes from latin "cuprum" meaning metall from Cyprus. The male sign is likewise also the sign for the war good Ares/Mars and iron.

I work at Falu Gruva - an historical copper mine, even if there are a lot of other stuff there as well, and a UNESCO world heritage site. The mine has used the symbol since at least the 17th century and it can also be found in the Falun coat of arms. This is the current logo for the Falun mine.

The orange and navy colours were also a reason why I liked the fabric. We use a lot of orange in our graphic profile, and the combination of orange and blue is also used in the traditional folk costume of Falun (Stora Kopparberg). As a feminist I also think it's fun to play around with the symbol, and I'm definitely aware that for most people it doesn't mean copper.

Anyway it took me a while to come up with a pattern for the dress. I had a limited amount of fabric and I was also a bit bored with my standard jersey dress pattern. In the end I found the pattern company Simple Sew patterns and decided to order some patterns from them. For this dress I chose the Lena wrap dress, which is actually a faux wrap dress and not a full wrap dress.

When I had cut out the patterns I realized that I didn't have enough fabric for it, but I found a scrap piece of blue jersey from my "I heart SW-dress" and a really thin piece of jersey from my fandom fashion Enfys that I could use for a lining. I used the blue fabric for the waist band and I had to cut the sleeves in half, with one part of the printed fabric and one in the blue, to get a full sleeve. I think that gave it a fun detail though. I also chose to skip the bottom of the skirt and instead I simply cut out the skirt and the bottom as one piece. The skirt is quite big though and takes up a lot of fabric, but if you have enough fabric you get a nice swirly skirt.

The pattern was a real joy to work with. It says that the skill level is adventurous beginner, and I thought it was a very easy pattern to use. One should note that the lining pieces are exactly the same as the outer fabric pieces so I chose not to cut them out and instead just used the outer fabric pattern pieces for the lining as well. All the markings are clearly marked, and there are not a lot of them either. The instructions are well illustrated, the one thing that's not in the pattern itself is the setting of the sleeves, but there it says that if you are unsure about setting sleeves you should go to their video instructions online. I also like that you had all the sizes in one pattern envelope, you don't have to wonder if you should buy the plus size or regular pattern.

The pattern ended up a bit big in the bust for me, but that's not uncommon for wrap dresses. My bust simply is proportionally a bit too small for my size. When I wear the dress for work I will have to put a safety pin or some tacking stitches or else it might be too revealing

This is a pattern that  can definitely recommend and I look forward to trying out more patterns from Simply Sew.

The dress with flash

Thursday, 10 October 2019

HSM19 Challenge 10 - details, another smocked apron

It's funny I think I made my first smocked apron for the October HSM18 challenge, and now it's time again. I think a big reason is that I enjoy sitting in front of the TV on a dark evening and a smocked apron is just the right size to work with in the sofa. October is also a bit of a calm month after the summer costume season, but before any Christmas stress or other things pick up, perfect for some smocking.

This time I didn't do an apron for myself though. This is for a friend, who due to physical issues can't handsew. She's going to help me with some other things, so it will be an exchange of services. It also means that I had to keep proper track of how much money I spent and how much time it took.

For the fabric I used a linen from which is unbleached and has the feel of being handwoven. I have bought more of it to make a shift for a working woman for myself out of it. For the apron I bought one meter, and then I cut out strips off the sides to create the waistband, but otherwise I use the full width of the fabric.

I started the project on a really cozy crafting evening at a friend's place. Where there were four of us sitting in a wooden loft and made 16th century stuff.

I started with hemming the bottom and the side of the apron, and then it was time to make the gathering stitches. I use a regular sewing thread in a visible colour for the gathering stitches. You actually don't need to be too fuzzy about the exact measurments for the stitches, but they need to be equal.

I prefer to make the rows of gathering stitches fairly tight horizontally, because then I can use the gathering threads as guidelines when working the smocking stitches. I usually do six rows, and I tie the gathering threads together in pairs, since that makes it easier to pull them later on.

Here is the fabric with the gathering threads pulled together.

Now it's time for the smocking itself. I start at the top gathering thread, hold folds 1 and 2 together and do two to three backstitches to sew them together. Then I go to gathering thread number 3 and 5 and do the same thing. It usually looks a bit wonky at the start, but it will look better with more rows done. 

On the way back up you hold fold 2 and 3 and make stitches at the 6, 4 and 2 gathering threads. The aim is to get rows of altrnating stitches that will make up the honeycome pattern.

Once you have gone the full width of the fabric remove the gathering threads and decided how wide you want the apron to be. The honeycome smocking is quite elastic so it's easy to adjust the size. 

 The last thing to th finished apron is to add a waistband. It's a simple folded band, from strips of the same fabric. I like making the waistband extra long so that I can tie it in the front, which is a lesson I learnt when I had my shoulder problem and lost a lot of my mobility and simply couldn't tie anything behind my back.

As for details, the theme of the challenge. Since this apron wasn't for my personal use I really took the time to be careful with the stitches. I'm happy with the smocking, but I'm even more satisfied with what you can't see. I managed to make the hems invisible from the right side, and the waistband is sewn together with tiny slip stitches.

Invisible hem

The slipstitched waistband

What the item is: a smocked apron
How it fits the challenge: All the tiny seams that are totally invisible, until you get really, really close
Material: 1 m of unbleached linen
Pattern: My own
Year: smocked aprons were used in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Notions: unbleached linen thread and wax for the thread
How historically accurate is it? As far as my knowledge this is as close as you can get the materials and patterns of the time, but since I'm not sure I put it at 85%
Hours to complete: 15
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: $22

Friday, 20 September 2019

ComicCon Stockholm 2019

It was time again for ComicCon Stockholm, which is the biggest comiccon-like event of the year in Sweden. This year I didn't bring anything new, but it was the first time I wore Luna Lovegood for a big event, it was also the first time that we had the whole HP crew from Cosplay Dalarna assembled.

Friday is always a slow day. I did a stint as X-wing pilot in the Nordic Legions' booth. I decided to have some fun with make-up though, I mean how often can you wear the green lipstick you got from your sister?

Matching lips and hairband

I finally had the opportunity to meet up with the amazing Britta though, at NärCon I had only seen her in a distance when she was wearing her costume. She is definitely one of the coolest and nicest cosplayers I know.

Saturday was crazy. Simply put they had oversold tickets and let way too many people in. It was so crowded that you could barely move. The queue outside was Celebration-like, stretching for hundreds of meters. It was great fun patrolling the queue though, and it's always fun when you do it in a group. This time there were four of us X-wing pilots going around.

I also had a presentation of the Nordic Legions. It was the same set-up as in NärCon, since I think that works really well. It was a bigger crowd than at NärCon, but also more kids who just wanted to see cool costumes and not listen to the "behind the scenes" of being in one of the big Star Wars costuming clubs.

After the talk I switched to Lune Lovegood for the rest of the day, and had a lot of fun with the HP Dalarna people.

When my bloodsugar dropped I even found some candy that was straight out of Honeydukes

The whole HP gang ready for action
We also made the Heroes Cosplay Walk on, but that was a mess due to the number of people and the organizers not setting a cap on the number of entrants. We got a lot of cheers from the audience though, showing once again that a group is always appreciated.

On Sunday I was in the Nordic Legions' booth as Luna, it was my first official Reel Icons troop. There were a bunch of different characters, which always leads to fun photos, but my favorite was the little girl who came as Luna and wanted to have her photo with me. She got to borrow my wand as well, and she was really cute.

Cape off with Batman

Dancing with Haddock, Tintin, Harley Quinn and Batman

Being confused over muggle technology

This is how it works!

Force vs. magic
Unfortunately I didn't feel very well, I had had a cold the week before, and now it returned. I got out of costume and finally got some good photos of my "I heart SW"-dress that I made a year ago.

I was really happy that I had hitched a ride with Monika and Niklas home, instead of sitting on the train. I then had to stay home from work for a couple of days, but now I'm hoping that I'm finally rid of the cold. Next event will be AvestaCon last weekend in October.

Photos are also from the Nordic Legions' camera, ArtyAnna Cosplay and Tinkky Cosplay

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

HSM19 Challenge 9: Everyday Wear - the mustard kirtle

The HSM19 Challenge for September is Everyday wear.

 Everyday: It’s not all special occasion frocks. Make something that would have been worn or used for everyday.

I was happy that  I could use my mustard kirtle for this challenge. Even if I am planning to wear the kirtle as an underkirtle for a more grand project, my plan all along was to make the kirtle as a stand alone item that I could wear for more regular occasions, and portray a more simple woman than I have a tendency to do when I only make pretty, pretty dresses.

For all the posts in this project, follow the tag "mustard kirtle" . It is a basic pattern, two side pieces and two back pieces. The lacing holes are bound by hand, and I'm using a lucet cord for the lacing. The kirtle has loose sleeves, that I can skip when I'm using it as an underkirtle. So far I have pinned them on, but I'm thinking about adding lacing holes so that I can tie them on instead.

I wore it to the Medieval days in Älvkarley August 31-September 1. I noticed that it was a very comfortable kirtle, but I am going to tighten it up a bit before I use it as an underkirtle. The straps are a tiny bit too long to support the bust and I can definitely get it more snug. For now though it is a very comfortable everyday kirtle.

What the item is: An early 16th century kirtle
How it fits the challenge: A kirtle to be wear for every day and portraying a working woman
Material: 4 m of mustard yellow wool tabby
Pattern: My own
Year: First quarter of the 16th century
Notions: Linen thread, a 10 cm strip of wool flanell as a hem guard.
How historically accurate is it? It's all handsewn iwth period materials, I'm putting this in the 90% category
Hours to complete: 2 weeks
First worn: Laxöns Medeltidsdagar August 30
Total cost: $130