Saturday, 28 December 2013

Favorite costume photos of 2013

When you are finished with your costume, a lot of costuming is about posing for pictures and having fun with your friends. This is simply a collection of my favorite photos of me in costume 2013, I'm not going to wear any more costumes this year, but I'm really looking forward to 2014..

10. Me as a female Santa during the traditional Christmas market at work

9. Trying to go bowling in costume had its challenges, but nothing that couldn't be helped with some help from a friend

8. The first ever photo of two A-wing pilots, with A-wing helmets, together.

7. Snow White reading a book about occultism

6. Come taste a sweet Gingerbread jawa

5. It's important to match the colour of the robe with the surroundings

4. A (speeder) bike babe is both hot and cool
3. The fun you can have with friends in costume
2. Drama in blue and silver underground

1. Bringing joy to the children
The last picture isn't the best of my costume, but whenever people wonder why I spend a lot of money on going to places and dressing up, then I can just show this picture and the smile of that girl when she got to meet a real space princess and hero.

Friday, 27 December 2013

cheap 18th century shoes

When doing historical costuming, it's always so hard to find shoes. There are quite a few wonderful shoemakers out there, but the prices are what you can expect from artisans doing a specialized craft. I plan on buying a pair of shoes from American Duchess one day, those shoes aren't too expensive, but the freight and customs double the final price. For my first events I used the pair of shoes I wear with my folk costume, but this summer I got to know all the things that are wrong with them. They are also a bit clumsy. Throughout the summer and autumn I was on the lookout for a suitable pair of shoes, whenever I visited the local second hand store. I wanted a pair of black or red shoes, and I mostly looked at the shape of the heel, I wanted something at least close to a classic pompadour heel.

original shoe

One day I stumbled upon these for 125 SEK.They had an ugly plastic buckle, but I started with removing that one. Then I discovered that the straps were asymmetric, one long and one short.

Straps folded

I cut off a piece of the too long strap, and simply used superglue to attach it to the shorter one. Then I folded both straps into the shoe and attached them to the side with more superglue.

 I threaded some nice ribbon in the loops that were formed from the straps, and voilà a pair of decent 18th century shoes. I can also change the ribbons whenever I want to match whatever I'm wearing.

There are no pics of the heels, and I like them because of the shape, but it's visible that they are built up from several layers of plastic. Still I don't think anyone is going to crawl on their knees and judge the shoes that closely. They still look better than my folk costume shoes toegether with my historical gowns.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry (and costumey) Christmas

Since we celebrate Christmas Eve as the main day of the holidays I want to just say a big and warm "Merry Christmas" to you all in preparation for the coming days.

This is my holiday-themed costume from the year. For the Sci-Fi con in Stockholm in early december I turned my jawa costume into a gingerbread jawa and ran around and gave people gingerbread cookies. The white trims are simply pieces of an old bedsheet that I pinned onto the costume.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Snow White III - accessories and final gown

In order to finish the Snow White look I needed to add some details. I decided to add her standing white collar and a red cape. I also wanted to make her sleeves a bit more closer to the original slashed sleeves, so I added red cuffs to them.

 The sleeve was probably not very historically accurate, but it still looked good. I started with a half circle and added three darts to give it some shape.

The base layer was heavy cotton canvas, and on both sides of each dart I added boning tape and put short pieces of synthetic whale bone in.

The outer layers were heavy poly satin. I had planned to actually use some nice silk for it, but it was too flimsy. Instead I found this heavy poly satin in my stash and decided to use it. I also
added some iron on interfacing to them. Then I sewed the two outer pieces together, so that they formed a pocket, I kept the lower, straight edge open. I then slid the canvas layer, with the boning, into the pocket and closed it with a piece of cotton bias tape. 

The cape was a rectangular piece of silk charmeuse that I hand hemmed. The top of it was gathered into a piece of red cotton bias tape. I sewed the cape on to the dress by folding it over the neckline and tacking the bias tape to the lining. The reason why I had used biast tape was simply because I didn't want to to stitch through the silk, since this is a cape that is going to be taken on and off.

At this stage I also realized that Snow White's cape is tied in front, so I had to make two ribbons and attach them. This turned out really well though since the red ribbons gave a nice frame to the front neckline. After the cape was sewn on I also attached the collar by tacking it to the lining.

I don't have any pictures of the cuffs, but they were basically just tubes that I sewed on to the hem of the sleeve, folded up and attached to the sleeve. I also added some small flounces of silk chiffon to the sleeves.

Here you can see the dress from the back/side. Together with a gorgeous Little Red Riding Hood. One thing I hadn't calculated was that my hair was actually so big that it pushed the collar more backwards than I had planned.
Here's the dress from the front/side. Quite late at night in a hot room, so excuse the glazed and seaty face.

My plan for the future of this gown is to turn it into a more historical costume. I still have some of the blue taffeta left and I want to make a lot more trims for it. I had planned to make some bows for the skirt from the red cape fabric, but simply ran out. I also want to make bigger flounces. This was to try to make the flounces from the RH822 pattern, but I'm more happy with the ones I've made from tutorials on the internet.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Snow White II - sleeves

As mentioned in my posts about my other two robe anglaises I had a big problem with the sleeves. For Snow White I wanted that fit well and went down to below the elbow. I also knew that some day I want to make a gown with a full length sleeve. So for the first time in a really long time I decided to take my time and draft a pattern that fit me, and that I would be able to use for other projects as well. I didn't start from scratch though.

 To the left is the lining of the sleeve for my 1760s jacket, that i ripped out, and to the right is my modified sleeve pattern for the RH822 gowns. The 1760's sleeve had a good size and the other one had a good shape, but was too big in the sleeve head and too short after my modifications.

I measured the length of the sleeve head from the good fitting sleeve and put markers on the good shaped sleeves. Then I took a good look at the sleeves in Arnold and freehanded a line that followed both the markings and the shape of both sleeves.
The sleeve was still too short though, so I cut it in half and spread it out, I think I added around 10-15 cm.

This is the final pattern for a full length 18th century sleeve. I didn't just measure though. It took a lot of pinning and marking with pen until I had a good fit.

The resulting sleeve goes all the way down to my wrist, is shaped so it doesn't just hang straight down but has a nice curve, and I have no problem getting my fat over arms into it.

Here are the sleeves attached to the bodice. As you can see these sleeves are just 3/4 sleeves. In order to shorten them I folded away the middle of the sleeve pattern above, so I would keep the curves at both ends of the sleeve.

Unfortunately the sleeves didn't fit perfectly, but it has more to do with shape and size of the armscye. It was too small, so I had to make more pleats than planned to get the sleeve the fit, and I got a bit of a bulge in the back as well

Still I'm happy with the sleeve pattern, and this one of the most self drafted pattern pieces I have ever made, so it has given me confidence in trying to do more of that in the future, as well as managing better with scaling up patterns from books.

Read more in Snow White III

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Snow White 1780

In October it was time for my biggest 18th century event ever. A ball held at a private mansion in the south of Sweden. It was a masquerade and the theme was fairytale. Since I still consider myself a beginner when it comes to 18th century costuming I realized that I wouldn't be able to make the most accurate or the most stunning costume, but I could make one with a lot of humor. I decided to dress up as a Disney princess, but as if she had lived in the 1780's. My choice fell on Snow White, since her colour scheme and style is easily recognizable.

The basic idea was simple:
Dark blue bodice with puffy sleeves lined with red, a red cape and white stand up collar
Yellow skirt

My first thought was to do a short blue jacket and plain skirt, but when I imagined it I realised that the puffy sleeves would look too unproportional to that. Adding a flounce to the skirt might help, but I haven’t seen any flounced skirts to that kind of jacket. It could work with a jacket with a short skirt or tails, but I don’t have a pattern for that, and I don’t trust myself when it comes to draping totally new patterns. Then I found this extant gown from the Metropolitan Museum.

It’s still a robe anglaise, so I could use the same pattern I used for my spring gowns, but the skirt of the robe is put so far back that it wouldn't overwhelm the yellow skirt. So when I had decided what style I going to use I had a plan of attack.

Then came the fabric decisions. I can only rely on websites to find suitable fabrics, but that means taking risks when it comes to the actual colour and feel of the fabric. The big decision was if I should use silk or not. Silk is expensive, but the feeling is just so much better than everything else. In my heart I had probably decided that I wanted to make a silk dress, but it took some time to be able justify the extra cost. For the petticoat I’m using a gold/yellow brushed cotton though. Also making a cotton petticoat means that I can use it for some more every day attire in the future. Still since it’s brushed it’s a bit shiny, and heavier than just a normal cotton.

Petticoat breakdown
Materials used: 4 yards of 110 cm wide brushed cotton. I made a mistake and didn’t notice that the webshop took orders in yards and not in meters so I thought I had bought 4 meters. The difference isn’t that big, but since I used absolutely all of the fabric, wit 4 meters I could have gotten a deeper flounce rather than just a small ruffle as a trim. I also used a couple of meters of cotton ribbon for the waistband. It’s white, but it won’t be visible and I rather use white but sturdy cotton than the yellow but slinky satin ribbon that I had.

Historical accuracy: I sewed the side seams and the waist band on the machine but hemmed the petticoat and the ruffle by hand. The ruffle is also attached by hand. I’ve only used pure cotton, no polyester or other synthetic materials
The Robe
 I got to borrow my sister’s dressform, so that I could get started. I really need to buy a dressform for myself, it’s been so much easier to be able to try and pin stuff togeter before cutting and sewing.

I used the RH822 again and started with cutting out the lining out of cotton canvas. As you can see it was too big and the neckline was really high. I took out most of the width in the side seams and then I simply cut the neckline wider. To be honest I cut it a bit too wide, but it works, I just have to fiddle a bit to make sure that the upper binding or the straps of the stays don't show through.

This is the bodice, just before finishing the neckline and the bottom. The outer fabric is a navy silk taffeta. It's closed with hook and eye tape, sure that's not the most historically accurate but it works really well. You can also se how far back the skirt of the robe is set. From the front you will see the petticoat and the bodice, but not much of the skirt of the robe.

Read more in the next post: Snow White II

Monday, 16 December 2013

Fabric shopping in London

I've just come home from a short holiday in London. Since I had most of the days just by myself, and since I have already seen most of the "must sees" in London, I had decided that it was time to do some fabric hunting. I first went to the Swedish sewing forum and found this thread about fabric stores in London I also found the blog Tilly and the Buttons, and her recommendations for fabric shopping. Both places recommended Liberty, Goldhawk Road and Walthamstow.

I spent the first day in London in the shopping district around Oxford Cirkus, so of course I went to Liberty. Since my focus is mainly on finding fabrics for historical costuming, or Star Wars, I didn't find anything that caught my eyes there. It's mostly prints, so it must be a heaven for quilters, but not my kind of fabric store. On my last day I decided to visit Goldhawk Road. It was mostly because I was quite tired and it's closer to central London. It's still in zone 2 on the Tube so I could go there on my daypass, unlike Walthamstow that's further out at the end of the Victoria line.

Goldhawk Road was great. A full street with little shops with Sikh owners that were really friendly, but not pushy when I went into their shops. Most of the fabrics were really shiny and glitzy poly satins, there were some shops that had a lot of prints as well. Once again I'm not really into fabrics with small flowery prints, or African inspired prints. The poly fabrics were cheap, at least compared to what I'm used to, but there were also at least one shop with quality, natural fibres. It was filled with nice tweeds, wools and linens. I of course ended up there and spent most of my cash in just one shop.

The one thing that is so great about being able to go to a physical store is just the inspiration that you get by seeing the bolts of fabric, and being able to feel them and compare them. That is nothing you can do on ebay. In the end I bought three different fabrics.

The two top fabrics are good example of me just getting floored when I saw them. They are a very fine and pure wool, great draping. I hadn't planned on buying anything like that, but the bolts were on top of each other and the yellow and blue/dark green colous just looked so great together that I knew that I wanted to use one fabric for something, and to trim it with the other. Now this wasn't a cheap fabric, it cost £20/m, but I'm pretty sure that I would still have to pay the double if I found anything like it around here. My thought definitely goes toward a little 18th century jacket in the blue/green fabric with yellow trimmings.

The third fabric was a changeant poly chiffon. This one was really cheap though, £2,5/m. I've been on the lookout for a changeant chiffon to make a new veil for my Amidala Purple Travel gown, and this might be it. I have to see if it's a tad too dark though, I guess I have to see it compared to the rest of the gown and in different lights. Otherwise I'm thinking about doing a simple bias cut party dress out of it. I have a vogue pattern for that kind of dress that I haven't tried.

It was definitely fun going on a fabric safari, and maybe next time in London I might even go to Walthamstow.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Rebel Cheerleader

Not all costumes are serious. The Rebel Cheerleader is a pure fun costume, and all parts are bought, I didn't make anything myself. It's simply a costume to run around in during cons, when you want to be in something really comfortable, but still show that you are a costumer. It's expensive, but the price is due to the quality of the fabrics and the construction.

July 2013
One thing is certain. When I started costuming I sure didn't know that one day I would have to learn how to "fluff" a pair of cheerleader pom poms.

Status: active

Saturday, 14 December 2013


One thing I've noticed lately is that in order for me to get going on a project, it has to feel like a challenge. A good example of a project that I didn't feel so interested in was to make a jawa costume. Basically I needed a 501st costume to wear, while my tusken female is under reconstruction, and I had promised to make my nephew a proper Star Wars costume. With the jawa I made a costume that we can share, which made it more justified for me to spend some more money on it, for example buy finding a vintage ammunition belt and not a modern replica.

The costume didn't involve any interesting or challenging sewing, and I didn't think it was fun to make the mask and the eyes. When I finally sat down to do it, it didn't take long though.

jawa robe spread out
The most important thing for me when doing the jawa was to find a good fabric. The original is made from a very heavy twill, and that turned out to be impossible to find. Most jawas I've seen made up have used thick upholstery fabric, but I didn't want to use that. My goal was to use a natural fibre, so that it could breathe, with a pronounced weave. In the end I found a cotton-linen-viscose mix that was perfect. It was in a natural colour so I had to dye it. This turned out to the most challenging thing with the costume. Finding good dyes isn't easy, basically I only have one brand to choose from and they have quite a limited range of colours. In the end I used two packages of brown and one of red, to get a brick colour. It ended up a bit more brown than I had hoped for, but in some light you can see the red tones.

detail of the neck and arm seams
I thought I would be able to make the robe a simple t-tunic, but the fabric was just a tiny bit too narrow for that. Instead I used the instructions from this link
 and set two separate sleeves. One thing I added though was a facing around the neck, in brown cotton. I made that to be sure that the neck opening didn't stretch, and to also make it more comfortable. I didn't want the rough fabric straight onto my skin at the neck.

For the hood I used this tutorial, but I cut the straps at the bottom from the same fabric, I didn't sew them on. Since my fabric is quite soft I lined the hood first with an interlining of brown cotton before adding the visible black lining, also cotton. In hindsight this has made the hood quite warm, but it holds its shape very well. To make it keep its shape for the front opening I made a boning channel and inserted a piece of synthetic whalebone from my stays project into it. That's one way that it pays off to be both an historical costumer and a Star Wars costumes.
The one that worried me about this project was how to make the glowing eyes. I'm confident when it comes to sewing, but scared to death about plastic and electronics. I found a lof of tutorials with fancy ways of adding LED ligths and different kind of batteries and wire them together. I also had a half promise from my brother-in-law to help me. In the end I made something a lot simpler though.

I found a pack of yellow halfglobe lights at IKEA, made to be table decorations. They had batteries in them and had the right colour. They were a bit too big though, closer to 4 cm than the maximum size of 2,5 cm. I taped some black electric tape around the bottom to make the light source smaller, and then I simply used the same tape to attach them to a cheap Halloween/hockey face mask. Then it was all covered in a black interlock fabric. The fabric looks solid, but it's just transparent enough that I can see through it. Sure it's not the best visible but it works. To finish the jawa I bought a set of autenthic Swedish bandoliers from an auction site. I also wrapped a pair of boots in the leftovers from the robe. The weathering was done by lending the robe to a friend who was going to do a dramatization in the mine where I work, and she needed a long dress that could get dirty. In fact it got so dirty that I had to wash the robe, and it's still look really weathered and worn down.

I am a bit of a tall jawa, but there are actually examples in the film of jawas in adult human size. Still this isn't a costume that I consider a main costume. It's been accepted in both the Rebel Legion and the 501st Legion, and my main use of it will probably be to bring it to celebrations or bigger cons. It's nice to have a costume that's easy to pack, isn't fragile and I can be in the photos of both groups.

I used it at the Stockholm con and also got a chance to run around the R2-builders booth and steal some droids.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

1780 Robe à l'Anglaise (printed cotton

I found the test gown for my robe à l'anglaise was so straight forward, that I decided to make another one. So this another version of the Reconstructing History 822, with my modified sleeve. I also skipped on the "en fourreau" back. I simply used the same pattern piece for the outer material as I did for the lining, and thus I got a waist seam. To make it a bit more correct I should probably have split the bodice back into several pieces, now it's just one whole bodice back, not even a middle back seam.

This was made from a lovely hand printed Indian cotton. It's a very soft and thin fabric, and I love the feel of it. To make it sturdier I used cotton canvas for the bodice lining, but some softer cotton for the sleeves. The pattern of the fabric is maybe a bit busy for the 18th century, but it's made with exactly the same technique as back then. Since it's hand printed it's quite narrow though, and I also hadn't bought very much of it, it was quite expensive. By puzzling all the pattern pieces I managed to get a full robe out of it though. It's a bit less width in the skirt than ideal, and that is also one reason why I I simply couldn't do the "en fourreau" back. They had to save on fabric in the 18th century as well. The sleeves are a bit too short, due to the problems with the sleeves I mentioned in my post about the blue anglaise, but I'm going to add a proper flounce to them one day, so then it won't be so noticable. I can't add a flounce in the same material though since I used up every single cm of the fabric to make the gown, that is also why it's quite plain and has no decorations or trimmings.

This is the craziest sewing project that I have ever done. I managed to make the whole robe in less than a day, from rolling out the fabric to finishing the last hem. I had after all just tried the pattern with the light blue dress, so now I could just sew on without any breaks or problem. For the event in June I wore the same petticoat as the year before, but for an event in October I had had time to sew a new, prettier, white petticoat.

Status: active

October 2013
June 2013

Monday, 9 December 2013

1780 Robe à l'anglaise (blue)

For the second year in a row I was invited to an 18th century event, with masked ball. Since I did
know about this more than a month in advance I decided to make a more advanced gown this time. I also knew about a big 18th century masquerade that was going to take place in the autumn, and felt that this smaller event would be a good reason to try out a new pattern, before making a proper costume. I ordered Reconstructing History 822 and 6 meters of really cheap poly satin. I did the lining in some muslin that I found in my stash, and I first cut out the muslin before cutting the satin.

 The pattern itself is one of the readily available ones. It's obviously inspired by the same gowns as Arnold has in Patterns of Fashion, so if you are more confident than me when it comes to scaling there is no need to buy this pattern.

One thing that is obvious is that the back of the gown to the right has a waist seam, something that isn't in the pattern. For this first trial version I decided to stay close to the pattern and used the "en fourreau"-styled back. There are a couple of issues with this pattern, but for this first version I decided to stay quite close to it. I't s also quite some time since I made it, but I think I only did some small adjustment at the sides seams, mainly taking it in. I possibly cut the neckline wider as well, since I felt that it was too demure for my taste.

One main problem with the pattern was the sleeves though. I don't know how they have been scaled, but they are huge. Thankfully I sewed them in muslin first, and eventhough I tried to ease and gathered the sleeves according to the instructions I ended up with something more like late 19th century leg-of-mutton sleeves than 18th century. I tweaked the pattern by pinning, drawing with pencil and cutting away at the shoulder head. You can see the picture where I've put the original sleeve under the new one that I managed to created.

 Here you can also see when I have pinned both sleeves on to the bodice. Even with my tweaking of the pattern I still got quite a bulge at the back of the sleeve. After having done this pattern three times I've started to realize that I need to work more with the shape of the arm scye, but I didn't know that at this stage. An unfortunate side effect of the tweaking of the pattern is that the sleeve also got a lot shorter. It used to go below the elbow, now it ends just right at it. With this gown I could hide that by adding some flounces in the same material as the gown.

For the flounces I also used the pattern that was included, but I've gotten better result from some online tutorials on flounces on ruffles. Since this was a test dress I didn't hem the flounces but simply used my modern pinking shears. The trim around the neckline and down the front was a wide ribbon that I made by sewing a tube of fabric together and boxpleated. It's a bit too bulky, so if I want to make a box pleated trim in the future I want to either make tiny hems or use bought ribbon.

Just before leaving for the event my pocket hoops broke though, and the damage was irreparable. I dug up my old "travel bustle" from my 1880's walking gown, adjusted some of the ribbons that held it in shape, and voilá I had a suitable 18th century bumpad. The thing with the "travel bustle" was that it was just made from soft materials, no boning, it's basically a stuffed pillow with some flounces over it, and that made it easily adjustable.

I reused the petticoat from the previous year, it didn't hang properly without the pocket hoops, but nothing that wasn't impossible to fix with some safety pins.

All in all I was pretty satisfied with my first attempt at with a robe anglaise. The problems that I had, mostly with the wrinkling were things I anticipated due to the quality of the fabric. It's nice and shiny, and I get more attention and comments in this one from people than when I wear my more accurate cotton anglaise.

I'll use this as my "the public want's a pretty and shiny dress"-gown.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

A pair of stays (18th century corset)

Individual pieces, with the boning channels
This winter I realized that if I wanted to go on and make proper 18th century gowns, then I needed proper underwear. I ordered a corset pattern from Reconstructing History, and material from my favorite corset supplier, VenaCava Designs in the UK. I wasn't too impressed with the pattern. In the end I didn't care much about the instructions, but rather followed my instincts and what I have learnt from years of making corsets. One thing that the pattern wasn't clear on was the boning placement, so I improvised and I'm not totally happy about the final result. If you buy a pattern from Reconstructing History you should be aware that they run big. Instead of just picking a size, I made sure to measure my upper body and then pick a size. Still the stays ended up too big, so I had to take in quite a lot from the side seams. Not an easy thing since I had made all the boning channels before sewing the pieces together. I had aimed for a gap in the back of about 10-15 cm, instead I just have a gap of around 5 cm, so if I loose weight I might not be able to adjust it much.

I will say though, that even if I sound critical I'm really happy with the quality of my work and the final look of the stays.

Finished stays
For the strength layer I used heavy cotton canvas, and the outer fabric is a piece of fabulous silk brocade that my mother bought when she visited China in 1992. I just had a scrap left, but it was enough to make the stays. For the first time I used synthetic whalebone for the boning. Up until now I've been weary of using plastic, having preferred to use steel boning. The synthetic whalebone works great though. The stays are fully boned, I can't guarantee that it would work as good on half-bone stays. I also used steel boning around the eyelets in front and the back. The eyelets by the way are not accurate, I simply used metal grommets instead of handsewing the eyelets. Metal grommets do hold up better in my experience than handmade ones.

Me with the stays one
My next historical costume will probably be a white gown, so I might have to do new stays, since the strong purple colour might show through the white fabric. If I make a new pair of stays I will definitely change the placement of the boning, so that they go more diagonally in the front, in order to get a better 18th century shape. To me the final shape of the stays are a bit early, more baroque than late 18th century. They do wonders with my boobs though.

Endor Rebel Trooper

Original Endor Rebel Troopers
After having worked on detailed costumes, it's always fun to do something totally different. My project for the spring 2013 was the Endor Rebel Trooper, from Star Wars Episode VI Return of the Jedi. Ok, it was really my autumn 2012 project, but I switched it for Endor Leia instead. These are the strike force that beats the Empire, together with the Ewoks. Funny enough some of the original costumes were made from snow jackets from the Swedish military in the 1940's. Not so easy to get hold of today, but I had a friend who managed to acquire a pair.Not many people in the Rebel Legion go with the snow jacket version though, because it's almost impossible to find them outside Sweden today.

A big differernce with this project, compared to my other costumes, is that this is a costume where you more or less buy ready made parts and just put them together with some finishing touches. The one thing that involved a bit of construction is the helmet. It consists of two parts, a soft inner helmet based on the WW2 AN-H-15 flight helmet. I own one such flight helmet, since it's used for the A-wing costume, and that was a really good help when I needed to make my own version of it from scratch. To make the soft helmet I used this pattern and tutorial.I don't know if it has to do with the pattern being made in American measurements, and then printed on a printer with European measurements, but the size is gigantic. I had to more or less remove most of the middle section, thankfully the ugly seams that were the result of that are hidden beneath the ribbed part that goes over the top of the head. That ribbed part and the bill are differences from the original flight helmet, and the reason why I didn't use my original helmet for this costume. The hard part of the helmet, "the donut" was bought from a maker on the Rebel Legion. This project was a good example of how costumers help each other. I'm a seamstress, so I made the soft inner helmets, and in exchange another costumer gave me the snow jacket, and painted the hard plastic helmet for me.

April 2013
The only thing except for the soft helmet that I made myself were the gaiters, the tubes of fabric that go from the shoes and up the lower leg. Everything else was found, and most of it on ebay since I don't live close to any military surplus store. I've heard of people simply walking into such stores and more or less coming out with all the parts needed for a costume. The gun is a repainted and slightly modified Hasbro rebel blaster nerf gun.

Even if I didn't construct the costume parts, I still had to camouflage paint them, to get a proper pattern. Pre-made camouflage fabric is wrong both in colour and when it comes to the patterning. I bought a couple of cans with spraypaint in different green shades, from olive to light green. I then covered my whole bathroom with plastic and started to spray. I had also teadyed the snow jacket before starting the camouflage painting.

I debuted the costume at Model Expo in Finland 2013, where the Fins had built a whole Endor set, including a speeder bike and an AT-ST in life size.

This is also a fun costume in that now I have the basic configuration, but then you can basically add as many bags, pouches, guns and other details as possible. I hope to one day have a proper, big, rifle for example and I want to make a vest to go over he snow jacket as well.

Status: active
Me vs. AT-ST

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

SSFGFC Stockholm, costume report

So this weekend it was the largest annual event in Sweden, and one of the largest in the Nordic Garrison's/Base's troops. It was the Scandinavian Science Fiction, Games and Film  convention in Stockholm. This year there were more than 50 troopers from the Nordic Base and Garrison, as well as our friends from the Russian Outposts (both Rebel Legion and 501st). It's definitely so that our stand is one of the main attractions of the conventions. Usually there is a photoshoot opportunity, with Star Wars characters, and a the chance to shoot stormtroopers with nerfguns, blast-a-trooper. This year we were bigger than ever so we had two photo backdrops. One with a death star corridor, where you could get photographed with the Nordic Garrison and one with the Endor bunker, where you had the Nordic Base.

Costumewise I had decided to use my Amidala Purple travel gown. I love that costume, it's impressive, and I also realized that I hadn't trooped it at a major event. Then I also wanted to premiere my jawa. Well then I heard the news that we were going to have the Endor backdrop, and that we would have members costume as Return of the Jedi Han, Chewie and Luke, so I felt that I really had to bring Endor Leia as well.

The thing is though that I got scheduled quite a lot to be in the photostand with my Amidala, since it's a face character and people usually want to have photos with face characters. On Saturday I realised that it simply was impossible to change quickly between Amidala and Leia, due to the fact that Leia's hair takes a good 30-40 minutes to get right.

So here's the costume breakdown.
Mara Jade, R2D2 and Queen Amidala
I wore Amidala on Saturday morning and almost all of Sunday. Most reactions I get is "look at the pretty princess", but that's ok. The costume is a bit hard to pose in fun ways, after all it's a regal and sombre costume so I'm mostly just tsnding there. It's starting to show that it's almost  two years old, and even if I haven't worn it a lot I should make an overhaul of it. There are a bunch of small things that needs fixing.

One thing I did this time was to add two of my 18th century petticoats, and what a difference those made. With just one ruffled petticoat there has been a tendency for the hoops to show through and to have the outer skirt stick on to the hoop skirt. With two simple petticoats and a ruffled petticoat I had the best silhouette and behaviour of the dress that I have ever had. I also need to do something about my hairpiece. It's set on to a hard plastic alice band, and it presses on the sides of the my head and gives me headache. I'm thinking about doing two individual hair "buns" that I can clip on to the top of my head and get rid of the alice band.

Endor Leia and ewoks
Endor LEia is one of my favorite costume, since it's so comfortable, and you can act out a lot more than with Amidala. The tricky thing is the hair, and I was lucky to get help to fix the hair, wich meant that I didn't get neckpains, since I have a tendency to pin the braided buns on too low. I need to redo the closure of the shirt, like many busty girls I have a bit of a problem with gaping and I fix it with safety pins, but it would be nice to have something more permanent. The boots are in for a replacement, they have started to burst, but an alternative would simply be to cover some cracks with black paint.

I also had to take care of the ewoks in this costume. One is a doll, but the other is a a child of our Finnish members, and when we had a parade the ewok could go in it if I looked after it.

this jawa found a broken droid
The third and final costume was my jawa. I didn't have time to wear it for any official things, but in the last hour of the con, both on Saturday and Sunday, I could slip into it and just run around on the con floor. I can hardly see in it, but I can orientate myself, and the hood has three layers and is pretty hot, but the robe and shoes are really comfortable. Now with the convention being held at the start of the holiday season I also decided to do a gingerbread jawa. I simply pinned some white strips and roundels of white fabric on to it and ran around handing out gingerbreadcookies

and this jawa handed out cookies