Sunday, 31 July 2016

A quick Star Wars troop

Earlier this spring I was very happy when the Nordic Legions got a request to appear at a concert with some Star Wars music, what made me happy was that the concert would be in Avesta, so for the first time I would be able to troop a short distance from home. I of course volunteered to coordinate us and contacted the orchestra. The orchestra is a small semi-professional orchestra and they were actually going to have two concerts, one in Avesta and one in Grängesberg. Unfortunately the date collided with NärCon so it was clear from the start that most of the Nordic Legions' members within driving distance wouldn't be available. In the end it was me and Ingeli who were there on Friday, and I went there myself on Saturday.

 The concert in Avesta was in a venue called Verket, and it's so cool. It's an old ironworks, built in brick and with the furnaces still there. Nowadays it's the host of a yearly art festival, that's quite a big. Me and Ingeli complemented each other as X-wing and TIE pilot and had some fun. I even managed to find some pieces of art that matched my costume.
Bad lightning and no supporters meant that these were the only pictures.

On Saturday the venue was Cassels in Grängesberg. This is a very special building, built in the early 20th century, in fact modelled on the Bank of England in London, it has some wonderful acoustics as well. I had loved to wear my Amidala in these beautiful surroundings, but I talked with Ingeli about it and we agreed that since I was going to be alone it was probably best to wear my most iconic costume, so I took out my old classic Leia.

It turned out that was a good idea. Due to some missteps in my planning and with the traffic, all of a sudden I just had 5 minutes to get into costume! Three of those minutes were spent on the hairbuns, and I also had missed to bring enough hairpins I think I had a total of 6 with me. All in all I'm still pretty satsified with the look of my buns. I did waste one of the hairpins to pin up the hood though, so that most of the hairbuns and the back of the head would be covered.
I did the same thing as on Friday, but I would say that this audience was smaller and older, so I got less recognition. I think the most common comment I got was "you're beatiful, what are you supposed to look like?".

Still the orchestra was happy that I was there, and over the two days I managed to collect around $150 to Barncancerfonden (the Children's Cancer foundation) just by standing with a bucket so that people could put some spare change in it.

On the way home I took the chance to combine two of my nerdy interests and visited the minehads in Grängesberg. Grängesberg used to have one of the biggest iron mines in Europe, but it was closed down in 1989.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Tudor/Elizabethan Leia

My most fun costume that I did for Celebration Europe in London was the Tudor/Elizabetan Leia. I meant for it to be an Elizabethan costume, but it ended up more Tudor when I tried to mesh Elizabethan with Star Wars. The inspiration for this costume came when I was in London in April. At that time I was simply put quite worn out and I didn't have any inspiration to sew at all. Still when I was there and had the chance to go fabric shopping with another Star Wars-costumer, and then came home to the hotell and watched the BBC Shakespeare 400th anniversary gala,  I just felt that it would be so suitable to mix the fact that it's a Shakespeare anniversary year with Star Wars Celebration taking place in London. My first idea was pretty simple. I would use my 16th century undergown, since it was white, and my 16th century shift, and then I would buy a cheap ruff and add my Leia belt. When I came home the project started to grow though, and in the end everything was made from scratch.

The under layer is a shift of cotton voile with pleated ruffs around the neck and wrists. I was not going to make a full boned farthingale, so I put my two 1950's style tulle petticoats on top of each other, and that gave a nice enough volume. The petticoat is three lengths of satin cartridge pleated to a wide cotton tape.

I did not have any historically accurate goals, and all the materials are wrong. This was going to be a cheapish costume so the satin for the gown and petticoat was the cheapest I could find, ugly, slinky polyester. Still the hems and the pleating is all handmade, it simply looks so much better.

For the gown I started with my 16th century bodice I made earlier this year. I lengthened the front to give it a point though. The bodice lining was made in two layers of cotton/linen fabric. I then made boning channels on most of the back and the front.

I added two rows of lacing holes to the front, and yes I made them by hand. It's not my most beautiful work, but the function is there. Even if there was boning channels all over the bodice I only put actual boning in some of the strategic places on the front, like around the lacing holes.

The fit was nice and smooth in the back without boning, and I more wanted to give the illusion of a fully boned bodice. Also since it was a fun and non-accurate costume I wanted it to be as easy to move in as possible. There was enough boning that I didn't need to wear a bra under it, and the front was straight. All the boning was reused boning from when I have slaughtered my worn out corsets.

The next step was to put the outer satin layer on top of the lining. It shows that even with a dreadful fabric like this it's possible to get it wrinkle free if you are careful with having the layers line up with each other.

The edge of the front pieces got a piece of plastic boning and hooks and eyes so it could be closed over the lacing.

To finish the bodice and skirt part of the gown I added a silver lace to the neckline and the front, to hide the small amount of gaping that was there. I had a big problem finding any suitable trimming, in the end I bought some white lace and sprayed it with silver paint. The skirt was once again three lengths of satin cartridge pleated and sewn to the bodice edge.

The next step was to make it more Star Wars-y, and for that I added the flared sleeves and hood from Princess Leia's classic white gown. This is what turned the dress into more Tudor than Elizabethan, but I felt that the sleeves really neded to be flared to make it look like Leia.

The headpiece was really fun to make. I found this tutorial for an Elizabethan headdress, but instead of using buckram and millinery wire, I shaped it with worbla. This was the first time I did something serious with worbla, and it was fun! It was so much fun that now I'm already wishing for a heatgun as a Christmas gift ( for this project I borrowed the heat gun from work).

After I had made the worbla frame I simply covered it with scraps of the white satin and some silver braiding. Everything was done with the help of hot glue. I finished off with adding two combs to it to hold it on to my hair.

The final touch was a long, cheap Pearl necklace that I added a silver Rebel pendant to abd my old Leia belt. As you can see the petticoat and gown is just calf length, so that I could show off my white Leia boots as well.

Overall this was a really fun project, and I'm very satisfied with the final look, and how I could cheat the bodice to look like a 16th century bodice even with a flimsy poly satin.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Star Wars Celebration round up

I'm home after Celebration Europe in London. I will be honest and say that it wasn't my best Celebration. I don't know, it was what I expected, but nothing more. I still had a great time though, and I love Celebrations and I'm really looking forward to the next one. Two things that helped bring down the feeling was the lack of panels. The main panels were super awesome, but I missed the interesting smaller panels that you can slip into and listen to people really talking about the minutiae of Star Wars. There was a Star Wars archaeology panel, but I missed it due to the Cosplay Contest. I will probably make a separate post on the cosplay contest, when I can find more photos from it, since I didn't take any myself. I don't have any photo of myself for example.

Here is the write up day by day

Friday was mostly spent with costume contest preparations. I was happy that I did have time to get changed and take part in the running of the Hoods.

This photo, with yours truly in the biggest beard, biggest moustache and smalles ice cream maker, was posted on the official SW Celebration account. The running was a lot more exhausting than I thought it would be. Sure it's in slowmotion, but the venue was hot, and I was dressed in winter boots, a big wig and a moustache. My glasses was totally fogging up. It was superfun though, we photobombed en masse, and got photobombed by Ray Park as well, and were up on the Star Wars live stream scene, I can't find a video of that though. My outfit was even noticed enough for someone to make a meme of it.

On Saturday I was on a panel about international Star Wars fandom, talking about how you can start your own fan clubs and what can work and not work. It was all about the aspects of fandom that aren't about costumes or collectables so I chose to go in my Greedo dress. I added some buns, but I didn't get them to look that great. Also my own hair has faded a bit too much compared to when I bought the fake hair.

The panelist from the US, UK, Belgium and Sweden
The panel meant that I missed the legions photoshoot since that was also on Saturday morning, but I hadn't brought any approved costumes with me, except for the handmaiden, anyway.

For Saturday afternoon we had dedided to try and get a group of us with TFA costumes to meet up. Unfortunately that didn't go as planned, so at the time and place where we had set up, only me as Leia, Jazz as Poe and Jokke as Kylo showed up. They did play up the TFA scene between Kylo and Poe, and it ended up on the fan tribute at the closing ceremony.

The photo above is a screen grab from the Youtube video and you can see me in the background as Leia.

Things got a bit awkward when I tried to ask about where Daddy was. Then Poe had to leave, but we found some of the other TFA people though. I think this is probably my favorite photo from CE

It's all about love in the Skywalker-Solo family
We took a stroll on the floor as well, but people only wanted photos with Kylo/Rey and our Nien Nunb, who was the most popular of all!

In the evening it was the 1force bash, which was a party for members of the 501st, Rebel Legion, Galactic Academy and JediNews. It was held at Madame Tussaud's, and it was great seeing the place. At the same time it wasn't my kind of museum, so it's not something I would have liked to spent Money on, if it hadn't been for the fact that I was at a party with a bunch of great people.

I was more interested in the Royals than the celebrities though.

Finally on Sunday it was time for me to wear my Shakespeare Leia. I'm so satisfied with the costume, it was warmer than expected though, I guess that's what you get for using polyester satin.
Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, thou art my only hope
I had been lucky to get a time slot for "Trial on Tatooine" a virtual reality prototype on Sunday though, and in order to do that you need to wear a headset/goggles and headphones, so that totally ruined my hair. It was my second highlight of the con though, it was so cool standing on Tatooine and yielding a lightsabre. I went back and changed into the Greedo dress for the rest of the day though.

For the next Celebration I have decided that it's not worth trying to pack a lot of heavy and complicated costumes, so I will see how light and easy I can make it. The only way I'm going for a big costume is if I can get into a coordinated group of some kind, since being a group of costumers is a lot more fun than being alone on the floor.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Costume plan for Celebration Europe

Tomorrow Celebration Europe starts and here is my costume plan.

Friday will of course be dedicated to the Cosplay Contest, which means the Gold Handaiden costume. I'm not going to walk around in the handmaiden, only wearing it at the pre-judging and the contest itself.

I'm also hoping that I will have time to don my Willrow Hood costume, especially now when I made a mini ice cream maker, inbetween the pre-judging and the contest.

On Saturday I'm going to be on a panel about non-costumed international fandom, so out of costume I'm going to wear the green with Greedo dress.

After the panel it's time to change into TFA Leia. We are a group of people with TFA costumes that are going to meet up and have some fun in the afternoon.

For the evening I'm changing into party Leia.

Finally on Sunday I'm going to wear my main new costume. It's been a really fun project and I'm going to post about it after CE, but here's a sneak peak.

It's a Tudor/Elizabethan princess Leia to pay homage not only to it being a Star Wars Convention, but also the fact that today is a Shakespeare anniversary year. I was aiming for Elizabethan, but it ended up a bit more Tudor than I planned, it's closest historical inspiration is probaby around the 1550s/1560s.

If you are in London and see me, please come and say hi!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A last minute miniature Ice Cream Maker

I'm packing the last things for Celebration, and I even got time to make a last minute prop. As I've mentioned I have a Willrow Hood costume, but there's no way that I could get a proper ice cream maker into my luggage. Since this is a fun costume, I came up with making a miniature version of it.

Willrow wants to run

The ice cream maker basically looks like this, but painted white.

The top part of the lid, that looks like a handle, isn't there though. I decided to look around to see what I had home and if I could make a miniature prop, that will fit in the luggage.

I started off with a plastic can and a travelsize shampoo bottle

I glued the bottle to the middle of the can, and then cut out a piece of worble and put it over the top. There was some slight warping on the bottle from the heat of the worbla, but it worked. I then painted the whole thing with gesso and then with the only whitish paint I had at home. There was no time to sand down the gesso and make it smooth.

Then of course I also needed ice cream.

I took some wadding and poured some blue hobby paint on it.

Then I squeezed and kneaded the wadding to distribute the colour.

I didn't want it to get totally blended, so I stopped at this stage. Doesn't it look like delicions blue milk ice cream?

And here is the final mini ice cream maker!

Now I'm ready for London and Celebration Europe!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

A Star Wars party dress

The last year I've gotten more and more interested in making inspired clothes that are not exact copies. My Greedo dress is so far my best example. For Celebration Europé I had planned to make a 1950's Amidala dress, but even if I cut out the pattern back over Easter I was too late with it. I have my gorgeous silk for it and a replica Amidala fabric for it, but the fabric are so expensive that I want to be really careful when I cut into them. Instead of stressing and maybe making mistakes I did other projects for CE instead. I still haven't posted about my main CE... With a few days left and basically all the serious sewing done I figured I could try and make a simple, easy SW inspired gown, not the least for the costume clubs party on Saturday.

The Dreamstress just had a great post about hubris when sewing, and this dress was definitely a case of sewing hubris.

I started out by digging out the remains of my classic Leia fabric, it should be just enough to make a kneelength dress. Leia's dress is a basic T-shaped form, but I wanted something a bit more fitted, and sleeves that weren't quite as big. I cut out the fabric, only to realize that I had cut it way too tight. Seriously there were around 20 cm missing over the hips unless I wanted a really bodyhugging dress. There wasn't enough fabric left to be able to cut out a new dress...

Instead I started Leia dress take 2. My main CE project is made from a lot of white poly satin, and I still had some left over. Maybe I could use that, even if that would mean a shiny Leia. This time I decided to be a bit more careful and use a pattern. I used my basic pencil skirt pattern which fits like a charm. The fabric that was left should be enough to make a wide bodice, like a t-shaped tunic. That would give the top of the dress a Leia silhouette, while the skirt was narrow. Well I don't know how it happened, but eventhough I pinned and draped on my dressform I managed to cut the top from my back measurements, and not my front measurements. Since I'm a D-cup that makes the difference between back and front pretty big, something I didn't realize until I had installed the zipper and tried to close the dress. I got even more angry with this since the skirt fit so well.

So there I was, I had just waisted a lot of hours and relegated a lot of fabric to the bin, since it was cut in ways that I wouldn't be able to use it. I hoped to be able to salvage some part of it so I ripped the skirt from the bodice and went to my stash to see if I had any white fabric that I could use for the bodice. Turns out I only had white cotton voile and a very wrinkly cream charmeuse, and that would not work colourwise.

I didn't want to give ut totally though, so I started to see if could make anything from the scraps, and then I tried the skirt on with the failed v.1 of the dress. After all it fit will above the waist. Said and done it worked, even if I'm not a fan of mixing such different fabrics in one dress. In order to tie them a bit more together I added a silver stripe both to the hem and the collar.

It's not my highest quality work when it comes to finishing, in fact I've kept the edges of the interlock raw since they don't unravel. Still with my Leia belg and white boots I think it will do fine. I need to find a slip to wear under though, one layer of interlock is a bit too seethrough for my taste.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

An antique bodice - part 2

That bodice that I found and posted about earlier this week was way too small for me, but I have a petite sister. Yesterday I brought it with me and gave it to her, because of course it fit her. In fact she claimed that it was a bit big. She was wearing modern underwear under it, and interestingly it seemed as it was a bit big in the waist and shoulder, but small over the bust.

Here she is wearing it, which of course gives a much better view of what it looks like.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

An antique bodice

Yesterday something happened that I thought only happened to others. I've read from time to time about people doing proper antique finds in op shops, but I never thought it would happen to me. Yesterday thought my mother wanted to go to IKEA in Borlänge, the neighbouring town, and if we we were going I also wanted to go into the only craft store, Panduro, to pick up some thing for my current project. I also wanted to go into the local second hand store that's there, Myrornas. Myrornas used to have a store in central Falun as well, and even if they are one of the more expensive second hand stores, the fact that they were open when all other shops were open and was very central made it a natural thing to just pop into it. Since it closed down and moved to Borlänge I've been buying a lot less second hand things.

At Myrornas I first found what's probably a 1980's romantic skirt that will fit nicely as a simple early 20th century petticoat. It's white cotton with two flounces and some broderie Anglaise on it. Then I saw it. On the rack among a lot of other party clothes was a bodice that just screamed early 20th century. I got closer, and then realized that it is probably exactly that.

I started to open it, and when I saw the insides I actually got weak in my knees, it was so exquisite. Of course it's way too small for me, but I just had to buy it. The thought of it handing in that store and the risk that somebody would buy it that didn't appreciate that it's an antique was simply unbearable. So now I own a proper antique piece of clothing, even if I don't know what I'm going to do with it. I'm not good enough to exactly date it, but I would guess around 1900-1910, probably closer to the later. Here are some more details.

The sleeves are a wider outer sleeve that ends with an applique and Pearl fringe, and then there is a thin lace undersleeve peeking out.

I found it interesting to see these stripes on the inside. They are well hidden so you can't see them on the outside.

The lace collar is supported all the way, and it fastens with a snap to the main bodice, but is closed with hooks attaching one of the spiral supports.

The outer fabrc is fairly loose and closes with small hooks and eyes since it doesn't carry any strain. The main closure is in the strength layer and lining. It's amde up from a heavy cotton, it feels almost like a denim, and then lined in a striped fabric.

It's closed with heavier hooks and eyes. The lower part has a steel bone and here the hooks are all on the same side. The upper closure is unboned, and here the hooks and eyes alternates to keep them shut even if there isn't much tension to them.

There are boning channels on the seams, but he boning only goes up to around the bust.

One of the very few placec where it looks a bit worn is that one of the steel bones is sticking out, but it must be attached well, because I couldn't move the bone at all.

All in all I'm very happy with this piece of actual fashion history.