Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Lady Poe - most of the bodice

The first thing I did with Lady Poe was to cut out the pieces for the petticoat, but then it was straight into the making the main robe.

The gown is constructed on the lining, so it's necessary to first make a lining that fits well.

For the lining I used the pattern that I had made for my pet en l'air. The whole construction is made from experiences with making the pet, as well as following the American Duchess Guide to 18th century dressmaking. The lining is made from a cotton sateen that I had in my stash. I didn't have enough linen to be able to make the lining out of it, and after all cotton was used in the 18th century.

The pattern was still very much a rough guide though, so I had to continue fitting it both on the dressform and on myself. I concentrated on making sure that the back and sides looked good and smooth.

For the outer fabric I cut out the side of the back piece, but I kept the full width of the fabric. Historically silk fabric was not made in the width we use today, the looms were only around 50 cm wide. My fabric is 1 m wide. In order to fake a more historical width I made a tiny fake seam in the middle of each fabric piece.

The fake seam is made with running stitches holding in a tiny fold. Both the lining and the outer fabric is sewn by hand with silk thread.

For the back piece I followed the instructions of the American Duchess, unlike when I did the pet en l'air. I have a cut out panel and it's adjustable with four pairs of ribbons. Unlike the pet en l'air there is no boning stabilising the back.

It took me seveal hours to align the outer bodice front with the lining, and make sure that there was no buckling of either fabric. I started with tacking the side seam to the lining, and then smoothing the fabric outwards and downwards and pinning, pinning, pinning until I was happy.

This is the front of the bodice. I am not totally happy with the shape of the opening, and the straps are too wide, but that is easier to adjust when the back is done. Also this is where I want to do the final fitting on myself, rather than the dressform. The bust area is where my dressform differ the most from my own body.

I then pinned the back piece to the side seam, armscye and shoulder seam.

And then it was time to pleat all the extra fabric into a good looking back piece. For this part I followed the instructions of the American Duchess again. It was definitely tricky to get all the fabric to lie flat and nice.

The pleating produces three layers of pleat, two visible and one hidden in the bottom layer. Here they are marked with pins to make them easier to see.

The top of the pleats was sewn down with prick stitch, down to where the back opening is.

The back still needs to be fitted though, and here is a difference from the pet en l'air. I sewed the bottom layer of the outer fabric, under all the pleats, to the lining with prick stitches. This makes the back fitted, even if the pleats still flow out from the back.

The last part was to unpin the side seam, armscye and shoulder seam. I then smoothed the fabric over the lining before I sewed the outer fabric to the lining. I used prickstitch for the side seam and small running stitches for the armscye and shoulder seam, since those seams won't be visible when it's all finished.

Next step is to attach the front and side panels to the skirt of the robe.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Restarting Lady Poe (1762 ballgown)

So during Easter I took care of my mother's cats and her house, I also had the time to start on my 1762 robe à la Francaise. It's just a bit more than a month to go until I'm going to the ball "Nordens Minerva", which is strict 1762 so it's about time to start working on the gown.

I'm going to call it my Lady Poe. The background is that back in 2017 I came up with the idea of making an 18th century Star Wars costume, and that it would be inspired by Poe Dameron. Due to a lot of different reasons, not the least that the post sent my fabric back rather than delivering it on time, it never happened. Now when I got my ticket for the ball I knew that I couldn't order more silk fabric when I had 10 yards of silk in my stash. With that Lady Poe has been resurrected. Now looking at the fabric it reads more OT X-wing orange than the the more brick coloured jumpsuit that Poe Dameron wears, so maybe I should call it Shara Bey instead. In the SW lore Shara Bey is Poe's mother and she was a pilot during the OT era.

I have a pinterest board for the 1760's here. I'm not going to go for an exact reproduction of a particular gown though, I simply haven't found any good examples of bright orange gowns.

This gives a fairly good view of the general look though, with all the trimmings. It is a bit problematic that the robes of the era are usually trimmed with the same fabric as the gown is made from, and when I ordered the fabric I had planned to use trim in other colours. One of the challenges will be to simply see how much trim I can get out of my fabric. That also changes my work process. I had planned to finish the petticoat first, but I need to cut out all pieces to both the petticoat and the robe in order to see how much trim I will have to decorate them.

The first step in making a full gown though is to make sure that you have all the underpinnings.

For the underpinnings I'm usng my oldest 18th century stays, my purple brocade stays. I really need to make new 18th century stays. These, and my 1790's jumps, are the only pairs that I can wear, the rest have gotten too small. These ones are also on the smaller side, but by keeping a gap in the lacing in front I can wear them, and the gap actually gives them a better silhouette compared to when they are laced together and the stays just flatten the bust rather than giving it a nice cone shape.

When making an 18th century gown, and especially a robe à la Francaise, it's important to be able to drape the dress rather than just relying on flat paper patterns. This is a problem since I don't have any handy helpers around. I also can't use my dressform as is, since it's an hourglass shape rather than the 18th century cone shape. What I have done though is that I have measured how big the gap in the stays are when I'm wearing them. I have then adjusted the dressform to its smallest settings, that way I can make it wear the stays, and where there is a gap between the stays and the dressform I padd it with some fabric. It's not perfect, but it makes it possible to drape the back, and then I can adjust the front with the help of the stomacher. 

Over the stays I'm using my pocket hoops. For a royal ball it would have been more appropriate to wear full panniers, but I have to be practical. I don't have time to make panniers, and pocket hoops are a lot easier to travel with and in.

The last piece of underwear is an organdy petticoat. This was an old UFO that I had started, probably when I first planned Lady Poe, and now it was time to finish it. I used Easter Friday to finish the petticoat. Organdy is a really interesting fabric, so stiff and light, even after pressing it. The petticoat also helped me practice how to make the outer petticoat, since it's necessary to adjust the length over the pocket hoops.

During the Easter weekend I had time to cut out the main petticoat and start on the robe itself. Here s a sneak peak of the current status of the project. I'm going to be soooooo orange when it's all finished.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Star Wars Celebration Chicago part 2

Saturday - Day three of Celebraion

I actually didn't go to Celebration at all on Saturday. Instead me and Ingeli followed some people from the 501st Legion: Star Garrison to a baseball game at Wrigley field. Neither me nor Ingeli had ever been to a baseball game, and since we both though that Saturdays are usually just too crowded on Celebrations we thought it was worth skipping a day of Celebration for a cultural excursion instead.

 The day wasn't totally void of Star Wars though. It was Star Wars day and the Midwest Garrison was out there trooping before the game.

 I felt a baseball game was the perfect place to try out a proper Chicago hot dog. No ketchup in sight.

Me and Ingeli had great fun, we also didn't freeze unlike the poor Texans who were shivering. One of them can be seen wrapped in the Star Wars/Cubs blanket that we got as a freebie. I think some of them were annoyed that we didn't open ours but used them as seat cushions instead. It was chilly, but most of them would probably have been a lot warmer if they had been wearing something warmer on their heads.

After the game I joined up with my original Star Wars family, the mods and oldbies from TheForce.Net's Jedi Council forums. It was my best evening of the trip, but I don't have anything but blurry "people in a bar"- photos.

Sunday - Day Four of Celebration

It was snowy and windy the whole day, I wouldn't call it a snowstorm, but it was nice staying in a connected hotel so you didn't have to go outside at all.

7:45 - get up, dress up in Admiral Daala and eat breakfast on the way down
8:45 - Gathering for the 501st Legion photo.
I have missed out on the Legion photos the last Celebrations, I haven't thought that it's been worth the hassle. This was the most organised photo I've been too, and in fact I think it was over at 9:10, which gave me time to be in the Nordic Garrison photo and the Imperial Officer photo as well.

Nordic Garrison

The official photo. I'm in the middle of the first row of officers behind the stormtroopers, beside an Ysanne Isard in red

The Imperial Officer Corps - I'm in the far left corner (being late to the photo I was happy to be there at all)
9:30 - Back to the hotel room and get changed to my fandom fashion version of Enfys Nest.
10:00 - Heading into the exhibit hall
10:40 - Photo opportunity with Paul Bettany. I stressed in the omrning in order to be in time for this, after the disaster with my photo with Erin Kellyman I really wanted to be there in time.

Yes, I am holding a copy of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, and yes he noticed that. His performance as Chaucer in A Knight's Tale was the reason I wanted the photo at all.

After the photo I stayed at the Star Wars Live stage and saw the streaming of the panel for "The Mandalorian", the new live action series that is coming to Disney+.

12:15 - back to the hotel for lunch
13:15 - I went to the panel "Designing Episode 1" with Doug Chiang. I actually thought that I went to the panel "Behind the scenes of the Cantina" but had apparently mixed up the location and times between them. It didn't matter since I had had problems deciding which panel I should go to anyway, and it was fasciniating to hear Doug Chiang talk about his design process.

14:15-15:15 I finally had some time to just walk the floor, visit the drod bilders room and take some photos.

I ran into Jenna - Song of Amazon 

This is the mouse droid that was in the big box we were travelling with

15:10 - I got called in if I could jump into the Fantha Tracks booth early, I was supposed to be there at 16:00. I stayed there, until I was called down to the Fantha Tracks broadcast from the podcast stage at around 16:30. Then I met up with some of the Fantha Trackers for a little future project, and I didn't get back to the hotel room until around 19:00

20:00 - Game of Thrones season premiere with pizza in one of our hotel rooms!

It was great to finally be able to see the show at the right time, without having to get up extra early.

Monday - Day Five of Celebration

I seriously think a five day Celebration is a bit too much. Monday was a lot calmer, a lot of people had left on Sunday already, there were also fewer costumes around on the floor.

08:00 Get up, eat breakfast and dress in the Gold Handmaiden costume. I'm a lot bigger since I made the Gold Handmaiden, but thankfully it can be held up by the corset instead of the zipper and the gaping is hidden under the robe.

10:00 - I went to the queue for The Phantom Menace 20th Anniversary panel so I would be there early, but there was no queue so I could just walk straight in. The warm up to the panel was really nostalgic. They just played hits from 1999, finishing with The Saga Begins and the "Every Saga has a beginning" trailer.
The audience waving their lightsabres and phones during "The Saga begins"
 11:00 - The Phantom Menace 20th Anniversary Panel

The panel itself was unfortunately underwhelming. No surprises, no new details and nothing was handed out to the audience afterwards. The most fun was actually the thunderous greeting that Ahmed Best got and seeing photos from the mudfest that was Celebration 1 in Denver, few who were there would probably think Celebrations would turn into this huge convention circus. I did hear from a very reliable source that they had planned for a surprise guest but that the guest's flight had been cancelled on Sunday due to the snow and wind in Chicago. This probably explains why the panel felt short and scripted.

12:00 - back to the hotel for lunch, ordering a big bowl of noodles before I remember that I wore a corset and can't eat much. Caught the news of the Notre Dame fire while having lunch.

14:00 - I walked the floor for a bit until I went up to the top floor to catch a panel by The Kessel Runway on collecting Star Wars fashion.

I met a Naboo group

Handmaidens will rule the galaxy one day

On the 5th day I finally met up with Arty Anna and Pilerud's Cosplay on the floor
14:45 - back to the hotel to change out of the handmaiden dress. I did a last walkthrough on the floor and bought some final things, so much easier without the crowds.

15:30 - I was at the Fantha Tracks booth for the last hour, meaning that I missed the Closing Ceremony. As soon as I heard the cheard from the streaming stage I could go on social media to see that the next Celebration had been announced for Anaheim 2020, but no exact dates.

17:00 Celebration closed. I stayed around for a group photo with the Fantha Tracks team, and later we had a dinner together.

Here are some random costumers that I found during the days.

On Tuesday it was a matter of packing everything together and go to the airport. Celebration was over for this time.

As usual it was exhausting and wonderful.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Star Wars Celebration Chicago part 1

I have just gotten home from Celebration and it's time to start summarizing it. I will divide it into two parts, and also in order to give a bit more of a feel for what's going on in a Celebration I'm going to post everything I did, even if it was not costume related.

Anyway me, David and and Ingeli arrived in Chicago on Monday afternoon.
Packing just the essentials for a Celebration
This meant that we could spend Tuesday and Wednesday as tourists, while adjusting for the time difference. David went off with another friend on a roadtrip, but me and Ingeli did Chicago. On Tuesday we got guided around by my friend James, who's wife is from Chicago.

The tour included a view from the Hancock building, a boat tour on the river, deep dish pizza and the Bean.

I was really impressed with all the beautiful buildings in so many different architectural styles, so the boat trip was the real highlight of Chicago for me. I'm not as impressed with the pizza (sorry).

Thursday - Day 1 of Star Wars Celebration
Morning - woke up, had breakfast down in the small market in the lobby of the hotel, got dressed, and then went down to the lobby to hang around and see who else was there before the convention stated. We could see online that people had been in line since 6 am, but we were not interested in doing that.

13:00 Start of Celebration. we took the skybridge from the hotel to the convention centre, and we didn't have to stand in line at all before we got in. Once inside it was chaotic though. Thursday was a preview day,and with no panels swallowing some of the audience everyone was in the main exhibit hall trying to get their hands on merchandise.

This is a quarter of the main hall
 The main thing for me on Thursday was to meet up with people from The Force.Net's Jedi Council forums, which has been my internet home for more than 20 years now. As you can see I wore my Vintage Amidala coat together with a pair of pinstriped trousers for Thursday.

Most of the people at the meet-up.
 Then I had found out that there was going to be something called the "Hoojib hop" on Thursday, and  decded to tag along. Hoojibs come from an old Marvel comic in the early 1980's, they look like cute bunnies with an antenna. The hoojib hop was organized by the pod "Skywalking through Neverland".
Me and two of the pople from the JC went there, got our bunny ears with an antenna and then we hopped around the convention. Very dignified.

Me in my beautiful hoojib ears.
 I finish off Thursday by posting some random costumers that I saw on the floor.

For me the most important thing with Celebrations is meeting up with people and hang around with your "Star Wars family". On Thursday evening I hang around with Andrew and we ended up at the Swedish Collectors, since they were staying at the same hotel as us. I might have gotten home a lot later than planned.

Friday - Day two of Celebration
I knew way ahead that this was going to be a really stressful day, and it didn't help that I was tired from the night before.

8 - get up, have breakfast, then back to the hotel rum to get dressed as Enfys Nest.

This is from later in the day. I used a wig to get a better haircolour fo the early day, but I just wasn'happy with what it looked like, so I took it off and used my own hair midday. 

10:00 me and Andrew went to the arena to take our place at the overflow stage for the panel of Star Wars Episode IX. Ingeli also got a place in the overflow stage. After the panel was over, they had revealed the title of the film and showed the trailer twice, it was 12:15

12:20 I had a photo op time together with Erin Kellyman, the acress that portrayed Enfys Nest. I rushed there, and got in just before they stopped the photos. Unfortunatley that meant that I was sweaty, and with everything in disorder. The photo is really ugly, and I'm not going to show it. Erin Kellyman was really nice though, and helped me to at least unload my bags so I could get into the photo. Going way from the photo I also realized that while rushing there I must have collided with someone and one of my tabards, together with the shin blade on that side had been ripped off and were missing.

13:00 back to  the hotel. Get out of the costume, have a bathroom break and eat something for lunch.

14:30 I went to the location where there was going to be a group photo of Enfys Nest and other characters from the film Solo.

15:00 Group photo

Here is a close up of just the Enfys Nests, there was a group photo later on with this group, but I didn't have time to stay for that.

15:30 - The Music of The Phantom Menace with David Collins
I ran from the Solo photo to this panel. It was really interesting to hear him discuss the small details and variations of the music.

16:45 - straight after the panel I went into the line for the Making of Solo. I had thought that you needed to reserve a spot at the panel, but it was enough to just stand in line.

The line
This was one of the guys in the line.

17:30 - The Making of Solo.

19:00 - Back to the hotel, and being exhausted. I took a shower, and then me, David and Andrew simply had dinner at the hotel before I collapsed in bed at around 21:00