Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Hufflebustle - Planning and Plotting and Possibly Scheming

I know I'm mixing my fandoms in my title, but what else is new?  :p

I was inspired by Fabric & Fiction, who is making a Ravenclaw Bustle Gown right now, to make my own Hogwarts House Victorian gown.  I was officially sorted into Hufflepuff on (even though I wanted to be Ravenclaw), so of course I would need to make a yellow and black dress.  Then last October, when this awesome checked silk taffeta went on sale for $6/yard at Fabric Mart, I snatched it up:

I have five yards of the micro-check and ten yards of the one-inch check.
Ever since the fabric arrived, I've been dreaming and designing - off and on, as I've been rather busy "momming" lately.  And up until recently, I had no event to which I could wear such a garment.  But then I was invited to a Victoria Day picnic coming up in May, and the dress code is anything from Queen Victoria's lifespan!  So anything from 1819 to 1901, which is a nice big chunk of time to choose from.

I briefly considered going 1860s with this gown, as the checked pattern seems to have been more popular at that time than in the Bustle Eras.  But I really, really wanted a bustle gown!  So I started by reviewing the overarching themes of each of the Bustle Eras to decide which one I wanted to do.  For a good summary, check out Historical Sewing's primer here:  Bustle Era Changes - The Highs & Lows in the 1870s & 1880s

This is also a good visual reference - from
I ultimately settled on the Late Bustle Period.  I love both - and the Natural Form Era sandwiched in between - but the Early Bustle Period seems just a little too floofy and frivolous for honest, hard-working Hufflepuff.  Also, my fabric is so loud that it seems much better suited to the clean lines and tailored appearance of Late Bustle, where the draping of fabric creates most of the visual interest rather than tons and tons of trim.  (Someday I will make an Early Bustle Gown - and a Natural Form Gown - because I do loves me some trim!)

Once I had my basic era nailed down, I basically copied Hannah's design method of focusing on the color scheme, animal, and personality traits associated with my chosen Hogwarts house.

Screencapped from
Color scheme:  Yellow and black - check!  (no pun intended)

Animal:  Badger - Hmmmmm...

Personality Traits:  Basically the nicest people you will ever meet; the Midwesterners of the wizarding world :p

Once I put those three elements together, the design began to coalesce rather quickly.  My Pinterest inspiration searches came across several fashion plates featuring a mock-lapel look that nicely mimics the vertical lines on a badger's face:

So that's rather perfect.  And I have a roughly 1-yard remnant of some black cotton velveteen that would work nicely for the lapels:

I haven't entirely settled on my design for the skirt/overskirt, but the bodice is pretty well set in my mind.  Now it was time to go pattern shopping!  Of course, Truly Victorian was my first - and only - stop:

Now all I needed was a solid, light-colored fabric (preferably silk) to use for the faux vest at the center front of the bodice.  I ordered a couple of swatches from Renaissance Fabrics:

I think the Frosted Yellow is going to be perfect!  Now how much to order?  One yard would be great plenty for the bodice center, but should I get extra for an overskirt?  And I want to make an evening bodice as well, but I haven't settled on a design for it yet.  Would I want a solid yellow bodice?  Or even a solid yellow underskirt to switch out with the checked one?  Decisions, decisions...

I also haven't entirely figured out which checked fabric I will use for the bodice, overskirt, and underskirt.  Should I keep it simple and just use one fabric for the whole thing?  Or mix and match?  Should the overskirt apron be symmetrical or asymmetrical?  I think I need to start draping things on a dress form and see how they shape up.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Star Wars Celebration 2017

It's hardly surprising that I never got around to blogging about last April's Star Wars convention, because I have a TON of pictures from it!  It always takes me a long time to sort through photos from events - especially multi-day events - when I have a lot to choose from.  And then the writing-up takes even longer, so I often have a draft languishing half-finished for weeks on end...  In order to avoid that trap, I will keep the journaling to a minimum for this post.

This is my excited face.
On Friday (our first day at the con) we mostly just wandered around taking pictures of cool stuff.

Hey look; Iowa!
I so wanted to collect all of these to make a mobile for Reptar:

My outfit for the day:

I kept it casual and comfortable with maternity jeans and my "That's no moon" maternity t-shirt.  And I tried to emulate Padmé's hairstyle from the scene in Revenge of the Sith when she tells Anakin that she's pregnant.

You can't see it, but I'm wearing a Millenium Falcon necklace along with the R2-D2 earrings I just bought.
I got lots of comments on my t-shirt!  And it was great because I could move freely throughout the space without a cumbersome costume - so much easier to both walk and sit!  So I mostly admired other people's awesome costumes.

These were (I believe) fan-made costumes that were on display - the attention to detail was amazing!

Sunset Friday
On Saturday, I got fully dressed up in the Green Velvet Beast!  Zöe did my eyebrows for me, because with the brown wig on I look really weird without darkened eyebrows.

You can see the stark contrast here between with and without eyebrow makeup:

You can also see my maternity stays in their unfinished state
And the finished look here:

I was wearing quite an interesting mix of historical undergarments and accessories - a Regency shift, 18th Century stays, cotton stockings from Colonial Williamsburg, Regency-esque shoes from The Gap, an 1860s-ish hoop skirt from Amazon, and an 18th Century pocket.

I had left a slit in the gown skirt side seam on the right-hand side so I could access my pocket.  I also tied on the hoop skirt and the quilted cone-shaped petticoat I made to go over it at the same side so that the slits under the drawstring waists also lined up with the pocket slit.  I was quite proud of myself for that innovation.

Then of course the gown itself, and the wig I rented from Custom Wig Company.

Once back at the convention center, I sat patiently waiting for Brian the Engineer to find parking (which was no small feat!) so we could go in together.  I joked that finding spots to sit down was my pregnancy superpower.

There were some nice backdrops for photos, like this one:

Oh, and I had forgotten my camera at the hotel on Friday, so all of my pictures from the first day were taken on my phone.  But on Saturday I remembered my camera, and therefore I took many more pictures - and even a video of this LEGO display:

More awesome fan costumes:

Our friends from the internet:

They did a group cosplay as cheap action figures.
I was thrilled to see the original Leia Ceremonial Gown in person!  I took lots of photos:

(That wasn't even all of them.  I might even do a separate post with just the pictures I took of it!)

I was blown away by these LEGO sculptures:

I was totally digging this Mod version of Rey:

Using my seat-finding superpower again!

Zöe's picture

One time when I was tired and there was no chair to be found, so I just sat on the floor!

In this aerial shot of me, you can see the pin I used to keep my hood up.  If it wasn't attached to my wig it kept falling down.

In the next few shots, you can see how different cameras read the colors of my gown quite differently, even under the same lighting conditions.  First is one from my camera:  

And next is one from Zöe's phone:

My camera:

Zöe's phone:

On the way back to the car - which was veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery far away - we stopped for a rest and some more photos of the gown:

More photos from Zöe's phone:

And that was Celebration!  We were only there the two days, but it was a lot of fun.  I'm glad I decided to go for it when I had the opportunity to dress up as pregnant Padmé!  Though it was funny - the gown does hide a pregnancy rather well, so I didn't have nearly as many people ask me when the baby was due as I'd had the day before.  :p