Fun “Bar” Suit, Part VI: Final Photos!

So I got the chance to wear the entire Bar Suit outfit at CostumeCon 37– I figured that  my fellow costumers, if no one else, would immediately get the reference to the original suit and appreciate the joke. And I was right!

Here are some of the fun photos we got of the outfit– I love costumes I can have a good time with!

Bar suit 3.1.jpgBar suit 2

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Okay, so clearly I needed a bit more attitude in my hip position to really mimic the model’s pose, but otherwise I think it’s a pretty decent shot!

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Vermont Regency Weekend

So recently I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at a historic home (now an inn) in Vermont for a Sense and Sensibility-themed event. I’ll be honest, as an event it left something to be desired– there were very few activities and the scheduled sleigh ride was cancelled due to weather– but I did enjoy getting to dress up with all of my gowns and accessories and take photos with some more period-looking furniture than I can find here at home!

Here’s me channeling Mary Bennet while wearing the very first Regency gown I ever made, plus the new day cap.

regency piano horiz

Here are the velvet capote and fur-trimmed wrap in action!

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Here’s the red pashmina dress with the ruffled chemisette:

regency red 2

And just for fun, I finally got photos of my 1882 tea gown in action! (I couldn’t resist putting a painting filter over one of them, though it’s not obvious at first glance)

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I think this one below is my favorite…

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Admittedly, there are a lot of pictures of me reading books (this one is an antique edition of The Lady of the Lake and there’s a handwritten inscription on the flyleaf dated 1899), but I needed a prop so I could do something other than smile at the camera!

Costume College 2018!

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In case you hadn’t noticed, my recent spate of costume posts was inspired by my upcoming trip to Costume College this year. I went this past weekend and it was fabulous! Also, my daughter sent her Cat-icorn (above) with me to keep me and my tiaras company.

These are totally my people– detail-obsessed lovers of gorgeous and/or hilarious outfits, willing to discuss the intricacies of fabric design or corsetry at the drop of a hat, and always appreciative of the work we all put into these things! I can’t wait to go back next year!

I did take a few photos of randomly beautiful costumes, but not nearly as many as I should have. Also, I was wearing gloves for two of the big events and it’s a lot harder to manage taking pictures with my phone that way. Next year, fewer gloves = more pictures!

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DIY Softbox

softbox fabric

Taking photos of my food projects for this blog has made it abundantly clear to me that I don’t really have the right setup for beautiful pictures of food. My two windows with good natural light are located in awkward positions (both above couches, so I can’t set up a table in front of them), and all my lines of sight are directed at unattractive backgrounds. The latter problem is easily dealt with by purchasing a cardboard display board that I can use to create my own neutral backgrounds, but the light problem is tougher to solve.

A little online research shows that there are some well-reviewed artificial lights out there that apparently work well to simulate natural light. However, since I don’t have $100+ to drop on a fancy light, I decided to go the DIY route. There are tons of tutorials on how to make your own DIY “softbox,” which is basically a device that you fit around your lightbulb that’s shiny on the inside to bounce the light around and has a diffuser in the front to soften it. The most useful tutorial appeared to involve using a mesh food tent as the structure and lining it on the inside in aluminum foil or shiny fabric, and on the outside with black fabric. The big plus is that it’s foldable and thus doesn’t take up too much space.

However, when I found this insulated food tent I figured I could take it one step further. The shiny fabric here is on the outside, but I thought that if I could remove the cover and reverse it so the shiny part was on the inside, it would be a really easy solution. It turned out to be amazingly simple. Here’s how I did it: Continue reading

Vanessa/Ursula at Anime Boston!

Anime Boston was quite the experience! There was a surprisingly large contingent of Disney costumes, including several Ursulas, but the one comment I heard time and time again was “I’ve never seen anyone do Wedding Vanessa before!” Which, of course, was the point. My friend (dressed as Ariel) and I had tons of opportunities to pose for photos, and especially liked being able to pose with other Ursulas. Hopefully the people taking the pictures had as much fun as we did!

Ursula victory

Ursula Ariel

Ursula mirror movieUrsula Vanessa mirror

This last one is my favorite, simply because the fabulous Tom Catt and I got to recreate such a classic moment from the movie!

Now I guess I just need to figure out what to do with the dress– there’s no room for it in my closet, and I think I’ve about exhausted the possibilities in the tentacle skirt. I think I may just save the wedding dress part for my daughter to play dress-up with, and toss the tentacles. Unless anyone wants a tentacle skirt?

Things to remember for future conventions:

1. Being able to get into and out of a costume by oneself is a very important consideration when constructing one. I’ve been so used to having my husband around to zip me up and arrange my tentacles (there’s another phrase I never thought I’d say) that it was kind of difficult to zip myself up while trying to hold the dress in place. In the end I was just grateful that there was another girl in the bathroom who could zip the dress up for me.

2. If you’re going to wear false eyelashes, remember to bring the tube of adhesive with you in case of detachment. I ended up looking a little lopsided (at least from up close) about halfway through the day.

3. If you’re making a bag to carry, sew some side pockets or compartments into it– makes it a lot easier to quickly grab your camera or cash or whatever it is you’d rather not spend five minutes digging around in your bag for. And yes, the important stuff always migrates to the bottom…

4. Shoes with arch support! Especially if your costume keeps you from sitting down easily. Speaking of which…

5. Make sure you can sit down in your costume. Really, make sure you try it. I did okay on benches, but came perilously close to falling when I tried to sit in a chair and the weight of my skirt pushed the chair just far enough back that my butt almost missed it on the way down.

6. If you get someone to take pictures for you, make sure you check them before you decide you’ve got enough. I really could’ve used some better-angled shots of the whole outfit, or a picture in front of a window where I didn’t have to Photoshop out the giant orange crane growing out of my head… (can you see where I removed it in the top shot?)

In any case, I had a great time! Now for a short hiatus on sewing projects so I can put my craft room (i.e., the computer room that is currently full of thread snippets and stray pins) back in order before my next one!

Vanessa/Ursula Costume, Bonus: Butterfly Bubble

I was trying to figure out fun poses for pictures in the Ursula/Vanessa dress, and decided to make an extra prop to use– the butterfly sphere.

Okay, so maybe you don’t instantly recognize the reference, but in the movie, when Ursula decides to “take matters into her own tentacles” and transform into Vanessa, one of the things she puts into her transformation potion is a bubble with a live butterfly in it.

ursula butterfly movie

I remembered that I already had some clear glass Christmas ornaments, and thought they’d be perfect for this application. At first I tried to use a 3″ feather butterfly that I had in my craft closet, but the wings were too rigid and it fell apart as I tried to cram it into the top opening. Instead, I decided to use some gold paper to make one. I cut two butterfly shapes and sandwiched some thin wire between them, first taping it down and then gluing the butterflies together, right sides out. Then I took some gold and brown paint and did a little texturing on the paper to make the butterfly look slightly more realistic. It still looks a little clunky, but it’s close enough.

I rolled the wings up and inserted the wired butterfly into the glass ornament, then used my fingers and a chopstick to unroll the wings. I ran the wire through the holes in the top of the ornament cap and twisted it to keep things securely in place. I also piped on some hot glue as extra insurance..

ursula butterfly process

I turned the whole thing upside down and presto– instant butterfly bubble!

ursula butterfly done

Stay tuned for photos from the convention!