Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dean's Combination

I have finished the trimmings on Dean's combination, and successfully taken some low-quality selfies. (the camera on my phone isn't great quality, but I work with what I have)

The pattern for the combination was of my own creation, and could have been better fitted. The waist is too low, closer to where I wear pants normally and not my actual waist, and the drawers could have been pleated more evenly. As it stands, the butt looks like a diaper to me. But being this is underwear, meant to protect the corset and provide modesty, so I'm not terribly bothered by its failings.

View of the front: This combination is made of white muslin, trimmed in lace, and closes with eight buttons, a bow at the neckline, and a ribbon sash at the waist.

View of back: Dropped waistline obvious, as well as that diaper effect I mentioned.

Close-up of front, my messy dreads, and the disapproving expression I wear when dealing with my phone's camera.


Lace Trimming: This is crocheted lace I made is "Trimming for a chemise" from Weldon's Practical Crochet, vol. 10. It is sewn onto the neck edge as well as both leg openings. Originally, the scallop points along the bottom were larger and more lace-y, but I wanted something more toned down for Dean. The ribbon is a burgundy velvet ribbon found in the dollar bins at Joann's. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough for the legs as well. I may replace it with a different ribbon later.

Hand stitched buttonholes, which I'm proud of myself for actually doing (even if I did do them wrong). My sewing machine does have an attachment for making buttonholes, but they're ugly so I decided to do buttonholes by hand.

Lastly, the belt. This is some burgundy satin ribbon I picked up at Michael's. It's polyester, but it's hard to find ribbon that isn't. Towards the left of the picture you can just barely make out where I sewed the ribbon to the back seam. Then at each dart and seam I used cotton crochet thread to make belt loops.

All in all I'm quite pleased. I'm currently working on lace to trim Castiel's chemise and drawers, as well as drafting corset patterns. With many luck I'll have all my foundation garments done by April.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


So I'm realizing that a major issue with my plan is timing and the risk of burnout. The chemise and drawers do not take a lot of time, but the lace and embroidery on them will take a while. Not to mention, I've never made a proper corset or a bustle before. And drafting the patterns for the main outfits will require time and multiple fittings. So since I don't have a good idea how long each stage will take, I feel like I have to be working non-stop. Which means I'm getting tired of it already.

I need to give myself good starting and stopping points, so I don't feel like my life revolves around this one, giant project. But at the same time, it's far to early for me to fall behind. I know I'll feel better once I've finished all the underpinnings, because then I'll have a good time line for the parts that people will actually see. But I can't start that until I have the foundation. I think I'm just going to have to work through the "tired of this project" until I can actually get an idea of how long everything will take me.

On the plus side, I've finished the sewing of my combination, and a chemise and drawers for both Castiel and Samifer. I'm nearly done trimming my combination, just need to crochet a bit more lace and add an ribbon. I have measurements for everyone except Crowley, so I'll be able to start drafting corsets and figuring out the size of busks and lengths of boning I'll need.

Le sigh. Back to work.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Combination Underwear: Complete

For the Victorian Femme Supernatural Cosplay, I have picked the 1880's as the decade to dress. People tend to lump the Victorian era together, but styles changed considerably over the years. Just compare the more modern 1960s, 70s, and 80s; styles change. The 1880s had bustled back, giving women great booty. Sleeves were tight and bodices tailored. Cotton had become cheaper, leading it to slowly replace linen in dress.

In previous decades women wore a chemise, which was a mid-thigh length slip, and drawers, which were knee length crotchless shorts, as undergarments. The chemise was worn to protect the corset from sweat and body oils, while the drawers were worn for modesty's sake should the wind or an accident cause the skirt to blow up. They were crotchless to ease bathroom use. The 1880s saw a new garment, the combination, which was a chemise and drawers in one. By this point many of the petticoats worn by women were removed in order to create a leaner look and to make lives easier. By combining the chemise and the petticoat into one, more garment bulk was removed.

I figured Dean would wear a combination, because when you live out of a suitcase you want to carry as few articles as possible. My combination is white muslin, with a bit of lace and a burgundy velvet ribbon at the neck. The pattern is my own, based on an actual 1880s drawers and chemise pattern, which I linked in my last post. I still need to sew on buttons and make buttonholes, so pictures will follow soon.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It has begun

I pulled out my pair of 1889 drawers that I made using the free pattern on as well as my paper pattern, copied it, made some alterations, shortened and altered the chemise pattern from the same website, and began working on how to make them into a combination. I have official started the project. Tomorrow I bust out my sewing machine and make the combination an actual garment instead of pieces of fabric and paper.


Plan of Attack

I'm starting to get down to the big scary part of this whole costuming project: the part where I decide I've done enough research and start actually making things. I made up a worksheet to fill in my friends' measurements, both before and after corset, so I can start gathering numbers for drafting. First things first, a chemise and drawers for everyone, and ordering the hardware for corsets. Then corsets, bustles, petticoats, skirts, bodices, and jackets for those who will be wearing them. I considered doing everything outfit by outfit, but doing all of one type will make it easier for me to transition from one project to the next. Plus, I can have friends doing skirt trimmings while I work on bodices so I won't be doing all the things.

I still have Gabriel's outfit to design, but that's the only thing left. I bought paper for pattern drafting, and I have a LOT of muslin for mock-ups and underpinnings. The hard thing is, I have two friends I can see daily, one friend I usually only see weekly, and one that I'm lucky to see once a month. I'm not going to be working for a while, so I may make a trip up to visit her to get her measurements so I can't use that as an excuse for procrastination.

Five full Victorian outfits in 10 months. That's doable, right? Right???

Friday, January 10, 2014

What have I gotten myself into . . .

I have never claimed to be sane. And when a crafty idea strikes me, I have to sketch it out and sometimes follow through to project completion, or there are consequences. As in: brain working non-stop, can't sleep, can't eat, cannot even with my life. Most of the time I can just draw, make up diagrams, choose materials, and let it go without buying a damn thing. But sometimes the idea is more forceful than that. Sometimes, it wants more.

Part of my plan for this new year to learn to balance my need to bring an idea to life with my actual and current life. I have my friends that should be visited, food that should be made and then eaten, a husband that wants to talk about something other than fabric or yarn, and a job that requires my presence in order to give me money. So of course this would be the year that the biggest, most consuming, most potentially awesome idea would occur to me.

Couple years ago I sold my soul to the Supernatural fandom. I do not regret this decision, which is probably an indicator of my insanity. Then, while scrolling through costuming blogs I found pictures a group who did a Victorian Femme Doctor Who cosplay, with each woman wearing a Victorian interpretation of each Doctor's outfit. And it was awesome. So I thought, "You know what would be equally awesome? Victorian Femme Supernatural cosplay."

And that's where it stopped. For over a year it's just been a cool idea at the back of my mind. I'd be Dean, my friend B would be Cas. When my friend Brittany became addicted, I brought it up and she chose Gabriel, but it wasn't serious. But all this time I've been slowly mulling over how it would be done. And now the idea has reached critical.

I have all the major players picked out. I have 19 pages of designs for 5 outfits, including underpinnings, not including rejected designs. I have some fabric and supplies bought. I have patterns to base my designs on, and some financial support as well. And worst of all (best of all), I have a timeline. A Tribute to Supernatural Convention, in Burbank, this November. I'm pretty sure I just found out my crazy has a secret underground swimming pool. Luckily, all my friends know how to swim.

This is going to be epic.