Dragonfly Designs by Alisa

Ghost Me at Steamcon IV

I was a *little* worried about how this costume was going to fit me.  I'd never tried on all the pieces together, and the jacket sleeves in particular had given me endless trouble.  I was afraid it was going to be one of those costumes that just feel awkward and slightly ill-fitting to wear...even if it looks fine to the bystander.

Well, it was fine!  It fit comfortably and the only annoying part of the costume was the makeup.  I'm always touching my face, normally, and it was a constant struggle to remember stay hands-off!


I had a lot of compliments on my box pleats, too!  As well as many, many people expressing how they themselves would never have been able to stain it with blood.  :)




Finished!  10/21/12

All that's left to do is wear it...which will happen at Steamcon this coming weekend.  And now - on to the pictures!


I love how the blood turned out.  I ended up using paint.  I used a dark wine color, added in a rust, and then some brown shades to get an "old blood" look.  Real old blood would be even more brown than this, but I wanted it to still have a redness to it, so I cheated a bit.  I then thinned the paint way down with water and applied with a brush and my fingers.  Right on the left side of the collar, I made a raggedly "knife cut" in the fabric, with the idea that my ghost had died of that injury.  I then completely saturated the fabric over and near the 'wound' (if you do this, remember to put plastic underneath your costume, so you don't bleed through to your corset or dummy!)  Then I brought the blood down as if it had run down her skirt.  I also drenched the brush and held it up near the skirt, so that the blood would naturally drip down.

I had so much fun playing with the blood!  Something must be wrong with me....  :)

It  was a little intimidating to begin - I knew I had one shot at getting it right, since once the blood was on, it was there to stay.  Where's Dexter when you need some advice on blood splatter????

So, now you can see how the chest tech looks.  The idea is, after she was murdered, her mad scientist husband (perhaps filled with regret? Was he the one who killed her?) created this Corporeality gadget.  It doesn't bring her back to life, but while she wearing it, her spirit is made visible/tangible.  There is a vial of her blood, to draw/bind her spirit, and a flashing light.

I like how the blood looks on the embroidery!



 Here's a video tour of the costume:


After Steamcon, I'll post pics of me wearing it.

Almost Done! 10/13/12

I've been bad, and not taken any progress pictures.  But here are lots of 'nearly done' pictures!  The only things left to do on this is apply liberal amounts of "dried blood" and finish the steampunk tech that is going to fit in the center of the chest.  That's what those tubes are for, sticking out.  Ignore those for right now....

Also excuse the many wrinkles.  I'm sorry, but not even for love of YOU will I iron when I know I'm just going to wrinkle it up again while finishing it.  :)

You can admire all the box pleats, if you want.  I was box-pleating FOREVER.

Or admire the embroidery.  I'm so sick of doing grey-on-grey embroidery!!!!

There will be a brooch on the collar.  I have a gray cameo on order that I hope will work.  The lace is a doily, dyed to match.


This jacket is entirely my own design.  No patterns here.  





 Then I made a hat.  I was going to make one from scratch, but then I found a cheap Halloween top hat in grey.  When I got it home, it was just a little too light a grey, so I ended up spray painting it darker.  And then I cut it apart and made this.



Side view:


 Other side:


The veiling on this side can be pulled across my face, which is probably how I'll wear it.  More ghostly, don'cha know.

 Back view:


The wig is this wig:

It was very cheap, and very GLOSSY and shiny.  I spray-painted it, too.  Now it looks sort of like it's been powdered.  Very cool.  I'm so glad the American Duchess blog showed me how to spray paint wigs!


Then, I made a purse.  


It still needs its chain, but otherwise, it's done.  See - it even has pockets!

Those pockets came about because I'd originally been planning to have embroidered panels on the sleeve cuffs.  I finished one cuff, and decided I didn't like it.  So, rather than toss it out and waste that work, I somehow devised the idea of wrapping it around the purse and making pockets.  There is one pocket on each side.  I quite like it!

As part of the costume, I will wear these gloves.  They only came in light tan, so I bleached them, then dyed them.

And for a prop, I have a LED candlestick. Ghosts do, don't they?  :)


Progress 7/26/12

I've been busy! First of all, while the vest/bodice is done, the jacket and skirt are still mostly pinned together....so if it looks weird, that's the reason.  I hope...  ;) Also, ugh, wrinkles on the vest around the buttons.  I *think* that's just because I don't have it pulled down properly on the dummy.


Look at the buttons!  I embroidered little designs on them!


 This is a close up of the collar.  See the fringe?  That is actually the selvage edge of the fabric.  I cut it all off and saved it, and now I'm sewing it back on as edging.  If there's a pretty fringe on the selvage, I always save it.  The Steampunk Ottoman also has a selvage-edged fringe on its collar.

 And the back:


 That odd cut-out over the butt is where I'm going to add an embroidered peplum.  

 And I totally need to get better pics of this costume next time.  Wow, it's actually SUMMER outside right now!  Other parts of the country may have been boiling hot for ages, but here?  It's been pretty chilly and non-sunny most of the time.   It's nice to be warm, but bright sunshine on grey silk?  Not so good for photography!

Bodice 5/25/12

I decided I wasn't quite happy with the previous post's muslin, so I threw it out and started again.  This time I draped it myself, without using any commercial pattern as a starting point.  I have a much clearer idea in my head as to what I want now.  And then I cut out into the fashion fabric and got the bodice pretty much sewn together.  I just need the collar (which I need to embroider first), the buttons (which I am also embroidering), and to finish binding the bottom. 

It's going to be sleeveless, because there will be a matching jacket worn over it.  


And here's a peek at the lining.  I used to totally leave the inside all unfinished - because why bother if no one will see it?  But now, I'm discovering it makes me happy to have things quite perfect inside.


The lining is denim, because I wanted something pretty stiff to make up for the frailty of the grey silk.  I would normally use duck, but I was out.  The denim is pretty nice; I may use more of it for lining in the future.

This costume will finished in time for SteamCon 2012.

Muslin 1/13/11

So in the last post, I showed you pictures of two possible patterns. I decided to go with the one on the bottom...as far as the vest/waist combo.  (The skirt will probably be completely different.)  I started making a muslin yesterday.  Here is the results for the vest:


 Also, since making a muslin is considerable effort, I've decided to turn it into a wearable dress...if all goes well.  I found several fabrics in my boxes that I have no plans for, so why not?  There is also a chance that I will need a Victorian dress in March, as a friend and I are considering attending the Port Townsend Victorian Festival.  What you see in the above photograph will be turned inside out and become the lining of the test dress.  

 After I made the vest pattern, I started in on the waist.  Everything is still very much pinned together/not finished, but here's a pic of the fabrics I'm using, and an idea of the trim:


Since the weather is nasty and wet outside, I had to take indoor pics, thus the colors are not right at all.  The vest is actually a pale blue and gold brocade, and the waist is more blue than it looks.  The waist is also not finished at all regarding collar, lapels, or *anything* so it will look SO MUCH BETTER eventually! 

Possible Patterns - 11/23/10

This one:

Or this one:


More likely, it will be a variant of both, mingled with a bit of the massively pleated dress from the post of 11/14/10.

The Grey Lady  11/14/2010

I got the idea for this costume because I visited the Harry Potter Exhibit.  My favorite costume on display was the Bloody Baron's.  He's a ghost, so his outfit is solid grey, with the most amazing texture and detail.  You can't properly see how GORGEOUS it was in this pic, but since they didn't allow pictures inside the exhibit, this is the best online photo I could dig up.

The buttons have embroidery on them, the whole outfit is tattered and torn, and then there's the spectacular spill of dried blood against all that grey!  :) What can I say? I sometimes have a morbid turn of mind...

I wanted to make it instantly, but I really did not want to make it as a man's costume.  I wanted a grey and bloody dress.  I toyed with doing one of the other Hogwarts ghosts (they all have the same glorious grey outfits), but the only woman is The Grey Lady, and she doesn't have blood on her.

I could cheat and add blood, and the costume IS spectacular, but for some reason I'm just not wanting to make one in this style at present.  Maybe someday....

Then it hit me: I've been wanting to do a full-on Victorian bustle dress, with all the bells and whistles and ruffles and pleats.  Like one of these:


Only, it would be all in grey, and have a spill of blood down the front.  I'd wear a grey wig, and do some sort of grey-scale makeup.  And then - the detail that makes me really happy: some sort of steampunk gadget that "brings ghosts back into the material world" so that they can interact with the living.  Oh, the backstory I could make up for this one!!!

 Out of curiosity, I googled grey Victorian dresses and came up a couple:

That one's too plain and too dark a grey (I want a light silvery color), but it is pretty!

This one, however, is more like it!  I think I'm going to need to make myself a pleating board....

 And, of course, I've already spent some time looking around online to see what sort of fabric I can find in grey.  I haven't chosen anything for the dress itself, but I did find (and buy) 4 yards of this grey embroidered tulle:

 I'm thinking this will be the lace under the cuffs.  It looks like it will tatter and stain very nicely....

 So this is Project #1 for 2011.