Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Art from GR Comic Con

One of my favorite things about going to any convention is buying crafty items from local artists. At comic cons, I particularly like buying art prints. Here is my haul from this year's Grand Rapids comic con!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Halloween 2014

Ahh, another Halloween has come and gone. This year was relatively low key for me (no huge parties, had class, etc), but I had fun with the costumes I wore and the event I did attend. 

First up, I went to a rather impromptu "Hocus Pocus" watching hangout with some friends, so I decided to throw together a last minute Winnifred Sanderson costume. It's not movie accurate, but the colors and hair and crazy lipstick help make it. 

My "real" costume this year was Astrid from How to Train Your Dragon 2. I went with the 2nd movie outfit, because the costume had "more" - a fur skirt, arm bands, face paint, etc. It was really fun to make - I bought a bunch of scrap leather from Tandy to make the skirt and headband and arm wraps, and a bunch of fake fur from Joanne Fabrics to make all the fur pieces. I used my David Bowie wig and braided it. 

The real dragon was nice very excited about my costume ;)

So I used a fake Stormfly instead - it was a hit at the Children's Hospital, where I did facepainting.

This is full outfit! If I wear it again for Grand Rapids Comic Con, I might make a few changes, but overall I am very happy with the costume.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Sorry for the lack of updates - medical school has been, well, taking over my life.

However, I have some AMAZING photos of myself and a new headdress I created to wear with a bunch of clothes I had created and my Shoptroll leather. Thanks to the ever fabulous Russ Turner Photography (all rights reserved - please do not remove his watermark), I have photograph evidence of what I've been up to!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Queen Elsa

Last Friday a friend of mine commissioned a Queen Elsa (from Frozen) dress for her adorable little girl's birthday. Because it is a kid's dress, and one has to think about playtime durability and appropriateness, it's not quite movie accurate. It is, however, full of sparkle and fun, and I think you can still tell it's Elsa.

Original fabric. Find the right blues was actually kind of hard! Most were either too dark or too baby blue, instead of a proper ice blue. 

Finished dress. The cape is removable (it attaches with the little snowflake snaps). It looks a little funny because it's on an adult sized hanger. It's lined in cotton, for durability and softness on skin :)

I spray glittered a bunch of snowflakes on the cape. It's a much subtler effect than I set out to get, but I rather like it. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Updates on costuming business!

So for the last 2 months or so, I've been creating and selling ghawazee-style coats at various events in Michigan and Ohio.

So far, it's been a success. So much of a success, in fact, that I plan on expanding the line into several other styles of ladies' coats and men's coats and vests.

Here are some of the styles currently available...

Here's what I hope to extend for the ladies....

And Monday's Sketchbook roughly detailed what I'd like to bring forth for the men. Next week's Sketchbook should have some new drafts as well.

I just ordered a whole bunch of Sari fabric, so I will have lots of new patterns to play with. This week I've been making a Queen Elsa for a friend's daughter; I'll have a separate post all about that.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Current projects: ghawazee coats and more

So, based on the reception of my blue ghawazee outfit at the last few events, I've decided to branch out into costume vending. I will be selling wares at the upcoming Springs and Sprockets event in Ypsilanti, MI on April 13th. I've been busy sewing away, creating stock ghawazee coats (and hopefully some high collared Victorian Steampunk coats as well). Here are some of the in-progress shots!

Silvery green with cream embroidery. Size M

Golden/tan with blue embroidery and sleeves. Size XS/child

Purple/green feathery pattern. I can't wait until the purple trim is on...it will really pop. Size XL

Close up of feather pattern. 
I have a bunch more cut out in many more sizes, including a gorgeous blue/gold, a very pretty silvery purple, a pink and maroon stripe, and a red and black taffeta. As they get done-ish, I'll keep posting photos!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pandoracon Costume 1: Nice Knockers

A while back, I posted a fun little costume sketch for Pandoracon, a general nerdery convention in Cincinnati, OH. The theme this year was the Labyrinth, so of course I had to come up with themed costumes!

Given that I was prepping for Teslacon just a few weeks later, I wanted to create something that was a little less sewing intensive. Aside from the knockers themselves (and the sign), everything else was something that I already had: corset by Orchard Corset, hats by Blonde Swan and myself, other clothing just part of my regular collection.

I bought two pounds of Sculpey III clay from my local Joann Fabrics, and then the fun began!

It took me a little while to determine my exact process. Because I am rather gifted in the bosom department, I wanted to make sure the plates would both fit my ample curves AND be stable enough to last a whole convention. I started by covering an old bra of mine in masking tape - because the bra was already padded, I just had to prop the cups up a little bit to make sure they held their form. I was originally going to place the clay forms directly over tinfoil (as seen on the left), but that wasn't as stable as I wanted.

So, instead, I rolled a thin piece of clay and covered the entire bra form. Then, I made the basic face shapes in tinfoil, covered them in clay, and pressed them into the base (face on the right). I used extra clay to fill in and smooth out the basic shapes, and to add extra details.

Once I had both faces done, I baked the entire structure, bra and all, in my oven according to the directions that came with the clay. When they cooled, I popped them off the bra form and had my chest plates! I then coated them in a spray plastic to give them a smoother finish and to provide more stability (dry clay can be fragile, so the plastic coating helped to prevent them from shattering when I bumped into anything).

I painted them using a mix of coppers and bronzes, and then tried to add a fake green patina - it sort of worked, but I was running out of time to do it right, so it was a little hard to see. I made the rings out of these curlicue Christmas decorations from Hobby Lobby - I just bent them into shape and hot glued them in place.

In retrospect, I should have made holes in the plates before I baked them, but because I was not that smart at the time, I ended up (carefully!) dremmeling holes into the sides and top so I could attach the harness.

Originally, the harness was made out of elastic, but my friend Peter of Shoptroll made some super awesome durable leather straps for me (seen above).

The picture above (taken by the talented Brian Kollig) is the closest variation to my original sketch. It turned out pretty damn close, if I do say so myself!

Here is another costume variation. This is the one I wore for the costume contest - I got third place overall!

I have plans to remake the knockers, now that I have some more clay experience and have learned from some of my basic mistakes. But overall, I am pretty happy with how these turned out. More importantly, I had a great time, received a lot of compliments, met a lot of new people, and made tons of punny jokes with other Labyrinth nerds :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Photoshoot at Gears, Beards, and Beers

Last week, I attended Capitol Steam's fantastic event, Gears, Beards, and Beers in Jackson, MI. Matt Gwinn of Errant Knight Photography was there offering free photos, so I took advantage and got some great shots of my new blue/gold outfit with my ShopTroll leather. 

I wish I had removed my camera bag, but this is a great full body shot that shows how the skirt is hitched to the belt and creates some interesting falls. I love how the blues of the coat and the trim really make the lighter sand-colored leather pop!

Playing around with props! This is one of my favorite costume photos of me ever - Matt did a great job. I love how the blue feathers set off my purple hair. Again, great detailing in the leather by ShopTroll. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Sketchbook 3/10/14

This is another piece inspired by Shoptroll - this costume has a decidedly more Victorian/steampunk flair - I'm trying to go for more of a Proper Lady Adventurer.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Sketchbook 3/3/2014

This drawing is kind of important to me, because it's the only thing I drew at all when I was in the worst of my depression - about 3 months of no drawing, no costuming, nothing. It's also what I drew right before I decided to start taking medication, which has helped immensely. I was inspired by my friend ShopTroll's leatherwork, and decided to start playing around with the idea of loving my inner monster - fur, fangs, and all. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Sketchbook 2/24/14

This is a rough sketch for a group concept I've been playing around with. I love the style of the velocipede uniforms for women in the late 1890's - the huge sleeves, the tweed, etc. Because I am into steamPUNK, I want to highlight the punk aspect of it, and think about what would a Victorian "biker chick" look like.

I also may or may not have been inspired by Kate Beaton's "Velocipedestrienne" comic :)

Saturday, February 22, 2014


Sorry about the lack of posts for the last few months. I've been dealing with depression, never ending snow storms, too many medical school exams and papers to count, and just general life.

The good news is that my depression is mostly under control, med school is going well, and I've been helping out a few vendor friends (Shoptroll and War Pony) at some shows, so the inspiration and costuming has been happening more and more.

I just got back from yesterday's Shiver Me Timbers, put on by the Brethren of the Great Lakes. A fun day of shopping and music was had by all.

The most exciting piece for me was my completed, totally brand new costume. I was a bad costumer and forgot to bring my camera, so I don't have any good photos right now, but if they happen to appear, I will post them.

In the meantime (and for your viewing pleasure), here is a little glimpse into the madness of what my costuming process looks like, from sketch to draping to actually putting it all together.

Original sketch

Pinning cutout fabric and various trims/accessories on dress form. 

The final look. Leather pieces (bodice, skirt, hip pockets) are made by Shoptroll
So there you have it! At the very least, I will be bringing back Monday Sketchbook. As things go along, I will have more updates about costumes, events, some tutorials, and all good things about the colorful side of my life.