May 27, 2016

Victorian Hairstyles

As I'm getting closer to finishing my 1871 dress I've started thinking about things like accessories and hair. Earlier this year I chopped my hair off to a nice long bob, which is currently just above my shoulders. While it's technically long enough to put back in a ponytail, there's not much else I can do with it right now.

Now, it's no secret that all throughout history (but especially in the mid to late Victorian era) women used fake hair pieces. With that in mind, I've started to come up with a plan for some historically accurate hairstyles.

First off, I purchased some extra hair. It sounds kind of weird when I put it like that, but that's essentially what I did. For a while I thought about investing in some good clip in human hair extensions (the one's I was looking at were from Luxy Hair), but since it would cost between $200-300 to get a good length and thickness (I have very thick hair), I ended up with a different plan.

I purchased clip in bangs and a curly clip from Arda Wigs. Since I've purchased wigs from them before I already know that the color Spanish Brown is very, very, very close to my natural hair color. I just placed the order the other day, so I should be receiving it in about a week.

One of the limitations of using extra hair pieces, is that unless you hair is already long and you're just using it for thickness, you cannot do any sort of updo.

With that in mind, here's some of my hair inspiration. I'd like to note that some of these hairstyles are from the later 1870''s/80's (and even some 1860's). But that's okay.

Here's my plan. 

I want to do a half updo, with the hair pulled away from my face, but use the clip in bangs to do the frizzy/curly bangs (I'm not sure what that style is call or if it even has a name), and have the curly clip used in the back to create the illusion of long luscious locks.

I came across THIS tutorial while doing some Victorian hairdo research, which I think I'll use for a base and build off of. It's going take a bit of experimenting, and hair is not my strong point. So it'll be interesting to see the end result.

May 26, 2016

1871 Dress Sneak Peek

Here's a little sneak peek of my 1871 dress, which I'll be wearing at Costume College this year. I finished the bodice (minus trimmings) a few days ago and had to try the whole thing on. I'm so excited for it to be almost done!

The dress has been (and still is) a huge learning curve for me. After it's completed I'm planning on writing up a blog post on the mistakes I made and what I learned from this project.

May 10, 2016

Quick Rebel Costume

Every year I like to celebrate May the Fourth be With You by having a party, usually the weekend following May the 4th. This year, due to being busy, my family threw together a small get together with one of our closest family friends. We dressed up, did a Star Wars quiz, had a fire pit, and had fun hanging out together.

Earlier this year I was planning on finishing my Rey costume, but because I haven't had the time to figure out the dye I still haven't been able to make any progress on that costume. I just decided not to dress for the party. Until about twenty minutes before and I threw together this Rebel costume with pieces I had in my closet from other costumes.

I used the vest, shirt and boots from my Mara Jade costume and the pants from my Jedi costume (which was never completely finished). I pulled out my DL-44 and ta-da! Instant rebel costume! This costume was inspired by some of the costumes from Rogue One, which I'm starting to get really excited about! This costume is also very Han Solo to me, which is also awesome.

May 6, 2016

Costuming on a Budget

Money has always been tight for me and it's a well known fact that costuming (or any type of sewing for that matter) isn't cheap. Over my years of sewing I've figured out how to make costumes while still being able to afford it. So here are my tips for costuming on a budget.

1). The #1 rule of sewing any type of clothing - make a mock up. Not only will you refine the pattern you're making so it will fit and look just right, if you make a mistake it's on a piece of cheap material and not the material you paid $12 a yard for.

2). Take advantage of thrift stores. I regularly keep any eye out for costuming supply's at thrift stores like Goodwill. I've bought sheets to use for mock ups for cheap, found curtains that end up being perfect for accessories, and not to mention the shoes! I always check the thrift stores when I'm looking for shoes, because you never know what you might find and they're usually a great price.

3). Coupons. This one is probably obvious, but never go to a craft store without a coupon! Craft stores like Jo-Ann's are expensive and I once read an article that said never to buy fabric unless it's at least 30% off, otherwise you're getting ripped off. And it's true. Don't pay $12 a yard for cotton. Please.

The trick with coupons at craft stores is when they give you a good one the entire store is on sale for 20% off. There's not much you can do in that situation, but some stores like Hobby Lobby will take the sale price off and use your coupon instead. I've also heard that Jo-Ann's will price match, but I've never tried it.

4). Pattern sales. Never pay full price for a commercial pattern! Stores like Jo-Ann's put their patterns on sale all the time and it's normal for Simplicity Patterns to be $1 a piece and other brands between $2-5 a piece.

5). Do your research. Lets say you're making a corset, which in case you don't know anything about corsets they have to be made out of a material that doesn't stretch. There's a particular fabric called coutil made specifically for corsets, but it costs around $50 a yard. You probably don't want to pay that much unless you're an expert corset maker.

When I made my first corset I did some research and found that a lot of historical costumers use duck canvas instead. It costs around $10 a yard at Jo-Ann's, so with a coupon that's around $5. Much better than $50 plus shipping!

There isn't always going to be a cheaper option and someone who is more skilled at corset making would probably want to use coutil. But for my first corset? No way!

While there's lot's of good ways to save one money, I've found that sometimes cheap isn't always the best way to go. Here's a few things I've learned over the years that it's just best to spend the extra money on.

1). Patterns. They're expensive and sometimes a pain to work with, so pretty much since I started sewing I've avoided patterns whenever possible. I would opt to draft my own (which is great and I wouldn't change that even if I could go back in time) instead of spending $15 on a pattern. For certain things this really isn't a bad thing to do because sometimes there just isn't a pattern for what you want to make.

But I've had plenty of times when I knew there was a pattern that would work perfectly but I would try and draft it myself just to save the $20, and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get it to fit right and would end up spending unnecessary time and fabric to try and make it work.

Sometimes it's just worth it to pay up and get the pattern.

2). Muslin. As I stated before, I've purchased old sheets to use for mock ups. As I've become more experienced at sewing, the more I liked working with muslin. I usually buy a bolt of 20 yards every couple of months when it goes on sale for $.99 a yard, and to me it's worth the money.

And that's all I've got for now! I'll probably end up thinking of more things I wished I'd added, in which case I'll write another post about.

Do YOU have any advise for costuming on a budget?