Monday, February 4, 2013

Costuming Year in Review, 2012

I always like to do year-end roundups of all my sewing and costuming projects, but I never manage to actually get them done by year's end. But better late than never! Forthwith, the 17 projects I completed (or helped to complete) in 2012!

1. "Indy Anna" Jones

Indy Anna SDCC edited copy
My brother has always been the junior Jones in our family (except for when our dad is Indy and Sean is Shia LeBoeuf)-- but this year he couldn't come to Comic-Con. So I filled in! This costume was a snap, because Dad and Sean both own multiple copies of all the Indy accessories, so they just lent me the smallest hat, belt, bag, etc. I had originally planned on making some Katharine Hepburn-esque pants, but ultimately decided on a skirt. So I made a half-circle skirt out of some tan wool, and bought a shirt and boots. I didn't get to do my hair in a fun 30s style because I had to change into this one in the parking garage after wearing Maleficent that morning. :P At Dragon*Con we finally got our whole Indy group together for the very first time, huzzah!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Captain America USO Dancing Girl

Costume: Captain America's USO Dancing Girl
From: Captain America: The First Avenger
Debut: 2011
Awards: Part of a skit that won "Best Patriotic" at Dragon*Con 2012 Masquerade

"Who's strong and brave, here to save the American way?" In the first Captain America movie, Cap gets sent on a USO promotional tour, complete with a chorus of dancing girls in red, white, and blue spangled outfits. I fell in love with these dresses the second I saw them, and when some of my friends suggested we get a costume group together, I leapt on board. I debuted this dress at Dragon*Con 2011 and it's quickly become one of my absolute favorite costumes!

For those interested in making the costume, we have a Facebook group. Through the superheroic efforts of Kathy, we have standardized information about fabrics and patterns to make the outfit, so that we all look identical when we meet up at conventions. The effect is *really* awesome when we get a lot of girls together, as we have for the parades and photoshoots at Dragon*Con. I've called cadence for our entry in the parade since 2011 and it is *so* much fun! At  Dragon*Con 2012, a group of us performed a "Star-Spangled Man" skit at the Masquerade and won Best Patriotic.

Dragon*Con 2011
(thanks to David Skirmont and Matt&Kristy for the pictures!)




WonderCon 2012
(Thanks to Pat Loika and photofg for the pics!)

Cap and the USO girls!


Dragon*Con 2012
(Thanks to Bob Kay, patcave, Mungbutter, and David Skirmont for the pics!)







Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tiny Princess Captain America

It's Tiny Princess Captain America time! I made this costume for my three-year-old niece this summer, originally for her to wear at Origins. She's since worn it for San Diego Comic-Con, the Fourth of July, and Halloween. Read on to find out how to make it!

IMG_8901 copy


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Half: A View from a Banana Suit

Uh. Well, I hadn't planned on running this year's San Diego RnR Half. I was actively *not* running it, in fact, because after the unbelievable disaster that was RnR Las Vegas, I didn't really feel like giving Competitor Group any of my money ever again.

Then a week and a half before the race, I got an email from my running club coach. Jamba Juice wanted two people to run the half in banana costumes. They'd pay your registration and give you a $50 Jamba card as a thank-you. Free race in a silly costume? ME ME ME I WANNA. (When I showed up for our group run that Saturday, everyone in the club was like "oh yeah, we knew you were going to jump on that." I HAVE A REPUTATION APPARENTLY.)

When I picked up the costume at the race expo, the Jamba people told me I could modify it however I wanted. You've got to be careful about saying things like that to me, naive little Jamba Juice people. Behold! BEDAZZLED BANANA at race start:


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Doctor Who Shirt & Color Block Skirt


Last year, my friend Janine asked me if I would  make a shirt for her husband Ron. She'd already made a skirt for herself out of some TARDIS and Dalek fabric that she had bought from Spoonflower, and she figured there was probably a shirt's worth of material left. There was-- just barely! I gave Ron the shirt when I saw him at Christmas, and all was well, by which I mean my mom was kind of horrified by it, but Ron loved it. They wore their matching outfits to StellarCon in North Carolina (ADORABLE!):


I looked at the pile of scraps I had left, and I thought, "I bet if I pieced these, I could make a skirt for their daughter. Then they would ALL match!" And then, because my mind seizes up when I try to design something original, I scoured the internet for pictures of colorblocked and patchwork skirts, and I drew sketch after sketch until I was finally satisfied it wouldn't look terrible. I really didn't have that much of the Who fabric left, so I picked up some coordinating solid cottons at Jo-Ann. And so-- skirt!


It's a basic quarter-circle skirt, dead simple to draft, although turning the single pattern piece into the five stripe pieces was a bit time-consuming-- lots of careful measuring and drawing and cutting. The trickiest part was piecing the TARDIS and Dalek blocks, because my scraps were tall, not wide. I couldn't make things line up perfectly, but I did my best. Here's an example:


The skirt is fully lined-- white underneath the lighter upper blocks, with a dark stripe around the hem so it blends with the bottom of the skirt. It has a grosgrain waistband and closes with an invisible zipper on the side.

978 982

I think she might like it. Just a little.


I was pretty pleased too, if we're being honest. :)


I still have some tiny scraps left...wonder what I could do with them?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Masquerade: Bring It On: Rock the Mouse

Entry Title: Bring It On: Rock the Mouse
Fandoms: Disney animated movies/Bring It On
Convention: San Diego Comic-Con 2009
Award: Best Presentation
Producers: Corli & Caitlin
Director/Choreographer: Caitlin
Audio: Corli
Voiceover: Rogue
Mickey Mouse costume by: My dad John

Cast Members: Alex (Hercules), Amy (Sleeping Beauty), Breanna (Mulan), Caitlin (Maleficent), Corli (Cruella), Danica (Cinderella), Kent (Hook), Mike (Aladdin), Nichoel (Belle), Nicole (Ursula), Rachel (Queen of Hearts), Rogue (Jafar), Sean (Mickey Mouse), Steph (Jasmine), Tree (Evil Queen), Victoria (Tink), Bryan (stage ninja), Jen (stage ninja), John (stage ninja)
[For those keeping count at home, that's a total of 19 people.]

I'd been wanting to do a cheerleading skit for years, but I could never find the right fandom for it. I knew I wanted to do something in the vein of Bring It On, with two rival cheerleading squads. In early 2008, Corli and I were brainstorming via email, and we hit on doing it with Disney heroes and villains, which would let us use the song "Hey Mickey" (which has cheerleaders in the music video) and have it be extra-funny. Plus, we could incorporate the quick-change idea I'd also been wanting to do, and have the characters change from full costume to cheer outfits mid-skit.

So we started recruiting and trying to put the skit together for SDCC 2008, but we just couldn't make it work. I wanted at least a dozen characters, but we couldn't seem to get more than ten, people had to drop out, and it was getting later and later and we weren't going to be able to do it *right,* and if we were going to do it, I wanted to do a damn good job. So we pushed it off till 2009, and we did Corli's Hairspray skit instead. Which was awesome.

Then, in January 2009, we picked the idea back up and started shaping it further. We abandoned our original idea of having all "matching" heroes and villains from the same movies, which allowed us more freedom in picking costumes. Rogue came up with the idea of structuring the skit as a trailer for Bring It On 5. We recruited even more people, conning our Disney-obsessed friends into joining and linking up with some other Masquerade costumers we'd long admired (the folks behind the Dancing With Celebrities and Van Hellsing skits), and wound up with 15 characters in total.

Then we decided we needed a Mickey Mouse, and I *really* conned my dad into agreeing to make the head. Because my dad, as my theater friends know very well, can do pretty much anything, given enough time. My brother agreed to be Mickey because it meant he could be involved but wouldn't have to actually show his face. So now we were 16-- three in the Bay Area, two in Arizona, one in Pennsylvania, and the other 10 in SoCal.

We hammered the skit out by early spring and Corli started putting together the audio. I choreographed the first half of the skit and made tutorial videos for everyone. We set our first SoCal rehearsal for a Saturday in mid-May, and we practiced the first half of the number, up through the costume strip. I did more choreography and made more videos. We had an almost-full rehearsal in mid-June, with everyone but my brother and two of the NorCal people. It lasted 8 hours. No, I don't know how I convinced them to do it either, but I'm grateful beyond words.

July arrived, and people started frantically working on their costumes because they realized they weren't going fast enough. (Except Cordelia, who's always done early.) I started sleeping less than five hours a night. We recruited Jen and Bryan as stage ninjas. Dad sent near-daily progress reports on Mickey's head, which looked amazing. Mom got in the act and helped cover Mickey with fabric. Then Dad made Mickey's shoes. Then he shipped Mickey, and we entrusted him to the United Parcel Service. Scary as all hell.

And then suddenly Comic-Con was almost here and there was still a ridiculous amount of work left to do. Dad and Sean arrived late Sunday and, because I asked, spent their entire week building the frame that would hold our Disney castle flag securely and allow us to raise the flag on command. Said frame has been named Melissa and is now required to be used in all future skits. We had our first rehearsal with all of us on Friday night at Nicole, Danica, and Kent's hotel. It went surprisingly well, actually. And then Saturday was Masquerade, and we had another rehearsal for an hour before our fifteen-minute slot on the practice stage, and then we all got dressed and sat in the green room and then lined up backstage for FOREVER.

Then we went onstage, and it went by in maybe two and a half seconds instead of minutes, and the roar that went up when Mickey was revealed was the best thing I've ever heard. And we went back offstage and gathered up our costumes and took pictures and went back to the green room to sit *forever* until the awards were announced. They didn't call our number on the first list (the company prizes) and we waited for another eternity until they came back with the second list and THEY CALLED OUR NUMBER and I just kept repeating, "Oh thank God we won something," because at least I hadn't wasted all these hours and days and weeks of nineteen peoples' lives.

So that's what went into this skit. For two and a half minutes on stage. 

It was worth every second.



San Diego Comic-Con 2009 MASQUERADE - DISNEY

San Diego Comic-Con 2009 MASQUERADE - DISNEY

Script & Lyrics

In a world
Where nothing is ever as it seems
Where the ordinary is always extraordinary
Where once upon a time happens once upon a day
The struggle between good and evil
Just got...cheerier.

We're sunny, we're cute
We're popular to boot
We're perfect, great hair
The kids all love to stare
We're lovely, we're good
We act the way we should
We're wanted, we're hot
We're everything you're not

We're focused, we're strong
It's you that don't belong
We snicker, we smile
And many think we're vile
We're twisted, we're dark
We'll kill you for a lark
We're clever, we're bold
Our hearts have all grown cold

We cheer and we lead!

We'd love to make you bleed

Don't hate us 'cause we're beautiful

Well we don't like you either

We're cheerleaders!
We are cheerleaders!

This summer
Two rival teams
With nothing in common
Must band together
To Bring It On
And Rock the Mouse

Friday, May 18, 2012

Regency Tea Party

2053A few weeks back, my friends and I had a fabulous, silly, incredibly relaxing girls' weekend in the mountains of North Carolina. The main event was a tea party on Saturday, and of course we had to dress up in our very best historical finery. And by "our," I mean "Janine's," because we were all wearing her dresses! I'm working on my first Regency dress, but it's not finished yet. Hopefully by Costume College!

We hosted the tea party at the bed-and-breakfast where we were staying, the Andon-Reid Inn. This place is amazing, you guys. If you're ever looking to vacation in western North Carolina, this is absolutely the place to go. The rooms are gorgeous, the three-course breakfast is unbearably delicious, and the owners, Rachel and Ron, are warm and generous beyond compare. Rachel took care of all the food and preparation for our tea party, even going so far as to research the proper kinds of sandwiches to serve!

We spent the morning dolling ourselves up. Conley was wearing Janine's new 1780s chemise a la reine, while Janine had loaned me her white-on-white striped Regency gown. I don't have proper Regency underpinnings yet, but my Laughing Moon Silverado corset worked well enough to allow the dress to sit nicely. My hairpiece was originally bought for Padme's family gown-- it worked perfectly for my Regency hairstyle! J9 just curled my front hair and tied a ribbon around my head, and I was good to go!

Before the party, we took a turn about the lawn!





We got some great shots, although we must have been pretty funny-looking with two girls in period dress scurrying around with iPhones in their hands, taking pictures of a third girl!


Shoe shot! Yep, I'm wearing my old ballet shoes.


And obligatory self-portrait!


Look at the table Rachel set for us. Gorgeous! (The beanie babies are there because of course you have to invite your stuffed animals to your tea party!)



And here's Rachel's delicious spread of food, along with the lady herself!


I'm not generally a tea drinker, but I looooved the mulled spice tea that I had. So good. And I might have been just a bit hungry:


After tea, we walked the half-mile to downtown Waynesville, where we befuddled the locals with our strange dress. Once we explained that it was like historical reenacting, but with tea instead of guns, they seemed to understand. :)


We stopped in a bookstore, where Conley and I found some appropriate reading material...


...and Janine found a book with her dress on it...


...but it turned out to be rather *inappropriate* reading material! At least for reading out loud. Which of course we were.


Elsewhere in downtown Waynesville, we found a younger cousin of Beyonce the Giant Metal Chicken:


And also some weaponry, in case we should suddenly find ourselves in the middle of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.


And then we walked back to the Andon-Reid to lounge around and watch Twilight parodies, because isn't that what they did in the Regency era in the late afternoon?

It was an absolutely delightful day. Thanks to Janine for dreaming it up, to Conley for coming to play with us, and to Rachel for making it so perfect!