I didn’t get a ton of sewing done in 2019. I made a handful of vintage dresses and a couple of regency things. I had hoped for a return to Victorian and further progress on the 18th Century but that wasn’t possible last year. Despite this, I did sew one epic build in 2019. This was my #1 sew of the year and one of the top of the decade.
Presenting Captains M. Washington and A. Adams, decorated pilots of The Continental Air Force, veterans of the Battle of LaGuardia.
“The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown,” he said. “Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare, it had nothing but victory.”
–President Donald J. Trump, July 4th, 2019
Once I heard about this gaff, that was it! I spoke with my main costuming cohort, Megan Maude. We had to bring The Continental Air Force to life for DragonCon.
We built our uniforms in less than eight weeks. That included us being both out of town separately for about two weeks. It was all our research, prep, shopping, patterning and sewing. That seems like a long time, but it isn’t, especially when you have never made anything quite like this before. Also, it is difficult when you are making a uniform, that needs to be consistent, across two different bodies, with two different shapes.
The first thing we realized is that we had different ideas of what the uniforms should be, partially because we had different ideas of what Continental Army uniforms looked like. Uniforms were not standardized during the Revolutionary War. We settled on a basic style & color scheme that we thought most people would recognize as Rev. war. Then we set to figuring out how to mash that uniform with a Top Gun-esque flight suit. We also wanted to look vaguely attractive to boot.
We ended up using bottom of a Simplicity costume pattern and the top of a vintage dress pattern (we each used a pattern that fit us) to make our jumpsuits. We made a full mockup, fit it, then cut it apart to do the color blocking elements. This was quite scary because if we messed up at this stage we would not have a working mockup and also we had very limited fabric to work with.
Luckily, we got it right.
After that, it was details. We added two zippered, functional pockets. We wore the unofficial flag of George Washington, patch of Hipster George, the Beaver flag of New York and the Don’t Tread on Me uterus.
Our flying logo was by Savannah Alexandra, based on our design.
I even tried to powder my hair, but I started with colored powder versus white so it was kind of a disaster.
It’s hard to tell but I’m wearing red, white and blue eyeshadow. My husband especially liked the aviator shades saying that “looking like a total prick” was a great accessory for these costumes.
We wore our uniforms Friday night at Dragoncon 2019.
We got lots of compliments although I’m not sure if people “got” our flight suits or not. While they might not have made all the connections and references in person, the internet was sure hip to it. While entertaining as hell to wear, we also able to make a sly comment about the shambling, incoherent and paranoid state of our current administration. We also threw a little feminist spin on it too.
Are these flight suits going to change the world or change minds? Probably not. But did we make America just a little bit greater? Hell yeah.