Month: October 2016

Makeup Review: Wicked as They Come Eyeshadows by Sweet Libertine Mineral Cosmetics

I’m kind of a makeup savant. I love trying new colors and products. I’m not afraid to try bold looks. But I only sort of know what I’m doing. I’ve never used mineral shadows before and that’s going to show in this makeup review. At least you know what to expect if you’re new at this because I am!

Sweet Libertine Mineral Cosmetics has just released an eyeshadow collection based on Delilah S. Dawson’s novel Wicked as They Come. The twelve colors all reference the popular Steampunk tinged paranormal romance that started The Blud SeriesThemed makeup collections are nothing new to Sweet Libertine. They currently have collections based on Firefly and My Little Pony, among others.

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L to R: Sexy Mr. Darcy, Tsarina’s Kiss, Madam Morpho, Magic Dust, Tightrope Girl

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L to R: Clockwork Monkey, Daggerman, Conjure Me, Vampy Witch-Queen, Can-Can Dancer of the Damned, Urobouros, Bludbunny

I did all my swatches mostly dry (my brushes got a little damp at times when I cleaned them between colors) and the photo was taken outside in natural light. I was immediately drawn to the paler colors like Daggerman and Magic Dust.  The super bright gold of Urobouros also sang out to me. I love the color of Tightrope Girl but I find it very hard to wear colors like that without looking consumptive. I tend to have trouble figuring out how to use black shadows so those didn’t thrill me. I’ve also been on the hunt for a frosty blue and Madam Morpho is right in the department I’ve been looking for.

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Here I am in my base makeup. I’ve just had my period so my skin hasn’t completely recovered from that fun. I’m wearing my standard NARS powder foundation, NARS Orgasm blush, Benefit Browzings, Benefit Boi-ing Concealer and Nature Republic Mascara. The lighting is just the standard light in my hall bathroom.

I decided to try a look with Urobouros, Madam Morpho, and Daggerman. I used Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer before starting. I used all shadows dry. I also used Urobouros on my waterline and went over my eyebrows with Bludbunny. I ended up with a very high drama look. Once the shadows were on they tended to stay in place but I had a ton of fallout. Not being very skilled with mineral shadows I put too much product on my brush initially. Yes, I know my mascara looks terrible and clumpy. I’m not sold on this mascara.

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In that light and next to the blue of Madam Morpho, Urobouros tended to shift a bit green. I really like the effects I got but I think I would really need to practice a lot to do anything subtle with these shadows. I often put my eye makeup on last. I would not recommend this as you learn to use these shadows. I had a ton of cleanup to do.

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Considering that though, I think these shadows would be pretty amazing for fantasy looks. I think my mess has its own kind of sloppy glamrock appeal.

I’d certainly consider getting full sizes of Urobouros and Daggerman. Sweet Libertine’s Halloween sale ends tonight (October 16th) so I guess I should get on that!

 

 

 

UFO Fail: McCalls 3053

As part of this year’s Vintage Pledge I said I would finish all my vintage UFOs. I don’t tend to have that many UFOs unless they are things I start in the 2nd half of the year. Often I get sidelined by all the holidays and also the need to sew seasonal outfits and gifts.

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This UFO was for a halloween dress. I had some spoopy house fabric that I liked but didn’t love so I figured it could be a good sacrifice to McCalls 3053 from 1953. It went pretty well though and the dress was turning out to be worth finishing until Halloween passed and it didn’t get done.

I pulled it out this year expecting to have the new Halloween dress that I was denied last year. I needed to put in the zipper, finish the side seams and armholes and do the hem. Since I’ve been sewing so much vintage I’ve mostly gotten over my fear of zippers. What was left was easy peasy.

Then I got to the ironing board. I was looking at my skirts and the houses were completely on the bias. That wasn’t right. Then I discovered that I had somehow constructed the skirt completely incorrectly. I had managed to flip my rights and left or backs and fronts or perhaps even both. It was a weird and frankly rookie error. But, it can happen, especially when you are distracted or trying to work to fast.

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I’m pretty bummed. The top of the dress looks pretty great but the bottom is completely wrong. The waist ended up a little tight but wearable with a belt. I don’t know if putting the skirts on incorrectly had an effect on that. As this is a straight size versus a half size pattern the bodice back didn’t fit as nicely as it does on my half size patterns. But again, the whole dress is kind of off. The print is too busy for the pattern details also.

I’m torn about trying to fix it. I don’t have any more fabric and I’m just not invested enough in it at the moment. At the same time, I know what needs to be done so it could be saved. Good thing I wasn’t super in love with this fabric as it did indeed end up as a kind of sacrifice to the sewing gods. It happens sometimes. So annoying.

All Vintage DragonCon – Part 2 Aqua Scouts

Continuing this year’s all vintage DragonCon was my big topical group costume, Aqua Scouts. All of us have been pretty obsessed and excited about the release of Pokemon Go. I’ve willingly gone out in the hot humid Georgia air to walk my dog and hunt the pocket monsters.

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Realizing that the time was “now”, we decided to be a squad of vintage, water based Pokemon trainers, aka Aqua Scouts. We took our inspiration from old scouting and military uniforms, fan art, military and sailor lolita and the Pokemons themselves. (The mood board is here). We chose the Vaporeon as our symbol and mascot. We based our color scheme on the Vaporeon as well.

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Sketch by Megan Maude

Based on my ideas Megan did an awesome design sketch that we could share with our other scouts to give them their own design ideas. We agreed that whatever we made should have color blocked elements and some sort of contrast stripe. We purchased 17 yards total of two coordinating blue twills. Each person was free to choose which blue they wanted to use as the main color and which for the accent color. I opted to use the aqua as my main and the cadet blue for my accent.

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I chose Patt-O-Rama 8311. I am not sure when this pattern was released. It is very similar to Patt-O-Rama 1115 which dates from the late 40s or early 50s. This was my first time using an unprinted pattern. Using a perforated pattern was not hard exactly but it was rather fussy having to go back and front between the instruction sheet and the pattern pieces to make sure I knew what was going on. I also had a much harder time lining up the grain to three holes versus a nice black arrow. This pattern was also a little on the big side as I’m usually a 43 bust / 22 1/2. Another thing I found to be really strange about this pattern is how insanely long it was. I think I took six inches off the hem. I found this odd as half sized patterns are generally sized for someone who is no taller than 5’3″ — like me. I had to fuss with the fit some since it was too large in the bust and shoulders. I remember it being kind of a pain but obviously since it is figured now, it would be easier going if I made this pattern again.

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The other issue I had was that this particular pattern, although previously unused, was quite delicate. It could not stand much handling. I know some people swear by tracing their vintage patterns first but that’s not me. I think these patterns are just more cheaply made. It did add an extra layer of fuss to the project.

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We made the garrison caps using an old magazine tutorial that I stumbled upon. Garrison caps seem like they should be a really fast. They trick you because they have a lot more detail than you perceive at first. This was one of the better versions I’ve come across. The hats turned out really cute. Our Vaporeon cap pins and Vaporeon ear collar “points” (along with a ton of other awesome Pokemon badges) were made by Lauren of Stingray Cosplay

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The Aqua Scouts – L to R: Me, Austin, Megan, Lauren.

Here’s the whole group at DragonCon. Megan made her skirt and a shorter version for Lauren from an Advance pattern. She also made Lauren’s beret and Austin’s cap. Austin’s vest and knickers were made by Nick and Jason of The Gin Rebellion. I made all the kerchiefs. My blouse and shoes were goodwill finds. I just love Austin’s look especially his argyle socks.

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We all had matching backpacks from Amazon. You can see all of the cool pins that Lauren made. We had our team affliation on our backpacks. Being Aqua Scouts, we are obviously Team Blue (Mystic).

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I think we all look great. When people understood what we were, everyone thought we were really clever. But at a fast glance wandering around a giant con I don’t think most people got it. I admit, the idea was maybe a little bit “high concept” but sometimes you have to go with it. And I mean really, we all are adorable!

all group photos by Michael Blitch

All Vintage DragonCon – Part 1

I love a giant costume! Big skirts, crazy fabrics, giant props. I also love comfy shoes, not sweating and being able to sit down. That brings us to DragonCon. It’s insane and truly an event where you should go big or go home. Yet if you go too big (in a myriad of ways), and Atlanta provides a fairly common brutally hot Labor Day, you can burn out / overheat / peak too early / whatever yourself before the con has barely begun.

I’ve only been seriously attending DragonCon for about six years. Over that time I have become more and more fond of the clever yet comfy costume. With the explosion of nerd culture there are also so many more cute fandom prints (like the Sugar Skull Star Wars) to use for vintage dresses. I’ve talked about not making any costumes per se and just wearing only fandom inspired dresses. This year, I came pretty close to that as everything I made was all from vintage and vintage repro patterns.

I started off by wearing my Rockabilly Boy Wonder in the Vintage Vogue Fashion show. Along with my crimefighting chum Megan Maude, we hit the runway to lots of cheers (which was delightful!) and music from the original 1966 Batman. While we each made our own outfit for last year’s con, we wore them at drunk o’clock so they didn’t get a lot of comments or reaction. This year though, we couldn’t walk more than 10 feet without a compliment or photo-op. That’s really gratifying at an event like DragonCon, but it did make our walk to the food court very slow. I sure took my dinner into custody!

Another somewhat entertaining adventure was my trip to Kroger. I stopped there on my way home from the con. I certainly got all the comments!

My first new make for DragonCon was vintage Princess Daisy from Mario Brothers. Again, I teamed up Megan as Princess Peach. Peach and Daisy wear the same basic dress with different embellishments.

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The challenge here was to make two separate dresses that shared the same basic elements. I chose vintage Simplicity 3442. I’m not sure what year this pattern is but going from the hair I would say very early 1960s.

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I chose this pattern because it already has a bunch of elements I needed — a peter pan collar, sleeve cuffs and instead of the bow I had a perfect place to pin Princess Daisy’s jewel. I used three colors of cotton sateen. The yellow and white I bought in the LA fashion district and the orange I got here in Atlanta at Gail K.

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I’m usually a last minute stitcher but I really took sewing this down to the wire. I thought I just had a couple of hours left on it. You know those things that you think won’t take that long? Right…I put away my groceries from Kroger and got down to finish thinking it wouldn’t be a long night. I finished at about 5am on Saturday and wore it Saturday night. It was kind of crazy and I don’t recommend it!

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All the effort though, worth it! I even used little daisy shaped buttons. This was also my first effort using a covered buckle and belt kit. I’m glad I bought two buckle kits because I destroyed the first one. It’s a pretty terrible looking belt close up but works just fine for the cosplay. The pattern illustration is misleading. The skirt just is not that bell shaped. Maybe it would look that way with a petticoat? My sparkly gold platform heels were on sale from BAIT Footwear. They were shockingly comfortable especially because I had not even attempted to break them in.

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I’m wearing the Dany Classic wig in Pumpkin by Arda Wigs. The crowns, jewels and earrings were all made by Perfect Tommy Automail.

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I’m kind of bummed that all we have are these hotel photos cause we were pretty cute and definitely comfortable. I was surprised to have a few people stop us and only want my photo. I guess Princess Daisy has her own special fanbase. It’s always entertaining to hear someone yell your character name excitedly as you walk by.

 

 

 

Star Wars Sugar Skull Dress

Since starting down the vintage sewing route I’ve been interested in making a Squaw dress (history here and some good vintage examples at Mrs. Button’s Vintage Corner). This style of dress is also sometimes called a Patio dress / set or a Fiesta dress. These dresses remind me a lot of dresses and outfits my grandma would wear for square dancing. They were originally local to the southwest but eventually caught on generally. All the pattern companies put out their own versions for the home sewer.

Simultaneous to this I came across this adorable Star Wars Sugar Skull fabric at Joann. Frankly, C-3PO pretty much looks exactly like a sugar skull.

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There was a Vader version also but I knew these were the droids I was looking for. I had to go to multiple Joanns to get enough yardage but I did succeed! I decided that that the Mexican flair of the fabric lent itself to a squaw dress style so decided to do a mashup.

img_0746I opted to use Simplicity 5940 from 1965 as a starting place. It doesn’t have the collar neckline of so many of the original squaw dresses but I thought that the pleats at the neckline could be turned into gathers to give the dress a peasant blouse feel.

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I went ahead and did a mock up of the bodice, sewing it as is. It turned out so well, if a bit generous at the neck, so I opted to finish the dress. I was not able to use the skirt from the pattern because I did not have enough yardage so I made a gathered skirt from two 45″ wide panels.

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For the Star Wars version I converted the pleats in the bodice front to gathers and closed the keyhole neckline. I also omitted the back zipper as I had no problems putting the test dress on over my head. Being short, I opted for a two tier skirt. The top tier was 1/3 of the skirt length and two 45″ panels gathered. The bottom tier was 2/3 of the skirt length and four 45″ panels gathered. Since the arrangement of the droids on the fabric is quite orderly, sort of like stripes, I made some serious effort when I cut to try to keep things sort of even across my panels. That was a pain but worth it in my opinion.

All that was left was to add on the trademark ricrac. I did three rows at the neck and bottom but only two at the hip. I thought three rows at the hip was just too much. I love the gold metallic. It really pops against the busy print and it’s shiny like C-3PO!

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While I was working on the dress I discovered some awesome “tiki Vader” jewelry by Etsy seller Fancy Fruits. The flower, necklace and earrings were perfect for this dress. On theme and on point! I finished the look off with my wide red belt from Kohls, a red plastic cuff and wedge sandals from B.A.I.T.

I had originally planned to wear this dress to DragonCon but I didn’t finish it in time. Instead I wore it to Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA). My husband (RBC Image) was also there as a photographer so I had him take a couple of shots for me. He wanted me to stand in to test the lighting anyway!

I’m still interested in making a more faithful Squaw dress with the trademark collar in a solid fabric. My Star Wars dress turned out so cute though, I’m considering another using the gathered neckline and tiered skirt. The force was with me on this one!