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Things I Forgot To Mention From 2014, Part 2: Totoro

You might have noticed from my last post that I have been, in some ways, spending the start of 2015 in the past.  I figured why not continue that theme with the 2nd installment of “Things I Forgot to Mention from 2014”.

You might remember that I never finished running down my costumes from DragonCon. My epic Sunday cosplay was The Blue Totoro Bustle Gown. I did this cosplay with my great friend, designer and costuming cohort Ms. Megan Maude. We were at my house one night far too close to DragonCon brainstorming our cosplays. We were sort of at a loss. I mentioned Totoro and her eyes lit up. Yes. We were going to do this!

“You said you you liked hand sewing…” Image by Leo Photography 2014.

We decided to make bustle dresses that were recognizable both as Totoro inspired and also as straight up Victorian fashion. We both wanted to make gowns that were period fashion appropriate versus some odd semi-historic fantasia. This gown seemed very doable to me as I have made several bustle gowns and I had all the foundations ready to go. It was much more work for Megan who was new to this period of sewing and also had to make her bustle and undergarments.

It was decided, due to our considerable height difference, that Megan would be the main gray Totoro and I would be the small blue Totoro. We discussed designs and even got into a couple of heated discussions about what was and wasn’t appropriate. In the end, we went with this:

Totoro Bustle Design Sketch. Drawing by Megan Maude.

You can see some of the variations we discussed on the right side — how many pleats, what do to at the cuff. The only non-historial concession we made was to add the Totoro ears to our bonnets. We had a design and were ready to sew our respective dresses.

We used all patterns from Truly Victorian. The 1884 French Vest Bodice with a modified square neckline for the bodice. The 1885 Four-Gore Underskirt with no modifications for the skirt and hats from the 1880s French Bonnet Frame.

My fabric was white and periwinkle Kaufmann Essex Linen Blend (55% Linen / 45% Cotton). I bought a small piece of bright green linen to make ginkgo leaves for my bonnet. The leaves, beyond being a super cute Totoro reference served to cover some of my hat’s wonkiness and my needle puncture blood stains. I bag lined my bodice per the Truly Victorian pattern using some vintage cotton curtains that had been gifted to me. I thought the texture, color and pattern of the curtains matched the mood of the gown perfectly. I had the lining cut out and then realized that there was actually a tear in one of my pieces. So I added a funny little patch since there was no more curtain to cut another piece.  I also happened to find some perfect leaf buttons so I added those as accents to the collar, cuffs and above the back bodice pleats.

Vintage curtain lining complete with patch and leaf button details.

Megan opted to finish with facings, thinking that it would end up being a cooler garment to wear in the DragonCon swelter. This is actually the more historically accurate way to finish but ended up being a bit of a frustrating choice for the hand sewing adverse Ms. Maude.

I made a little reticule out of some natural cotton and a drawstring made of braided hemp twine. The blue Totoro always seems to be running around with a sack and this was extra convenient for my cell phone, cash and hand fan.

We were both thrilled with how our gowns turned out and had a fabulous time on promenade Sunday night. I have to say this was probably the most squee-able cosplay I have ever done. The squees were audible as we heard people exclaim “OMG Totoro!” and the like. We also had our share of people wanting photo ops. I think I pretty much giggled and smiled the entire time we wore the gowns!

Classic Totoro by RBC Image.

I even have a Totoro fan in my hand. RBC Image

Urban Totoros by RBC Image.

On the Mend!

I’m getting close to being one month out from my kidney stone surgery. I’m feeling pretty good but I was told that we should wait six weeks to make sure all my swelling and healing is done before we start tests to figure out what I need to do to prevent this kind of thing in the future. So, I’ve got a bit to go in this saga.

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing but all pretty easy stuff. I’m in the run up to costume college but I’m not putting a lot of stress on myself to get big new things done. I think that’s best since I lost a good chunk of May and most of June.

Enough about that! How’s about some awesome images!

Rococopunk Ahoy! Photo by RBC Image / Makeup by Courtney Walters

Unplug the Jukebox Photo by RBC Image / Makeup Courtney Walters

I did some planned additional embellishment to my Rococopunk garb and got some great photos from RBC Image. I hear there could be a few more coming. We’ll just have to see.

Also, I have a two page spread in Surreal Beauty Issue #70 Wild at Heart. Pretty exciting! You can buy a copy at the link and everything.

Oh you want to see the image? OK, here it is. It’s from my first shoot with Nicola Grimshaw-Mitchell of My Boudoir UK. MUAH by Sarah Elliot.

Wilhelmina Frame as featured on pages 8 and 9 of Surreal Beauty Magazine #70: Wild at Heart



Maker Faire Bay Area Coming Up!

Today I got an e-mail inviting me to the media registration for this year’s Maker Faire (May 17 & 18, San Mateo, CA). I’ve gone for the past two years, covering the event for Steampunk Chronicle. It’s such an awesome event and I highly recommend it to adults, kids and anyone who likes robots, science, silliness and fun. It is worth doing a little research and prep if you’re thinking of attending. Traffic can be insane and the event can be really crowded. The hordes really thin out in the later afternoon when kids and their parents get cranky, so if you don’t have to go early in the day, you might consider going on the later side. Also, just park in the Oracle lots and take the shuttle. It takes a bit of time but is so much less hassle over all. Sadly, I won’t be able to attend this year but I hope some of you do!

Here’s a link to my article about last year’s event and below is a slideshow of images from the 2013 Faire by my compadre RBC Image.