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Halloween witch

So I was going to do this as one post but I am having to post from my phone at the moment as our computer is (hopefully temporarily) out of action. So I got 3/4 of the way through a monster post and the app crashed, & unlike the desktop site, the WordPress app doesn’t save as it goes along 😡

So here is part one:what I wore for Halloween. (Part 2, how I made the dress, will be coming later) 


So, decided to keep it simple and be a witch this year. Hat from My Lolita Dress, a Chinese taobao reseller site, it was supposed to be for Halloween last year, but ended up arriving the day after 😢.My Lolita Dress are a very good reliable site, but if you need a custom order their timekeeping can be a little lacking.

The cloak was made by my friend Liz about 10 years ago. It is black velvet with a gold lining. After Halloween I ended up moving the clasp as it was a little too high up and a bit chokey. 

The dress was made by me. It was supposed to be for the Goblin Kings Ball, & actually miraculously I had it made in time, but that got cancelled so I’ve worn it for Halloween instead. 

The black and gold broach decoration is vintage and was a fiver off eBay.

As I said, post coming up about how I made the dress and a review of the pattern, but I am going away for a week so not working on any new projects till I get back. 

toned down Halloween

So this year for Halloween there was loads of stuff on in South East London, which is awesome because until a couple of years ago there was not really very much at all. So we decided to go to a gig at the Montague Arms an awesome venue/pub inbetween Peckham & New Cross. So someone from Jons work was going to be there, & younger cool people, & its Peckham so the dress code is kind of different from what I would normally wear for going out anyway (no one was going to appreciate ott victoriana goth)  so my theme this Halloween was Toning It Down.

Trying to concoct an outfit that looked like a person who dresses normally being spooky for the evening, rather than someone who sees an item of clothing and tries to work out where to add more lace, bows & skulls for everyday wear.

So I think it looks rather nice.

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I found the sweater in a charity shop and added the appliqué of a castle myself out of the same sweatshirting I used for my last project. It took about 45 minutes in total. The sweater has big black bows down the back of it that were part of the original design also, so not totally plain. The skirt is this one I made a couple of years ago, it is still holding up well.

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My makeup is one coat of Illamasqua white foundation, a few rhinestones stuck on with eyelash glue, and this stuff (round my eyes) called Face Lace. I am actually a bit of a convert. I was out shopping with my Mum on Wednesday and I walked past, and therefore into Screen Face in Covent Garden, and saw this and had to have it, Face Lace is basically a sticker decal you stick on your face to look like what goths used to do with eyeliner, except this is far far easier and gives a much smoother look.

Everyone at the gig thought it was really cool, & kept asking me what it was and stuff, & I am definitely going to buy some more for the future. Schemes. :->

Actually the gig was awesome, we missed the first band cuz the bus driver was being a pillock, but there was a Buffy themed band singing songs about stuff that happened in Buffy, a riot girl band singing really squeaky screamy stuff that sounded like Le Tigre (always a plus) and a straightforward rock group, who were really tight & had really catchy tunes.

& 90′ & 00’s cheese dj. OMG 90’s & 00’s cheese, I have missed you. As most of the crowd was people in their early 20’s who must have been 8 or so when this stuff all came out, it ran more like an 80’s night when I was a student than some middle age man doing wedding disco stuff. & it was wonderful, actually made myself throw up I was moshing so hard to the Buffy theme tune. Tried semi successfully to remember the dance routine to Tragedy, & screamed along to Evanescence, Britney & Bwitched. So much fun.

They put a regular dj night on. I might have to get this whole dressing like a normal/fashionable person thing nailed.

Seriously though, it might sound like Im being supercilious, but I’ve been aware my wardrobe has become a bit dated and a bit detached from everyday stuff I get to do for a few months, I’m actually glad of the opportunity to sort it out. Theres no point in having a wardrobe full of old fashioned goth and frilly lolita if I’m never going to have the opportunity to wear it. & I really like modern Strega and pastel and nu goth styles, & its getting easier to buy suitable pieces in plus sizes on the high street, & I’m actually really proud of what I did to that jumper, even if it was super easy. I’m actually quite looking forward to having stuff that looks a bit more fashionable.

OMG though, fashion revelation of the month though. Remember in 2005 when all those victoriana, high necked tea dresses in creams and pinks were in fashion? A load of the younger girls were wearing that stuff again in a clearly picked up from a charity shop kind of way. Obviously I take note of the “If you were old enough to do something the first time around….don’t go there”rule, and actually I think this is the first time it has properly applied to me as the whole grunge thing I was about 12 when it happened and not allowed to choose my own clothes 😦 so I wasn’t really there for, but at my parents I have a whole attic full of mid 00’s victoriana tea dresses that don’t fit me anymore that probably I should dispose of. It would look a bit anachronistic if I lost weight and tried to wear it again. On a 21 year old however it looks cool as anything.

Anyway, next part in the plan for updating my wardrobe is the black velvet skater dress, which I really ought to get on with. Hopefully tomorrow. Or something :-S

 

 

Regency Dance Class.

So once again I’ve been ill & haven’t done any sewing (yawn!)

However, I am trying to dance again & am now attending this Regency dance class in Waterloo…

regency dance flier 2

I am having a really good time so far, and the lady running it is an extremely good teacher, however it hasn’t had a lot of publicity,&  she isn’t getting quite the numbers she needs to continue it next term. So a general request for people to give it a try, it is awesome, & there is nothing nicer than looking round & seeing everyone dancing & it looking like a Jane Austin film, except maybe watching Jane Austin films, & being able to recognise and/or criticise the dancing. 🙂

Please come!

edit to add, it is £5 that didn’t make it onto the flier!

Chester….a weirdo’s guide!

I wasn’t going to post about this, as it was just a two day break in a random northern city, but actually it was too awesome not to.

First of all we got a first class train up there. This is because for whatever bizarre reason it was pretty much the same price as standard for that particular journey…

train beer

Jon, having a beer on the train. Straight after that they gave us a free beer as well! 🙂

The hotel we were staying in was half way between the station and the town, it was a bit 80’s decor and had a very 80’s restaurant (breaded camembert, stuffed duck) that we avoided, but it also had an awesome swimming pool with a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi that we gave a good explore after settling in.

We then hit the town to find dinner and drinkies.

Chester is really weird as all the buildings even back to medieval are 4 stories high and the bottom floor and cellar are one shop and then there is a gallery you can walk along with a second shop at first and 2nd floor level. it is also a lot posher than I was expecting (Hollyoaks is not a good advertisement) and has a lot of interesting quirky shops……

including a Tiki Bar!!! I don’t think they even have one in London and I have been dying to try one out for like ever! This one was in the crypt of a building and was so pretty……

tiki bar chester 3 tiki bar chester 2 tiki bar chester

 

I had a Mai Tai and a Pina Colada and Jon had a Tequila Sunrise to drink. It was so cool, though the choice of happy hardcore style dance music blaring did seem a little incongruous.

Then we cleared off to a pub near the river to eat, it was recommended to us as really special and it was ok, however £10 for a 8oz steak and chips and a half bottle of wine each was pretty darn good, I’ve got to say. We were a bit too tired and cocktailed out to want to get really drunk, so, as it came with a handy lid, we liberated the bottle of wine back to our hotel and had it the next day while getting ready for the convention.

Next morning we went on a walk round the town centre again. It is such a bizarre place, even Debenhams is in like a really ancient building…this is the coffee shop in the basement….

Debenhams chester

Then I went to look at a shop that had caught my eye the night before…

morgan chester mori girl

Morgan is a little chain of boutiques in Chester and Wales that does what I can only describe as Mori Girl – a japanese youth style that involves dressing like someone who lives in the woods and is close to nature – clothing. Which is awesome cuz this is the middle of England. The shop is very pretty (I had a job and a half making that photo not reflective, there are far better pictures on their website) but ruinously expensive, serious designer prices. As inspiration it is lovely though, and although the workers there and the clientele seemed mainly my Mums age, one of them knew exactly what Mori Girl was and had a pinterest board full of it apparently.

So feeling inspired, we head across the road to Cancer Research and there I did what I have to describe as my best charity shop haul in ages…

In fact if more stuff had stood half a chance of fitting I would have had half the shop away with me….

Here goes then…

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The blouse is a lot more poofy and victorian style when you actually have it on. Left behind of particular note was a one shouldered 90’s top sewing pattern that only went up to a size 12, a Mansun/Manics fan green army jacket (Jon already has one) and a blue velvet jacket (too small for Jon).

On the way back to the hotel we ran into a town crier convention as well….

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So then the convention, which is what we were actually in Chester for. It was a celebration of the works of a 90’s band called Mansun. For anyone who doesn’t know they were a britpop-glam style band a bit like the Manic Street Preachers, but with a much more prog edge to them. They were quite big at the time but never made it massive, to a large part because their record company didn’t think they were pop enough to push. They split up about 10 years ago now, but amongst young kids (And there really were quite a lot at the convention) they’ve once again got a bit of a cult following as people who weren’t there at the time reevaluate everything that happened in the britpop era and decide what they think was good or not, 15 years later without the record label and radio 1/nme interference that was a major issue at the time. A phrase that got bandied round a lot at the convention was ‘Britpop’s Velvet Underground’

Anyway, it was very good fun, there were a few exhibitiony things, a few talks and panels on various aspects of Mansuns history, and then a gig in the evening. I didn’t take many photos as I was having fun…

jon six mansun guitar

Jon posing as the album cover from ‘Six’ and one of Paul Draper’s guitars.

It was really weird though, back in 2000/2001 there was a whole community based round liking this sort of music, there were multiple club nights in London playing Mansun and other bands of their ilk and millions of underaged teenagers, who wouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a nightclub at that age these days, following minor rock stars around screaming. I kept recognising people vaguely who I’d known back then and been to the same gigs and clubs and pub meet ups as, but as Facebook didn’t exist there was no practical way of keeping in touch with. I do miss London having a functioning alternative scene! One of the things you don’t realise until you see them all in a room with you is just how many people have had to move away!

Anyway, journey back was a right pain in the neck as Virgin trains, in their wisdom, had decided to do track repairs over the bank holiday weekend and so a train would have involved 3 changes and taken 5 1/2 hrs, so we took a coach which took 6 instead. Which was not great and made me kind of ill.

I’ve been kind of ill ever since actually. I have finally blocked my knitting, but due to rather damp weather and having to dry it flat its drying rather slowly. I also intend to spend tomorrow working on my next top.

Purple (And grey freezing cold) Rain.

So as has been much hyped for the last few weeks Prince, the 80’s pop star with a thing for Purple and squiggly symbols, is in London at the moment and doing a load of “small scale gigs in iconic venues”.

(ETA It has been hypothesised by a particularly pedantic Facebook friend that my description of Prince’s career may lead to my complaint being dismissed as Not A Real Fan. Funnily enough lots of other people read my blog who are not music geeks, in the queue yesterday, the most common response on being told who we were queuing for was ‘Prince Who?’ If anyone wants a detailed run down on just how much I love obscure tracks from the mid 90’s or follow artists that did one song with him in the early 80’s,or they won’t take me seriously they are utterly missing the point!)

For the last two nights that venue has been the Electric Ballroom in Camden.

The first nights gig was not really publicised. A lady who is Prince’s manager or tour manager or something posted on Twitter at 10pm on Tuesday night that he was there, a few fans turned up and got let in, but mostly it was a teaser for the press. Yesterdays gig however, for anyone following Prince related twitter feeds was fairly well publicised.

Doors at 7pm at the Electric Ballroom, but if you wanted tickets you had to be down there for 2pm to pick them up. The accepted wisdom was that it was two per person. Now immediately this did not bode well for the rest of the tour. Much as I miss the days of camping out overnight for David Bowie or Foo Fighters tickets, and awful though the way most of them seem to end up in the hands of touts is, being able to buy tickets online has massively democratised the whole gig scene in Britain. No longer do you need a mate without a job residing in the actual area the gig is being held at in order to be able to see a band play. However as I was feeling vaguely well yesterday and don’t actually have a job, I went down to try and get tickets for Jon and I.

I left the house at 11.30, it was not the warmest weather but dry, and I was relatively well wrapped up, black ski-jacket/market coat, red wool hat, no gloves and mary jane shoes, but at that time there was no indication the weather was in any way bad.

However by the time I got to Camden at 12.30 it was flooding down. Sheeting freezing rain with a bitter wind driving it into everyones faces and turning umbrellas inside out. This may not have been easy to tell for an American, but this was particularly nasty weather even by British standards.

So I queued, the guy next to me bought a £5 umbrella from one of the tourist tat stalls, I bought a pair of socks to keep my feet a bit warmer, as a little huddle of us we took it in turns to go for hot drinks and crepes from the stall across the road. It was actually quite good fun in a bizarre way, and it would only be an hour and a half till we got in to buy our tickets and then headed off to the pub for the rest of the afternoon.

We were about 30 back from the front of the queue when we got there at 12.30, but by about 1.15 it was 350/400 strong right round the block.

Then two o’clock came, the security guard came out of the building, everyone cheered. But suddenly complete confusion. This wasn’t a queue to buy tickets at 2, this was a queue to get into the gig at 7. And it was one entry per person not two. WTF!?

So not great, but fair enough you couldn’t get a ticket for a friend with a job, but we had been waiting for an hour and a half, the queue had been massive for an hour of that, why could they not have just told us in advance so we weren’t wasting time? And if it was one entry per person, where the hell was the harm in giving out wrist bands to everyone there, so they could go away and come back again later?

But oh look, what have we here, about 2.15 as everyone was milling around, unwilling to believe we’d actually been screwed that badly and not sure what to do, here comes members of the national press, with video cameras and microphones, being all “look at all these obsessive Prince fans, theres so many of them, and they’ve got here 5 hours before a gig in this weather” no mention at all of the fact everyone in the queue had been tricked.

Of course people left, I left, I was starting to get cold to the core, and realistically there was no way I could queue for 5 hours for anything. I’ve been told off for moaning about this, cuz Prince is already discriminating against people with jobs and who don’t live in London, but this is FULL OUT DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION. By tricking his fans into turning up early and then forcing them to wait in the bitter cold and rain, Prince is actually excluding anyone who doesn’t have the stamina to stand out for 5 hours and wait from going to his gig. I have Chronic Fatigue, if I get too cold and don’t have anywhere to sit down for several hours I get very very ill. I was in fact ill last night and am sneezing rather more than I’d appreciate the is morning.

I couldn’t just go home then come back again as I live about an hour away.

Apparently at some point in late afternoon/early evening a big corporation brought out sponsored purple umbrellas for the people who were left. Apparently Prince’s retinue provided food. Both of which were interpreted by the press and tweeters from his retinue as wonderful bountiful gestures, isn’t he being sweet to his crazy crazy fans! Fans who were only bloody there in the first place,and had only got there so early because they had been deliberately tricked!

So yeah, I hear it was a good gig, I hear that the people who actually got in really enjoyed it. However spare a thought for the at least half the queue who couldn’t cope with a 5 hour wait in the cold and had to go home, we’re not so impressed. And nor are our friends who couldn’t believe it when we told them what was happening. And it will get around. Not to mention all the people with actual jobs or who live out of London who are completely excluded from the queuing up process in the first place.

Prince may think its a cool romantic idea to put on impromptu small gigs in London with bizarre and exploitative means of getting tickets, but given he is a major international act who hasn’t visited Britain properly in 7 years, this is not the way to win fans. Its not the way to treat existing fans. In fact for anyone who isn’t Prince or doesn’t have the stamina to stand in the freezing rain on one of the coldest days of the year for 5 hours, its a complete shambles!

Scifi weekend 2013

I’ve been a bit quiet of late, managed to have 5 colds/flu’s in about 7 weeks, and then got horrendously post viral, so its a miracle I finished my sewing at all actually.

So yeah, out of 5 planned outfits between us, we ditched two because of the weather. I dropped She-ra in advance and Jon just wasn’t feeling it for Flash Gordon on the night, which given the temperature outside and the lack of cloakroom in the venue was the right decision. It is something to remember for future events actually…. if its in February, make sure you are well wrapped up!

Here we go though..the ones we did wear….

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First up…..my Captain America outfit. This was the one that required least sewing out of everything I made. I painted the corset (with fabric paint) and the blue bit of the shield (wrong shade of blue) and I made the hair bow but its all basically ready to wear. Top from Primark, tights from M&S and skirt from Ebay. I think it worked rather well though! 🙂

Then the stuff I properly made….

dany lolitadany lolita 2

 

Ok, so this on was  bit random….I had been after the fabric the dress is made of for about 2 years, ever since I saw the grey version on etsy and they only had 1m left, and its completely out of print, so I searched sporadically for it ever since, and then found it on etsy late last year and had 3m of it immediately. It didn’t take me long to decide to make a lolita JSK (jumper skirt or pinafore dress for those that don’t speak american/japanese acronyms)  out of it. Then I was reading something on the internet about game of thrones and the idea came to me to turn it into a Daenerys Targaryen lolita outfit.

So I added the wig and the dragons and an anatomical heart shaped pendant round my neck, and I think it worked ok. I was so nervous about it on the night though.

Anyways…back view, shows off the dress better…. and the wig 🙂

dany lolita bum shot

 

yeah, so…I made the jsk, the top is this one I made last year over the top of a lacy thermal thingy from M&S, the petticoat (which you can’t see) is Bodyline, the wig was from a chinese seller on ebay. It is ok, it cost £11, so although it isn’t as amazing as a proper £40 one from Minty Mix or the Gothic Lolita Wig store, it did the trick, plus Jon wants to use it for an Elric costume next year! The big dragon (Drogon) is an adapted Nici dragon I bought off amazon and the other two (Rhaegal and Viserion) I found for £3 each in The Works. Tights M&S, Shoes – Clarkes. Heart pendant off etsy (but I thought it was a bit shit so I’m not going to review it properly)

 

dragon dressdragon dress close up

 

This is the dress laid out on my bed, and a close up of the bodice, as it is difficult to see properly on me as it was covered in wig and dragons. It took me ages to find the lace. I stashed the material for 4 months whilst I searched on ebay and etsy every couple of weeks for a good quality dark blue lace. In the end a vintage roll of dark blue crocheted lace came up for £10 including shipping from america and apparently there were 15 yards on it, so I jumped on it.

 

drogon's back

 

I added a strap and a zip and lining  (to match the dress) to Drogon to make him into a bag.

 

And finally….

Jons outfit.

Taking a decent picture of this was hampered by two problems..the first is that getting Jon to stand still and pose for outfit photos is nearly impossible, the other is that he went to the hairdressers two weeks ago and got an idiot hairdresser who didn’t really understand the concept of boys having hair in any other style than Townie, and so cut it far too short (its usually a variant on indie boy and mullet) which meant it is no longer the same style as the character he is dressed as….

However….

Captain Harlock plays guitar

 

Jon looking rather nice playing guitar….

Harlock and Emeraldas

 

 

Jon and Liz, who were both doing characters from the same Anime….Captain Harlock. Jon is Harlock, Liz is Emeraldas. Liz also made her cloak and top and is a total bitch cuz I think they are much better than I managed for Jon. :-S

Mind you….we were struggling with the fastening for Jons cloak (the bit I made) as it is insanely difficult to find large skull and cross bone broaches. I ended up buying a belt buckle off ebay, but it didn’t want to stay on particularly, and I don’t fancy trying that approach again so not to waste money, so I am still on the look out for a suitable fastener.

 

Now the weekend is over, and I don’t seem to be too ill because of it, I am in the middle of sewing another long sleeved jersey top, then I have a massive queue a mile long of stuff I’m intending to sew, so hopefully should be getting on with things a bit quicker! 🙂 I need to do loads of exercise though, as I have put on a tonne of weight due to being ill through January and February and I want to get it off asap!

Halloween!!!

I am really tired and ill at the moment, which is mostly my fault for attempting zumba,but also my mental health is playing up as well, so this post will hopefully be short and picture intensive.

So I went to an amazing Halloween party on Saturday and made my own costume.

I went as a Chaos butterfly (basically a gothic style butterfly with a massive chaos symbol on my forehead), one of those things that flaps their wings somewhere small and local and causes a hurricane halfway across the world, so yeah, I’m sorry…Sandy, it was all my fault!

Didn’t get many good pictures as it was probably the coldest day of the year and butterfly wings and antenae don’t go very well underneath a coat, so I didn’t take any of the full outfit before I started, only in the club..

I think I look cool! 🙂

The nice thing about this outfit is the wings and dress can be worn separately….

wings…

They are leopard print! And so will come in horrendously useful if I go to another Manic Street Preachers gig, I may take the evil mummified skulls from poundland off them though! I used the sort of grey plastic coated electrical cable that goes in walls behind plug sockets to give the wings shape. It works excellently actually, it is just the right amount of flexible, yet holds its shape really well, and because its plastic coated it doesn’t rub its way through the wings. The black thing at the top is a load of feathers (doesn’t show amazingly in photo) and the majority of the black lace is for tying it on.

The dress….

I am actually so proud of this dress. Its made from snake/moth print fabric I got off the market and I used Simplicity 1801 , a Cynthia Rowley number, supposedly  designed for woven and silky type fabrics, but I cut it the size down from my usual simplicity pattern size (which is already 2 sizes down from where the measurements say I should be) left out the side zipper and ignored any suggestions about using interfacing. I still had to take it in considerably on the chest area.

But it looks really pretty and respectable when its not part of a chaos butterfly costume, which is great, cuz normally my halloween costumes languish in the back of my wardrobe and only come out once or twice a year for appropriate themed parties, but this one I can wear all year round.

Entire thing took 3 days to buy the bits and make, which is possibly why I’m not so well this week, but a real achievement for me!