Tag Archive | goth

Sci Fi Weekend 2017

So this was about 3 weeks ago now. Last time we went 4 years ago I went absolutely mental for a couple of months making costumes, then got really drunk and was not really in a position to photograph any of them well. This year I was much more relaxed about the whole costume thing. Firstly, I’m not really a cosplayer. I don’t really like doing other peoples characters, & I don’t like putting a whole lot of effort into something I’m only going to wear like once every 4 years. Secondly I have a whole load of generic fantasy/goth/steampunk outfits I’m not getting enough chance to wear at the moment, so it made sense to do something fun with a couple of them rather than make anything specifically for the convention. Also Jon was very much not in the mood for dressing up, so I didn’t have to make anything for him either.

Ironically, in the year I decided not to bother, we had a lovely outside veranda with really good lighting at the cabin we were staying in, so I got massively better photos of stuff than last time.

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First up on the Friday was my steampunk dress, with added thermal cuz the weather in Wales that weekend was bitter. (annoyingly London was having a bit of a heatwave) I quite like this outfit, I think its my best attempt yet with that dress, but I’m still not sold on the dress itself. It started life as an attempt to make my own version of a dress by Juliette et Justine and really didn’t work out how I’d planned. (details here) I’m really proud of drafting the pattern myself and think its a gorgeous dress, but it really isn’t massively me. Looking at the picture maybe I need a better hat. The corset is a favourite though, it is from Fan Plus Friend, and even though it only just fits, I love it.

Saturday…

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I love this outfit so much. Its the dress I made for my witches costume this Halloween , but with a flower/horn crown I made a few years ago for the Goblin Kings Ball, but then did the whole getting drunk and forgetting to take photos thing (I am such a shit millennial sometimes!) I haven’t really had the opportunity to wear it since.

I bought the basic plastic horns ready attached to a headband from someone off etsy but then I painted the horns, glued the flowers on and padded the headband – even with padding I can only really wear it on top of a wig as the horns make the headband super heavy and pinchy.

The wig is from My Lolita Dress,a taobao resale site. By the time you’ve factored in insane shipping from China costs it is quite expensive to buy them from there, but all the ones I’ve bought the quality has been really good, & they have some interesting colours and styles. I made the mistake last sci fi weekend I attended of buying a cheap wig off eBay and it isn’t really worth it. It has only lasted one or two wears, is really thin and is tangled as hell. I want to replace it, but annoyingly haven’t found a decent long white one on any of the better quality wig sites yet, even though I’ve been looking.

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Oh yeah, I thought I’d include this photo as its a really nice one of Liz, Ian and I. It was ultimately a really fun weekend, though my ME wasn’t great and I didn’t really appreciate a 7hr car journey there and back. Probably won’t go again to that specific convention for another few years, but as there are zero opportunities to do dress up/goth stuff in London at the moment (there is still a bit of a goth scene focused on Islington, but it has become very very local, for people who live round there and cliquey, and most of the big goth and steampunk costume parties have stopped now. The ones for queer people and on the fetish scene are still going strong I believe, but they are not really our sort of thing.) we are hoping to get to other conventions/festivals/weekends over the next couple of years. But I am really glad to have stood by my decision not to make anything for the Scifi weekend specifically and also that I have decided no alternative stuff this year, I have plenty enough stuff to play with already, & the stuff I am making so far this year I have been really happy with.

 

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Simplicity 1137 – the medieval goth dress.

So about 18 months ago, Simplicity patterns decided to bring out a spate of Game of Thrones inspired patterns, which I viewed with interest, because although I have no intention whatsoever of doing straight Game of Thrones cosplay, some of the patterns looked like they’d make good medieval or goth dress basics if done in a different colour way.

Such a one is Simplicity 1137, based on costumes worn by the character Sansa Stark, it looks to me a bit of a mess on the cover, however looking at the technical drawings I thought it had good potential as a goth dress.

No one had reviewed it, which made me a little nervous, but I hoped that was down to the newness of the pattern rather than it being awful. However for this first version I decided to use random fabric off the local fabric stall rather than anything nice, just in case.

This actually worked out rather well, as the fabric I chose (largely on the basis that it was the only black fabric available in the necessary quantities – this dress is a massive fabric hog) turned out to be not only machine washable but had the right level of weight for the dress, which needs quite a heavy fabric, & did not need underlining, which is what Andrea Schewe, the designer suggests in her Blog post about the pattern.

Andrea Schewe’s blog is an invaluable resource btw if you are planning on making more recent Simplicity costume patterns. She writes about all the ones she designs and has guest posts by other designers, often there are tips, which you just wouldn’t know if you weren’t told that make the difference between a mess and a decent make. Such as this one about using a decent weight fabric or underlining it. When I had finished the folds of the dress hung beautifully! 

For the sleeves of the dress I decided to use a black and red brocade fabric I picked up a while back and reviewed in This post. It’s by Sartor, a company who provided some of the fabric for Game of Thrones, so I thought it was appropriate, & bonus points I bought one of their cheaper polyester brocades which means like the main part of the dress, it is also machine washable, which is a massive advantage to me.

So…. I’d heard rumours that Simplicity had resolved their insane sizing issues with the costume patterns at least, so I cut a size 20, however I didn’t much worry about having massive seam allowences, and it fit perfectly! 

There is a logical point after you’ve sewn the seams of the dress together and put in the zip but before you add the sleeves and facings to fit the dress properly, so I didn’t make a proper mock up. It fit extremely well with minimal adjustment. I did however wait till I’d fitted it to cut out the sleeves fabric, as I didn’t want to waste expensive fabric if the dress wasn’t going to look good.

It is extremely easy and a straightforward pattern to follow. I did it in three batches of about 3 hours each. The only issue I had was working out what the hell the hem is supposed to be doing. I think there’s supposed to be a slight train at the back, at least there was when I’d finished, but I’m not sure if there definitely meant to be.

Anyway, piccies of the dress….


I think it’s really flattering. I’m totally happy with it. Although I wore it for Halloween as a witch costume I think it’s professional and non-costumey enough looking that I could get away with it in a goth club. 

I would make this again in a flash if I could think of a reason to, & I would definitely reccomend the pattern to other people. 

Black velvet if you please.

I don’t normally sew on the weekend, our flat is rather small and I can’t really spread out when Jon is around. But on Saturday he was off on his brothers stag do (getting pissed) & I was rather at a loose end (not getting pissed) so I decided to be productive and actually got the entire dress I had cut out sewn up in a day.

So…its a pattern I’ve used before. Kitschycoo Lady Skater dress. ( my versions here, here & here)  I am getting slightly bored of it, but it was exactly what I wanted for this dress, and to be honest the 3 dresses I have already are always in and out the washing machine I find them so easy to wear.

The inspiration for this dress was seeing a picture of a friend of a friend in a burgundy velvet skater dress, idly googling to see if anyone had one in my size in burgundy or black & finding that although there are some absolutely gorgeous velvet dresses in the shops at the moment, I couldn’t find many at all in plus size, & non of those had taken account of the fact that if you make something bigger you need to lengthen the skirt too. Then I realised I had a fairly large piece of black stretch velvet in my stash, it did’t disintegrate in the washing machine, so it was a better idea to make my own.

So here it is….

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Sewed up like a dream, no mistakes as far as I’m aware, & I’m really proud of it. With hindsight I would have lengthened the skirt by an inch or two, even though it is longer than a lot of plus sized offerings on the internet, as being velvet it rides up a bit. But as Jon says, it is fine for partying, which  as the moment I took my coat off in the pub yesterday whilst wearing it, my friends were all like ‘Goth!’ is probably going to be its main use. I’m also not entirely sure how happy stretch velvet is with going through the washing machine repeatedly, so I’m definitely saving this for special occasions.

Next sewing project is my xmas lolita dress. I bought the fabric last year but ran out of time, & I have, after several months of searching, found decent quality lace in the colour I wanted to go with it. I was planning on being adventurous and trying to replicate something in an Otome no Sewing book, however I think I’m just going to use my usual pattern as its quite expensive fabric and I don’t have as much time as I intended this year either.

I have also bought some mainstream clothes! Winging their way across the postal network are a Simply B witchy black crochet maxi dress, & two pairs of jeans (one with flairs). There were several other things on various plus size sites I could have bought also. Got to say it is so nice to just look online for a particular type of clothing & be like “ooh, theres choice in my size & some of this I actually like” I’d say its going to end up expensive, except we have been keeping tabs on money for the last couple of months, & actually my sewing habit is quite expensive when you add together all the patterns and fabric I buy. I have an entire wardrobe full of fabric I haven’t used yet & my lace shelf is now massively overcrowded. One of my themes for the first half of next year is going to be using stuff I already own.

Also my wig and witches hat from My Lolita Dress arrived a few days ago (literally the next posting day after Halloween, which was slightly irritating). So I might do some reviews of stuff or something.

 

regency dress – butterick 6630

One of the major problems I had when setting out to make a Regency dress was I had absolutely zero idea what I was doing. I’ve followed a few costumier blogs for several months, but they were all far too advanced to be of any real use. I’ve since found a community on Facebook that specialises in Regency costume and is really very helpful, but just typing things like Regency Dress into Google is really not very.

Which is how I came to be using this pattern. With hindsight I would say, if you want something that is at all for reenactment use something by Sense and Sensibility or Laughing Moon. However for my purposes, I needed something for Regency dancing, but I had no idea if I was going to continue doing it long term, and so for a first dress, although I wanted something I could get away with at a local group Regency dance (it would not do for a proper ball) I also wanted to use fabric that was already in my stash, and if possible make something I could use for goth clubbing as well, just incase I ended up not dancing regularly.

So I didn’t do the research I should have done before buying the pattern (always, always do a google image search and look for any blog reviews before you buy a pattern!) and then when with a deadline looming and after it was far too late to change my plans I did do a bit of research it wasn’t very helpful.

Google image search brought up only about 3 results I could see were actually of that pattern, only one of which I actually thought was the sort of thing I was aiming for. There was a similar blank space with blog reviews, with only a ‘don’t even go there, it fits no-one’ and a ‘its ok for women with very small busts’ to make me very nervous about what I was about to do.

However I would say, with certain provisos, I found this pattern a lot better than I expected to and actually have a wearable result out of it…..

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Obviously if I’d had any sense I’d have lengthened the sleeves to hide the bingo wings, (a rater distressing weight related side effect of the medication I’m on) but I wasn’t sure whether that would be in the slightest bit period accurate. But I’m rather pleased with this, especially as I got to the trying it on before putting in the eyelets (yeah complete lack of accuracy there, but seriously wasn’t going to sew them myself) and thought it wouldn’t remotely fit and was a total write off.

Which leads me to problem number one of this dress….it only works if your waist measurement is properly smaller than your bust, and your stomach does not stick out at all. The images above are being brought to you by the most un-period pair of heavy duty control pants! I actually had appropriate period underwear ready, and indeed fitted the bodice to fit a set of stays, but in the event I looked like a pregnant tube of smarties with it on underneath.

Basically the problem is. even cutting according to my bodice size (40″) which meant I went a good two sizes down on where I would have gone if I’d gone according to my waist and bum sizes, the bodice is still rather big, I had to take an inch in across the centre to make it fit (hence the pretty ribbon decoration down the front, sneakily hiding a seam) it is also exceedingly low cut, when I tried it with my stays it took a serious amount of jiggling not to have them sticking out, and finding an appropriate modern bra that didn’t show wasn’t much easier. I would actually disagree with the review I read and say that while this is not for ladies with giant chests perhaps, it certainly isn’t for flat chested boyish figures only!

Even with hindsight I think given the gape I made the right decision to cut the smaller size, but this has lead to severe difficulties with the waist and bum. It is the first time I had attempted an empire line dress and they are not all designed equal. This one is supposed to have a completely flat front and is infact fairly narrow most of the way down. As I said, it only fits with severe support underwear.

If you look at the back, you can see the not fitting thing a bit more clearly…..

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It also does not help that the instructions for adding the lacing were somewhat random, so I winged it, it actually needs a few hooks and eyes on the bottom of the back seam that I have yet to add. These were mentioned in the instructions, but it wasn’t made clear where or why you needed to add them. To be fair that was the only bit of the instructions I had any problem with, it was actually quite an easy dress to make. I am spectacularly proud of myself for getting the eyelets in ok though as it was my first attempt at them and they are notoriously difficult to manage without £100 specialist equipment.

The inside of the dress is supposed to be lined however, and here is major problem two with this pattern: the way you are supposed to attach the bust lining is to hem it, and then stretch it over the seams that connect the arms and the skirt to the bodice in order to conceal it. Which is great in principle, and would look very pretty, except the lining pieces are cut on the same pattern pieces as the outer fabric, and therefore are the same size to slightly smaller when hemmed and therefore will not fit at all over the seams they are supposed to. Although there is the vague possibility I could have helped this by cutting a bit more accurately, my recommendation would be to redraft the bust pieces and make them a good 2 cm bigger on the armhole and the bottom (where it meets the skirt) . I tried sewing them down but it stretched the bodice way out of proportion, so I ended up letting the bodice lining hang loose. This however leads to problems at the front….

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….with clearly visible lining, but its nothing that a bit of topstitching wouldn’t fix. I was going to avoid it, cuz machine topstitching is really not period, but then the whole thing is not period so it doesn’t matter anyway.

The above picture also gives you a really good view of the fabric I used, which is a dark purple synthetic (frayed like anything) with a small diamond check pattern. I did actually see something similar on a dress from the time but in a different colour way, so maybe not as horrifically inaccurate as all that. I was having a rebellion against white and pastel colours when I designed it though, it does make it difficult for Regency if you don’t like white or pastel!

Main fabric and cotton lining are off the very cheap market stall (£2.50 a meter) the lace is off eBay, and the ribbon is actually from a Scandinavian homewear shop called Tiger that has a branch locally and cost £1 for a massive roll, they have art supplies and knitting wool very cheap as well.

Anyway, gratuitous trim on the hem shot….

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So overall I am very proud of it. It has ended up that we are unable to carry on Regency dancing as our local trainline is victim of the major refurbishment program at London Bridge and late night trains have been cut from Waterloo and Charring Cross, meaning it became significantly more difficult to get back from Surbiton (where the classes are held) late at night, so we have transferred our attention to swing dancing classes that have recently started in Lewisham instead. Regency dancing is definitely something I will go back to when I get the chance though, but I am very glad I took the inauthentic approach and made the dress suitable for a goth party dress as that way I will actually get wear out of it.

Anyway, I am actually massively behind in posting what I’ve done on here, I’ve already completed another dress and have one more and some jewellery underway. So I will actually have to catch up on blogging in the near future.

London Edge: cool stuff I saw on stalls part 3

So better extremely late than never….. a continuation of my account of the cool stuff I saw at the London Edge. The thing to remember is a lot of the coolest stuff is Autumn/Winter 2014 collections, so won’t be in the shops until August anyway. First up Golden Steampunk/Phaze, Gorgeous Steampunk gear and loads of Venetian Lace Masks, including bat shaped ones (although their prices are really reasonable I am kicking myself for not buying a lace mask when I was in Verona last year, I had already acquired 3 traditional ones, so didn’t bother, but they were basically the wholesale price over there! 😦 )

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Contrariety Rose – this one was quite a small business which was quite nice to see, with two girls who handmade all their stuff in England. Really good quality

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Hellbunny – this is the one point my filing system for photographs got a bit confused. What I did was take pictures of the sign for each stall before I took one of the clothes, however in this case I took a picture of the stall before Hellbunny, but didn’t take one of Hellbunny itself, so I am not 100% sure the black and red cameo dress is by them. It is also really confusing as Hellbunny is one of several brands made by the same manufacturer all of whom were sharing the same stall, so I am not quite sure which brand they are, however, as Hellbunny do not have a dedicated  online store or proper website (The link is to their Facebook) and you have to buy them through independent retailers, chances are if anything is technically a different brand, if you actually want to buy it, it’ll turn up in the same place!)

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This is Vanity Project, another made in England business who make beautiful vintage clothing. Although I absolutely love their stuff, I am in two minds about this one, as they use publicly available Alexander Henry and Tula Pink fabric, as I do quite frequently when I make stuff for myself. However the reason I make stuff like that myself is I used to see Alexander Henry fabric dresses in Camden and covet them, but I’ve always been too poor and recently too fat to buy them. However lots of my friends like the sort of things I make and like vintage dresses in general and can afford to buy stuff like this, in which case will really like this company as their stuff is gorgeous and really well made!

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This was actually the stall that got me most excited in the whole of the exhibition. They are called Tecstyle ltd and they do custom fabric printing and will make stuff up into bedding for you. Their prices are comparable to Spoonflower, but they do a minimum of 15m. The stuff on display was really good quality and their black comes out reasonably true. I think if I ever went into making dresses commercially (the little issue of Chronic Fatigue to get over first) they would be exactly what I would be looking for as great though Spoonflower is, these guys are based in Britain, so no annoying shipping or customs issues. I also quite fancy my own custom duvet sets. 🙂

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This is burleska.co.uk lots of awesome corsets, the majority with a steampunk feel…. I am rubbish at telling the quality of corsets, but these didn’t seem bad at all, and are quite reasonably priced too.

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And last of all….. La Mort Clothing, cool gothic tattoo print t-shirts.

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I really enjoyed our trip to the London Edge, I am not sure if I will do this again as although I try to update my blog as regularly as possible, the number of posts it takes to do this properly is somewhat tiring and I’m a little bit lazy! Also, you can’t buy stuff there, and you have to wait 6 months for a lot of it to hit the shops and I can’t afford lots of pretty gothic clothing anyway (hence the sewing). However it was really really interesting to see what is on offer, and what actually goes on there, as I’d heard about the London Edge for several years and was really curious. So now I know 🙂

London Edge: cool stuff I saw on stalls part 2

This was the section of the show where I got to the big boys.

First up, Iron Fist. Now this one is a classic case of the parts of the collection that shops pick to sell, not necessarily being the bit Laura would actually wear. The first picture below, of the beautiful but scarily high heel is what I would have counted most representative of what Iron Fist actually sold, that and tiny skimpy dresses there would be no chance of me fitting into. However in the show collection was loads of gorgeous sensible flat shoes and a bit larger clothing items and several (which sadly I have to wait till august for) I massively have my eye on.

The sort of shoes one usually associates with Iron Fist….

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But actually they do a wide range of more sensible shoes as well….

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Including these……omg My Little Pony trainers! 🙂 WANTS!

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Also massively liking, 80’s style unicorn top and Garbage Pail Kids Hoody!!! I had forgotten about the Garbage Pail Kids, they were like the even freaky version of Cabbage Patch Kids. I used to have trading cards when I was a little girl. Long overdue a comeback! 🙂

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Other cute stuff to keep a look out for….

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Next up was Dark Star. Now they are a brand I own several things by and am very fond of browsing through when I go up Camden and  to places like The Black Rose. Again I was really surprised at the difference between the collections I see in the shops and what was on the stall. I am a massive fan of their Victoriana and Goth stuff, but I had no idea they also had a major tie dye and hippy thing going on as well!

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Then there was a slightly less well known brand, Lindy Bop, which was another vintage style prom dress seller. Do like the yellow one though!

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Then a gentleman called Philip Wright selling loads of really awesome hats…..

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And then back to the big boys with New Rock……

And again I was fascinated by the difference between what one can buy in Camden and their full collection, for example, New Rock have a massive range of trainers as well as the whole boot thing going on! I had no idea. but actually from the point of view of someone who frequently misses the nightbus or ends up walking back for an hour in the middle of the night from clubbing, I actually quite fancy a pair, they seem like a much more sensible way of displaying ones goth sensibilities……

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I did like some of the more conventional boots though, specially these patterned ones!

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Next came Toxico , they sold all kinds of stuff, including clothes, which weren’t really my style, but what did catch my eye was their range of crockery. We have broken a load of mugs recently so I might actually buy some of it!

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And lastly for this section, Kreepsville 666. Now I am already a firm fan of their devils horns and hair bows with eyeballs on, so it was really nice to see what I’m going to end up buying  is available next year. I forgot to take pictures, but they also have a range of t-shirts, I had only ever seen these online before, but I was actually really impressed by the quality and availability of slightly larger sizing options.

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So yeah, Part 3 (The final main part of this) won’t happen till middle of next week as I am going to be busy with stuff. Hopefully also including finishing the skirt I’ve been working on for the last forever so I actually have sewing stuff to post again! 🙂

London Edge: Cool stuff I saw on stalls part 1

Basically the logistics of splitting these photos up into categories and still knowing what I’m doing was going to be too much of a headache, specially as I’m up to the eyeballs with a cold (yay! Thank-you Prince!) so I’m keeping it simple and posting them in the order I saw them. With the bigger companies that do ‘collections’ this is all next seasons stock so even though I’m going to link to peoples websites where possible, stuff I’ve posted may not be available yet. Also some of the websites are wholesale only, you have to find a shop that actually sells the brand. There was a massive bias in me (and Gemma) taking the photos as to stuff I find interesting.

 

The Seamstress of Bloomsbury -pretty vintage, mainly 40’s, inspired stuff.

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Switchblade, …..this stall had some decent Rockabilly/Gothabilly stuff on it, but what I was super interested in was the baby and children’s clothes….aren’t they awesome!

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Lucky 13 …another gothabilly stall, but this one had some awesome prints going…

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Silly Old Sea Dog……. vintage inspired stuff with novelty prints.

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Rockabye-Baby LDN -more stuff for babies 🙂

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Cherryloco …..this was one of my favourite stalls of the entire fair, unfortunately she was not selling because it was a trade fair, but I will be buying the Raven necklace off her and probably a bat one as well, as soon as I get some money together. Basically its Tatty Devine for Goths if you can’t tell from the pictures…. I am also massively supportive of a small business that is based on Folksy (The uk based version of Etsy) being at an event like this!

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Barmetal Clothing...another tattoo images stall with cool T-shirt prints…

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The next stall after that was Iron Fist, and the uploader is being a little slow today, so that can go in the next post (as I took millions of pictures) which will appear in a day or two. 🙂