Sewing/Costuming Progress-March 2017

Hey There,

Just for a bit of a self reflection and a change of pace. I made a video. Its pretty much talking about all the projects since the beginning of the year. If the other blog posts were a bit TL;DR and you want to see some new projects, never before seen, have a watch:

Hope this was interesting to watch. Have a great week!

❤ Sarania


HSF or Monthly #2-1920’s Headdress

And here we are again for another Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge. A bit late but better late than never. This fortnight’s challenge is to get something off the UFO pile. Just to finish off something that’s never really gotten finished. Perfect! I have just the thing. Last year, I made a Tiana cosplay (from Princess and the Frog) but I made her historically accurate. The movie is set in the 1920’s so of course there was beading, a rode de style and finger waves.

I have to say I wasn’t a fan of the 1920’s until I did this cosplay. Now I utterly adore it and can’t wait for the next project in this era. But for now, here is the project that is unfinished. I designed this cosplay with a 1920’s headdress referenced from the book The Mode in Hats and Headdress by R. Turner Wilcox. Unfortunately, I ran out of time before the Comic Con and just couldn’t finish it so I went without it. So the best opportunity is to do it right now. ( And stop letting it mock me on my unfinished sewing pile)


Now you can see why it was taking me so long. I was hand beading different patterns into it. This small amount took me ages. But thank goodness for HSF because it made me push through to the end.


I managed to get all the vines on. I was going for a leafy and flowery pattern to match Tiana’s look and the dress I made. I used the same fabric and the same beads as I did for the dress. The stitching is omnistitching that my sewing machine did. I was in such a hurry when I started making this last year that I couldn’t be bothered to design a beading patterns. So, hence the perfect stitches and beading over top. I made the beading relatively simple, until…


I decided to add more detail to the beading. I could have been almost done but, come on, this was supposed to be from the 1920’s. My original beading was a bit too plan. Its all or nothing baby!


Finally I had managed to bead it all, including the centerpiece. ( I will show you that in a minute). You can see a vines and flowers and leaves sort of vibe here, doesn’t hurt that it is all in green. I will say I was surprised when I lifted this and found a bit more weight on it. Woah. Beads may be tiny but together, they are quite the army.

Next it was time to sew on the beaded outer fabric to the buckram and wire base. Of course this was done by hand. Which was a welcome relief to the hand beading before. Then I sewed the lining to the back over the buckram.


I added a touch more after the fact by sewing on a string of pearls to the top of the headdress. The top looked a little plain without it and it matched the next embellishment…


Hanging pearls! I admit here I wasn’t sure how best to attached these pearls to the headdress. I ended up using hot glue (I know, I know! It was late and I was tired and frustrated with the pearls falling everywhere) But it worked out. Next time, I will sew the ends of the pearls to the buckram layer and the then sew the lining on top of that. But for this proof of concept, this worked out.

And now drum roll for the final result…




TADA!! I love this so much. I felt like a vintage beauty. Here you can see I did finish the centerpiece and pearls are staying on quite well. But how it the headdress staying on your head, you may ask?


Simple ribbon ties I hand sewed in the headdress before the lining. I had no idea if this headdress was supposed to be headband style or crown style so I designed it this way. The Wilcox book didn’t show the back to the headdress. I noticed in the book the women wore headdresses quite low on their heads. I wore this close to my eyebrows to mimic that look so its a good thing it can be adjusted. And now for what you have been waiting for, the wrap up and photo gallery.

The Challenge: #2 the UFO: Let’s get something off our UFO pile! Use this opportunity to finish off something that’s never quite gotten done, or stalled halfway through.

 The Project: 1920’s headdress from a historically accurate Princess and the Frog cosplay I didn’t finish last year.

Fabric and notions: Sparkle chiffon ($8 per yard), buckram ($8 per yard), wire (had it for ages), many different types of beads and pearls (bought on sale~$40), needle and thread

 Pattern: My own design inspired by The Mode in Hats and Headdress by R. Turner Wilcox.

 Year: 1920’s

 How historically accurate is it? Very I would say. The shape is there. The beading needed a bit more practice but it was pretty. Next time, I will draw out a pattern rather than using the omnistitches on my sewing machine which took off accuracy points.

 Hours to complete: ~25 hours ( most of this was beading)

Total cost: ~$48 (estimating so much here, I threw away the receipts >_<)

Overall, this was great to do. I love beading, it is relaxing. It does for me what adult coloring does for other people. Time to think or time to listen to many books and songs. I would love to do something like this again. So my next idea would be a whole new dress. (Oh the projects.) Okay, enough blabbing here is a bit of a gallery.






❤ Sarania

Dragon Lady,Fantasy Costume Part 1

Hey There,

Here goes! The first full costume of the year. I am very much looking forward to this one. It is a fantastical idea that I came up with just based on a fabric I bought. I do love to work this way. I don’t usually think of a project and then buy the fabric for it. I am kind of backwards that way but it works well for me.

After I bought a heavily sequined fabric in the garment district on a pure “it’s pretty, I want it” impulse, I began having the idea of what I wanted to use it for. My dearest love and I kept bouncing ideas back and forth about it. I kept giving the fabric the name “dragon scales” and then poof…dragon lady! Not so much a stretch of originality but I love the idea so I am going to do it.

For the first time in a long time I went shopping for a specific project based on a concept I randomly came up with.


The center fabric is the dragon scales and the reason you see some black and some red is that this fabric is kind of interactive. It almost has a kind of nap where if you run your hand one way it turns red and the other way turns black. Cool right?! Well, I had to compliment it with fabrics that were kind of similar. The red and black glitter on the left has a lovely ombre color effect going on. The dark red on the left has kind of two right sides. The prominent color is black but there are red wefts that go through it which makes it look red in certain lights and angles. The other right said does the inverse of that and the red is very shiny. There is a lovely black stretch satin and a black velvet on top that are going to be used to break up the red in the design a bit. Which now that I mention it…dsc00030

This is my design rendering of the Dragon Lady and I know what you are thinking. *This looks a lot like Elsa’s dress from Frozen.* I noticed this as well and it is driving me up a wall. So I had the idea to change the corset design which is what the drawing on the right corner is. But I still don’t think it will be enough. I may add a second slit on the other leg. I don’t know. I find it difficult to design sleek designs since they all look basically the same to me. I am hoping the fabric will speak a bit louder than the plain design. I still want to make this and I think in real life will look so much more interesting than on paper. Fingers crossed.

But to be honest, the drafting portion does not… look… that great.

I started with the top. For some reason I thought it was good to draft two garments on one dress form at once. On the left is the leotard-type top draped out. ( I should have used a stretch fabric to drape since I will be using a stretch fabric for the leotard but I used muslin…not very clever). On the right is the corset draped out. I am not that great at draping yet and I am making an effort this year to be much better at it. I made slashes and pinned them back together, I have darts in odd places and it all just looks a bit of a mess. But I am going to press on.

Next I draped the skirt (on top of the other drapes) and it also looked quite not great. The shape was what I wanted but in the wrong spot. The left picture shows that it is sitting on the side of the dress form. The shape that it has created I would much prefer it to be in the back.

So that’s what I did.


I moved the skirt to the back and it is exactly the look I wanted. Though you can see that the seams are completely off, there are random pieces everywhere and there is no front now. So I ended up draping the front separately.


I didn’t get a picture of the slit I cut in the skirt but there is one…or going to be one eventually. The overall shape of the dress I do love even with how much of a mess it looks in drape form. So I decided to press on and transfer the drape to paper.


Here you can see the skirt in three pieces, the leotard in three pieces and the corset in six pieces. There are two pattern pieces I drew out to add to the patterns. I drew out a godet to go in the back of the skirt to create the shape I wanted and I kind of flat drafted a sleeve pattern for the leotard.

I am going to start cutting out fashion fabric for the pieces except for the corset pattern. I am going to cut a muslin mock-up of the corset just to make sure of the fit and design. Can’t be too meticulous with corsets.


So that’s it for now. I will show the rest of the process of this dress soon. I am really looking forward to this and I hope you enjoyed reading so far.

❤ Sarania


Costume Intensive Year (Or Making the Effort)

Hey There,

It has been a while but we are not here to talk about that. Today is the start of a new year and I realized that the past year wasn’t as productive costume-wise as I wanted it to be. So this year that will change.

The goal of this year is to

Make The Effort

I am going to do my best to make the costumes I want to make, improve my skills and overall become the costumer I set out to be years ago.

Here is what I plan to do.

I have a binder which contains my costume intensive study. I came up with this kind of course as I was making a list of costumes I would like to make in the coming year which is also in the binder. I am going to document everything I do costume-wise in this binder in the hopes that I will keep myself accountable of my progress and skill building. Everything I work on during the year will be in this binder.

You can also see that there is The Historical Sew Fortnightly by the Dreamstress as well in there. I will be doing my best to following along with that as well and you will see the results on this blog as well. I will post about that soon.

I will also be documenting what I want to accomplish this year with this blog. I want to be able to look back on 2017 and say “Woah, I did a lot”. Unlike 2016 where I said “Man, I didn’t do enough.” I am very much looking forward to this year and all the work in front of me. I hope you will come along for the ride.

❤ Sarania

Sailor Mercury-Steampunk Style

So…I finally managed to cosplay one of my favorite Sailor Scouts, Sailor Mercury! She’s smart, shy, lady-like and strong AND blue! I freakin’ love blue. Though I realized that I have been getting a bit tired of doing completely accurate cosplays so I decided to put a spin on it, a Steampunk spin. Now prepare for the pictures! Hang on, this one is a doosey of a post.

First was buying the fabric! I know, I know. I bought the fabric before I sketched. WRONG!! But for me fabric really inspires me so I tend to walk around fabric stores a lot and just think about what I can do with the fabrics there. SO I bought this fabric…


This is from my local independent fabric store (which sells fabric for wholesale price). They had a massive sale in the beginning of the year and I got these really pricey upholstery, satin and taffeta fabrics for half off! Score! Then…I forgot about them and they got buried in my stash. Until Steampunk World’s Fair rolled around and I remembered I had this fabric for a reason.


And now here is the sketch! I had two designs I drew in two separate days and decided on the one on the right…ish…little bit of left too. I definitely didn’t do the skirt hike or the peaking out of the petticoat under the skirt since it felt to muddled when I tried it with my dress form and not modest enough. Modesty is the name of the game for me when I do Steampunk and Victorian looks.

Now to begin! Also I have to mention that since it seems to be a tradition for me (or just trying to deal with multiple projects) I made this outfit in a week. I need to stop doing that.

First was getting together the petticoat, wig, blouse, shoes, veil poi. I knew I had little time so I couldn’t make everything from scratch. The petticoat I had from many years back. It was way too small in the waist for me but it was five dollars at the thrift store so…yeah. I simply cut the waistband and about 10 inches down off. Then added elastic for a new waistband and there you have a tea length petticoat that fits.

The blouse I bought at my local goodwill along with a short sleeve shirt to wear under it since it was all lace and completely see through (yeah, not so Victorian-modest…for me, at least). I also tucked the collar into the blouse since it didn’t really help the look much. (Why didn’t I cut it off you may ask?…*sigh* I am paranoid about cutting things off clothes. I need to be ENTIRELY sure…and I wasn’t…)

Next was shoes! I bought these shoes the week before from a Marty Shoes that was going out of business. In all I got 13 pairs of shoes from there for $175. If I bought them full price, they would have been close to $500. Most of them were for cosplay purposes…as you do. I painted these with acrylic paint and nail polish. I also sprayed them with Krylon Matte Sealant spray since they were shoes and I wanted to wear them outside…Its weird but I really love painting shoes…that’s weird isn’t it?

I also bought a wig from eBay and these gorgeous sunglasses from an online shop called Steampunk Machine ( I adore these glasses and I felt like they were perfect to represent Mercury’s computer goggles. I was going to to draw lines on it as if they were computer goggles but then I really liked them how they were and I plan to wear them without my cosplay. So I kept them clean.


And here is the veil poi from eBay. An inexpensive, beginner set. I was going to make some but then…no. I also have no idea how to use veil poi but I bought them because I have seen cosplayers use veil poi as powers for their cosplays so this is definitely not my idea. I simply got inspiration from them. I also love the look of veil poi belly dancers and thought this would be perfect for my “Shine Aqua Illusion” attack.


And now we construct! First the skirt. A very simple A-line shaped Victorian skirt. I made it about tea length so that I can still walk (and triumph over evil) without having to lift my skirt. I know the Sailor Scouts have mini skirts but like I said at the start. Modesty is the name of the game!

Next, the underbust corset…yet another corset to add to my closet. You know what’s funny? I had that busk for many years in my supply drawer and just dug it out when I was making my corset. Don’t know what project it was for but it was meant to be for this one now!


Looking good! Here you can see I did a mock up for the collar and put it on my dress form to test. And if you can also see, I sewed the viels for the poi to fit over the poi so that they are hidden. Originally, you were supposed to tie the veils to little loops on the end of the poi BUT I didn’t want to see black balls swinging in the air so I hid them…and yes, that is what she said.


Here you can see the collar in its finished form. It was so simple to make and I wish I took more photos of the process for it. Also there is a pair of simple fingerless gloves that I learned to make from a tutorial on Cut Out & Keep ( Ain’t nobody got time for fingers and gussets. Plus…too darn hot!

Here was one of my favorite parts. I bought jewelry pieces from Joann and started to adorn my cosplay with shiny stuff. I made the bow for the front and one for the back as well but I have no pictures because I fail at tracking progress. The brass heart that says love all over it I painted with some nail polish for a blue effect. I also made earrings and a necklace from Joann jewelry using wire and ribbon. You can see the necklace there. The earrings were the same pendant style only smaller and I used wire to make them into ear cuffs ’cause no pierced ears for me.


And finally here is the full final look. IN FIVE DAYS! WOOO!! What a rush of excitement. and what made it really amazing was I finished the the day before the event so I had a night to sleep! WHAT!?

And now for the big model reveal…

The wind was not cooperating…at all. Well here’s a mirror selfie to make up for it…



Dusty mirror, really girl?! Okay lets try the veil poi shot…

Oh my gosh, the fail is POTENT!…I need major practice…no saving the world for now.

I like these shots a lot ’cause it looked like Mercury just hit herself with her own power! (Not to worry, I didn’t hurt myself…much. Shine Aqua OUCH!! Darn it!)

At least I got one shot with no wind, so cute and full outfit.


And one with my gentleman…


That was the best part. ^_^

Well there you have it. After that long, quick, fun, crazy process, my interpretation of Steampunk Sailor Mercury. More Sailor Scouts will be coming from me, for sure. I am so happy with how this turned out and I can’t wait to start my next costume…and to learn veil poi for realzies!

❤ Sarania

Make Room, Please

I now have to put my resolution on hold because I realized I have no space for 52 projects. So for the next few project weeks I am going to redo my space. I always do this because changing a space to fit my current goals makes it easier to achieve my goals. This is going to take quite some time  so there may be room renovation posts instead of costume-y posts. It will be costume related mind you because I am creating a *drumroll* sewing room!! *high pitched squeal* Sew Excited! So there will be loads of fabric, storage options and new interior décor. Ooooo fancy! This is going to take a weird turn because some of the projects that will replace a costume projects will include window treatments, a futon and a kotatsu…o_0  Sew, I hope what I will soon share with you will be helpful and entertaining.

Sarania and the Technicolor DFTBA Dream Skirt

FINISHED! 3 days early Particularly for a specific event I am going to today.

I call it my Technicolor DFTBA Dream Skirt…Yes, it was inspired by Joseph’s coat. (I really like his sense of style) Or you can say it was inspired by the 6th Doctor’s coat. Either way, it speaks for itself, very loudly I might add.

Surprised? Impressed? Scared?

You should be. Because it came out just like what I wanted it to look like. Yep, I meant to do that.

I used a load of fabric remnants that I had cluttering up my space. So  I did the whole cut now measure later where I just go at fabric with a pair of scissors and come up with what was in my head. Who needs patterns when you’ve got scissors…that made no sense.

But there was a snag in there. Notice the closure:

Yeah the corset thing was not supposed to be. I wanted a simple zipper. But NO! The zipper broke!…I wasn’t entirely sad because I worked on this all night and was at the point of “Well, screw this, I try something else” and moved on. Amazing things happen with no sleep.

So I like it and I am wearing it today. Nerdfighters ASSEMBLE! But first, some sleep.