Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Transfer Pattern for Elizabeth's Pirates of the Caribbean Dress

This is a pattern I copied from one of my favourite period books, Eighteenth Century Embroidery Techniques. I plan to use it for beading the stomacher on the dress Elizabeth wore in Pirates of the Caribbean. I am using purple and black brocade for the over dress, and purple and black shot taffeta for the underskirt. The beads will be peacock blue and black seed beads, and hematite coloured bugle beads for outlining. The lace for the sleeves is a beautiful black sequinned lace I found at Gala Fabrics, my favourite fabric store.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Elven Costume

This outfit was made for a young lady who LARPs, and wanted a costume she could adjust as the need arose. With this in mind, I made the costume so the sheer sleeves and the skirt could be removed by the use of snaps. It has worked very well for her! She sent me a concept sketch, and we went from there. We didn't end up doing the embroidery.

Sketch Copyright Bethany Exner-Staples

Medieval Princess

This dress was custom made for a young lady who works on a cruise ship. She needed costumes for the various parties held on board. I think she looks lovely in blue!

1870s Trained Skirt

This skirt is made from taffeta and velvet, and trails on the floor quite elegantly. It is custom made in the client's choice of fabric, and pricing ranges from $250-$500 depending on that choice. The corset and blouse are not included.


A Post From Yaya Han About Cosplay

This is a post from well-known cosplayer and costumer, Yaya Han. Although cosplay is not usually historical costuming, the advice in the post applies to us as historical costumers and dressers. You can read more about Yaya here

"This is something I wrote last year and I think it bears repeating every once in a while.

This is a reminder and encouraging post to experienced and new cosplayers alike. And as a disclaimer off the bat - I do not see myself as an authority in cosplay. I only call myself an ambassador because I wanted to steer away from other superlative "titles' given to me by a myriad of sources over the years. I know of MANY ambassadors for cosplay, people who do a lot of good in the community and are positive influences. I strive to be more like them.

I'm speaking to you simply as a cosplayer who cares about this unique great thing a lot. And I see the community in turmoil right now. This amazing community that gave me so much happiness and wonders over 14 years. So, I want to talk about some hot topics in cosplay. Right now. Me, talking to you. In all honesty. My true opinions.
This is a hobby. An art form. A career for some. A social pastime for others. Cosplay is not a sport. There is no rule book, commandments, or memo on HOW you should cosplay.

If you want to buy a costume, go for it! Enjoy wearing it! Many cosplayers I know commission costumes from experienced costume makers and it is a wonderful relationship to witness. My friends get to make costumes for a living, and someone out there feels like they can take on the world with an awesome custom fit costume for them. It's beautiful.
If you want to make an elaborate costume and put hundreds of hours into it, go for it! Love the process and cherish the creative outlet that it will give you. Craftsmanship is the driving force behind all of my costumes, and I speak loudly about my love for craftsmanship and how it should be important to those who want to make costumes. Because caring about something pushes you to explore further, be bolder, try more things. It is a JOY to be hands on while making a costume, and I want to share that feeling with everyone.

If you want to dress like a sexy character, go for it! Cosplay is a great confidence builder and for some, a motivational tool for eating healthier and leading a more active lifestyle. You can't diss anything that can help you live a longer, healthier life.
I have dressed as some very sexy characters in the past, from Felicia to Jessica Rabbit to Power Girl to Ank-su-namun from The Mummy. Before cosplay was in the mainstream's eye, the main audience for it was other cosplayers and con-goers! Many understood that you were portraying a character that was designed specifically to be vivacious, sexy and a fantasy. The amazing thing about those female characters is that no matter how they dressed, they stood on their own, fended for themselves, and were confident, powerful women. I think the attractiveness to characters such as these is their validity as a person BEYOND just being female.
Now, cosplayers are judged at face value, often by folks who have never heard of the games, comics, or characters before, and don't know that they were designed that way.
Well, I'm here to tell you, that most sexy characters WERE designed by someone in the professional entertainment field, we are here replicating those designs.
Also, if you ever wondered why so many female cosplayers dress so provocatively, consider the notion that maybe as young girls, we grew up reading these comic book characters' stories, watching Princess Leia kill Jabba the Hutt despite being in a SLAVE outfit, and admired Jessica Rabbit's loyalty and love for her husband despite being the embodiment of male fantasy. Maybe, as young girls, we were inspired to pay tribute to these characters. Maybe we also wanted to be strong like them. It takes courage to walk out in public in a costume. It takes even more courage to walk out in a revealing costume.
Additionally, consider this fact: Revealing costumes can be more difficult to fit! The less fabric you have on, the more fitted and well-sewn it needs to me, because there is no hiding flaws!
Lastly - GUESS WHAT?! You can have craftsmanship AND sexy all within the same costume!! Some of the sexiest costumes I have seen in my life required countless hours of hard work, meticulous details and a combination of various techniques. In fact, sexy and craftsmanship should go hand in hand, and I commend all the cosplayers out there who work hard on their sexy cosplays. I'm right there with ya!

If you want to dress as a character that looks nothing like you, go for it! There is so much judgement on race, gender, weight, size, height and other things that CAN NOT BE CHANGED in cosplay - it has never made sense to me. Just like anyone should be able to collect an action figure of their favorite character, or wear a T-shirt of their favorite superhero, anyone should be able to show their love for a character by cosplaying them. People get so wrapped up in how THEIR ideal real life version of a character should look like that they forget that they are talking about REAL HUMAN BEINGS. With feelings. I cosplay as tall Caucasian characters all the time. You should cosplay whatever character you want.

Lastly, I just want to reiterate one very important reminder for all of us. Cosplay should be about friends. Surround yourselves with like-minded people who will support you in your way of cosplaying, and who will join in with as much enthusiasm as you will. I value the friendships I have acquired through cosplay very much, and I have always viewed the life-long friends I have made through cosplay as one of the biggest rewards from this pass-time.
That's what is important, guys. Support your fellow cosplayers. Support your friends. Each of you may cosplay for different reasons, and have different focus, but we're all in this together, making and dressing up as fictional characters. In the end, it is all about having fun and being creative."

Monday, 17 February 2014

Tsukino-Con 2014

This year's Tsukino-Con was the best ever. I had a Vendor's table, and many of my clothing items sold, and it was a record attendance! Below are a few pictures my hubby Don McCaskill took of me in my purple costume. My role model is Maggie Smith from Downton Abbey; I love her as an actress, and I adore her costumes on the show.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Men's Vests For Sale At Tsukino-Con

These are some of the men`s vests that will be available at the Con.

Back and lining are silk charmeuse
Silk Brocade Vest

In the 18th Century, men`s vests were tide in the back
18th Century Court Vest

Loli Skirts

Here are some of the Lolita skirts that will be available at Tsukino-Con this year.

Introduction to Corset Making

For Tsukino-Con next year, I'm looking at doing a panel on corset making. Because there is only an hour available, it would definitely be just an introduction. If there is enough interest, I will look at doing classes that are more in depth, and that will show you how to make your own underbust corset, as those are easiest for beginners.

The panel would cover the basics, such as supplies, where to get them, how to make a pattern, fabric selection, boning, busks etc.