Spoonflower Halloween – Phantom Circus

You know me, (or, maybe you don’t, but just so you know…) I like to make a big deal about halloween. I love it. Its fun. I go all out. Luckily, I work for a fabric company, and my coworkers also love to go all out. This year, we well ALL OUT. We picked a theme: Phantom Circus. We designed a whole collection of fabrics, so that our costumes would naturally match each other. We sewed, and bedazzled (my hat, my spats and my corset are all bedazzled. I’ll post closeups if I get a chance), and be-feathered, and be-corseted just about everything and everyone. It was fantastically epic. Several days in advance of halloween, our graphic designer (The lovely snake-charmer) whipped up some posters and we put them up around the building. I will probably never pull off anything this epic ever again. But it was so worth it.

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(In order of personal photos) I was The Lion Tamer, obviously the best job at the circus.

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Then we have The Bearded Lady (yes, thats a real beard), The Fortune Teller, and the Snake Charmer.

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The Jester, The Tall Man (we thought about putting him on stilts, then we realized we didn’t need to), The Tightrope Walker.

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The Sword Swallower (yes, she can swallow that) and The Ring Leader (who was totally the ring leader of the project in real life, she designed half the fabrics and kept the whole thing going and sewed half the costumes up there too!)

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And last, but probably my favorite costume, the Tattooed Lady (she designed her own tattoo fabric, in which her dog Ruby makes numerous appearances.)

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To see the fabric on Spoonflower, follow these handy links:

Photographs were taken by our lovely graphic designer and spoonflower photographer Caroline Okun. She also made adorable retro posters:

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I managed to get a few decent closeups of the halloween Lion Tamer costume. (Granted, these were taken with my cellphone in my dining room, and not by the lovely professional photographer who took the others.)

The jacket was an altered pattern from Butterick #4954. I removed the high collar, and gave it lapels and turn-backs instead of the straight buttoned front that was pictured. I lined it with bold stripes to give it that true circus look.

I reviewed the pattern I used for this jacket here: Butterick Jacket B4954 ★★★★

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The corset was from Butterick #5662. I removed the lacings from the front, for simplicity’s sake, and added some large brass brads. I wrote a review of this pattern here: Butterick Corset B5662 ★★★

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You can also see the truly ridiculous number of crystal rhinestones that I added to the corset, the hat, and the spats. I was going for a sparkly flame effect, and if I’d had more time I would have covered the whole jacket in flames as well.

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While the whole costume went off fantastically, I think my favorite part of this project was designing the fabric designs themselves (with the help from my fantastic coworker.) I enjoyed creating the metallic gold effect in the printed designs. Spoonflower cannot print with metallic inks, but you can simulate the effect with some fancy photoshop gradients, and a little bit of work. I think it turned out fantastically! You can also see in some of the pictures that we added some fake distressing, dirt smudges, dirty cracks, frayed threads. We wanted the costumes to look well worn. This is also my excuse for not ironing them well, by the way. We’re a phantom circus, a ghostly dead circus, clean unwrinkled clothing is beyond our cares.

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Butterick Corset B5662 ★★★

12lineartA decent basic corset pattern, if entirely unhistoric. There’s nothing creative about this corset pattern, and the fit isn’t perfect, but it works well in a pinch. It definitely wont serve as an actual silhouette altering or waist narrowing corset, but as an over the top costume piece or prom dress prop it works well enough.

For my project I removed the clasps/lacing from the front, and only had mine lace in the back, as I wanted more the idea of a boned vest bodice instead of a corset.

I used this corset pattern in an epic halloween project: Spoonflower Halloween – Phantom Circus

Adventures in Steampunk

Yes, I know, its not as cool now that everyone knows about it. Still, there’s something about it that draws my heart… I think its the idea of pure adventure. So many people have so many different ideas about what steampunk “means,” but there’s always the common tie of good old fashioned romantic ADVENTURE. Not romantic as is gooey romance, but romantic as in fanciful, unrealistic, idealistic, completely and utterly impractical (I mean really, people flying zeppelins in corsets and bustles and top hats, that must be the best example of impractical anyone could ever come up with).

So anyways, even though “everyone’s doing it now” I still love steampunk. The problem is, I don’t have a properly amazing steampunk costume. Also, due to my incredible good fortune of befriending a certain someone in highschool, I have a free ride to GenCon in Indianapolis this year. So I need a good steampunk costume. A properly impressive people compliment me on my awesomeness as I walk down the hall steampunk costume.

The pictures you see here are just the beginning elements. I haven’t even decided what direction I’m going to go in yet, I just went to my closet/fabric bucket, and picked out anything remotely steampunk-esque. Most of it is just fabric draped over a mannequin at the moment, I don’t even know what I’ll end up using in the end.

Obviously, the leather buckled corset is a necessity (www.ribbonsandrivets.com I actually know these people and have worked with them, they’re pretty awesome).

I haven’t decided yet if I want to keep the circular hoop skirt and go with a romantic style, or work without it and do more of a bustled victorian look.

Also, I would love to create some sort of awesome jacket to go with the whole thing, but that would cover up the buckles in the back of the corset, which is pretty much the main feature of the top…

The hot air balloon fabric is just awesome, but probably too busy for clothing. I just can’t think of a way to incorporate it without looking gimmicky…

Choices choices, what will I do? (Life is just awesome)

This is a crappy picture of a very cute bolero I decided to make for the steampunk costume. Short in the back to show off the buckles of the corset, and looks good buttoned or unbuttoned. I used the Butterick 5232 pattern, technically, and then altered the sleeves to fit what I wanted. I might change them again, just because they don’t leave me with a good range of motion, but it looks pretty good on, so I’ll have to decide.

I wrote a review for this pattern here: Butterick Bolero B5232 ★★★★

These are the final pictures of the steam punk outfit. Sort of. They’re not great pictures, because its night and I couldn’t get good lighting with my dining room chandelier, lol. Also, I’ll probably still wear the red corset, but the blouse shows the details of the jacket better in photographs. Anyways, I ended up making the lace detachable, because I still couldn’t decide which way looked better, now I can change my mind as much as I want. Also, I can raise and lower the rouching at will, in four places.

Gen con was a great success. There were beautiful costumes, fun games, much drinking and partying! And a life-size TARDIS of course!