Thursday, April 19, 2012

Costumes for Dragon*Con

For those not familiar with Dragon*Con, well, how do I describe it?  It's huge, crazy, mash-up of fantasy, sci-fi, anime, horror, and pop culture goodness!  Me and my friends went last year for the first time.  I've seen it online and the pictures just don't convey how insanely big it is.  Head over to to check it out.

Anywho, the big thing at Dragon*Con is the costumes!  Even if you don't dress-up yourself, just sitting around in one of the hotel lobbies and checking out the costumes is one the favorite past times at this event.  I've seen everything from steampunk to period costumes to superheroes to sci-fi geekiness.  It's all in there!  While, I wanted to do a costume last year, my sewing machine and myself had a falling out.  So my costume last year was just off-the-rack-thrown-together suckiness.  This year will be different.

First off, I offered to sew up a costume for my friend Mary.  I'm just doing the base design and she's going to add all the details and doodads that make the dress and costume.  She wants a steampunk-inspired Belle from Beauty and the Beast (Disney version).  So I drew up a quick design on what she described to me.  It's not complete but just an idea on where to go.  Since the design, we've changed a few things.  She's working on the details, since to me, it seems the details and the extra props, are what takes a costume from just simple to 'steampunk.'  I'm sure others would argue about that, but everything I saw at D*C suggests to me that without the proper accessories, the costume is just a period piece or a wannabe steampunk.

The dress is Simplicity Pattern 1910.  Please note that this pattern has a mistake in it!  Pattern piece 3 is incorrect!  I had to contact Simplicity and get the corrected pattern piece. I cut off some of my notes, sorry about that!  In the end, we shorten the skirt to make it easier for walking and escalator use.


Then for me, well, I like steampunk, but don't think I want to go that far.  In the end, it's more along the lines of a Western-inspired steampunk.  I'm taking some of my inspiration from Cavalry uniforms, particularly in the fabric selections.  I probably won't have time to make the corset that I wanted to do, but as long as I get the coat done then I can figure out what to do for the other parts.

The coat is actually called a redingcote.  A redingcote, French corruption of the English "riding coat," is a great overcoat typically worn for horseback riding. By the late 19th century, the style of the redingcote went from being quite utilitarian to a fashion statement of a long fitted and open coat to show off the skirts beneath.  For more history on this coat please see Redingcote History.  I like the idea of a "riding coat" since I'm making my costume more along the lines of a airship captain or something similar. (I do plan on writing up a little story to fit my character when the costume is complete.)

My coat is from Simplicity Pattern 2172.  That is pretty much the only part of this pattern that I'm making.  I really like the cut of the coat.  The rest of my costume is still to be determined.

You can see how in the Simplicity 2172 pattern, without the right accessories, the outfit just looks like a period-inspired piece.  Even the way it's modeled on the envelope looks more Victorian-inspired outfit, then steampunk.  But that could just be me.

The models, or 'croquis,' I used to draw up my designs come from Designers Nexus.  I really suck at drawing, so I only use my designs as idea guideposts.