The Convention That Never Was

Once upon a time, there was this Doctor Who convention set at the end of August, in the UK. My husband and I were so looking forward to it. I spent countless hours working on our cosplays for the event. To the point of getting myself a pretty nasty RSI in my left wrist due to all that knitting and sewing in a short amount of time.

But it never happened.

To make a very long story short, it folded and got cancelled less than 24 hours before the start. We were already in the UK, on our way to the location, when we heard it was cancelled. I know, these things can happen, but this wasn’t due to unforeseen circumstances. Anyway, let’s say the organizers didn’t act professionally. And we were probably too gullible in believing they would pull it off.

But hey, this is a sewing blog, not a ranting blog, so let me show you what I worked on!

The hubby – Fourth Doctor

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My inspiration was Tom Baker’s costume in the episode The Masque of Mandragora.

This was the most time-consuming cosplay I’ve ever worked on, just because of the scarf. All in all, at an average of 90 minutes of knitting per day, it took me about 6 weeks to complete it. I don’t knit fast. And I hate knitting anyway. But I’m happy I can cross “Knit a Fourth Doctor Scarf” off my bucket list.

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The waistcoat was made using Simplicity 2895. Honestly, it’s not my favorite waistcoat pattern. I just couldn’t get the welted pockets to work — I really don’t know why, I’ve made plenty of welted pockets before. So the pockets on his waistcoat are fake ones. I find this very embarrassing, but after cutting the front twice (matching the plaid as best I could) I was running out of fabric and patience.

The trousers are Laughing Moon Mercantile #119. As with all LM patterns I’ve made so far, the detailing is exquisite but enormously time-consuming. But the final result is a pair of trousers that fit really well (I used the “portly fit”) and definitely look the part.

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The frock coat was the double-breasted coat of Laughing Moon Mercantile #109, which I used before for my Eighth Doctor cosplay. This new version was even more time-consuming, as pressing the velveteen required a lot of patience. The fusible interfacing just wouldn’t stick properly. But I did manage to press the fabric without damaging it (ha!) using a press cloth, and even though the sleeves aren’t set in properly (doh!) I’m still pleased with the result. And my husband is happy, so who am I to complain?

Me – A steampunk female twist on the TV movie Eighth Doctor’s outfit

See, I was supposed to meet Paul McGann again at this convention-that-never-was. And I just didn’t want to meet him wearing the same cosplay as the previous occasion, by fear of being recognized and seen as a stalker :lol: And I just really needed an excuse to make Simplicity 2172. I fell in love with this pattern when it came out last year, but never had any occasions to make it. Until now.

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I decided to make the coat and the bustier, and leave out the skirt out of sheer laziness, really. I didn’t want to spend hours pleating! I replaced it with McCall’s 6911. I thought the uneven hem was an interesting design element and I believed it would complement the coat nicely. I used heavyweight duchesse satin in silver grey, and I added green rick-rack around the hem. (Arrrgh, the hem is turned on this picture, I didn’t notice!)

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The coat is made with bottle green cotton velveteen, the same type/weight as my husband’s frock coat. Having worked on his coat before, I knew how to handle velveteen when it comes to pressing and sewing, and I’m quite happy with the result. The flounces are made of a cheap polyester woven in off-white.  I didn’t finish the edge with a narrow hem, instead I hemmed using my serger.

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The bustier is made with the most expensive fabric of the outfit, luckily I only needed a yard. I bought it off Ebay, a beautiful gold/silver brocade. I finished the outfit with a mini tophat made using McCall’s 6975 (view F), that I decorated using some trim and bow I had on hand. It’s holding on my head thanks to 2 hair clips I tacked under the rim.

We still had the occasion to wear our outfits that weekend, despite the convention cancellation, as it coincided with the airing of the first episode of the new series and the new Doctor! We had tickets to see the episode at the cinema the Saturday evening, and we had a blast chatting with fellow Whovians and cosplayers!

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Don’t we make the cutest geeky couple? <3

All in all, it wasn’t a completely wasted weekend, but the aftertaste of the last-minute cancellation will last for a while.

And this was the story of The Convention That Never Was…

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I just wanted to dress up as a fairy

In all honesty, dear readers, I must give you a fair warning: it’s very likely this blog will take a turn towards cosplay and creative sewing for the time being, rather than regular garment sewing. I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. But I hope you’ll still come by and visit from time to time!

That being said, let me tell you about the time I really just wanted to dress up as a fairy. There was this folk music festival happening nearby, and I knew from friends who attended in the past that people were dressing up Renaissance Faire style (with loads of gothic and steampunk costumes too). The setting is the grounds and the gardens of a beautiful castle. And I really wanted to go, just to wear a costume! The thing was, I didn’t have an appropriate costume — yet. I have a huge list of future costumes I want to make the coming months, but I’m still gathering the materials.

Cue Simplicity 1550, which I bought on a whim earlier this summer. I had a look at my fabric stash, found some fabric I could use, bought some metal wire at the hardware store for the wings, and I was ready to start! I was going to be a fairy!

I made view A, with the long skirt, but I used the corset of View B, with the front lacing.

I like how quick this pattern was to put together. A weekend of sewing, and that was it. It’s a whimsical fairy design, I like the pointy hem and edges. Using lightweight fabric, you get a nice effect when it’s windy!

I hated my fabric choice, however. I hate sewing chiffon, my serger was throwing a fit at me so I left the edges unhemmed (as recommended by the pattern instructions – either unhemmed, or finished with a serger). I used this chiffon because I ordered it for another project (where it would have been more suitable), but it was just not the color I wanted. I was stuck with this fabric in my stash and figured I might as well use it for something!

My only design change is regarding the wings. The pattern asks you to make 3 pairs of wings, and to mount them on a set of purchased wings. I didn’t want to spend money on a pair of wings in order to add 3 other pairs of wings to it (WHY?), so I constructed a wire frame that would be inserted inside my costume to hold it in place. Basically, the back band of my bra is the device that held it all in place ;) The wings were very light and they stayed put the whole time, without moving or coming out of my costume. And I thought 2 pairs of wings were enough.

Oh the things you can do with duct tape!

And a tip regarding the wings: before inserting the metal wire to shape the wings, I wrapped the ends with a bit of tape to make it less sharp and less likely to pierce the organza.

For the flower crown, I first made a circle out of metal wire, and I wrapped ivy around it. I glued flowers at random. My wand is a curtain rod (!), I wrapped a ribbon around it, and glued ivy/flowers at the end.

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I was definitely standing out of the crowd with my light blue costume, compared to the more humble peasant-like costumes, or the darker gothic or steampunk outfits I saw. I haven’t been cosplaying for a long time, but I can say this costume is my most ‘popular’, with several photo requests from strangers. Always a nice boost for my ego! But what made my day is a little girl looking at me with large eyes and saying “Ohhhhh!! Nice costume!!!”

You can see more pictures on my FB page Couturlututu, and my full pattern review can be found here.

I’m currently busy with 3 other cosplays, they are advancing quite smoothly. My deadline is in less than 3 weeks now, and I’m confident I’ll finish everything on time! (*knock on wood…*)

The Eighth Doctor meets the Eighth Doctor

It’s a long overdue post! And even though it’s pure geekiness, it is sewing-related. A few weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to meet Paul McGann, who plays the Eighth Doctor, my inspiration for my first ever cosplay. (I detailed how I made my costume in this post, this post, and this post.) The […]

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Time for some “me sewing”

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I’m still working on my gazillions of cosplay projects. But with the London Film & Comic Con date approaching faster and faster, where I wanted to wear some of my projects, I started to get overwhelmed by the sheer size of them. And I kinda panicked. I started to drag my feet, procrastinated a lot, fell […]

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Eighth Doctor costume – Part III

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The frock coat was by far the most challenging piece of my costume. Not only because of all time I spent on it, but also because it was my first piece of menswear and it required quite a bit of tailoring. Prior to this project, I didn’t even know what a sleeve head was. And I […]

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Eighth Doctor costume – Part II

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Here is the second post detailing my Eighth Doctor cosplay project! The Vest The original vest seemed to have a shawl collar and single-breasted front closure. My first intention was to use Simplicity 2895‘s view A, but several weeks after ordering the pattern, it still wasn’t in my mailbox and time was running out. I looked […]

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Eighth Doctor costume – Part I

I promised I would give more details about my costume — here is Part I: the shirt, the pants and the ascot, and a quick look at my accessories. Here is again my original inspiration: The shirt This shirt was a last minute decision. I was planning on entering the cosplay competition of the Antwerp Convention […]

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Adventures in cosplay

Eighth Doctor Cosplay

I’m approaching 40, but lately I started to let my inner geek show. I’m attending comic cons. I’m buying geeky t-shirts — and lots of them. I’m spending more time on Tumblr more than on Facebook. Mid-life crisis? I have no idea. But who cares, really? I also have to make a confession: I’m a […]

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people. Click here to […]

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