Oct 312013

We bought a new camera πŸ™‚

Happy Halloween!


Nettie was always a hanger-on of no account.. until the day Dracula turned her into one of his Undead Brides, apprenticing her in the ways of Streaky White Makeup and Posing In Front Of Bats.


Lucas was always such an erudite social climber; after his hunting accident, however, he found his tongue thick and clumsy, and a strange temptation to howl at the moon…


Bob got shot. He doesn’t care much for cereal, even in the afterlife.

Some outtakes from the photoshoot:

Oct 132013

We’re at Pandoracon this weekend! I’ve tweaked Nettie’s outfit a little at the last minute; you’ll have to wait until the con photos go up to see the final versions I’m afraid, but here’s a handful of tweaks I did:

Hoop skirt

Remember how in the undergarment articleΒ Β the white petticoat stuck out a bit under the black skirt? I’ve replaced it with a hoop skirt, which has the advantages of being cooler and being seen less due to less layers. It’s adjustable, too, which is nice. Hopefully that works out for me.

Oversized corset

I bought the next size down. It borders on too small and still wrinkles and bends and conforms to the bulges in my body too well to look right. I’ll stitch a modesty panel in it and wear it over the other one, or possibly the larger one over the white one as before. I won’t be buying from Corset Chick again πŸ™


I had meant to get garters and a garter belt, but unfortunately I’ve run out of time. I’ve bought some nice lacy hose instead, though it’s going to be tricky to wear — I’m going to have to roll the top down pretty far so it isn’t under the corset so I can pee 😐 For future reference, ALWAYS consider peeing before you get into a costume you plan to wear more than a few hours. ALWAYS. At my wedding reception I had to have my mother guard the stall while I hiked my dress and petticoat up to almost my boobs, and I was scared the whole time I’d get something damp 😐

Calling Card

I had one printed up! And this time, unlike Erika’s, it’s the proper dimensions I wanted. Yay!


Calling card front (I’m sure photos of the actual card will be coming soon)

So that’s basically the changes I made! Back next week with more costuming updates in general. πŸ™‚

Oct 062013

I have achieved the previously unthinkable: I have purchased a corset that is too LARGE for me.

I know, right?!

A replacement is on its way, may or may not arrive before the convention though. In the meantime, the colors are perfect and I’m very pleased with how well the corset matches the skirt, so I’m holding out hope for the outfit πŸ™‚ In the meantime, this post is sponsored by Rap Is A Man’s Soul:

Nah, just kidding. It’s actually sponsored by Chicago The Musical:

Okay, I know, I know, you just want the pictures right? Well, without further ado:

I did take a few photos with my real corset underneath, in case that helped. It didn’t, much; this corset shows too much of the white underneath.


I’m tired of corset shenanigans, but at least the dip is gone.


I’d braided my hair from boredom, and now I felt like Alice, so a curtsy it is.


Unfortunately, the lack of modesty panel makes the back look bizarre.

What do you think? Chic, no?


Sep 292013

Now for some real hatmaking, from scratch! For Nettie’s second costume, I wanted a mini top hat. Have you seen how expensive those things are? Definitely pricy impulse buys at cons! I’m working on the cheap here, so I decided to make my own.

I used a template from one of my favorite free pattern sites, Fleece Fun. Side note, I found them when I wanted to make a cape for my baby brother, who has decided to go by Darth Blaze in his superhero persona πŸ™‚ He adores the cape, and fleece is fairly cheap πŸ™‚ I actually used a red riding hood cape design, shh don’t tell anyone it was for girls πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I downloaded the smallest hat pattern, mostly because it fits on separate pages so I could print directly onto cardstock. I figured I could always do it again. I got some cheap felt (it’s less than $1 per 8.5×11″ piece at Joann Fabrics) and I had plenty of cardstock left over from the wedding to lend shape to the hat. It had been a few days since my last hatmaking adventure, so the burns from the hot glue had healed — time to fire up the glue gun again, clearly πŸ™‚


The pattern, traced onto felt.

Protip: sharp scissors help. Cutting out the felt with dull ones was torturous. They also suggested use spray adhesive for the first step. Spray adhesive is a wondrous invention… and, alas, not one I have in my crafts cabinet. So I just used hot glue all the way.

Once everything was cut out, well… nothing to it but to glue it!

And there you have it: a mostly finished tophat. I had to go to bed, but I plan to add some ribbon to tie it on next. Voila!

Sep 222013

It has been mentioned that Nettie needs a hat. Well, I am here today to reveal not one, but TWO new hats — and that only because I ran out of time for the third! Yup, that’s me, Yami the Overachiever πŸ™‚

I found two black straw hats on my last thrift shop/dollar store crawl: one that I didn’t like the feel of that I got at the thrift store for $1.07 including tax, and one that I liked rather a lot that I got at a dollar store for $4. I decided to make one big showy hat and one that’s a little more subdued, so I could pick the best for the occasion. I started with the big showy hat:

$4 floppy-brim straw hat from the dollar store

$4 floppy-brim straw hat from the dollar store

I then immediately blew my budget by spending $50 on flowers and ribbons at Michael’s craft store πŸ™‚ But I started out well!

For inspiration, I looked at both Victorian-era hats and Kentucky Derby hats, which are apparently still worn today and can get kind of intense:

Like this one from LadyDianeHats.com


Or this one, from slowfamilyonline.com. Just. What.

Chaos thinks my hat is a bit excessive… I think maybe I didn’t go far enough!

Some work in progress shots:

And the final product:

Aren't I lovely!

Aren’t I lovely! My hair’s a mess, I can’t wear a ponytail under this hat.

On to the second hat! This one was cheaper, and it shows when you touch it: it sort of crinkles like cheap plastic instead of feeling like straw. Ah well.

The hat, unadulterated

The hat, unadulterated

Right off the bat, I knew that flower and ribbon had to go. Black on black? Talk about funeral attire!

Try some red ribbon instead. Much more contrast.

Try some red ribbon instead. Much more contrast.


And poofy red flowers finish the job

And poofy red flowers finish the job

The final look is much more… Nettie-ish, I think:

hat2 final

I’m tired, and I know it

But it was still missing something. It just didn’t want to sit right on my head. I wracked my brains for inspiration a bit, until finally I thought about a hat I’d seen on a duster pattern once:

Simplicity 2581

I didn’t have netting, but what about the ribbons used to tie on mini top hats? Maybe they would help the darned hat stay on my head as well as add a little extra flair?



You’ll notice I’m making a strange face in that photo. Five minutes prior, I’d burned my finger on the hot glue, and it was just starting to really hurt as I posed. It was another hour or so before it subsided enough to go to sleep, complete with a small white blister for my troubles. C’est la vie de steampunk, I suppose.

Stay tuned, I plan to make a mini top hat once Chaos gives back my glue gun πŸ˜‰

Sep 152013

Just as the proper foundations can make or break a building’s structural integrity, so can the proper foundation garments enhance or destroy a given costume. Since I have the shaping garments left over from my wedding, I decided to throw together a little photoshoot to show off what my first outfit looks like plain, then over foundation garments.

The outfit, by itself, to remind you:


The corset. Head removed because I was making the WORST face.


The skirt, with nothing underneath but the usual underwear

The skirt, with nothing underneath but the usual underwear.

The skirt, with nothing underneath but the usual underwear

I had the corset for my wedding custom-made by Mentionables Corsets; they do mail-order as well, but if you happen to live in the Cleveland area, I strongly suggest setting up fittings and so forth. Diana had some great ideas for how to make a corset that flatters my shape better, and the final product was great πŸ™‚


From the front. That little tie there helps stop it from gaping open due to my massive cleavage


The back, laced up pretty

The petticoat, on the other hand, was standard David’s Bridal issue, though we did alter it a little to fit my hips better.

Corset and petticoat. In proper undergarment style, the petticoat goes OVER the corset, as opposed to steampunk style, which often has the corset as the topmost layer.

Corset and petticoat. In proper undergarment style, the petticoat goes OVER the corset, as opposed to steampunk style, which often has the corset as the topmost layer.

I decided that since the fashion corsets don’t have proper boning, it’d be alright to wear them as an outer garment over the inner, properly boned corset, thus providing the shaping and support of a several-hundred-dollar custom-made corset with the bright colors of a $40 over-shell appropriate for steampunk. Thus, I put the Nettie costume back on over the top of the undergarments you see me modelling above. I don’t like this petticoat for her, but it was handy and it shows the difference quite nicely.


Upper portion, showing the corset layering. You can’t see it too much, but check the waistline and the curvature. It was also much easier to get the thing on, as it’s a bit small for me.


The lower portion, showing the way the skirt poofs and folds nicer with some shaping underneath

And there you have it! Stay tuned for next week as I’m currently working on more accessories for Nettie’s two outfits.
Sep 082013

Sorry for the delay; I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, but now I’m back in the saddle and raring to get going on costume pieces πŸ™‚

Except for one small problem… Something seems to have gone horribly wrong with the top I was making. I had a suspicion before the machine broke that judging by the size of the pieces, the finished garment was going to be far too small; furthermore, the pieces weren’t lining up properly, with lining and outer and interfacing all being different sizes, and to top it all off, the last few steps I had done before the machine broke were apparently done incorrectly.

jumble of parts 2

The final state of my top

I could fix this, I knew; it would take hours, most of which would be unpicking what I did before, and then I’d probably still have a garment that didn’t fit right and probably would be stitched badly since I had no idea what the instructions were trying to say for this step. Then I realized: this wasn’t fun anymore. Why should I spend several weekends making a piece when I can spend $30 instead if I wasn’t having fun making it? So screw that. I ordered myself a fashion corset-top and moved on to the skirt, which looks much more understandable. I’m not saying Simplicity 2851 is a bad pattern, per se, just that the bodice on that piece was confusing the shit out of me.

So! On to the skirt! I’m getting good at skirts I think πŸ™‚ The basic skirt was simple enough to put together, the same as the other skirts I’ve made. The bottom was meant to be finished with a ruffle but I hate ruffles so, in the spirit of “let’s make things easy on Yami”, I decided to purchase lace instead. It’d look just as classy and not make me want to rip my hair out πŸ™‚ Plus it matches the new top better, since it doesn’t have ruffled armholes.

At first all went well, but then I tried it on for size and… whooops.

oversized skirt

A little big…

Turns out the cutting instructions had a gather line but the sewing directions never mentioned gathering the fabric. What’s a girl to do? Make pleats, of course.

skirt with pleats

With pleats

Much better. Add some ribbon and lace and voila:



skirt bow




I’m not sure what happened when anchoring those ribbons. I’d lay the skirt out flat, measure the ribbon, stitch it in place, then trim, but somehow they’re way too loose. Another evening’s work will fix that I suppose.

I also noticed I’m not very good with waistbands. The pattern wanted me to do something complicated with ribbon, but I ran out of ribbon; it also wanted a zipper, but I bought the wrong color zipper and decided I didn’t need it after all. If anyone knows any simple ways to finish off a waist to stop it from rolling over itself, I’d appreciate the tip.

Coming soon: the finished outfit πŸ™‚

Aug 042013

We’re back!

Since you missed the entire design of this outfit during the haitus, I’ve combined what would normally be a WIP post with what would normally be a photoshoot post and brought you the entirety of Nettie’s second costume, start to finish.

I alluded in my State of the Blog post to some changes in the way I communicate designs. Well, I’ve decided to get a little more professional: I’ve downloaded a pair of croquises, rough outlines of the body that people draw fashion sketches onto, so I can put up a sketch of each design before I make it. This ought to improve the quality of my blog posts tremendously, as while I always can picture the outfit vividly before I make it, I can’t always communicate the design efficiently to my readers.

Side note: Most croquises look something like this:

Who the heck has a body like that? Okay, I guess some people do, particularly fashion models, but I’m not designing for the runway, I’m designing for three much larger individuals. I found a free plus-size croquis hereΒ that looks a lot closer to my body type, and I’ve been using the male from this siteΒ for the guys.

So, without further ado, Nettie:


Based off Simplicity 2851. With that sketch and a pattern in mind, I sat down to make the costume. The bodice came first:


Fabric and ribbon for the skirt

It's  been hot, so I've been using whatever's handy to weigh down the pattern pieces while cutting

It’s been hot, so I’ve been using whatever’s handy to weigh down the pattern pieces while cutting so I can run the fan

A bunch of parts for the bodice, cit and partially stitched, with boning

A bunch of parts for the bodice, cit and partially stitched, with boning

Unfortunately, the machine had a little… mishap.

The first sign of trouble: this sort of jam happened every few inches of stitching.

The first sign of trouble: this sort of jam happened every few inches of stitching.

Until finally I head a hideous clunk and the needle came loose, yanked into the undercarriage. When I detangled it, a little more came out of the machine than I’d have liked:


That piece on the right? Goes inside the bit in the middle. It’s all very technical and complex.

So I’ll have to get that fixed before I can finish the Β costume :'( I’d have hoped I’d have more to show you on this outfit, but I instead wore Erika to the event in July so I could buy more time to finish this up.

Jun 232013

This isn’t 100% done; it definitely needs gloves and a hat, but it’s wearable. This is Nettie’s “respectable” outfit, for day-to-day going around town shopping type activities. She thinks it looks respectable and high-class πŸ™‚ The high-class ladies in town feel differently, but then, what do they matter, Nettie likes it so pooey on them.





How’s it look? I definitely need gloves I think πŸ™‚

Jun 162013

The first piece of the first costume for Nettie was begun at the Steampunk Empire Symposium, in a class on bustle creation, and finished shortly after, when I had access to my sewing machine again:


The bustle, in a heap


The next piece was ordered online, a parasol to match the color scheme I had in my head:


parasol_1 parasol_bustle


I ordered a corset at the same time, but had to return it, as it was unfortunately a bit too small. Thankfully, the second one I found fit okay:



I found a great skirt pattern, nice and simple. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the exact opposite of simple. You see, while the skirt itself was easy enough to make, the miles and miles of ruffles are another story. Let it be known that I hate ruffles with a burning passion. They’re worse than pleats. It’s easy to ruffle a little section of fabric, but yards and yards of it? The first portion comes out before you’ve finished halfway! I finally decided the best way to do it would be to ruffle a section, then stitch ribbon over it, then ruffle the next, and so on and so forth. It made the ribbon pucker a bit, but I think it looks nice anyway.


The top half of the skirt, before adding ruffles


Stitching away on ruffles….forever…


I didn’t like the way the ruffles were attached, so I’ve ripped it out and re-stitched it since then, but this is the general idea


The back, with the bustle over top.

Now all I need is a top, petticoats, and knickers πŸ™‚