Category Archives: Costume

An Unfortunate Costume

Minor ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ spoilers ahead!

Esme Squalor 1

Because my friends are the best, I was recently invited to a fancy dress party. The theme was ‘Villains/ antagonists from literature’, and we had a bit of a book swap at the bar too.

Esme Squalor freak cosplay

If you know me at all you know that I am a big Lemony Snicket fan, particularly of his A Series of Unfortunate Events books. I decided to go as Esmé Gigi Genevive Squalor, the city’s sixth most important financial adviser and terrible person.

Squalor

There have yet to be any filmed depictions of Esmé squalor, except for this easter egg at the end of the first Netflix Series. Feathers are iiinnnn, apparently. I wanted to combine this with one of my favourite and most rude outfits, the one she wears in The Carnivorous Carnival to persuade a group of ‘freaks’ to commit an awful crime. Here’s an illustration from the book-

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Now, according to the written description the dress was white, however I was already set on the monochrome idea, plus I felt like everyone would think I was a bride villain if I went down that route. Ooh, are there any good bride villains from literature, that sounds fun?

I went to Thrift Manchester and got me a large velvet dress. As it was a stretch dress I could quite easily adjust it to my fit, and then onto the decorations.

Esme Squalor make up

The main decoration was the sashes, which I made from some lining fabric folded in half and sewn into a tube. I then tried to sew them on with my machine, realised I physically couldn’t do that without taking apart the whole dress, decided I did not want to do that, and hand sewed them on instead.

Esme Squalor freaks

Next was the lettering. I’m no calligrapher, but I think I did a reasonably good job of replicating the writing. It’s painted with fabric paint.

Lastly, I glued some s**t on it. I wanted the costume to look a bit more snazzy and what says snazzy more than red sequins and feathers? Don’t answer that.

I Love Freaks

I used UHU textile glue and I would recommend to a friend, it stuck down very 3-D feathers with no problem and they lasted the whole night!

Sly Esme Squalor

Lastly, Michael found a cloche hat and cigarette holder at a fancy dress shop, so I glued a large feather to the hat to tie it into the dress, and the costume was complete! I really enjoyed making and especially wearing Esmé’s garb. Mainly, it’s got me extremely excited for the next season, and especially meeting the most fashionable villain of them all.

Esme Squalor Carnivorous Carnival

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Start the Fans Please

I love a novelty/ themed make, but I similarly hate the thought of making something I won’t wear. What a waste of my own labour. However, when I started my new job recently there was something I had to attempt…

 

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I work for the Crystal Maze experience in Manchester, which is awesome. I’m not going to say much about my work on here, but rest assured the experience itself is just like the original show, only you are the star! As a big fan of the original series, I had to make something I could wear to commemorate the occasion. There were a couple of options. I could make something Mumsie would be partial to, or perhaps one of the iconic bomber jackets?

Richard O'Brien Coat

I decided to make Richard O’Brien’s leopard print coat. I don’t usually wear anything with animal print, but I thought for this I could make an exception. The fabric is a pretty nasty cheap thing I got from Ebay, but luckily it didn’t sew up as badly as I expected. I was anticipating fluff everywhere. Maybe this fabric was so synthetic it didn’t understand that was a thing fake fur does?

I ‘drafted’ a pattern from a second hand coat I love, which can be seen here during last year’s Me Made May-

This photo seems like an age ago. Also, can you believe it’s nearly Me Made May again? I need to start thinking about that. I say drafted, it was actually traced from the coat. I haven’t done that on a whole item before, and especially not with sleeves, so I was a bit nervous. It wasn’t perfect, but I made it work.

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I’ve never really attempted a coat before but using With Wendy’s Youtube tutorial made it really easy.

I basically followed this tutorial the whole way, with a slight alteration. My coat has a shawl collar, and a small curved rectangle piece at the back of the neck. Having this and the facing sewn in created quite a thick fabric, which means it stands up really nicely. It’s a feature I’m very pleased with.

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For the majority of this make I was singing the praises of this fabric. It doesn’t need much pressing, I can just use my fingers! It’s great, the fake fur means it stays in place really well with minimal pins! It’s soft! That was, until it came to fastenings. I had planned on copying the original coat in button placement, but that would have been about 5 button holes.

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This coat ate up my sewing machine like nothing else. It caused my actual footplate to rip off at least twice, sewn into the fabric in a horrific clump. My footplate! I had to unscrew the entire foot to get it away from it every single time, and it was nightmarish. I sat down one evening, expecting the buttons to be finished in an hour, and ended up there all night, saying rather unsavoury things to this coat.

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I came back the next evening, muttering ‘one buttonhole, just one.’ I made a large buttonhole in the middle of the length (roughly), and worked out where I could sew the button on the other side for best coverage. I didn’t spend too long on this, I was at the ‘well, everyone dies’ stage of sewing.

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I think wearing it buttoned up makes it look like a Richard Cheese outfit! Now it’s finished. I hope Richard O’Brien would understand that creative journey of hating your work at some point before it’s finished. Even though it was made with the understanding it’s an unusual garment for me, I actually will wear this. It feels cool.

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Reel Life: Suzy Bishop

Suzy Bishop dress

This is a very popular choice for my next Reel Life, if the sewing community is anything to go by. I have seen so many adorable handmade costumes for Moonrise Kingdom and I can’t say I blame them. What a gorgeous aesthetic to be inspired by! I wish my whole life was hued like a Wes Anderson film.

This is a rather Tilly and the Buttons heavy post, which is no bad thing! Of course, the perfect way to emanate Suzy’s pink dress would be to make a Francoise dress, with long sleeves with a contrast cuff, and a white collar.

Suzy Bishop coat

Tilly also made an excellent version of Suzy’s coat using the Watson pattern from Papercut Patterns. I love that little caplet. I know that this pattern has a slightly shorter hemline than the one in the film. I guess you could lengthen it, but I would be wary if you’re not super confident, as its lines and your hips then happen and all sorts. But if you want to, you do you on this coat.

There are so many free tutorials on how to make a felt beret, and so make one in pink to top this outfit off, and be ready to elope. Don’t forget your portable record player!

For more Wes Anderson dressmaking goodness, hop over to Smile and Make, where Lucy has a Wes Anderson inspired series. Her Grand Budapest Hotel dress is lovely!

Reel Life- Judy Hopps

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Welcome to another edition of Reel Life, where I find ways you can dress like your favourite characters from screen in the outside world. I love Zootopia/ Zootropolis/ whatever you call it where you live, and so I had to create a look for Lieutenant Judy Hopps. Excitingly, you can recreate this look with independent patterns.

Rowan bodysuit

Her whole outfit is very fitted, and so I’ve gone for stretch fabric patterns. Megan Nielsen released two gorgeous new patterns earlier this month and seeing the Rowan bodysuit I knew it would be a great fit for the top half of the outfit. Judy Hopps wears a police uniform which actually looks like it’s all in one piece, and the Rowan bodysuit creates a seamless silhouette, very effectively recreating the look. The colour on this example photo is almost correct already! I would use the turtleneck long sleeved options, and I would open out the neck pattern piece, curve the edges down, and create a faux mandarin collar similar to Judy’s. The neck might need extra interfacing to keep its shape depending on your fabric choice.

I like the armbands she wears, and you shouldn’t need a pattern for these. Get some stretch fabric, possibly ribbed, and cut a rectangle to fit around your arm. I would curve the end outwards to fit over your hand like Judy’s do. Or, alternatively you could adapt the cuff of your Rowan top and create an even more integrated look. So many possibilities!


Virginia Leggings

For the bottoms I think these Virginia leggings (also from Megan Nielson) would be great- comfy for all those chase scenes whilst also stylish. Bonus points for adding knee patches in grey stretch fabric.

Flora dress

Lastly, the police vest. There are a couple of ways this could be achieved in a real world sense. You could make just the top half of a pinafore pattern, bringing together the side seams with bands at the sides. You could perhaps knit a tank top, complete with police badge incorporated into the design? Or, I realised that the bodice of the Flora dress from By Hand London looks quite similar in shape. I would make it up slightly larger than usual, in order to account for the bodysuit underneath.

And there we have it! All ready to solve animal related crime.

Which characters from film and TV would you love to dress like on an everyday basis? Let me know in the comments and you may see it in a future Reel Life post!

Happy Birthday Blog!

This post has taken me a long old time to write. Do you ever feel like you’ve been experiencing too much internet? I just felt smothered by it. So, I deleted all my social media apps from my phone, stopped refreshing the Guardian homepage every three minutes, and tried to spend more time doing other things. I’ve started learning the Ukulele again, having stopped after a very short burst about four years ago. My apartment is also now many bags of junk lighter, having gone through a donation spree. It’s felt good; necessary. Next, I’m going to clear out my fabric cupboard (yes, I know!), as it’s been making me feel more sad than excited. Sometimes a good cleanse can be useful for the creative soul.

Anyway, onto the purpose of this update, which is that my blog had its anniversary last week! Happy Birthday blog! Losori started a year ago now, and my goodness what a year. I am so glad I started this blog all that long year ago. Thank you to everyone who has supported me by reading, commenting or saying nice things in real life. There was a time that I didn’t feel confident telling people I liked to sew, or god forbid knit. I’m still not shouting it from the rooftops in the real world, but I’m feeling way more happy about my passions, and I do talk about them, both chatting to people and right here on this blog. One thing I didn’t anticipate is pride. I’ve been starting to feel good about making things and sharing them. Every new make is a little story of my process, and I actually get really excited about sharing that with the world.

Just to get vaguely personal, it’s been a rough year. I think it has for a lot of people. And this blog has actually been a bit of a rock for me, even if it might not look that way from the outside. I’ve been able to dip in over the year, adding to my writing, taking better photos, and each time feeling like I have achieved something, even in a small way.

I thought it would be nice to have a look at the hits and misses from my very first blog year, so I hope you enjoy.

Hits-

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First, the highlights. This year was pretty much the first one where I had both the time (sort of…) and the resources to sew, so I definitely saw my skills improve over the course of these 12 months. My favourite make this year, to no one’s surprise, has to be my space dress. Nothing has made me feel so proud and happy to wear. Do you ever put something on and it actually feels like it accurately represents you and who you are? Somehow, this dress does that. I’ve ordered a long invisible zip for this dress so soon it won’t take two people pulling to get this dress off…

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My Megan dress is again, not perfect, but I actually wear this to work and no one gasps ‘Gasooks, this woman is wearing an outfit made on her kitchen table. Cast her to the flames!’ They haven’t said that because I don’t work in a anachronistic medieval witch hunting club, but also because it legit looks like a well made item of clothing.

 

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I have knitted intermittently over the year, leading to my biggest project which was my owls jumper. I love this jumper, it’s so soft and chunky and lovely. The only thing with it is that it’s a little snug ‘round the neckline getting it on and off. Did I cast it off too tight? I’m not sure, but probably.

 

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And lastly, just a couple of other makes I’m especially pleased with. My America dress is just really cute and fun. I used to love this dress in its original form, and it’s great to still be able to wear it in a new way! Lastly, this nedroid costume was very easy but very effective. I liked being a bear and a potato.

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Misses and eh’s-

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I made this scalloped skirt as part of a facebook group’s challenge and whilst I enjoyed the process, I really can’t get along with the finished product. It doesn’t have a strong waistband so it sags over the course of a wear, plus the scallops always need ironing which just irritates me. These, combined with the fact the design causes so much upskirt with even the slightest breeze, makes it my top miss of the year. But, as a plus, it was my first time with buttonholes which was fun.

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This sleeveless Mimi blouse is a funny one, because I kind of like it, but am also not sure at the same time. The fabric choice isn’t really right for the pattern, and if you read back over my post about it, I was kind of cobbled together from a load of mistakes. But then it looks ok in these photos. I’m going to give it until next summer and see how it holds up with the rest of my wardrobe.

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One day I randomly got some pictures taken of me in a vintage inspired outfit, and thought it might be good to put on here. I then went on to do a couple of My Style posts, but to be honest I never felt altogether comfortable with this category. I think it shows in the photos. Compare my body language to in photos of my space dress, for example, and there’s a whole world of difference. I’m not going to get rid of them, as it seems dishonest, but they really aren’t my best work. 

And that’s been the year. Generally a successful one for makes! I’m very much looking forward to the next. Once again, thank you to you all, and I look forward to the next year of creativity!

Reel Life: Wreck it Ralph

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Not my image… obviously

Here’s something a little different today. I love costumes and thinking about how the outfits in the films I watch were made. Clothing and costume design in a more formal sense is actually an academic interest of mine, studying it a bit at uni and still considering studying it further in the future. Without realising it, I have been looking at film costumes, and in the back of my mind trying to work out what patterns I could make it out of. So, I thought it might be fun to show some examples here of some costumes you can recreate for yourself, and the wear your favourite character’s outfit in Reel Life! Tada, that’s why it’s called that! Ok, I know it’s silly, but go with me here.

Ooh, bear in mind I have not necessarily used these patterns before, so they don’t come personally recommended from me in terms of making things from them.

Today I’ve been looking at Wreck it Ralph. What a sweet guy. You too can be this diamond in the rough, and all you need is-

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Misses Overalls Kwik Sew Sewing Pattern 3897

Wreck it Ralph’s overalls are an essential bit of kit- it’s messy work wrecking a skyscraper over and over again all day. Just swap out the blue denim shown here for brown, and you’ve got the base of this outfit. Extra points for wearing it with the left side unbuckled.

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Misses Easy Seperates New Look 6403

I’m  stickler for accuracy and so even though you only see a bit of it, here’s a pattern for the undershirt. It took me a bit of time to find a jersey top pattern with the right high neckline, surprisingly.

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Mccalls m6747 Henley Maxi T-Shirt Dress

Finally, we’ve got Ralph’s shirt. This is a short sleeved Henley shirt, a neckline not as often used for female shirts. I’ve got some pajamas with that button placket, which to be fair is where the design originated from. However, Mccalls m6747 works nicely for it! Also, looks like it’s reduced on this site at the moment, double win. This pattern does have 5 buttons instead of three on Ralph’s, so depending on how much you care about accuracy you might need to make some little alterations to the top. You can shorten the placket which, give that it’s just straight lines on the centre front and placket pieces, shouldn’t be too complicated. Or, you could go for more oversized buttons and spread the three out across the placket for a more cartoony look.

All in all, this would be a pretty simple cosplay to whip up. I think the hardest bit would be finding a jersey in the red and orange check…

 

Have a pattern you think would be perfect for this costume? Got a film you’d like to see recreated in patterns? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Nasty Man Costume

I’ve not been able to do a huge amount of full on sewing in the last couple of weeks, but I have been managing a bit of hand embroidery. It’s been a good thing to do when watching a film, on the train or at the pub- don’t judge me. We went to a Halloween party this weekend, themed around something very scary. I won’t say who it is, but it’ll become pretty obvious shortly.

Most of the outfit was made from stuff I already had, plus a suit jacket way too big for me (it helped my hands look tiny) I got from a charity shop. I wanted to make at least a little something for it, and so I bought these plain red hats from Ebay to make some campaign hats.

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To add my own slogan, I simply typed the word out, tracing it off with baking paper. Then, I pinned the template onto the hat, lining up the middle and making sure it’s not wonky. I used satin stitch mainly, making decisions pretty much just as I went along.

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Anyway, that’s it! It was a bit fiddly, especially because of the separate bit on the front keeping it sturdy. What is that bit called? I had to keep holding that out of the way. But, I really like how they’ve turned out! I think I might wear them just around in normal life… If anyone asks why my hat says HATRED, I’ll just tell them it says HAT RED, it’s purely descriptive.

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I thought about getting a photo of the whole costume, but I thought it would be too scary/ I was too busy playing charades to get any good full length shots on the night.

I hope you’ve all had a good Halloween time! I’m off to look at costumes on Instagram because gosh darn it I love costumes.

Super Hero Costume

IMG_0799My sister contacted me about a super hero themed event coming up, and of course I jumped at the chance to make her own super hero costume. Since it was coming up to Guy Fawkes night at the time, plus I thought it would be cool to do, I decided to design a firework themed get up. She’d be an explosive presence, doing cartwheels around the baddies with her sparkling personality. Sorry, that was awful.

IMG_0794I started with this charity shop dress, originally from H & M. It was about £5.49 or something. I really liked the shape of the skirt and I thought it had interesting lines, plus it was plain enough that refashioning it would be pretty straight forward.

IMG_0795What I didn’t like about the dress was the bow. Too fussy. But that was easily rectified. Out come the seam rippers!

IMG_0796Much more of the blank canvas I was looking for. So, I wanted to create a kind of v shape with white ribbon, going from the shoulders to the waistline. I felt like that would be a pretty efficient way to make it look like a super hero costume, over just a dress with fireworks on it. I pinned it down and basically adjusted it whilst trying it on (sorry sis) until it lay pretty well. When sewing it on I was aware that it was a jersey fabric with a woven one so I stretched the fabric just a little as I sewed with a zigzag, so it would lay reasonably flat when stretched as worn.

IMG_0797It’s not perfect and it still buckled a little, but I think that partly came with the territory of the fabrics. Next came the painting. I got three tubes of glitter fabric paint, they came in squeezey containers. Just in case the paint spread through to the other side of the fabric, I folded a plastic bag underneath. It wouldn’t be a great costume if it was just stuck together…

IMG_0798I started in the middle and made a kind of motif.

IMG_0801For the bigger fireworks I tried out shapes with tailors chalk first. When the painting was done I left it to dry overnight. The colours became a lot stronger after that.

I thought a nice touch would be for my sister to have matching gloves. Maybe they have powers in them. Power Gloves! Maybe not. So, these are just some from online, painted by me in a similar style.

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Although my current blog posts suggest it, I actually don’t make things for other people that often, so the fact by sis liked the costume is a massively great thing for me. This was a really simple way of making a costume and you could make a series of different ones using the same techniques. I haven’t conquered stretch fabrics yet though, my true nemesis…

Nedroid inspired Halloween costumes

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This Halloween Michael and I dressed up as Reginald and Beartato from Nedroid. If you haven’t seen this website before I highly recommend it. It’s full of very funny web comics and I can sometimes get lost on there for ages, in a good way. Anyway, so we decided on Michael being Reginald and me being Beartato (He’s a bear crossed with a potato- you might be learning things about my sense of humour here) ages before, and I said I’d make the costumes. It felt like an interesting challenge for me, plus I recognise that it’s pretty niche- I mean, I’m not going to find a bear potato costume in a charity or fancy dress shop any time soon.

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So, time passed and I got busy, and before we knew it the day before Halloween was here and I hadn’t made the costumes. Oh dear. Luckily, I had the foresight to get the materials needed in advance, so I was able to rustle these up in an evening. Because of making these pretty quickly, I didn’t take any progress pictures, but since they’re pretty simply designs it should hopefully be reasonably understandable. We’ll see.

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Let’s start with Reginald. I used a blue hoody Michael already owned which is in a pretty similar shade of blue to the comic, which meant I already had the bulk of the body created. The downside was that I couldn’t cut it up or use anything except hand stitching. If I could have done, I would have made wings in a similar way to how Annika made these bat wings in her recent Make Thrift Buy video. However, this did make it a great project to do whilst watching TV so, you know, swings and roundabouts.
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To make the wings I taped a load of paper together, spread one of the arms up on top of them, and drew from the cuff to the armpit, and then down to where I wanted the wings to end. I then created a wing like curve from one to the other. I cut this shape out of lining fabric 4 times, then sewed those right sides together, then turning them out to create a wing. Lastly, I folded the raw ends in, pinned them to the hoody, and whip stitched to Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends.

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I made an error here, in that I had the sleeves perpendicular to the body. This meant that the picture above shows almost the limit to how much he could lift his arms. Oops. Well, it’s only for a costume for one night so it doesn’t matter too much, but I definitely would BEAR (‘Boo, that doesn’t even apply to this costume’) that in mind next time. The eyes are just black felt circles. I sewed them over the hoody end for perspective reasons, and sewed them down on the inside so they bent in a little bit, rather than flapping outwards which would look potentially creepy. That wasn’t really the look I was going for. M made an origami beak and we’re done here!

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So, onto Beartato. I made a plan for this one.

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Apart from the hoop skirt style shape (which I just dumped because of time, it would have taken so much longer), I stuck pretty close to this plan. The body is just two squares, having sewn the various felt eyes, mouth and nose on one of them. I saved the painting of the teeth until I had finished. I left gaps on the side seams for my arms, and gathered the neckline to create a more Beartato like shape. I originally planned to gather the bottom as well, but when I tried it on at this point I actually really liked the shape, and was worried that gathering the bottom would distort the face (which I’m really pleased with- the placement is pretty close to the original I like to think) too much. I also omitted the wool arms, as I just thought it would over complicate the design. So, I just hemmed the bottom, painted the teeth with black fabric paint, and I was done.

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I’m pretty pleased with these costumes. Sure, a lot of people didn’t know what we were, but it was a lot of fun to dress up as something you really enjoy, so it didn’t matter. Lesson learnt- buy your materials in advance, kids.

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