Last night Mike and I went to the 2nd Annual Lit Up Ball, hosted by the Friends of the Arlington Public Library. Big thanks to Maggie and Jess for encouraging us to try out this event. It is a themed costume benefit ball on behalf of several early literacy initiatives. This year the theme was James Bond: From Russia with Love, and attendees were asked to wear 1950s attire.

Mike and I wore stuff from the closet for this outing. I chose a vintage-style dress by Lindy Bop, which I accessorized with a small pillbox hat that I trimmed and some simple pearl jewelry. Mike wore one of his suits, topped off with a black fedora.

There was wonderful live music and dancing, along with an array of yummy desserts. Plus before the ball we all had dinner together at Heavy Seas Alehouse, which was quite tasty. Throughout the night we worked on a fun “spy game” that the organizers had set up, where we solved word scrambles given to us by various volunteers in order to catch a thief who had “stolen” a letter from the Arlington Library.

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

Lit Up Ball

All of our photos are here.

I’ll admit that I enjoyed the first season (half season?) of Outlander. There were certainly a number of cheesy elements to the show, but it was beautifully shot and well acted. The costuming was up and down: some things looked great, and others were more head-scratchers. Definitely more “historically inspired” than truly accurate. But I’m okay with that. The costumes captured the mood well and fit with the characters, which is the most important thing.

Anyway, after watching several episodes, I decided I wanted an outfit based on the show. Not an exact film-accurate recreation, though, because I rarely stick 100% to my inspiration material. My initial inspiration was that I wanted a knit cowl like Claire wears, since I thought that would look nice with just street clothes. (BTW, I’m pretty sure there would not have been chunky knits like that in the 1740s, based on what I’ve seen about American and English pieces in the 18th C. I don’t know about Scottish regional dress, but I still highly doubt it.) So I dove into my yarn stash and found an appropriate heathered brown New Zealand heavy worsted wool. Knit up with two strands on US 50 (that’s right, Five-Zero!!) needles, it worked nicely.

Here was my initial gauge swatching. I started with US 15 needles, then US 19, then US 50. 50 was the only size that gave the open weave I needed.
Outlander Project

The finished product is just a small tube.
Outlander Project

But it looks nice when worn.
Outlander Project

Once I had knit a cowl, I decided I wanted a whole outfit. This involves a jacket and petticoat, like this reference photo. I thought this would be great for a winter costume event, like a Christmas party (and I’m proposing that idea for the Christmas Tea this year–who’s interested?!).
Outlander Jacket

Looking at photos from the show, it appears that the jackets are a blend between 1740s patterns (for the front) and 1780s patterns (for the back). And many jackets appear to have an extra seam in the front, which I don’t think is that common. It’s almost a princess seam. I decided to be more true to the 1740s, so I looked at the 1735-1740 jacket diagram that appears in Patterns of Fashion by Janet Arnold. In PoF, the peplum is cut entirely separate from the body of the jacket (whereas on the show, the front peplum/skirt of the jacket is cut separately, but it looks like the back is in one piece with the bodice). Also in PoF, the back of the bodice is 2 pieces, while on the show it is more like 4 or even 6 pieces.

Here is the pattern I came up with. In the 1740s it probably would have had winged cuffs, but in a nod to the show I’ve decided to forgo those for now. (I have enough fabric to add them later, though.) Other than that change, I’ve tried to stay close to PoF. (Though I lengthened the sleeves a little.) I only sewed one side of the peplum on for this mockup.
Outlander Project

Outlander Project

Here are my fabrics. Brown wool for the jacket, and a subtle plaid for the petticoat.
Outlander Project

Here is my cutting layout. The two pieces to the bottom right are the skirts of the jacket.
Outlander Project

Now I’ve got the fashion fabric and lining pieces cut out, and have started sewing.

I have been having a lot of ADD with respect to projects this past couple weeks. I keep flitting from one thing to another. But despite that I have finished some stuff.

First, I made a new overskirt for a 1910s evening dress that I wore back at the first Dress U. Maggie suggested that I give this dress a makeover, since I was only lukewarm about it (thanks for the encouragement Maggie!). Last time around I used some sheer organza, which was the only thing I had on hand, although it was not really the ideal choice. This time I used a vintage net dupatta that had a lot of metallic embroidery on it (purchased from Vintage Haat on Etsy). I’ve always felt like this dress has fought me, mostly because the brocaded silk fabric I used was slippery and shred very easily. But I like it better with the new overskirt.
1910s Dress

Here is the back. The dupatta wasn’t wide enough to really make a full overskirt without leaving a gap in the back. I left a gap and filled the top of it with tails made of the same embroidered ribbon I used for the waistband of the overskirt.
1910s Dress

This is what it used to look like.
1910s Evening Gown

I also made a little pillbox hat/fascinator to wear to the Arlington Library Lit Up Ball in a couple weeks. This event is a 1950s/James Bond-themed dance.
Pillbox Hat

Pillbox Hat

In jewelry-making news, I figured out how to make a Queen Ann pendant (which was a common style in the 18th C). It was a struggle working out how to attach the various settings to each other, but it worked in the end!
Queen Ann Pendant

And in other randomness, I finished a purse out of Star Wars fabric that I bought a few weeks ago while on a shopping trip with Isabella. I realized that I had cut out the pattern for this purse years ago (maybe 2009?), but never actually sewed one up. I had to fix that situation, once I saw this great Star Wars print.
Star Wars Purse

Maggie kindly sent me some pictures from the professional photographer, Kristin Rudy, that were taken at the Francaise Dinner earlier this year. They really capture the fun and laugher of that night!

Francaise Dinner

Francaise Dinner

Francaise Dinner

Francaise Dinner

Francaise Dinner

After making a bunch of jewelry for others, I decided I needed something new for myself. The result is this festoon necklace of black glass cabochons, which was inspired by a c1820 purple Vauxhall glass necklace on pg 42 of Georgian Jewelry 1714-1830 by Ginny Redington Dawes and Olivia Collings. Plus I also made matching earrings.

My plan is to wear these to the Pumpkin Tea in November.

Glass Festoon Necklace

Glass Festoon Necklace

Glass Festoon Necklace

Hey, look what I’m getting back to: this spencer, which I originally started mocking up in, wait for it … fall of 2009! Here is my first blog post on that mock up, which I left with no sleeves and no collar. The inspiration garment is a wool spencer in the book Moden 1790-1840 (photos are here).

I found the mock up in my scrap bin last December, and for some reason it spoke to me enough such that I decided to finish patterning the collar and sleeves. You can tell which parts of the mockup are from 2013 versus 2009 because this time around I only had off-white muslin.
Green Spencer

Here is the front of the mock up.
Green Spencer

Here I was patterning the upper collar. It is in two pieces cut on the bias, with a seam down the center back. (There is not a seam in the lower right corner; that is just my piecing of extra muslin because I ran out of room to draw the pattern.)
Green Spencer

Then I put the project down, again, because I got pulled into making other things. But now fall and winter are coming again, so it is time to get back to this. Especially since I’ve already done the hard part of making a pattern. This weekend I cut the pieces out. I’m using the same wool that I used for a short cloak earlier this year.
Green Spencer

Starting to sew now!
Green Spencer

Here is a write-up of how I made my Stephanie Brown Robin belt. You may have figured out some of this from my past posts, but here is all the detail.

Baltimore Comic-Con

I made the buckle and the dots on the belt using Sculpey clay. Sculpey III for the dots, and Sculpey Premo for the buckle. Premo is better for thinner shapes that might otherwise crack, since III is a little brittle.

I started out by dividing a block of Sculpey III into small sections (each block is formed by three logs, and I sectioned those logs into roughly three sections each).
Robin Belt Construction

Then I rolled each section into a ball, and pressed each into a 1 1/4 inch cabochon mold (specifically the Sculpey Cabochon Mold APM81).
Robin Belt Construction

I used an acrylic roller to smooth out the underside of the cabochon.
Robin Belt Construction

And carefully removed the cabochon from the mold.
Robin Belt Construction

I ended up making a lot of these dots (turned out I only needed 12 for my 27 inch belt, so I had extra).
Robin Belt Construction

I baked the dots on a toaster oven tray in my conventional oven. I find it’s good to cover the tray with foil to avoid the cooking clay smell and fumes. I cooked them for a little longer than recommended, just to make sure the clay was hardened.
Robin Belt Construction

Moving on to the buckle, I made this, as previously mentioned, using Sculpey Premo.
Robin Cosplay

For the middle part, I followed the same method I used for the dots, but I used a larger mold (1 7/8 inches). This was the PJ003 mold from Best Flexible Molds.
Robin Cosplay

For the base disk, I used a 2 1/2 inch flat circle mold from Mold Muse.
Robin Cosplay

Here is the finished disk. I baked the Premo pieces in a similar manner to how I baked the Sculpey III dots. I did let them bake longer, though, because Premo takes more time to cook.
Robin Cosplay

After the pieces were baked and cooled, I sanded them down. I used three grits of wet/dry sandpaper (400, 600, and 800) in progressive order to get a smoother finish. I wore a particle respirator mask and did the sanding in a bucket of water to avoid breathing in any polymer clay dust.
Robin IV

After that I applied a few layers of acrylic gesso to the sanded pieces, and then painted them with acrylic paint. I chose the yellow paint to match the fabric I was going to use for the belt itself.
Robin IV

Then I sewed a 1 1/2 x 26 1/2 inch tube of cotton sateen (plus seam allowances), encasing another layer of polar fleece (to give the belt some body). I made piping (using cotton 4.8mm cording that is often used for upholstery) and sewed it into the long edges of the tube (which I sewed wrong sides together first, and then turned). Turning the tube is hard to do with the piping, but a chopstick can help. After turning, I hand sewed the tube closed.
Robin Cosplay

I glued the two parts of the buckle (the domed piece and the disk) together using hot glue. I used Gem-Tac glue to attach the dots and the buckle to the fabric belt.
Robin Cosplay

I put a closure on the belt (a large snap) by sewing one part to the fabric end and gluing the other part to the belt. I used E6000 glue (always use proper ventilation–I open a window and wear a respirator when using E6000).
Robin Cosplay

Finished!
Robin Cosplay

To show scale:
Robin Cosplay

This was my first wearing of Stephanie Brown Robin. Overall, thumbs up. The dress and leggings were pretty comfortable, while the wig with the mask didn’t bother me too much. Mike wore another variation on Hawkeye, this time with a new broadhead arrow that he crafted from Worbla and a wooden dowel. Mike has been trying to make a convention-safe broadhead for quite a while, so it was great that he finally made one!

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Mike wanted this photo to show off my gloves:
Baltimore Comic-Con

I told him it made me feel like I was in The Sound of Music:
Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Mike and I went to this year’s installment of Baltimore Comic-Con today. Wow, this con just keeps on growing! This year they took over more of the convention center, including moving the exhibit hall to a larger space. It took us a couple hours to walk through the hall, and we didn’t even get to see a couple rows. The costume contest was super popular (which unfortunately meant they moved the waiting area to a place less conducive to photos and very backlit, so I have less than last year). That being said, the crowds were manageable. We arrived a couple hours after opening, and did not have to wait in line to grab our wristbands from Will Call. Parking in the area was a bit high for Baltimore ($15), but since we ordered ahead we were able to get a spot in a very close-by garage even with a Ravens game going on (although the garage was turning away people who had not reserved online).

As for swag and shopping, we got a comic signed by Alex Maleev and another by Adam Hughes, two of our favorite artists. Mike bought a 2013 convention shirt that had Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo on it. I saw that they were selling shirts from last year, which we had also attended, but did not buy any show merch at. Mike really likes Usagi, and the only size they had left was also Mike’s size. That sounds like fate, right? So he bought it. Meanwhile, I bought a few prints in Artists’ Alley by Bill Walko.

Here are our photos of other cosplayers.

Marvel group in the costume contest
Baltimore Comic-Con

I love this Silk Spectre and Nite Owl
Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

A really cute Arrow couple!
Baltimore Comic-Con

Blue uniform Nightwing! (I don’t acknowledge the red costume with the current continuity)
Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Crazy elaborate Jurassic Park group
Baltimore Comic-Con

A unique Superman and Wonder Woman pair
Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

I liked this Poison Ivy’s parasol
Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

Very impressive armored Nightwing
Baltimore Comic-Con

New products are up in the store! https://www.etsy.com/shop/inthelongrun

Jewelry by In the Long Run Designs

Jewelry by In the Long Run Designs

Jewelry by In the Long Run Designs

Jewelry by In the Long Run Designs

Jewelry by In the Long Run Designs

Jewelry by In the Long Run Designs

Jewelry by In the Long Run Designs

Jewelry by In the Long Run Designs

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