2016 Year in Review

Looking back at my costumes this past year, they lean way more towards cosplay than historical. There’s a pretty easy explanation for this: I started a 10-13 hour per day work schedule in August (including working weekends), so I could only do projects that use more pre-made components. Thankfully, that schedule ends this next week. Which means I can hopefully shift back to more sewing-intensive projects. That’s the hope at least!

2016 goals
-Finish yellow regency ballgown (I did a lot on New Year’s Day, just needs some interior seam finishing)–Yup!
-Finish ruby Queen Anne-style necklace–Yup!
-Finish Kiss the Girl Ariel costume (the wig and hair bow need work)–Yup!
-Make a new dress for the Francaise Dinner (I have some purple silk laid aside)–Nope, though I am about 75% done with this.
-Hipster Dude Kamala Kahn Ms. Marvel costume for Mike–Yup!
-Finish Ed Benes-era Black Canary costume–Yup!
-Grey silk 1790s waistcoat for Mike–Nope.
-New regency day dress–Nope.
-Jim Balent-era Catwoman costume–Nope.
-Arrow TV show leather jacket–Nope, on hold because Mike ended up purchasing a jacket he liked.

-Yellow regency ballgown
Riversdale Ball

-Ruby Queen Anne-style necklace
Williamsburg

-Rainbow Dash v1.0
MAGFest

-1760s John Hesselius necklace
Necklace

-Rainbow Dash v2.0
PAX East

-Kiss the Girl Ariel
PAX East

-Hipster Dude Kamala Kahn Ms. Marvel
Baltimore Comic-Con

-Ed Benes-era Black Canary
Baltimore Comic-Con

-DC Comics Bombshells Batwoman
Bombshells Batwoman

-Officer Judy Hopps
Judy Hopps

2017 goals
-Finish 1780s purple silk dress
-Jim Balent-era Catwoman costume
-Grey silk 1790s waistcoat for Mike
-New regency day dress
-Jason Todd Red Hood costume
-Something either 18th C or late Victorian for me, but I’m not sure what

Victorian Christmas Tea 2016

Earlier this month Carolyn held a lovely tea at the beautiful row house she and her husband rent in downtown Washington, DC. The theme of the event was Victorian Christmas. People wore a variety of costumes–1840s, 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s. They all looked perfect amongst the décor of the house. Carolyn outdid herself with the food. The number of delicious dishes and baked goods was amazing. Thank you Carolyn for a wonderful afternoon!

I love all the decorations in Carolyn’s house.
Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

All the wonderful tea food laid out on the table.
Victorian Tea

Yummy cookies!
Victorian Tea

Such pretty teacups
Victorian Tea

Some of the attendees, gathered around to hear about the foods being offered
Victorian Tea

Carolyn made a wonderfully detailed natural form gown in honor of the event.
Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Glynnis in her cheerful polonaise gown
Victorian Tea

Susan looks so pretty in plaid!
Victorian Tea

Sarah’s gown is such a nice combination of colors.
Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Maggie is so appropriately accessorized in her 1840s ensemble.
Victorian Tea

I re-wore my red silk early 1880s natural form gown that I made back in 2010. Still fits!
Victorian Tea

Carolyn’s Christmas tree is so big! I’m nearly 5’8″.
Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Taylor did a wonderful job on her romantic era outfit. Her hair is perfect.
Victorian Tea

Pleats and plaid.
Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

Victorian Tea

All of my photos are here.

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots (Others’ Photos)

The cool thing about going to a DC Cosplay Photo Shoots meetup is the opportunity to work with other photographers. I am so used to shooting and/or editing my own photos, that it was refreshing to just go with the flow and let someone else direct the action for a change. I am very impressed with the photos that resulted. These are some talented folks!

The meetup was at the National Portrait Gallery in downtown Washington, DC. It provided a lot of cool backdrops for pictures.

Here are two photos by Carlos Mazariegos. He did a really wonderful job with atmospheric filters.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Carlos also did some amazing composite SFX edits! This is such a dramatic photo.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

This isn’t actually a photo of me, but rather of Maggie Cosplays, taken by Tony Brown. However, you can see me posing in the background. I think the inadvertent photobomb is pretty funny. Obviously my pose is the one that led to Carlos’s previous photo.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Dan Arango did a beautiful job playing up the contrast in these pictures.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Dan Rachal got really deep blacks in this shot. I love the shadowy look.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

I like the pretty sepia tones in these two photos by Munchkin Photos.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Justin of Rich and Strange Photography did a lot of interesting work with light.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Justin noticed that the lights on a staircase looked like Victorian streetlamps, and suggested posing with them. The results are very cool.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

I also worked with Justin by posing on a wrought iron staircase. The walls were very plain white in the stairwell, but he worked the angles to ensure an interesting composition.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Very nice black and white work by Mike Cary
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Jason of Jay’s Fine Art Photography did some lighting magic in a very dim stairwell.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

Last but certainly not least, here are two classic portrait-style shots by Paul Sharratt.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots (Our Photos)

Here are some of the photos that Mike took at the November DC Cosplay Photo Shoots meetup at the National Portrait Gallery. He and I collaborated on the editing, and I am quite happy with how they turned out.

I’ll start with the photos we did of me. I wore my Victorian Catwoman costume. We made particularly good use of the Luce Foundation Center for American Art, which is a beautiful space to work in.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

Here is JMS Cosplay as Jacob Frye of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. I love the pops of color in his costume.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

Marco as a most excellent Loki. Mike took these in the atrium area of the museum, which afforded great light.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

Ruth of Sew What: Costumes and Cosplays as a perfect Belle. I love how it looks as if she is wandering through the Beast’s grand castle in some of these.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

Mike broke out some color editing for these two, to highlight the vibrant color’s of Ruth’s dress and of her rose.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

At one point a young girl wandered into the photoshoot and plopped down on the floor to talk to Belle.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

Given timing that day, Mike was only able to take a couple photos of Life of Cosplay in her very cool Carmen Sandiego costume. Below is the best photo we got, with two color edit versions. I really like both.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

Purple Nerd Creations makes a badass Tonks.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

And the final photo, a candid with Nerenight-Maritime Cosplay as Eliza Hamilton. I love the trim she did on her gown.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photo Shoots (Group Photos)

There is a really cool Meetup/Facebook group called DC Cosplay Photo Shoots, which meets periodically (usually at least once a month, sometimes more) at DC-area locations to bring together cosplayers and photographers. I have been following the group for quite a while, but with work being busy I had not been able to attend an event. Mike and I finally made it to the November meetup, which took place at the National Portrait Gallery. I went as a cosplayer, and Mike went as a photographer. It was great to meet a lot of locals who were interested in costuming, photography, and pop culture. The museum was a wonderful backdrop for photos, with a lot of varied options to suit different people’s costumes.

Later Mike and I collaborated on editing the photos he took, which was a lot of fun. We each used some techniques we don’t normally do. And I have gotten back a bunch of beautiful pictures from the other photographers I worked with. I’ll start by posting photos from during the group gathering portion of the meetup, and follow up later with the photos Mike and I worked on and with the photos that others took.

You can see there were a lot of cosplayers!
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

After the group photo, we did our version of the Mannequin Challenge, which Mike took some photos of. The guy in the Yankees cap you can see walking through is the videographer, Ernie of The Fan’s P.O.V.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

DC Cosplay Photoshoots

I posed with Life of Cosplay, who makes an excellent Carmen Sandiego. She had a large faux jewel, and we pretended that we were after the same score.
DC Cosplay Photoshoots

And here is the resulting video!

This photo, courtesy of Rudy Conrad, shows all the photographers taking the group picture. You can see Mike among the crowd.
General Shoot

Etsy Sale!

I have recently updated my shop with a number of new items. Use code DECEMBER20 for 20% off $40 or more, DECEMBER5 for 5% off $20 or more through December 31st. Christmas delivery cutoff is December 14th. Click here to browse the available items.

Pearl Necklace, $30
In the Long Run Designs

Pearl Earrings, $10 (These would match the necklace above quite nicely.)
In the Long Run Designs

Pearl Necklace and Earrings, $30
In the Long Run Designs

Pearl Necklace and Earrings, $22
In the Long Run Designs

Necklace, Bracelet, and Earrings, $32
In The Long Run Designs

Pearl Drop Earrings, $14
In The Long Run Designs

Coral Ribbon Tie Necklace, $25
In the Long Run Designs

Pearl Festoon Necklace, $38
Festoon Necklace By In the Long Run Designs

Pearl Bracelet, $20
In the Long Run Designs

Portrait Earrings, $15
In the Long Run Designs

Portrait Brooch, $9
Marie Antoinette Pin

Pearl Festoon Necklace, $40
In the Long Run Designs

Aqua Paste Earrings, $14
In the Long Run Designs

Portrait Earrings, $14
In the Long Run Designs

Plus many more! Order early to avoid the holiday rush!

Ten Years

I realized yesterday that my first blog post (which was later ported over to WordPress from a different blogging platform that is now defunct) was on Wednesday November 8th, 2006. This means I’m ten years in to the costuming hobby. Wow, where did the time go? Back then I was a PhD candidate living in a basement. My sewing machine was on my dining room table, and I had two plastic tubs of fabric. Now I have a full time job, own my own home, and have a dedicated sewing room filled to the brim with fabric, trims, and who knows what else.

Can I just say how wonderful it has been to be part of a hobby that is so personally and intellectually rewarding? I’ve met so many wonderful people through costuming, got to experience some really unique things, and it constantly fills me with joy to be able to learn about history and make something new at the same time.

I will leave you with a bad photo of my first, badly sewn, dress. The one that started it all.

First Dress 2006

Pumpkin Tea 2016

Yesterday was Stephanie’s 10th Annual Pumpkin Tea. That’s right, 10th! I have been going to the Pumpkin Tea since 2010, so I have been to 7 of 10 of these wonderful events. Stephanie has always done a great job as hostess, and I love having the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones every year.

I will start with the group photo, to introduce everyone. In the back row, left to right: Amanda, Carrie, Alice, Linda, Isabella, Ashley, and Stephanie. In the front row, left to right: Ali, Kristin, Jess, Carolyn, Kat, Jessica, Maggie, Judy, Vanessa, and me.
Pumpkin Tea

Sometimes we get fierce.
Pumpkin Tea

I love, love Judy’s spencer, and how she styled her ensemble with her hair and bicorn hat. She is wearing a cameo festoon necklace and a pair of Czech glass girandole earrings from my Etsy shop.
Pumpkin Tea

Maggie in her beautiful cross-barred gown
Pumpkin Tea

I really like the van dyke trim on her dress, plus her pretty American Duchess boots. (I have a pair of my own, because who wouldn’t want them?!)
Pumpkin Tea

Amanda did a perfect recreation of a 1790s hat.
Pumpkin Tea

Maggie couldn’t keep it together when we tried to take photos while reading scandalous novels.
Pumpkin Tea

There was a lot of laughter everywhere.
Pumpkin Tea

The well-appointed table
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Vanessa and her mother
Pumpkin Tea

I love the contrasts of red and blue.
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Preparing for a shoe shot around the fire pit
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Group Regency Wedgie Shot
Pumpkin Tea

Lots of pretty spencers
Pumpkin Tea

I need to make a vest like Carolyn’s. She patterned it from an original that is currently part of the “An Agreeable Tyrant” fashion exhibit at the DAR Museum. She posted details on her ensemble here.
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

You may be wondering what is going on in this photo.
Pumpkin Tea

This may explain it.
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

I wore an outfit consisting of a number of pieces I had not worn in several years. I made this dress nearly 10 years ago, which seemed appropriate for the 10th Pumpkin Tea.
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

The fall colors of Stephanie’s outfit were very festive.
Pumpkin Tea

Who doesn’t like the graceful sweep of a train? (Unless one is dancing!)
Pumpkin Tea

The red accessories Alice chose to go with her block print are very striking.
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Me and Maggie enjoying the warm fall day (photo courtesy of Maggie)
Pumpkin Tea

Scandalous!
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Planting the Fabulosity Club Flag
Pumpkin Tea

Pumpkin Tea

Fabric swap time
Pumpkin Tea

The free-for-all round
Pumpkin Tea

Lighting candles for the evening
Pumpkin Tea

Another wonderful year! The food was very yummy and the company was fabulous. All of my photos are here.

Mini Costume Gala 2016

Hello costuming internet! How I have missed you. I’m still busy at work, but it is now down from its peak. Which means it’s time to catch up on costume event photos while I can.

First up is the “Mini Costume Gala” hosted by Carolyn, who is a recent transplant to Washington, DC by way of Ontario, Canada. Carolyn had the great idea to host a party to give local folks the chance to show off any costume of their choosing, similar to the Costume College Gala. The gathering was at the lovely 1910s townhouse that Carolyn is staying in while living in DC.

I decided to wear my Victorian Catwoman costume, since I have not brought it out in a few years. It felt appropriate for a party that was taking place just a couple weeks before Halloween.

Mini Gala

Mike wore late Victorian.
Mini Gala

Our hostess, center, with Maggie and Kat
Mini Gala

Jess in 1920s and Kat in 1830s. Kat is wearing a two-strand pearl necklace she commissioned from my Etsy shop, which I based off of pieces in 1800-1830s portraits.
Mini Gala

Mini Gala

Glynnis wore an amazing robe de style
Mini Gala

Tarisa explains the rules to a period parlor game.
Mini Gala

Carolyn, Taylor, and Jenny-Rose
Mini Gala

Maggie did an amazing job on her jacket, which she sewed from only 1 meter of fabric.
Mini Gala

Mini Gala

Mini Gala

Admiring the work on Carolyn’s gown
Mini Gala

I adore how Kat did her hair.
Mini Gala

Glynnis and Sahrye
Mini Gala

Mini Gala

This is what happens when you try to relax in a barrel chair while wearing stays!
Mini Gala

Mini Gala

I love Jenny-Rose’s lace wrap.
Mini Gala

Glynnis won the tiara (aka a picture of a crown drawn on a card)!
Mini Gala

We video-chatted with some folks who could not make it in person.
Mini Gala

Some architectural details of the beautiful 1910s house
Mini Gala

Mini Gala

Mini Gala

Thank you for a wonderful party, Carolyn! All of my photos are here

Jane Austen Ball 2016

Mike and I went to this year’s Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Jane Austen Ball in early August. As usual, it was a fun night of dancing. The only issue was it was a really hot day, temperature wise. The museum has air conditioning, but it was not quite up to temps that high (upper 90s), what with the humidity and the crowd. But nevertheless, everyone had a great time. We just had to take way more water breaks.

We were working with a new lens setup on the Nikon D5300 (a 35mm f1.8), and we are fine tuning it for low light events like this. So I have fewer photos than normal, although we still got some decent ones.

Glynnis, Maggie, me, and Jess
Jane Austen Ball

Doug with the twilight light outside the window
Jane Austen Ball

Maggie in her lovely sari gown
Jane Austen Ball

Jane Austen Ball

I decided to go with a bunch of bling. Necklace by me, earrings from Dames a la Mode, and of course, a tiara.
Jane Austen Ball

Maggie and me
Jane Austen Ball

Jess in her new gown with a neat sleeve treatment
Jane Austen Ball

I love the flashes of gold in this photo. Maggie has a fan she commissioned from my Etsy shop, and I really like the black and gold combination.
Jane Austen Ball

Jane Austen Ball

Jane Austen Ball

Jane Austen Ball

Jane Austen Ball

Jane Austen Ball

Jane Austen Ball

A little bit of twitter and Pokémon Go…
Jane Austen Ball

I’m sure Maggie is telling an amazing story in this one.
Jane Austen Ball

Jane Austen Ball

Ruth mid-dance
Jane Austen Ball

All of my photos are here.