On Saturday of Awesome Con, Maggie and I decided to both wear Outlander costumes. We had planned to do that last year, but it fell through. When I posted our plans on Facebook, I found out that Rebecca was also going to wear an Outlander cosplay that day, so I arranged a meetup for us three to do photos with Mike.
This year I decided that I had time to make only one new costume for Awesome Con, which meant I would be re-wearing two older ones for the other days. I waffled on what my lineup should be, but in the end decided to embrace my historical costumer side and wear my Rockford Peach uniform on Friday and my Claire Fraser Outlander ensemble on Sunday. Saturday was reserved for the debut of my new costume, Belle from Beauty and the Beast, mid-1700s style.
I’m glad I opted to wear my Rockford Peach uniform on Friday, because I was unsure how much of a zoo it was going to be, given that the con was instituting new bag inspection policies. Our entry to the convention center was pretty smooth, but it was nice not to have to worry about weapons check, since I had no props. I had originally considered wearing my DC Comics Bombshells Batwoman costume, but that has a bat, and I did not want to run afoul of any prop weapons policies.
For photo taking, Mike and I found an area with large plate glass windows on the top floor of the convention center, which afforded great light. However, it was a little warm, as the AC wasn’t as strong up there and several of the windows were in direct sun. We returned there for photos on Saturday and Sunday, and by that time they seemed to have turned up the AC.
For the second year in a row, Maggie joined me as a Rockford Peach. I love the reactions we get when people see us on the con floor. And we continued our record of having someone sing us the Peaches fight song!
On Saturday I debuted my new Provincial Belle costume, based on an illustration by Wickfield (Nina S.). I’m very happy with how it turned out! In addition to referencing Nina’s art, I also took inspiration from a number of images of 1740s-1760s middle and lower class women.
I did not have an 18th century French book to tote around (nor would I necessarily want to subject a book that old to a convention environment). So instead, I used my vintage copy of Sir Percy Hits Back, one of the Scarlet Pimpernel sequels by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. It was the right color to stand out in photos, and I thought a pulpy, romantic story set in France was appropriate for Belle.
I’m wearing a ribbon-tie coral necklace, which is available in my Etsy shop, In the Long Run Designs.
Lastly, I had to try and recreate the original artwork that inspired this costume. A huge thank you to Nina for creating such a wonderful illustration and for graciously agreeing to let me cosplay it!
On Sunday I re-wore my Claire Fraser costume. The only new part of this outfit is the cowl, which I knit using a pattern in the book Highland Knits. I thought my last cowl was a little too small. But I only wore the new one for pictures, because it was so warm that day. The old cowl came in handy for wearing in the expo hall, to still get the look but without such a large layer of wool around my neck.
With my friend Andrew, who was also cosplaying Outlander, but in the Star Wars universe, not from the Diana Gabaldon books. Here you can see my smaller knit cowl.
And that’s it for my Awesome Con recaps! If I’m not mistaken, I am now totally caught up on costume event blog posts. Which is great, because Costume College is next weekend. I will definitely have a bunch of photos to share when I get back from California!
I have assembled a lot of my Outlander jacket. I had a hiccup where I sewed several pieces together, and then realized that I probably needed to interline the wool, since it’s pretty lightweight. After unpicking all my sewing and flatlining the wool to a cotton bottomweight twill, I then sewed everything back together. Second time is the charm?
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.
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?!).
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.
Now I’ve got the fashion fabric and lining pieces cut out, and have started sewing.