Thursday, December 30, 2010

'Tis better to give...

I love receiving costume-themed gift, you must know that by now; but I also love giving them! This year both my Sweetheart and Nancy-Raven got costumes from some of their favourite TV shows as Yule gifts.

Let’s Begin with Nancy-Raven’s present. Nancy-Raven loves vampire stories. We used to watch Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) while drinking red wine coolers – the ones with 0.5% alcohol, nothing to get drunk on, it's practically a soda – even though our favourite one was lime-kiwi (green).

It will not surprise you then that she loves True Blood (2008 - ), both the Sookie Stackhouse books and the HBO hit TV series. So I (we) got her the Merlotte’s Waitress kit, which includes a T-shirt and pocketed apron with the fictitious bar’s logo. Everybody owns black shorts, or can find a pair at any store, so these are not included in the kit. She was really happy with it. Now I just have to get a picture of her wearing it. Oh, and I have to get myself one too!

On to my Sweetheart’s present(s). We are NCIS (2003) fans; my Sweetheart even has McGee’s shoes! (Okay, the truth is we one day noticed that he did, but he did not buy the shoes on purpose because of their resemblance). For years, he’s been asking for some Caf-Pow every time we watched the show, so as I was shopping for him, I discovered that the CBS store now sold a Caf-Pow cup for geeks like us!

NCIS Caf-Pow Big Gulp Cup

Since I was going to pay for shipping anyways, I figured I should get him more NCIS items.

NCIS Special Agent Jacket

I got him the windbreaker and cap (with perfectly curved tab).

NCIS Special Agents Hat

I also have to get a picture of him wearing this Very Special Agent look, holding his Caf-Pow cup. Bonus: he now has a costume to wear to go trooping with l’Alliance Impériale!

And now you know what Santa Costumeholic has been distributing to all the good little costumers.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New-Orleans Carnival Mask

I was somewhat disappointed this year to no costume related gifts for Christmas, other than the Shoe-a-day calendar from my mom. I don’t want to sound ungrateful; I always appreciate that someone took the time to think of me and choose something they though would make me happy. Still, I’ve been spoiled* in years past with books on my favourite subject, and they were missing from under the tree.

So imagine how happy I was when Nancy-Raven gave me my Yule present tonight (mark your calendars: in 15 years of friendship, it is the first time we have exchanged our gifts during the holiday season – we usually manage to find time by Easter). It is a beautiful carnival mask she brought back from her trip to New-Orleans back in September. And lo! It is Silver and blue. It was meant for me!

New-Orleans Carnival Mask

I can’t stop staring at it. I feel inspired by it. It sort of reminds me of Sam's mask in A Cinderella Story (2004).

Hilary Duff as Sam Montgomery, A Cinderella Story (2004)

So now, I have to design a ball gown to go with it.

Hilary Duff as Sam Montgomery, A Cinderella Story (2004)

Don’t you just love creating a whole outfit to match one accessory? Occasions to wear such a costume can always be found later.

* I really do sound like a spoiled brat, don't I... Dear family, I truly did appreciated like everything I was given. Really! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do for me. I mean it!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Black & White Evening Dress

This year, I made myself no new dress for Christmas. Instead, I wore an old dress which I had not fitted in for years (so I put on a couple dozen pounds…), but now do because I lost 25 pounds! (*Applause*).

This dress I had originally made in May 2002 for a Film Study Gala at the end of my first year of University, but everyone in my family happened to forget their cameras that night, so I have no picture of me wearing it at the time. The evening was to showcase the short films done by us students, and out of the two categories my team’s film was entered in, we won both! I still have one of the Trophies:

"Remstar" Jury's Choice Award, University of Montreal Film Study Gala, May 2002

Although most students attending were wearing jeans and t-shirts, the ticket called for “Evening Wear” and I followed the dress code. I used pattern Butterick 5367, which I had bought in 1999 with a couple others while looking for a pattern for my dream Prom dress.

Butterick 5367

The bodice is made of imitation white silk shantung and the skirt is black satin. I would love to tell you that I choose the colours in homage to Black & White movies, but really, it is simply that I love that colour combination.

Gwenyver wearing her Black & White Evening Dress, Christmas 2010

My dress is sleeveless like the pattern, but the back opening, which you can’t see in this picture, has been raised a little to hide my bra. In this picture, I am wearing a bolero, bought at L’Aubainerie, because this dress was made to be worn in May and I wore it here in December. This picture was taken at my parent’s house, on December 25 (and I should mention that my parents strongly believe that heating a house is for wusses – 16°C in winter is a fine temperature inside the home).

Of course, I was once again over dressed (my uncle was wearing jeans and asked when he saw me why no one had told him it was a black tie evening), but I don’t care. I can currently fit in it, so I am going to wear it!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Austrian Ball of Montreal

Have you ever seen images of Debutantes at Viennese Balls? All the young girls wearing white ball gowns, with their partners’ black tie attire contrasting like night and day… I remember seeing such a seen in a travel documentary about Vienna and it made me dream.

The Vienna State Opera Ball

I know these are supposed to be old tradition and that their purpose is to say loud and clear that the young woman being presented is of noble blood and is eligible for marriage. But I’m a girl, and I love princess stories; even modern ones.

To my surprise, I have discovered that there is a Viennese Debutante ball, right here in Montréal in November of each year by
The Austrian Society of Montréal. And check this out, debutantes have to be younger than 30 (plenty of time for many of us to be one).

Edit: I can no longer confirm that information on their website, but I'm sure I saw it before. So, age unconfirmed.

Montréal Austrian Ball Debutantes, 2009

When you are a debutante, you must wear white. The colour is reserved to you and other debutantes for the evening. While debs in other places might be free to get which ever white ball gown they want, the Montreal Debutantes must all rent the same dress. They are also expected to dance a traditional waltz (dance lessons are included if you are chosen as a debutante).

Of course, I will probably never be a debutante at any ball; I am not Austrian, or single, or of high society. But I could still attend a ball and wear a gorgeous ball gown, in any colour except for white. In Vienna, during the Ball season (between November and June), there are about 300 public balls. Anyone is welcome! All you need is your ticket and evening wear. And perhaps some dance lessons.

Now I have another reason to visit Vienna (the first being to eat Sachertorte – the world’s best Chocolate cake!).

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Young Academy at the Oireachtas

This week-end I went to the Oireachtas for the first time. In Irish Dancing, Oireachtas are championship competition at the regional level. Since the next step up if you place is the World’s Irish Dance Championship, you could say it is a big deal. Now, I’m nowhere near good enough to dance as a soloist at this competition, but I did enter the Mini-Feis, which was more my calibre and just for fun. I was also a member of a Céilí team, in our case an 8 person group dancing one of the traditional choreographies for 8 people.

Since this is a costuming blog and not a dance blog, I know what you really want to see is my dress. I received my school dress last week, just in time for the competition.

Gwenyver in he Young Academy of Irish Dance School Dress

Our school dresses were made by a seamstress in New York. We sent her the school logo and the colours we wanted and she designed the rest. It is really beautiful. We all love how our dresses look.

Young Academy of Irish Dance Céilí team and Coach

I don’t know if I lost that much weight since sending the dress maker my measurements, but, my teacher had to tighten my dress with safety pins and try to make it look good (yet she refuses to let me take it in, I guess due to the cost of the dress and the fact that the school paid for half and therefore owns half of it – trust me dear, I’ll do a good job).

About the competition, we didn’t win anything, but hey, at least we had fun!

Young Academy of Irish Dance Céilí team - Charlie's Angels style

And next year, we’ll be more experienced and will do much better; I am confident of that!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

Last night I broke a 10 year tradition by not hosting a Halloween party at my house on October 31st. Instead, We, my Sweetheart, Baby Daughter and I, went with our Alliance Impériale friends to the Halloween Celebration in Old La Prairie. It was a blast! I had not seen most of my Alliance Impériale friends since our Christmas Party of 2008! We had quite a lot of fun partying in old La Prairie, dancing in the streets and Trick-or-treating at the different booths. We had so much fun, and I think we might do it again next year (maybe I can have my Halloween party on a different night, without clashing with Nancy-Raven's).

Because it was so cold and windy (about 1°C, by the river), I had to wear four layers under my Juban, leggings instead of my blue tights and thick leg warmers instead of my black and white striped socks (which is why I wore plain black half gloves instead of the matching black and white striped ones) and my winter booties instead of my cool new heals. Oh, and I chickened out of the full face white makeup. Too cold, too tired, too lazy.

Gwenyver as a Cyber Goth Geisha

The star of the evening was my Daughter the Mouseling, who was running and dancing around in her big furry costume. The super long tail was a very useful leash: she could walk around almost freely and I just had to hold on to the tail and walk behind her. (A lot of people thought I had made it long for that purpose, but in fact, I started holding on to it so it wouldn’t get dirty and I discovered its other use). And to think I had thought of shortening it! She was really adorable. Many people stopped to stare and say how cute she was.

Baby Mouseling posing on the sofa, at Home

Baby's first Trick-or-Treating

With us were different characters.

A Drow...

Marie-Ange-the-Celt as Aruhaniel, Drow Matron

Since a bunch of us wanted to go with an Asian theme (you can see a Samurai in the back - his armour is made of fun foam!), Marie-Ange-the-Celt made her Drow a Kimono-like outfit. Because Marie-Ange-the-Celt is very busy, she ran out of time to finish her costume. I was sewing on her collar while she was ordering Chinese food for the rest of us. But it looks good!

A Japanese Woman...

MageKnightTerra as a Japanese Woman

MageKnightTerra ordered her Kimono online for the occasion. She was more daring than I was, wearing the full face white make-up.

Neo and a Ninja...

Neo from The Matrix (1999) and Tionniel as a Ninja

Tionniel has been taking Martial arts, so she decided to make a traditional ninja costume. It was very well done, and at least she could wear many layers underneath without taking away authenticity.

A Princess...

Princess J

Marie-Ange-the-Celt's cousin accompanied us, wearing an old Princess dress.

An SG-1 Soldier...


And Tiger!

Tiger loves Cotton Candy!

There were others with us, but would you believe it, my batteries died, so I don't have pictures of everyone.

Happy Halloween!

I will try to take pictures soon of me wearing the whole look, like on the conceptual art drawing I made, but I can’t promise anything. I fear I might have once again over done it – I am exhausted and I am coming down with something. Darn! I never learn and I made myself sick again. Oh well, at least I had fun!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cyber Goth Geisha Progress Report: Turquoise corset

The turquoise corset is finished!

Well, sort of. I tore some of the netting on one of the panels (wonder when and how that happened) so I will eventually have to take it all apart to replace that piece, plus, I wanted to add black satin binding around the top and bottom, and I couldn’t find the rhinestone buttons I bought for the center front seam two years ago. But it is wearable.

Metallic Turquoise Corset

It looks really good with the short Furisode too!

Cyber Goth Geisha Outfit

So I’m all set for tonight. Happy New Year! (or for the non-pagan among you, Happy Halloween!)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cyber Goth Geisha Progress Report: Crimson Vision Gothic Geisha

When you are tired, you make mistakes; it is a reality. I was almost done with my corset last night; I just had to assemble the exterior part with the lining when I realized that half of the pieces on the exterior were sewn the wrong way. It was 12:30 am. So, I un-sewed the trim and pieces that needed fixing and then, since I was falling asleep at the sewing table, I went to bed. Today I worked on it a little, but it wasn’t finished in time to wear at Nancy-Raven’s party. So I went with plan B and wore red accessories.

Gwenyver as Crimson Vision Gothic Geisha

It looks good! I had many positive comments on the wig’s colour too; both Nancy-Raven and my Sweetheart agree I would look good with my hair dyed fluorescent red. Not that I would dare, but maybe I’ll find more occasions to wear that wig in the future.

Instead of my red tights, I remembered I owned knee high black and red striped socks, and I recently bought the half gloves to match. I wore a headband with a big sating flower and my lovely new sexy heals.

Now I will try to finish my corset before I crash in bed so I can wear it at least once this Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cyber Goth Geisha Progress Report: Short Black Furisode

The Furisode is done!

Short Black Furisode

Please excuse the beige twill tape; I could not find my black one for the picture.

I am actually much more satisfied with it than I was with the Juban; I was also more careful. I really love the tone on tone stripe in the fabric too: it gives the whole look more texture. I found it in the discount bin of course, but I find it works well. The collar is a little flimsy, but I am hoping a good pressing will fix that (I just hope I don’t burn it!).

I also started to sew the corset’s lining. I assembled all my pieces only to find that it did not close in the back and there was a huge ugly lump at the center front, chest level. That is when I realized that I was missing a piece, which I later found at the bottom of my “to do” bin, but it was time to go to bed.

I hope I have time to finish it tomorrow night, but if I don’t, I’ve decided to wear a red Nagoya obi with my red tights, red wig and red makeup. This way, I will not have worked in vain, but I won’t stress to finish and make myself sick.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cyber Goth Geisha Progress Report: Juban

Okay, so tonight I finally started my own costume. I have 3 days to make it as I want to wear it at Nancy-Raven’s party this Saturday. Of course, I’m already thinking of solutions in case I can’t finish in time, because this whole no sleep thing I used to be able to pull off is way more exhausting than I remember, but I’m still going to try.

Tonight, I managed cut the pieces that were missing, like the Juban and fusing, and sew the Juban. It is actually a mix between a Hadajuban, because of the sleeves, and a Nagajuban, because of the collar. Observe:


There are many imperfections, especially with all the puckering around the collar, but I have decided to let it go; I don’t have time to fix it, and it will all be hidden anyways, so why bother.

I had actually planned to make the two: a Hadajuban of poplin and a Nagajuban of woolen twill. Due to lack of time, I decided to only make the thicker twill one, only to realise I did not have enough fabric for the sleeves (it was a leftover which my aunt gave me). Hence the mix of genres, but I think it will work well. Besides, this is a fantasy costume; I don’t have to be accurate!

Next step: the Black Furisode.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baby Mouseling

This year, I decided to dress my daughter up as a mouse. You see, about a decade ago, I bought a pattern as I often do, because it was just too cute. I simply fell in love with the Mouse on the envelope of Simplicity 9821. I always promised myself that when I got kids, I would make that costume. Last year, my Sweetheart begged me to make her an owl costume, and I expect that by next year, she will want to have a say in her Halloween costume; so really, this was my last chance to make her the Mouse.

Boy was it a lot of work! I have never made a mascot costume before, nor a Furry, but I imagine it is a similar technique. Sewing thicknesses of faux fur was tough enough, but that pattern kept asking me to hand sews things, like the stomach and pads on the hands and feet. Me? Hand sew? Well, I did it to fix the ears and cheeks to the head, but that is it. The rest went through the machine.

Also, as I started with only a week and a half to go before Halloween, I was already exhausted (and still am) from the other costume I have been making for other people. For two days, I sat at my machine, looked at the pattern and couldn’t make sense of it. Plus, since I decided to bag line everything for comfort and heat, I couldn’t always follow the instructions to the letter.
But I managed, I made it, and this morning my daughter saw it and now she keeps wanting to wear it and play with it, which makes me feel very appreciated.

But I know you want pictures:

Baby Mouseling costume - Front

Baby Mouseling costume - Back

I love the colour combination of the fur and light pink velvet; it makes me think of “Angelina Ballerina – The next steps” which we watch every Sunday (hence me calling this a Mouseling costume: for Angelina Mouseling). That is also why I put a great big pink bow on the head.

The pattern actually said to use pleather for the tail, but I like the result I got using the velvet. And for those of you wondering what the puffs on the side of the head are, they are supposed to be cheeks, and you would know that if I added pipe cleaner whiskers, but I wont for security reasons.

Daughter trying on the Baby Mouseling head

She is so cute! I can’t wait to see her wear it. I still have to fix the ears to get them to stand up, but otherwise, I am done with this one. On to me!

(Edit: I managed to get the ears to stand up by inserting a tie wrap inside the circle of the ear. It has the perfect shape and it is springy enough. Tie wraps are my new favourite costuming trick of the trade!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cyber Goth Geisha Progress Report: Accessories

I haven’t started sewing yet: I just finished a costume order and I am now attacking my daughter’s costume.

In the mean time, I figured I would show you the accessories. First, here is the Forever 21 headband I had mentioned:

I think it is going to look awesome with the rest of the look.

Then, there are the Dreads Pony Falls I had custom made for this costume 2 ½ years ago:

Black, Blond, Blue and Turquoise Dread Pony Falls, custom made by LS Seven

I wonder what they will look like on my head. Can you believe I have never tried them on?

Next, I am happy to report that I found socks and half gloves in the black and white stripes, just as I wanted:

Black & White Striped Half Gloves, from Ardene

I think I can thank Alice in Wonderland (2010) for those gloves. If Colleen Atwood hadn't added them to Alice's costume, I'm not sure I would have found a fair so easily at a jewellery and accessories' store.

Black & White Striped Knee Socks, from Ardene

If anyone is interested, I got both at Ardene, in the 5 for 10$ section. (I got three more pairs of half gloves in colours that match some of my legwarmers!)

Finally, the shoes:

4" Heel Black Patent Leather Mary Janes

I found them on sale, at a Halloween store. Well, I got them on sale because the cashier gave me the 50% rebate some of the other shoes had, but the sales girl had told me they were not, so I don't know who was right, but I still paid half the price. The guy at the register also made a comment about me looking very sexy in these heels. I guess this could also explain the rebate. Hmmm...

Anyways, they will also be perfect for an Abby Sciuto look, which I guess is popular, considering the number of comments that post got and still gets (Thanks guys – I love comments).

Back to sewing fur! I am so thankful we recently got a Dyson – my sewing room has carpeted floor!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cyber Goth Geisha

It was one of my New Year Costuming Resolutions: to finish costumes which were cut and left hanging (well, they're piles in a box, really). Well, this Halloween, I am doing just that. A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that my Alliance Impériale friends had decided to dress-up in Japanese inspired costumes. I figured it was the perfect excuse to finish my Cyber Goth Geisha costume, cut for Otakuthon 2008 and abandoned due to lack of time. (Would you believe it? I was a little too last minute. Me!)

Let me tell you a little more about the inspiration for this costume. First, I have loved Traci’s
Cyber Geisha look:

It is simple, but sexy and eye popping (could be the cleavage, which she wears very well, but I would personally never dare try it this way).

Emerald Gothic Lolita by Maral Agnerian a.k.a. Sarcasm-hime

Black and white matched with one bright colour is combination I love. I especially liked the corset she used. Also, I was surprised how much I loved the multicoloured dreads. Dawn a.k.a. Kaijugal has a similar set:

Pumpkin Lolita by Dawn McKechnie "Kaijugal"

So I mixed what I liked about these styles and came up with this:

Cyber Goth Geisha Conceptual Art by Gwenyver

It consists of a short black Furisode, worn over a white Juban. A turquoise liquid lamé corset takes the place of the obi. I will wear this outfit paired with blue tights, black and white striped half gloves and knee high socks, black patent leather platform Mary Janes, a black headband with bow, flower and feathers (which I got at Forever 21), and my custom made Dread Pony Falls in Black, Blond, Blue and Turquoise. As for makeup, I am aiming for a Geisha look, including full white face and neck prongs, but I will replace the usual reds and pinks by blues and turquoise. I will also paint my nails blue.

I do hope I can finish in time! (And that it is warm enough for me to wear it – it can snow on Halloween in Québec).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

More Kimono!

I had a Japanese relapse. It started when my friends from Alliance Impériale started talking of going as a Japanese themed group to the Halloween Festivities in La Prairie. It got worse when I got newsletters from Yamatoku mentioning a sale...

So I have to say it: Busted! I have bought myself two new pieces (from Yamatoku of course!).

First, my first Uchikake:

Vermilion Embroidered Silk Uchikake

Isn't it exquisite? I was looking at it and my Sweetheart saw it from over my shoulder. Then I showed him how nice it would look with the Kakeshita he gave me for Yule 2006 (which is really tough to match to an Uchikake, unless you want White or Pink - I've been looking for four years!):

Teal Hanayome Kakeshita & Vermilion Embroidered Silk Uchikake

... and he just said "Go ahead, buy it!". So you can see he was no help with my current relapse. But I have to say, it was only 39.99$ USD (okay, plus about 65$ USD of shipping, but the shipping price doesn't change, it is based on weight; Uchikake from Yamatoku usually start at 250$).

And since we can combine shipping and save (or so the website reminds us), I splurged for this magnificent obi:

Silk Maru Obi

My first Maru Obi*! And for 14.99$ USD! I would really like to find a Tomesode that would go well with it; I think a black Tomesode would be the perfect back drop for it, but it would also look nice with my Kakeshita.

*Maru obi is the most formal obi. It is made from cloth about 68 cm wide, is folded around a double lining and sewn together. Maru obi were at their most popular during the Taishō and Meiji periods. Their bulk and weight makes maru obi difficult to handle and nowadays they are worn mostly by Geisha, Maiko and others such. Another use for maru obi is as a part of a bride's outfit (hence me matching it to my Kakeshita). A maru obi is about 30 centimetres to 35 centimetres wide and 360 centimetres to 450 centimetres long, fully patterned and often embroidered with metal-coated yarn and foil work. (Source: Wikipedia - Obi)

So there, this is my latest Japanese shopping spree. But it isn't for Halloween; it is for my collection (and one day, my Engagement Party Outfit, when I get to that stage). Ill get back to you on the Japanese Themed Halloween costume.

Note: To see the rest of my Kimono Collection, please got to Kimono! posted on Tuesday August 18, 2009.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A commercial interpretation of the Na'vi

Does anyone remember my prediction that people were going to want Na'vi costumes? If you don't, may I refer you to Movie Monday: Avatar (posted on December 14, 2009). I expected the geeks to want them, but apparently, it has reached more people than I had imagined.

First, let us all know what a Na'vi looks like:

James Cameron's Avatar (2009)

And now on to the costumes. First, there was Ben Stiller at the 2010 Oscars:

But today, I was hit by how much people want Na'vi costumes. I was at the Shopping Mall and I saw an add for the temporary Party Expert that opens there for Halloween. On the add, amongst many other costumes, I noticed these:

Na'vi Jake Adult Costume

Na'vi Jake Child Costume

Na'vi Neytiri Adult Costume

(Everyone knows a Female Na'vi wears pumps to run around the woods!)

Na'vi Neytiri Child Costume

Of course, if you don't already have long, black, braided hair, you can get a Na'vi wig!

Na'vi Jake wig

And since most of us have round ears, the prepackaged costume industry has thought of us by offering latex ears:

Na'vi Latex Ears

Actually, those might make nice Blue Fairy ears. I might get a pair (they are less than 10$).

Ocean Hellman as Queen Titania, Voyage of the Unicorn (2001)

There is also a "Jake" version of the latex ears and a Na'vi make-up kit, if you are interested in making (or purchasing) that costume.

Apparently, if you are REALLY into the Na'vi, you can even learn their language!

But back to the commercial costume: personally, my first reaction was "You have got to be bloody joking!". But I guess the leotard could be used as a base for a much better costume. I'm not sure it's worth the price, but that really depends on your budget.

Just promise me something: if you make a female Na'vi costume, don't wear it with heels!