Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Fake Hair - The Beauty of It All!

I have medium lengthy out of control curly hair.  I used to have a whole lot of thick hair and the process of aging has not been now I have medium length much thinner out of control hair.

For years I've worn wigs, and especially for Victorian costuming I've used hair pieces to create up-do braided styles.  I've saved shedding hair to make my own hair rats (no they don't have paws and a tail) but I've never used clip in extensions as they never see to be something that would work with my hair texture. I can find wavy ones, and I can find for the African Ancestry community but not for my I just don't use them...

....until now.

The price of wigs for cosplay and extensions on eBay has come down tremendously. For less than 11 dollars I was able to get a set of wavy clip in extensions that matched my hair well.  These were crazy long, the longest I could find at the cheap end of the clip in hair (in the U.S. as I didn't have time to order from China).  After several YouTube tutorials watching high maintenance trophy wife types walk viewers through the steps I got the gist.  My natural hair was an odd mix of the bottom being flat ironed and the top remaining curly, which worked well with the accessory crown I had built for Ren Faire.  Since the hair was for Ren Faire on the Halloween festivity weekend I decided to play with some ridiculous filters.  Here is the MASSIVE HAIR test run:

 My family laughed at me because I sat around petting my new clip
                        on hair as though it was a new

 Here the top was more smoothed out, but for Ren Faire I actually left the top pretty curly which helped the crown stay on.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Tools to Invest In - Sometimes It's Good to Have Tools

This is a short post to share my love of tools.  Having the right tools is not only the right thing for men, it is great for creative women (or men) - ok...don't burn me for being sexist or stereotyping...I have a garage full of tools and build furniture as well as sew costumes....

One of the things I have found most necessary for making Ren Faire vests as well as other things, although you will not find any of these "00" grommets on any of my Victorian clothing, is a real grommet press.  The tool that weighs enough that you don't want to be dropping it on your toes or the floor .  The press sets grommets beautifully, a press is not cheap but I will NEVER go back to the hand method of setting grommets, especially for corset making.  If you sew your own corsets, make Ren Faire cloths, steampunk wearables, a grommet press. 

At this point I don't have a recommendation because mine was discontinued a long time ago.  It was not a professional one, and I know there are companies that make them for hobbyist use.

The other must haves are a rubber mallet and the leather punch for cutting the holes in fabric to put your grommets into.  Mine came from a big box craft store (punch), mallet from big box hardware store.  Don't forget to put something on your work surface when punching - I use an old plastic-ish cutting board from the big flat pack store.

The right tools are awesome time saving, stress reducing goodies.  Happy sewing!

Queenie Wants a Crown - a tale of costuming wanderings.

Have you ever had a brilliant idea for something that lead to something else entirely?  Well, I had a brilliant idea to make myself a "fairy crown" for the Halloween weekend of Ren Faire.  Only problem is that the crown lead me down a path of making an entirely new costume I didn't intend to make.  Ahh...maybe only problems costumers have.

So this post is about how to make a crown.  An earthy crown for what would eventually turn out to be an elf-queen like costume for Faire.

First I needed vines, I was going to run to the local craft big box store when I realized I had a grape vine in my back yard.  Mother nature was providing, however it was a little late in the season so many of the vines were already a little dry.  I was able to pluck enough of them to work...but I needed a frame:

I always try to keep some wire hangers in the house.  They come in handy -- everything from digging miscellaneous stuff out of drains to creative endeavors.  I  quickly found a white one, and some floral wire I had in the craft box.  I bound a circle first then added on several "L" shaped pieces.  I tied them so they would angle out.

I then sprayed it with some spray paint I had in the garage.  It was a bronze/gold colour left over from another project.

Before I started adding the grape vine I trimmed the vertical pieces so one in the front was taller, and I bought some bronze coloured wire to wrap with.  I cheaped out and the wire was really thin which meant I kept breaking it.  Next time, if there is a next time, I'll spend a little more and buy a slightly thicker wire.

I then took the vine which was still green and pliable on the inside and started bending it around the frame while wrapping it.

At first I was going to overlap the end pieces, which I cut with garden trimmers, but that would have been too bulky.  I realized I could notch the grapevine pretty easily with an xacto knife.  I eyeballed the cuts as this was a "woodsy" crown and perfection wasn't necessary.  Here is another picture:
I then continued adding to the crown and winding the wire until I got a form that made me happy and seemed pretty sturdy.  No rules here.  I kind of created as I went with no firm plan at this point.

I tried really hard not to add any glue at all but ended up using the glue gun a little at the very tops where the thin pieces met to keep them all tightly together.  You couldn't see it once done because it was more inside.  Then I let it dry out.

At this point I took the crown to the craft store and tried to be inspired in regards to how to decorate it.  I wanted natural or natural-ish decorations.  I ordered some butterfly wings from Ebay....yes I do realize for some people that is gross but I had a vision.  In the end they showed up weeks late and crushed to a pulp....maybe karma for buying the things in the first place.

I found these wonderful quartz "beads" that would work...not a unique idea but they did turn out nicely.  They were a bear to find the right bead that would work without glue.  Lots of twisting wire (which should have been thicker) and praying everything would stay.

Loved my earthy crown, but the insidious thing is that because of this accessory I ended up with a whole new Ren Faire how that works sometimes.

NOTE:  I don't have a picture of this, but once I was done I realized I didn't know how to  attach it to my head.  I did get some thicker galvanized wire from the garage and made a "Y" shape that had three ends that wrapped around the base of the circle so it made a brace to attach hair pins to.  I will try to get a photo and post at some point.  It did work, that sucker wasn't moving but the whole thing hurt like heck when I didn't duck low enough to get in the car while wearing the crown...ack!

Here is a getting dressed photo with the crown on...sadly I didn't realize I pinned it on a little cock-eyed.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Back and Up to My Ears in Projects or Now That I'm Fluffier

I posted nine months ago - if you think about it, I could be on my way to the labor and delivery ward just about now...but no, that store is closed.

I have projects - sew many projects.  And for the first time in a long time I have the motivation to sew.  I will be sewing for myself and a few others which is exciting.  Ren Faire, and some Steampunk themed costumes are on the is rebuilding an entire costume closet because time and sitting in dark closets with lots of chocolate has not been kind.  Fluffy.  There was a time where it was easy to corset into a 23.5 inch waist...well...procreation, and now being "cough cough" over's more my thigh size than my waist size.

Over the last nine months I have been purging.  I had a stand at the annual GBAGC's Costume Bazaar which was a riot of treasures.  Never have I seen so many wondrous things.  Bargains galore!  However, I was there to sell, to build up some funding, kind of like "pin" money to move forward for this year's costumes.  I did well...but alas...I failed...I bought a sword...and boots...did I mention the sword.  A metal sword...a PIRATE's long and heavy and I ALWAYS wanted one!  Who am I to pass up a bargain pirate sword?

There was more to haul to the Bazaar by the time I was all said and done.  It felt good to clear some things out.  There were other bags that were donated and a trash pile as well.  Still can't barely walk in my costume/sewing/guest room, but the closet is a bit lighter and most of what was in the picture didn't come back home.  Marie Kondo would be proud.

Saturday, January 5, 2019 has been a long, long, long time.

I have been on a years long break from this blog - there have been some sewing projects but not many.  This year, 2019, I am hoping to update the few projects I have worked on, many without success, and document the projects I hope to achieve for this year.  The Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild has some events that I want to attend as well as a goal to attend Dickens Fair at the end of the year.  The the wicked results of time and gravity have not been kind, I need new costumes...nothing is not even a matter of nothing fitting well...there is no tight lacing that will the machines must come alive to battle the effects of time!  (The dramatics is a way overcome the reality that I've gotten chubby and can't zip, tie, or button anything up

For those who are interested:   is the Guild address, they have a great "pattern review."   if you are ever in the SF Bay area between Thanksgiving and Christmas it is a "must do once" -- if you come without children then you must try to score free "French Postcard" tickets, but be aware it is an adult only show. then of course there is Faire.  I have done some sewing for Faire and will update it here.

Looking forward to a New Year full of threads and thimbles, and being a child at heart...
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