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Archive for the 'Costume' Category

The Gospel According to Tim

Thursday, August 30th, 2012
By Twistie

You all know how I feel about Tim Gunn. He is totally my gay imaginary celebrity boyfriend and I long to feed him fresh-baked scones.

But I also enjoy reading his books. He’s got a breezy, opinionated flair for language and he knows his stuff, even when I disagree with him on  how to interpret it.

Well, now he’s written Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible: the Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet.

Ever wondered what Queen Victoria’s corset has to do with what you’re wearing now? Tim can tell you. What togas then mean for you now? Tim is here to explain it. How the Sixties were the downfall of underwear? Well, my guess is that one is one of those issues where he and I would have a lively (albeit friendly) debate whilst dripping clotted cream in our excitement… but I’m still interested in his argument.

It’s available right now for pre-order on Amazon (release date September 11, just in case anyone is wondering what to get me for my birthday on the thirteenth) for just $16.46 (list price $28.00) and eligible for Super Saving free shipping on your purchase of $25.00 or more.

Oh, and I’d also like to note for my fellow Project Runway fans that in an article that ran on Racked National just yesterday, Tim called contestant Ven Budu ‘atrocious’ and let it be known that the editing in last week’s episode was actually flattering to Ven. Also, gird your loins, folks, he let slip that there’s going to be an upcoming challenge in his least favorite category that ‘will not disappoint you in terms of horrible.’

Keep Your Identity Secret!

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
By Twistie

Sure, they’re for kids, but I see no reason these awesome felt superhero masks couldn’t be expanded for grown-ups. Jessica at Cutesy Crafts came up with them for favors at a child’s superhero/princess theme birthday party (there’s a boy and a girl both celebrating their birthday together, and there will be instructions for princess crowns, too)… but I want them for my next birthday bash.

Go visit Jessica’s site for more information and instructions… and superhero/princess cake pops, too.

Now, do I want to be Spider Man, Iron Man… or maybe I can come up with a Cat Woman mask.

What? I imprinted early on Eartha Kitt.

Victoria Had a Secret in the Fifteenth Century

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
By Twistie

It may be badly deteriorated, but this scrap of linen may be one of the most important discoveries in the history of human dress for many a decade. Why? Because it proves that women’s underclothes existed in the fifteenth century.

For hundreds of years, most costume historians have believed that until well into the sixteenth century, women’s undergarments consisted pretty much entirely of the smock, a sort of undergown.

How did this amazing discovery come to light? Well, some renovations were recently done to Lengberg Castle in East Tyrol. During the work, more than three thousand fragments of clothes and other items of day to day usage were uncovered. The pieces were believed to have been buried when the building was expanded in about 1480.

The piece pictured above is described as a bra, but there is a strip down the lefthand side of it that clearly shows holes for a lacing to go through, indicating to me that it’s more along the lines of an early corset. There is apparently another garment similar to this one and two ‘shirts with bags’ that appear to have been meant to serve a similar function of breast support.

Perhaps even more amazing is the fact that two pairs of what seem to be women’s underpants were also found.

My guess? From the number of layers of cloth in the front, and the fact that there don’t seem to be so many layers in the back, is that this is actually medieval Kotex. Some experts in the subject believe that women didn’t do anything to contain menstrual flow back in the day, but there have been some vague references here and there to ‘clouts’ for women which seem to have been worn at certain times and not others. Hmmm… this looks like some strong potential evidence to me.

I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to see what new facts can be gleaned from these exciting finds!

If nothing else, SCA costuming will never be the same.

As Mr. Spock Would Say… Fascinator

Thursday, July 5th, 2012
By Twistie

Once upon a time, a fascinator was a hooded scarf, not unlike this knitted opera hood:

(Via World Turn’d Upside Down)

Now they look more like this:

(Via MHL)

Don’t ask me when the definition changed, because I honestly don’t know.

Still, as much as the word ‘fascinator’ still immediately raises the image of a practical head covering for me, I really love some of the things being done  with the more modern version.

So imagine my delight when I wandered over to Criminal Crafts the other day (pairing two of my all time favorite subjects: crime and craft) and found an article about crime-related (and some not-so-crime-related) fascinators.

You couldn’t pay me to sit down and read the 50 Shades of Grey books… but I would absolutely rock this intense fascinator any day of the week.

Have I ever mentioned I look absolutely sparkly in grey?

Check out the fun!

Cthulu or Ood, You Decide

Friday, June 15th, 2012
By Twistie

So I went wandering over to What Not to Crochet today, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but this:

But what precisely does it represent?

My first thought was Cthulu,

… but the comments mentioned the possibility that it might be an Oud.

Whoops! Not that kind of oud. This kind of Ood:

That would be the fellow on the right, for anyone still experiencing confusion.

The tentacles are definitely the right length and curliness for a Ood, but the green color and lack of translation ball doohickey (yes, that is a technical term, please do keep up) convince me the original artist meant that ski helmet to be Cthulu.

Still, I’m more than happy to open up the question to my readers. Is it Cthulu, or is it an Ood? What say you all?

She Wrapped It Up

Thursday, May 10th, 2012
By Twistie

I remember my senior prom. The only reason I got a new dress was because my mother saw one she knew I would adore in my size on such a ridiculously good sale that she bought it without even consulting me. Luckily, she knew my style really well. It was just the dress I would have picked left to my own devices.

In fact, the only reason I went to my senior prom was that my boyfriend at the time started talking about what he was going to wear, and, well, I figured that meant he wanted to go.

Other girls, though, put a lot more thought and effort into prom. Diane McNease certainly did!

See the bodice of her prom dress? She constructed the entire thing out of Starburst wrappers. The skirt is a far more conventional black satin over layers of tulle.

McNease got inspired when she saw a friend folding Starburst wrappers to make bracelets. Somehow this lead to a dare, which McNease happily took:

“Someone said I couldn’t do it. That’s the last thing you should say to me.”

After a year and a half of collecting wrappers (she started out eating all the candy herself, but quickly found that was too much… and had no difficulty recruiting volunteer candy eaters), and another five months folding and then hand sewing strips of wrappers. Her father helped her with the construction of the bodice and her friend Bria Johnson made the skirt to go with it.

Partway through the process, McNease discovered she wouldn’t be the first teen to don a Starburst wrapper prom dress when Tara Frey’s mother, Kerrin, announced the dress she had spent six years making for her daughter’s prom.

McNease says she was already underway with her plans when Frey’s dress hit the headlines:

“But I really admire her dress. Especially the shoes. They are fantastic.”

Even more than the fun dress, I like this girl’s creativity, determination, and generous attitude.

Diane McNease, I offer you a twenty-one Starburst salute!

Best Foot Forward

Thursday, April 19th, 2012
By Twistie

Reader Annie pointed me in the direction of this deeply cool gallery of art shoes. Unfortunately there isn’t any indication I can find of who made them, or even if they’re all by the same artist.

All the same, do go check them out. The inspirations range from children’s toys to birds to Madonna in the eighties. The two things they all have in common? They are high-heeled ladies’ shoes, and they freaking rock!

Thanks, Annie, for pointing me in their direction.

ETA: Sarah J informs me the artist is Kobi Levi and more of his work can be found on his blog here. Thanks, Sarah J!

This One Wigs Me Out

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
By Twistie

Rooney Mara wore one in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Lucy Lawless was fitted for one for Spartacus, but didn’t wear it in the end.

Heidi Klum wore a huge, terrifying one in Blow Dry.

Kate Winslet refused to wear one in The Reader.

Fifteenth century prostitutes wore them.

What potentially not safe for work fashion item am I talking about?


Stay With Me

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012
By Twistie

If you are at all interested in historical costuming, then you know the right shape of corset makes the difference between the correct line and… well, all those costumes that just aren’t ever going to look quite right.

Unfortunately, modern shaping garments just won’t give you the look you need, whether it’s renaissance or roaring twenties. Antique corsets – even if I could in good conscience promote the wearing of actual historical clothing – are often fragile, and not fitted to a more modern body. Custom corsets can cost a packet and may or may not offer  you precisely what you need.

But what if you could make your own?

Ah, but now you can! In fact, I can show you where to go to learn how to draft your own pattern for a corset.

Your Wardrobe Unlock’d offers up a freebie set of instructions for drafting your own pattern for your own set of 1870’s stays… and from there you can simply adjust the proportions for a corset from virtually any era. The instructions can be downloaded in pdf format in either a color coded version or in printer-friendly black and white.

Even if you don’t want to make your own corset, I highly recommend a wander through the site. Even if the closest you’ve come to making an historic costume is to drool over an evening gown on Downton Abbey, you’ll find something of interest here. Alas! many of the best bits are only available to those who subscribe, but there are a lot of pretty pictures you can see before you need to pay. And as I said, the corset drafting instructions are free as the proverbial bird.

Quickie Question: Best Halloween Costume?

Monday, October 24th, 2011
By Twistie

I love Halloween. I love a chance to dress up and I love candy and I love giving stuff to kids. Put all three together, and bingo! it’s Halloween.

But sometimes I don’t get around to dressing up. It’s sad, but true. Heidi Klum always dresses up, but she’s got a budget and stylists, and (apparently) a dentist who made custom-fitted vampire fangs for her. Now that’s dedication to Halloween!

Still, I usually do dress up and I take a certain pride in being able to rummage randomly in my closet and create a visual pun on the spot (or with a quick trip to the dollar store for a prop or two).

I have two favorite last-minute costumes I came up with. For one, I used pale makeup to make myself look ashen, wore a flowing long dress and tied a very long scarf around my throat to go as the ghost of Isadora Duncan. Sick, but those in the know got a blast out of it.

The other was inspired by a rubber pig snout someone gave me. I wore a pair of slacks, a dress shirt, and a man’s vest all with play money coming out of the pockets, and put on the pig snout. What was I? A capitalist pig, of course! The people who bought books from me that day (I was working in a really great book store at the time) got some good giggles out of that one.

So what about you? What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever done? Was it for you? Your kid? A friend? Did people get it at first glance? Or were they as mystified as the time I went out as one of the chorus of professional bridesmaids from Ruddigore? As it turns out, when I was eleven there wasn’t a single Gilbert and Sullivan junkie in our entire neighborhood who didn’t live in the same house as I did! Who’da thunk it?

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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