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Stitch Shape and Bristol Fashion

Crafting in the West Country

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corset

Life can be such a drag

What a week I’ve had, running around like a lunatic and keeping the momentum going. The sun’s come out in merry old Bristol and it’s time to think ahead to the summer, aka, costume season for me!

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We don’t mention the year I dressed as Elton ‘Hercules’ John

I’m not a cosplayer, I’m just a maniac who likes dressing up in a field. There’s a camping event I attend every August for Sci Fi and Fantasy fans, with drag night on Friday, a masquerade all day Saturday and the talent show in the evening, I have at least three costumes to prepare every year and I tend to tackle them each differently.

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My ‘crowning’ glory

This week I’ll tell you all about drag night. I did win the ftm category in 2014. There was some stiff competition from a unicorn onesie. What I wear to drag night tends to be a conglomeration of found items. I don’t do ready made costumes because they’re over priced, the quality tends to be poor and it’s just a bit dull in my opinion. The year I won, I was decked out as Beetlejuice. I was pretty poor at the time and had an awesome black and white stripy blazer and black trousers. It was a good look. Some how a black and white stripy corset seemed to work too. I was a very convincing man. My personality may well have been the reason I won. Believe it or not, I can be pretty funny at times.

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I think I got this man posture down!

Last year I didn’t enter. I felt as reigning champion I could hand the honer over to someone else with grace, dignity and pink wellies. I still did the drag though. Each year the whole event has a theme and last it was ‘The Library’. Late night drag and a bookish theme. When I came up with the answer, it was obvious. Arthur Dent. I didn’t need to get changed for bed. When you’re crawling into a tent at 3am and the biggest costume change you have to do it taking off your wellies, you count it as a blessing. When you’re taking all your camping kit on public transport, one less costume to try and squeeze into your case is the sign of a genius. A set of mens PJs for £5, a towel and my kindle case mama sheep made me with the words Don’t Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on the cover and I was sorted. Although one little girl did say I wasn’t dressed as a man or a woman.

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Martin Freeman’s got nothing on me

So what does this year have in store? Well, like in the same way my black and white blazer inspired me to be Beetlejuice, I am once again taking a cue from an item I already own. Real, honesty to god, genuine cowboy boots. Matthew McConaughey. Magic Mike. All I need is a nude coloured top, a black stetson and a black waistcoat and I’m more or less there.

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Bring on August!

To be continued…

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Kids Characters Costume Show Down

Anyone I know will tell you, I love fancy dress. And the more ridiculous the better. Putting a costume together is so much fun, and I find myself making more and more elements every time. I don’t tend to replicate costumes directly from film and TV, not that there’s anything wrong with this, I just enjoy the design factor as much as I enjoy the creation of the piece. Here are two very different approaches I take when I make a costume.

Alice in Wonderland

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A nice sensible concept sketch

This one’s about planning, planning and planning again. To begin with, I sketched out the basic elements of the design. The concept was to make it look like the part where Alice grew and ended up wearing the house. Rather than create some kind of cardboard house to spend the day wearing, I wanted to create an under the bust corset, which would be easier to wear and more fashion rather than costume.

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More detailed sketch. This was the design element I was most excited about.

To achieve this, I decided to look at all the elements individually. I wanted to make a dress and a corset. All the other elements (underskirt, wig, apron…) I was going to buy. Ebay is an excellent resource for buying bits for costumes. The dress I made straight from a pattern, but for the corset, after doing a bit of research, I decided to draft the pattern myself. I made a toile before cutting into my precious brick print fabric, just to be sure it would all work. The embellishment never ended up happening, but I was pleased with the outcome and I can always add it if I wear it again.

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The final costume. Just wish I’d remembered to take my glasses off for pictures.

The Clanger

I want my own knitted clanger outfit. What sane person has never thought these words? My advice? Do not do it. It’s all fun and games and then you realise what you’ve done. I had no plan as to when I would wear this, and in all honesty, I still don’t have a clue.

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Cute or terrifying? You decide.

The idea crossed my head one day and I was already in possession of this book. As I work dangerously close to a well stocked craft shop, it didn’t take long for me to get going Using the pattern as a guide, I made it up as I went along.

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It was somewhere around here I started questioning my decision to make this.

I used the pattern for the adult clanger for the head using chunky wool. I then kept increasing until it looked a reasonable size to wear as a waistcoat, kept going until it was time to split for the arm holes, added some sparse ribbing and kept increasing gradually until it was a reasonably ridiculous length. Finishing it involved constructing a pink fleece cushion to hold her head proudly above mine in addition to adding the ears and felt embellishments. Before these decorations were added was the lowest point where I was questioning what I’d done, but I kept going or I’d never know how she turned out.

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I’m simultaneously impressed at myself and questioning my sanity.

I have plenty of other costumes to write about, but that shall be for another day.

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