Outlander Claire Fraser’s Cowl

A couple of months ago I started to read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I fell in love with the story immediately. Even before I finished the book, I started watching the tv series and fell in love all over again, this time with the costumes. Claire’s costumes are amazing. And that knitwear, to die for.

As I am want to do when I find new knitwear I love, I jump on Ravelry and look for patterns inspired by series. One of the items I definitely wanted to knit was that delightful cowl Claire seems to wear often.

Claire_Fraser_(Outlander_TV)I immediately found the pattern by Shelli Westcott for Ravelry Outlander Claire’s Cowl Pattern. When searching for suitable yarn, I found that Westcott owns a store named Knitterly in Petaluma, CA and they sold a Knitterly Claire’s Outlander Cowl Kit for the cowl. Happy days! I quickly snapped up the dark brown + grey kit; once it arrived, I grabbed by size 35 needles and set to work.

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The pattern and kit call for 3 skeins of yarn, but I found I only used 2 to make the 30 inch cowl. (Oh what to do with that full last skein?) The knitting only took two days (it would have taken one but I started in the evening) and was real quick since it’s all garter stitch and large needles. As usual, the needle size took a toll not only on my hands but my shoulders as well; it takes a lot of strength and effort to hold yarn onto size 35 needles.

Blocking flat took some time as well since a) I have a mischievous cat that wouldn’t leave my cowl alone unless I closed the bedroom doors and b) the yarn is held double so it’s thick and takes longer to dry.

Next I think I’ll try my hand at one of her many fingerless gloves or one of the knitted shawls she wears. So many choices!

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Star Wars Rey Cosplay – Outfit

As soon as I finished my Rey wig, I started searching for fabric. I happened upon a forum where someone had posted the fabrics used in the movie (though I can’t find the link anymore). Using that information, I tried to find fabrics in creams, ivories, and pale olives in the same fibers – or as close as I could get. I knew that I may have to do a little weathering and/or dying to get the right look but I wanted to start with as much off white as possible.

First: capris. I purchased a pair of yoga capris in a light gray rayon/spandex fiber. It’s the wrong fiber type (Rey actually wears silk capris) but the drape in the right flow. (I originally made capris from silk dupioni but they didn’t drape right.) The gray was a little to bright for the rest of the outfit so it took a bath in some tea and is now a more dingy gray – which is perfect. They are super comfortable to; I may end up living the entire summer in those pants.

Second: shirt. I made the shirt out of jersey knit in a sort of ivory color. I used Burda 7742 for the base. The collar piece I did modifying the sleeve placket for an Archer shirt, then took an extra strip of fabric to finish off the color. For the sleeve caps, I took excess fabric, pinned it on, cut until I liked the shape, then stitched. I left the sleeve caps unfinished since it appears as if Rey simply cut off her sleeves in the film.

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The shirt is a bit see-through, but I plan to wear a tannish tank top underneath. Plus the sash will cover up the important parts.

Sash: originally the sash was going to be made of ivory rayon challis, but I soon realized that – like the pants – while it was the proper fiber the drape and feel was all wrong. Instead I used ivory cotton gauze (originally for the arm wraps). I cut the gauze to 1/4 its width, french seamed 3 of the pieces together, then made a narrow double rolled hem on either side. I made a single rolled hem on the short edges to keep from fraying during the dying process (these stitches may come out later). The french seams are strategically placed so that one is on the right shoulder seam of the shirt and the other is on the back near the waist (to be hidden by the belt).

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Arm wraps: I originally intended to make the arm wraps out of jersey knit and gauze so that I could just pull them on. That didn’t quite work since 1) gauze isn’t very stretchy and 2) I used the gauze for the sash. Instead, I headed to my local drugstore and bought elastic bandage. It had the right look and stretchability. I thought it would take way too long to constantly wrap my arms, but after a test run that took less than 2 minutes it wasn’t so bad. There’s a little bit of restriction in my elbows but nothing horrible. It’s kind of like wearing compression sleeves and, I’m sure, after a bit of movement it will be fine.

Now for the hard part: dying and staining. To get the sweated in look, everything was placed in a dye bath of tea and/or coffee. I used tea bags to sponge on stain near the shirt collar and underarms. Then did an all over dying for the shirt and sash in coffee to get a more yellowed color. More dying in tea for a deep set in stain. Then finished with pearl grey RIT dye for a worn look; the sash went into the RIT dye the longest for a deeper, dingy-er looking stain while the shirt went in for just a minute or two for a dirty look. The above image is the before picture; you can see how everything is just very white and pale.

And here’s the after photo.

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I am quite happy with the way everything turned out. Dying fabrics is one of my least favorite activities crafting wise so I’m quite pleased with how everything came out.

Next, the accessories – or at least the most essential ones.

Star Wars Rey Cosplay – Wig

I have been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid. I was born the year after Empire Strikes Back was released, but I didn’t actually watch any of the original movies until I was a pre-teen. There was a point in my life during which I could recite verbatim every line in the original three movies. Like everyone one, I am not a fan of the Phantom Menace but I do like Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith – but only due to Ewan McGregor portraying my favorite character, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Now that The Force Awakens has been released, I am falling in the love with the series all over again. I have been told by a few of my friends that they can picture me cosplaying Rey. I haven’t actually seen the movie myself (stupid motion sickness), but I’ve read spoilers and do – from what little I know – enjoy her character.

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2016 is the year I take a break from cosplaying to focus on other activities, but Claire Fraser was already on my to-do list. I needed a simpler cosplay for those few cons I am attending. Rey seemed like the best bet: simple to construct (save for the staff), simple to wear.

First part: wig. I used my Peggy Carter wig from WigIsFashion for Rey’s wig. I love Peggy but will likely not wear her in a cosplay in a long while, so to save funds I styled her wig for Rey. It turned out to be not only the perfect shade of brown but the perfect length for all the buns.

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It was a relatively simple process. First, I combed back the wig, gathered a small piece at the front and top, and tied it off with a small black elastic band. This would be the little gathered piece at the front of Rey’s head. Then, the rest of the wig was divided into three equal sections to serve as the three buns. Using black elastic bands, these sections were tied off, then partially pulled through to make the loop. A small section of loose hair from just under the loops was wrapped around the black elastic bands then secured with bobby pins.

Two small curly sections were left free just in front of the ear parts to simulate the wispy strands of Rey’s hair. And that’s it! I find a curly wig better for styling than straight wigs. If anyone is looking to replicate this style, I recommend a curly lace front wig no longer than 20 inches in length (any longer and you’re have too much extra fiber to contend with).

Currently my fabrics are on their way so I will hopefully soon get to making the actual outfit.

 

Outlander Claire Fraser Part 1: Chemise

I’ve been attending the Carolina Renaissance Festival for the last 10 years, ever since I moved into the area where I could easily attend without a long drive or overnight stay. Ever since my first attendance, I’ve always wanted to go in costume. But I’ve never had an appropriate costume. Sure I could wear any of my previous cosplays to Halloween weekend. But Ren Fest is in a field and they open rain or shine (except on extremely stormy weather); muddy fields and cosplays that aren’t washer friendly don’t really mix. Also, I didn’t want to restrict myself to Halloween weekend to wear costumes.

Then I fell – literally fell – into the Outlander fandom. The truth is I’ve always wanted to make historical costumes. Early period costumes have always been fascinating to me. I absolutely fell in love with the costumes Caitorina Balfe wears as Claire Fraser and wanted to make one. Which one would I start with though? In my early research I found out very quickly that finding appropriate tartan patterns was going to be expensive, so I opted for a “simpler” outfit I could easily find wool and linen in appropriate colors. I decided on her “hunt” outfit since I liked the colors and the knitted capelet. Also Claire rewears the bodice many times, and wears the same (or similar) woolen brown overskirt in other outfits.

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Even though Outlander is historical fantasy, I wanted a costume that was somewhat period accurate. That meant having all the pieces: chemise, bum roll, corset, petticoat, bodice, pockets, stomacher, and overskirt. So many layers, but I was willing to do it. Knowing that the fit of the bodice and overskirt was largely dependent on the underlayers, I decided it was best to work from the inside out. Thus, step 1: chemise.

Originally I made a chemise out of white muslim and Simplicity pattern 2777 with some modifications. When I was nearly done, I realized that this was going to be too much fabric underneath all the other layers. I could use this chemise for some other, less layer inducing project but not this one. Back to the drawing board.

I ended up remaking the chemise in a much lighter cotton gauze. Since this was going to be the layer underneath everything else, it was going to be subjected to the least amount of scrutiny. So instead of using a period appropriate pattern, I ended up modifying Simplicity 1317 instead, to both get a good fit and cut down on bulk. I added 3.5 inches to the front and back middle folds, increasing the overall width to roughly 47 inches. Since 1317 is a shirt, the hem was lengthen by an extra 17 inches.

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The seams are French seamed; this seemed the best way to go since sergers didn’t exist in the 1700s. I could have used my serger – no one will see the chemise – but I wanted to try to be as accurate as I could. The hems are all finished by hand using a whip stitch.

t purchased enough cotton gauze to make two chemises since this was the layer closest to my skin and was likely to get the “funkiest.” One chemise had an improvised V-slash neck added to the front and the other had eyelets. The V-slash one is not very neat; it puckers at the bottom V edge. But considering it will be hidden beneath everything else and is the spare chemise, I’m not overly concerned.

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Now that the chemise is done, next step: corset. Or bum roll. Probably the bum roll since it’s easiest and I already have a pattern and materials.

Peggy’s Red Dress

When I set out to cosplay Peggy Carter, I didn’t ever think I would make her red dress from Captain America. I had no occasion or place to wear such a dress to. But it’s Peggy and I love her, and I love her in red. Plus I figured just in case I do have an occasion I should have a dress ready.

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The dress is made of red polyester suiting with (of course) red stain for trim. The pattern is a modified Simplicity 2648 (this pattern is discontinued and I had to get it through Amazon).  The only changes that needed to be made were the sleeves and the pleats on the hips.

IMG_8742I followed the pattern pieces of an A cup and curvy. I added the sleeves from Simplicity 1687 and added satin trim to them. For the collar trim, I used leftover blue polyester lining to draft a pattern but cut out the pieces from satin. I wished I had made them a little more narrow but didn’t realize how wide they were until I started photographing the dress.

For the hip pleats, I took the side front skirt pattern piece, cut a diagonal into it, and then created a large curve in the space to the fabric needed to make the pleats. (I wish I had pictures to show, but I forget to document my process while I’m actually doing it.)

IMG_8744I like how the skirt and hip pleats came out. I have leftover red fabric and am contemplating making a skirt of it for work.

This dress took a little longer than I expected. I originally intended to add lining to the dress to give it a better finish and a smoother drape. But the added lining made it difficult for me to properly use my arms when fully zipped up. Also, I had first used a different sleeve pattern that I realized was better suited for slightly stretchier fabrics resulting in even more limited motion in my arms. I spent an entire morning ripping out the lining and top to make a new top with new sleeves that fit a lot better.

The shoes were acquired off eBay; they are a smidge brighter red but nothing too obvious. The belt was acquired off Amazon. I actually bought three skinny belts for this dress: one bright red, one metallic red, and one light burgundy. The bright red came first and did not match any of my fabrics or shoes. The metallic red is a beautiful belt but a touch too vibrant. The light burgundy ended up being the perfect choice; I figured it would but don’t mind having additional belts in my wardrobe.

I got a lot of help from adriuh via Instagram on this dress. She had already made her own version and was gracious enough to help me when I had questions. She showed me the pattern she used as a base, the draft on Pinterest of how she did the pleats, and even shared her setting pattern for Peggy’s curls and waves. Honestly, without her help I’m not even sure if making this dress would have ever occurred.

So my second Peggy Carter cosplay is done! I think next I’ll work on my blue and red dress from the tv series since it’s my favorite.

Project Rebirth Agent Carter

Agent Margaret “Peggy” Carter is one of my favorite female characters. I loved her from the start in Captain America: The First Avenger; loved her even more in Marvel’s Agent Carter. Peggy is really what got me going into the vintage fashion. She’s my inspiration not just in fashion but also in life as she is a strong, confident woman. I love her blue suit in Agent Carter and have plans to cosplay the outfit at HeroesCon this year. But before that I wanted to cosplay some of her Captain America uniforms.

I decided to start with her Project Rebirth outfit.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

I made a few changes to the outfit since I had plans to used some of the pieces (mostly the skirt) as a work skirt as well. I chose colors that could still pass for being a uniform to keep with the style.

IMG_7983 FixedI used Simplicity 3688 for the skirt. The skirt is made of brown polyester suiting and brown polyester lining; it’s a slightly brighter brown than the uniform skirt but not bad for work. The pattern has extra seams in the front and back which I opted to keep.

The shirt is a short sleeved button down I made using an old pattern in a tan/beige stretch poplin. Unfortunately the pattern was designed to not button all the way to the collar so it’s a little tight up there. I have an alternate white long sleeved button down shirt I bought a while ago to use every now and then. Peggy’s shirt appears to be white but I made a beige alternative. I also made it short sleeved so I could wear this cosplay in a Southern summer without killing myself in the heat and humidity.

I don’t remember the pattern number, sorry to say. I have a lot of button down shirt style patterns and do not recall the exact one I used.

The tie was made using olive green suiting and black polyester lining. I used Sweet Shop Sewing’s free tie pattern. It was really simple to make but somewhat long. I have to tuck it into the skirt so it doesn’t show. The only thing I omitted was the little tab to hold the back of the tie, but it’s not necessary for my needs.

Originally I had planned to use olive green twill and dark green polyester lining with brass eagle buttons and make the jacket myself. However, I made a mistake in cutting the pattern pieces out. I told myself not to make that mistake and I went ahead and did it anyway. Instead of buying more fabric and potentially making the same mistake again, I found a vintage Eisenhower jacket on Etsy. The Eisenhower jacket is the model for Peggy’s jacket; the only difference is most Eisenhowers were made with the buttons and waist belt going to the right (Peggy’s go to the left which is the more feminine style). It was one deviation I could live with for the sake of my sanity. The only thing I had to do to the jacket once it arrived was add the brass buttons…

IMG_7986 Fixed…or so I thought. Since the Eisenhower was a vintage and used piece, it had some damage. The seller did mention damage in their listing but was not specific in details. Most of the damage was confined to the sleeves with tiny holes in the shoulder and upper arm areas. Also the sleeve edges were worn and had holes. The most significant hole was on the left sleeve around the elbow area. I didn’t worry myself over the tiny holes since they weren’t too noticeable. The sleeve edges I managed to fix by shortening the sleeves to a more appropriate length for my shorter arms. The hole on the elbow was more problematic; I managed to sew it closed but it’s still very visible. Since I don’t plan on entering any craftsmanship competitions with this, I can deal.

Also the shoulders are HUGE on me despite this being one of smallest sized Eisenhowers I could find. =/

The shoes are from B.A.I.T. Footwear (not shown), the company that makes Peggy’s shoes from Agent Carter. The style is Roberta in tan. I had to go up in size since I have wide feet so they are a little long but oh so cute and fairly comfortable. They are not the exact shoes, as I need shoes with straps (I don’t walk well in heels without straps to hold them on). But they are brown and vintage inspired, which is appropriate for Peggy.

IMG_7988The S.S.R. pins and airsoft gun (also not shown) are from sellers on eBay. They are the perfect props, and the airsoft gun looks just like a Walther PPK – the type of gun Peggy (and James Bond) use.

So, my first Peggy Carter cosplay is officially complete. Next up is her red dress, which I already have all the materials for. 🙂

Building A Peggy Carter Wardrobe

In my Going Vintage post, I mentioned that one of my current role models is Agent Peggy Carter played by the lovely and talented Hayley Atwell. One of the things I absolutely love about Peggy is her sense of style. Since I’ve been attempting to go more vintage in my wardrobe, what better way to get inspiration than to start with Peggy.

So I have plans to make her iconic blue suit but I am having difficulty finding the appropriate blue color fabric in the right texture. I also have plans to make some of her Captain America uniforms but some of the pieces do not exactly translate to a teacher’s wardrobe. Since I love many of her pieces from Marvel’s Agent Carter, it just made sense to reproduce similar pieces.

A lot of Peggy’s pieces were either actual vintage pieces or custom made for the show. Other than the shoes and make up, there’s no way I’m going to be able to acquire screen accurate pieces. So the challenge would be to make them as close as possible. Challenge accepted!

One of the pieces I really love is her blue and red dress she wears midway through the first episode.

ZLu5UhcThis is one of my favorite pieces from the series and probably the closest to what I currently have in my wardrobe. I am fairly certain the original was made is a polyester type fabric but I plan to make mine in scuba knit for stretchability.

Next are her two suit jackets from the finale episode, Valediction. One is a dark blue plaid with an equally dark blue belt…

agentcaWhile the second is a dark blue stripe with a brighter toned blue belt.

agent-carter-finale_article_story_largeThe two outfits seem to use the same dark blue pants and shoes but the jackets, shirts, and belts change. They looked so similar with shirts having similar collar structures that I originally thought they were the same outfit. I’m more partial to the blue plaid one so that’s the jacket I’m likely to make first.

Speaking of plaid jackets, her red plaid jacket from the end of Time and Tide is just gorgeous and eye catching.

peggy carter in red plaid blazerThe costume designers of the show have stated that her skirt here is brown, but I think a dark navy would be more appropriate and work just as well.

Her green wrap dress coat from the Iron Ceiling is also a favorite.

1536x2048The skirt has a nice swing to it. I think this is one of the few non-red, white, and blue outfits Peggy wears but I still love it. Wrap dresses work for almost any body type, especially my pear shaped figure.

There is of course her vintage blue and pink dress from the interview at the Griffith scene.

agent-carterThis is going to be an interesting challenge getting those pink stripes to line up.

Of course Peggy also has a number of silk shirts. I can think of at least five different styles she wears, most of them made of silk. Silk is expensive these days so I will probably use it only sparingly, making most of the shirts out of polyester, shirting, or poplin. The upside of making so many shirts is I will have plenty to wear for work.

agent-carter-pilot-hayley-atwell_article_story_largeLast but not least is the red dress from the bar scene in Captain America.

ca003I have no idea when this dress will be worn but it’s nonetheless beautiful and I want it.

My plan is to have at least two of these outfits, the blue suit with red fedora, and one of Peggy’s uniforms done by the end of the year. Since I’ve already made a pair of blue pants, modified a red fedora, and have all but a uniform jacket done, I think I am well on the way there. 🙂

Next thing I need to do is get comfortable wearing a red lip and make up. =/