Wednesday, October 28, 2015

OUAT Cosplay Appreciation Post #1

The sheer volume of "Once Upon a Time" cosplay out there is overwhelming. I mean, I consider how many costumes I've made, and then realize that I can look at 50 different OUAT cosplays and just  one of them is one I've sewn! And that's only scratching the tip of the iceberg! This fandom is amazing.

 This post is just a collection of my very favorite cosplays (costume+photo staging) from deviantart - none of which contain any components made by me (as far as I can ascertain). I could have included a lot more under those perimeters... just thinking of all there is to comb through on tumblr and the rest of the web is crazy! But we'll start here for now, and know that more are coming.

 I'm curious to know - if you've done a OUAT cosplay, what have been the hardest parts? Sourcing Materials? Finding/adapting Patterns? Utilizing new techniques? Tracking down reference photos? I'd be interested in addressing some of these in future posts, if I get enough feedback.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Seamstress Goodie Basket 10/26/2015

Welcome to the weekly(ish) round-up of my favorite sewing things on the web!

Disclosure: Some of the links may be affiliate links

Stuff to Read

I've seen so many different things that you can do with different molds and casts, but this might be the coolest yet. I definitely have to try this sometime. (Even more gem tutorials here)

Husband Humor
For all of you sewers with significant others who don't sew, this is an article you'll both laugh over!

Stuff to Buy

Sewing Machine Coffee Mugs (Etsy)
My husband has forbidden me to buy any more coffee mugs, but I'm hoping once we get a house I can convince him that I really need a sewing mug to compliment my reading mug...

Jersey Knit (
I love stocking up  on knits over at at least once a year. They have a great range of inexpensive materials to choose from, and something like this cotton/rayon gray stripe on clearance would be great for a beginner to work with. Don't like stripes? There are plenty more knit fabrics on clearance this week!

Gingher 4" Embroidery Scissors (
Ugh. I love these little scissors so much, I have two pairs. They are probably the most expensive little scissors you'll ever buy, but they are SO WONDERFUL and cut so well and stay sharp and seriously. You must own them. (I get the best deal possible by combining a sale price with a "total purchase" coupon, which you sometimes are allowed to stack on the sale prices. Read the fine print carefully.) BTW, their full size shears are amazing as well.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

OUAT More Camelot and Glitter and Guinevere (5.3 and 5.4)

Wow, I feel almost over saturated with new costumes from "Once Upon a Time," do you?

(Screencaps edited from

By the way, if you haven't watched "5.3 Siege Perilous" and "5.4. The Broken Kingdom" you may want to hold off on reading this costume analysis.

I love love love Belle's green dress. We still haven't gotten a very clear look at it, but here you can sort of make out the princess seaming and the sleeve lines. It is basically the same as Regina's red velvet dress from the same scene, but the drastic difference in colors obscure this similarity. We could think of this green dress as OUAT's version of Belle's green dress from the animated film, since we haven't seen this incarnation of the character in a green dress yet.

This isn't really a costume thing, just appreciation of Papa Charming.

Speaking of Regina's red dress, they should just dress Lana in red all the time. She looks so amazing in it. (I think her sleeves might be a tad smaller than Belle's but it could just be a scale thing, as Emilie is pretty tiny).

Here we see Henry with a pale blue velvet cape, more of Regina's sleeves, and a new costume for Robin (which I like much better than the 5.2 offering)

The picture is blurry, but it shows how serious OUAT is about lacing details.

I wish we could have seen more of Snow's rose gold dress! The fabrics and detailings are esquisite, and we rarely see Snow in this color scheme (it looks pretty nice on her!).

But, of course, we have to keep Snow in white as much as possible... which isn't so bad when it gives us this gorgeous gown. I adore the exquisite lace appliques on the sleeves!

View from behind.

They are loving detail in this season, taking the opportunity to use as many beads as possible...

Now Zelena wears a dress that is in as much opposition to Regina as possible. Pale blue, coarse fabric, no excess sleeves... but still some nice detailing with the neckline and sleeves. Thematically she is visually similar to Robin Hood, with lots of lacing, simpler materials and subdued hues. 

There is a hint of wealth with those buttons at the sleeves though, as well as the shiny aglets capping off all of the ties.

And a back view for those looking to recreate the dress. I am guessing there are some boning channels running along the seams to keep it laying that smooth.

Emma gets short shrift this time around. The dress is gorgeous (and the cloak, below, even more so), but high waists do not suit Jennifer Morrison at all. I'm pretty sure they were trying to tie her look into Snow's, but whereas it works great for both Ginnifer Goodwin's stature and recent maternity status, it looks all wrong on Morrison. I kept wondering if she was pregnant or suffering really bad indigestion... which is too bad because otherwise Morrison looked completely ethereal in these episodes.

Cloak detail, dashing pirate, Henry back details.

Ethereal! And that cloak is made with super cool fabric.

But the real star of the fashion show was Guienevere, starting off when she was a little village girl.

Her style didn't change much over the years.

But then she became queen and my oh my, did she get an upgrade! I think this yellow gown is my favorite entry in her wardrobe so far. LOVING the crushed velvet.

EDIT: Several of you wrote in to point out that this is the same gown as the one worn by Rapunzel. WHOOPS! I totally thought "hey that is the same shade of yellow as Rapunzel's gown!" but I didn't actually think it was the same gown because as a costumer I'd never give the same dress to two different prominent characters (although it is lovely to see this gown again, as it is truly beautiful.) I suppose it is not impossible that Gwen and Rapunzel knew each other and Gwen gave the dress to Rapunzel for some reason? LOL costume continuity geek... anyhow,  See Rapunzel wearing it here.

Okay, the bodice might be a tad over-embellished (the border could have been half the size and still pretty large) but the fabric is enough to keep me happy. So soft and fluffy I'm gonna die! Wait, wrong movie...

Gwen's adventuring costume is very similar to Belle's (and I like the colors on Belle's better). EDIT a couple readers pointed out that this costume is also a recycle - Jaq wore it several seasons ago (as in our Jac the giant killer). Poor Gwen get's everyone's cast-offs.

I love the eyelet sleeves.

I am not sure what I think of this dress. It is all about showing off the necklace, which doesn't quite work because the neckline is so busy that the necklace and trim compete and cancel each other out. Also, the fabric makes me think of a 40-year-old in tight animal print clothing.

I think "Once Upon a Time" should win prizes for BEST CLOAKS IN A SHOW EVER. This one holds it own against everything the show has done so far (except maybe Ruby's because her's is the best). We don't get a good look at the pink linen gown, but here you can see that it is a divided sleeve with an undersleeve showing at the elbow (like Zelena's dress). You can also see the faint hint of a belt (like Regina's and Belle's).

I know I give the guys short shrift in these analysis posts, but you've probably noticed that I'm a sucker for Henry in fantasy clothes. We've just been waiting so long to see the kid make this all happen, and seeing him looking like the prince he is just makes me so proud and happy of him.

Here we see Snow that gray outfit\ we noticed in the premiere (Charming's is different). Turns out, it is not quite as plain as it looked at first site.

Here we can see the sweet texture of the coat fabric, the velvet of the cloak, and the rich lace trim bordering her sleeves.

Like I said, we're spoiled for choice here!

By the way, if you're interested on my thoughts regarding the storylines, check out my episode reviews over on my personal blog.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Seamstress's Goodie Basket (10/19/2015)

Welcome to a new blog feature! I don't know whether it is going to be weekly/biweekly/monthly, but I am going to start releasing lists of products and blog posts I love!

(Some of the recommended items may be affiliate links. I try to use them tastefully, and only recommend products that I really do like and feel comfortable recommending to you!)

My favorite fabric source, Fabric.Com, has a 30% off sale on their licensed fabrics until Thursday (10/22) and that includes this awesome Doctor Who/Van Gogh print!

This Etsy find is also on my Christmas list! I have t-shirts for all of my other obessions, but have had a bit of a tough time finding a sewing themed one that I liked. I'm thinking I'll maybe ask for this in heather gray or lilac.

People ask me where I got the template for this blog - and no wonder, it is not a blogger freebee! Actually, I found it on Etsy, which has tons of good options in a variety of price ranges. While I don't want to share the exact template I used (I like to remain relatively unique!), this one is very similar and was a strong second contender.

Crystal Glass Buttons (Bennos Buttons)
Bennos Buttons is my go-to place for affordable buttons in bulk. I am often surprised by what I am able to find there - and most designs come in multiple sizes at great prices! 

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Plea for Space and Dreaming about the Blog's Future

I'd like to share a little bit about what's on my mind in regards to my future costuming and the continuation of this blog.

Okay, so some housekeeping business first. I love getting messages about how much you all appreciate my blog posts - those are fine! But please hold off on the questions for now. I am having a few better days (drawing and knitting are happening in small quantities) but I'm still not up to sewing, and definitely not even close to discussing future costume commissions again. Right now I need to rest and heal, and getting costume queries not only by e-mail, but also via my dishcloth etsy shop (which is now on vacation for the time being) and instagram is stressful for me and not a good use of your time. When I do have time to deal with work stuff, I have so much to do with already commissioned pieces that I can't spend energy on giving costume quotes for pieces that I may not have time to make for years.

(Really, when I say I can't handle work correspondence right now, I do mean it. Ignoring the boundaries I'm requesting for my health/sanity is not going to endear me to making you a costume.)

But I'm going to make costumes again in 2016, right? Can't I just give a cost query now? Well, apart from the fact that I have a lot of trouble keeping up with cost queries even when my inbox is open, we're honestly not sure whether I'm going to be able to do more than a couple pieces next year (and one of them is already spoken for by a long-time customer). Plus, when my health stabilizes, we are at the point where we want my energy to go to having/raising/homeschooling our still-in-the-future-but-much-wanted kids, so we're not sure how much professional sewing I will have time/energy to do - that's part of why I'm focusing more on the writing and towel embroidery business, as they are both a little easier to work around having kids. 

But don't worry, I still plan to maintain this blog, as I dearly love sharing my love of costuming. Even when we do have kids, I'll definitely keep sewing, it'll just be mostly for us rather than clients with deadlines that my health currently can't handle. Plus, there are the costume reviews for shows like OUAT which are so fun to do! (but they are time consuming, which is why I have to hold myself back from doing them. They're fun, but they're quite a bit of work and right now the blog is sort of slipping back to hobby status, since I'm not taking costume commissions right now. Which is frustrating but not something I can control, other than continuing to try to get well.)

Actually, a dream of mine would be to find a way for this blog to make money so I could spend more time creating and sharing costuming resources. I would love to do a "use this pattern to make this costume" series and provide more info on techniques and resources. The problem is that would be a LOT of work that I just can't justify right now without getting paid... plus the costumes you all really want to know about are the ones connected to trademark properties - I can't just write a  "how to sew OUAT costumes" book without all sorts of official licenses that I'm not in a position to go after. I don't think I could do a Patreon sort of situation without getting in trouble. I may write a longer post about this at some point and solicit suggestions as I'm pretty much out of ideas for making this happen. I've been brainstorming for years about how to make even a little income running this blog and have never come up with a good solution (from all I have ever heard, blog ads are not worth the trouble). 

And yes, I AM still planning to write my costume sewing book, I just have to get through a mound of costume and towel commissions, finish my fiction book edits (yes, editors, it's coming!), make CHRISTMAS gifts (already???) and sew some much needed clothes from the fabric I have already purchased... after my health has finally improved enough to sew. (People don't believe how much energy sewing takes, until they do it themselves. My husband found this out when he volunteered to take on a big ironing project for me... and he's pretty fit!)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Technicolor Merida and Pastel Princesses

Thank you all for being so patient with the long gap between posts! I hope this mega "Once Upon a Time" photo dump will make up for it. :)

So far we've gotten a boatload of new costumes, and this season promises many more to come. I'm sure I'm not the only one geeking out over this!

(All photos are edited from screencaptures here.)

Nice fake chainmaille, Arthur and co! Don't worry, I'm not going to be harsh on you for this one, chainmaille is tremendously expensive and you gotta do what you gotta do. I like the quilted undertunics, although the surcoats are a little plain. 

I imagine Emma's first "Dark Swan" costume was pretty fun to make, with all of those interesting textures. Sublety in costume meaning is not OUAT's strong suit, and this outfit screams loud and clear "My goodness is decomposing!!!!"

But man, it's the coolest thing Emma's worn since her red leather jacket.

Wheee train.

Here's a look at the sleeve detail.

Of course, the big new character entrance in episode 1 was Merida. Disapointingly, her costume was pretty much line for line lifted from the movie (guess Frozen wasn't the end of that). That said, it is one of the nicest renditions of the costume I have seen. I love the texture of the cloak and the dress border details.

Yeah, the colors were a little bright, but they're very nice colors.

Here's the best screenchot of the back - you can see the lacing, as well as the sleeve buttons.

A good look at her belt.

The very last scene in the episode gave us a tantalizing look at a ton of new costumes. What we can see of them looks totally drool-worthy and I cannot wait to see more of them! (I have seen set photos of Regina and Henry's pieces, so I know more is coming!)

Regina can wear those jewel tones like nothing else.


Even Grumpy gets a cool look!

We don't usually see Snow and Charming in this sort of bland gray/taupe/tan, so I'm very curious to see what they are up to when the new curse hits them!

Normally in these reviews I focus on the fantasy clothing, however I am ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with Emma's coat here. Ugh, those sleeves...

...and that waist...

...and that skirt! So classy and awesome. I want to make this coat for myself at some point. 

But hold on, there's more! We got a new fantasy costume for almost every principal on the show, including a gorgeous ball gown for Emma - which from the flowers on her head and simple hair, total covering of every scrap of skin possible, and complete virginal white is trying to say "I am TOTALLY NOT THE DARK ONE, NO EVIL HERE, KEEP MOVING FOLKS!"


Oh man, it is such a gorgeous dress. Here you can see the back and the lace on the sleeves (and it's not a bad shot from a romantic perspective either). It's weird because this dress both suits Emma tremendously well, and fits uneasily on her - which is exactly what it should do.

Sleeve detail, waist detail, creepy hands detail.

While the Storybrooke crew is rocking the pastels as befitting their role of "the Savior's gang," Guinevere rocks some richer tones. OUAT tends to go overboard with the "off the shoulder" look, but otherwise this dress is gorgeous. Arthur's ball suit is pretty awesome too.

I have a pet peeve about magenta in medieval dresses - magenta dye was not invented until the 1800's. Yes, I know it's fantasy, but it just strikes me as too modern and "rock princess" and makes it hard for me to suspend disbelief. Costumes can make you drool, but ultimately they should draw you into the story, not out of it.

Belle is the one character that I'll give a pass on the off the shoulder look for, since it is a homage to her animated film. Wish we could have seen more of this pale blue gown!

It is JUST SO ADORABLE seeing Henry all medieval'd up! I especially love the subtle but elegant pearl beadwork. And his crush isn't badly dressed either!

Okay, her dress is pretty gorgeous. The bust ruching is crazy modern, but I get that they were trying to evoke a 'cool teen' vibe.

And she even gets another gown! Overall I'm not sure what I think of this one, but I do adore the texture of the lavender sleeves/underbodice.

Let's not forget the guys! Hook and Robin have endured woefully tiny wardrobes over the course of their storylines, so it is always exciting to see them in something new. I found the little bobbles bordering Robin's tunic to be distracting, but love the details on Hook's new coat!

Man, Regina's dress change scene was HILARIOUS. It's always weird to see her in pastel - I would have gone for cream or white rather than pink myself. 

 I always try to get a back view of the major costumes when I can!

It's been awhile since we've gotten a new court dress for Snow (not counting her reign as evil queen in the alternate reality) and I quite like this one. Again, I wish the neckline were more in line with the style and not off the shoulder, but otherwise I love the colors, trim and textures. Charming's style is always great, this is just another in a long line of awesome choices for him.

Mhmmm, I just love all that gold. 

So there we are, a few questionable choices but overall a LOT of fun new stuff, especially seeing the characters in more traditional medieval clothes as fits the visual theme of Camelot. I can't wait to see what next week brings!