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Ian Rush

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Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser from “Outlander”

As soon as I saw this dress on my television, I knew I wanted to make it.  I knew I HAD to make it.  I admire Claire as a character – her fire, her drive, her sexuality, her intelligence, and her fearless use of curse words are all things that I identify with.  That, and I’m always looking for characters I can be without changing my hair.

At the time I was working on this costume, I was dating someone who was excited to try out different costuming opportunities, so I easily talked him into being Jamie.  (IRL, he’s more of an Angus, but that’s neither here nor there. :D )


The Girl in the Dress:

  • I managed to find some plaid wool online that was quite close to Claire’s dress.  It was too grey, so I dyed it to be a little bit more green.
  • I knew that the construction of the bodice was very similar to one I’ve made before – so, of course, I made the same mistakes this time as well, but I’m learning.  The bodice itself is three layers – the green plaid outer, a green liner, and a brown inner layer that I sewed the boning to to act as structure.
  • I’d never in my life made a cartridge pleated skirt!  It was DAUNTING to look at all of that fabric and think, you know, at some point, this has to be a dress.  I really need to get on that.  Eventually I did, taking advice from friends to use curtain tape to pleat the fabric.  I then hand-sewed it, and left an opening on either side for inner pockets.
  • The dress is sitting on a borrowed bum roll and a pair of inner pockets, similar to the pockets of the time.  I was worried about ruining the look of the cartridge pleats if I tried hanging a pocket from it!

The Boy in the Kilt:

  • That shirt.  You can’t see it completely, but it might be the thing that I’m the most proud of.  No buttons, no frills, simple unbleached muslin, long enough to tuck into the kilt… just wonderful.  I used some spare muslin for the tie/cravat/ascot thing at the neck.
  • I’m incredibly proud of the vest as well.  It’s a very simple design, but I was ecstatic to find faux bone buttons in the trough at SR Harris, and they really complete the look.  I also gave the back a “weathered” look with a little shoe polish, just like they did on the show.
  • I’ve never in my life made a kilt.  Ever.  And at the time, I wasn’t working, and couldn’t afford the yardage for the official Outlander tartan from Celtic Croft.  The wool I ended up using is wool coating material from SR Harris, overdyed with brown dye to really get close to the right coloring.  Then the trick was actually folding it.  I managed to do so on the boy’s dining room floor, and then painstakingly stitched each of the pleats into a waistband made of paracord so we wouldn’t have to worry about folding it again.  At that point, it was all about figuring out how Jamie folded his on the show, and I think we got it pretty close.  It’s about 6 yards of wool.  For my first ever kilt?  I call it a win.  Bonus: video of it swooshing:

The Details:

  • Claire, in one episode, attempts an escape by drugging a bottle of port and offering it to anyone she came in contact with.  I didn’t drug mine, but I certainly walked around with it.  It was delicious.
  • I threw my hair up quickly and let it be wild and frizzy where I couldn’t, which worked perfectly for the character.
  • The shawl.  I know.  I don’t have it.  We’re still figuring out how to make it on my mother’s knitting machine, but it is in the works!


All in all, I’m incredibly proud of this costume.  I was shocked that people knew who I was, since Outlander airs on Starz, but I was approached by a girl in the Artist Alley who started tearing up when she saw us.  I’ve never gotten that kind of a response from a fellow fan before, so it was really touching.

It’s garnered me an Honorable Mention on the Shear Madness blog as well!


Assembling a Costume: Step 3


Well THAT was a long jaunt between posts!  Since the last time I posted, I attended the local CONvergence in Bloomington, Minnesota, and had the opportunity to attend San Diego Comic Con.  It was a GREAT experience, especially in costume! { Read more }

Assembling a Costume: Step 2

Hello again!

CONvergence is A WEEK away and I’m working away on my projects!  Now that I have most of the items ordered, I thought it was time for another installment of this series.

In case you missed it, step 1 was Research.



{ Read more }

Assembling a Costume: Step 1

Hello all!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve checked in with you but, I promise, that doesn’t mean I’m not hard at work!

With the local CONVERGENCE science fiction convention coming up, I thought it’d be a good time to give you a peek behind the curtain.  I wrote up pieces about a few of my costumes after-the-fact last year, but this year, I thought I’d get a jump on it and show you what my costuming process looks like from the very beginning.

I have a few costumes on deck for this year, but for the purposes of this post, I’ll focus on two:
S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill from Marvel comics and “The Avengers” film from last year,
and Queen Susan of the Horn from The Chronicles of Narnia and, specifically, the “Prince Caspian” film from 2008

{ Read more }

What I’ve Been Working On, Fall 2012 edition

It’s been a busy summer, blog world!  Sorry I’ve been such an absentee.  Here’s what I’ve been up to.

{ Read more }

teamphotoblog: Olympic Nails!

I geek out about the Olympics. Like, a lot. I was bouncing on Friday night when I was prepping for the Opening Ceremonies, getting foodstuffs ready for the thirty or so people that came over to my mom’s house to hang out and watch the British show us how it’s done.  And by “bouncing,’ I mean, “in tandem with my cousin.”
So late last Tuesday night, before doing my costume pics, I did my nails for the Olympics.  After surfing Pinterest, I landed on the idea of making each one of my nails one of the Olympic rings.  I laid down a base coat of China Glaze “Fast Track” from the Hunger Games collection, which is lovely and gold.  I made the rings with the middle of a Q-tip and edged them with silver to cover for the fact that I smudged them a few times.

[singlepic id=220 w=320 h=240 float=center]

[singlepic id=221 w=320 h=240 float=center]

I got my inspiration from this pin from polishpedia, and it turns out this is a popular idea, because now I’ve seen it on HelloGiggles!

And now that I’m getting better at design-y things, and my nails are getting longer, this could be a lot of fun.


Gallery Update and Outtakes from the Shoot

It’s been a long time coming – I was able to wrangle a photographer to take some more costume photos!  The gallery is refreshed with lovely CONvergence goodies – Jubilee, Rufio, and Katniss.  Special thanks to my BFF, Jenn Farmer, for bringing her good camera over and taking these shots!

A few of them were perfect for the gallery.  Here’s the few that are perfect outtakes.

As Jubilee, I was being overly critical of my “superhero” technique.  I didn’t remember how Jubilee rolled, but I knew it wasn’t with “kamehameha” or “hadouken,” and certainly not “jazz hands,” but we have shots of those.

As Rufio, I was climbing on the pieces of the yet-to-be-assembled play structure in my yard.  It was not, as they say, structurally sound.  Once I scaled it, however, I found I had an audience – my two-and-a-half year old Tiny Roommate and her father, watching from the kitchen window.  So I started making funny faces at them, and they turned out to be the best shots we got of the costume.  I love them.

As Katniss, there was a lot of spinning involved for the ruffles on the Girl on Fire dress, so some came out as a blur, and some came out with me stepping out of frame.  I used a couple of those anyway because the dress looked amazing!


CONvergence 2012: Hey! I made that!

One of the treats of the convention is walking around and seeing your work out there on other humans.  Here are just a few of those from CONvergence 2012:

Sam as Codex from the “Do You Want to Date My Avatar?” video

Meredith and Ryan as Mal and Inara from “Firefly” (Congrats on the engagement, you two! And nice Kaylee costume, Corryn!)

I also dyed and embellished the shirt for Ash from Alien.

In case you missed it, here are my other costumes from CONvergence 2012!
Jubilee from the X-Men
Penny from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog
Kaylee from Firefly
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games
Rufio from Hook

CONvergence 2012: Hipster/Modern Jubilee from the X-Men


Source: via Maggie on Pinterest



Jubilee was a last-minute decision, someone I suddenly wanted to be in the heat of coming up with ideas immediately before CON.  I have short hair that’s perfect for the role, and this year’s theme is “Wonder Women,” so a comic book superheroine was in order.  I had recently purchased the cranberry skinny jeans at Target – a sale rack impulse buy at $7.  I’d had the blue corset for a couple of years.  A friend provided the glasses.  The gloves were a painstaking process of wanting to go one way with it (fiberoptics, LED or EL wire) and deciding to instead go easy on myself and use glitter.

It’s the jacket that sold it for me.  When I got the idea for Hipster Jubilee, I thought about it good and hard for a little while, wondering if I’d be able to execute the look properly.  So I hit Etsy.  Every hipster’s got to have something vintage, right?  So I looked for vintage yellow jackets.  And there it was.  A vintage canary yellow Jonathan Logan jacket with a wide lapel.  Perfect color.  Perfect fit.

I spent the entire night giving and receiving high-fives.  Worth it!

CONvergence 2012: Katniss’s Girl on Fire gown from “The Hunger Games”


Source: via Maggie on Pinterest


The “Girl on Fire” interview gown is described extensively in the book thusly:
“Because my dress, oh, my dress is entirely covered in reflective precious gems, red and yellow and white with bits of blue that accent the tips of the flame design.  The slightest movement gives the impression I am engulfed in tongues of fire.
I am not pretty. I am not beautiful.  I am as radiant as the sun.”


I read “The Hunger Games” immediately before I saw the film.  As soon as I read that passage, I was excited to not only see how it would translate to film, but to think about how I would design the gown myself.  I didn’t know for sure that I was even going to have this costume on hand until the Operation Glass Slipper warehouse sale.  I’ll need to go more in-depth about this wonderful organization later, but the long and short of it is that I was allowed to comb through racks and racks and racks of gowns and I found one that SCREAMED to be remade into the Girl on Fire gown.  I combed through a bin of formal shawls and grabbed complementary shades of reds and golds.  The technique I used on the skirt is an old one – you might recognize it a little from my Platinum Benedikta red carpet gown from two years ago.  I loved the technique when I learned it, and this seemed like a great time to make more ruffles.

Since I was toeing the line between the book representation and the film, I wanted ruffles along the bottom cascading up in fire shades.  The ruffles themselves are edged with bright metallic copper thread on the outside, and a variegated red-to-yellow thread on the inside, giving the edges of the ruffles a shimmering effect.  Once I finished the ruffles, I hung the dress on Eloise (my new dress form) and thought that something was lacking; that there was a disconnect between the flaming colors of the ruffled skirt and the more floral bodice.  That’s when I busted out my white chalk, drew a flame design wrapping all the way around the dress, and sewed it in with the lovely metallic copper thread.

While working on this process, I was suddenly reminded of why I learned to draw flames: the St. Paul Winter Carnival.  My dad was a Vulcan – the keepers of heat during the dark cold of winter, and the bringers of heat and spring.  It’s been a long time dream of mine to be a South Wind Princess in the Winter Carnival and, while that dream may have to go by the wayside as I get nearer and nearer to not being an eligible age, if I were to ever do it, I’d have this dress to wear, this gorgeous flaming dress.