Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Cosplay Costumes: Ms. Marvel Cosplay at the London Super Comic Convention 2012

Any one who’s been following my twitter will know that I have been going on and on about making my Ms. Marvel costume for London SuperComic Con (or LSCC for short).

Anywho, I was once told that to call something cosplay it required at least 70% of items worn needed to be home made or modified. I have since learned that while this is true in the highest levels of cosplay competition it does not really apply to amateurs, like me, and the word has taken on a more generic meaning similar to ‘fancy dress’. I guess it’s in the same way cosplay encompasses all aspects of dressing up now, not just those related to Japan.

However for the LSCC I decided to actually make my costume, well as best as I could without a sewing machine!

Ms. Marvel, secret identity Carol Danvers, costume involves a sleeveless high neck body suit with a lightning bolt on the front, some thigh high boots and a red sash to preserve some dignity. She also has long yellow blonde hair and a mark to protect her identity.

With this in mind I set out to create the body suit from a long sleeve top from good ‘ol Primark (from which I removed the sleeves) and cut a lightning bolt into satin fabric in the right sort of gold colour.

Sewing this bad boy was a real pain! The fabric frayed terribly and didn’t stretch at all meaning by the time I had hand sewn the shape to the stretched top I was left with a kind of wrinkly effect. This wasn’t so bad once I was wearing the costume, but I certainly learnt just why superheroes wear stretchy spandex!
Phase two was creating the sash. This was achieved by cutting a meter of red sating fabric in half and sewing it together – not too tricky. I would have loved to have hemmed the edges but sadly I just didn’t have time… but I think I may have gotten away with it.

The final part was adding the accessories, painting on my mask (I've previously recommended MAC Fluidline for this), putting on the wig and sewing my stockings to my tights, yes you heard right, that was quite an effort, but with my size it is exceptionally difficult to get a pair of over the knee boots to fit!

Finally I was ready to leave the house!

Here’s the final look:

The experience of being dressed in something that I had made was fantastic! Furthermore there was the added bonus that people actually knew who I was!

I wandered around the convention taking photos for Den ofGeek, doing my day-job (I WISH!), and posed for photos with fans of Ms. Marvel and some people with an interest in cosplay.
A highlight of this was when a man asked if his tiny son could have his picture taken with me. I nearly cried it was just so cute!

I also had my picture taken at the Panini Marvel Graphic Novels stand with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor… or at least their cardboard equivalents.

Then I went to artist’s alley and after asking for autographs I had my pictures taken with several comic artist and writers – some of which even complimented me on my costume, including Peter Nguyen, Mike Carey, Mike Norton and Paul Cornell!

I must confess, and this sounds very vain, but I felt great! Typically I suffer a lot with body image problems and have to say that going outside in a silly outfit, wearing a mask is extremely therapeutic for resolving this (even if temporarily). I would definitely encourage anyone to try it. 
 I can absolutely see why people get hooked on this.

For the final part of the day I *reluctantly* took part in the cosplay competition – my first. It was terrifying! And I had no idea what to do, and I made a complete mess of it… but it was still fun and having done one, I would very much like to do some more. I just need to work on some poses and get some practice with my sewing machine!

I'll post a gallery of my favourite cosplays from the convention in the near future and I'll also post about retro-cosplay and what I wore on Sunday in a few days too. Until then...

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Vintage Inspirtation: Recipe for My Perfect Vintage-Style Wedding Dress

Hi there, today I have another wedding update. I had my first dress fitting with the fantastic JoanneFleming last week. What a treat! 

But now that I have decided on who and how I am getting my dream dress I thought I should share my experience of making my choice.

Here's my recipe for a perfect wedding dress:
Take one picky girl,
Add one helpful but not quite right shop visit,
Mix with some very stale vintage,
And a sprinkle of wedding fairs,
Bake for two months with a very rude eBay seller and a Chinese Counterfeit,
Top of with some forum research,
And serve with a flair of local designer!

I knew from the moment I was engaged that I would want a fit and flair vintage 1950s style dress. I had watched enough Don't Tell the Bride to know that I liked very few of the typical shaped wedding dresses. One of the designer dresses I liked from magazines was the Rosealba by Stephanie Allin however it seemed a dress like this would cost around £2000! Far above my budget... but served as great inspiration for my subsequent searches.

The Rosealba

So on one Sunday some time ago I decided to go wedding dress shopping with my maid of honour. Unfortunately no-one had told us that wedding dress shops are rarely open on Sundays or that you typically need appointments to go inside - It would seem browsing isn't something wedding dress shops allow. 

We eventually happened into OZone of Brighton and I tried on several dresses some long, some short and while they were very helpful they just didn't have the kind of dress I wanted. They offered to make changes to an existing dress design so that it would be more like what I wanted and advised me on a quote- for £1600!!! I felt it was just too much for an adapted designer dress... 
Furthermore after a few wedding fairs it was clear that finding a short dress may be expensive and this pushed me to dabble in trying to find a vintage dress. 

Months of eBay watching and vintage trawling occurred. But being a size 12-14 meant that I found very few genuine vintage dresses as they were just too small - especially the good quality ones. I decided to risk buying a dress on eBay on a whim, mainly because it was £35 and I thought It may be worth it. The dress was photographed badly and listed as '80s does 50s', unfortunately when it arrived it was exactly that. A sort of net lace fabric with an off white lining and it was quite a bit too big. It wasn't terrible, it just wasn't quite what I wanted. So back on eBay it went, I managed to sell it for £50 so I did make a small profit. However I'm fairly confident this was for a royal wedding party as the buyer 'needed the item delivered by Friday the 29th of April'...  

1980s does 1950s vintage lace wedding dress

I then experimented with vintage replicas like those found on Dolly Couture. I have to say that some of these look gorgeous! And I was very tempted but worries of import tax and shipping costs kept me from buying. So when a dress that looked like one by Dolly Couture appeared on eBay in my size I decided to buy- for £100. 

Dolly Couture The Beverlywood and The Cambridge

When the dress arrived it was nice but it was clearly a fake version of the dress as it lacked labels etc. while i was impressed with the fabric some I the finishing was very cheap and there was what looked like a spot to blood under a pin tuck on the bodice. Of course I was not happy with this at all and asked to rerun the dress. I was very rudely dismissed by the seller who accused me of damaging the dress so I could return it - can you imagine how angry I was at that! During the months that followed there was much to-ing and fri-ing but I did eventually manage to get my money back. It was, however, a very surprising experience for me and was the first real eBay trouble I have had as a buyer.

After all this I decided to go back to basics and went trawling through forums about wedding dresses and came across someone recommending Jo Fleming’s designs. After looking on her website I saw styles that I really liked and made an appointment to visit the studio. After another visit to try on a studio sample gown I was in love and knew what I wanted I was just worried about price.

I have been fortunate enough that my mother has been able to help me out with the price but lets just say I am getting a custom made designer gown in organza silk and lace for just about the average price of a standard wedding dress. These dresses are exceptionally well priced- Grab a bargain while you can!

But I can’t really put a price on my dream dress. Its been a challenge and has taken about a year of research, investigation and some horrible mistakes but thankfully I didn’t lose and money from it and I will now have the dress of my dreams - its just a shame I can't show you it... yet...

Hopefully my hubby to be will like it as much as me.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Cosplay Costumes: Trailer Trash - Comic Book Flicks - Harley Quinn Cosplay

With some of my costuming events (London Super Comic Con and Trailer Trash) coming up in the next couple of months I thought I would do a post about a super villain costume I wore way back in autumn 2009!

Trailer Trash: Comic book flicks was an event I had won tickets to at the previous event and with my love of comic books in mind I knew I had to raise the costume bar!

After much thought and a few suggestions from friends I settled on The Joker's number 1 groupy Harley Quinn. Partly this was down to the fact that I liked the character but also because my friend Sadie was planning on dressing as Poison Ivy and for those that don't know it, Harley and Ivy are the BFFs of Gotham City.

Now I'm not much of a sewer, and the things I do sew are by hand (please bear this in mind when I explain making my Ms. Marvel costume in the not too distant future) so the prospect of making a full body suit was terrifying!

Luckily for me several companies make Quinn costumes to rescue even the most hopeless of us. I managed to find one on eBay (where else?) that seemed appropriate for my size, 12-14, so I took a risk and ordered it.

When it arrived I tried it on and promptly ordered a pair of super sexy spanx to hold everything in place and went on a mission to find other items like a mask and white facepaint.

My makeup took about an hour to apply and I made sure to wear my hair in bunches for authenticity but once this was done the rest of the costume was easy.

Here are a couple of snaps of me as Harley and Sadie as Ivy:

The evening was great fun! On the way there I bumped into a friend who didn't even recognise me on and the music and acts throughout the evening were great. There wear quite a few Batman Rogues at the event and I manages to get a snap with a few of us together. This was also the event where my tradition of accidentally dressing as a stripper started with the performance of an awesome Harley Quinn burlesque act by Miss Honey Moon!

I was very pleased with the overall look, and the Trailer Trash team must have been too as I even won first place in the costume competition and received free tickets to the next event and a bottle of bubbly :D

You can find other costumes I wore for Trailer Trash Sci-fi and Vanpires vs. Zombies on Fancy Dresscapades and I'll be posting on next months Speakeasy (23rd of February at Brighton Komedia) and what I wore to the Moulin Rouge event later on.

My next big costume challenge is Ms. Marvel though and I'll let you know how that goes very soon. Its the most ambitious thing I've made in some time and I'm very excited!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Scrap-booking & an Accidental Vintage Wedding

So I’m getting married, a subject I have mentioned several times on Fancy Dresscapades but never really discussed in any detail. This was mainly due to the fact that details were not confirmed, planning was still to be done and I wasn’t really sure what type of theme I was going for.

As a child I was not one of those girls who had their dream wedding planned, when I realised I would need to plan a wedding the only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted a Church ceremony (good ol' Catholic guilt).

I suppose the first thing I have to say is that although it may not be essential to planning a wedding I would strongly advise anyone to keep a scrapbook filled with ideas. Its great fun and a really great way of seeing your ideas come together, it means the themes, colours and styles almost reveal themselves to you as you look through the pages. It certainly helped me a lot.

Some pages from my scrap book...

After my long journey involving wedding fairs, bridal magazines, and a 30 page scrap book (and a lot of deposits paid) I now finally have my wedding planned. As you may have guessed from this post, it has a definite vintage theme. This was not something I had deliberately intended, I just found that after looking through my scrap book examining all the clippings and notes about the things I had seen that they all felt very retro.

It All Started With A Dance
Natrually being a Lindy Hopper I did have a strong inkling of what I wanted my wedding dance to be like (details are tightly under wraps) and this mean that I knew I would want a wedding dress I could move in. So I decided to go with a tea-length and after a rather disasterous run of looking for dresses I have now found a wonderful designer who is making my dress (more details on all of that in a later post) and it will be decidedly 50s style.

Kaye Popp and Stanley Catron Demonstrating a Step of the Lindy Hop
Image Source

From there things spiralled, when asked about a colour scheme I thought of creams, pinks, purples, blues and greens or as they’re known in the wedding traid ‘The Vintage colours’ I wanted traditional English flowers on the tables and an old fashioned sweet buffet.

Candy buffer (image source) and Vintage Flowers (image source)

A Sort of Vintage Wedding
I think when I really accepted that I would be having a ‘Vintage theme’ wedding was when my mother and I began buying up vintage china for the tale settings (again post to follow). These little cups and saucers are really so pretty!

Some of our vintage china...

Although I’m not having an actual vintage dress etc. I don’t mind. I think the kind of style I am going for is something that a lot of people may consider ‘Vintage’ but I don’t really- its just me.

Save the Date
So my wedding is on September 15th this year, what started feeling like so far away is ever rapidly approaching fast! I suppose it is fairly safe to say that it will be the fanciest-dresscapade I’ll ever had.  I’ll post on the various things I have found/made/bought etc. in the wedding section I have just started on here- some of its pretty inspiring and there are a few cautionary tales too.

Of course I’m not there yet, so feel free to comment if you have any words of warning or tips you think I or anyone else could use!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Hair and Beauty: Victory Rolls & A Cheats Guide To Curling Hair

Before I begin I’d like to say that this post is dedicated to Miss Doherty, my friend and hostess of The Vintage News, as without her advice, guidance and example I would not have learnt this skill.

This isn’t really a tutorial, but I received quite a few comments at the #ZOMGbloggersbash about my hair (a photo even ended up here) and since I was also planning something interesting for my trip to Blind Pig I thought I’d document the process.

Before I start here are a few things about me and my hair:
  • I have naturally wavy hair, not hugely so, but enough that it holds curls quite well (this is the only reason I don’t really need too much hairspray).
  • My hair was short for a long time after I had it cut for a speakeasy (yes I’m that committed) and now that its longer the layering can sometimes make it difficult to put rolls in, so I apologise if it’s not that neat.
  • Lastly I’m still learning… please be nice to me.

To start with I washed my hair yesterday morning, after letting it dry enough so that it wasn’t uncomfortable I rolled it into eight ‘victoryrolls’ one at the top of my head, two either side of my face, two behind them, two lower at the back and one at the very back.

I find these are a good placement so that the curls frame my face in the way that I like. But it’s taken a lot of attempts to find good spacing. Depending on how tight I want the curls I simply adjust the number of rolls. For tighter curls I aim for around ten rolls and for really lose ones around four to six will do. 

I then wore the rolls for the rest of the day with a ‘stylish’ head scarf and slept in them overnight. By then the hair is dry so its not uncomfortable. When I’m just simple curling my hair I would take them out the next morning ready for the day ahead, but for today I was planning on an evening out so I left them in under a different type of headscarf so I could take them out later.

Taking Them Out
To remove the rolls I take them out one at a time starting at the back, I brush the curl to smooth it, then separate into two or three sections and reshape the curl with my fingers to create a softer look.
Once all the curls are removed you could then spray with hairspray if you desire.

Taking out the curls...           and resetting them after brushing.     

At this point you can leave the curls to their own devices, add and alice band (my lazy staple) or something that I find looks great, re-make new rolls at the front of your hair line and leave the back down.

In this case however I was attending a Speakeasy so I wanted to opt for something a little bit more 1920s inspired. So I pinned the bottom of the curls underneath so that my hair would look shorter and a bit more flapper...

I hope that's given you some ideas, and maybe a bit of courage to have a go yourself!
(after all if I can do it anyone can...)

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Vintage Events: Brighton's Blind Pig Returns - Burlesque, Poles, Electro-Swing, Flappers and Frolicks!

After my interview with Carolyn Watt the lovely lady behind Blind Pig I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the latest event, tentatively titled ‘Blind Pig Returns’.

It promised to be an extravagant affair with music, dancing, burlesque, pole dancing and a live band all in the beautiful settings of the Proud Brighton Ballroom. This is just a quick overview of the event and some piccies, but if you want you can read a detailed review of the previous Blind Pig event you can do so here!

The event primarily caters musically for fans of electro-swing and with that in mind I chose to wear a vintage-style dress made by Pearl Lowe for Peacocks. Although it is more of a 50s shape I felt the lace styling would befit a modern speakeasy and well I just love the colour red, so why not! I also wore a pair of black brogues that are made for dancing! I also had a lot of fun with my hair this time too, after curling it I managed to pin it up in a sort of faux flapper look that I felt worked quite well. That is, if you can judge success by the fact it didn’t all fall down by the end of the night!

 This was also the first event that I had the opportunity to really test my new SLR and those performers really gave me a challenge! Here are a few of the acts:

Burlesque duo The Big Bad Wolf and Acacia Blue displayed a cheeky, comedy burlesque act…

Miss Bombshell entranced the audience with a athletic pole routine.

There was also an unusual double pole routine from Miss Steel and Ethan. I personally have never seen and act like this! I have always felt that pole work looks strenuous enough without having to worry about someone else accidentally kicking you in the face.

Then the wonderful Cherry Bella gave a burlesque and fire act to finish the night’s entertainment.

Then the party really got started...
The band This Is Laura played a short set before the DJ started spinning some more ‘clubby’ swing tunes.

This Is Laura       ...and I couldn't help wonder if the resident DJ was a fan of Star Trek TNG?

I also managed to get a few cheeky snaps of some of the best dressed of the night. A fantastic group of ladies who had all made the effort to dress the part and a  gentleman in what was EASILY the finest suit of the evening – I even managed to catch a still of Miss Doherty of the Vintage News team reporting on the night. I may have even fumbled my way through a very embarrassing interview with the news team too...

So that’s it for today! I’d apologise for all the pictures but I know that’s why you’re here :D

Bye for now!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Vintage Events: ZOMG! Its the #ZOMGbloggersbash or 'The Night of a Thousand Bloggers!'

 Well! What an event... and also my first venture into the real life side of blogging.

The ZOMG Blogger Bash was held as part of the launch of the ZOMG lipstick made by Rockalily in collaboration with Zozo of the London Lipgloss. I received my invite a few days earlier and was very lucky to get a space right at the last minute. But since I live in Brighton it's easy to travel to London at short notice - so off I went!

Like almost everyone talking on twitter I agonised over what to wear, not wanting to be too dressy or too casual. In the end I opted for a VoH pencil skirt and red blouse as this would be comfortable and a little bit retro-style (also, that pencil skirt is A-MA-ZING!)...

But I need not have worried as there were bloggers from many niches on the net, from vintage lifestyle superstars, rockabilly girls, stylish beauty bloggers and hip fashionistas the outfits, styles and blogs were as diverse as the ladies (and gentlemen) in attendance.

The event itself was held at the Distillers pub in Smithfield and it made a fitting venue with its old style charm.

Top Left: ReeRee, Rubyyy Jones and Pip Jolley 
And our hostesses ReeRee from Rockalily and ZoZo from London Lipgloss provided lots of entertainment...

This included a full display of the Rockalily lipstick collection. I only regret that I couldn’t buy a lipstuck while I was there - I'm now agonising over whether to buy Rockette Red or Roulette Red!

Loverly Lippie

I also spent a bit of time chatting Retro Chick about Historical Sauces. The Sauces aim to bring a bit of vintage glamour and history to events with their portable vintage reading room, styling advice and vintage dressing up (which of course gets huge approval from me!). It was a really nice display and I finally got to have a look inside Vintage Hairstyling book that I have had my eye on for a while (and it looks like it may be worth the price).

Historical Sauces: Missy Vinatge, Glamourologist and Retro Chick

From there I managed to speak a bit to Perdita form Perdita Pursuits about mixing indy chic with vintage and LandGirl1980  who posts lovely things about history, books and vintage style. Both were very lovely and although I was very nervous to start off with they made me feel a bit more confident.

I also spent a fair amount of time watching people decorating cupcakes courtesy of Temptations Creations before I built up the nerve to try one. Although my cupcake may not have been the prettiest it was certainly tasty with a glorious combination of strawberry icing and white chocolate drops (and a flower to match the one in my hair).

There was also a popup studio for having pinup pictures taken, maybe even while trying on the beautiful bonnets provided by Little Miss B or the lovely loungewear supplied by Betty Blue's Loungerie (I have to add that their red robe is really stunning!) Here I had a chat with EpiphannieA a friendly beauty blogger.

Little Miss B's hats, Betty Blue's items and the Rockalily lipstick canvas

Finally with a bit more confidence I got to speak to several other ladies including Elena, Betty Leopard amd L Figment (on a side note L had her hair done so its worth checking out her postings for that!) and the ladies from Illamasqua and Collectif about bloggers bingo, blogs, hair, cosplay, dresses and getting the courage to introduce yourself to new people.

To conclude the evening there were two burlesque performances, the first by Rubyyy Jones who performed in a way I’d never seen before! A sort of comedy, modern approach in a vest and jeans and miming a cyber striptease for a webcam to Goldfrapp's Ooh La La - It was rather funny and incrediably naughty! Claps and whoops all aroud.

Rubyyy Jones

The second performance was Miss Banbury Cross who embodied all the elements of a classic 50s bomshell and performed her champaigne strip to delight us. Being at the front had its pros and cons for this performance, although I felt I got some good snaps, she should perform with a warning sign to say if you are sitting in the front row you will get WET!

Miss Banbury Cross

There were also loads of prizes given away at the end of the night for the bloggers bingo, sadly none for me, but it was certainly a learning experience and helped me come out of my blogging shell. I’d certainly recommend this kind of event to any blogger.

I would just like to say thank you to ReeRee and Zozo for the invite and for putting on the event, it was amazing! 

I only wonder when my next event will be!

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