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28 January 2012 @ 07:07 pm
DragonCon 2012: The Costume Adventure Begins  
The last few years, I've had ideas for Dragon Con costumes spring up at me *at* Dragon Con, so by the time the con was over, I was already working out next year's concept. This year, inspiration failed to spark for a long time. It seemed difficult to come up with anything that would top the R2D2 corset and hat. Aaron had an idea early on that I liked, but wasn't terribly enthusiastic about...until I started researching it, and realized all the fun I can have with it. Plus, if I can pull this off, it will not only top R2, it will be the perfect melding of my roots in historical costuming and my new-found interest in wearable electronics.

No, not steampunk. Everyone does steampunk, and many people do it *extremely* well. Nothing I could come up with would be even close to up to par with some of the flat-out astonishing steampunk costumes I've seen. No, you know me, I just have to be different.

Click here for preliminary sketches. You know you're curious.

So, now that that's out of the way, some notes.

I'd started out wanting a late-period style gown so I could do a big ruff with fiber optics, and a whisk, that thing you see behind QEI in a lot of her formal portraits that looks like bees' wings coming out of her shoulders. I figured, just bc I'm doing a historical and cybernetic costume doesn't mean I can't have wings! :D But the problem is that the whisk seems to always go along with a few other things I don't care for, mainly the drum farthingale. Not only don't I want to make another farthingale (the idea is to use the underpinnings from the original Lizgown), I don't want to go around looking like a walking tea table. I did find some other portraits, though, with my Spanish-style farthingale that might or might not have a whisk, depending on how you interpret them (they could also be stylistically draped mantles). So it could be made to work. The whisk also seems to go with a square-necked bodice attached to a matching skirt (kirtle or petticote depending on where you do your research), and a wide, open standing ruff.

But then I started thinking about different ways to interpret "Elizabethan cyborg." At first I had thought I'd just do a standard Elizabethan gown and trick it out with some tech stuff and mecha bits. But then I started thinking in terms of making all the components of the outfit out of "futuristic" materials. For example, instead of velvet or brocade, I could make the skirt out of something shiny, metallic or plastic looking. Rip-stop nylon or polished chintz come to mind; I'm still mulling the possibilities.

The idea for the top of the gown came from the doublet pattern at Reconstructing History. I had this idea that, instead of actually *making* a bodice or doublet, I should thrift-shop a leather jacket to re-tailor into the Elizabethan lines, and trim along the seams with--dunno yet: EL wire or tape, ribbon cables, LED strips...Only thing is, despite the two versions shown on the pattern package, most of the portraits I've seen of people wearing this doublet/detached skirt style have a high neckline covered by a closed ruff, and no whisk (the whisk seems exclusively to belong to square-neckline-open-ruff combos). Plus, it's much easier to change the collar of a modern leather jacket into a high closed collar (just stand it up and hook it closed) than to actually (ulp) *cut into* the jacket to try to make the square neckline, with the inevitable kludges necessary to finish the cut edges.

So...contrary to the sketches, I might end up with the high-collar-closed-ruff combo, and thus no whisk. Less stuff to make, certainly, but :( I really wanted to try the whisk. Well, we shall see; once I start experimenting I may end up with different ideas. And heaven knows, this costume will have enough cool things to make, whisk or no whisk.

Which brings us to

I've found this nifty circuit board fabric to use for the forepart (the decorative triangular piece at the front of the skirt). I'd love to actually wire things into it, either by gluing on actual circuit boards or by sewing with conductive thread.

I found this incredible instructable by a guy who made a cyber-jack-o-lantern Halloween costume. It's seriously epic, and I intend to adopt a simplified version of his weapon arm, and a Lizified version of his glowing claw.

This lady has a great Borg costume, and I'm going to grab her idea of using hockey pads for body armor. (Shoulder pads only, of course--my legs won't show). I love her LCD screen, and I have a keychain-sized digital photo frame that I can load with abstract pictures slowly scrolling across, that could go where the usual Elizabethan "hood ornament" brooch is, in the center of the bodice/doublet.

So that's it, folks, the great endeavor of DragonCon 2012. I went thrift/dollar store shopping today and came back with a whole lot of goodies to tinker with. Updates shall be posted as progress is made.

Comment ça va?: creativeinspired
Dans la bibliothèque: The Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
jarukhavrinen on January 29th, 2012 01:49 am (UTC)
Was this perhaps inspired by Kage Baker's "Dr. Zeus/Company" series? Since "Elizibethan cyborg" is pretty much what the first book, "In the Garden of Iden", is about.
joyeuse13joyeuse13 on January 29th, 2012 01:51 am (UTC)
I know, and it's funny, bc I have read the entire series (it gets *really, really weird* towards the end), but the phase didn't trip that association in my mind until I started google searching to see if anyone had done anything similar. :)
wabbit (the jack is silent): Hit Girl - I Have One of Thosejackwabbit on January 29th, 2012 07:24 am (UTC)
Wow! Somehow, I think you'll pull this off without a hitch, as usual! Great idea!

I'm going to make a Galaxy Quest uniform this year. Perhaps four (one for each of the Hoodies, my best fandom pals), though I'm intimidated about making clothese for others. We shall see.

Other than that, nothing jumping out yet.
joyeuse13joyeuse13 on January 30th, 2012 02:29 am (UTC)
Heh, I wouldn't call "without a hitch" business as usual. You don't know that there were *two* versions of the R2 corset. :)
wabbit (the jack is silent): Carson-Grinjackwabbit on January 30th, 2012 11:10 am (UTC)
I was trying to be encouraging, silly!

And "without a stitch" just wouldn't do. ;)