tisdag 3 januari 2017

Looking back at 2016 and forward at 2017

There is much to say about what happened in the world in 2016, but here I will keep away from that and just sum up my costuming year of  2016. As I had decided that I was more inspired by steampunk and cosplay than by historical, I did not take part in Historical Sew Monthly this year.

My first big project turned out to be historical. It was not at all planned, but some friends of my was so enthusiastic about the Natural form era that I could not resist it, and as usual, after looking at fashion plates I was sold. I landed in 1876. I had to do quite some work to figure out the skirt supports, as it was a new era for me. It also was a bit tricky as 1876 had a transition fashion between the bustle and the slim natural form. When I started at the actual dress, an injured toe at a vacation meant that all the hand finished trim was done a lot sooner (and in larger amounts) than expected.

After this very feminine dress, I went to menswear steampunk, inspired by English 1500's gowns and the BBC series Wolf Hall. Here is my steampunk Tudor crossover. I made the gown and hat, and decorated the bag.

I also made my first cosplay: a Star Trek Voyager uniform. I was not attempting to have every seam and fabric exactly as in the series, but I am happy with the overall look. As a big fan of Captain Janeway in Voyager, I have wanted a uniform like this for a long time! Here shown cross-nerding (yes, I do like to make up new words!) with a Doctor Who Tardis at NärCon in Linköping. (At which I felt a bit old - some of the participants was probably not even born when Star Trek Voyager was first aired...)

 Then, more steampunk: the ghost detection backpack. It was both challenging, scary and fun to work with hard materials and screws and glue instead of fabric and thread, but the box still has not collapsed, so I guess it worked out :-) I worked quite a lot on this leading up to the steampunk convention in Gothenburg in the beginning of November.


After the steampunk convention, I had a lot to do at work, so I was too tired to do any sewing at all. Now, I am slowly beginning to get my inspiration back. I have unusually few plans for next year thou. I will most likely be going to another steampunk convention, so I want something new to wear for then. I am currently planning a crinoline gown that is half forest fairy, half mechanical. We will see later how the turns out. I am currently in the phase when the gown is so amazing in my head that I am afraid to begin sewing and see it with the inevitable flaws of reality.
The not so amazing drawing of the forest mechanical gown, along with cryptic annotations in Swedish. And weird arms. I am not that good at drawing, but I think I draw arms even worse than the rest of it. 
 Except for the forest mechanical dress, I have no ideas at all. I should make myself like two or three historically inspired blouses for modern wear, as I never find anything I like in the stores, but that kind of sewing never seems to happen - there is always a more inspiring costume up ahead. Let's see what actually happens in 2017! 

Steampunk ghost detection box

To the steampunk convention, I wanted to try to make some "hardware", not only sewing. The result was this: my "ghost detection backpack". Here I will first show some making of, then the pictures of the result.
It was the first time for me making something that required drilling, super glue and paint instead of sewing and embroidery, so it was a both scary, difficult, and fun project. 

It took me quite a long time to decide how to arrange all the stuff in the box. This is what my hobby room floor looked like for a quite long time, as I was trying out how to place things and painting random stuff copper coloured...

The base is a wooden box, which I got help to make a big hole in the front in. Then I added lots of stuff. The "antennas" at the upper left outside of the box is candle holders turned upside down and fastened. The copper tube at the outside, going to the hand-held detector, is a shower hose painted copper. The box is lit up by a battery-powered LED decoration wire. Inside are small plastic boxes intended for keeping shampoo and such in when travelling. I did not want to use too many glass containers even if it had felt more steampunk, due to the not negligible risk of me dropping the whole thing and breaking glass. The are also some thin plastic tubes, some of them painted copper, and a copper-painted cardboard tube. (Some of the tubes are actually "borrowed" from my Lego Technic set, but don't tell any Lego fan I did that!)

On the front of the box I added two "gauges" I made, and some more small stuff I found, just to make it look a bit more busy. On the left outer side of the box is a sampling tube from my old chemistry box (thank you dad! :-)  ) protected by a handle.


The hose is going from the box to the hand held detector, here fastened at the shoulder while not in use. 

Detector and paranormal spectral magnification glass in action

The two antennas that pick up ectoplasmic emanations can clearly be seen in this picture.

The severe face that is proper for a skilled ectoplasmic residue detector workperson when on an assignment. 

And some close-ups:

Close-up of inside with lights off.

Left side, with antennas, sampling tube and its protection handle, and the holder for the detector on the backpack strap.

The detector at the end of its hose.

I am very happy with the result! It was fun to do something different than I usually do, and I like the outcome. Unfortunately, the paint is coming off on both the hose and the closing mechanism for the box, so I might have to re-paint it and then seal the paint somehow.

The facts:
What is it? A steam punk "ghost detection" backpack for an outfit.
Materials? Lots! 
Bought for this project: A wooden box for base. Shower hose, two candle holders, small clear plastic shampoo bottles, a handle bar, small wooden buttons, LED decoration wire for lightning, lots of copper paint,  a clock hand, a closing mechanism for the box. 

Things I already had: sample tubes, cork, guitar string, some small electronic components (coils of some kind I think), leather and fake leather and an old leather belt, cardboard, different sorts of metal wire, thin plastic tubes.

Pattern: None, but lots of inspiration from spending too much time looking at pictures at Pinterest.
Total cost: About 700 kr, 70 EUR, 75 USD for the stuff I bought.

Hours to complete? Maybe in the order of 30 h? Plus some hours thinking of it when I was supposed to do something else, and some hours searching for the materials.
First worn? At the SteamCon steampunk convention in Gothenburg in November 2016 (my blog post of that here).