Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Commissioned Family Portrait: The Beginning (sort of)

Tonight, I hope to start painting the commissioned family painting. It's been on hold for a while due to various issues... lack of space, lack of money, lack of time/energy (pregnancy), and so forth.

I created the sketch from various reference photos he provided before I found out I was pregnant, and got the "thumbs up" for it. My patron was excited by how well the mere sketch turned out. I also have a sample of the background he likes, which is actually important in my opinion but often overlooked (especially by customers).

One thing that worried me was that I had little idea of what "style" of portrait he wanted. Something more smooth or more textured (where you can see the brush strokes). Today, I sent him a number of examples, both modern and classic pieces. Nothing overly stylized though. I asked him to choose the ones he liked the best (at least two) so I can use them as a guideline. I wouldn't, however, guarrantee that the painting will be quite to the same level as some of the masterpieces I included. He chose, explaining what he liked and what his expectations are, given what his original view of "how a painting looks" was before he saw the samples I provided. The Pre Raphaelite painting amazed him, which shocked me. Then again, I have to remind myself that most people didn't take art classes, especially 3 or 4 classes in art history alone.

Below are the samples he chose, from most to least favorite of the ones he liked best. We'll see how I do, though I fully plan to mix the styles a bit, taking elements that I like best. I think my expectations of myself are much higher than the expectations he planned to place on anyone he might have hired... but that seems to be the way of many artists. Overly self critical. On the plus side, I'm as concerned as I notmally might be. Must be the "I don't care" aspect of this pregnancy. :-p

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Toddler Renfest Jacket: The Beginning

My husband, son and I will very likely be going to the Maryland Rensaissance Festival (MDRF) this Saturday. Most of our costumes are things we already own. My husband will be wearing his kilt and the shirt I made (and embroidered) for him with the rest of his Scottish inpired garb. I will be a fairie of some sort or just some random rennie. My son will be wearing his Disney special edition Peter Pan costume that we bought him years ago in preparation for when he became interested in dress up. This outfit is actually really nice and stylized. (Kinda like Disney took inspiration from Lord of the Rings.)

My concern for my son's costume is if the weather gets chilly. It will be the first weekend of October, so one never knows. As such, I am making him an elven style jacket using the Butterick pattern B4319 (as shown above).

In the past, I didn't really give this particular pattern much notice, but it is perfect for the jacket idea, with a few alterations. It looks easy and quick (since I wouldn't have much time to make it given the last minute nature of the trip). The main alterations would be leaving the front open with cloth closures (to tie), fitting it down to my toddler's size (since the pattern size starts at "age 4") and making a point on the hood. I would also be adding some embroidery and stitching on some leaf cut outs.

The colors would be a dark drab green and a dark brown. Very appropriate. The cloth would be fleece, which doesn't need hemming, would be warm enough, is nice and soft, and was also on sale for a decent price. I actually have enough to make my son a hat and a cloak (which my husband may make, hopefully having the hat mostly done before the trip).
On Tuesday, my mother had our son over at her house for a few hours for their weekly "Grammie Time", which gave me time to work on the jacket and rest my back when I needed to. There was no way I'd be able to do the measuring and cutting with my son there. He likes to climb all over me and is very inquisitive... which I honestly don't mind but makes certain things difficult.

Attached are pictures of the stitched jacket. (Sorry if they seem a little dark and don't mind the unclipped threads.)

I decided to leave the sleeves and bottom unhemmed so it will hang straight without the stiffness that a hem would have created. Obviously, I had not added the closures or the embroidery.
My son got home just after I finished the last stitch. This pattern was incredibly easy and quick! My boy took a look at it and immediately expressed interest. He let me put it on him to see how it fit and then promptly put it on backwards after so it looked like a snuggie. *laughs* He was very happy with it thus far. The fit is perfect (with a little growing room too!) and the little point on the hood is adorable.

Last night, I started the embroidery. I had to change my tactics because the yarn I bought would not easy stitch into the fleece and I didn't want to waste time trying to force it. So, instead, I decided to use a couching stitch to attach it. Actually, the specific technique is called a bunched couching stitch. (Click here for examples of couching stitches.) It takes a bit of time, so I'm getting a bit nervous, but that's what I get for choosing to add embroidery to the project! I'm not going to do too much intricate work on it, but I have a bit more embroidery I want to add to it... though probably not adding any to the back. We'll see. I still have the leaves to cut and attach, but I'm thinking that the jacket will be fine for MDRF without them as long as I get the embroidery done. I'll decide that tonight.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of the embroidery yet.

Photos from Dorian's Parlor (Sept. 11, 2010)

My husband and I decided, rather last minute, to go to Dorian's Parlor on the 11th of September. We had a number of friends who were possibly attending and we thought it might be nice (as long as my back could handle it). We were right. Quite fun. We were hoping to go to the next one on Oct 16th or so, but I'm not sure. Sept and Oct seem to be pretty busy!

Btw, a bustle underskirt (the one that is directly under the bustle skirt but not as flouncy) makes a great maternity skirt when worn backwards and without the bustle pad! *laughs* The outfit wasn't bad given it was last minute and I had a huge baby bump to contend with. :-)

Anyways, here's a couple photos. (Me, my husband, and me with the fab Jeff Mach.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tsumami Kanzashi: Another Attempt and More Pictures

I made two more tsumami kansazhi accessories last Tuesday. The second attempt was a pin I made my mother, who will be testing it out for durability. I don't have pictures of that one yet. The third attempt was a hair clip (pictures below). The petals turned out better, and this was my first attempt at adding the center piece with glue. Unfortunately, I don't really like hot glue, so I'm going to try to find more information at other methods. Sewing works, but might not be best with certain centers. I also tried hot gluing the flower to the hair clip, but it didn't hold, so I ended up sewing it on. Works well, but not the "clean" product I'd have preferred.

And below are better images of the first attempt (a ponytail elastic). A coworker liked it so much that she would like me to make one for her to buy, in black and white patterned fabric. I want to get more practice in before I even consider selling these. I'm a bit picky about quality, technique, and product durability.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photos from SPWF

Just found the photos that a photographer (dvraptor) took of my husband, one of our friends, and I at the SPWF. I didn't find a couple months back when I originally was searching, but somehow stumbled on it this time. :-)

Presenting the booty:

Please do take some. I love to share. :-)

From left to right: Me, my husband, and our friend.

I honestly didn't realize how nice my outfit looked. The images here are a little small, but hopefully if you click on them, it will link to a larger version.

I also didn't realize how great I looked in that outfit! And how thin (not that I'm much of a stickler for losing weight as much as I am about being healthier). Right before I found out I was pregnant, I lost a decent amount of weight due to a few minor changes to my diet (only one or two cans of soda a week, if that, and so on). Even without the corset in the first few months of pregnancy, I looked pretty small. Then again, I also lost some weight in the first trimester because I was always feeling ill. But I would say that the outfit was a win... I just didn't have all the gizmos and guns that others were carrying around. I nice scholarly pirate lady type steampunk outfit.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tsumami Kanzashi: Attempt One

This was my first try at making a kanzashi. Tsumami kanzashi is a japanese technique of folding fabric to make petals, which are then joined together to make flowers. These are traditionally used for hair ornaments, but they are now being used in all sorts of applications. I've seen them used for pins, purse embellishments, dress embelleshments, on shoes, and more.

I've been wanting to learn how to make them for over 5 years (off and on) and researched the "how to" of them a couple years ago. Then, when I found out I that I'm pregnant with a daughter, I wanted to make her some items with these flowers on them, using baby clothes that we were given or saved but can't use (or won't use). A nice way to recycle them, especially the items that are not in good enough condition to donate. Originally, I wanted to make some for a LARP character I had, a dark fighter who wore geisha style make-up and various styles of asian clothing (in dark tones). Then I thought I'd make them to use for bellydancing and for my steampunk outfit. Wouldn't dark blue, purple, and grey ones look fabulous on a top hat?

Last night, I decided to just go ahead, brush up on what I learned that last time I looked into it, and get started. It helped that I had recently found some patterned cotton scraps my older sister gave me years ago. I remember I was going to use these scraps (rather large ones) for making a bag or being part of a gypsy style patchwork cloak, but that never happened. So I cut 7 squares off the fabric, measuring 2.5" each. I reviewed some of the "how to" sites, some being clearer than others, and jumped in. After I tied off the petals (which ended up making the base flower), I found a pearlescent button and some dark aurora beads and stitched them on top. I then stitched the flower onto a hair elastic from a packet I bought a few days ago, and voila!

It seems a lot of people use glue to attach the decorative center (and possibly to attach the base attachment, like hair clips and such). There was no way I was going to use my glue gun with my son climbing all over me and grabbing at these things. Besides, I'm not really sure where it is! *laughs*

The petals aren't holding the shape I was hoping for. either there are too many petals, the material isn't stiff enough, or the thread holding the petals together was tied too tightly. I'm thinking it's more that I didn't starch the cotton, but I chose not to for two reasons: expediency in this first attempt and also to figure out if I can stiffen the material after the flowers are made. The latter would then allow me to actually wash the items or even not worry if they get wet (in the rain or just from my daughter being goofy). Of course, if I had added a few more petals, than the unpressed look would be fine for this ponytail holder.

I have a better picture I took this morning, but I left my camera cords at home, so I'll have to add it later.

I hope to try making a few more tonight. My mother is taking my son for a few hours this evening, so it might be a good time to pick up some hair clips, cut smaller squares, find my glue gun, and try making a couple kanzashi hair clips. Same dated cloth, but hopefully it will look better on a smaller flower. (I honestly didn't think it looked dated until I decided to make it into this. Go figure!) I'm also thinking of ways to make the flower shape remain the way I want without using a starch or interfacing. Perhaps a backing, but only for ones being used on pins and such. We'll see where this all takes me.

Article mentioned in previous post

I have a few thoughts regarding this article, which are located after the article. The bolded areas are the parts where my husband was quoted (and actually given credit for the information).

* * * * *

Piscataway event celebrates the Victorian era

Grab your goggles, bustle skirts and safari jackets, jump on the next passing airship and head on over to Piscataway this weekend.

It's the Steampunk World's Fair, and it's taking place at the township's Radisson Hotel. What is Steampunk? It's a new movement which celebrates the optimism, fashion and science fiction of the Victorian era.

"I like the visual aesthetics of it,'' said (my husband), 44, of (location removed). "It harkens back to the Victorian and Edwardian styles, but it also has an understanding of science fiction when the idea of technology was a wonderful thing and it would benefit all of mankind, which kind of disappeared after World War I.''

It disappeared after 15 million were killed in World War I, thanks to all the new wonderful technology. But we digress.

The term Steampunk was first used in the late 1970s by science-fiction writer K.W. Jeter. Devotees enjoy Victorian science fiction … H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and the like … and wear the era's clothes with accessories set off by generous amounts of brass and leather along with assorted finery for the ladies.

"There are a lot of airship pirates and captains and military themes … mad scientists are big (for the guys),'' said Sarah Moody, 19, of HighlandPark. "Basically things that are sort of kooky.''
The gals wear corsets, bustle skirts and boots, along with their share of goggles, too. Moody was still deciding what to wear to the Fair when we spoke to her last month.

"I think I'm going to be a Steampunk school girl,'' said Moody, a native of Madison.

Recent movies such as "Sherlock Holmes'' and "Alice in Wonderland'' had a Steampunk air about them.

"I got involved in Steampunk a year ago, but I've been aware of aspects of it, though I never put my thumb on what was the Steampunk genre,'' (my husband) said. "For some people, the attraction is not being constantly plugged into the Internet and constantly tapping into information, but I don't see that as being a huge thing. Look at New York City in the Victorian age … they had vacuum tubes between offices for communication and they had ticker tape … it was their own version spreading information.''

(My husband) and his wife, (me), 31, will attend the Fair, which will feature music, games, vendors and Legos … Steampunks love to play with Legos … over the weekend.

Fair producer Jeff Mach of Hackensack expects more than 3,000 attendees over the weekend. He's especially keen on the world premiere of a Steampunk rock opera, "Absinthe Heroes.''

"It's a work of stunning genius,'' Mach said. "I'd like it even if I didn't write it.''

* * * * *

Now to address the issues I have with this article (and mainly Chris Jordon). There were a number of little incerpts he added that were directly from what my husband told him. This guy didn't know most of the information he gave, but then stated these items as if he did, even to the point of making it sound like he was putting down some of what my husband said. One key example is where Mr. Jordon wrote, "It disappeared after 15 million were killed in World War I, thanks to all the new wonderful technology. But we digress." He cut off my husband's quote where he actually said that the reason WW1 changed the views of technology because of how atrocious that war was, the amount of injuries and death. But by cutting off what my husband said at that point, Mr. Jordon was able to throw in that tidbit, as if it was his own... and in a manner that made my husband look naive, even though my husband is far from it (he has a Masters in History, with a primary focus on WW1 and WW2). Even the "background info" that Mr. Jordon gives, about literature, movies, and visual aesthetics aer almost word for word what my husband told him.

Also, not all steampunkers "love to play with legos", thank you very much.

Steampunk Events

I didn't realize how long it's been since I last posted here... and that I never updated about the steampunk events I attended at the time. So here's a quick update.

The Wicked Renaissance Festival (Feb. 20) was fun. I decided to wear my Olivia outfit. The treasure chest bustle topper was a hit, and I had plenty of chocolate coins. You know something is a hit when people walking by start snapping pictures of it while you are talking to others. I also got to meet some really great people, one of whom I've been keeping in decent contact with since.

After this event, I started work on an assymetric bustle skirt, but that project ended up being set aside when I learned I was pregnant. I do plan to start work on it again, when I get back to it when I'm able to wear my corset again.

About a month or so before the Steampunk Worlds Faire, my husband and I attended the second to last Clockwork event (then called Big Brass Ball). I believe this was in April. A reporter and photographer came to interview people there and take snap shots. Unfortunately, attendance was low that night, due to last minute rescheduling of the day (from Tuesday to Thursday) and some icy weather. It's too bad, because I think the photographer and reporter would have had more luck otherwise. Regardless, it was a nice evening and we got to hang out with some friends that we don't get to see very often. The reporter also took my husband's and my names and contact information to interview us later. I was feeling a bit sick when he actually called, so my husband was the only one of us two that ended up being interviewed. It was also shortly before this Clockwork event that I found out I was pregnant with my second child, so my outfit reflects that last minute change in attire... something simple, cool with the option of a jacket, and something that allowed the corset to be tied a little looser. I still had trouble catching my breath, so I decided that was the last event I'd wear my corset until after my second child was born and my body healed up. Sadly, we were unable to attend the final Big Brass Ball.

In May, there was the Steampunk Worlds Faire. Because of my lack of corset and my lack of energy, my outfit was very basic. Very few people noticed the treasure chest bustle topper, but that's not surprising, given all the nifty gadgets that everyone was trying to see (usually in the form of goggles, gizmos, and modded nerf guns... all of which were not on the back saide of a woman. *laughs*). We had a good time and met up with some of my old classmates from highschool. We've been somewhat in touch since, though we haven't hung out yet... though we hope to. It was their first Steampunk adventure, so my husband and I were basically their guides into what made steampunk... well... steampunk. My outfit had the base Olivia pieces, with a fitted vest, dark blue velvet sash (aroudn the waist) and polka dot clown pants. Hey... I gotta be playful even if it's only for me! For part of the time, I also wore a gold tone leather eye patch (with the an artistic eye hole to allow proper vision). Unfortunately, we didn't get more than just a couple pictures, and they are mainly close ups with my buddies, like the one below.

That's the last real steampunk event that my husband and I attended. We've been busy or exhausted... but we hope to attend at least one of the new monthly events in PA called something like "Dorian's Closet".

We also have started working on a new LARP, which is temporarily names "Steampunk LARP" (until we decide on something better). We've had a playtest with good results, but still have more work to do on the rules and props and such. The main thing is that we have to keep it very affordable, within legal parameters (for the parks), and get the rules scrubbed and sparkly. My husband has been working on most of that (and I really do view the LARP as his, with me as a creative influence). My main role is to come up with storylines and creatures ideas and to also help with any hurdles my husband finds himself in regarding the rules mechanics and descriptions. I'm also trying to help keep the rules simple, because honestly, I like simple formulas and such for games. Perhaps that makes me a lazy gamer... but only on the mechanics side!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Clockwork III: Clue!

I've been meaning to post about the Clockwork Ball III, but haven't had a chance. Bad me, I know. (Link to more photos are at the bottom of this entry.)

So, on to the costuming details. I'm overly pleased with this outfit thus far. I say "thus far" because it's still not finished. Yay!!! I'm contemplating keeping the striped harem pants as bloomers, since it matches the underskirt and gives them a purpose that they haven't had since I stopped going to renfests as much. The striped socks are also probably going to be part of the outfit going forward. I will make more proper under garments for Brimsteam, but Clockwork deserves a level of whimsy, no?

The clean lines of the outfit worked very well, and I love the top hat. I was going for a Mad Hatter / Magician / Gentlemanly Lady look, and the outfit did just that, me thinks.

What do I plan to work on to further this outfit? I'm so glad you asked! Okay... you didn't ask... But here it is anyways...

I am working on an assymetric bustle skirt. The top layer of it is cut out mostly, and I need only preshrink and cut the lining to get it rolling. I was originally going to make the lining a dark reddish-purple like the underskirt, but my husband rather liked how a dark blue lining would look with the black patterned bustle, black overskirt, and red-purple underskirt. We'll see if I made a mistake in going with the blue. I will not get this done for the event this weekend.

A petticoat is also in the works from last Wicked Faire, which was never quite finished. I hope to finish it this week, but if I don't, that's fine. All I have left to do is hem it, add the waistband and add the drawstring to the waistband. That shouldn't take to long... if I buckle down to do it.

I am trying to get my treasure chest purse altered to sit on my bustle pad, with treats in it. The bustle skirt was gonna be a nice "pillow" for the purse, but It's not necessary. If I feel it really needs it, I can throw a temporary together for Wicked.

Eventually, I will also be making a couple waistcoats to wear under (or in lieu of) the jacket. I have material and lining for a couple versions. One black, one red (with black accents), and one olive green. I'm a little hesitant to make these right now, as I've been losing weight and might have to get a new corset. Of course, if I had a buckle in the back to allow it to be adjustable for weight gain and loss, that might work fine. I'll decide that later.

I'd also like to do some more work on my top hat, adding some fabric flowers, my veil, and so forth. I also hope to get a walking cane and gloves. Finances are tight though, so the last two might take a bit of time.

More photos from Clockwork III can be found on my flickr account:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Olivia: Magicianry

As my previous entry stated, Olivia (my Brimsteam steampunk LARP character) is going to have an interest in magic (ie. magic tricks and illusion)... or as she might call it "magicianry." She would probably have learned a few tricks and picked up a few skills along the way.

Which brings me to the ramblings of this entry...

I used to work in a magic shop. Not the occultic type, but the magic trick type. The store is located at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. I had the proud honor of being the first female employee to work there. Let me tell you, being a woman in the magician industry can be emotionally difficult, even at the selling level, but I enjoyed working there and for several years I was making the wand "cases" I sold (on consignment) to be a nice additional option for customer who bought wands (or already had wands they could use the cases for). I have long since left the shop, but still have most of the few magic tricks I bought/received there. I also kinda remember how to do a few of the tricks that were more memorization than not. Now I can use my experience again! Bwahahahah!

So far, the routines I'm hashing out are:

  • "Beginners Luck" - Olivia demonstrates why she never gambles, especially with cards.
  • "A Most Heinous Murder" - Who murdered the king? Who sent that strange sealed note? What is the message within? The cards have the answers.
  • "Sleuthing Spirits" - Olivia enlists the help from the spirits of two deceased detectives help find the participant's chosen card though she has no idea which card was chosen.
  • "Woman's Intuition" - The participant shuffles the deck and chooses a card at random, keeping the card a secret from her. Even after shuffling it with several other random cards, she is still able reveal the participants chosed card.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thoughts: Olivia Concept and Olivia Outfit (previously known as "Victorian Mourning Outfit")

Well, me dearies, I think it's time to call a spade a spade and admit that the desire on continuing the Victorian Mourning Outfit has wanned too much for me to deny any further. Indeed, I must set the concept aside and move forward, with the understanding that I will likely take up this project again some time down the road...

The concept of my Brimsteam outfit has been going through a metamorphosis as time passed by. When I wore the base outfit to Clockwork, I just didn't feel it was "right". It wasn't what I wanted and the character concept for Olivia didn't quite work in the way I wanted. Granted, I wasn't "playing" her at Clockwork, but it did give me an idea of how it would feel being in some of her gear and how the perceptions would be... and it wasn't fleshed out enough and not as interesting as I'd like. I'm sure I could play her as I originally pictured her, but the question is, "Would I want to?"

Olivia Outfit progress...

*A couple weeks ago, I redrew the outfit, which I need to scan and post. I really like it a lot.

*Last Monday, I started draping the bustle skirt material to figure out how I want it to look and how I should cut it. Now I need to decide if I want to line it. A lined bustle skirt would definitely drape better... however, it would also be extra time and money, both of which are in short supply for me right now. I'm also viewing this bustle skirt as a "light weight" summer version, though it's definitely heavy as it is. I'll write down some of my bustle skirt design ideas in another entry.

* * * * *

The week after the last Clockwork event, I found the perfect top hat at Artifacts Boutique. It was a touch eccentric, a little worn looking, and fit just right. (I'm wearing it in the picture.) I also broke down and nabbed the "Hat Hatter" necklace I was practically drooling over. The owner of the store gave them to me as payment for some side work I did for the store (photo shoot, photo resizing and clean up, created a facebook fan page for the store, and sent along a bunch of suggestions for avenues to look into for sale increases).

I also didn't mention that I found the perfect shoes for my outfit too. They are very appropriate and comfortable (and were severely marked down), so I got two sets (and might go for a brown set eventually). I don't have pictures of them yet, but perhaps at the next Clockwork event... which is this Tuesday!!!

This next event's theme is "Clue!" A number of Brimsteam players might attend and I'll be bringing one of my bestest buddies with too if all works out.

* * * * *

As for my new outfit/character concept... I started thinking she was going to look inspired by a more gentile "Mad Hatter", but it still didn't feel right. I drew down the new outfit idea, still using the base skirts and bustle pad, but altering a few items and details. Finally, after several weeks, it came to me... She's more like a Victorian/Steampunk Scholar specializing in the occultic and taboo aspects of different cultures (which also means she studies a mixture of cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology, kinesics, and maybe a touch of theology), but who also in intrigued in magic tricks and how they play into these beliefs. Almost like Houdini, but with less emphasis on being a magician herself or trying to debunk psychics and belief systems and more emphasis in trying in understanding. She's also an eclectic spiritual evolutionist, which should be interesting. Most of her history is going to be intact, which some alterations for believability, playability, and so on.

* * * * *

I also started work on a commision for a painting. I sketched out the design (a family portrait) with each person and the placement and got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from my client. We will be going to look at canvas sizes tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about this project and can't wait to get it really rolling. :-)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Victorian Mourning Outfit: Thoughts

After trying the dress, as it is so far, out at Clockwork, I started thinking that it just doesn't suit me. The skirts are fine thus far, as are the shoes (pictures soon). The top just isn't right for me and the color scheme feels awkward. I'm not going for a "steamgoth" look, but think it leaves that impression. But with the change in the outfit, the feel of the character I was making it for is also bound to change.

I might end up trying to sell the shirt online. I have a different one that I feel suits me and the look I'm going for much better.

I plan on starting work on the bustle skirt this weekend. I also recently got a top hat from Artifacts Boutique, which I might mod or not. We'll see if that happens.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Victorian Mourning Outfit: progress update

Movement on the outfit has been fairly slow. Holidays, illness, and typical family life tends to do that. But progress is still progress, no matter how quick or slow.
My husband and I took some photos to help us figure out a few things with our characters' outfits, which was fun and interesting. I searched for shoes that would work for use with my outfit, when LARPing or going to less physically taxing events. I also did research on how to make a bustle skirt, a mini hat, embellishments (kanzashi flowers being a main direction I plan to go in), and a new bustle based on a travelling bustle from the late 1800s.

The tough part is getting the outfit far enough to wear to Clockwork this Tuesday! I had this past week off, but with various celebrations and health issues, I didn't get a chance to go beyond research. I do, however, have the early part of tomorrow and the late part of Monday to work on getting things far enough along. I figure, all I really *need* is my black blouse, skirt (which needs both layers hemmed now that I have the right shoes), wide belt, bustle, bustle skirt (or something that could substitute), and my shoes. A new ruffled cravat would be great too. Out of all that, only two or three real tasks. (Getting a comment here from the guy heading the event was a real motivational push... though I didn't see it until a month after he sent it.)

I don't want to rush this outfit and end up with something I hate, but I'd really love to wear this outfit to something. If push comes to shove, I can just wear the blouse, a vest, nice slacks, and some accessories for a nice steampunk look that's a bit more laid back. We'll see what happens.