It’s been too long, I’m ready to go to a con!!!!
I’ll be at MidSouthCon March 20-22! Here’s my panel schedule:
Friday 9pm: Wigs & Make-up
Saturday 9am: Costuming Showcase and Q&A
Saturday 1pm: Competition Costuming
I’m sooo pleased with this schedule. Friday late night panel gives me plenty of time to leave work, eat, get in costume and get there without feeling rushed. The break in between the saturday schedules gives me time to run home and change costumes!
The graphic above is only a vague idea of what costumes I want to wear.
The great thing about MidSouthcon is that I can easily drive there from home (it’s like 10 minutes away), so I can wear pretty much anything I can get into the car so I have a ton of choices.
The awful thing about MidSouthcon is that I can easily drive there from home (it’s like 10 minutes away), so I can’t make up my mind about anything I want to wear because I have too many choices.
I’m pretty much definitely going to wear Anne. I’d like to use my scraps of fabric and make a french hood to wear with it instead of the crown, but we’ll see if I can get my lazy butt off the couch to do that.
I’d like to wear Romana, I’ll have to fix some of the lines of feathers on the cape but that won’t take long. Maybe I can convince Chase to bring K-9?
I’m thinking about Meg. The dress and wig need some TLC and tweaks but nothing TOO major… but I think I may wear Belle instead. This is going to be one of those things that I’m going to decide the morning of, which I feel more like wearing.
Anyway. Yay! Con!
Today’s question is…
How do you dye fabric?
Yikes… ok so I do dye a lot of stuff for my costumes…. but I’m really no pro at it. I think it’s fun and I enjoy doing it, but I kinda just cross my fingers and hope things work. The crazy thing is I took a textiles class in college that was heavy on dyeing things the right way and I really remember next to nothing and still do things in a very haphazard way.
But, since I was asked, here’s a few things to consider – but first, I suggest you head over to Dharma Trading and check out their dyes and their library of dyeing tutorials! There is much more knowledge there than you will find here.
1. Fabric Type
If your fabric has any kind of natural fiber in it, it will dye. Natural fibers are anything like cotton, silk, etc. If it’s a man-made material, like 100% polyester, you are going to have a harder time dying it.
That’s not to say you can’t dye man-made materials – in some cases, if all you’re after is a faint tint, you may be able to get enough to stick that it works fine. There are also polyester dyes (I’ll get to that in a minute).
If you’re working with a blend (man-made materials mixed with natural materials), be careful because that means some of the fabric will soak up more dye than other parts. We tried to dye a friend’s shirt that had a panel built in made of cotton – the cotton dyed about 5x darker than the rest of the shirt, just because of the different way the different fabrics soaked up the dye.
2. Type of Dye
There are lots of brands of dye out there. The most common – the ones you can find at most fabric stores and sometimes even in drug stores – are RIT dye and Dylon dye. Beyond that, if you head over to Dharma’s dye section you will find allllll kinds of other dyes. I’ve used Dharma’s dyes as well, and theirs come in a HUGE amount of different colours, which may be helpful if you don’t want to mix to get the colour right.
All that being said, I vastly prefer RIT’s liquid dye above everything else. I like that I can use a little of it and put the top back on and put it away, unlike the packaged boxes of powder, which are harder to store without making a mess. I also find it easier to mix – it never fails when I use a powder that somewhere, after 10 minutes of dissolving and stirring, I miss a chunk of it and it ends up as an ugly spot on my fabric.
If you’re dyeing some man-made fabric, look into iDye for polyesters. My local Joann Fabrics carries it, and I’ve had some good success with it.
3. Test Dye
Before you throw all your fabric in, do a test dye and see how your fabric reacts. I typically cut off a few small squares and test it several times before dyeing the actual fabric (especially if it was expensive fabric!) – I’ll test a square’s reaction to being in the dye for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, and so on. Mark them so you remember what they are, let them dry overnight, and look at them with fresh eyes in the morning.
If your test dyes aren’t working out how you want, it’s time to start digging into the internet and trying to find something that might help.
4. Setting Up a Dye Area
Make sure you dye somewhere where you’re not going to splash dye all over everything and ruin it. I typically dye fabric in my kitchen sink, and I’ll set up towels on the counters around the area so I don’t splash too much. (Thankfully, our counters clean up pretty well when I DO splash dye).
I’ve dyed fabric in my bathtub before. I don’t recommend it. It was a massive mess. I also refuse to use the washing machine because I’m paranoid about it staining my own clothes LOL.
When I’m dyeing something HUGE, I’ll dye in our back porch. I keep a few plastic tubs around just for this – I’ll fill it up with hot water in the kitchen, then move it into the backyard for the actual dyeing.
If I’m doing a whole little dye station with multiple colours, I set that up outside, too. It’s just easier.
5. Follow the Directions
Uh yeah you know how a lot of times in these FAQ Fridays I say, “do as I say, not as I do?” This is one of those times. I have a tendency to just throw dye in some hot water and see what happens (which is probably why I do so many test dyes). And it usually works fine. Sometimes it doesn’t. That’s why you should probably actually look at the directions on the box, unlike me.
Some dyes require additives, like vinegar or salt or soda ash, and some want you to use boiling water on stove top. It never hurts to have these things on hand if you run into needing them, and that’s why it’s worth glancing at the directions before you start, so you can make sure you have soda ash if the product requires it.
Also, wear gloves, because dye can be an irritant and you don’t want to have weird coloured hands at your convention. I speak with the voice of experience.
5. Dye Remover
7. Mixing Colours
8. Help! My Fabric Won’t Dye!
It’s that time of year!! Time to look back at what I accomplished and what I… didn’t accomplish.
So last year, I said I was going to make…
1. Willow – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Nope. Even though this would have been easy I just never got to it.
2. Johanna’s Interview Dress – Catching Fire
I DID THIS ONE! OMG.
4. Donna Noble – Partners in Crime
Well, I kinda did this. I had everything together for it and ended up not liking how the suit pants were fitting. So I never wore it; I’ll have to find new pants first.
5. Romana II – Destiny of the Daleks
6. Catelyn Stark
I started on it, but didn’t get very far. I had plans to finish it up after Dragoncon, but still haven’t touched it.
So… that was pretty bad. Only 1 done and 2 “kindas.”
So what else did I do besides Elsa?
This one has been on my “want” list since 2004 – I was going to do it for Halloween 2004 but switched to Leia at the last minute. So I think that counts as marking one off the list, even if it wasn’t on 2014′s list originally.
2. Rogue as Ms Marvel
As soon as I saw this concept art I wanted to do it, and decided to go ahead and put it together since I (thought I) still had my pattern pieces from my red and black classic Ms Marvel. Turns out I didn’t have those anymore so I had to remake the pattern, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out anyway.
3. Donna Noble – Unicorn and the Wasp
I did NOT finish this one, but I did start on it, so it counts a bit towards costumes for this year, right?
4. Donna Noble – Fires of Pompeii
Once I realized I wasn’t going to finish Unicorn & Wasp, I threw this one together. It needs some tweaking before I wear it again.
5. Peggy Carter
Thought this would be fun to do. I was right. It was a really fun build and I enjoy wearing it. I made the jacket, skirt and belt – I do need to take the jacket up at some point, but it’s not entirely necessary.
6. Anne Boleyn
Because I can never have enough Anne Boleyn dresses. The most work of the year went into this costume. Besides the dress, I also did the jewelry and made a new corset for it. (My old Tudor corset was not very good.)
7. Marie Antoinette TARDIS Updates
The whole reason I did this was because I wanted to wear it in the Dragoncon parade. And then I decided not to walk in the parade, but I finished it anyway. New hat, underskirt and bustles for the skirt.
9. Marvel Bag
I made a new bag out of some Marvel fabric I had laying around, for Dragoncon. Never switched back again though, still carrying it now.
10. Little girl poncho shawls
Made these for my little cousins just over the past few days. I kinda want one for myself now; there was some pretty black and pink checked wool I saw recently that would be really cute.
Thanks to the cosplanner app, I’ve been able to actually keep up with my costume ideas this year, way better than I ever have been able to before!
1. Belle’s Something There Dress – Remake
I got the idea to remake this while working on working on my Re-Upload Project recently – I just went through my 2007 photos of this costume from MTAC that year, and I kept thinking how fun it would be to re-do it, and have a little more fun with the design. Last week I drew up some ideas, and this weekend I scouted some fabric. Hoping to maybe get started on this soon.
2. Finish Unicorn & Wasp Donna Noble
I got a decent start on it this year, I’ll probably take it with me in the car on the way to orlando to work on!
I’d like to do a costume from the 1998 Elizabeth. Not one of the giant elaborate gowns, thinking about her blue dancing dress from the beginning.
4. Janet Snakehole (Parks and Rec)
Just a fun Dragoncon costume.
5. Queen Elinor – Brave
I’m getting too old for Disney Princesses I guess. Time to move on to the queens.
I’ve got a few more ideas kicking around but those are the only ones I feel like sharing at the moment. Top of my list for now, everything is just half-formed ideas…
I’ll be at Geek Media Expo in Nashville, TN weekend after next!
I’m planning on bringing Rogue as Ms Marvel, Peggy Carter, my Time Lord, Sarah Sanderson, and Glimmer! I have no idea when I’ll be wearing what, but I’m excited for it! We’ve been to every GMX so far and it’s always fun.
Then, I’ll be a guest at Memphis Comic and Fantasy convention in Memphis, TN in November!
And finally, I’ll also be a returning guest at MidSouthCon in Memphis in March 2015!
I haven’t planned out what I’m wearing to MidsouthCon or MCFC yet – I’ll be commuting to the con each day so it’ll depend on my schedule/when I can get back home to change!
(Note: for all 3 cons, I will not be there Friday day. Newish job = not much vacation time to spread around. But I’ll be there as soon as I can in the evenings!)
For those of you coming across my site in search of Halloween costumes to purchase or for help on Halloween costumes, this post is just a gentle reminder that I do not sell my costumes, and I am not open to take commissions for custom costumes at this time (and, due to my relatively new job, I am not sure if I will have time to do commissions again in the future).
I do have one item for sale in my etsy store currently – my Marion Ravenwood pattern pack. It is an instant download you can use to print on heat transfer paper for a quick and easy Marion Ravenwood or Anna Valerious costume.
While I do have a handful of older costumes I’m considering selling soon, including some of my husband’s, I doubt that they will be ready to go before Halloween. (You can always ask me if I’d be willing to sell something – if it’s something I’ve been thinking of parting with we could make something work. But don’t be disappointed if the answer is no. A lot of my costumes are extremely sentimental to me and may never be sold.)
And one more reminder – I do not ever rent my costumes!
Good luck with your costumes and have a safe and happy Halloween!
Site’s updated with my new Dragoncon costumes and photos!
All of our Dragoncon 2014 photos are on my flickr gallery here!
Also updated, the events page with photo links, upcoming con schedule and some general maintenance.
I’m still working on fixing the broken flickr images – it’s a long process!
Last schedule thoughts:
Friday I will definitely be at the Vintage Vogue Fashion Show, so I’ll be over at the Hilton from 12:30-2:30. If I can manage I’ll try to wear Anne a little longer than that, otherwise I’ll probably be in her again Sunday.
Saturday I’ll be at the USO Girls/WWII shoot at 12:30 as Peggy, and later that night (8-ish) I’ll be in Shadowcat with an 80s X-Men group!
Sunday I’ll be at the Marvel photoshoot as Peggy!
Those are my definite things. I have a few private photoshoots planned for my costumes as well, but actually still (still!) working those out so not sure of days/times yet.
Hey guys! While I still don’t have a decent idea of a costume schedule at Dragoncon, I can tell you one place I’ll be for sure – I’ll be wearing my new Anne Boleyn costume at the Vintage Vogue Fashion Show Friday at 1!
If you like costumes it should be an awesomely fun show to come see!
I apologize for all the broken photos throughout my blog currently – I’m doing some flickr clean up, so those photos should be fixed soon.
Oftentimes it is only the thumbnail that is broken, so if you click through you should be able to still see the photo.
I can’t believe it’s 2014. This will be my 13th DragonCon. It seems like just yesterday I was getting ready for my first one in 2002.
But, here’s some things I’m thinking of bringing:
It’s already kinda out of date since I made it. Here’s some thoughts and updates.
Anne Boleyn – from “Anne of the Thousand Days.” This is almost finished! Read up on my progress here.
Donna Noble – Doctor Who: Unicorn & the Wasp. I have a rough start on this. Read up on it here.
Peggy Carter – Captain America. Finished except for a few details! See more here.
Elsa – is probably not happening for Dragoncon – will more than likely be pushed back to Halloween.
Johanna – Catching Fire. Started on it much earlier this year but set it aside. Picking it back up soon – progress is here.
Secret Costume is Secret.
“Old”/Returning costumes: Megara (Hercules – with some updates), Marie Antoinette (with some updates), Dr Forrester. Those are the only things I know of for sure. Playing around with other ideas, but haven’t made a decision. Thinking about Donna Noble (Runaway Bride and/or Journey’s End), Trillian, Glimmer, Romana (sans cape), Belle, Wasp, etc.
Schedule? Hahaha. Yeah right.
I have absolutely no solid plans for anything this year so there is no telling where I’ll be or when I’ll be wearing what, honestly. For a planner like me, this is very distressing, but everytime I try….