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Ravenna status: Thirteen days and counting

August 15, 2012

There was vacation, and there’s always work, and there’s actually working on the costume… so I haven’t posted much progress lately. And all the photos are taken late at night with my cameraphone, so there’s that. But here’s how it’s going.

The skirt portion has been a special little beast. Back in July I posted about how I was working on the skirt hook findings, which were originally sourced in Turkey, and, well, I’m not in Turkey. I wrote that Sculpey would be fine since they were just decorative and didn’t have to actually hold the skirt’s weight. Then a week ago, I was looking at the pictures for the eleventy-billionth time and realized they do. The skirt is separate and attached to the bodice by those pieces. My mister suggested resin, and my superhero-pal-in-Dragon*Con-crime Neal helped me with his resin experience to start casting them. Only 20 to go! Then drilling, painting…

But back to the skirt itself–you ever start doing something, then think, ooh, I know a quicker way, all the while knowing you should do it the right way instead? Yeah, that. I started out putting the skirt together with the piping between the layers, all in one pass, like this:


The right way would have been to make the piping, then insert it into the seams. But I just knew I could shave off some time doing it all at once. When I started ironing them flat, I realized just how inconsistent the width of the piping was. I’m not a perfectionist. I’m usually a close-enoughist. But this time I knew what I had to do. I took apart the entire skirt, all 24 panels, all 184 feet of stitching, and I started over. I made the piping first, then put it in.

If you figure I’d already done some of them 2, 3, or even 4 times in places trying to even it out to fix my cheat, that’s about a tenth of a mile of seams.

I’ve put a few of them together. They still need a lot of ironing, but you can see it will be the skirt!

Then I started worrying that the points would lose their pointiness after travelling to Atlanta and hanging in a closet for a while. So I started thinking about stitching in the ditch between the piping and the panel. It’s a slow-going process to keep it from being a disaster on the second side, but I think it’ll work.

Finally, the bodice. I’ve gotten most of the leather piping sewn to it. Next up, gold beads and sequins.

Thirteen days to go!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2012 9:27 am

    I’m just in awe. I can’t wait to see it all done. Are you entering one of the contests at DragonCon?

    • Ruth permalink*
      August 16, 2012 9:42 am

      Thanks! I do plan to do the Friday night contest. The competition’s gotten really fierce in there the last year or two though!

      • August 16, 2012 11:43 am

        Yay! I already had that on my schedule to attend. I was hoping to get a glimpse of your dress in person! I thought about entering a contest, but I think my skill level’s not up to par for the Friday night costuming contest. Maybe one of the others that isn’t focused on construction. Good luck!

        • Ruth permalink*
          August 16, 2012 11:56 am

          If it’s your first contest, you could enter as a novice. I think you could school it with your Baronness!

          • August 20, 2012 9:57 am

            Aw, thanks for the vote of confidence. I’ll definitely think about entering as a novice. Last year was my first year going to Dragoncon, and it was just so intimidating seeing all the amazing costumes. I feel like a tiny fish in a big pond.

  2. August 16, 2012 12:58 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who counts up redone seams in terms of miles of sewing!
    The Ravenna dress looks like it is going to be smashing! Did you find resin casting complicated and/or messy?

    I’ve had to face reality for my first Dragon*Con – no costume for me this year. I’m going to take a ton of notes and pictures, though, so I can hopefully go in as a novice next year!

  3. September 25, 2012 3:03 am

    Nice job so far! 🙂 I’m doing the crown and black feather cloak this year! woot!

  4. October 8, 2012 10:28 am

    I have hope u wil make more so fantasting thing is it is

  5. December 18, 2012 8:13 am

    I found out the hard way that ripping out what you’ve done is one of the greatest teaching tools….

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