Back at my home away from home

Yes folks...I am in New York. Just when I thought the travel was nixed for the rest of the year work was able to squeeze in two trips across the states before Christmas. This trip will be to attend the Apparel Tech Conference; an annual event where companies showcase their latest products that are revolutionizing the world of apparel manufacturing. It's actually facinating to see all of the 3d modeling and design applications as they improve over the years. Last year was the first time I saw applications that actually felt like they were helping to speed up the process instead of making it overly complicated and ridiculously technical (and not in an awesome Steampunk style). I've got fingers crossed this year things will start to become integrated and we will start to see seamless transitions between applications. Imagine if illustrator spoke to a pattern design program and drafted the initial pattern without me having to do a whole lot. Oh the beautiful world of 2025 ; )

Also this means fabric shopping!!! I will be trying out a new hotel that is blocks away from the fashion district so hopefully my nearly empty suitcase will be full of goodies for Dickens and the Miss Hatter Costume that has been ratteling around in my head.

What to make next...

As Dickens approaches and I come to terms with the fact the I barely have time to make one dress much less two I am now faced with a choice. I have patterns and fabric for two dresses. Below are pictures of the sillouhette and fabric of each of the items I could work on next.

The first is a ditsy blue floral on a white background in a light weight cotton. The dress is a super cute and is a pleated dress that is the right years for Dickens.

The second is an adorable dress from the 1880's (more my time period and sillouhette) in a beautiful white and blue plaid that is a medium weight cotton.

Audience participation time! Which do you think I should work on? 1) time appropiate blue floral pleated dress - OR - 2) super re-wearable blue plaid???

Costumes for a new day

Tonight was spent at a dance theatre watching the first draft of a new piece for Double Vision to help all the collaborators get inspired. I'm inspired! It super rocks and I can't wait to get started on the costumes!!!

So initial thoughts include stripes, maybe cat wash or asymmetrical skirts, and some strappy top (probably also asymmetrical). The piece feels stiff in a good way, rigid. It inspired stripes and steel grey with black and white. Shiny may be required ; )

Here are some concept sketches... (also maybe some wristlettes and anklettes???)

Recap of a Brass Filled Weekend - Steam-Con

For months everyone has been listening and watching me prepare for Steam-Con.  Sewing pretty much took over my life, minus a life changing road trip in the middle, for most of 2009. This all consuming passion helped me in ways to focus, feel productive, and motivate me to do what i love...that i sometimes forget just how much i love.

Steam-Con took place in Seattle at the Airport Marriott with an approximate 1,200 person cap of attendees the hotel was completely infiltrated by brass, airship captains, and stupendously creatively like minded was fantastic!!!  I swear posts will follow with costumy bits, but first the con.  We arrived Thursday afternoon and had already noticed a few who looked like they had the same destination as us.  Hat boxes were a plenty on the plane and more than once prior to take off you heard someone say "i have a hat up there, do you mind moving your bag?" so awesome!!!  Upon arriving at the hotel, via free shuttle, room was gotten and suitcases exploded.  I took a fifth of what i brought to the con when i traveled Europe in the fall for three weeks.  The Con was only 3 days; but in all fairness the Victorian/Steampunk styling does require both a lot of undergarment layers that are otherwise not necessary, and more costume changes a day then a wear in a weekend.  There were day outfits, evening outfits, and even some morning/dressing outfitness.  The many pieced outfits were pulled out and hung out to increase the sanity by decreasing the quantity of ironing required.  Some how we went the entire weekend iron free.  Thursday evening there was a bit of exploring and lots of discussion of what the next day was to bring.

Friday morning i awoke to a small line of people visible in the indoor courtyard of the hotel.  Over the hours as we got ready we watched the line slowly increase, but not move.  Somehow the line was only growing, not moving or having any kind of processing.  Early afternoon we may our way downstairs to said line and found that it was for on-site registration which had been announced to be nearly sold out and lots of people wanting to join the party.  It was fantastic to see so many people at a con that was in it's first year and awesome to watch over the weekend at how well the whole thing went off!

Friday afternoon involved lounging around and fluttering from panel to panel.  All good, but all hot from the large amounts of people in each room.  This wasn't frustrating and everyone remained calm and collected.  When we got to hot we ventured outside for a bit, no biggie.  Friday evening offered a DJ hosted dance, where *much* dancing and fun was enjoyed.  The room had a good amount of people especially for being a 21 and over event.  I was glad to see that they offered a dance as it gets people out and together.  Most of the con's i've been to over the last few years have been seriously lacking in the after hours activities.  Well i took full advantage of the dance, a bit more enjoyment that was necessary and thus spent the first half of Saturday sleeping off the fantastically good time had on Friday.

Once i did arise on Saturday a couple more panels were attended and totally enjoyed.  There were smart people there with smart things to say.  Some things said were things i knew, especially things about sewing/costuming/tricking things out; but there was also large amount of insightful dialogue theorizing about how it was and tons of great explore conservations about what steampunk is and what it means.  I am really enjoying watching this new genre form and listening to all of the idea forming conversations around Steampunk.  People are making it up as they go and finding evediance to back up their statements, and it's good!  I can't wait to see how this continues to evolve over the next few years with new cons popping up all over the world.

Also on Saturday afternoon was a tea and fashion show.  Fantastic tea setup with goodies and weak or strong tea for all while we enjoyed a Steampunk fashion show.  No pictures, they were hauling it down the runway and back so they were all blurry city.  A recap of some of my favorites: Mens Ties sewn together as the back of a jacket, some Illig inspired strappy skirts, and a wide stripe black/white dinner jacket very circus inspired.  Everything reminded me of some great items collecting dust in the closet.  I really enjoy how much of the brighter side of the industrial scene comes through in Steampunk.

Saturday night was the "Airship Invasion" concert.  Abney Park was the only band we caught, after the great changing of the clothes.  It was good, but i've seen them before and just wasn't feeling large amounts of energy in the room.  It was "sold out" but there was TONS of space in the room so it felt kinda sparse.  Still worth the $15!

Sunday was packing and returning home.  It was nice to sleep in my own bed again without a line of people hanging around outside my window, but i also miss looking at all of the creativeness that was at Steam-Con.

Panels that rocked
* Faux Finishes , Aging Gear & Apparel | Panel members were costumers and the audience participation in conservation led to fantastic technique discussions
* The Sharp Dressed Man | There were quite a few panels focused on mens fashions, nice to see as often only the women get this attention...also the most packed with people

Panels that *sounded* like they would have rocked, that i missed
* Celestial Navigation | Super helpful for character building of anything airship, also stars rock
* Dungeons and Dickens: How to Steampunk your RPG | anyone helping people be better story tellers gets points
* Rusty Gears & Shiny Sprockets | The con was so well organized they even scheduled a "tell us what you like and didn't like" panel.  The entire con was this well planned and excuted, very impressive for the turnout and for the first year.

Bottom Line ... Yes, i would/will go back next year.  The panels were fun and interesting, the location was easy and affordable, and the people were super cool.

Let the Holiday crafting/cooking begin!

I love the fall and winter.  So many different celebrations for all different walks of life.  Time for hand made gifts, fantastic recipes, and time with friends and family.  Of course Christmas gifts always sneak up on me, but this year i'm taking it all in stride and have already decided that the world will not end if everyone doesn't get fancy things this year.  Between looking for a house and my crazy works schedule i am hoping to fit in some good baking and cooking time so watch out Thanksgiving...

Part of my holiday plans this year include attending Dickens Fair in San Francisco a couple of times which means a couple of new costumes.  I do love sewing no matter how much i complain about it.  There is some fabric lying around and a couple of cute time period appropriate patterns hanging out that have been givin each other the eye.  I need to give everything a once over and nail the outfits down so i can plan the holiday creativity out and set some goals.

Holiday gifts will also need to be made this year and a couple of birthdays.  I do have parents and a brother to think of and lots of fantastic friends that have been there for me a lot over this trying year who super deserve some awesome treats.  Luckily the family is very easy going and low key.  The brother has requested another beanie, which shouldn't take more then a day or two, and the mom/dad got blankets and socks last year so this year can be on the smaller side.  I just finished a pretty rockin Christmas Stocking for me that might work with different setups for some others...I can't wait for the yarn shopping!!!  I always forget that i can also "Sew" for others.  For some reason gifting pops into my head as knitting and a bit o' crochet.  Sewing is just as awesome and something i have been doing a bit more of this year.  Any ideas for some cute sewn gifty items?