A while back, I was talking about some of my first SCA outfits. Thankfully, no pictures have ever been unearthed (as far as I know), but I did promise sketches of some of them.
You have to understand, I joined the SCA when I was 18, but I had been costuming long before then - I have always loved dressing up, and started making my own costumes when I was a kid. I used to enter Sci-fi con masquerades all the time, and built up quite a wardrobe of, well, pretty hideous stuff. When I started in the SCA, I didn't know a damn thing about historical clothing - like most people, I had a picture in my head largely inspired by Hollywood, and a heavy dose of fantasy. Which led to these outfits:
The middle one is the least horrible - but only because a) it was white, and 2) it was made from an old linen sheet of my mother's (with her permission). The angel wing sleeves and the attached "cloak" (I tried to show it; it's hanging from the shoulder seams, and reaches to the ground) were an obsession with me - the blue dress has them, too.
Now, the blue dress - it was really baby blue, and was 100% cheap, slightly stretchy polyester. It's hand sewn, but only because I didn't have a sewing machine (all my outfits were hand-sewn). The polyester didn't have to be hemmed, so all the edges were raw, and the front, while cut originally like the white dress, was too stretchy, so I put a leotard-style "twist" at the boobs. This kept stretching, so the neckline really ended almost at my navel. I finished off this horror with a carefully embroidered cross-hatch pattern across the bodice, and trimmed the Xes with plastic star-shaped sequins.
The last outfit I think I wore once - it was too much for the SCA, and got relegated to Sci-fi cons. The base is an electric green/blue leotard, the giant winged "tunic" on top is... curtain lace. Curtains died for that outfit. Needlessly.
Now, instead of the lovely slim models I have drawn them on, imagine those outfits on a short round chick.
Yeah, I know.
I used to do some sketches for outfits I never made - I found this one:
Not in the least bit period, really, but pretty. Mind you, when I drew this one out, a lot of people were still convinced that the v-neck houpellande-style dresses were actually two-piece shaped things called "Yorkist Gowns", thanks to a very outdated article in the Knowne World Handbook. *frustration*
I actually used to do quite well with my fantasy designs - I entered Costume Con's Future Fashion design competition one year, and got three awards and a couple of honourable mentions. I discovered the original drawings recently, so I scanned them for fun:
This one got first place in the sportswear category - a Lunar Skiing Suit:
This was inspired by some Swedish 1960s designs - but my favourite thing is that the little round circles are all mirrors, designed to catch the light as you ski. I still think this would be a lovely idea for a real ski suit.
Tennis wear (Serena Williams has nothing on me!), swimwear (for fans of Aquaman, I guess), and a riding outfit.
I think my favourite is the quilted riding jacket - I just love that style.
And finally, some formal wear (because everyone does it):
I actually have a spiderweb bodysuit like the first outfit, but I didn't find it until nearly seven years later. The second dress is a bridesmaid's outfit - it seems to me now that the side train would be a giant pain in the ass, but I still love the lower face veil - it think that would look so mysterious and lovely. The cocktail dress is my least favourite (though I think it got an honourable mention), but I would kill for a pair of those shoes.
Alas, like most fashion design, they look better on tall willowy models, so while I started making the spiderweb evening gown, I never finished it (I did it when I was heavier; it looked grotesque. With high enough heels, I think I could carry it off now, but it's a bit risque).
I did actually take a course on fashion design - it was a requirement of my base year at Cambridge (before I split off into the Fine Arts programme). I found I liked drawing out things, but it was more fun designing costumes than practical things. Of course, now I look at New York Fashion Week, and I wonder. :)
I do like that quilted jacket, though. Maybe I should make something like it for an evening jacket. In silk taffeta.
(All designs copyright Laura Mellin, 1992-2008. Honour the deal; please don't steal - without permission.)