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Happy Fun Picture Time!

...or, look at Laura embarrass herself again.

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.

Oh, yes.

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the v-neck houpellande-style dresses were actually two-piece shaped things called "Yorkist Gowns", thanks to a very outdated article in the Knowne World Handbook.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.

Other Sportswear:


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.  

Mmmmmmmmmmm, silk.

(All designs copyright Laura Mellin, 1992-2008.  Honour the deal; please don't steal - without permission.)


( 59 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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Feb. 27th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
Is it confession time?
The first SCA outfit I ever made myself (someone made my first three) was inspired by a romance novel cover.

Feb. 27th, 2008 03:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Is it confession time?
That's funny; my first name (Isobel) was from a romance novel about a feisty Scottish lass (with an inexplicably English name). :)
Re: Is it confession time? - rufinia - Feb. 27th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Is it confession time? - apollonia - Feb. 27th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Is it confession time? - morrghan92 - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Is it confession time? - attack_laurel - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Is it confession time? - morrghan92 - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
Awesome! I love seeing design ideas as I have no creativity in my soul at all. The Yorkist gown is my favourite, but if I skied, I'd love the futuristic/anachronistic ski suit.
Feb. 27th, 2008 04:06 pm (UTC)
That one is definitely my favourite. :)
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
The drawings are just beautiful to look at, in and of themselves!

We once had a contest at a Coronation. We asked all of the Laurels to bring either the first thing they ever made or a fascimile thereof.

We gave a prize to the person who could match the Laurel to the object, and another prize to the Laurel who was Most Improved. I went out and got the largest most hideous plastic trophy I could find (with some kind of greek-ish goddessy figure holding aloft a laurel wreath) for the winner.

The idea was to show that everyone had to start somewhere, which was definitely achieved! And everyone had a blast trying to figure out which object went with which Laurel.
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
What a great idea for a contest :)
(no subject) - wombatgirl - Feb. 27th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - patrikia - Feb. 27th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fearga - Feb. 27th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - corbaegirl - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
Fabulous drawings :) The "first garb" doesn't look tooo bad, though I suppose the drawing doesn't quite convey the shiny polyester and sequins ;)

My first garb was also all hand sewn... out of horrible polyester because I didn't own a sewing machine. Good thing I didn't own a camera either ;)
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
Really, the blue dress was hideous. 8)
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Y'know, any one of those first 3 beats a lot of the stuff I still see at events.

Feb. 27th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
The curtain lace thing was really a wonder. I have killed other curtains in my time - I am going to do a few more sketches of some of my early stuff.
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
A good friend and I worked on her 15th c V-Necked outfit (when I was doing Tudor) and she got marked down in a costuming competition because she didn't have a waist seam... I always wondered where the judges (yes costuming laurels) got that info. Thank you for that tidbit!
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Yup - it's the old KWH. I remember having just an impossible time telling people the thing was just belted. I couldn't understand why no-one else was looking at the original drawings and paintings and not seeing the gathers where the belt pulls the dress in. *sigh*
(no subject) - azpapillion - Feb. 27th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - landverhuizer - Feb. 27th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gwacie - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - odettedamboise - Feb. 27th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Feb. 27th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - odettedamboise - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - landverhuizer - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - odettedamboise - Feb. 27th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gwacie - Feb. 27th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - odettedamboise - Feb. 27th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
"Of course, now I look at New York Fashion Week, and I wonder."

I think I have seen half of these designs in the Heatherette Spring line.
Feb. 27th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
:) I have a knack of being about two years (though in this case, it would be 14) ahead of any fashion curve.

They're watching me!
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)
my first was a hot pink corduroy skirt and bodice (with tiny eyelets that kept popping out) and was lace with a white shoe lace, worn over a light pink drawstring chemise. And kung fu slippers.

Oh and a pink lunch-lady net snood.

I was stylin'.
Feb. 27th, 2008 04:09 pm (UTC)
I had an "Italian" gown I was very fond of, made from an old pair of calico curtains my mother was throwing out. I must sketch it. :)
(no subject) - peteyfrogboy - Feb. 27th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
Those first 3 outfits are hilariously awesome. Particularly because I would have loved to wear them when I joined, most of all the 3rd one - I was 10 and obessed with Tamora Pierce/Robin McKinley's books. :D

I really like the Buck Rodgers Ski Suit. It is teh awesome.

Most of all? I wish I could draw like that.
Feb. 27th, 2008 04:11 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. :)

The outfit with the "staff of power" was hysterical (and weighed a ton - those were cotton lace curtains). The "staff" was a stick of bamboo from th bamboo patch in my mother's back yard, dried, painted, and an ostrich feather stuck in the top. I had powerz.

The hat was actually a rather nice vintage '40s hat. I wish I still had it.
Feb. 27th, 2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
I destroyed all evidence of my early costuming debacles. I spent my early SCA time in my boyfriend's pirate shirts with leggings and boots.

Actually, I may have a picture of fairly early garb from Isabel & Havelyard's wedding at St Mary's City. (Christmastide 1994 or 1995? I joined in early 1994 but Jennie was a friend from college days). It was a "cavalier" dress and it bore no resemblance to anything ever worn in the 17th C. At the time, I was really proud of it. I loved that striped shirt for all it was made from $1/yard upholstery fabric I must see if I can lay hands on that picture.

Feb. 27th, 2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Looking at that first one, keep thinking that I know that movie... somewhere...

the ski suit is freeky... like :)

Feb. 27th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
"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."
I've gotten into some pretty fierce arguments about that! I always saw it clearly as a belted hour, but others here absolutely insisted on a seperate bodice. *sigh*

My first gowns were not bad under the circumstances. I was 19 and had never sewn really. I made a "Fitted Norman gown out of poly-cotton, but badly mis-sized it. I went from there straight to Elizabethan.
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:16 pm (UTC)
I am still a beginner... And I must admit, my first dress..... Woo.. You know that fake "suede" stuff they sell at Hancocks? Yeah, that was my chemise. In gray. No hems. just... trimmed. Then, I added a purple cotton sideless surcoat. Also, completely un hemmed. lol, at least no pics exsit.

on another note.... I'm making a 14th cent cotehardie, and I was wondering... do i make eyelets in it to lace up, or will lacing rings do?

Thank you for putting up with my random questions! :)
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
Someone like chargirlgenius would have more experience with that than me - I don't know whether lacing rings were used on cotehardies. I always do eyelets (for one thing, I make mine pretty tight, and the sewn eyelets are stronger).
(no subject) - odettedamboise - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - landverhuizer - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - odettedamboise - Feb. 27th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karynbautista - Feb. 28th, 2008 01:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm more of a fantasy costumer anyway (so I guess I don't count ;-), but I love all of these! Beautiful designs. I esp. love the riding outfit -- nice nod to the Regency era, plus a Tudor-esque hat, all w/futuristic flair. And the shoes on all of them rock my world!

The first blue one has a rather Arwen-ish feel to it. And the third one, well heck, in the few SCA events I've been to, I've seen men in *a lot* worse (um, sweatpants & T-tunics, anyone?). That outfit is pleasing to the eye w/all the bases covered. Pretty feather :-)
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:34 pm (UTC)
heh. I like the riding outfit, but the judging committee didn't - it got passed over completely. But I'd already gotten 1st and 3rd for the ski suit and the swimwear, so it's only fair.

I have to admit, I love the shoes. I wish that Louis XVI (? - one of the Louis') curvy heel would come back into fashion.

As fantasy outfits go, the SCA ones are fine - simple, but they were pretty. The third was less good in the execution than it is in the drawing. :)
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Feb. 27th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - trystbat - Feb. 27th, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
Okay, off-topic, but I have to ask- where do you get those icons with the Rabids in them? I love them!
Feb. 27th, 2008 05:52 pm (UTC)
I look for screen caps and add my own text and jokes.

They're free for the taking - just credit me. :)
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