All the Fun of the Ball (or Any Excuse for a New Costume).

It is that time of the year again: The annual Australian Costumers’ Ball. The nineteenth to be exact. It is the time when I get to plan and make a new costume. I have been a bit slack this year. In my heyday, I was making almost nineteen costumes a year (for myself and family members). I have been writing my butt off over the past twelve months. The Ball gives me an excuse to create something new.

Up until two months ago, I was not sure what I would wear. But I did need a new corset to wear to Supanova in November. One costume has been on my wishlist for a long time – combining steampunk and Doctor Who. Bonus!

orig BrianKensinger artworkCUSo this year it is another Victoria and Otto costume for me. Thanks to Brian Kesinger for the inspiration (yet again).

What I already had:

  • Green wig and lipstick (as worn with my previous Victoria and Otto costume, in 2013.
  • Skirt: white petticoat from previous steampunk outfits (first made for my Discworld Clacks girl costume)
  • corset material: I actually bought the material two years ago when I first decided to make this costume.
  • Accessories: pocket watch, goggles – all from previous costumes.

accessories 1-copyright2015_KarenCarlisle

What I had to make/procure:

  • accessories 2budget ottocopyright2015_KarenCarlisleOtto: Meet my op-shop version Otto, complete with my 11th Doctor bowtie.

  • orig BrianKensinger artworkparasolParasol:
    I had a white parasol which I intended to paint with silk paint. I could not find the colour locally so ordered paint via ebay. Unfortunately this was lost in the post and I am currently waiting for its replacement. Sadly, the parasol will not make it to the Ball but I am hoping it will make Supanova.
  • shoes2copyright2015_KarenCarlisleShoes: You can’t see Victoria’s shoes in this artwork; I made an artistic decision based on the 10th Doctor. Plan B: make spats to wear over my (10th Doctor) red Chuck Taylor Allstar Converse shoes. Plan A: This was my preference as I still had a short story to finish this month – buy a high lace up version. Again the post was almost my downfall. This week I have been checking the postal tracking daily. They arrived on Friday at 2.08pm. Eighteen hours before they were due to be worn! Now that was a close call.
  • arms1.copyright2015_KarenCarlislepattern arm2copyright2015_KarenCarlisle pattern arms1copyright2015_KarenCarlisleArm accessories: This costume has an interesting combination. Left arm: A gathered detached upper sleeve, or possibly half a bolero? I decided to go with the detached upper sleeve. Right: a fingerless glove. I took measurements and constructed a pattern on the fly. These took an afternoon to run up. I used the blue with white pinstripes I used to make my aviator corset. I finished it with a bow (not visible on the original artwork but Victoria would appreciate the extra bling.)

and finally the Corset:
I just had to make another corset (as you do). I needed to redraft another pattern (extending higher to allow the corset to worn without a chemise) The Australian Costumers’ Guild corset workshop had perfect timing this year. Thanks to Lynne for her help. (Though I lost some weight since the workshop; the fit was not as tight as I would have preferred.) That will need fixing before its next outing.

Picture Corset Costume Diary:

1. It took hours to match up the four Union Jack printed panels to achieve this look. I had to wrangle two things: a. the stripes of the Union Jack are not mirrored. b. two of the panels had been flipped. Argh!

2. Organising the metal spiral boning lengths.

Corset1copyright2015_KarenCarlislepattern corset boningcopyright2015_KarenCarlisle

3/4: Making the boning lengths.


5. Adding the front busk and 6. The eyelets.

 corset1bcopyright2015_KarenCarlisle  corset2copyright2015_KarenCarlisle   corset donecopyright2015_KarenCarlisle

Putting it all together on the night:


All the Fun of the Ball (or Any Excuse for a New Costume). was originally published on karen j carlisle

About karen j carlisle

writer artist gardener chocoholic tea lover
This entry was posted in Art, Costume, steampunk and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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