Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rat Queen Progress

Finally, exams and assignments are more or less over, and I can work on some costume projects. Currently I am trying to use up my stash, so I decided to begin my Emilie Autumn 'Rat Queen' inspired costume. I know Emilie Autumn gets very mixed press, what with accusations of her glorifying mental illness (don't think I know enough about this subject to comment) or having over priced tickets/merchandise (shipping to Malta is always expensive, so I've never actually bought anything from her, though the Asylum book looks interesting), but I love the costumes she creates, as well as her music (especially the Enchant era, but a lot of the FLAG songs are good too)
The Rat Queen is probably as detailed as a Sakizou inspired costume, though much more ragged. I've always wanted to try my hand at something Sakizou-like, so this is an ideal project. I found fantastic cloth for the corset: pillowcases on sale for 1 Euro each. I also got a lot of scraps of cloth to turn into the bustle, and those cloth strips she had round her calves, and to make the rat tail. 

The first thing that I made for this costume was the choker. The 'cameo' in the centre started as a pair of earrings, glued together to create this piece. I then glued some gems on top, added a key charm, and sewed it to a strip of cloth. Everything is glued on with E6000 or fabric glue.
Also made some matching earrings.

The ears began as craft foam pieces, with a dart in the middle to make them more three dimensional. 
See how much nicer they look than flat semi circles would look?
I applied several coats of PVA glue to stop the craft foam from being damaged.
Once the paint dried, I painted the ears grey.
I added embellishments using beads and gems. This photo doesn't show the extra beads that I added for more texture. The ears are now encrusted with silver beads.

The tail was made by sewing lots of scraps together to make a big rectangle. The tail pattern is a long thin isosceles triangle, folded in half and stuffed. Stuffing the tail was difficult, because you can't really poke the stuffing to the end of the tail. I ended up hand-sewing the tail shut for 10cm, then adding stuffing, then sewing, then adding more stuffing, until the whole thing was stuffed. I didn't have Dacron or similar, so used scraps of satin and some wig fibres that I had (I massacred a blonde wig, and there were lumpy unusable wefts everywhere). Using watered down grey acrylic paint, I painted the tail light grey, then used a thicker paint mix to paint on the darker stripes. Lastly I added a ribbon to tie around my waist.
 The bloomers are made from a single pillowcase, using this tutorial by Yiji on Deviantart. I didn't even make a pattern; I just traced around a pair of wide loose trousers to get the shape right. The stripes are pieces of lace, and I added some bows for decoration.

 Everything is elasticated for comfort. Personally, I think these are really cute.

I can't work on this properly until I buy a busk. I don't know what length to buy, because one website suggested getting a busk 1 inch shorter than the length of the centre front. I asked Lucy Corsetry on tumblr, so I'll wait for a reply and see. I think I will use plastic bones to cut down on costs; I don't intend to use this for waist training, so I think plastic bones (zip ties) will do. The pattern is based on Katafalk's under bust corset drafting tutorial  

This will be something of an experiment. I want to try dying a wig red for this costume. I have 2 wigs that might work; one is thin and a bit nasty, and the other is thicker. I will probably use the latter for the final wig, and the former for practise.

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