Cinderella’s Rags

Why are these rags so pretty? I’ve always wondered that, even as a kid. Maybe it’s the color combination- the warm golden brown, the chocolate brown, the robin’s egg blue. There’s just something appealing about it.

I decided to make my Cinderella rags cosplay for Not So Scary in 2014. What pattern did I use? If you guessed my trusty Simplicity 1873, you are correct! It’s just the best fit and flare pattern there is. I used all cottons, mostly because I couldn’t find any linens that were the right color. If I ever go back and remake this dress, I’ll use a wider range in fabric textures. The skirt was cut as a half circle and I added pockets- really deep pockets, because if I’ve learned anything from my Not So Scary trips it’s that I NEED POCKETS. I mean, I had my car keys, my phone, and my umbrella in that bitch.

The first time I tried on the bodice, it was too small. This is why I always pin the zipper and test the bodice before I add sleeves or the skirt! Luckily I had enough fabric left to add gores at the sides, and that was all I needed.

The apron was a hemmed rectangle of white cotton pleated onto a waistband (super simple) and I wore black ballet flats from Target and a royal blue ribbon in my hair. My hair was surprisingly easy. I curled my bangs back from my forehead with a 1” curling iron and pinned the perfectly formed curl into place; the rest of my hair was curled, teased, and tied into a low ponytail. I was also very pleased with my makeup (although I can’t remember what products I used!)

I also made a Fairy Godmother costume for my friend Song using the same pattern. The dress was a plain blue, but the short cloak was self drafted. If I remember correctly, the cape part was cut in one circular piece; the cape and hood were both lined in pink and I added the big maroon ties in the front to make the bow.

I wore the Cinderella costume again for Akaicon 2015; I wanted a simple and comfortable cosplay for Sunday so I pulled this one out of retirement. This time I added my beloved Malco Modes petticoat, white gave just enough softness and fullness. My friend Kimberly also took some gorgeous photos of the costume, and my sister lent me her Cinderella mice toys (from a playset I bought her for her sixth birthday!)

Also I got to meet Jason Mardsen in this dress and I got super shy and he was literally the nicest and his chin scruff touched my shoulder when he hugged me and it was the best okay bye.

“Are you Blonde Belle?” (no.)

Let’s go back to an earlier, simpler time. Fall of 2014. The Frozen craze is at its height. I’m going to Not So Scary, and do I have the time to make Elsa’s ice gown? Or her coronation gown? Absolutely not, I’m a procrastinator. So I settle for young Elsa.

(Source: Britt Myers Art)

I was already off to a pretty good start. I had a Forever 21 blouse in the correct color with the correct collar already, plus I had white gloves, white tights, a black headband, and a pale blonde Arda wig (from my yet-to-be-completed Alice in Wonderland cosplay). I also swapped out the black ballet flats for my black Seychelles Gallium ankle boots. Pretty much I was just looking at the dress.

I used a navy knit from my stash from the bodice; using a knit meant I could eliminate the zipper, and the fit was a lot more comfortable and forgiving. I pretty much just cut rectangles and pinned and stitched until it was a good fit. Originally the skirt was made out of the same knit, but it was too dark and too heavy, so I pulled a medium blue cotton from my stash and made a simple dirndl skirt (plus pockets- you always need pockets, especially for Not So Scary.

Elsa’s dress has a lot of really beautiful embroidery, but did I mention that I’m a procrastinator?

I ended up bringing my Elsa Disney Animator’s Collection doll to Joann’s with me so I could match her embroidery to embroidered ribbon. That’s right, I was that crazy lady walking around in public with a doll. But in the end, I found a great scalloped black trim for the hem, a pretty burgundy satin ribbon, and two kinds of embroidered ribbon in the right colors. Worth it, I guess? Oh, and I also used a navy satin ribbon as a sash.

The floral shape on the bodice turned out to be a nightmare. Originally I cut the petals from fabric and I planned to satin stitch them on as appliques. My sewing machine, it turns out, did not agree. At the last second, I used black fabric paint and traced around the edges; it simulated a stitched edge while also attaching the petals to the bodice. It’s not great, and I fully plan on changing it at some point in the future, but it could be a lot worse.

(Speaking of a lot worse, I hadn’t learned about wig caps. As such, the wig situation was a mess the whole night. Yikes.)

The only real downside to this cute, comfortable, on-trend costume…was that no one knew who I was. All night people asked me if I was blonde Anna or blonde Belle. What a let down. At least Anna and Elsa knew who I was.

All in all, I call this one a win. I really want to pull it out again at some point, especially since my sister is getting me the Sir Jorgenbjorgen plush for Christmas this year. Or maybe I’ll be crazy and remake the whole thing.

Do you want to build a snowman?

Dapper Day Rapunzel from Tangled

This dress was a long, long long time in the making. It starts when I was in college, and I was tasked with making a dozen colonial-era costumes in the span of two and a half weeks (Comment below if you want to hear that story!) I drew inspiration from a lot of places, including Sofia Coppola’s dreamy Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst. The costumes in that movie are absolutely stunning, and I especially fell in love with the soft pastel gowns worn during the Petit Trianon scenes. I ended up making this beautiful white gown lined in soft pink, with a pink satin sash. I was totally in love, and honestly I wanted to make one for myself.

So when I was planning my spring Dapper Day outift, I really wanted to make something like that dress, but with a Disney twist. I decided to base my outfit off of both the chemise a la reine and Rapunzel!

 

I used my favorite fit and flare dress pattern, Simplicity 1873, for the bodice, but cut both the back and neckline in deep scoops. I also added a waistband, to give the bodice a more definited shape. The sleeves were pulled from…well, I’m honestly not sure. Another pattern. Both the sleeves and the neckline were trimmed with pleated white ruffles.

I made the dress out of white muslin (because cheap!) but the bodice and the full circle skirt were both lined in a light lavender cotton, partially because, well, the white dress was see through, and also because the lavender gave just enough of a hint of a Rapunzel color through the thin muslin. As a final touch, I used a double-faced satin ribbon in the perfect lavender-pink shade as a sash and made thread loops to hold it in place. (Comment below if you want a tutorial on how to make those!)

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I also made a flower-trimmed headband using a cream colored headband from Joann’s and a bunch of silk flowers. They were only hot glued into place, but they held up really well and I didn’t lose a blossom during the long humid day.

My shoes were a pair of pink and cream oxford flats from Modcloth and I wore them with a pair of white lacey socks from the kid’s section of Target. What can I say? They worked really well. I also wore a necklace with a little gold comb on it, also from Modcloth.

I wore my Malco Modes petticoat underneath the dress and carried around a cream colored purse from Forever 21, and it was a magical day. I mean, I did get stared at in the parking lot, and it’s REALLY HARD TO DRIVE IN A PETTICOAT, but I had a beautiful time and took a lot of pictures. And also met Rapunzel. I got to tell her that my dress had pockets and she thought that was great. So all in all, a success! I really need to wear this dress again. Maybe the next time I go grocery shopping.

 

 

Ellie Frederickson

I need to wear this dress more often. That’s really the biggest takeaway from this. I like this dress and I like this pattern.

Way way way back in 2011, a friend of mine was getting married and since I had done her alterations, I wanted to make a dress. I picked up Vogue 2960 and some really nice floral print cotton that a vintage vibe to it, and got to work. It’s a shockingly simple pattern, especially with the changes I made. The original pattern calls for the dress to button up the front, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

I cut the front bodice pieces on the fold and inserted a red zipper (a fancy exposed zipper!) in the back. It made it so much easier to assemble, and honestly it made it simple to wear too, since I wasn’t worried about my boobs popping out as they are wont to do with a button front anything. I did make a full bodice lining as well, which gave a little more heft and a little more opacity to the fabric.

A few years later, when I was teaching, I needed an outfit for Spirit Week for fictional character day. For some reason my usually overactive brain completely stalled out when it came to what I wanted to wear, so I ended up pulling this dress out of my closet so I could be Ellie Frederickson from Up. I added a red cardigan, red heels, a petticoat borrowed from my sister, and a Grape Soda Ellie Badge pin borrowed (begrudgingly) from my mother.

Lanyard of teacher keys optional.

I ended up revisiting this pattern for my Dapper Day Wendy Darling dress, and still love it- but I’ve since learned I need to take some of the ease out of the back. It makes more sense if you read that post; you can see where things didn’t quite work out as easily as it did with this dress!

“great pate, mom!” (that one time I finally did Heathers)

HEATHERS. IT’S THE DREAM, RIGHT??

I discovered Heathers on Pandora about two years ago- I was playing my Broadway playlist on my way to work, as one does, and “Beautiful” came on. Well, it’s a long song, so I sat in the parking garage at work listening to the end (and was almost late clocking in, oops. But so worth it.) I just don’t understand why more theaters don’t do it- I’ve been waiting for someone to put it on in my area ever since.

Luckily, not only was CTCO doing it (fifteen minutes away from where I live!) but my friend Taylor, who played Horton in Seussical with me, was directing it. So I was over the moon to audition. I sang “What It Means to Be a Friend” from Thirteen and called back for the ensemble. Was I disappointed to not be called back for a lead? Absolutely. But a lot of incredibly talented people auditioned. And I also went into this knowing that I was probably going to end up in Evil Dead, and the rehearsal schedules would overlap. There was no way I could feasibly play leads in both shows. The callback for Heathers was a lot of fun, and to my surprise Taylor held me to read for the role of Veronica’s mom. I ended up getting the part! Usually Mrs. Sawyer is doubled with Ms. Fleming, the teacher, but we went with this instead and it was a blast!

Rehearsals got a little bit tricky, though. Heathers overlapped with Evil Dead, which performed out of a theater ten minutes down the road, so usually I would attend the first hour or two of Heathers rehearsal and then go down the road for Evil Dead. Poor Shane barely saw me- I was rehearsing six nights a week, on top of my new job! (Because of course Movie Ride closed during the rehearsal process and I had to start training for Safaris immediately. Yikes.) And for a short time, the It’s a Date cabaret overlapped too. Ugh. No wonder I was so stressed for so long. The only way any of this worked, though, was communication. All my directors and stage managers knew exactly what was going on, and they were really flexible. So if I had to miss Heathers rehearsal completely for the Evil Dead photocall, I could, and if I needed to miss Evil Dead for a Heathers full run, I could. I’m so glad I didn’t have to pick, because I’m honestly not sure which one I would have chosen.

The music for Heathers is super complicated. Like yeah, I knew the lyrics for the most part because I’ve played through the cast recording approximately a million times. But the parts. OH LORD. “Yo Girl” is literally the most complicated thing ever; I was honestly not too upset when I found out I didn’t need to sing that song after all since Mrs. Sawyer had to be onstage for bits of it. So if you end up in a production, don’t think you can slide by since you have the OCR memorized. It’s so specific.

Our choreography was great; both our choreographer and our dance captain are Disney entertainment and they are so good at what they do. As for me? Well, dancing is not my strong suit. It’s not. I know this. So I struggled, especially since I inevitably missed rehearsal time (because I was also learning Evil Dead choreography and struggling there equally!). There was a lot of checking in with the dance captain and with a couple members of the ensemble that I trusted to make sure that I was remembering things correctly. (Usually I wasn’t. But I finally caught on by tech week. Finally.)

I ended up taking two tracks in Heathers, one as Mrs. Sawyer and one as a student at Westerberg High. The director was really great about us developing a real feel for our characters and finding unique characterizations. So of course we had the Nerd and the Republicanette and the other written ensemble characters, but we each had really specific characters for each ensemble member, which really made a difference in the strength of the show. I described my characters as “Carrie White, with no powers.” Basically me when I was in elementary/middle school, now aged up a bit- very sheltered, very anxious. I got to develop my own costume with the approval of the director, so I went with a plaid button up shirt, a denim jumper, lacy ankle socks, and saddle shoes. Originally I had a red bandana in my hair as a headband, but Taylor pointed out (and rightly so) that Heather Chandler should be the only one with red. So I borrowed a blue bandanna from another cast member instead.

Speaking of my hair, though, I had the most killer wig. I think the best way to describe it is “someone from the 80s time traveled to the 90s, saw Rachel’s haircut on Friends, and then went back to the 80s and tried to describe it to their stylist.” It was a mullet and yet not a mullet. It was stellar and I adored it.

I also had another costume for the party; in the script it actually specifies that everyone at Ram’s party is in different costumes as different, cooler characters than their school ensemble selves, so I ran with it. My dress is actually my original Eleven cosplay dress, minus the the white collar, but it looked really great as an 80s party dress. I swapped out the bandanna for a headband with a tiny bow and the saddle shoes for floral-print boots (the same ones I wore for Chris in Carrie.)

And then there was Mrs. Sawyer. My wig is a glorious Betty Boop/Betty Rubble pile of curls- they wanted me to look more like Veronica, and the blonde mullet wasn’t going to cut it. The shoes are just my basic black character shoes, and the skirt was made from fabric and a zipper I scrounged up in my stash. The shirt, you ask? You might recognize the shirt.

It’s definitely not my gangster shirt. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Heathers only ran for one weekend, but it’s a show I could do over and over again and never get tired of it, no matter what role I’m playing. But I don’t think it would be able to top the cast of this production. Everyone was so talented and brought their A game 100%. It was such a great time.

And of course people came to visit it me, including a couple of Deadites!!

I’m going to do a tutorial for Vlogmas next month about how I did my 80s inspired Heathers look; it’s going to be super chatty and I’m going to talk about the show, so ask me all the questions you have down below!! I want to answer all your questions, about the show and my experience and theatre in general!!

In the meantime, I’m going to go serve some liverwurst and pretend it’s pate.

It’s a Date! (my first cabaret)

I auditioned for this cabaret on accident.

The company was holding a joint audition for both Heathers and the cabaret at the same time; I only planned on auditioning for Heathers since I had a conflict right before the scheduled date for the show. Better to not audition for a show when you know there’s a conflict than jumping into a mess, right? (I once went to an audition where the director saw that the auditionee would be gone for the whole week before tech week and he told her basically that she could audition but she wouldn’t get cast. Yikes.) But I came in and I sang for the (large group) of directors, and one of them is a friend of mine and she was like “Why didn’t you write down you wanted to audition for the cabaret?”

“I have a conflict,” I said.

“I’m putting you down anyway.”

I got a callback for the Nerd Girl and one of the hosts, and lo and behold, I was cast as the Nerd Girl. I’m definitely never typecast ever, right?

The cabaret was a loosely scripted format that relied on improv. The first part involved three bachelors and an audience participant as the bachelorette; the hosts would ask questions and the bachelors would improv their answers, interspersed with songs, until the bachelorette made their choice and the winner sang a solo. Then the whole cast would sing “The Money Song” from Avenue Q (it makes sense in the full script, trust me) and then the same format would repeat with three bachelorettes and a male audience participant as the bachelor.

The songs were more of a challenge than I expected because, for the first time ever, I was singing as an alto in the group numbers instead of a soprano 2. As a soprano 2 I typically have some harmonies here and there, but an alto is straight up just singing harmonies. And let me just say, I do not naturally have an ear for harmonies. Your girl had to WORK for this. But at the end of the day, it was really rewarding. I got to sing in a less-utilized part of my range (I have a really strong lower register and didn’t realize it!) and I got to learn a lot of techniques I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. So lesson learned- yeah, I was really nervous at first, but it was great.

I didn’t do much in the first half of the show, since the guys were singing for most of it, but I did get to sing in the “doo-doo-doo”s for “Hey Good Lookin'” (from Dogfight). But then I didn’t do anything else until halfway through the show for “The Money Song,” so most of the time I looked like this:

(Snapchat courtesy of Rachel, who played the Princess bachelorette, and was just as bored as I was)

The three female bachelorettes were introduced using the song “I Know It’s Today” from Shrek, and this meant I got to achieve one of my life goals of singing the Medium Fiona verse. Seriously, that’s all I want. Cast me in Shrek and let me play Medium Fiona and a fairy tale character so I can sing “Freak Flag,” I’ll be happy as can be. Anyway, I got to sing my favorite part in that song and I was just like YES BLESS EVERYTHING.

The improv was very hit or miss. I could play off of one of the hosts really easily, but not so easily with the other one. So kind of frustrating, but sometimes it was super rewarding. Also, admittedly my improv skills are kind of rusty. I feel like I should take some classes. Anyway.

My big solo number…was a song I’d never heard before. I’ve listened to a lot of musical theatre, trust me, but I’d never heard of this song. And it was a challenging one for me, because by the end of the song I was supposed to unbutton my nerdy Her Universe Ewok cardigan and show off my (very modest, very unrevealing) bra to the audience. (I thought I was too shy and retiring to show off my bra to an audience. And then two months later, Evil Dead…)

Anyways, confused? Listen to the song and it’ll make sense.

It’s great, right?? I had such a blast once I got comfortable with it. It went straight into my audition book, I can tell you that much.

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(this picture was from a rehearsal so I’m not in my amazing unicorn skirt and my hair is a mess, but please enjoy my quality facial expression.)

The big problem was that after the bachelor contestant from the audience picked his winner, the two losers had to sing a duet. Good news: it was “Secondary Characters” from [title of show], which is an amazing and hilarious song. Bad news: remember when I said I struggled with harmonies? Yeah, this was not a great time for me. I won for one performance so I didn’t have to sing it that night, but I lost the second performance so…well, it was underwhelming. It was all right. It could have been worse. Let’s just say I learned a lot.

The finale was “Burnin’ Love” from All Shook Up, the Elvis jukebox musical, and that was a lot of fun. The choreography was a lot of fun for that one especially, and my solo bits were super great.

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All in all, I wasn’t expecting to be a part of the cabaret at all, but it turned out to be a lot of fun and fairly low key, all things considered. I also got to wear my favorite cardigan, my pink party glasses, and a gray and silver unicorn print skirt, so this was a win win all around!

Weight Loss Update

If you guessed that, with all the chaos in my life, my weight loss efforts have fallen completely off track…you’d be exactly right.

Yeah, there’s been a lot happening. Not only starting the new job, but being in three shows at once put me in a whirlwind. I was leaving my apartment for work at 7, leaving work and getting straight to Heathers rehearsal by 6, and then going to Evil Dead rehearsal afterwards from 8 till at least 10…and then starting over the next morning. And then once I got into Evil Dead performances, I wouldn’t get home till 11- 2am if it was a midnight performance- and I would get McDonalds breakfast in the drive through on the way home. It was just too much.

Luckily I did at least try to slow my roll, so to speak. I didn’t have any time to work out, but at least my shows kept me moving. Heathers and Evil Dead both had dance numbers, and Evil Dead was an incredibly physical and high energy show. So that at least made sure I wasn’t full sedentary.

My eating habits weren’t great though. I relied on a lot of fast food, but I did start to order smaller portions and healthier options rather than mega burger meals every single time. I also started picking up burrito bowls and juice from Wawa on the way from work to rehearsal- basically knockoff Chipotle. Again, not great, but a lot healthier.

Now that things are settling, I’m doubling down on my efforts. I’ve started doing Pop Pilates again, which I know will help. And I have a 5k to run tomorrow; I do really enjoy running and I need to do it more often.

I also gave myself some from motivation. I have tons of cute dresses in my closet that I can’t wear since I gained more weight. I ended up measuring each dress and pinning a note with the bust and waist measurements, and put them in order in my closet from biggest to smallest. My goal is to lose enough weight to wear everything! I even have three Betsey Johnson dresses that I can’t wear- I want to lose enough weight to wear them!

I’m still sitting about 170, but my goal is to lose at least thirty pounds by next October. Fingers crossed!

Back to Blogging!

Hi, friends! It’s been a while. A lot of curveballs came my way! A big one came in the form of Photobucket- I had worked so hard to upload all my photos so nicely onto Photobucket, only for them to change their policies and charge several hundred dollars to link photos from their site to my blog. Yikes. What a mess. I’m still fixing a lot of broken links, but I’m working on it! (Comment if you see any photos I might have missed!) I’m going to host a lot of my photos directly on WordPress from now on, and store the rest on Flickr.

My other major curveball you probably saw if you follow me on Instagram. My beloved home attraction, the Great Movie Ride, closed its doors after nearly twenty-nine years. We only had a month of warning, which meant we all had to switch it into high gear to close out the attraction and immediately go to our new locations. I only had about twelve hours between walking out of Movie Ride for the last time and starting on my day one of training at my new location. It was so much happening at once, and honestly it was really emotional. I spent three and a half years at this attraction and loved it, and I loved the people there. It was a huge change to lose the attraction, the work, and the people all at once. I’m now a safari guide at Kilimanjaro Safaris, and I like it well enough. It will never be GMR, but it’s a good job. I’m looking into some other places within the company as well- I think it might be time to move into a backstage area of the company rather than being front line. But it was a lot to handle at one time.

Now add to that that I was doing three shows simultaneously. I did a cabaret called It’s a Date in June, I did Heathers in September, and I did a production of Evil Dead: The Musical in October. So between everything going on, I barely had time to breathe, much less blog!

Now that things are calming down (I’m feeling more settled at Safaris and I’m only working on one show), I’m ready to work on my blog and my YouTube channel again!! I’m going to aim to post new videos on Mondays and Fridays, but I might pop up with more videos as interesting things happen. I’m also planning on spilling all the beans on the shows I’ve been in recently, as well as talking about my sewing projects, Disney, fashion, books, weight loss, and beauty stuff! I love talking to people, so feel free to comment or get in touch with me on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or Tumblr! Let’s be friends!