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Friday, June 4, 2021

WandaVision - "Naughty" 1990s Agatha

WandaVision snuck up on me in a big way. I was glad Wanda was getting more screentime, but I hadn't seen much promo material before the show aired and I had no expectations of getting invested in it, let alone recreating any costumes from it. Then Agatha happened.

It really *was* Agatha all along!

While the show has some issues that really don't sit well with me and definitely spoiled my overall enjoyment, I immediately fell in love with Agatha and the problematic elements didn't damper that. I initially planned to do her 1950s dress from the first episode (and that's in the works), but I quickly found myself theorizing and researching *all* of her costumes (and currently planning to do them all, but we'll see how that goes). On mostly a whim, the first I ended up doing was the most gratuitous—it only has about 30 seconds of screentime, if that—but also the easiest: her 1990s purple velour "Naughty" tracksuit from the opening credits of the seventh episode.

I myself have an edgy velour rhinestoned tracksuit, so it was super relatable. And as I'm still in a costuming rut, something easy to make and comfy to wear was also appealing.

Because the costume felt so indulgent and was meant to be a laid-back project, I didn't want to invest a lot of money in it, so I got a tracksuit second hand and some cheaper (but still beautiful) clear resin rhinestones. The lettering could really be done with any uniform size, and that may be how they made hers, but with only blurry references it's hard to tell. So I got 6mm, 5mm, 4mm, and 3mm to give it some variation.

I made a digital template/stencil of the lettering from screencaps and tweaked it to account for perspective. I don't do much digital work in costuming, so it was fun to use a new tool, even for something basic. I sized it based on standard 8.5x11" printer paper and did some (awkward) mock-up tests, and it ended up being pretty perfect.

Using the template as a stencil, I lightly painted the letters onto the pants with silver Jacquard fabric paint. Referring to both the template and screencaps, I started gluing the largest 6mm rhinestones in the places that looked the most prominent, then went down in size filling in more of the letters. I mostly used the larger sizes for the bulk of the letters, and used the smaller sizes to fill in gaps between them and smooth out edges. This gave the letters a really nice shape. I used E6000 for the gluing based on tutorials by the shop I got the rhinestones from, and it worked great. A wax pencil was also very handy.

This was my first time rhinestoning (?) fabric and it was so much fun. I'm already thinking about doing a second Agatha tracksuit but experimenting by filling in the letters with just tiny 2mm or 3mm rhinestones for a more uniform look. 

There are a few wonky spots where I painted outside the lines or had to remove and reglue rhinestones and left some residue, so I might try to disguise that with some purple paint. The tracksuit I bought also fits a little odd—despite being a matching set, the pants are just this side of indecently tight but kind of perfect that way, but the jacket is a good size too big in comparison. So I may take the jacket in so it fits a little more tightly like hers. But it's completely wearable and overall I'm so, so happy with how it turned out.

I already have a white t-shirt to wear under it, and I'll likely improvise the shoes with some generic sneakers (I do have an old pair of Reeboks that might fit the '90s aesthetic). This would be a great opportunity to skip a wig because my hair is the perfect color, but it's also too short right now. I'm in the process of growing it out so I may wait and see if it's long enough by the time I have a reason to wear this.

I have no definite idea when or where that'll be. At the very least it needs a photoshoot. A friend of mine does a wonderful Wanda (in many different incarnations) so when I fell in love with Agatha I told her I'd be her evil counterpart, and she was so excited when she found out I was doing this costume specifically. It would also be fantastic for a lazy day at a con or for staying in costume but being comfortable during post-con evening shenanigans. I may even be bold enough to wear it in Real Life.

As silly as it is, I love this costume and I'm super glad it was my first completed costume build of the year (and of the pandemic!).

Stay tuned!

*Tagging this as "historical costume" feels so... ugh. Not just because it doesn't feel like historical costuming or look like any of the other historical sewing I do, but also because I lived through the '90s and thinking of that as "historical" in any sense is jarring. But for the sake of accuracy and tagging continuity...

Thursday, June 3, 2021

2020 Recap + 2021 Plans

2020 was an on-fire dumpster of a year for so many reasons. Tallying up costuming accomplishments seems so arbitrary, and finally posting this halfway through 2021 makes the "plans" aspect kind of futile. But looking back on the things I still enjoyed and managed to get done admittedly feels kind of good.

HB Revolution
After distressing the chemise dresses for French Revolution Zombaes at Labyrinth 2019, they were pretty much unusable for anything else (except maybe pirate shenanigans). I hadn't made new ones and didn't have the time or energy to try mocking up something else Revolution-esque in time for HB Revolution, so I went in "normal" clothes. At the time I didn't really mind it, though I regretted the decision just a little when we met up with some friends who were dressed impeccably (and came to regret the decision more as every other costumed event of the year was cancelled, at which point it would have been nice to have done costumes at HB Revolution).

Great L.A. Air Raid
This was the only costumed event of the year, and if I'd known that at the time, I might have done things a little differently. I basically just reused the costume from the previous year: fur-collared coat, red blouse, vintage sailor pants, brass airplane pin. I actually got another pair of the sailor pants that fit better though, and in place of the usual pearls I used a vintage scarab bracelet as a necklace and wore matching earrings. My hair was longer than the previous year and I was experimenting with a new style so the curls and overall style didn't work well or last long or look all that great.

Everything from March onward—WonderCon, Pirate Invasion, SDCC, Labyrinth, and L.A. Comic Con—was cancelled.

So a decrease of events and an increase in stress meant all old plans for the year went completely different, and summer started as a big ol' depressive marathon. I did a lot of other things—puzzles, reading, bingewatching, sewing lots and lots of masks, catching up on posting last year's costumes and events—for a few months, until by July I started working some active costuming back in.

King George
In working on other projects since finishing my King George crown, I'd kind of lost steam on the project. But the release of the filmed performance over the summer motivated me to think about it again, so I started working on version 2.0 of the crown and ordered new materials. I also demolished and then scrapped plans for the livery collar. I'd initially planned to take the original apart and reuse as many materials as possible for a remake, but when I decided to scrap plans for the cape too (or at least postpone it indefinitely) the collar became obsolete. The new plan is for the crown (version 2.0), suit, chest badge (version 2.0), and the scepter, to match what he wears for most of the show.

Hocus Pocus
I didn't mean to fall back into this, but as the Halloween season was approaching I was in my spoopy feels and couldn't leave it alone. Mostly I just did more fabric swatches and the research that goes into that. Nearly all of Winifred's fabrics have been decided and some bloomers and petticoat fabric has been ordered (I'll be constructing the outfit from the inside out for ease and to cut costs), and fabric choice progress has been made on Mary and Billy too. I also started making Winifred necklaces again, more accurate with upgraded materials, and started gathering materials for spellbook 2.0.

1780s/1900s Summer Hat
This is far from finished, but I've been thinking about it for years so I still count starting it as a win. It'll be a light, summery, Provence-inspired straw hat with fabric crown and floral decoration meant to straddle both the 1780s and early 1900s.

Non-costuming craft projects
With events being cancelled and not having any real reason to make costumes, in addition to (or sometimes in place of) sewing I did a lot more general prop and crafting projects than usual. I finally made the witchy moon lamp and Sleepy Hollow horseshoe "artifact" I've been wanting for years and carved two fake pumpkins.

The 2020 "breakdown" was:

  • 1940s ensemble: new pants, new accessories
  • King George: crown 2.0 started
  • Hocus Pocus: more swatches ordered/organized, spellbook 2.0 started
  • new 1780s/1900s hat started
  • general spoopy decor crafting

I don't even know how to plan for 2021 right now. Things are still so up in the air, I'm trying not to get my hopes up for any events or big projects until things change in a more positive direction. But if anything, I can keep picking away at the incomplete bits and pieces that have been on the list the last few years. At the very least I'm hoping to work on the King George crown 2.0 and the Hocus Pocus spellbook 2.0.

  • continue design work on Gibson Gothic, Sword-and-Sandal Superheroes, and/or Lost-Hope Ball
  • continue fabric/pattern/construction research on the Sanderson Sisters and Billy Butcherson
  • Winter Soldier: plan construction for new jacket
  • Civil War Sharon Carter: new shirt
  • Alexei: new pants, new shirt
  • Ice: new pants, new jacket for events 
  • French Revolution Zombaes: continue weathering dresses, continue experimenting with makeup
  • 18th century Lydia: add lace collar, maybe additional accessories, practice new makeup
  • 18th century Beetlejuice: new zone front gown
  • new 18th century chemise gowns
  • continue research on WWII reenactment portrayals: WAC, WAVES
  • random small vintage projects: blouses, shorts, pants, skirts, etc.