“I’ve Struck a Real Bonanza!”
Posted on January 24, 2014 by Janey
Back in November I blogged about working on my second Dixie Cousins costume for Portland’s Wizard World Comic Con. And this last week I put the finishing touches on it…
Selecting a costume from an obscure source is a double edged sword where the benefit is also the downside when it comes down to recreating a costume. Television shows rarely get their dues when it comes to publicity photos, and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. had very few, most of which are only available in the DVD booklet, and in terms of the character of Dixie, there are only ones of her in the red and gold showgirl costume (which made making that costume a lot easier) and her purple traveling ensemble. Additionally, the show is so obscure that there is very little information or images on the internet. So I often end up screencaping needed scenes myself, however quality is always an issue for all sorts of technical reasons between the original filming of the show to compressed DVD screenshots. The result is not very clear images to work from. But this fuzziness also gives me some liberty when making the costume. I have to assume certain things and say “Well, it kind of looks like this. But I’m not sure, but this works out, so I’ll go with that.” This costume got some good air time in the episode “Brisco in Jalisco” (if you feel like watching the clip that includes this costume, someone actually uploaded it to YouTube!) and I knew where I was going for the most part, but I know future costumes of Dixie’s will be far more brutal in attempting to work out the details.
I had a lot of issues with this costume, especially with the area where the bodice meets the skirt, and I must admit, I am not entirely happy with it, in fact I am far more incredibly happy with the first Dixie costume that I did, so the second one is not always better! A lot of it comes down to time, and impatience. I thought I had a decent mock up that worked, but when it was translated to the actual fabric, with a zipper, it did not, and alterations had to be made that I felt made the piece unshapely, but any attempts to further alter it resulted in me being unable to get the piece on, and other alterations would have run risk of damaging the fabric, which I couldn’t have because I only had limited quantities of the fabric. So I settled and left the piece alone.
In terms of sewing specs, I had a hard time finding a pattern that looked remotely close to what I needed (and I have yet to learn pattern drafting), especially since I needed to have a pattern where there was a seam under the bust for the underbust netting to be sewn into. I settled upon a 50s swimsuit pattern, Depew 1001, which I altered. The underbust netting, fringe business was done by Patrick, who learned old-timey fish net making and altered the traditional design slightly to accommodate a diamond pattern rather than a square one. A tassel was then painstakingly tied to the end knots of the netting. No pattern was used for the skirt and bustle. The necklace is simply ribbon with snaps, and I sewed on a brooch that a friend found on Ebay for me, and the earrings too were purchased on Ebay. I completely winged the hair piece, simply based off of fuzzy screenshots, and Patrick did my hair for the shoot! Didn’t he do a fab job!? Unlike previous costumes, I chose not to keep track of the amount of time it took to create, especially since myself, my mother and Patrick all had hands in this piece, and there were mock-ups done of various pieces. But I can only assume it’s over 100 hours of work.
Well, I’m off to attend the first day of the con! Originally I intended to wear a Miss Kitka costume today to meet Batman star Adam West, but that did not come to fruition, maybe another con. So instead I’m wearing a vintage Batman tee to meet the caped crusader himself! This costume will be worn Saturday to meet Brisco star Bruce Campbell! Stay tuned for my Star Wars cosplay and details on the con either Sunday or Monday! Hope you all have a lovely weekend!