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Unread 10-27-2016, 11:42 AM   #1
ShinobiXikyu
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Trying to strike that happy medium between cosplay and historically accurate...

So if anyone's taken a gander at my posts since summer, I'm working on a trying-to-be-historically-accurate Anastasia cosplay (her grand duchess dress at movie's end, specifically). I'm also taking this to CostumeCon, and competing with it (not in the historical masquerade, just the regular one), and I'm pretty stuck on just how historically accurate to go on this.
The movie dress looks like this: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...655b9469d4.jpg
The historical Russian court dress of the early 1900's, mostly like this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped..._gown_1913.jpg

So the historical accuracy of the movie dress is close for an animated feature, but not quite. It's missing more than a few of the smaller details like the button placket, the lacey-looking shoulder edges, the head veil, the Order of St. Catherine badge, a pearl necklace/more jewellery in general, and the decoration on the dress doesn't really match anything I've seen from scouring photos of Russian court dresses (both as museum displays, paintings and in old photographs). And while the court dresses also had long trains, for both saving a bit of money (because the skirt alone of this dress requires six yards, plus almost the same amount for the underskirt to support the top skirt's shape even with a petticoat) and not destroying my dress at the convention, I'm leaving mine with just enough length to trail the ground.

While I'd love to attempt almost-total historical accuracy, I'm really at a loss of just how far to go before it's not even recognizable as an Anastasia movie cosplay anymore, especially when the Historical competition wasn't my goal to begin with.

What I've got so far; Victorian-era corset, petticoat and underwear to get the right shape and silhouette for the time, the dress (still in mockup stage) is modified from Victorian patterns (as I couldn't find anything pre-existing for Russian Imperial court dress, I had to modify from English 1890's patterns) but being closed at the back with a modern zipper since I hate hooks and eyes and can't do back buttons with little to no dressing help, I planned on making the sash with real silk and doing my darndest to at least find a similar-looking shoulder clasp, and since I'm not a metalworker, my "diamond" kokoshnik tiara will be narrow strips of worbla and glued-on rhinestones. And I'm looking for the right style and colour of shoes, but no luck yet. I've also got my base wig already, it shouldn't be hard to slightly tweak the movie style to something more historically accurate.

What I'm still missing, and the movie dress is missing, would be the button placket down the front (I also took a look at some closeup photos and it's... the stupidest thing I have ever seen. It's mostly just pinned onto the dress bodice and serves zero actual purpose except to hide some bodice lacing, and it clashes with the movie dress decoration), a veil for the tiara, extra jewellery (I can at least buy a cheap fake pearl necklace, but the sash decorations could prove impossible since the order is long since extinct), and while photos show extra lace and decor around the shoulder lines, that would clash too much with the movie dress to actually work, same with using embroidery with or in place of the beading on the movie dress (that said, if time permits I was planning to stitch the outline of a Romanov eagle onto the back of the "train" because I am just that masochistic).
So, I'd have no trouble adding in a veil and extra jewellery, but I really don't want to make a mess of half-beaded half-embroidered dress embellishment, and holy crap I HATE that stupid button placket. But I feel like if I left those latter two things out but added everything else, it would just look "off" and I may as well have stuck with just what I already have and left the rest out entirely. As for how much time I have, CostumeCon is in April, and most of the time sink in this will be caused by embellishing, the actual sewing of the dress itself not so much (with no embellishment on it at all but done in the highest possible quality with no cutting corners, it would take me about seven days).

Any advice on how much farther I should go? I'm really pulling my hair out over how much more accurate I should get.
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There's a vibe here that says "We're in this together!Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way."<3
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Unread 11-03-2016, 09:59 PM   #2
CarmillaJo
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I'd say that if you're just entering a normal masquerade, and not one that specifically focuses on historical reproduction, you should be fine with giving the costume some historical accuracy, without losing hair with head-to-toe historical accuracy.

I have placed in contests where I've given my costumes a bit of historical and personal touches, and I think judges really appreciate that you've taken the time to do your research on the time period your character is from while still keeping it recognizable.
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Unread 12-04-2016, 11:47 PM   #3
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Skip the authenticity. Or rather, look for the construction methods at the time of the movie production. I seem to recall she also has an amazing shimmery clingy dress that is straight up 1990s!

Make the gown move and behave like the movie- that takes some serious patterning and draping skills that any judge worth their salt will recognise, especially if you also manage the same seam placement. Some of it does not behave like it is supposed to (the inverted V that should be the edges of the gown but is treated like a decoration). Also there is a delicate sparkle to the gown, that is not shine like satin. That is something to plan and work towards as well.


I have judged a few cosplays that were staggering, but they did not look like the original artwork. That aesthetic is part of what makes an artwork look the way it does.

I'm recreating the silver gown from Marie Antoinette (1938) I'm making it like they originally made it. They tried really hard, incredibly hard, but you can tell it was from the era it was made. Not for the dropped waists (I can show many examples of the era that have waists that low) it's the bodice construction. (Also white wigs vs powder, and lack of chemises and lots more.)

I would enter that as a modern historic rather than an early modern historic I'd be filling my documentation with examples of dressmaking of the period and with examples of underlayers from the movie and from the time of the production.

PS, I am a hardcore historic enthusiast (let me show you may books of wills and inventories in languages than make my head hurt!) But I do appreciate every era, including modern eras.
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Unread 12-05-2016, 10:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Satine View Post
Skip the authenticity. Or rather, look for the construction methods at the time of the movie production. I seem to recall she also has an amazing shimmery clingy dress that is straight up 1990s!

Make the gown move and behave like the movie- that takes some serious patterning and draping skills that any judge worth their salt will recognise, especially if you also manage the same seam placement. Some of it does not behave like it is supposed to (the inverted V that should be the edges of the gown but is treated like a decoration). Also there is a delicate sparkle to the gown, that is not shine like satin. That is something to plan and work towards as well.


I have judged a few cosplays that were staggering, but they did not look like the original artwork. That aesthetic is part of what makes an artwork look the way it does.

I'm recreating the silver gown from Marie Antoinette (1938) I'm making it like they originally made it. They tried really hard, incredibly hard, but you can tell it was from the era it was made. Not for the dropped waists (I can show many examples of the era that have waists that low) it's the bodice construction. (Also white wigs vs powder, and lack of chemises and lots more.)

I would enter that as a modern historic rather than an early modern historic I'd be filling my documentation with examples of dressmaking of the period and with examples of underlayers from the movie and from the time of the production.

PS, I am a hardcore historic enthusiast (let me show you may books of wills and inventories in languages than make my head hurt!) But I do appreciate every era, including modern eras.
Thanks for the added perspective! In the end I did opt for recreating the movie gown without the super-accurate bells and whistles that only Russian history buffs would recognize, but I'm still using Victorian undergarments and the slightly-modernized Victorian pattern (namely, using a zipper instead of hooks or buttons) to get the right sillhouette and dress fit/cut- the corset and proper petticoats and the interlined bodice REALLY makes huge difference! Even in my mockup made of cheap thrift-shop satins I can easily swan around looking like a royal when I've got the underthings all on because it takes me from lumpy and slouching to a smoothed-out and Queenly posture, and I spent a solid minute yesterday twirling around with my skirt train (also, practicing how to sit in all this. Definitely can't sit in deep chairs! :P). For the sparkly embellishing, my plan was to stitch small clear crystal beads over the dress for the sparkly points. But there's an added question, are sequins historically accurate? I feel like they'd work well for some of the beading on this, especially the middles of those circular patterns since they seem to flash a few colours, but I have NEVER seen sequins for sale that didn't look like plastic garbage, and I've never seen them in historical photos before the 20's. And then seed beads and a little embroidery for the spirally decor down the front panels.
The fabric is planned to be duchesse satin and rayon taffeta lining, I definitely can't afford silk, especially not over a dozen yards total, and nothing else in my budget quite looks regal enough and is able to be found in area shops. Real-life dresses from near to the end of the era also looked like a satin of some kind under all the crazy amounts of ornamentation.
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Originally Posted by Moofingham View Post
There's a vibe here that says "We're in this together!Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way."<3
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Unread 01-06-2017, 12:38 PM   #5
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I look forward to seeing this at CostumeCon. I haven't figured out what I'm going to wear yet, but I'll be there.
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Unread 01-06-2017, 06:52 PM   #6
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I look forward to seeing this at CostumeCon. I haven't figured out what I'm going to wear yet, but I'll be there.
Yay, another Costumeconer! I've been looking forward to this one soooo much since I first attended the last one in Toronto. And I'll be readily picked out from all the other gorgeous big dresses by how much sheer sparkle will be on mine (500+ swarovski rhinestones, glass seed beads, rhinestone kokoshnik... the movie really ran with the newly available animation techniques to make things glitter). :P
I'm also hoping I can buy some real corset lacing in the dealer's room. Hockey skate laces work, but they're quite unwieldy for self-lacing and a bit bulky to hide.
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Originally Posted by Moofingham View Post
There's a vibe here that says "We're in this together!Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way."<3
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Unread 01-07-2017, 11:40 AM   #7
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If you're looking for corset lacing, talk to a bridal boutique they may have some. I think for the historic masquerade I'll do my 1930s wedding dress. It was a real labour of love.
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Unread 01-17-2017, 12:48 AM   #8
ShinobiXikyu
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I took a gander at your costumes and saw the dress, that's quite lovely! I also remember the Sunday best costume with that lovely shawl you did at CC32, actually, had no idea that was you! I'll be in the SF&F masquerade for this one, but whenever my third CostumeCon comes around I have a brilliant historical-interpretation idea to try out (I saw this old Punch cartoon. Then it basically sketched itself. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bustle...nCharivarl.jpg )
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Unread 02-05-2017, 12:44 PM   #9
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Eeeee! I know I'm late to this thread - but I'm very excited to see this at CC35. I'll also be there.
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Unread 02-05-2017, 02:15 PM   #10
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Oh my, that snail bustle is awesome!!!!
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Unread 02-05-2017, 07:18 PM   #11
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Well, any other CostumeCon-ers losing sanity with beading yet? ...I think I am. 90 hours later and I'm HALF done! http://www.cosplay.com/photo/3605479/
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Originally Posted by Moofingham View Post
There's a vibe here that says "We're in this together!Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way."<3
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Unread 04-19-2017, 10:00 AM   #12
gypsy_girl
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Love your recent pictures of this effort. Can't wait to see it in person.
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Unread 04-19-2017, 10:16 AM   #13
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Love your recent pictures of this effort. Can't wait to see it in person.
Thanks! And now that I'm finally done, am I ever excited for my second CostumeCon. Are you planning on attending the Friday night social? I won't be wearing Anastasia for that one (NO WAY am I getting food anywhere near this dress, and it's not easy sitting in it), but I'm 100% for finally getting to socialize in person with all the the CostumeConers I've met on here!
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Originally Posted by Moofingham View Post
There's a vibe here that says "We're in this together!Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way."<3
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Unread 04-25-2017, 09:48 AM   #14
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Your dress looked amazing. The glimmer on the jewelry was breathtaking. I'm just starting to upload some pictures from the weekend. Eventually I'll get to the pictures I have of you.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/gypsygir...21506711599694
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Unread 04-25-2017, 12:26 PM   #15
ShinobiXikyu
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Your dress looked amazing. The glimmer on the jewelry was breathtaking. I'm just starting to upload some pictures from the weekend. Eventually I'll get to the pictures I have of you.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/gypsygir...21506711599694
Thanks! I wish I'd been able to get some actual pictures of myself at CostumeCon, I'm at least planning on a proper photoshoot at Anime North.
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There's a vibe here that says "We're in this together!Through thick and thin fabric! Through cold water washes and burning hot irons! Though we might super glue ourselves to our projects, cut holes/gashes/oh-god-mom's-gonna-kill-me into the dining room table, we will stand strong together. Unless there is a 75% off sale at the Fabric store. Then you're on your own. And get the hell out of my way."<3
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