On Pins and Broken Needles

Cogdress

Character Name:
CogDress
Source:
Original Design - Steampunk and Victorian insprired
Debuted At:
Anime North 2009
Awards Won:
Best in Class Journeyman - Ad Astra 2010

Reference / Design Sketches

  • © 2009 Kurumasha

Costumes Notes

The Neo-Victorian and Steampunk aesthetic has fascinated me for a long while and after perusing through way too many sites and pictures, I finally sat down and designed my own ensemble. The name of the outfit, "CogDress", came from the original design in which I planned to applique a giant cog onto the bottom on the skirt. Unfortunately, as everything was being assembled, it became obvious that there just wasn't the visible space available on the dress for the cog without having it look unbalanced or way too busy. So the gear was sacrificed but the name stayed.

The dress was comprised of 13 metres of dupioni silk in three colours and a bit of twill for the corset. The bottom of the skirt consists of 8 meters of fabric box-pleated in an insane four hours. The hat started its life as a cornflakes box before being repurposed for this project.

The skirt (and overskirt) was made using a Burda pattern with little variation beyond the bottom trim. The corset is based off a fashion corset pattern and modified to use spring steel boning, a busk, and a lace up back. The jacket was an original pattern and owes a lot to my roommate-at-the-time who had to deal with a lot of opinion and pinning requests.

I was so very glad that I didn't know what I was getting into when making this outfit. There are things I probably wouldn't had undertaken had I known the time or difficulty involved (the pleated skirt bottom and French-seaming everything). But it all turned out well in the end and this was one of my favourite costumes.

Also the bustle was the best as there was essentially a giant pillow attached to my butt (instead of a cage crinoline). I could sit on it and back into things and not worry about it breaking. And in emergency situations (ie. long bus rides), I've pulled it out of my luggage and used it as a pillow.

Unfortunately, this costume was officially retired in 2013: The corset needed to be completely remade due to wear and tear and the front of the skirt pleating had been accidentally ripped and extensive repairs were required.

Photos

  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2009 Squeek
  • © 2010 Christine Mak (Ad Astra)
  • © 2010 Christine Mak (Ad Astra)

Photographer Links