Tag Archives: costume diary

Costume Diary: A New Corset for Oz Comic Con

I’ve been accepted for a table at this year’s Oz Comic Con in Adelaide.  Time for an new corset!

First task was to draft up a new under-the-bust pattern, as I’ve changed since my last one. A new toile was fitted, thanks to Lynne Cook.


I used two layers of cotton duck for the structural part of the corset. The spiral metal boning was sandwiched between them, in sewn channels.  The pattern was cut perpendicular to the long grain, so the strongest part of the material would be around the body. The outer, decorative layer was cut to follow the pattern. This one has a pirate map theme, using left over material from one of my blouse projects.

The metal busk was inserted, using an awl to create the holes for the ‘knobs’ (so the material threads were not broken, to reduce fraying and keep material integrity) and sewn in place. Boning channels were sewn in place.


I used 25 mm cotton bias to edge the top and bottom of the corset. Finally the grommets were inserted (these are size 0, black). Again, an awl is used to create the hole, to avoid breaking threads.

And here is the final creation – my new pirate map under-the-bust corset. Thanks to Lynne, of the Australian Costumers’ Guild for her assistance in fitting. Now to see if I can get a second one finished before the con. Come by my table at Oz Comic Con to find out.

Photos © 2017 Karen Carlisle.

Photo Friday: Making a Book Trailer.

The book trailer for Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales is out!

You can view it on my youTube channel or on this website and post. I have fun making my book trailers – storyboarding, designing, sourcing or creating the costumes and props, finding actors to take part and (finally) filming and editing and sound.

Here is a pictorial rundown of the latest trailer.



Creating the costumes:
Making a mummy: Tea dyeing opshop cotton sheets, tearing into strips and sewing onto skivvy.

 DSC_0888_20160615173552835 _20160615_181400_20160615181546849

4-sewing_copyright2016karencarlisle mummy-complete_copyright2016karencarlisle

Creating the images:

Several photograph shoots of various items around the house…

BookTrailheiroglyph_jackal_copyright_2016KarenCarlisle bedlam-key

Making  a trolley for filming:


Putting it together:

Sometimes things change from the original plan…


The final book trailer:

Photo:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

On Making My Steampunk Wings.

After years of yearning, I finally have wings! This is how it all happened.

My Dear Heart helped with the woodwork, as my vertigo had returned, with an ear infection to back it up – not safe to cut things.

Required materials:

  • about 8m of pine/wood. I used 8mm-12mm thick x 30mm wide (this will depend on preference).
  • Calico (or canvas). I used calico to keep the weight down.
  • Tea to age the calico.
  • A piece of MDF approximately 11cm x 16cm for the harness base.
  • Two leather belts, buckles etc.

There seems to be many online tutorials for making steampunk wings. Steampunk Circus has a Quintet of Steampunk Wings Tutorials. You may find one to your liking there. I wanted something organic and basic. I found a good place to start, thanks to Yazzzle on Deviantart for The Steampunk Wings Tutorial.

Here is a visual diary of my wings:

1. 1 wing bones  2. 2 paint wing bones  3. 3 aging wings seal edges

1. The spines are cut and ‘hinged’, ready for staining. 2. Only one layer to make them appear aged. 3. Tea to age the calico wings. Watered down white glue to seal the cut edges.

4. 4 glue calico to wood spine bones  5. 5 harness base 6. 6 attach to harness

4. Glueing the calico to the wing spines. 5. Cutting the harness base Stained to match.  6. Attaching the wings and harness straps, to sit behind the shoulders.

The harness is surprisingly comfortable; the main belt is positioned on the chest and takes up most of the weight. (I even did the Nutbush in them – I forgot I was wearing them). I just have to remember to fold them down when walking in a crowd or through a doorway.

From the front (extended) and the back (folded):

open wings david ruwoldt

back of wings marianne hooper pic