Last Monday I was sitting on a train staring out the window thinking about the upcoming week when my phone went off. A very talented friend had messaged me and mentioned he would be signing at the London MCM Expo | London Comic Con and after four years we should probably meet up to say Hi again!
As the train pulled out of Clapham Junction I sat there staring out the window like a zombie when I thought (out loud mind you) “OH! Hang on ZOMBIE!”
As in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
click here to continue the bloody tale . . .
I started off by deciding which Regency petticoat I could part with. I popped over to the local Robert Dyer and picked up a pack of sandpaper. Aided by a selection of absurdly awesome x-acto knives I set about destroying the hem.
I carefully layered Twinning’s English Breakfast and Twinning’s Darjeeling as the first layer of muck. It was at this time I also remembered that the cover of the book depicts a nice zombie lady with a chemisette:
So I whipped one of those up and took a quick look-see at how the tea had turned out.
I was really aiming for the ‘six inches of mud on her hem’ look so I pulled out my coffee and really went to work.
The next step was to get her bloody. I read on the internet that red food dye works.
It doesn’t. Well it does but just not very well. I experimented with fake blood and red food dye but they still didn’t achieve the look I was hoping for which was taken straight from Grahame-Smith’s book:
“Elizabeth lifted her skirt, disregarding modesty, and delivered a swift kick to the creature’s head.”
So I pulled out my hershey’s cocoa powder and mixed the red food dye and the fake blood with that.
EDIT: I really forgot to mention that using this requires latex gloves or some sort of protective covering for your hands. I wore blue gloves and by the end of my paint job the gloves were brown were something had taken the blue completely out of the gloves. I am working on a ivory silk 1890s corset for Uni so I was extremely paranoid about not getting any red on me.
I went to poundland and bought a huge roll of extra large bin bags, sliced the open and spread them all over my floors. Dear readers please take note this stuff stains. Magic Eraser doesn’t even work. I had to throw a Gü Puds glass jar away because it stained. So just make sure you are very carefully doing this.
Also, while on the subject of safety if you are going to use the fake blood please make sure to test a spot on your hand and make sure you are not allergic to it.
It was completely, ridiculously, successful! I started off with a collection of paintbrushes and push them in downward strokes against my palm. I went back in and sandpapered some holes through the weakened fabric.
I was so pleased with how the hem turned out! Although next time I will make sure to apply the blood and chocolate the night before. Otherwise the nice lovely dark red fades a bit. A small note to remember when doing the mixture of chocolate and blood, it soaks up much faster into the fabric. My handprint spread out quickly which works because I wanted to try to make it look like someone had grabbed my skirt. But if you are attempting this and don’t want the leak please make sure to test on scrap fabric.
After I finished the dress I realized I would need a reticule. Lucky for me I had a spare arm laying around. I made a long tube, bagged it out and attached velvet strings to the top.
And of course my dear Mr. Darcy needed a bit more blood on him,
I had been thinking about making my own Regency bonnet using a straw hat so I decided why not test this theory! I took the straw hat, and cut out the back part and then stitched it into the shape I wanted like so:
I ombre tea dyed my ribbons and then sandpapered the edges adding a bit of blood as I went. As the day went on I noticed that when there was a lull I played with the ends of the ribbon and ended up shredding them to bits. Make sure once they dry give them a quick sandpaper again.
I took a paintbrush and sprayed the roses with a bit of blood. After all slaying zombies is quite messy!
I went to the local charity shop and bought a jacket for £8.99 (this ended up being the most expensive part of the entire project!) and turned it into a spencer. For more information on how this jacket was created please take a peek at the comments.
I also raided the fancy dress shop and bought the ONLY katana. I felt pretty awesome standing in the children’s section holding my katana aloft like some latter day King Arthur. I needed something to hold my katana but I also wanted this feeling of gritty living warring with the delicacy of the Regency (keep in mind I am a historic costume!) so I upcycled one of my favorite Abercrombie & Fitch belt’s.
I’m not sure what inspired me to add the ribbon and metal belt/braid thing to the back. I felt like I wanted some sort of decoration hanging off the scabbard but nothing that would have interfered with the removal of the katana (which by the way my dancing partner had to assist me in putting it back in it’s scabbard every time I took it out. Hollywood lies. It’s not possible to just put it right back in). I wanted some nod to femininity under the blood and zombie guts so I added the satin bows.
The most important thing to know about my family is that my mother is epic (obviously since I’m her kid she would have to be pretty amazing to put up with me. The crazy-ness I get from my dad haha!). Before I left home she made me this lovely pendant which I attached to some ribbon. I even rescued a broken chatelaine that had been exiled to a tea cup in order to pull my little piece together.
You can see in the photo below I ended up moving the pendant to just under my neck. Originally I was going to wear him on my breast over my heart. I believe I told someone at the convention he was Mr. Darcy before his unfortunate run-in with a zombie.
It was so cold on Saturday!! I ended up wearing thermals under all my clothing. You can see my terribly quick chemisette and how I had Mr. Darcy pinned on. I just styled my hair in the usual way I do for Balls and pinned my bonnet on with quite a number of large hair pins.
Now you may ask, “Lyze, you travelled on the train and tube in London dressed like that?” The answer is why yes, of course I did! It is my firm belief that Londoners should be shocked more often. It’s good for the soul to have a laugh every now and then, which is what happened all day Saturday. Waterloo was covered in people in costumes! I distinctly remember two police officers asking Obi-Wan Kenobi if his lightsaber was real and that brilliantly wonderful man waved his hand in front of his body and said ‘there is no lightsaber here.’ I burst out laughing and the police shot me a terribly awful look.
We ended up following the Assassin’s Creed group to the Expo because they were the only ones who seemed to know where they were heading (apologies to the Kuroshitsuji group!). It was very hard but I was able to limit myself to only sharing three photos from the convention with you!
And finally a full length front view:
And a full length back view:
All I can say is that I am definitely looking forward to February!
At Waterloo I can happily report that when the attendant said “If you see anything suspicious please alert a member of staff immediately. . .” all eyes turned towards me.