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3 geeky dresses for PAX

PAX dresses

PAX starts tomorrow and my wardrobe is READY. The readiness of many other aspects of my PAX attendance is a little questionable still, but my clothing choices have been made (and then that chosen clothing made, b/c I imagined it rather than actually finding it in a store) & scheduled & I am ready!

I always get excited about what to wear for PAX, and I always make at least 1 new outfit. I think it’s sort of my Halloween substitute, since come October I’m always WAY too busy with Desert Bus prep to follow through on any of the fancy costume ideas I’d stored up throughout the rest of the year.

This year, though, I made an unprecedented THREE new outfits, because as we’ve covered many times already, I am crazy.


Cat Dress


A while ago, in my internet wanderings, I stumbled upon the most adorable cat dress, made in a little girl’s style and size. I wanted one. I immediately vowed to one day make a me-sized cat dress.

In the midst of making the Journey dress (more on that in a bit), I got distracted thinking about that cat dress again. I realized I had a perfect (purrfect, you could even say) piece of gray fabric just big enough in my stash. I started planning. I did a Google image search to hunt down some more ideas, and in the end sketched a dress that was pretty much a middle ground between the original dress I’d seen (on the left) and another I kept spotting in my search (on the right).

cat dresses


I used a slightly modified version of the pattern I’d already modified from the pattern the bridesmaids dresses at my wedding were made from. Added my own skirt pattern, ears and straps, and some very cute facial applique and that was that. It’s actually quite a simple dress to put together. And very comfortable to wear!





Piranha Plant Dress


I started this dress months ago, when a friend gave me a ton of green knit fabric she’d spotted, free at a local craft place, and nabbed for me. Still figuring out what specifically I’ll do with the rest of it, but a bit became this dress. I’d done the applique and cutting out and most of the sewing-together – I just had to finish some hems and add straps (and that wee Piranha Plant bud at the top). So I wrapped that up when I needed a bit of a break from the Journey dress applique.

It’s a lovely form-flattering shape, soft and comfy to wear, and I think the appliques look almost kind of vintage-y. Stealth geek clothing.



I have narrow shoulders and I’d cut the dress too wide at the top in the back, so it gaped terribly once it was all put together. Solution? Elastic! I sewed a piece of elastic across the back to gather it a bunch, and now it fits perfectly and looks cute besides. I’ve gotta remember this fix – I’m sure I’ll be using it again.




Journey Dress & Earrings


This was actually the only dress I’d originally planned to make for PAX. And it was a LOT of work. I don’t know if other folks who’ve made Journey costumes appliqued all the details on or used fabric paint – either way would be a lot of work but the applique option bordered on insane. And this was But you know me – apart from my forays into galaxy fabric, I’m not happy unless stuff is sewn down. So I hand cut and then appliqued every. Single. Piece. Of decoration on the dress and scarf. And because the fabrics I used for the applique were fine and easily-fraying types, it had to be super fine, close-together applique stitches, which takes longer. And uses a lot more thread.

And boy am I thanking myself for the decision months ago to buy an entire bolt (37 yards) of HeatNBond. This took a LOT of that stuff.





The white symbols on the scarf are appliqued from scraps of the silk used to make my wedding dress. The HeatNBond stablized the silk enough to cut those small shapes from it, and the silk has some shine to it, so it catches the light and is reminiscent of the way the symbols in the game light up and glow.



In the original designing of the dress, I tried to figure out a way to keep the key elements of the game’s outfit while losing the hood entirely. So the dress needed a wide skirt and the scarf in the back. But that scarf needed to come from somewhere, and in the game it slips out from underneath the edge of the hood. That’s when I decided to put the band around the top of the dress, simulating the bottom edge of the hood. It adds some yellow to the top of the dress, balancing it out more with the bottom, and gives a place for the scarf to pop out from under.

This meant that I needed to put the zipper in the side, something I hadn’t done before. Turned out not to be much trouble. It also meant I had to make up a pattern piece for that band around the top, and while the applique was the most work of this dress, that top band was the hardest part of making the dress. It was a bitch. I had to completely remake it once after the first try failed, and even then I got it done and put the dress on for photos and realized there was an issue with the band and had to tear a corner of it apart at the last minute and redo it. It worked out though. Finally.



And the scarf – it snaps onto the dress under that flap in the back. Why? Well this dress is totally wearable as a general summer outfit, but I might not want the scarf all the time, especially if I’m on my bike (my general mode of transportation). Also, washing. Light yellow scarf with white highlights attached to bright red dress? That’s a recipe for some terrible bleed. Washing this is possibly hazardous enough already, no need to make it worse. Especially after all the applique work that went into that scarf! Because you know I double-sided it – that’s right, the scarf is mirrored back and front. Because that’s how it is in the game. Gotta do this right!



For the symbols themselves, I found a great graphic of every scarf symbol that can appear in the game, and I simply picked 4 of my aesthetic favourites (plus 2 more for the earrings).

Yes, I also made some earrings to go with the dress, in that layered and lacquered paper style I’ve posted tutorials for. Possibly later I’ll go back and make another piece with different symbols to add to each earring, lengthening them.




Women deal with a lot of issues in life, and one of the most perniciously pervasive is a complete lack of pockets in our clothing. Purses and bags are great, but they do NOT totally replace a need for pockets! This shit is keeping us down, I tell you.

So I am improving this world, one dress-with-pockets at a time. This week, three dresses-with-pockets at a time.

See how happy pockets make me?!

Piranha pocket

cat pocket

Journey pocket 1


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  1. Ugh, your dresses are so cute and amazing! I absolutely adore them <3

  2. Kira

     /  August 28, 2014

    You are so talented!! the dresses are completely adorable!! And pockets! all women’s clothing totally needs pockets, it’s definitely a pet peeve i have with dress pants even.

  3. You are amazing and you look so darling in all of your photos! What a talent you have. I hate that I’m missing your panel this year. Enjoy and have lots of fun!

  4. Kitty

     /  September 1, 2014

    These dresses are so adorable I made the mistake of showing them to my niece. Now she desperately wants a journey dress for her birthday party and it looks like I’m in for a lot of work haha. Would you mind if I based her dress on yours? I’ll have to scale it down and probably cheat a bit for my skill level of course

    • Haha, of course! Weirdness w/ WP and comments means I totally did not see this comment till months later, but I hope you did go ahead with the dress and you totally have my retroactive blessing on it. ;)

  5. Lisa

     /  February 8, 2016

    I realize I’m a couple years late to the party but oh my god that Journey dress is the best thing I’ve ever seen. Please tell me you sell them somewhere! It looks like it was a lot of work so I’m guessing the answer is “hell no!” but a girl can hope, can’t she? :)

  6. I’ve got a few cases of items looking different personally than they do online – it’s a good lesson in controlling expectations. Online Shopping


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