Friday, April 25, 2014

Myth Masque 2014: Diablesse

Well, as much as I'd love to stay mired in Westeros, I've got Myth Masque in exactly a month, so it's time to get chopping.  Inspired by how much fun we had at the Krampus LA event this past winter the husband and I have decided to be Victorian devils this time around.  I'm basing my costume off this fashion plate with a little Maleficent a la Mathew Bourne and a dash of the Anna Valerious red gownI've got my horns already done and today I started on the bodice.  I'm not going to post any pictures of the costume until I have more certainty about the direction this is going in but I'm pretty pleased so far.  Part of that is finally digging into some killer fabric that's been in the stash forever:

It's a bright red and silver snakeskin brocade, how cool is that?!  I fit my muslin, which just needed slight tweaks because it's a tried and true pattern then I fused the brocade (which shreds like the dickens) to a lightweight fusible to stabilize it and put the bodice together. I used the same bodice I used for the Bee and Harlequin fancy dress costumes but I had one big problem - I only have something around 2 yards to make the bodice AND skirt from, so fabric is TIGHT.   So I decided I'd make a different type of skirt and am aiming now for a high/low type with a short front apron drape and a long bustled tail in the back with the bottom of the tail in a totally different fabric.  Kind of like a saloon girl.  Given this is a fantasy ball I could care less about historical accuracy, so that's fine by me.  Anyway, it feels good to finally start on this since I have to finish this AND make a new vest for my husband and mod some other things all before May 24th!  Eeep!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Bits and Bobs

*  The V & A's historic wedding dresses exhibit opens this May but you can see some of the amazing gowns online here.

*And in other museum news,  In the Long Run posted wonderful some pictures of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston's "Think Pink" exhibit, I especially love the pink doll's gown with giant panniers and the pina cloth dress.

* Dita Von Teese modelling the first 3-D printed dress, va, va, va VOOM!

* Speaking of 3-D printing, Making of Game of Thrones has a nice write up on how they 3-D printed Sansa's necklace as well as some lovely high res images of some of the costumes from the "Purple Wedding."

* L.A. locals take note - the iconic costume (including horns) from the new Maleficent movie is going on display at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood.  If I get there to see it I'll be sure to take pictures!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Embroidered Insects

I just got a book in the mail I wanted to share with you.  Michele Carragher mentioned The Stumpwork Goldwork and Surface Embroidery Beetle Collection on her website in connection with her creation of the beautiful embroidered beetles for Xaro Xhoan Daxos and the other characters from Qarth in Game of Thrones.  And since I've been fascinated with these embroidered insects I thought I'd look for the book.  It's a massive book with lots of illustrations and step by step instructions for a multitude of insects.  And not just a multitude of types but also of techniques, beaded insects, redwork, goldwork, stumpwork, surface embroidery, it's a cornucopia of embroidered bugs.  She even has a few projects for making purses in insect shapes or using beetlewings.  It's a book dense with techniques and projects but something insectaphobes should stay far away from!

I have many projects in my que at the moment but am really looking forward to trying my hand at some of these beetles some day.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dragonscale Smocking

As you know I've been a little Game of Thrones obsessed lately!  So it wasn't a big surprise that I wanted to try my hand at the Dragonscale Smocking that Michele Carragher used on Daenerys's blue tunic.  The JoAnns near me is going out of business so when I found this blue batik cotton for 75% off I thought I'd buy it and make the tunic.  I followed the directions on Michele's website and was very pleased with the results.

I do have a few things I learned about this type of smocking that I wanted to pass along. 

  • First of all I think the hardest part is actually making the grid!  The smocking itself is amazingly easy.  I had to be a little careful to make sure I was smocking the right point but overall this was really simple to do.  
  • Following her stitch direction is important, it leads to less tangles and a much more uniform "scale" appearance.
  • Pressing the finished smocking is crucial, it looks very puffy and not all that "scaly" before pressing.

Pressed top, unpressed bottom
  • The quilting cotton's thinness worked in my favor, I was able to gather the points very tightly because the fabric was so thin.
  • I experimented a bit with different sizes of grids and come to the conclusion that Michele's suggestion of 1 cm is a good one, when I went larger the scales looked a bit messier, also if you are using a thicker fabric a larger grid will result in a larger puff of fabric to press which could end up being bulky.
  • I followed her lead and smocked individual strips which I will apply to the finished costume later on.  Not only does this mean I have a nice small project I can work on on-the-go but I'll be able to apply the scales to the costume in a way that is most flattering on my body.
  • Once you get the hang of the pattern this goes very fast and is rather mindless, in much the same way that hemming is, which can be boring or relaxing depending on your mindset.