Thursday, December 31, 2015

Costume Year in Review

My most ambitious costume of the year, maybe ever!
It's always interesting to look back at the years and see what I actually got done costume-wise.

It seemed like I didn't make as much in 2015 as some years but I finished one very long and complicated project (the Game of Thrones dress to the right) and I'm pretty happy with what I've accomplished for the year.

The first costume of the year was this 18th C men’s banyan for my husband.


I made a green silk Regency gown, an open robe and garters for my Lost Hope fairy costume.

I made an 18th C floral print gown and petticoat.

The Purple Effie Trinket costume from The Hunger Games which consisted of a Jacket, Skirt, corsage and hat (with my Capitol City partner in crime - Jenny-Rose)

I finally finished this year's magnum opus - my hand-embroidered, hand-beaded reproduction of Cersei's Blue Birds gown from Game of Thrones -- complete with hand-painted fabric!  It took forever to make - I started painting the paisley fabric in April of 2014 and embroidering the first bird in October of 2014!  The whole gown was finally finished in mid-July of 2015.  And I made garters to match!

Then I started working on my Georgiana Fox outfit and made hat, garters, under-petticoat, riding habit shirt and waistcoat.

For my son's Halloween costume I made a repro of Link’s shield from the Legend of Zelda

At the last minute I made a Victorian bustle ballgown in homage to the one in Daniel Deronda 

I've got a few other costumes in the partially finished state but they will have to wait for 2016!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Force Awakens Costumes on Exhibit

I took some photos of the small group of Force Awakens costumes on Exhibit at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood.  I don't want to spoiler anyone so click on this link if you want to see them.
I also thought you might enjoy some of the non-spoiler fun things the theater did in honor of the movie:

Organist playing Star Wars theme with bad-guy logo in background

a fun laser "lightsaber" show before the movie

Street view of the theater

They had a teaser playing on continuous loop where you see R2-D2

Monday, December 28, 2015

HSF #12: Re-Do: Silver Screen - Fox riding habit shirt and waistcoat from The Duchess

 I finally finished two more pieces for my Fox ensemble - before the new year and in time for the last Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge of 2015 - whew!

I've also got the petticoat partially done.

Maybe I can finish it for the HSF's first challenge :procrastination -- as it's been sitting in a 1/2 finished state on my cutting table for the last month!  Or maybe I'll finally get to finishing my Outlander petticoat.

If I work quickly maybe I can finish the riding habit coat for the gender bender or protection challenges...

And I still have the bustle ballgown to finish and anything new I want to make for the Jane Austen evening in January.

Gee, I guess 2016 is already filling up!  :P

Challenge #12: Re-Do 

What the item is: An 18th C riding habit shirt and waistcoat

What Challenge/s are you re-doing? #11: Silver Screen - the inspiration comes from the "Fox" riding habit Kiera Knightly wears in the movie The Duchess.

Fabric: cotton lawn for the shirt and wool/silk blend for the vest front and linen for the back

Pattern: I used this diagram from Reconstructing History the basis for my shirt.  And I took the advice of Merja and Aubry and modded a pattern for a men's waistcoat from Costume Close Up - many thanks for all your advice ladies!

Year: 1784

Notions: Thread, fox-faced buttons and hair canvass for the waistcoat, and dorset buttons for the shirt. Ribbon to tie she shirt and lace up the back of the waistcoat.

How historically accurate is it? I've done a fair amount of research on what Georgiana might have actually worn during this time and I think these patterns are fairly close, however most internal seams were sewn by machine and I have no idea if the fox buttons are remotely close to period but they were too cool to pass up.

Hours to complete: I have to admit I always hate this question. I work on too many things at once to know! And I have kids! And I'm scatter-brained! And old compared to all you whipper-snappers! Grumble, grumble...

First worn: Not worn yet.

Total cost: The lawn was $22.00. The vest front fabric was expensive! $45!  But the rest of the fabric came from the stash.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Victorian Mix n' Match

I had so much fun at the Victorian Ball I went to recently that I'm already making plans for the next one!

I took a look in my closet and realized that the underskirt for my old "Water" Victorian fancy dress costume could make a nice base for a new ballgown. AND in the stash I had not only enough fabric for a new bodice but two other fabrics which coordinated rather well with it, yes!

 So I'm nearly done with both the bodice and the overskirt. I need to make sleeves and finish these pieces and there is a lot more of what I call "frosting" aka trimming, bows etc, to put on, but the basic shapes are nearly done.


The idea was to give the gown a sort of Indian feel.  I have plans to have some wide ribbon to decorate the side ruching and a lot of other little decorative bits I need to play around with.

The other coordinating fabric is the same light green silk that I used in the under gown in my Lost Hope Fairy.  And the striped silk is the same as the aqua Regency open robe I made a few years back, hooray for using the stash!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Playing catch up - Halloween!

Wow, December 1st!  I'm dreadfully late, but I thought you might enjoy seeing some Halloween pics. I thought these were pretty cute of my sons as Link from Zelda (with the shield I was making) and the 11th Doctor from Doctor Who respectively.

 My husband and I just reprised our Breaking Bad costumes so I didn't get any pics of us. I guess the adults were just more focused on special effects this year!  My friend Alyxx came over on Halloween and brought her amazing light up Jellyfish and my husband spent a long time making a creepy moving ghost face and hand to scare the trick or treaters.

I hope you had a great Halloween and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Historical Sew Monthly #11: Silver Screen - Daniel Deronda Green Ballgown

The dress before I added the sleeves
I'm  finally breaking my long silence!

Sorry about that. From October through December is a super busy time for us as a family with lots of birthdays and school events and I find I just don't blog as much during this time.

 But I have been sewing!

Some friends invited me to a Victorian Grand Ball to be held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving so I decided at the last minute to make something I'd wanted to make for a while - a Daniel Deronda inspired Ballgown.

There aren't a whole lot of photos of this gown Gwendolyn wears in the BBC Daniel Deronda miniseries, this one below is maybe the most easily found one:

I had a ton of black green changable silk taffeta in the stash for forever and figured this was the perfect opportunity to use it.  I think I had 10 yards and after adding all the ruffles I ended up with about 2 yards left.  Although I do have another green/black silk taffeta in almost the same color so I figure I can use that if I want to make more pieces to mix and match with this outfit.

I wanted it to resemble the gown but not be exactly the same, the neckline trim seems very girlish to me and as a 40-mumble women it seemed a bit much.  So I just trimmed the edge with a narrow black beaded trim and flounces of self fabric on the underskirt and apron.

What the item is: 1870s Ballgown

The Challenge: Silver Screen

What's your onscreen inspiration?: Gwendolyn's green ballgown from the miniseries Daniel Deronda

Fabric: Green/ black changable silk taffeta

Pattern: All Truly Victorian -TV202, TV305 and TV416

Year: 1870s

Notions: thread, glass buttons

How historically accurate is it? Medium

Hours to complete:  I donno, working off and on on it all month.

First worn: to the Grand Victorian Ball yesterday

Total cost: I don't know, this was another project using stash fabric

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

So far behind!

I've got posts to do on many recent projects and Halloween but somehow I've just gotten behind, sorry!

While I try to get my act together to write some posts here's something pretty - a Marie Antoinette cake in the window of a Glendale bakery:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Link's Hylian Shield

My boys are reprising old costumes for Halloween this year - 11th Doctor for the elder and Link from Zelda for the younger. So there isn't much for me to do. But one of the things on the younger son's birthday wish-list (which is also in October) was Link's Hylian Shield from The Ocarina of Time.

So I figured I could read a few instructables and make him one! And that's just what I've been doing. The shield is made of fun foam and foam core (that paper covered foam you get at Michaels). I thought about covering it with worbla like some of the tutorials I've seen, but that's pricey and I'm just not sure if he really needs something like that. So I cheaped out. :P

 First I made sure I was looking at the right shield - turns out Link has like a million of these shields! :P So C confirmed that this is the shield he wanted.

 So I looked at a bunch of Instructables to see what other people did.  I found these were particularly helpful: Cairdy Crafts, Parker's Tutorials, and ShanesInsaneVids, thanks guys!  I drafted up a shield, using the same sorts of methods I do for sizing up grided patterns - part math, part free-hand drawing, and a lot of reference to the source material. The sewing fashion curves were super useful for this part! I forgot to take a picture of my pattern before I started cutting it apart but there's the end result:

I used two pieces of foam core one 1/4 in deep and the other 1/2 deep. The shallower one is the silver framework around the shield and the 1/2 deep one is the base. I followed the tutorials and bent my foam by wetting it on both sides then putting something heavy in the middle while it dried so both pieces have a nice gentle curve.  Then I cut both designs out with an exacto bladde then sanded the edges of the foam. Then I painted them with 2 coats of gesso and sanded them again.

I traced the shield design elements onto fun foam, cut them out with craft scissors then painted two coats of gesso on them and spray painted them gold and red. (I was psyched - we had all the colors of spray paint already in the garage!)

 Then I painted the shield base with blue spray paint on the front and silver on the sides and back. And painted the frame silver. I did two coats on each and think I need one more.

I need to sculpt the weird squiggly silver element, paint that and some small wooden disks silver, then glue the whole thing together and add hand straps - and voila Hylian Shield!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Crimson Peak - or Bad girls and Good Clothes

So we went to see Crimson Peak last night, after all the gushing fellow costumers had done I couldn't wait any longer. 

* I've tried to talk about the movie in general terms and not spoiler things too much but if you like to go in knowing nothing you may want to wait until after you've seen the movie to read this...
So I'll start by saying I'm a HUGE fan of Victorian Gothic fiction. I own just about everything Wilkie Collins and J.S. LeFanu ever wrote, and numerous volumes of Victorian ghost stories besides, so I was looking forward to the story as well as the costumes. And while it was quite good I'm sorry to say it disappointed me on both counts. Part of my love of Victorian Sensation/Gothic fiction is the slow ramp of of tension, where everything seems slightly wrong, and to me this felt a bit too much like a modern horror film - more jump scares and less of that slow build of tension. While the antagonists were wonderfully wicked I was left feeling like the protagonists were less fully realized.

As far as the costumes go they were all certainly well-crafted and rich in color, but Mia Wasikowski definitely got the frumpy/dumpier of the costumes. 

 I mean really - would you rather wear this? 

Goth royalty!

Or this? (My husband said she had Mother Hubbard clothes and Hilary Clinton hair!)

I like the belt and the man, but those colors do nothing for poor Mia.

I'd heard that DelToro wanted Mia's character to be sunny and light, like a butterfly, but to me she just seemed boring and/or odd and dumpy.  

Even my nightie is prettier than yours!

Help, I'm choking on ruffles!

I know, the bad girl wasn't even wearing the same era clothing as the ingenue, and that certainly was part of the problem, natural form gowns are just more graceful to my eyes than ginormous 1890s sleeves.  But they did give Mia a few nice outfits -

While I'm not keen on this rather dull mustard color
I thought it was a nice and flattering walking suit.
(But it's not reminding me of a butterfly AT ALL.)
And the ballgown she wore was also pretty.  But in general she looked less like a butterfly and more like a bit of a drip.   But then, I've always had a gothy side so gowns like these are just more appealing to me.

What did you think?