Monday, March 26, 2012

Miniature Jean Grey - Part Two

The adventures of American Girl Doll to Superhero continue! (Read Part One here

Boots. Ugh. I've never done boots before and with good reason - they are tricky! I started out by tracing the foot onto muslin, then drew in the seam allowance.

Next I draped fabric around the foot and pinned it in place to get the sides.

Then I cut the pieces out of the gold fabric. To keep it from unraveling while I worked with it, I finished the edges with a zig-zag stitch. (Yes, I know, I desperately need a serger)

Attached the boots in front...

Hemmed the edges and stitched tops to bottoms. The boots fasten in the back. My  pattern needed a little tweaking - as you can see the boots are not perfect and I plan to fix the problems in my next attempt with doll #2.

I created the sleeve patterns much as I did the boots. The notch indicates where the stitching ends. From the notch to the hem the gloves are fastened with snaps.

Look! Gloves on an American Girl Doll! Who knew it was possible?

Yes, they still look kind of like mittens. So I use my gold embroidery thread to stitch down the gaps between the fingers.

The two middle fingers are stuck together on the doll, so this stitching is merely decorative.

Last piece is hemming up the sash and... voila! A miniature Jean Grey of the X-Men!

Is there a costume you'd like made for YOUR doll? I'm open for doing commissions for just about any kind of costume, estimated cost $35 or so. Send me a line at elenatintil [at] gmail [dot] com if you're interested!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Miniature Jean Grey

I, like many other young women, have fond childhood memories of playing with my American Girl Dolls. Also, like many other young women, I have the trouble of figuring out what to do with them once my playing days are over. I refuse to put them into storage, so that leaves me with figuring out how to display them...

The top of my bookshelf is perfect. However the dresses were all made nearly ten years ago and I'd like to update them a bit. Also make the display a bit more tied into my current interests. So I hit on the idea of giving them X-Men costumes - but adapting the costumes just as I would for a 10-year-old girl, since that is after all the body shape the dolls have.

For Felicity I picked Jean Grey's Dark Phoenix costumes because, while I'm not crazy on Jean, I adore that costume. Above is my initial sketch. Not too many changes, but I did decide to go with a skirt because that seemed more age appropriate/fun to me.

It's been awhile since I drafted a pattern for American Girl dolls. For the most part this one turned out all right, and only careful inspection would show any problems. I did, however, note some issues that I'll need to correct for future projects.

The next issue was the Phoenix emblem. I had some nice gold material in my large fabric stash, but it is the easily fraying kind which meant that making something that small yet detailed was going to be a pain. I solved this issue by using a diluted craft glue to apply the gold to a spare scrap of red. This protects the gold from fraying, and adds stability for cutting out and sewing the tiny details.

I cut the circle in the proportional size before checking my reference photo. If I were doing it again I'd cut it in a triangle instead.

Here you can see a bit of Jean's original costume, alongside my applique. Here I'm just beginning the process of binding the edges.

 Tacking down the Phoenix. To a viewer, it looks as though the phoenix was stitched onto the red fabric with the gold thread. ;)

A trick for doing doll sleeves is to set in the sleeve before sewing the sides of the sleeves and bodice. You can do those seam in one swoop, as demonstrated below.

Bodice is coming together! I went back and forth on the collar and finally decided to add one.

The collar is just a folded over rectangle, with one end stitched into a notch for overlap.

A quick peek at the bodice!

The skirt was a simple half circle that I hemmed and attached at the waist. Looking pretty sweet?

Stay tuned for a bunch of gold as I take you through the craziness of crafting doll-sized boots, glove, and sash!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Sneak Peek at a Very Special Project

Since December, my dear friend Amanda and I have been working on starting up a business creating unique dresses for little girls. We are getting very close to launching full details along with our facebook page, website, etc. 

For now I would just like to treat you with a look at the beautiful logo we've created (designed by myself, created and polished by Shaylynn R.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guest Cosplay - Jubilee of the X-Men

Those of you who are long time X-Men fans will likely remember Jubilee best as the kid member of the team in the 90's Animated show. She remains to this day one of the most high-profile mutants to have lost her powers in M-Day - a loss that in her case actually stuck. 

Many fans were annoyed that Marvel cashed in on the vampire hype to have Dracula's son, Xarus, turn Jubilee into a vampire in an attempt to snatch Wolverine. However my good friend Alicia - the most die-hard Jubilee fan I've ever met - broke a long time hiatus of X-Men reading to follow the vampire plotline. And despite her loathing of Twilight, she felt that Jubilee's story was actually very true to vampire mythos and well written. In fact she was so enthusiastic about it, that she got me into it well and I have a much higher appreciation of the character thanks to Alicia. 

Alicia has been planning to do a Jubilee cosplay for quite awhile, and is finally getting the chance for the C2E2. I was so impressed with her costume that I asked if she'd be okay with me sharing it here on the blog. She was delighted to agree! 

 I asked Alicia to share with us a bit about why she chose to cosplay Jubilee, and also how she went about assembling the costume.

"Jubilee was my childhood hero, I liked her confidence and spunk and the fact that she didn't let any thing keep her down for long. She was a kid who hung with the adults and a real survivor. Maybe more so than any other character. Her attitude really struck a chord with me as a shy kid who was talked over all the time. I wanted to be her.

The body suit is underarmor and workout tights matching blacks. The shoes I got are Reebok wrestling shoes I got from a discount outlet store. The jacket was from Target and the shades were from Hot Topic. The fangs are the Lucien veneers from The leather gloves were my grandmothers."

Want more Jubilee? Alicia runs a blog where you can ask Jubilee questions... and she responds with hilarious drawings! Check it out!

 Look at that vampire swag! Normally the fanged ones aren't my thing, but how can you resist that sass and jacket?

Have a cosplay you want to share? Let me know about it at elenatintil [at] gmail [dot] com

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Upcoming Hair Trends

Check out this photo-heavy article from Harper's Bazaar on the hair trends for Fall 2012! Minimalist is in, with pony-tails, low volume hair, twists that pull hair down and close to the head dominating. However, in contrast is the burst of bouffants, showing once again the continuing influence of the 60's! There are also a few shots with some nice statement pieces that call to mind Regency and Edwardian fashion.

Some of my favorite looks:

 Above: This is a high but restrained bouffant that I think would be fun to try out sometime! Getting out the hairspray and extensive teasing would be a pain, however.

 Above: I'd be curious to know if this style is achived with with just natural hair, or if extensions are involved. I think it's a cool look evocative of Greecean styles and would love to test it out some time.

 Above: Simple, but getting those parts and that sleek look take some skill!

 Above: Crossover braids take longer hair or extensions to work properly, but they really create a lovely pre-raphealite effect!

 Above: Believe it or not, even those with shorter hair can achieve this look... it just takes lots of gel and spray (and if your hair IS short, you'll get a better effect if it's been at least 12 hours since you washed it).

 Above: Example of low volume hair.

Above: The pristine ponytail. To create this look you secure the hair with a rubberband, then wrap a strand of hair around to cover it and secure the end with a couple of bobby pins.

What are your favorite styles? Anything you are looking forwards to trying?

Monday, March 19, 2012

WANTED: Once Upon a Time Costume Photos!

So I'm working on writing up a post on the costumes of the hit TV show, "Once Upon a Time" and I'm having trouble getting good pictures of anything other than the most iconic costumes. Could anyone help me identify a few good resources? Thanks! :)

In particular I'm looking for:

Rumplestiltskin's "castle" costume with a good shot of the collar
Abigail's riding dress from her last episode

Friday, March 16, 2012

Heels - Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Anyone with even a passing interest in dressing fashionably must wrestle with the issue of heels. For some women it is no trouble at all - they gladly and easily wear six inch stilettos and baby step around in short skirts at the same time.

Other women groan and complain about the pinching, the back problems, the balance. For already tall women it becomes an issue of "is this heel going to make me look freakishly tall?"

And yet, it is not only that we are slaves to fashion when we wear heels, but also that we acknowledge that there is an attractiveness to them that we want to partake of. Particularly with skirts, there is nothing so feminine as a good skirt and heels!

The other day I quantified another feeling I have when wearing heels that makes the discomforts often worth it. When I wear heels I feel more confident. I don't know if it's 'power' or 'attractive' or 'neat' or just the way heels clip clop on the ground, or the way it changes one's walk... but there's a difference there. And I think that feeling is a reason why women have continued to embrace heels despite the discomfort.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Costumes of The Help

50 custom made costumes. 400 total. What is this? This is "The Help," the Oscar-nominated film about racial segregation in the South through the eyes of women. 

(For my full review on the movie, click here)

"Pan Am" whetted my appetite for the fashions of the 1950's and 60's, and "The Help" delivered a wonderful trove of beautiful pieces. Although it missed out on an Academy Award nomination, it nonetheless is a piece that any costume geek should check out! 

Want to read more? Check out one of the links I've collected for you! 

Now on to the pictures...

Jessica Chastain as Celia with new maid, Octavia Spencer as Minny. Celia's wardrobe was designed to evoke icon Marilyn Monroe. Like Monroe, Celia came from a humble background and struggled to fit in a society drastically different than she was raised in. 
L-R, Ahna O'Reilly as Elizabeth, Emma Stone as Skeeter, Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly, Anna Camp as Jolene. Just look at the lovely frocks these ladies are wearing to bridge club. Yes, bridge club! Not church, not a party, but weekly bridge. Ah that we still had such standards! Note how each dress fits the wearer. Skeeter is plain, tailored, unobtrusive but well made. Elizabeth is delicate, pastel, homemade. Hilly is bright, loud, overly gathered.
Celia makes a phone call by the pool. Again the shades of Marilyn come through pretty strongly in this cute outfit (although I'm not sure if it's a swimsuit or a jumpsuit! Thoughts?)

Skeeter appears more feminine on her date night out, wearing a brighter-than-usual dress with lovely organza detailing on the neckline.

Viola Davis as Aibileen. The gray dresses worn by the maids might appear simple, but don't overlook the bit of detailing on the shoulders! 

Celia and husband Johnny (played by Mike Vogel). Celia's dress would still be shocking by the town standards, but she's gaining a sort of elegance. Like her cooking skills, she's becoming a mature married woman of higher class, no longer the frightened young girl from the hicks.

Skeeter and mother Charlotte (played by Allison Janney). Ah, and look at this contraption Skeeter's mother ordered in to get her girl's hair up in curls! I don't even want to know how that works.

Minny and Aibileen head up the maids for the benefit ball. During the day each woman has her own distinct uniform, but tonight they are matching as they act as wait staff. Even their personality is stripped away here.

Jolene, Elizabeth and Hilly show delight and a better view of their dresses. Here you can see Jolene's pink and prissy dress a bit better.

Skeeter, Minny and Aibileen after church. Here we see the maid's true personalities emerge in their clothing with bright and rich colors.

Minny, Aibileen, and Skeeter. Again out of uniform, the maids dresses are not particularly notable here, but Skeeter's ensemble is quite classic and displays a bit more care for dress and color than she normally displays. 

I wasn't able to find a full length picture of Mrs. Hilly Holbrook's gown for the benefit, but it was gorgeous! Bright but with exquisiteness structure and hints of gold, she's obviously intentionally appearing the queen of the night.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Embroidery Emporium

I stumbled across this very talented embroidery worker after she favorited one of my costumes on DeviantArt. She has some really phenomenal pieces that have my staring and going "omg how on earth do you have time to do work that intricate?" She does both contemporary art (some Harry Potter stuff, for example) as well as historical pieces (such as embroidered cuffs for a Kathryn Howard gown). Even if you're not into embroidery I highly recommend this site as worthy of perusal for any costume fan.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Perfect Pirate Costume

Today I'm sharing a picture of one of my favorite movie costumes - the gorgeous half oriental half steampunk pirate king costume worn by Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End." 

I've thought this piece was unique and beautiful from the first time it hit the web. The gorgeous embroidery, the practical armor that retains the softness of femininity, that fantastic belt - it is by far the best costume I have ever seen worn by a pirate, female or otherwise!

In fact, just 24 hours before deciding to go to the midnight opening of Pirates 3 in costume, I decided I would try to replicate this ensemble! With at least 9 of those hours taken up by sleep, and another few by driving and trying to get the necessary materials, I think it's pretty cool that I managed to created anything at all!

(Yes, I also did Captain Jack's costume)

It is my hope and dream to someday do a full and accurate replica of Elizabeth's costume with proper materials and plenty of time. I guess we'll see!