Saturday, September 29, 2012

Storm Gown

Storm Gown by ~Elenatintil on deviantART

Anyone want to commission me to make this for them, so I can create it for real? ;)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Too many projects?!? Naw...

So much sewing this week! Projects include:

Belle's blue dress from "Once Upon a Time" x 2 (who is excited for the season 2 premiere this weekend?)

A corset for myself (first time making one, actually!)

Designing more dresses for YLP (YLP = Your Little Princess Costume Design)

And hopefully cutting out another dress for YLP, there's some lovely red satin and white embroidered cotton looking wistfully at the sewing scissors... 

I'm also finishing my head bust/mold/model/whatchamacallit and -

- covering a pair of shoes to match another dress. 

That's not mentioning any writing (I'm getting a novel published!) or house cleaning (oh, is that a spider? BREAK OUT THE VACUUUM), or social time (Politics or Doctor Who, it's all fair game among my friends...) 

Oh and did I mention I need to write up a blog post about my last costume? Hmmm, must get around to doing that... it involves velvet, first time use of my serger, and venetian lace appliques!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Dresses of America's First Ladies

When I first visited Washington D.C. back in my college days, the Smithsonian was undergoing renovations. This meant that most of the First Ladies Dress Collection was in storage, and I could only see a select few of the gowns. 

This summer I got a second chance to visit the museum, and was able to enjoy the entire collection in all of it's splendor. My awesome friend Matt took tons of great pictures, so that I was able to focus on drooling over the dresses themselves (sorry Smithsonian glass cleaning guys...). 

While there are too many pictures to share all of them in this post, I am quite thrilled to be able to bring you my gushing over my favorite pieces.

Although Eleanor Roosevelt served as First Lady during the Great Depression and WWII, the dress on display at the museum is actually Victorian in design. Fans of Downton Abbey will recognize the same narrow waist, bustle, and swept back skirt that Dowager Countess Violet wears.

However, countess though she may be, Violet never wears an ensemble with quite this much sparkle, the difference in time period and country of origin likely being the cause!

I can't ever look at beadwork and embellishment like this without trying to calculate how much time they took to do and having to give up in order to avoid a headache. It's insane and breathtaking.

In contrast to Eleanor, Lou Hoover's evening gown is a simple understated black. However, despite its lack of embellishment, it is classy, elegant and very flattering.

Lou Hoover had another dress on display, this one a light floral chiffon that looks like it was perfect for summer entertaining.

Frances Cleveland appears to have been a fashion trend setter, as this gorgeous yellow dress of hers is about as fashion forwards as you can get, modeling the straight column silhouette that would be popular for the next few decades.

Another Downton Abbey fan alert! This gown, worn by Edith Wilson, looks like it stepped right off the screen of our favorite period drama. I love the various fabric layering, and the exquisite draping beads down the front.

I'm afraid we didn't get all of the signs, so I can't identify the wearer of this dress, but it is from the height of the Victorian age, when they were trying to cram as much embellishment, frill and ruffle as they could onto dresses, lamps, chairs, pillows, houses, etc.

An interesting asymmetrical look here, and I'm not sure whether I like it, but nonetheless, the cut appears to have flattered Mamie Eisenhower's frame perfectly.

I think this may have been another Elinor Roosevelt, but at any rate, it's from the 1920's and has gorgeous beadwork and delicate net godets.

Here we have a look at Michelle Obama's inaugural ball gown. It features (for a modern gown) an inspiring amount of embellishment, but from a distance the effect looks to me like a bad case of acne. Which is unfortunate because the dress had a lot going for it, and if the shape of the flowers had been a bit different, I would have loved the gown.

(Again, no name identifying this one. If anyone has the info, let me know and I'll edit it!)

I love these two gowns! Firstly for their embellishment, secondly for their styles. The green one is a lovely piece of tailoring, while the blue one has a gorgeous Persian feel to it.

One of my favorite gowns, believe it or not, was Hilary Clinton's. It was beautifully constructed, appropriate for her age and yet full of class, elegance and charm. Wonderful beadwork without being gaudy.

I love the fabric and skirt of Laura Bush's gown, but feel the neckline and sleeves were a bit too plain and severe, and she would have done better to have had a wider neck or a different cut on the sleeves.

And this was one of my favorites of the older gowns. I love the neckline, the bodice, and the way the pleats fall on the skirt.

It's really an interesting look at American fashion, and at American women and I would highly recommend anyone visiting the Smithsonian to take a look at the exhibit.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

How to Cosplay Oswin Oswald

Looking to cosplay Oswin Oswald? (Doctor Who 7.1, Asylum of the Daleks) Well look no further! Modcloth has put out a dress that is remarkably close to Oswin's cute red number. It's got a bit more purple in it, and it's made with wool rather than knit, but only someone with really sharp eyes is going to be nit-picky about that. Check it out!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cinderella Pin-Up Part 2

Part 1 involved boning, fake lacing, and organza sleeves. In Part 2, we'll learn how to make a version of Cinderella's famous poofy skirt panels - technically called a peplum.

Sleeves were sewn into the top seam of the bodice as I attached the outer shell to the lining.

Time for that peplum! I started off with a curved piece a bit smaller than I wanted the finished peplum to be.

I then cut an identically shaped but much larger piece which I gathered into the smaller one.

Look at that, properly poofy!

Time to gather the remaining edges and sew it into the bodice!

The fussiest part of the whole project was making the bottom piece. It's hard to fit something like that with non-stretchy fabric and I would prefer not to have to do so again. However, I think I made this work.

Last of all I inserted a separating zipper into the side back seam. See the final pictures here!

Want a piece like this or a dream costume of your own created by me? Check out my Commission Page!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cinderella Pin-Up Part 1

Surprisingly enough (to me at least) a popular costume choice at comic conventions are Disney Princesses. Usually some variation of the classic costume. So of course it was only a matter of time before someone wanted me to create a piece inspired by the classic Disney look.

This Cinderella Pin-Up was based on this, this and this

(Normally I'm not in to making pin-up costumes, but the design we settled on was pretty modest and cute so I was excited to try it out.)

I made the pattern using the duct tape method which I love more every time I use it.

My customer requested fake lacing on the back, with a hidden functional zipper. So I marked out guidelines on the back panel and sewed down cording in a criss cross pattern..

I then sewed a seam over the lacing edges to cover them and help complete the illusion.

This was a costume quality piece, so the boning got zig-zagged directly onto the lining.

For the sleeves and peplum we found a gorgeous sparkly embroidered chiffon  organza (I still get them mixed up!), on clearance!

I used a strip of the same fabric cut on the same curve to create a bias tape edge that was smoother than trying to sew a hem.

I repeated the method about an inch from the bottom scallop to create a casing for the elastic on the bottom of the sleeves.

Learn how to make the peplum and check out the finished product in Part 2!