Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hobbit Design - 01

OK, I've been agonizing over this for awhile, the fact that we have The Hobbit coming out, part 1 in December of 2012, and I never got around to building a proper Lord of the Rings style costume. A franchise as epic as this one that I absolutely love and will have an INSANE midnight showing, I *MUST* be in costume. But, I don't have time to make a proper Eowyn costume, I'm not statue-esque enough to be an elf, I have no desire to be a dwarf (It's the beards! ;) ), so I've decided on a generic Hobbit. More fitting for the movie, anyway. It's also a much simpler design that I could probably finish in a month. Here's my design.

Now what I plan to do is smock the chemise and make it out of a natural colored raw silk. I'm making everything as full as possible, and putting horizontal lines in places you shouldn't, to shorten the figure (that awkward hobbit hem length!). I want to make the bodice out of a rust colored brocade and the skirt out of a moss colored wool. I should be able to source a good wig. Aradani studios has halfling ears, but the point comes off the top of the ear, not the back, so their silicone elf ears might be more appropriate. The feet will be the problem. No one sells them, and I don't have the skill to make them. I may either commission someone one day, or start practicing molding my own appliances (which I've wanted to do for some time now) and in a few years I'll hopefully be good enough to make a realistic pair. This will be good enough for the movies to just go barefoot (but with back-up ballet flats), and at most hand-knot a couple of little foot wigs (I can't believe I'm thinking about giant, hairy feet! How unglamourous...) I will possibly have to make a cloak for atop this because the first one is released in December and I'm going to freeze my little Hobbit butt off...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Italian Renaissance Gown

I guess I should start posting up some of the finished stuff in my costume closet...

I made my Italian Renaissance Gown back in '07 when I needed a court gown for SCA. I love the Italian Renaissance style mostly because of the movie Ever After, and because the style lines are very flattering on my skinny figure. The patterning was fairly easy too. My main inspiration for style was based on a portrait called Birth Of Mary (this is a detail shot), of the woman in the orange gown.

And I decided to do a giornea (sideless kinda overcoat) in this picture with the dagging, the pink thing this woman is wearing:

I started with two fabrics I found at JoAnn's in the Home Dec section.

They were both coordinating fabrics, the main dress fabric is some kind of poly/cotton, and I thought the embroidery was fitting. The other is a tapestry for my Giornea. First, I got some white linen... it was the lightest weight linen I could find, but it still seemed rather heavy. I used the instructions from this site to contruct my chemise.

The dress itself was fairly simple to contruct, the bodice you basically only had to worry about underbust measurement and the opening shape. There's a sort of ladder-lacing effect, so there are pairs of eyelets down the front, most of which I stitched over to look hand-stitched (I didn't finish, admittedly). The skirt I had to pattern to have a huge train but keep the diamond pattern, so it ended up being a big "U" shape. Here's a few in-progress shots:

The sleeves were interesting to pattern, the biggest problem I had (and wasn't able to fix) is that I can't raise my arms very high in this, but it could just be that dresses back then weren't meant to be moved around in much. It laces up the back. In the end, I had to stitch the chemise to the dress to get it to lay where I wanted it, and the fabric to pull out how I wanted. I also inserted a panel into the front instead of the split skirt because a Costume Nazi at SCA made me doubt what I was doing (I shouldn't have let her get to me, she was sporting a buzz cut and wearing a poorly made tunic out of sea-foam cotton! Expert, indeed...) The Giornia was also simple to pattern, but the dagging was tedious. I cut leaf shapes into the back sides, then had to maneuver this huge tapestry through my machine, satin stitching around curves. It's not evident in the paintings, but I added ties under the arms to control it all.

For the hair, I styled it off of the first painting, there's a barely visible hairpiece. Using netting and trim, I made a cap and attached hair to it. I need to redo this at some point.

So all in all, this is the result! I need to find shoes and redo the hairpiece at some point. Cut off my head in the second shot because I hated it. Bah!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Padme Cut Senate Gown - 04

Getting closer to having the undergown done, but it's too short in back, so I have to add an extension. It'll be covered by the overskirt, anyway. My skirt dye sample is on the dummy, I'll post better pics of my purple and blue fabrics when I get my sleeve fabric in.

Here's a close-up of the actual neckline beading...

Now, I noticed that it's not just beads directly on the fabric, there's something purple/gray under there, so what I figure is this is beaded on georgette... polyester, specifically, so it can be cut out with a heat tool and the ends fused so they won't fray, then sewn on. The main element is those flowers, which I originally thought were beads, but upon further study, they are sequins! Unfortunatly I couldn't find anything the right size and color. I found these beads at

They are silver on one side, and gold on another. My idea was to sand them to size with a dremel tool and paint them with transparent paint. I ground 25 of them and stuck them in a small water and soap bath to get my finger oils off...

They sort of... turned to jelly. I guess they're made out of cellulose or something. I noticed if I laid the paint on too heavy they would curl, too, so it has to be done in layers. I finally found a paint combo I like and beaded my first flower last night. The center of the flower is a round cupped sequin, and since most of the seed beads in the pic look irregular instead of the perfect shaped beads you have to get now, I opted for a hexagonal bead that had black/blue/purple sheen to it. Here's my beading template, I'm doing it in two sections and joining them.

And here's what I have so far, not much.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Padme Cut Senate Gown - 03

Quick progress post with a crappy picture... I finished beading the chevrons on the front panel of my skirt (which I reinforced by wonder-undering it to a piece of duck-cloth) and attached it to the rest of the skirt pieces I assembled last weekend. Now I have to do some hand-work on the bodice and bead 3 chevrons into that, I have to attach the bodice and skirt, and put in a closure and it will be ready for all the pretty neck beading!