Saturday, May 10, 2014

Getting Brave...

Yay, Project Progress!!

I have to say, I'm liking having multiple deadlines during the year instead of just the one for Dragon*Con, it's forcing me to focus on things one or two at a time and get them finished for an event, so I won't have to try and finish *everything* in August.

This time, the project is Merida from Pixar's "Brave" and I'd like to finish the dress by Memorial Day weekend for Ren Faire.

I didn't plan on doing this one when the movie first came out, especially as everyone seemed to be doing this gown, but I really fell in love with the movie. I'm also of Scottish and Irish descent, and since I'm strawberry blonde I have very pale skin, so this works for me. I decided I'm going to try and do this in a more historically accurate fashion. Not completely, of course, because Disney never does strictly accurate... Merida's gown seems to be a mix between a classic Kirtle or Cotehardie, with Italian Renaissance-style sleeves (no doubt because she'd have to have good arm movement for shooting a bow, which her cotehardie-style dress during the Games proved ill-equipped for). Princess seams weren't really accurate for this era, so I'll be doing a more rectangular style dress with triangle gores, so it has a more medieval feel to it. I've seen many versions of this dress with fabric strips attaching the sleeves, but there's no historical gown that does it that way either; it's done with ties.

To start with, I decided wool and linen would be the most accurate fabrics for the Scottish Highlands. I bought a couple yards of wool for the dress itself and dyed this first. This was rather difficult as you're supposed to boil wool to dye it, but I had no pot big enough to hold all the wool, the weight of the water, and put it over a fire. Best I could do was put it in the washing machine on hot and add boiling water. I had used Spruce dye from Dharma Trading, and had intended for this to be more on the blue side, but it didn't come out as blue as my test strip. It was still a beautiful green/blue color, and it matches some of the screen shots used where she's in good lighting (the promo pics are more blue/teal than it is in the movie anyway).  Later, I dyed some wool yarn which I am using to make cording.

I had a hard time getting my camera to capture the color, it's a darker shade than what shows.
I wanted to build the chemise first so I could make sure the necklines matched up, so I got some very fine linen for that. I had a dilemma though... the chemise neck is clearly gathered, but there's no evidence of a casing, or smocking, or anything to show how it does this (just like she has no seams or closures :p ) I also wasn't sure how I'd do a flared skirt and control the bulk of the extra fabric if I had a chemise with a gathered neckline. In the end, I built it like my Hobbit Chemise by gathering/smocking a rectangle and applied a bias strip on top of that to control it, and putting a flat strap on the shoulders. I put a casing in the waist to gather it to control the fabric, and put gores in the skirt so it would be the same shape as the over dress' skirt.

It's sleeveless because I learned when I did my Italian Renaissance gown, when you have tight sleeves that show the chemise underneath, and you want the chemise to poof a certain way, it's not only hard to put the sleeves on if they're separate, it's hard to control the poofage, so I'm going to attach those directly into the gown so they stay where I want them.

And for fun, shoe shot!! Merida's shoes are ankle high ghillies, but I already had these knee-high ghillies and I love them, so why not put them to use?