Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Designer of Superhero Costumes

Believe it or not, you can make a living sewing superhero costumes in real life - and not as a film or theater costumer! The other day I found this really fun interview with costumer Brian Parsley, who works full time creating costumes for fans. Dream job or no?

I only wish there were more pictures to geek out over! I was especially impressed by the Namor costume and cosplayer, as it takes a lot of guts and self confidence to pull off even the most fantastically created version of his costume!

Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Oscar Fashions

The Oscars are not only a celebration of the movies, they're also a celebration of fashion. This year ABC gave us a full 90 minutes of red carpet coverage prior to the show, which meant we got to see just about all the goodies before they appeared on stage. While there were plenty of dresses that just didn't make the cut, there were also many that I truly adored this year. Bellow I've picked my absolute favorites to share with you all! 

And don't forget, after you scroll through the dresses, check out my overall thoughts on the Oscars at my personal blog,!

(All pictures from MSN's Wonderwall, click through the link to see all of the dresses, good and bad!)

 Above: Cameron Diaz looking simply elegant with a splash of shimmer around her gorgeous chiffon hem and train.

 Above: Christopher Plummer with wife Elaine Taylor. Rarely do I get a chance to comment on a unique bit of menswear, but Plummer was looking dashing and classic in a velvet jacket with lovely piping. Congrats to him for winning Best Actor at last!

 Above: Ellie Kemper looking ablaze in a red and gold gown that evokes memories of what Katniss's fire gown in "The Hunger Games" should be (but likely won't).

 Above: If anyone could pull off that huge neck bow, it's Emma Stone, and pull it off she does! Evocative of the 1960's styles of her most recent film, "The Help" it works with her vibrant and engaging personality. And of course that gorgeous pink is absolutely perfect on her! The only flaw in the ointment is that in her onstage appearance we noticed that her bodice is actually split from neck to hem. Although the meticulous construction kept everything hidden that should be hidden, the peekaboo effect was distracting from what would otherwise have been a pretty perfect gown.

 Above: The dashing George Clooney carries the gorgeous Stacy Keibler on his arm. And while most women can't pull off gold (my sister is quite adamant that Meryl Streep utterly failed), Stacy looks like a godess in this perfectly draped sheath.

 Above: Who else looked like a godess? The svelt and sleek Gwyneth Paltrow, who showed us how classy a simple white sheath with a eye-catching cloak and minimal jewelry can be. Bravo, Gwyn.

 Above: Jessica Chastain was (and I quote) looking like a "Preraphealite maiden" in this black and gold masterpiece. Simple lines and no jewelry allow the gold embellishment to tell it's own story - but without detracting (although perhaps distracting) from Jessica's own beauty.

 Above: Kristen Wiig showed excellent taste in design, but poor taste in color. The construction of this delicate gown is inspiring, but please, shades of nude on Caucasian women are big no-nos.

 Above: Interviewer Louise Roe was an eye-catching blend of business and glamour in this pink gown. Only downside? The fill in fabric was disastrously close to skin color on camera, making it occasionally appear as though the split was open from neck to waist. Not exactly a professional statement! Still, the cut and the gorgeous belt do a lot to salvage the look.

 Above: Milla Jovovich evoked the 1930's in this gorgeous silver draped sheath. Combined with her dark lipstick and period hairstyle, it was the perfect accompaniment to the night's theme of "Back to the Movies."

 Above: Ah, dear Natalie Portman rarely fails to delight! In this spunky red concoction she's looking slim and youthful, showing us that pregnancy really does not mean the end of good looks!

 Above: Properly dressing a plus-sized figure is always a challenge for a designer, but the gown made for Octavia Spencer was absolutely perfect. Deceptively simple from a distance, the draping and detail did exactly the right work to compliment Octavia's curves. Good thing, because her touching acceptance speech is likely going to be replayed at many Oscar ceremonies to come!

 Above: The moment I saw Penelope Cruz's ballroom-style gown, I knew it was going to be one of my top five favorite pieces of the evening. It's a classic design with a modern fit, and a gorgeous but rarely seen shade of lavender. Thank you, Penelope, for giving us such a beautiful piece of fashion history to drool over!

 What do you think? Did I get all of your favorites too, or are there others you found inspiring and enjoyable?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Fashion Cycle

Years ago I came across what I felt was a very poignant and true little poem. I copied it down, stuck it in my file drawer, and there it disappeared into the recesses of shadows and time. However with my recent room change I have had to go through every single item I've ever owned and sort out everything. This included attacking the file drawers which ended up being both terrifying and extremely nostalgic. Anyhow, my handwritten copy was rediscovered and I felt it was appropriate for this blog.

The Fashion Cycle
By Marion Sichel
A dress seems immodest ten years before its time
Shameless five years before its time
daring one year before its time,
then fashionable.
Unfashionable one year after its time
hideous ten years after its time
curious thirty years after its time
amusing fifty years after its time
enchanting seventy years after its time
romantic one hundred years after its time
exceedingly beautiful one hundred and fifty years after its time.

If you enroll in a fashion course you will likely at some point run across this poem or a credited paraphrase. It's a generally accepted idea, although modern observers note that the fashion cycle is compressing. In fact you could probably cut the times in the poem in half and that would be the truth as of February 2012. I think this is likely because of the internet. Fashions can spread at the speed of, well, the click of a button. What Angelina Jolie wears in LA today will be commented on by thousands of bloggers tomorrow, and what Kate Middleton wears tomorrow will likely be sold out of stores next week (and no, I'm not exaggerating. This has happened).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Embellished Tights

Have you ever seen embellished tights? With beads or sequins or embroidery on them? I hadn't, and found this tutorial and the accompanying pictures to be really intriguing.

What do you think? Are embellished tights something that a regular (non-model) person could wear? If so, what situations would be appropriate? I'm not thinking it's something you'd wear to church...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lampshade Redecoration

There's a lot one can do with a lampshade, but we very rarely take advantage of the opportunity. It's far easier to buy something than invest time making it. Unless, of course, you are broke, as I was on Sunday when I went shopping for a lampshade to fit my redecorated room. Alas my luck was poor, so I picked up a plain white shade for $8 and decided to redecorate it myself, armed with fabric, ribbon, tacky glue, and a sewing machine. 
First I cut out strips the same width as the shade.
I then sewed the short ends together, and gathered the long ends to fit around the shade.
I attached the fabric to the shade at top and bottom right under the gathers using tacky glue. The clothespins held the very flimsy fabric in place while the glue dried.

Next I cut a narrow strip, just long enough to wrap around the top, and another one for the bottom.
I then did a narrow hem on the long sides of the strips and glued them down over the gathers.
I tucked the overhanging edge of the other hem around the lip of the shade and glued it down, both on top and bottom.
I then glued ribbon to cover up the exposed stitching.
And hey presto! A gorgeous lampshade recalling Victorian romance. :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Win this dress!

The lovely blog "Amanda Beth Online" is running a give away for this gorgeous dress by Shabby Apple! Run over to her blog to find out details on how to enter! :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thank you! Now, what would you like to read?

I just wanted to take a moment to thank my readers. It's been an interesting journey on this blog (which has passed it's 6 month anniversary - hurrah!), with a lot of stops and slow times, and variation in articles as I figure out exactly what I'm passionate about sharing and what you all are passionate about reading. I really appreciate the patience and support!

I would absolutely love it if you'd take a minute to leave a comment letting me know what kinds of articles you've appreciated reading on here in the past, and what you'd like to see more of in the future!

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Very Little Princess

A while back I treated you all with a picture of my friend Christina's wee wedding dress. Several of you really seemed to enjoy the pictures, so I thought I'd share one of my own creations. 

Barbie dresses are actually one of the few things I do with a pattern. On that small of a scale I haven't yet tried to drape or draft anything of the precision needed, although I do have plans do try a few ideas in the near future.
 Anyhow, this is a gown I had a bit of fun with several years ago. It is an Elizabethan court gown and involved some very fussy sleeves and neckline. My favorite detail is the exquisite miniature trim.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Let's Recycle!

Recycling is good for the planet, right? So instead of just tossing away my worn out $10 purse from Wal-Mart, I cut it up and salvaged the zippers and buckles and rings.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Skirt gets Cinderella treatment

I purchased this skirt several years ago for about $20 at Target. It quickly became my favorite skirt, both for comfort and style, and I wore it regularily. 

After a couple of years the color started to fade and I was at a loss as to how to wear it anywhere other than at home. It had lost it's punch.

Then I got into embellishing work and with some ribbon, beads, and a LOT of time added some fresh sparkle to this old favorite. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prince Caspian Premiere Costumes

Back in 2009 I spent most of my spring making meticulous costumes for the midnight opening of Prince Caspian. It was a ton of work but also a ton of fun and very satisfying. I really enjoyed digging through trailers and promotional pictures and the tie-books that were released prior to the movie to make the costumes as accurate as possible. Several costumers on Narniaweb were also doing their own reproductions and it was a great community resource to share tips and pictures. 

Although I wrote detailed costume diaries for most of the work, I never got pictures of the finished products up on my blog. Probably because I got very busy working on Beauty and the Beast shortly after and that consumed all of my creative energy.

Anyhow, here at long last are the finished costumes. 
 Above: Caspian and Susan. It took me 40-45 hours of work to make both of these pieces.
 Above: Edmund. I didn't have the budget or time to go more elaborate here, but I still managed to churn out a pretty sweet looking piece.
 Above: Lucy. Although I did the research and created and cut the pattern, my sister did the actual sewing and creation of the accessories.
 Above: A closer look at the sleeves and daffodil applique. All of the gold was attached by hand.

 Above: A look at the back. The lacing eyelets were all hemmed by hand.