Monday, April 30, 2012

Pattern from Old Jeans

What do you do when your old jeans wear out so much that you can't even safely turn them into shorts? 

Why you cut them up and use them as pattern pieces for future pants of course! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Uber-Simple No-Pattern Skirt

Every now and then I'm digging through my fabric stock and I come across a beautiful piece I had no idea I owned. I recently found a gorgeous bit of stretch damask (or mock damask or something) in a fantastic shade of purpose. So I decided to turn it into tidy little skirt. No pattern. No fuss. No tears. Come along for the ride!

You will need:

Fabric (measure around your hips, then measure from your waist to however long you want the skirt. Add six inches to each measurement. This is the length and width of how much fabric you need)
A zipper
Bias tape
Lining fabric (optional)

First off I found a skirt that fit me about the way I wanted my new skirt to fit. 
I then used the existing skirt to get the size and shape of the panels for the new skirt. I'd decided I wanted to use six panels, with a side zipper.
To make a fitted skirt, you have to go in by the waist, out around the hips in the back (but not so much in the front), and then taper the bottom slightly to pull in again. In a longer skirt you wouldn't need to taper the bottom, but for a short skirt it's necessary to get the right shape.
Because the front and back look nearly identical, I put a safety pin in the front panel. this will serve as my marker to keep the sides straight until I get the zipper in.
After sewing the sides, I try on the skirt to see how well it fits. The bottoms need some more tapering in, so I mark the seams with my tailor's wax and take them in.
Ideally I would have cut identical panels out of lining fabric and attached the lining at this point. However I didn't have any workable lining in my possession, so I had to skip that step.

Also at this point I realized that to make as deep a hem as I needed without making the skirt too short, I was going to need to employ bias tape.
I also used bias tape for the waistband. Waistbands always need a separate piece set in (unless you're using elastic) to keep the fabric from stretching out.
I then inserted a zipper, with a covering placket. The zipper is one of those I salvaged from my purse back in February.
At this point I could consider the skirt done. However I had one final set of details I wanted to add...
Belt loops! Belted skirts are all the range this year and I don't own any with good loops. They weren't that hard to make, just a wee bit fussy.
I sewed them down with three seams, once on the bottom as shown below:
Then folded the loop over in place and secured both top and bottom with topstiching.
I can now wear the skirt with a belt like this:
Or this:
Or on it's own.
This is a very easily adapted pattern. You could make the skirt longer, add flairs on the bottom, incorporate trim, or make the panels of contrasting colors. The sky is the limit!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Carol Danvers (Ms. Marvel) Redesign

So you've heard the buzz about that new movie coming out next week, right? It's called... "The Avengers" or something? Based on some comic books and directed by that Buffy the Vampire Slayer guy? 

Okay, I'm kidding. As my long-time followers know, I'm a die-hard Marvel fan, and although I'm definitely an X-Men girl, I do know the Avenger basics. Although I'm very excited for the film, I'm really disappointed that the leading Avenger lady (or one of the foremost, I should say) will not be appearing, leaving the team with a crazy high ratio of guys to girls. 

Who is this woman? Carol Danvers, otherwise known as Ms. Marvel (and now Captain Marvel!). Originally I intended to go to the midnight opening dressed as her, but due to family commitments, I won't be able to make it. However I did take the time to design what I feel her costume would look like translated into the movie's style. 

I sketched out the design based on what I've learned from my new fashion illustration book (featured below and a must have!).

The final picture was colored with acrylics and detailed with inks.

I'm pretty happy with how my redesign turned out, and I'm very much hoping that I will still get a chance to cosplay it in the near future.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reorganizing the Scrap Bag

Remember in the pioneer books the moms would always have scrap bags they made quilts out of? Well that idea took over my brain at a young age and since I was about 8 I've been saving the scraps from my fabric for quilts and doll clothes and random little things. 

This year when I moved (twice, or thrice, however you want to look at it) I realized that I had TWO HUGE BAGS of itty bitty scraps. And they were all mixed up and jammed in there and I really didn't need half of them.

So I went through, sorted through every single scrap, threw away the ones that were too small to ever do anything with, organized them by color, and gave each color a plastic bag and put them all in a big tub.

It's kind of awesome and super efficient and looks much prettier now too. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway in "Les Miserables"

Let's just take a moment and swoon over how fantastic Hugh Jackman looks in a greatcoat. And then freak out over the idea of Hathaway and Jackman singing together, because they totally rocked it at the Oscars three years ago and this was MEANT TO BE.

I'm sure there will be plenty more costume excitement to come, so stay tuned! You can see more pictures of this scene here:

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette can be seen here:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Costumes of Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there was a TV show with costumes so fantastical and gorgeous that all the young ladies who watched it fell hopelessly in love with the gorgeous dresses.

Well, maybe not all, but clearly the costuming department of ABC's "Once Upon a Time" has been working overtime to cloth its fairy tale citizens in gorgeous gowns, suits and armor worthy of Disney's visual history. In fact there are so many costumes that although I've spent the last month collecting pictures, I know this post is really going to just scratch the surface of the show's offerings. So I ask your pardon in advance if your favorite piece is not featured here. A big problem was finding good quality pictures of the Enchanted Forest costumes, so if you've got a good shot of a costume that was not included, send me a link and I'll add it!

First off, a few cool links I found that you might find interesting:

Emilie de Ravin (Belle) talks about the quality of the costumes on the show.
Eduardo Castro's design sketches for Once Upon a Time.
Detailed blog post from the Milliner who created the Mad Hatter's hats (and others!).

Above: although the detailing would prove impractical in real life, it nonetheless makes for pretty eye-candy here on the Huntsman. (Remember him? Poor, offed Graham?)

Above: as Hansel and Gretel flee through the woods, we get a good look at the detailing at the bottom of Gretel's skirt. No way to tell if it's a print or embroidery, but whatever it is it's very bohemian and rich.

Above: What's with the plunging necklines, Regina? Your dresses are so gorgeous, but you're not evil queen yet, you're the wife of a respectable king. Why is he letting you display yourself like this?

Above: How many variations on a white dress can we get? This beautifully detailed bodice with the delicate lace sleeves would make a gorgeous wedding dress, should Disney decide to add it to its line of wedding gowns. 

Above: Speaking of wedding gowns, Snow turns birdlike in this feathery frock. Does this have anything to do with Emma's real world last name of Swan? (I still think Emma could be the Swan Princess)

Above: It's not only the girls who get the gorgeous costumes in Once Upon a Time. Just look at the details and layering of lace on this regal robe for Snow's father!

 Above: I was delighted to see that OUaT didn't feel it necessary to copy the Disney gown in anything other than color here. Instead we got an absolutely phenomenally detailed gown with hundreds of flower embellishments.

Above: And as you can see here, the flowers continue down into the skirt.

Above: Here is our first look at Red. While her skirt is far too rich for a peasant girl, her bodice is absolutely gorgeous and I like the addition of the red gloves.

 Above: It was notoriously hard to find a good picture of Belle's yellow gown, but this scan gives us a good look at the detailing on her bodice.

Above: In contrast to the white purity evocative of an innocent dove in Snow's wedding gown, Regina's bird-like cloak reminds us of a crafty raven.

Above: Here is a good look at the rich gold trims and buttons on Prince Charming's royal coat.

Above: Here is a fairly good look at Regina's riding costume. Rich black brocade, scaly leather caplet, a sharply tailored corset and a jaunty black hat show this is a rich, independent and dangerous woman.

Above: Here we can see clearly the extensive detailing in Rumple's leather coat. It's heavily worn and crafted to give him a very animal-like appearance. However, despite its earthy tones, it is far too detailed a piece to belong to a peasant. He is a man of means.

Above: Here we see another outfit, this one featuring a tighter cut coat and awesome lace-up pants. Definitely some punk rocker influences here...

Above: In contrast to Rumple's details, we get Prince Charming's relatively simple woods outfit. It's in good condition, but otherwise does little to convey that he's a prince.

Above: Here we get a glimpse of Cinderella's fairy godmother in a gown that I wish had gotten more screen time. Just look at the layers and panels in that skirt!

Above: Here we once again get a bird emphasis in what is possibly the ugliest dress on the show, despite it's rich beading. However the color and shoulder cut bring to mind Sleeping Beauty - one possible identity I've heard suggested for Abigail.

Above: This photo gets a mention because of the gorgeous crimson insets in Prince Charming's gloves.

Above: Cinderella's lovely ball gown.

Above: While Charming looks dashing, Snow looks as though she's donned a prom dress. ???

Above: Seriously, sleeveless is not cool as it looks WAY too modern. Cinderella looks lovely though, and the light catches the beading on her skirt.

Above: I cannot stop thinking how much I adore Snow's gorgeous cloak! 

Above: The Genii meets Snow in the garden. Wish we had a better look at this dress!

Above: A good look at the rich fabric used for Belle's awesome cloak.

Above: Not an easy task to cast the Genii as a man when we're so used to the big blue puffball voiced by Robin Williams. But the costume helps as it is a very Persian looking ensemble.

Above: Another look at the cloaks of Snow and Red. And Snow's scarf! Just the layering and detailing here is fantastic. (I got to make a replica of Red's cloak. Check it out here!)

Above: In contrast to the puffy skirts of the princesses is this sleek gown worn by the water nymph. The beaded skirt evokes a fishing net and the shimmer of the fabric is very water-like in texture.

Above: The fairy costumes are so ridiculously overdone that they manage to be adorably fussy. 

Above: Ignore Abigail's crazy expression and drool over her fantastic Elizabethan-inspired costume that I am dying to recreate.

Above: a young, innocent Regina in a baby blue gown with a gorgeous bodice and limply unadorned skirt.

Above: and here is Regina as she was meant to be, feminine yet simple in this beautifully tailored sea-foam riding jacket. (See my reproduction of it here!)

Due to chronic illness, I can no longer take on costume commissions. However, I have written up blog posts about my previous OUAT costume reproductions and done many costume analysis posts that may be of use to you or your costumer in making your cosplay. Check them out here!