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Dressing Ophelia – Complete!

She’s done!  In fact, she’s been done for a week, but I wanted to get a few nice photos.  I had a lot of fun at Mile Hi Con, too, and took home 1st place in the adult category!  Nick and I took these photos yesterday – so Happy Halloween, too!   I did all […]

She’s done!  In fact, she’s been done for a week, but I wanted to get a few nice photos.  I had a lot of fun at Mile Hi Con, too, and took home 1st place in the adult category!  Nick and I took these photos yesterday – so Happy Halloween, too!

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SONY DSC  SONY DSC

I did all the beading in about 12 hours total, using about a dozen types of stones and glass: pearls, rose & crystal quartz, aventurine, amazonite, jade, jasper, garnet, labradorite, and others.  I even got to use a friend’s great embroidery machine to add some much needed detail. I still have a little beading to do; my tiny pearls for the sleeves just got in this week.  But overall I’m really thrilled with the outcome and I can’t wait to wear it again!

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Dressing Ophelia – Part 3

I finally found time on Monday to get the dress pieced together, as well as the collar in place (sleeves are coming up today!).  I decided the dress would be more period appropriate without lining and worn with a  chemise underneath instead.  This is a good choice because with all the beadwork and pearls that […]

I finally found time on Monday to get the dress pieced together, as well as the collar in place (sleeves are coming up today!).  I decided the dress would be more period appropriate without lining and worn with a  chemise underneath instead.  seamThis is a good choice because with all the beadwork and pearls that will eventually be installed on the dress, it won’t make for an easy cleaning.   I’ll probably still put in some underarm shields to save myself some struggle later, too!

That still requires some work for the collar, a facing, something.  Since the collar of this dress shows the same gold accent on the cuffs and above the hem, I went that direction and did a sort of inside-out neckline facing.  This is something I learned in the SCA as it’s an easy way to add the common neckline detail seen in a lot of medieval clothing.  It’s prepared just the same way as a typical neckline facing, only with the facing coming to the outside instead of being hidden inside the garment.

backwardsTo make this reverse facing especially successful, finish your inside shoulder seams using a French seam or other treatment (I simply folded under the raw edges of the seam and ironed them in place).  Then you won’t have to be concerned with any raw edges of seams showing at your neckline.

Here’s where the inside-out/backwards part comes in.  Instead of right side to right side, sew the pieces together right side of facing to wrong side of garment.  This makes it so you can display the facing (the right side of the facing, without any seams or interfacing!) on the outside of the garment!  It still enables a really tidy edge, but you get a nice contrast. 

I went in after everything was ironed out (don’t forget to trim and grade those inside edges so the collar edge sits very nice; I just used my serger) and stitched the bottom edgcollare down, as can be seen in the photo.  Since you have this raw edge, zig zag stitching or covering the edge with trim is advisable, though if you feel like going to the trouble of hemming and stitching it down, that’s a nice look, too!  I think I’ll be using a pretty strand of top-drilled pearls to accent the REST of the beading that will go into this dress.  I liked the more earthy look of the offset pattern in the beads.

So there we are!  I’ve also finally received all the beads I’m going to use on this costume, so it’s just a matter of getting the trim on sleeves and hem, and getting the beading done!  The wig is also in my possession, and I think I’ll toss in a few flowers in as well!  Just a few more steps and Ophelia should be finished!

How are your projects going?

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Dressing Ophelia – Part 2

This was not a terribly technical portion, mostly it was just a really tedious job.  The details of Ophelia’s dress include a lion rampant along the skirt hem in a pretty gold.  What’s a lion rampant you say?  It’s basically one of those lion designs where it’s up on its hind feet and roaring or […]

This was not a terribly technical portion, mostly it was just a really tedious job.  The details of Ophelia’s dress include a lion rampant along the skirt hem in a pretty gold.  What’s a lion rampant you say?  It’s basically one of those lion designs where it’s up on its hind feet and roaring or something.  It’s a heraldic symbol often seen on family shields and things. IMG_2370

So!  I went on a hunt for a design I liked.  There were a lot of nice lions rampant out there, and I wanted to get close to what the design on the skirt looks like, but I also wanted something interesting and to my preference.  That’s when I found this cool lion rampant with a forked tail!  That was totally the guy.

Next, I needed to size it up.  At 5’2”, I am fun sized and I know it.  In Ophelia’s portrait, the lion starts just at the top of the gold trim on the skirt and doesn’t quite come to her knee.  So while I initially thought I would need a large design, it turns out the best size for me is really just about a regular sheet of paper sized.  That made printing pretty convenient!

The next portion was one of the tedious parts.  There are of course of a lot of little scrolly bits and fur on knees and things, and I carefully cut out the design all the way around.  Then there was YET MORE TEDIOUS TRACING.  After I affixed a section of the gold charmuse to some WonderUnder (WU is a paper-backed fusible webbing that comes in several weights.  You can use it to basically make appliqués, bonding fabric to fabric, or even fabric to other porous materials), I started tracing the design onto the paper backing from the original print.  Tracing the design onto the paper backing means I don’t have to mark the fabric and risk getting a mark in a place I don’t want.  Yikes!

Once again, there was MORE TEDIOUS cutting, but I came out with a really good result!

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Which awaits application to the skirt of the dress, when it’s time.  Using the WonderUnder makes it really easy: all I have to do is iron it on!  Ta da!

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Dressing Ophelia – Part 1

I’m so excited about this project!  Ophelia is my absolute favorite John Williams Waterhouse painting, and one of my just plain old favorite paintings. I’m a big fan of the Pre-Raphaelite painters in general; I love the source material of classic legends, fairytales, and myths, and the deliriously beautiful figures and ladies.  I think this […]

opheliaI’m so excited about this project!  Ophelia is my absolute favorite John Williams Waterhouse painting, and one of my just plain old favorite paintings. I’m a big fan of the Pre-Raphaelite painters in general; I love the source material of classic legends, fairytales, and myths, and the deliriously beautiful figures and ladies.  I think this was fantasy art before fantasy art existed.

I’m going at this in a very specific manner.  I wanted really to work in ‘period’ fabrics, but as Pre-Raphaelite costume design has little-to-no real historical basis, I’ve let that one slide a little.  I was very interested in going with a dupioni silk (a rough woven, slubbed silk) in a pale gold and blue crossweave, but the color and style I wanted was very expensive.  I was willing to pay for it, until I came across a wonderful synthetic dupioni at a wholesale clearance at Wesco Fabrics.  It was only $3 a yard, had the crossweave colors I wanted, and was actually a little better that the dupioni I’d been considering – less shiny! – so I couldn’t pass that up!

The second fabric I went hunting for was the gold for the trim throughout the dress.  This was difficult, too, as I wanted a color well suited to the blue-gold dress fabric, needed something lighter that would be appropriate for appliqué, but wasn’t a shiny plastic metallic.  Here too I checked out a few more expensive silks, but finally came across this synthetic charmeuse in a warm, rich gold that went perfectly with the dress fabric.  It has a bit of a metallic sheen without being SHINY.

So I’m great for materials at this point!  I’ve ordered gemstone chips for the beadwork on the cuffs and hem; I still need seed pearls for the sleeves.  I’ve also completed my alterations to the pattern… here’s how that went!IMG_2362IMG_2364

This medieval style of dress would typically be known as a cotehardie, a closely fitted garment with sleeves.  There are LOTS of patterns for this style of dress, commercial patterns included.  I started with one – the Butterick 4827 – that has a good look, the fitted bodice and sleeves and flared skirt I’m looking for.  It also had the style of neckline I was looking for; while it’s possible to alter for that, it’s of course easiest to start closer to your final product.

However, one thing about the pattern I didn’t like… the super princess seams.  These are clearly absent from the painting (alas, there is a lack of seam lines at all, but I digress), and as princess seams areIMG_2366 considered a more modern application, I wanted to avoid it.  For me, the simple answer was to draft them out!  I did this by carefully folding and laying out the pattern pieces until the seam was matched up, much like one would while sewing them together.  Then I traced over the combined pattern pieces using tracing paper to create an entirely new pattern piece.  I did leave the princess seams in the back; while it’s only partially period, it’s also serving to keep that fitted appearance that I wanted while still being somewhat hidden in the back.  The curve of the side seams were deepened to accommodate for the fitting that was drafted out by removing the princess seams.

As you saw from yesterday, I did some additional fitting using some scrap that later got turned into a cute apron!  I wrapped the waist with a spare piece of fabric to check how the fit would appear with the belt on; it serves a great purpose of helping to cinch in the waistline for a better fit, as well!  I’ll also be adding a wider flare to the skirt at the hips to get that extra, dramatic fullness!

Next time: Dun dun dun!  Finding and creating the lion rampant appliqué.  Whew!  Lots of cutting.

I’m also thinking Tuesday posts will be costuming oriented… I do love a theme!

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It’s been so long!

FINALLY AFTER A MILLION BAJILLION YEARS (really, like a year and a half, but in Internet time that’s like ETERNITY), I have managed to update my costume website. Hey, look at that! Finally got pictures up of Ophelia and everything! There is a lot of stuff that’s just not done yet – I have a […]

FINALLY AFTER A MILLION BAJILLION YEARS (really, like a year and a half, but in Internet time that’s like ETERNITY), I have managed to update my costume website. Hey, look at that! Finally got pictures up of Ophelia and everything!

There is a lot of stuff that’s just not done yet – I have a lot of the older costumes to update the pages to the new layout – but there are plenty of new things and (I hope) a more streamlined look.  I hope you enjoy!

Go get it!  =)

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Quick and Easy Day of the Dead Costumes

So my attempt at Han Solo and Princess Leia costumes failed with an overwhelming week prior to Halloween.  We didn’t even make it to the main party we usually attend, and we missed our friends bunches!   We did make it out for a short trip to another party on Saturday, but I struggled to come […]

deaddaySo my attempt at Han Solo and Princess Leia costumes failed with an overwhelming week prior to Halloween.  We didn’t even make it to the main party we usually attend, and we missed our friends bunches!   We did make it out for a short trip to another party on Saturday, but I struggled to come up with a last minute costume for each of us.

Climbing into the costume closet, I returned with all the pieces of black clothing we owned and proposed a fitting Dia de los Muertos theme!  I printed out these decorated skull images (or calaveras) and mounted them on cardstock and construction paper to create handheld masks for each of us.  With a little coloring, they really popped!  A few flowers borrowed from Ophelia completed our costumes.

The outfits were a big hit (and they go really well with the black and white floor at my friend’s house!  Heehee!).  I’ve seen a lot of similar costumes created with makeup and really incredible styling, so that’s another option you could go for!  I liked this option for us because we didn’t have the makeup available, and we didn’t run the risk of scaring the host’s 8-month-old daughter.  It’s also interesting to learn more about Dia de los Muertos!

How was your Halloween?

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Obscure Costume Sources

As a cosplayer, this is certainly not a foreign idea to me, as I’ve mentioned before.  Cosplay costumes don’t make good Halloween costumes, of course, but I’ve found myself picking out even more obscure designs for creation among books – especially children’s books.  I blame it all on the teaching thing.  Here are some ideas […]

As a cosplayer, this is certainly not a foreign idea to me, as I’ve mentioned before.  Cosplay costumes don’t make good Halloween costumes, of course, but I’ve found myself picking out even more obscure designs for creation among books – especially children’s books.  I blame it all on the teaching thing.  Here are some ideas I’d love to go after:

imageThe pretty maiden from East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Mercer Mayer.

I’m working on an author study of Mr. Mayer for graduate school, and this is one of the main reasons I chose him: his beautiful illustrations and tales. East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairy tales (linked with Psyche and Cupid, the Frog Prince, etc), and I adore the detailed dresses and lush fabrics in Mayer’s illustrations.  I’d love to create one of the pretty dresses from this story someday.

imageThe Beloved from the Twelve Days of Christmas Golden Book.

This little book was such a surprise!  I got it in a collection of free kids books that were donated to my future classroom,  and this was indeed a treasure.  Filled with beautiful illustrations of a girl and her holiday sweetheart, I fell in love with the medieval inspired dresses the girl changes throughout the twelve days.  Also I HAVE A THING FOR PRETTY DRESSES.

Now that I think about it, I actually have done a slightly obscure book character: Arha, the Eaten One from the Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin.

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And of course Ophelia, in her Waterhouse incarnation… that’ll be finished up soon.  What sort of obscure projects are you dreaming of?

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Aaaalso…

Ophelia is finally a dress. Tada! More on how she got there later! Tags: costumes, ophelia, sewing, costuming

Ophelia is finally a dress. Tada!

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More on how she got there later!

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Sewnday!

I will stop making up stupid names for days of the week.  Thanks. Today is shaping  up to be great!  I finally have a weekend day absolutely free of any prior obligations and the time is open for me to do anything I want to do!  Over the past month or two I’ve been able […]

I will stop making up stupid names for days of the week.  Thanks.

IMG_2369Today is shaping  up to be great!  I finally have a weekend day absolutely free of any prior obligations and the time is open for me to do anything I want to do!  Over the past month or two I’ve been able to cross a lot of big projects off my to do lists, all the home improvements Nick and I wanted to do have gotten done (on deck for this week is a post about our shelves repurposed as… well, shelves!), and a lot of family obligations for an upcoming wedding have been completed.  It feels great to cross those things off my list and feel prepared for the start of fall.  I try to do a little bit on projects whenever I have a spare moment, but having a full day is a good way to get really focused for me.

So today I plan on indulging in a day of sewing work, plowing through Ophelia and Vanille’s outfits as far as I can… and well, maybe playing a little Sims 3.  ‘Cause you know.  So I’ll get started here in a few minutes… Once Disaster DIY is over…

What do you like to do with a day all your own?

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You never know when you might need it…

I’ve been working on my Ophelia dress the past week or so (I will share more about this Tuesday!), and as I was working through my pattern alterations I had my sort of shell of the scrap I used for fitting the pattern pieces left, and as I kept staring at it I thought… that […]

apron01I’ve been working on my Ophelia dress the past week or so (I will share more about this Tuesday!), and as I was working through my pattern alterations I had my sort of shell of the scrap I used for fitting the pattern pieces left, and as I kept staring at it I thought… that really should be an apron.

I did not previously own an apron, but I can think of at least a dozen instances where having one might have spared a shirt or two from a stain.  I also know of a second grade teacher in my district who wears one (very similar to server-style aprons) daily, filled with typical classroom needs: pencils, markers, crayons, sticky notes, band-aids, hand sanitizer, etc!  Really great at meeting those everyday needs.

So, my post-fitting scraps were hanging out on my dressform (affectionately named Sophie), so I pulled it down and trimmed away the excess fabric.  Since I knew it would need to be tied in the back, I basically eliminated the back portion entirely, easing into the top so the shoulders would still be there.  Once I had a good free shape, I serged around the entire thing, arm holes included, and stitched on some grosgrain ribbon at the waistline on each side of the back opening.  And there you are!  Nothing fancy, and no lace as of yet, but I think a few pockets might be a good addition!

apron02

What have you unexpectedly created while working on another project?

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    Hi, I'm Beverly! I'm an elementary school teacher and artist in Denver, Colorado. I love creativity in all it's myriad forms, and I share it here (as well as at Livejournal and Blogspot, too! Pick your favorite!). I do a little bit of everything: crafting, sewing, jewelry-making, music, graphic design, home decorating, thrifting, and do-it-yourself work, and here's where I share it with the world! Thanks for visiting!

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