Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Well, I Didn't Vote for You."

..."You don't vote for king!"

For two months, I've been asking my brother who he wanted to go as to the Kings and Queens Ball. We brainstormed several off-beat, slightly geekier characters that suited him, but beyond that, he never committed to any one costume. At least, that's how I perceived it. He says that he told me that he wanted to be King Arthur from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I never caught that; family communication at its finest!

It was the Tuesday before the Saturday event, when I finally translated the message. Could I put together an entire costume from scratch in less than a week? Only time would tell. 
I already had the pattern, thanks to High King Peter's costume. Mccall's 5500 was waiting for me in its pattern bin. I had a white sheet stashed away and some gold fabric left over from a different project. :BOOM!: Let's do this. 

The costume itself went together very easily since I had done a similar costume so recently. ;) Then it was on to the applique on the front. Since drawing does not come naturally to me, I needed to find someone else's work to use. I found a picture on Deviant Art that suited my purposes. 
Some double sided fusible interfacing, ironing, machine zig-zagging, and embroidery later, the applique was done. After picking up the necessary trims from the craft store, the main part of the costume was finished. Woohoo! 
My poor dress form isn't liking all these men's costumes that I've been making of late. ;)

Now it was time to accessorize. The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch was certainly a needed prop. We painted a styrofoam ball gold, tacky-glued fancy trims that I already had, and stuck on a gold cross that we found in the bead section (that's a scary part of the store... How someone can find one thing in there is beyond me. Although I guess some would say the same thing about the notions wall or the fabric section. ;) ).

I used a similar technique that I used for the Narnian crown for King Arthur's crown. I printed up a template that I found somewhere on the interwebs, cut it out of foam (the pliable stuff that kids use in their Sunday school crafts), painted it, and glued the pieces together. Then I used the pattern that I made for Oaken's hat to make a gray insert to go inside the gold outer crown. For the 'chain mail' cascading from the back of the crown, I found some cool gold sequined material that resembled chain mail. Cut it to length, sewed it onto the insert, and Voila! Behold, a crown. Alack alas, I haven't gotten pictures of just the crown. Oh well. 

And it all finished just in time. The last coat of paint for the crown was applied on Saturday morning. The ball was on Saturday evening. I DID IT! xD Granted, not much else had been done that week, but the costume was finished in time. We added some leather gloves that we found at the thrift store to finish the look. 
The funniest part of all of this was the reaction of our friend, Nathan. He saw the picture that I posted on Facebook, and he shot me a message practically begging to be Patsy, King Arthur's faithful servant. On Saturday afternoon, he managed to pull together the costume with things that he already had. He made a fine Patsy if I do say so myself.  They 'rode' around the ballroom for kicks with King Arthur pretending to ride a horse and Patsy clopping the coconut halves together. 
What was truly hilarious was everyone's reactions. Not many of our peers caught the reference, but their parents thought that it was the best thing ever. It was described as 'classic.' 

I think that those two are ready for comic con. Maybe 'riding' around Portland will be enough for now. We need to do our part to 'keep it weird.' :P 

Until next time!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

'Tangled' Bunting

It was an impulse project. While my little brother was entertaining himself with my Marvel encyclopedia (super heroes make excellent baby sitters), I whipped together a bunting from Corona, the kingdom in Disney's movie, 'Tangled.' 
I don't know where the idea came from (good luck following my train of thought), but I eventually found myself printing on fabric. :gasp!: Can you do that? You most certainly can. You can find a tutorial for printing on fabric here: 

I downloaded this printable and went to town.

My little brother thought that it was the weirdest thing to be printing on fabric, but after the first couple of printings, he thought that it was pretty cool. I can only imagine the projects that he's scheming up now.

I cut out the flags with my rotary cutter, pulled out some old purple ribbon/bias tape/seam tape that I have had in the drawer for years and years, pinned everything down, and ran one long seam down the entire length of the bunting. Voila'! 'Tis done.  

I might need to make a bazillion of these now and put them EVERYWHERE! No room is safe from the bunting. 

Until next time!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

King Peter's Costume: complete!

It's done! :does happy dance:
Well, at least the sewing part of things. The crown still needs more work.

I've been honored to be asked to do a custom costume for a friend of mine for an upcoming ball. 

He wants to be King Peter from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but he has a limited budget. Thankfully, I was able to get all the fabrics from Goodwill! The tunic used to be a top sheet, and the cape used to be a table cloth. But, shh... this is a secret between you and me. ;) You certainly wouldn't guess that the materials had a previous life. All the trims and notions came from Joann's. Guess where most of the budget went to. Yeah, Joann's. It's amazing how quickly trims and what-not add up!

My dress form isn't happy with what a men's costume does to her girlish figure. Oh well, Lady Catherine, you're just going to have to get over it. 
For the tunic, I used McCalls' Pattern 5500. As far as alterations go, the sleeve was changed, I used a collar from another pattern that was buried in my pattern collection, and I added a pleat in the back since the neckline was too wide. As for the decal on the front, I just used a generic brocade stencil from Joann's and some gold fabric paint. In retrospect, I could have used puff paint to make it resemble embroidery, but I think it looks fine as it is. The trims were all sewn on by hand since my sewing machine is picky about what can and cannot be sewn. It was a perfect project to work on in the living while visiting with my grandma from out of town was staying with us for a weekend. (That was quite the run-on sentence...) 

The cape is Simplicity 5794. Altered of course. ;) The hem was trimmed to the correct length to allow for dancing (aka - no dragging on the ground), and I drafted a piece to allow for only needing the back part of the cape to match the style of Peter's in the movie. All in all, I'm pleased with how everything turned out. 

Now it's time to turn my sights onto recreating Peter's crown. I've never made a crown before. After some looking around on the interwebs, I came up with my own blend of things to make a crown fit for a king. Alas, there's no gold-smithing involved with this process. Just lots of foam, cutting things out, painting, and glueing. I'll post a more detailed post after I get it finished.     

Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen in Narnia.

Until next time!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Throw-Back Thursday: 1860's Ball Gown

For the Victoria and Albert ball, it was black tie required. What's that? Since when in the Great Northwest did we ever have a black tie required? Oh well. It's a grand opportunity to get all gussied up in your finest to dance the night away. My only problem was that I didn't have a mid-1800's ball gown. But since the ball was still months away, I had time to plan. Rather, deliberate and be indecisive. I didn't know what I wanted my ballgown to look like. Now, keep in mind, this was before Pinterest became my favorite website, and I was relatively new to the whole historical fashion scene. Actually, I'm still pretty new, come to think of it. 

But I digress. After much wrestling with myself and no clear direction of what the dress should look like, I just let the thought sit for a while. A long while. Then, while helping my sisters clean off their bookshelves, I found a coloring book of Godey's fashions. After perusing the book, I found a skirt that I really liked. The rest of the dress then fell into place. I drew up a sketch that looked something like this to get the idea onto paper.

The it was onto color work. I'm not the hugest fan of pastels; part of that is that they make my face look absolutely drained of all life. Pastels do bad things to me. I tend to gravitate towards richer, more saturated colors. But those can look... drab. Do you see the conundrum that I was in? I wasn't able to find much inspiration in the colored pencil box either. :sigh: What's a girl to do?  Checked Joann's. Nothing (not a big surprise). I couldn't make it to the gigantic fabric store on the far, far side of town. A friend suggested that we look at a fabric store in her area. Okay. We'll give it a shot. 

Guess what. We walked in and saw the fabric right away. There it was, a gorgeous shantung in a rich shade of peacock teal. But what could you contrast such a strong color with? We meandered around the store and found a couple of options - a metallic gold shantung and some sheer cream with floral embroidery. We layered the sheer over the gold to tone down the shiny-ness of the metallic. 
I loved it. 
I had my dress! 
Just had to make it. ;) 

  Embellishing it was probably my favorite part of the entire sewing process. All those fabric flowers! I should have counted how many individual flowers I made to go on that dress. Ribbon flowers, flowers made from the scrap fabric, flowers with gold buttons, and flowers with pearls, cream flowers, teal flowers, gold flowers, light brown flowers, tiny yellow flowers. So many flowers! I just worked on them while watching TV in the evenings. After getting a garden's worth of florals all made up, I tacked them onto the dress and stepped back. 

:SQUEE!!!: It was better than I had imagined. And it was finished the night before the ball. 

The chair tried to eat me...
The ballroom
We even had live music for the dances!
That was all in the fall of 2011. Has it already been that long since that wonderful evening? 
Now, there's a 'Kings and Queens' ball quickly approaching, and I'm wondering if I should pull out the teal ball gown. After it's first wearing, I noticed a couple things that needed changing:
- The lace on the sleeves = no go. That will need to be delicately chopped off. 
- The skirt needs to be attached to the bodice so it doesn't twist around. Nothing that some hooks and eyes can't fix!

There is one snafu... The venue is a gym, yet there's no good place to get changed. Since there's room for my time travelling wardrobe, I'll have to get completely ready at home and drive to the ball in complete 1860's attire. It's one thing to drive with panniers; it's a completely different challenge to drive while wearing a hoop skirt. I'm sure that would be a first for the police officer. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but I'm going to need to you walk in a straight line and do a breath test. ... What are you wearing?" "I'm sober, officer. I just can't see anything below my waist." Now, to be completely honest with you, I have yet to be pulled over for a traffic violation, and I would like to keep it that way. 

Until next time! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

High King Peter

I promise that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth; I'm still here! A friend has asked me to make Peter Pevensie's coronation ensemble from Disney's 2005 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' for a quickly approaching ball. So while I'm sewing away, I'll leave you with some inspiration for the costume. I'll do a more detailed write-up after I finish. :) 

Until next time!