Friday, April 22, 2011

'Nine'-Stephanie's Black Dress

Before I even saw the movie (which I now have lukewarm feelings for...) I thought the costumes looked pretty cool.  I especially liked Kate Hudson's little black dress from one of the movie posters...which happened to be her dress from the introductory number:

Fabric:  I found some stretch sequin fabric on ebay (totally covered in sequins...epic).  It was a little pricey, but since I didn't need a huge amount...  I basically made this as a tube dress with a square piece at the top, adorned with glass faceted square beads.

Extras:  I strung the straps with a variety of faceted, czech glass, seed and bugle beads.  Most notably, though, are the large glass square beads I found at M&J.  They really allowed me to make this a little more screen-accurate, since the fabric would not allow me to make a slit up the left side (sigh).  The straps were tedious....I had to count the exact number of each bead used so that they would be symmetrical.  Worth it.  I found the boots online...ruched thigh-highs at costume express.  They are actually really comfortable!  What started it all was the hosiery....I had a pair of giant fishnets that I had ordered from Victoria's Secret YEARS ago....and when I saw the teaser pics of this costume I remembered having them stashed away.  As for the wig (I was not intended to be a blonde), it wasn't that bad.  This wig came from
All in all, very fun to wear!

Cassandra and I pose as a pair of woman actually knew who we were supposed to be!!!

Events:  D*C '10

Snowbunny Padme

I made this costume several years ago for CIV...and even though my 'Lake Gown' was much more labor-intensive, this costume actually got the most responses from con-goers!  Especially the kids...I don't know how many times I heard "Hi, Padme!  Can I take a picuture with you?" Funny old world, isn't it?  I would again like to thank Benae Quee for her tutorial on the made this costume so much more enjoyable to make. 
Pattern:  Benae Quee's tutorial...hood attached to a sweet cloak.

Fabrics:  White polar fleece with a lining made of ice blue cotton.  I could have opted for silk, but in keeping with my budeget, I stuck with cotton.  I suppose that is one of the benefits of costuming from an animated character--you get to choose the textures.  For the trim, I did use white faux fur which I dyed the same ice blue as the lining. (It took FOREVER!) The fur made a nice contrast against the smoothness of the fleece.  For the bodysuit...well...that was easy.  I simply ordered a head-to-toe unitard from a dancewear company.

Extras:  I used leftover fur trim to edge out the white satin gloves, as well as the tops of the white boots. The ties were made from round white shoelaces with dyed pom-poms glued to the ends.  The belt was made using a strip of rawhide leather left over from my Leia belt (painted white), and the holster came from a Rubies costume kit.  The blaster was purchased as well. 

As an added note:  wear nude or taupe undergarments!  They'll blend in with your skin, so you won't have to worry about show-through.  A set of Spanx wouldn't hurt either, since we are talking white spandex here.  I love mine!  No lines!

Brian and I posing with R2 at CIV....we had to stand still for a while..................

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Moulin Rouge! Pink Diamonds

After watching Moulin Rouge! several times, I knew I wanted to costume from it...but which one?  There are literally dozens of gorgeous dresses and costumes to choose from!   I 'analyzed' several of my favorites and decided that Pink Diamonds was the way to go.  From there, in the spring of '07, I started researching and compiling materials.  Knowing that this project could get expensive pretty quickly, I scoured ebay every few days for materials (I am a public schoolteacher, for crying out loud!).  Finally, I hit paydirt....thousands of light pink swarovski auction...and I won.  That was it.  I was making this outfit!   That being said, I also knew that ostrich feather boas were out of the question, but I could find suitable, if not screen-accurate--replacements.  Plus, I was looking forward to all that beading.  For the next few months, I would be applying these small crystals, stringing gold and silver bugle beads, and constructing my first corset.
Pattern:  Simplicity 5006 (modified at neckline)

Fabrics:  Lt. pink casa satin from Joanne's, light pink netting, white denim for interlining

Beads and Extras:  Gold and silver bugle and seed beads, clear swarovski round and marquis shaped rhinestones, light pink swarovski rhinestones, 2 yards of stranded rhinestones from Joannes.  I literally lost count of the rhinestones after 1000.
Pink and Light Pink feather boas:  15 in all...5 on each hip/back and 5 in the back.  I actually have added a few more in the past year for fullness!

Shoes:  t-strap Nine West sandals from ebay.  I added the rhinestones with E-6000 glue.  I am thinking about upgrading to a more screen-accurate dyeable pump before I wear it again. 

Gloves:  opera-length white gloves...dyed pink.  I'd like to upgrade these to dyed leather as well, but we'll see...........

Jewelry:  Clear rhinestone chandelier earrings and lots of stretch rhinestone bracelets....'diamonds' are a girl's best friend!  I'm still collecting bracelets to stack up my wrists!

*I even found the perfect little pink satin purse with diamonds at the handles at Claire's for $3!

Events:  D*C '07, '09, '10; AdventureCon '10, Dallas AllCon '11

Moulin Rouge: Pink Diamonds

After watching Moulin Rouge! several times, I knew I wanted to costume it....but which one??  There are literally dozens of gorgeous dresses and costumes to choose from, so I sort of 'analyzed' some of my favorites...and I felt that Pink Diamonds was the way to go.  I love the sparkle and the overall aesthetic of the costume...sort of showgirl, sort of burlesque, but totally sweet.  Plus, my goodness, all those beads and rhinestones!  I started researching and compiling materials in the spring of '07.  Knowing that this project could potentially get expensive, I combed ebay every few days for any materials I may find.  I knew that ostrich boas were out of the question (financially speaking....I am a public schoolteacher, for crying out loud!!), but I didn't really want to skimp on details.  There seems to be a few versions of this outfit used in the film, and the differences can be seen especially in the bodice area.  So I just sort of went with my gut in that area. 

Willie Scott: Club Obi-Wan

This, by far, has been my most ambitious project.  When it comes to hand beading, I'm a glutton for punishment (I really do love it).  But, I have been a die-hard Indy fan since I was a little girl, and even though Marion Ravenwood has always been my fave, you have to hand it to Willie--she knows how to dress.
As for the build, I was totally aware that this would not be 100% screen accurate.  The original gown was created with vintage beads and sequins, and there's just no topping that.  So it became a giant sequin-chase, complete with dozens of screen grabs and last-minute modifications.

Pattern: McCalls M4369--heavily modified in back, length, darts added

Fabric:  Red Casa satin from Joannes

Trims, Sequins, Etc.: Gold single-row flat sequins in gold--180 yards purchased; Red wavy sequin trim--10 yards, Red single-row sequin trim--3 yards, Gold bugle bead trim from M&J--6 yards; 12ss red siam swarovski crystals, several packs of loose gold bugle and seed beads

Gloves: one pair of red satin; one pair of gold satin; red stretch sequin trim, gold stretch sequin trim

Fascinator: gold shimmer tulle, gold single row sequin trim (small), red shimmer tulle, 36 gauge gold jewelry wire, silver clips

Shoes:  the closest I could find are gold ballroom dance shoes from Stephanie dance shoes online.  They are accurate except for the t-strap, which could be cut away, but I decided to keep them.

Wig: purchased at Performance Studios in Nashville and styled by me.  Gold spray and a blonde touch-up stick were used around the hairline.

Events: D*C '09, '10, AdventureCon '10
Honors: Best Media Recreation Design: D*C Friday Night Costume Contest

This gown is tough to walk only 'gripe' with it is its stiffness.  Kate Capshaw shimmies about the stage and you can see how flowy and swishy the gown is below the knees. Mine lacked that flow, and since the dress is basically un-alterable, there's little to be done about it.  It was very fun to wear, though, and costuming with Brian's Indy was very rewarding.  I'm glad I made it....the total time spent was about a year, and sometimes I just wanted to scrap the whole thing.  Definitely a labor of love!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Batik Can-Can

  After falling in love with Moulin Rouge!, and practically all the gorgeous costumes worn by, well, everyone, I decided that I needed one of them.  So I researched myself crazy and spent about 4 months creating the Pink Diamonds outfit.  But that's for another post!  In the spring of '08 I gave birth to my beautiful little daughter, and during that summer, as she napped, I began working on a can-can dress inspired by all the beautiful jewel tones found in the 'Lady Marmalade' number.  Sometimes I'll just watch that one scene...all the rich reds, blues, purples, golds.  I didn't necessarily want to make a screen-accurate dress, just a fun can can to wear that Halloween and to the Rougie gathering in Atlanta in '09.  Then I received a beautiful quilt from a cousin as a baby gift.  The quilt was binded in black (with a paisly print) and the quilt blocks had a variety of batiks.  I thought..."that's it!"  This was to be my color scheme!
Pattern:  Simplicity #3847  for the skirt.  It's just a poodle/circle skirt, and #2966  for the bustier.

Fabrics: Heavy black satin from Joannes for the 2 skirt layers and polka-dot and striped batiks. 

Extras:  I've used both paisley printed tights and black fishnets for the hosiery.  I'd really like to make some more screen-accurate bloomers, but I've been using black spankies.  I used black lace trim across the top of the bustier.

Hat:  Black glitter burlesque top hat from ebay.  It's very cute!  And after a recent flight, it's also very smooshed.  I'll probably order another one...they're pretty easy to find.  I used strips of lime, turquoise, and hot pink tulle to make a large 'poof' at the back of the hat--like a veil.

Shoes:  Again, this just depends on the mood.  I have worn leather t-strap heels...I've also worn knee boots. 

Earrings;  I have a beautiful pair of pink swarovski chandelier earrings I got as a GWP from Express several Christmases ago.  They match the pink and sparkle '10 I wore a pair of vintage crystal clip-ons in a sort of peacock-blue AB that belonged to Brian's grandmother. 

Ruffles:  Believe it or not, but there is over 60 yards of batik fabric strips which were hemmed, ruffled, then hand-sewn to the underskirt.  It ended up being really stretched the length of the underskirt by a few inches, so I had to re-adjust the waist of the underskirt before combining it with the overskirt.  Maybe it was a bit much, but I love the way they move.

Cassandra, Camille, Me, Betsy, Kathy, and Suzanne upholding the bohemian ideals of freedom, beauty, truth, and love!

Events:  Halloween '08, D*C '09, '10, AdventureCon '10, All Con '11
Awards:  First Place Adult-Simplicity Halloween Costume Contest '08
I really do love wearing this costume.  In spite of the weight of the skirt, it is very comfortable, and there's just something about sitting in piles of ruffles.    The bustier is now quite loose, and I'm contemplating making another one, maybe before D*C '11.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Marie Antoinette: Mauve Gown

Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette is absolute eye candy.  I love the gowns, the shoes, the jewelry, and hopefully, in the future, I can work towards making more of them.  Her mauve gown is seen here, toward the end of the film, as the Revolution looms...
It is definitely one of her more 'sedate' gowns, with a lovely hairstyle to match.  She is also seen in a brief outdoor scene sporting a matching hat:

I won't lie...the main reason I opted for this gown over the more decadent dresses was the fact that I had a large roll of mauve moire taffeta at my disposal.  The original, of course, is silk, but since the colors are similar and the taffeta is nice to work with, I decided to make this one for Dallas All Con, as Cassandra was making another gown from the same film.
Fabric:  Moire taffeta for the gown and underskirt, silky solid for the hat covering.

Pattern: Simplicity 4092 as a base, with modifications to the sleeves and neckline.

Hat:  A straw hat base ordered from a historical clothing site.  It seemed way too big when I first started decorating it, but after it was placed over the wig with the dress, it all balanced out.  I covered it with the mauve silky solid fabric and trimmed it out with pink dahlias, ruffled taffeta, and ostrich feathers.

Panniers:  I had some that I had made a couple of years ago, but they were terrible!  So I bit the bullet and ordered a nice set from Smiling Fox Forge.  Love them!!!

Extras:  Five covered buttons for the bodice, and lots of hand-ruffled, hand-frayed trim for the bodice and wrists.

Wig: 'Sweet Marie' by Rubies.  It needed some styling and spraying with the white hair coloring, but the blonde was nice and soft...not too brassy.  Very good for those more subtle hairstyles MA sports in the last  scenes of the film.

Earrings:  Glass pearl drops in white and pink.  I had made them a while back, and they matched up well, so now they belong to this costume.

Shoes:  Refurbished leather mules I bought for a buck at the local thrift shop.  I covered them with a creamy velvety fabric and trimmed them out with ostrich feathers, lace, and leftover frayed ruffles from the gown.  They are soooo comfortable!

This was a very fun dress to wear.   It's another dress that makes the wearer feel like a queen.  With the heavy boning and the panniers, it's almost impossible to not carry yourself well as you walk, sit, etc. Plus, it was totally budget-friendly, as I already had the fabric, feathers, laces, button blank, and trims. It was great to wear this gown with a fellow MA enthusiast...Cassandra's black velvet ermine was to die for! 
Events: Dallas All Con 2011
Awards: 1st place-Historical Category, All Con Costuming Contest; Best in Show, All Con Costuming Contest (entered with Cassandra Munroe as a pair of Maries--we were stunned and honored!)

Marion Ravenwood: Basket Chase

When Brian decided to go all out for Indiana Jones, I knew I wanted to be Marion Ravenwood-she was always my favorite.  As much as I love her 'Well of Souls' dress (the though of Brian and I running down the street stride for stride makes me giggle;), I had to make something rather quickly, and on a shoestring budget.  Here is Karen Allen as Marion....

My version was super easy to only took a couple of days from beginning to end.
Patterns:  The top didn't require a's just a basic peasant-style blouse with a gathered neckline and gathering at the wrists.  I cannot find the pattern for the pants, but I remember they were ver basic as well--pajama-style pants with an elastic waist, which I altered only by adding elastic at the ankles.  The belt was a strip of maroon velvet (the most expensive part of the whole costume, believe it or not!).  I sewed hooks and eyes in the back for a nice clean closure.

Fabrics:  For the blouse, I used a lightweight off-white linen.  Red peachskin satin was used for the pants, and, of course, the really nice maroon velvet for the belt.  It looks like her belt has a print burned into it.

Extras: A very nice replica of her blouse does exist out there somewhere, but it is pricey.  Since my budget was small, I opted for trim and machine stitching.  I found the trim at Joannes, and dyed it with RIT in Scarlet.  I used machine stitching at the neckline and on the sleeves (my favorite part).  I also found some small red tassels, which I added to the sleeves.

Shoes:  I found some red espadrilles at Wal Mart for $6 on sale!  They are not entirely screen accurate, but since the blouse isn't either, I didn't stress it.

Events:  DragonCon '07 and  '09; AdventureCon '10

getting ready to meet Karen Allen with Brian and Cami:

Padme's Lake Gown

The very first time I saw this gown in the theatre, I knew I wanted it.  It took a while, though, to muster up the confidence to make it.  All of that dying!  The hair!  The fact that I'd never seen anything quite like it!  Finally, I decided to just go for it.  I really wanted to make it for D*C in '06. Fortunately, there is The Padawan's Guide, which was my go-to source for reference pics and a variety of tips.  So here's a couple of reference photos:

Pattern:  For the halter-style underdress, I started with McCalls #3222.  It had to be heavily modified to accomodate the demi-train, neckline, and total backless-awesomeness.  But it served as a base.

Fabrics:  For the underdress, I originally used a heavy satin from Joannes.  It took the dyes reasonably well, and was nice and sturdy.  BUT for Celebration IV, I wanter more accuracy, so I made a v.2 underdress out of sanded silk charmeuse.  This was much nicer---took the dye beautifully, had a great soft sheen, and flowed nicely.  Definitely worth the upgrade!  The drape/train I kept from the first version--it's poly chiffon, which I'll admit was a monster to dye, but it drapes perfectly and doesn't wrinkle.  The edges are white satin blanket binding, which had to be dyed seperately.  Lots of adjusting, cutting, and re-adjusting, but eventually the drapes were the length I wanted so I was able to finally sew them to the gown and sleeves (which were simply spandex tubes I sewed to fit my arms).

Dyes:  I just used good old RIT:  Pink, Golden Yellow, Blue, Purple.  It took me and my husband working together to dye the train--some parts just have to be manipulated and held above the tub, and,'s awkward.

Hair:  I painted all the headbands (white satin bridal headbands from the craft store) and sewed little pearls on by hand.  Then I made a 'cage' of sorts with heavy black jewelry wire so that the bands would stay put and not creep around.  I took several black hairnets and attached them to the inside of the headbands to hold in the synthetic hair.  This was important:  I glued a wire headband--one with hair grippers--to the first headband.  This kept the entire headpiece from sliding off the back of my head!  After traveling with it twice, I had to go back and re-apply the hairnets and smooth out the synthetic hair.  Painful to wear after about an hour, but the things we do for accuracy...

Jewelry:  The necklace was a pain.  I tried sintra, sculpy, you name it.  Finally, on a whim, I started tinkering with craft foam sheets (yeah, the 99 cent sheets from Wal Mart) and voila!  I was able to stagger all the layers, apply several coats of paint and gold leaf (with a leafing pen), and it shined when I was finished and didn't look to boxy or bulky.  The front and back beaded bits were made from mother of pearl discs and lots and lots of iridescent seed beads.

Events: DragonCon '06, Star Wars Celebration IV (Los Angeles)
Honors:  3rd place-Celebration IV Costuming Contest

This was a pretty intense dress to wear.  Garment tape is a must, undergarments can be tricky, and that headpiece left little bruises on my temples.  But it's the kind of dress that makes you feel like royalty, and I'm so glad I made it.

photos courtesy of D. Skirmont


Austin Powers GoGo Dress

This year at D*C, several costuming friends have decided to form an Austin Powers group.  Each person selected a specific costume from either the opening dance or the scene at the Electric Psychadelic Pussycat Swinger's Club.  After watching the first ten minutes of Austin Powers several times, I settled on this cute little orange and yellow number--kind of mod, definitely cheeky:

Pattern: I started out with a Simplicity pattern---a standard go-go dress that doubles as three other costumes--but scrapped it after modifying it beyond its use. 

Fabric: Orange stretch knit, slightly ribbed.  I had some trouble finding a fabric that had a nice stretch AND was the right shade of orange.  I actually bought some really cheesy polyester (like the kind old leisure suits are made of:) and tried to dye it with idye poly, but to no avail.  After exercising patience, I finally found what I needed!  The yellow band is a cotton jersey.  The arrow is made of fun fur--mine looks a little less shaggy than the original, but oh, well.  It was inexpensive, and may shag itself up in time, no pun intended.

Stockings: The opaque yellow knee-highs were found at we love colors, which is a great online store for hosiery.  I also wear Danskin flesh-toned dance hosiery.  As for the unmentionables (the skirt is quite short), I was sure to order a pair of yellow cheerleader Spankies.  Just in case;)

Shoes:  You only see her shoes in the distance shots as Austin is pulling up to the club, and from what I can make out, they are orange gogo half-boots.  It would have been so much easier if they had been knee-high (they are so easy to find on ebay), but, again, I held out and finally found some gently worn tan suede boots at Goodwill.  Super comfy and well made.  Plus, the heel height is just high enough without being too high. I painted them orange...voila!

Earrings:  I was able to zoom in and get a fairly decent look at her hoops, which look to be orange and fushia beads.  All I did was thread larger glass beads onto jewelry wire, then clasp them to ear hooks.   

Handbag:  It looks as though it may be a frame or 'envelope' bag in yellow patent...again, this is a 'blink and you miss it' costume, so up close details are zilch.  I will be keeping my eyes open for something similar.

Here is the finished dress...solo, and with the shagadelic Austin Powers group, who performed at the Dragon Con 2011 Masquerade!