Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Legend: Dark Lilly

   Well, I've been plotting this costume for YEARS...I remember this movie from when I was little, and how beautiful it was.  Unicorns, fairies, a princess, a forest-boy, a dark lord, gorgeous settings...what's not to love there?  This dress, though, required some strategy, in more ways than one.
   I used no patterns....that's right, I had to start from scratch for this one.  The 'base' is the bodysuit, which I made using a textured spandex (more April Johnston fabric---I love it!).  It's basically a sleeveless pull-on bodysuit with elastic around the legs to prevent ride-up.  I had to take it in across the shoulders, as it wanted to pucker and not rest across the back.  This part has to be pretty stable, as everything attaches to it.
   Watching the movie, you never get a terribly fantastic view of the dress.  I watched it on the dark dancer, and took many screengrabs.  I did the same when Lilly wore it, and it seems the shoulders have a different silhouette.  Maybe there were 2 dresses made, with little differences.  Who knows?  So I went with the silhouette on the dancer. 
   The shoulderpads are made from 2 layers of thick fun foam sandwiching a stem of steel hoop boning that I cut off to about 14".  It is bent so that it curves upward off the shoulder.  To attach them to the bodysuit, I used wide industrial strength black velcro.Then, to keep them from working off the shoulders (they can be heavy), I strung thin black elastic between them in the back (the elastic criss-crosses across my back just below the neck, and isn't noticable once the collar is on).  That did the trick.
   The collar is 2 layers of thick funfoam reinforced with wooden dowels.  I covered it all in a shimmer black chiffon, then trimmed it out in sequin trim.  A lond wooden dowel runs down the center and extends about 8 inches down the back, keeping it stable.  The front of the collar is part of it, and attaches to the neckline of the bodysuit with the same elastic.  This keeps the neckline very sturdy (I used garment tape anyway, of course, to prevent wardrobe malfunctions). 

The drapes and skirt are made from an assortment of black silk charmeuse (dyed), black lace, black chiffon, and black sequined chiffon.  It is distressed at the edges, and I even burned holes in the chiffon to create a creepy vibe (I did this very carefully!).  The skirt is gored and quite full, with a drape added which attaches to my arm with a clear elastic band that is sewn in.  The wing-drapes, which fall off the shoulder structure is distressed in the same manner, and attaches to my fingers in the same way the skirt attaches to my arms.  Movement in the dress, then, tends to look elegant and flowy, as it does in the film.

The jeweled sash looks quite beautiful in the film, and is the only part of my version I would like to re-do.  I made mine with silver spandex (dancewear) and covered it in acrylic gems of various shapes.  The top is a ruffled rosette made of the same fabric, and I strung rhinestone strands from it.
I actually used chicken wire to make the headpiece, shaping it the way I needed in order for it to wear well and look reasonably accurate.
This gown was not terribly uncomfortable to wear, but did chafe my neck a little.  I was very cautious of the neckline, but it all held together well.  I actually edited it a bit, as it should plunge a bit lower.  I also made the collar a little smaller so that I could get through doors and elevators with no problem.
photos by David Skirmont
Created: Summer of '12
Events: Dragon*Con '12
Awards: Runner-Up: Craftsmanship, Dragon After Dark
               Finalist for Best in Show, Dragon After Dark


Scottish Punk Gown?

   This gown was tons of fun to make...I must have went through a dozen ideas for collars, silhouettes, and accessories before deciding on what you see here.  I wanted to do a gown for sure, but with some punk influences from the '80s....fingerless lace gloves, spikes, plaid, safety pins, etc.  It also needed to be a bit risque, or at least risque to me;)
   I used the Simplicity Elizabeth Swann pattern for most of the gown, modifying the sleeves, neckline, and stomacher  It needed to look a little disheveled, so the sleeves don't exactly match. The fabric is black satin from the stash, and several yards of plaid (it is the April Johnston/Project Runway fabric that has sadly been discontinued, I think).  What was the most fun, I think, is making the big gathered poofy train.  The plaid is pleated and sewn in on one side, then left to drape.  So I put her on the dressform with a hoop and started gathering wherever I thought it would look good.  I used hundreds of safety pins to keep the gathers in place, like little accessories themselves.  The underskirt ties around the waist and has 2 layers of blue ruffles.  I put the remainder of the plaid on one side for a little asymmetry. 
   To be 'punkier,' I kept the front open.  Originally, I had planned to wear black fishnet tights, but made myself a pair of black shimmery leggings then cut them off super short.  The boots are above the knee platforms which are intended to be altered for my TRON:  Quorra costume (still in progress).  To me, the cooooolest part is the spikes.  I ordered spikes from etsy (some are metal, some are acrylic) and applied them all over one shoulder.  I also use them on the fascinator, along with plaid ruffles and a large pheasant plume.  My hair is mostly my own, except for a few blue clip-in extensions and some synthetic hair wrapped around a styrofoam ball and pinned to the top of my head.
  This costume was so much fun to wear!!  All the fabric came from my stash, and with the exception of the hair, styrofoam, and spikes, nothing had to be purchased.  It received a great deal of positive feedback as well.
  I really don't know what to call this one....80's Scottish Punk maybe?                                                                                          photos by David Skirmont
In the photo on the left, I am wearing huge (and heavy) false-hip-pads. On the right, I left them out. Versatile!
Created: Summer 2012
Debuted: Dragon*Con '12