Sunday, 27 June 2010

Finished reverse applique

I have finished the reverse applique cutting for this sample for the Mary Boleyn dress. I'm fairly pleased with it although it needs sequins and further embellishment but I have doubts about producing a full skirt panel and it still be in one piece at the end. I may have to look at other options like simplfying the design so that it is less fragile. Or I could search for a fabric with a similar motif and work the embellishment over the top.

Also just a quick update on my muslin chemise to show how its looking so far. The bodice is almost done and I will be sewing it on soon.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tudor muslin chemise

One of the pleated 62" panels of skirt.

I decided today was "get a move on with that chemise day"! I began by cutting my muslin into lengths for the skirts. It's empire line and I want it to be really full and floaty so I am using three lots of 62" width fabric. I pleated each section and hand stitched it all firmly into place. I have sewn the three panels together down the side seams leaving the centre back open at this stage. The next step will be for me to work on the bodice which will come together in a similar way. I am planning to add a gauzy trim to the neckline for extra prettiness.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Snip, snip, snip....

Just a quick update to show how the reverse applique is coming along. Its fiddly work but its so worth it when you see the design emerging.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Reverse applique - the next steps.

After much tedious stitching made even more tedious when my machine embroidery foot broke (grrrrrr) the design was finished. You can see how I have followed the design on the paper.

Next comes the fun part - ripping the paper away!!! Its one of those really satisfying jobs. I use a seam ripper to get the little bits of paper out of the nooks and crannies. If I have time tomorrow I will begin the process of cutting away parts of the design but for now you can see the stitched (paper free) motif.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

The Gold Mary Boleyn dress in more detail.

I have been looking closely at the embellishment down the front of the dress. The intricate design looks as though it may have been appliqued on and then stitched around with gold thread. Then there are the sequins which are mostly a deep, blackish gold or mother of pearl worked over the design with the same gold thread. What's bugging me is that there also appear to be the occasional red, blue or green coloured sequins and i'm wondering if thats just because the camera flash is causing the mother of pearl to catch the light and throw out a vibrant colour.

After much deliberation I decided to have a go recreating the design using reverse applique. I sketched out the central motif and used tracing paper to ensure symmetry. My version is not identical but it's close enough so that i'm happy with it.

Luckily I had some gold fabric to hand which should suffice for the purpose of testing this out. I layered up my fabrics; gold fabric on top, my darker colour fabric underneath plus a layer of scrap cotton on the back for extra stability. Then I pinned a photocopy of the design to the front and its ready to sew.

I managed to stitch about half the design today and I will have another crack at it tomorrow.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The finished 'Juliet Angel' dress

After a very productive day here is the finished dress, it turned out great. It needs a few refinements - a slightly longer waist sash as I had to wrap it around me twice to get the right look in the end and ideally it needs fuller skirts.

Something else I am currently dabbling with is a muslin chemise. I have taken elements from various sources. The neckline and sleeves are inspired from one of the costumes from 'The Other Boleyn Girl' as I am toying with the idea of making the entire costume worn by Scarlett Johansson.

At first glance I thought this dress was obviously made of gold satin but after much zooming in and squinting I believe it is in fact made of an extremely lustrous gold velvet. I have no idea if I will be able to find/afford this sort of fabric so I may well settle for satin in the end.

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Lady of Shalott

How could I look at this and not want to recreate it?

William Holman Hunt's illustration of 'The Lady of Shalott', a poem by Tennyson, tells the story of woman cursed to weave the story of King Arthurs reign in Camelot but only through viewing the reflection of the world in her mirror. One day she sees Sir Lancelot and turns her full gaze to the outside world, causing her tapestry to unravel about her. She flees her tower and ultimately dies.

I can't help it - when I see such richness and texture I just want to sew!!!! As always the undergarments will be the starting point. I can't wait to have a go at those sleeves.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Its coming along nicely.

Here is how it looks so far. It has a waist sash to go with it as well.

I'm really happy with how the tucks turned out. There is just the hem and raw edges left to finish. I'm thinking I might have a go at the wings in the near future, they are an integral part of the costume afterall. It will be a learning curve if nothing else!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

My current project

Well I have finally got my act together and started a blog. It's something I have been meaning to do for a little while as I think it will be useful for me and maybe, just maybe, other people as well. I'm planning on posting about the costumes I'm making or what i find inspiring/ideas that I have.

The project taking centre stage at the moment is a replica of Claire Danes white angel dress from Baz Luhrmanns 'Romeo and Juliet'. I have always adored it for its simplicity and pure girlish innocence.

My first attempt at this dress is still under construction, a concealed zip, hem and bias binding around the bodice edges still left to do. I can say for sure it will need to be made in a heavier cotton next time to achieve a smoother hanging finish on the skirts.