Monday, September 24, 2012

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!

....the most wonderful time for a costumer, that is.  All Hallows Eve approaches which means lots of sewing for me.  I've taken on a few Costume Diva commissions, and am still open for a few more if you get your orders in by October 8th.  I thought I'd show off a commission I made last year that I never got around to posting.

My good friend Lauren from high school gave me free reign, and told me she wanted a spooky Victorian costume, using Disney's Haunted Mansion as my inspiration.  For my pattern I used Simplicity 2207 (a new Steampunk collection they came out with last year).  I dove into my local Fabric store's $2 bin and managed to find the fabulous black and white striped twill that the dress is made out of.  I trimmed it with black tulle and a deep burgundy crepe.  I had tons of tulle left over when I was finished with the trim and tulle bustle, so I decided to make a tulle shawl with silk rose petals sandwiched in the layers.

Lauren had a great time playing a Victorian Vampire, and she really brought this costume to life!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Costume Yard Sale

Hey everyone!  Hubby and I relocated this year.  We finally have more square footage and a small back yard, but for some reason we still feel like we have less room than ever.  I think our 'stuff' decided to reproduce while we had it locked away in storage for the past two years.  It's time to sell off some old favorites to make way for the new.  Head over to my eBay  listings and check out see if there is anything that might interest you.  Check back next week...I think I might have some more costumes and corsets that I'm ready to part with.

Up for sale is a Museum Replica Arwen costume, a cut of silk suiting fabric, a set of civil war bloomers, Edwardian undergarments, and a few other Muggle items that might be of interest.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscar Red Carpet 2012

Yay! It's that time of year again. It's time for my highly anticipated non-expert-entirely-subjective fashion review.

I'll start this post by saying that I wasn't thrilled with the Red Carpet looks this year. There were a few exceptions that were really gorgeous, but overall I'm not loving the styles that are in this year. However, since I'm a ballgown-poofy-more-is-more kinda girl, I have a hard time when the looks trend more towards slim and sleek.

There were a lot of pretty vintage hairstyles on the carpet which I really loved, and some severe looking bangs. This year's theme was definitely Black and White. Black and White were the 'it' colors:Milla Jovovich wore Elie Saab and looked positively gorgeous. Check out that stunning 1930's hairstyle. A lot of 'best dressed' lists have her at the top this year. While I really like the gown, it just doesn't beat out some of my other favorites.Even royalty got the message to show up in white: Here's Prince Albert of Monaco and his wife Princess Charlene.I was thrilled that Ocatavia Spencer won Best Supporting Actress. I have mixed feelings about the Tadashi Shoji gown. She has apparently been very loyal to this designer all awards season, but I'm not in love with it. However, I can find no fault with the fit, and I think it flatters her figure. Guiliana Rancic's Tom Ward gown was flattering, although I thought there was too much going on.BingBing Li's George Chakra gown was very pretty. I'm not sure this image picks up on the textured gown covered in flowers. The part I didn't like? The transparent stripes running up each thigh.Cameron Diaz in Gucci. I really liked this gown and the dramatic train. There were some fitting issues with her basque top right at the waist, but overall one of my favorites out of the white category.Kelly Ripa also looked great in this gown. I can't figure out who designed her gown, and now that I'm researching it I'm finding out that the gown is actually pale yellow. Huh. I'm leaving it here in the white category.So now we get to the black evening gowns. Gary Oldman's wife Alexandra Edenborough looked gorgeous in a Roberto Cavalli gown.Kelly Osmond sported this Badgley Mischka gown. I didn't think this was a stand out gown, but it's very flattering and fits into the black category.
I could barely restrain myself from placing Anne Sophie Bion on the worst dressed list for this wrinkled-garbagebag-wannabe-gown. In the end I decided there were worse offenders, so I've left her here.Tina Fey...I LOVE Tina Fey, but I did not love this gown. I'm using it to illustrate the 'black' trend even though I'm perfectly aware that she's wearing navy. Oh well, close enough. I didn't like the waist apron thing, but I guess if you overlook this detail that will make your hips look bigger than they are it's an ok dress. Gown by Carolina Herrera.Now we move away from the "White and Black" category into the gowns I really didn't love. Given the fact that I'm a plus size, I'll be the last to pick on Melissa McCarthy. However, I think there were nicer gowns out there...she needed to pick something with structure. Billowy gowns tend to make us big girls look even bigger.Michele Williams in Louis Vuitton. While I can't say that this is a 'bad' dress, I just didn't like it and certainly will not be joining the crowd that named her 'best dressed.' First off, if you're going to be on TV, I think you should pick a color that will register well onscreen. I'm told that the coral gown was stunning in person, but all I can see is a red gown. Plus, this gown has the same problem that Tina Fey's adds to the hips. The detailing looks very interesting, though.Rooney Mara in Givenchy. Apparently it's big news that they actress skipped her signature black look and went for a white gown. While I applaud that, and love the contract between the white gown and the black hair, the gown is very poorly fitted in the chest. She revealed on the red carpet that she only selected it the morning of the show, so maybe that was the problem. Can I add...the fashion police kept cooing over this dress' 'structure.' Folks, that gauzy dress has very little structure to it. The woman wearing it is the only thing providing any structure up top.Penelope Cruz in Armani. Okay, before you get mad at me for saying I don't like this, let me open by saying I can't quite pin down why I don't love it. Maybe it's because it didn't fit in with this year's red carpet looks. It was out of place. Maybe it's something with the color...I just kept wrinkling my nose when I saw it. I love Penelope's hair, the cut of the gown is very flattering on her, and I love the way it trails behind her. If I saw her at a White House dinner in this gown I probably would have loved it. She seriously could be Jackie Kennedy...Bernice Bejo. Ouch. I really didn't like this one. It's mint, it's sparkly all over, it has sleeve, it has nude insets in the sleeves. This is far too matronly for a woman as young and beautiful as Bernice. This is seriously something I'd expect to see Hillary Clinton wearing as the mother of the bride. I wish she'd made a more bold selection.Viola Davis in Vera Wang. It was funny...watching the red carpet, everyone was gushing about this gown and how it fit her just right and showed off her assets. Then, when she didn't win the award, the next morning all anyone could say is that the hem was a mess (like someone had gone crazy with the scissors). I respectfully disagree with everyone. The color was great. The top was all didn't show off her left us wondering when they would pour out. And as for the 'messy' hem...I loved it. I do also love that she wore her natural hair. She's gorgeous (apparently she frequently wears wigs for her roles).Maya Rudolph. I'm going for the obvious jab looks like the actress from "The Bridesmaids" is wearing a bridesmaid gown. I like the purple, but I really don't like the silver shoulder pad sleeves.Kristen Wiig in J. Mendel. BAD nude color. Nude is one of things you can or can't pull off, and I don't think this was a hit for Kristen.I guess I'm going to go ahead and pick on the Oscar Winner Meryl Streep (in return, I'm sure God will make sure I don't look half as good at her age). I love the color, I love the neckline, and I'm very happy she won the Oscar. But I don't like the rest of the gown. It looks like she threw on a robe, belted it, and accessorized. Moving into my "Worst Dressed." What was Sandra Bullock thinking???? It's shiny satin on top, dull velvet on bottom (fitted like Morticia Adams' skirt) with this weird spidery belt attacking her midriff. Plus, with few exceptions, I don't think a pony tail is dressy enough for the red carpet. Overall, kind of matronly.Anna Farris. Also matronly. Also a hot sequin mess with sleeves. Add shoulder pads and it's something right out of my 1980's nightmares. Where Mara Rooney's severe black hair cut looked gorgeous with a white gown, Anna's blond do is not complemented by the black gown.Shailene Woodley is almost eleven years younger than I am. I can only pray that several decades will pass before I admit defeat and wear a style like this. It's a 1970's Princess Leia interlock mess. All she was missing were the buns.Yes, that's right, folks. Angelina Jolie is on my worst dressed list. Most everyone is loving this gown on the internet, but I refuse. She's wearing black velvet, and I feel it weighs down this gown. There's too much fabric, her arms are skeletal, that skinny white leg just does not look attractive sticking out of the slit. I normally really like her looks, but this year she's just too skinny, and the dress highlights all the wrong parts. (I looked up the fashion police review of this dress after I wrote this...I can't believe that Joan Rivers and I agree on something)
Melissa Leo's Reem Acra dress was a disaster. It didn't fit, and I hate the button-down shirt top. Very unflattering.
Nancy O'Dell in neon-make-your-eyes-bleed-yellow. This gown would have been gorgeous in almost any other color. The fake tan and blond hair clash terribly with this color. Nancy, you win this year's crown for worst dressed.Now we're moving out of the 'worst' and into the gowns I enjoyed. A lot of people picked on Glenn Close's gown, but I though the bust of the gown fit her beautifully. I might have made the jacket shorter and taken a bit of fabric out of the train, but this was a flattering gown and a flattering color on her.Kate Mara in a blush Jack Guisso gown. I really like the little floral applique embellishments on this gown and the one sleeve. Her awkward pose was unfortunate and didn't help show off the gown.Colin Firth and his wife Livia Giuggioli looked great together. She looks very vintage in this custom Vallentino makes me think of the elegant sixties.
Natalie Portman in Vintage Dior. This gown fit her perfectly (unlike so many other gowns that we saw on the red carpet this year). I LOVED the polka dots, and the little gather/ruching at the knee in the back.Leslie Mann in a Roberto Cavalli gown. I love the fabric drape at the hip. It's so flattering. The top looks like it was made for her (maybe it was...), and I feel like that's the way an Oscar gown should fit.
Maria Menounos. After making fun of another minty green gown earlier in this review, I have to laugh a bit that this one is on my best dressed. The vibe is completely differing. It's green chiffon layered over a shimmering gold fabric, and it the cut of the gown makes her look like a greek goddess. LOVED this gown.Ellie Kemper in Armani Prive. I LOVED this gown. I have to admit I wanted to smack Ellie for referring to it as a 'rust' color. Rust is ugly. Copper is pretty. I'm surprised that the color goes so well with her red hair, but this was a definite hit for me. And moving on to our first nominee for Best Dressed. Jennifer Lopez' daring and revealing Zuhair Murad gown was gorgeous and hugged her curves in all the right places. As to the alleged wardrobe malfunction...I don't believe for a second that it happened. With a plunging neckline that, she was probably glued into that dress to make sure that everything stayed where it was supposed it.George Clooney must have known he wasn't taking home the statue, but it was okay because his girlfriend Stacy Keibler's was Oscar personified in her Marchesa dress. I usually hate the gold dress-like-oscar gowns, but this one is just so flattering and hugs her in all the right places. I was highly amused by the E! commentary, when one of the stylists gasped and realized where the 'missing' gold Marchesa gown she'd wanted for one of her clients was. It's good to be Clooney's girlfriend.Emma Stone in Giambattista Valli. I LOVE this gown. She looked so statuesque. I loved the bow, I loved the slip from neck to navel that was only visible once she began presenting, the belted waist, and and I love how the raspberry fabric flowed around her. There's been a lot of criticism regarding her selection, saying she wore the same dress as Nicole Kidman wore in 2007. Folks, they each were a shade of red and had a bow. The comparison stops there. She looks gorgeous, and she's high on my best dressed list. Rose Byrne in Vivienne Westwood. Va Va VA Voom!!! Westwood is admittedly one of my favorite designers, but wow. The gown (which is apparently midnight blue...not black), shimmers, fits her like a slim column, and has an amazing one shoulder strap. The platform peep toe shoes, the long silver earrings, and the severe bob cut just makes this outfit sophisticated perfection. I want to be her.Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford. She looks like a million dollars and is officially my hero if she succeeds in helping the cape to make a comeback. The elegant and simple lines of the gown and cape are just perfect, and I was amazed at how well the one shoulder look works with the cape. The award for Best Dressed goes to Jessica Chastain in her larger-than-life McQueen gown. The gold embroidery and beading on black is just stunning, and it had a gorgeous train. The colors worked very well with her red hair. Before I knew it was a McQueen gown, I was immediately reminded of his iconic Peacock dress. Just like every girl dreams of her wedding dress, I think if you grow up dreaming of going to the Oscars, this is the kind of dress you dream of and it's the kind of dress you wear when money is no object.

So what did you think? Did I leave anyone out? I'd love to hear from you. Fashion is subjective, so I'd love to hear from you if you're loving/hating something I didn't.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whatever shall I wear?

While I have been slowly chugging away on my sewing projects, I have admitted defeat on my Under The Redcoat project. I just don't have time to get it finished. I might get my stays done in time, but there's no way I can get a dress patterned, sewn, and trimmed (with matching hat) in 1.5 weeks. I need to win the lottery so I can devote myself full time to my costumes! :)
My half-boned stays are coming along quite nicely. I have sewn in the lining (I'm loving the blue gingham!!) and gotten the edges partially bound.The top edge is complete, but as these pins prove, I'm still working on finishing up the bottom half. It is, of course, the more difficult half thanks to all the tabs.I did get the eyelets all nicely hand-bound. I found some beautiful silk embroidery floss when I was in Charlottesville a few weeks ago and used it. I still prefer silk buttonhole twist, but since that's not always available the embroidery thread was a nice substitute.Another reason progress has slowed down a bit on my projects is because I'm working on a commission. It's a fully boned pair of 18th century stays. I'll post pictures once I'm finished, but here's a sneak peak. Isn't the color fabulous? I love the gold silk.
I ordered 50 yards of plastic boning for the commission stays. I was really worried that I hadn't ordered enough...but here's what was left in the end. Talk about ordering just the right amount!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Bound Eyelets

I hate doing posts without any photos, but I thought I'd mention that I've finished hand-binding the eyelets on my stays. I managed to find some silk embroidery thread in Charlottesville and used it to bind the eyelets. They turned out very nicely, but since it's white on white I had a really hard time taking a photo of the eyelets.

The lining is pinned down, and tonight I'll start binding the edges. We're in the homestretch.

In other news...I don't think I have a prayer of getting any of the outfits that I'd wanted to complete for Under the Redcoat and Gettysburg. I'll have this weekend to work on them, but since I don't want to rush and mess up, I'd rather take my time and wear them later.

Monday, May 30, 2011

18 Century Stays Progress

I'm working on a commission (also an 18th century pair of stays...I'll post photos when I'm done), so progress on my own half-boned stays has been slightly slower than normal. However, I got all the boning channels sewn in... ...added the boning (I'm using German Plastic boning), tacked down the inner seams... ...and assembled the lining. All that remains is to hand bind the eyelets raw edges (this is most time and labor intense part of 18th century stays for me).

Don't you love the lining I picked out?! Burnley & Trowbridge had a lovely gingham/checked blue linen. I couldn't stick with plain white both inside and out (boring!), and since plaid linings are period, I decided to go for it.