Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pencil Skirts

I've decided that while I wait for it not to be snowing so I can go and get fabric for my swing dress I need a nice easy project to work on. After all the 18th century gowns I've been making I need something relatively mindless. So I figure this is the perfect opportunity to add some staples that are missing from my wardrobe. I tend to make/buy the most colorful and unique/different things I can and because of this I don't own things like oh, a black skirt. I usually shy away from black as "too boring" but sometimes when you have a printed blouse you want to wear you need a black or other neutral skirt. I don't have any. It just never occurs to me when I'm shopping/planning sewing projects that this is the case. So I've decided to go on a quest for the perfect black pencil skirt. Here are some patterns I have in my collection.

I plan on starting with Burda 8155 since that seems the most basic, then move on to Simplicity 3732 because its vintage and has suspenders which are super cool. I will then decide if I am sick of making/have enough pencil skirts or if I will make the other two.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The whirlwind of Snow White is over! I will post pictures as soon as I get them. My birthday was the first day of dress rehearsals and guess what I got. Sense and Sensibility's Swing Dress Pattern! Not only that but Casey's Elegant Musings is having sew-along of this patterns right now. So I'm going to participate in my first sew-along.
So now is the fun part. Time to plan what I am going to do with the pattern. Casey posted this image as inspiration.

I really like it! The conrast midriff, and the length! I love informal long skirts. I've been thinking of long skirts a lot lately. Traditionally I've been more of a just below the knee girl, but long skirts look so elegant. Look at these:

So elegant! Long skirts don't have to be just formal dresses. I want to make this an everyday dress. I'm really excited to finally be able to make something for myself!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fun with Stripe Matching

Just a preview of what I am working on.
Lots of stripe matching fun!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Witch's dress

I finished the Witch's dress from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I made it  from Sense and Sensibility's new pattern 1780s Ladies' Portrait Dress Pattern. Here it is!
The sketch:

I made it from two sheer fabrics, a light gray fabric with little flecks of sparkles, and a shimmery white overlay. The effect is very cool. The sparkles show through and catch the light. It also add a lot of depth.
This took some time to make because a few factors. First, these two sheer fabrics were very shifty, slippery, and hard to work with, so I hand basted the pieces together before cutting out. I knew if I cut them and then tried to baste them together I would never get them to line up again! Second, Because to the sheer fabrics I did all french seams.
I am really excited about this! I can't wait to see it on stage. I love how it looks magical and witchy without going stereotypical for a witch. One thing I hate in costume design is stereotypes. What is the point of copying someone else's ideas? That's not design! I like to approach things in a vacuum, pretend I have never seen any representation of what a witch is supposed to look like and come up with my own 100% independent ideas.

Next I will work on the Queen's dress.

I can't find a pattern that suits my needs for this so I will have to frankenpattern/self draft this one.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Retro Novelty Prints

What do you think of vintage novelty prints? They were big in the forties and fifties and there is something so charming about them.

I like looking at them, but what about actually wearing them? Whenever I envision a dress made from a novelty print it envokes memories of The Magic School Bus. This was a series of books and TV shows all about Ms. Frizzle, an elementary school science teacher, and her class, who ride around on a magical school bus which takes them on field trips to impossible locations. I remember actually watching these in school in third grade. The most memorable episode to me was when they went, in their bus, inside the human body. They also went into space, the center of the earth, and back in time to the land of the dinosaurs. The teacher Ms. Frizzle was a little crazy and her dress print always matched the subject they were learning about.
Ms. Frizzle was definitely kooky but do novelty prints have to be? What do you think?

I think the novelty print is most successful in a circle skirt. Something about a circle skirt makes campiness OK.

Fabric designer Micheal Miller has the cutest retro inspired prints! Check out these.

Could a retro novelty print circle skirt be in my future?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

"The Latest Freak in Women's Fashions"

The term 'hobble skirt' came into popular use in the early 1910s when Paul Poiret introduced long skirts that were narrow at the hem, with no slits, pleats or other practical device to facilitate walking.
Sketch by Poiret of "the lampshade dress"

Hobble skirts can look so graceful. It's fascinating that women actually wore them. Perhaps it can be said the hobble skirt was the daughter of the bustle look and the mother of the pencil skirt. Check out this article from 1910 in the NY Times. "The Hobble is the Latest Freak in Women's Fashions" reads the headline. Under one illustration showing two women in hobble skirts sitting and trying to cross their legs the caption reads "These are not exaggerated at all. The skirts actually look like this." It seems even people at the time thought "what are they thinking" in regards to women who wore hobble skirts. The trend seems to have petered out for the most part by 1913.
Here are some more pictures.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: first costume down and renderings!

Right now I am designing the play Snow White and the Seven Dwarves set in 18th century France.
I have Snow White's first costume almost done.

I just need to hem it. I used Sense and Sensibility's 1780s Ladies' Portrait Dress Pattern. It came out beautifully! I really like this pattern, especially the sleeves and how they are set in the back. The pattern is very easy and fitting isn't much of a problem because it has a drawstring at the neck and waist. My dress form is too big for the dress so I can't wait to see it on the girl I am making for. 
Next to work on the witch's dress. I will be using the same pattern. I am really excited to make this because I love the fabric.

The sparkly gray fabric is for an underlay and white shimmery fabric for an overlay. The sash will be the gray and black striped fabric.
I can't wait to make it!
Here are my renderings for the whole show.
The Queen

Duchess Dandiprat, the Queen's sidekick 
Duke Fountainbleu, the Queen's other sidekick

The Prince

 Berthold, the huntsman
The Witch

Longtail the cat, the Witch's sidekick

Snow White

Astolaine: Snow White's lady in waiting

Rosalys: Snow White's lady in waiting

Amelotte: lady in waiting

Guinevere: lady in waiting
 Lynette: lady in waiting
 Christobel: lady in waiting

Ermengarde: lady in waiting

Snow White in the last scene where she wakes up

The Queen when she pretends to be a peddler woman

Rabbit: forest animal

Squirrel: forest animal

Blck and Flick: dwarves

Glick and Snick: dwarves

Whick and Plick: dwarves

Quee: dwarf

So that's what I have so far. Now just to make all these costumes happen!