Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Belle Once Upon A Time Costume

My second costume I made for AVCon :)

Once Upon A Time

This costume was probably the fastest costume I'd ever made. I started it the Saturday before AVCon, had a princess gig in the afternoon, continued it Saturday night, and finished it Sunday morning... I was really proud that everything I've been learning along the way came into effect!

Because of this, however, there is literally 1 progress photo...

Like any good project, I started with finding a pattern for the bodice.
Simplicity came to the rescue again with pattern 5582!
It was the perfect shape, all I needed to do was add boning to give a nice fit.

The blue fabric I found for the dress and skirt was an upholstery fabric- it was lovely and thick and had the texture similar to the costume in the show. Because of this, I only cut out one lining fabric from coutil, and used sew-on boning channels.

I added 2 spiral steel bones in the bust, 4 on the sides (2 each side) and 3 in the back.
4 white steel bones were added to the front where the lacing needed support.

The trim was some polyester suede I cut up from a 30 cm width piece, and sewn on once the bodice front was attached to the lining (no bones added). The hardest part was sewing the trim to the front area- I needed to make sure there would be room to slide the white steel stays through the trim/bodice stitching!

Before I added the trim along the bottom, I added the eyelets for the lacing (the pattern only asks for 6 but Belle's dress has 10) and slid in the boning, hand-sewing the boning channels closed behind them so they wouldn't slip around! 

Here is the only progress photo, haha:

Next was the skirt.

Belle has a lot of pleating around the waist, and wears some small hip-rumps to give the skirt shape. I decided to avoid the hip-rumps purely because my hips are big enough as it is! lol!

To make the skirt I took a long rectangular piece of the blue fabric, the shorter length cut to the length I wanted it to sit at my calves, and hemmed one side. I then proceeded to hand-pleat the other side. I put a running-stitch through the pleats to hold them.
The underskirt was a circle skirt of cotton with lace sewn to the hem, and I pinned it to the pleated top of the skirt.
The waistband was then added, as well as a zipper (which I didn't make invisible but the pleats happen to hide it perfectly! Yay!) and after sewing the last seam of the skirts I hand-sewed a hook-and-eye to the waistband above the zipper.

The white undershirt was one I found at a second-hand shop, lol. I cut the sleeves shorter, added extra material to them to make them puffy, and sewed the lace onto it.

And that was it! (For now!)

Photo by TiMarsh Digital Imaging

I wore it on the 19th of July, the Saturday of AVCon. It was super comfortable. haha!

I do, however, want to finish the costume completely, and make Belle's cloak:
So you'll be seeing more pictures of this in the future, on my Facebook page! :)

Time to Complete:
This costume took me a day and a half!

In total it was probably about $80-$100 in materials, including boning.

Final Thoughts:
For a thrown-together costume, I am rather proud of it! Its far from perfect, and it really was 'thrown together' when I compare it to the hours and slow progress I did making Ariel's gown. lol!
My only regret is the skirt- I wish I had done a large circle skirt, making the waist very big so I could pleat it like usual, because it would've made the skirt fuller. I love big skirts. Other than that I am happy with this quick costume!
It wont be complete until I finish the cloak, though, so stay tuned for updates on the cloak :) Just trying to find the perfect material for it (that doesn't cost hundreds of dollars a yard...) but I've got the exact clasp used to hold it together, woo!


Ariel The Little Mermaid - Pink Gown Part 2

Part 2 of making my cosplay!
Part 1 is here

Ariel The Little Mermaid
Pink Gown

Part 2.

The sleeves were the next step!
I made a mock-up from some scrap fabric first, as I wasn't sure how big or nice-looking the diamonds on the sleeve puffs would be!
I was pretty happy with this first attempt.

So it was onto the fashion fabric!
I made this picture super-big so the details are easier to see.
I cut out diamond shapes in the outer fashion fabric, pinned the corners down for a smooth finish, and then backed it with the white bridal satin.
There is also a cotton lining but it wasn't added until after the next step!

Ah, beading, I don't know whether I love you or hate you.

This was my first attempt EVER at hand-beading. I purchased an embroidery ring, which helped a lot. In total it took 3 nights on-and-off to bead around each diamond. I love the result! Using AB glass beads and white pearls means that in the light it really glitters, and also some AB shell sequins to tie it together.

I added the cotton lining and hand-gathered/pleated the sleeves. Before sewing they looked like this:

And I hand-sewed them to the bodice!
Yay! It looks the way its supposed to look! Haha!

Next was the simple long-sleeves, I made my own pattern for this because its super easy. I added white piping to the pointed sleeve ends, as well as two button loops so I could have it tight around my wrists.
No photos of this process, sorry! >.< 

Next step was the decorations! (Wee!)
This was a long and interesting process.

I had purchased a huge roll of wide lace (I think it was 15 meters!) and dyed it pink. Unfortunately, even though the dye was 'rose pink' (a lovely soft, subtle pink) the lace turned out hot-pink. I have no idea why. As I was dying it, I literally blinked and it had gone from white to hot pink. After 4 attempts at washing it with clothes powder and soaking it for hours, it had faded a little- but not enough. So that was scrapped!
In my enthusiasm I had also purchased 10 meters of a thin white lace, which I'd intended to add to the hem of the pink overskirt. But once it was pinned in place... I hated it. It was too much!

Luckily, I had a third option, which was a beautiful pearl-drop trim I'd purchased in bulk. I pinned it on, and yes, it was perfect! 
This is with the pearl-trim pinned on. Its subtle, right?
...But it needed more sparkle...
So I spent the next 4 days hand-sewing the pearl trim on, with extra AB and pink beads, and the AB shell sequins.
My hands were raw from stabbing myself with pins, but it was worth it! haha!
(No close-up photos of this as of yet, I will do more detail shots once I do a final photoshoot)

The evening before AVCon I threw together a simple bow to cover the back of the dress, as it wasn't 100% completed. (Sorry no photos again...)

It's still not entirely finished- I would like to add some more pearls and maybe some rhinestones to make it more sparkly! hehe! But I debuted it at AVCon as-is, and I was very happy to finally wear it! :)

The wig was interesting; I'd purchased two different coloured red wigs, and had planned to join them together to create a lovely mix. But after 3 wefts were sewn in, I changed my mind. lol. So I pulled the wefts out and used just the base wig!

But anyways, here are some photos taken at AVCon:

I am really happy with my first gown! I cant wait to add more sparkly things to it and have a proper photoshoot, perhaps at a beautiful garden somewhere :)
Once I do, I will post the photos on my costuming page on Facebook:

Time to Complete:
I started this project at the end of June, and it was worn at AVCon on July the 20th, so it was just under a months work!

I hadn't actually thought about this... lol.
A rough estimate would be about $350-$400, including the crinoline petticoat, all the fabric, trims, etc.  

Final Thoughts:
This was my first big gown ever, and I am thrilled with it!! I really felt like a princess wearing this!
Like I've mentioned above, there are more things I would like to add to it, such as pearls and rhinestones. I would also like to alter the sleeves- they are slightly too long. I discovered later that the dress was worn too high on my shoulders (getting dressed in a rush was to blame) as it was meant to be more off-the-shoulder; the bum-rump I wore beneath the dress might've helped lift the bodice higher, pushing it up on my shoulders. But the way it sits, even on the shoulders, is just beautiful!

This was my biggest sewing project to-date, and I am so happy it turned out well!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Facebook Page

Hi everyone!

Just a little update, I will be finishing the Ariel Pink Dress write-up soon (maybe tomorrow...)
But for now I wanted to share with you my new Facebook Page:

(Yes, a silly name I know. lol.)

I decided to start a Facebook page as its so much easier to share progress photos and photoshoots! Of course, I will still be updating this blog with more in-depth descriptions of my costume making, but Facebook is a great 'instant' updater!
I haven't posted on there much as of yet, but it'll be updated with a lot of things within a week :)


Its been a week since AVCon, and since then I've only sewn a little (fixed up a skirt that popped a button, lol) so I'm getting the itch again! Already have my next cosplay decided and will start on it soon.

Anyways, if you'd like, please follow my new costuming page! (And for that matter, my mermaid business page too! Lol! > Mermaid Mizuko <)


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ariel The Little Mermaid- Pink Gown Part 1

Its no secret I love all things mermaid- and like most people, Ariel is certainly my favourite one. I've already made her town outfit (write-up here) and I've been working on her tail on-and-off for the last few months. I fell IN LOVE with her re-design dress (the turquoise/green one) and decided instantly I was going to make it! The issue was: I'd never made a ball gown before. I was honestly worried I'd ruin it purely from insufficient knowledge!
So, I put in on my list of 'dream costumes' and left it there.

Fast forward a year. I began staring at Ariel's pink gown.
It wasn't my favourite (pink with red hair?!) but before I knew it, I was singing a different tune. I actually fell in love with it! And I realised, it was probably a great place to start with learning how to make a gown.
And so, this project was started!

Ariel The Little Mermaid
Pink Gown

Part 1.

I decided around April I wanted to make this dress, and to wear it to AVCon the third weekend of July. But construction didn't actually start until the middle of June! Which meant I had a month to make it... (Yes, I seem to put myself in these situations.)

(Please ignore the backgrounds in my pictures, my sewing room got progressively messier as the weeks went on because I didn't want to spend time cleaning it when I could be sewing! haha!)

The design I wanted to change, too, as I wanted a slightly-unique gown that was still recognizable as Ariel. I loved the pocket-hoop look that FireFlyPath did for Tracy Hine's dress- especially after drooling over all the dresses in Marie Antoinette- so I was going to incorporate similar into my own dress. The sleeves I wanted to keep closer to the movie, but the skirts I decided to change. I drew up a sketch and I realised it looked like a giant pink marshmallow. haha! (Not that I mind, I use to wear lolita, haha!) I've decided not to share the sketch because like most things, the design changed during construction!

First step, I did my usual find-a-pattern-I-can-alter search. Which came out easier than I thought!

Ah, Simplicity, like a paper knight coming to the rescue.
Pattern 1728 fit the general shape of the bodice and sleeve puff I was after. The only things I would have to make without a pattern would be the skirts (simple circle skirts) and the bottom half of the sleeves.

I wanted a different material for Ariel's pink bodice/over skirt. I decided on a pretty metallic brocade from Ebay International. The only issue was I didn't think there would be enough for the entire over skirt: luckily my initial design sketch incorporated a second chiffon over skirt, which should compensate for the length! (You will see later in this post!)

My petticoats were both from overseas- a small hoop skirt and a giant tulle petticoat. I wanted lots of fluff. I then added a third petticoat made from chiffon, so it could peak out while in motion.
(Before hemming)
Thankfully my friend Eden lent me her overlocker! Ah, it saved SO much time! I love chiffon but its horrible to work with if you dont have an overlocker.

Next step was cutting out the bodice patterns.
I made a mockup, which amazingly fit great first go! So it was straight into cutting out the bodice layers. I cut a coutil inner-layer, the fashion (outer fabric), a light cotton lining and some interfacing.
The fashion (outer) fabric panels.
I ironed the interfacing to the cotton lining, then sewed all the individual panels together. I pinned the lining to the coutil inner layer, right sides out, and marked where the boning channels would go. I sewed the channels, stopping about 1 to 1.5cm from the top of the bodice.

Mikey used the dremel to cut the right length spiral steel bones for me, as well as 4 white steel bones. (I hate the sparks it makes, so he's only happy to do it for me, haha!). I doubled up the spiral steels (7mm) for extra support.

I pinned the outer fashion fabric to the two inner ones, right-sides together, and sewed along the top. I didn't sew the inner-sleeves together, nor the back panels (yet). I then opened it out and sewed the seam allowance to the inner fabric.

Finally, I inserted the bones, and hand-stitched their channels closed so they wouldn't fall out!
(What the lining looks like with the boning inside)
Would you believe this is my first boned bodice? Its not perfect, but I am pretty happy with it!

Eventually I had to actually take a fair bit of material out of the back panels- as I tried it on and discovered it was rather big. The boning really gives a good corseted waist, so the extra material wasn't needed.

I did however add a modesty panel, just to be safe, and sewed the final white steel boning channels into the back. The eyelets were inserted first, then finally the last 4 white steel bones.

I made some white piping using old cord and scraps of satin from the under skirt, and sewed it along the bodice waist. And the bodice was complete!

Next was the white underskirt. I found a super lovely bridal satin, which just so happened to be only $9 a meter at the time (instead of $19! Bargain!) and I also had a voucher, so it really only cost me $5 a meter in the end.
To make the skirt I just cut a basic circle skirt (two halfs).
Here's the white skirt pinned onto the bodice.
Hemming would be a challenge. But I wasn't thinking of that at the time! haha!

Next step was making the pink over skirts.
I decided to do a chiffon layer first, then add a shorter fashion-fabric layer on top. The chiffon was a rectangular off-cut that I gathered into the waist and basted onto the white underskirt.

I spent a little while pinning the top layer on- just to see what it looked like. When a gathered rectangle the over skirt created the lovely hip-puffs I was desiring for the start! Perfect! But I wasn't sure how well they would hold up without any support- I didn't have time or the materials to make proper pocket hoops. So I found an old petticoat, cut it up, and created two hip-puffs to support the shape:
Improvisation for the win!

And finally, I added the last skirt layer:
Yay! Its starting to look like the way I imagined!

I pleated the over skirt layer, which helped fit it into the waist-size, but it still required a bit of squishing to get it that small. The end result was perfect! I was really happy!

Next it was onto hemming all the skirt layers.
No photos of this, as I spent one whole evening doing a rolled hem on the white underskirt, burning myself in the same spot at least 6 times with the iron. Ugh. Then I discovered the hem was super wonky. Luckily it was just really long, so I had to cut a new hem. Its still a little long (and most likely wonky) but it'll do for now! Haha! The chiffon layers were super easy with the over locker (gosh I love over lockers, I really have got to get myself one soon!) and the pink over skirt was a simple hem, as it would be decorated later anyway.

And that's it for Part 1!

Part 2 will show the sleeves, decorations, wig-sewing and hopefully some finished photos at AVCon! I'm still working on it, so fingers crossed I dont mess up in the next few days! haha!