Thursday, February 24, 2011

Second Fat Suit: A Learning Process

This afternoon I returned to the high school auditorium to fit the second fat suit, this time for the (skinny) young lady playing Tracy. I learned a lot in the process of making the first suit, and applied it to this one with such good results that I know I'm going to have to take the first one apart and redo it. But I'm not upset; the end result is what matters.


The differences is that I added bust and butt pads, made of poly quilt batting stuffed with more poly batting. I will use a tag gun to fix them in place during the next fitting, and will then secure them with hand stitches.

The only alteration the director asked for is to take a bit off the hips (you can't see from this angle, but she's got quite the jodhpurs look going on). I just wish the suit fabric matched her skin tone better so she could wear a sleeveless dress in the final scene. But alas.

The next fitting session is on Monday, and at that time I need to have both fat suits pretty much complete, plus one outfit for each of them (a muumuu for Edna and a blouse and skirt for Tracy). I also need to pin-fit some existing dresses for some of the other cast members so they can be altered. The good news about these alterations is that they are to dresses I made two years ago for the production of "Dreamgirls!" at the same school, and when I made them I designed them for easy alterations.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to Gain 200 Pounds... Instantly!

One of my favorite bloggers used to have the tagline, "When was the last time you tried something for the first time?"

A few weeks ago I agreed to help with costumes for my daughter's former high school production of "Hairspray." Their first question: "Can you make a Fat Suit?" Umm... Yes?

Three weeks, a bunch of sketches and some seat-of-the-pants drafting with PatternMaster Curves later, I brought the "Edna" suit to this afternoon's rehearsal for the actor to try on.

For those of you unfamiliar with the staging of "Hairspray," the lead role of Edna is customarily played by a guy. For this particular show, the actor is about 6 feet 4 inches tall, weighs 135 pounds and has a 29-inch waist. And I'm supposed to make him look like he weighs at least 300 pounds.

I was quite nervous as he got changed (with the help of a male cast member -- he can't wear anything under the suit but his skivvies), but the hoots and laughter when he came out to model the suit came as a tremendous relief.

Here he is, in all his glory:


The director's only comment was, "He needs some boobs." So I'll be adding some more padding in the next day or so, and will then make the first of her costumes: the muumuu for the opening scenes.

I still have to make the fat suit for the (very slender) girl playing Tracy, but this "small" success has given me some much-needed confidence that, perhaps, these costumes will work just fine.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Auditioning Fabric: Too Much Scarlett?

Thanks, everyone, for the votes of confidence in the pattern choice. I drafted my first muslin yesterday and hope to print it out and test it tomorrow, since it looks like we'll be "enjoying" a snow day.

I went to JoAnns today to take advantage of their sales and buy fabric for the "Hairspray" costumes I'm doing for the local high school. While I was there I came across this tone-on-tone blue jacquard in the drapery section, and picked up two yards to audition for the Smithson gown.


It is not as subtle a tone-on-tone as I would have liked, but it's very close. Here it is held up against me:


Looking for honest opinions here: Done up in the pattern mentioned in my last post, would this fabric just scream "DRAPERIES!!"?
One thing this fabric has going for it is the price: I can get it on sale for about $8/yard. Considering I'll be needing 10 yards or so for the jacket and skirt, that makes it mighty tempting.
Share your thoughts!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Smithson Gown 2011

This year's Smithson Gala will be on April 9, so I'm already a month behind on getting my gown started. It didn't help that I was sorely lacking in motivation. That is, until I went to my local ASG meeting and asked for input.

Wow! Did I get input! As a result of that meeting, I have at least a starting point. Inspiration came from a Vogue pattern that I just happened to have in my stash:

My aim is to have a two-piece outfit, with a jacket and skirt, and possibly a shell underneath (in case the jacket gets too hot). I love the dramatic collar on this particular pattern (Vogue 2607). And, after asking for some help on the PMB forum, it seems that all this collar is, is a simple rectangle. Think of it as a Nehru collar on steroids.

I'm going to draft a jacket with princess seams (haven't decided on armscye or shoulder), and a peplum. This will be worn over a fuller skirt than is shown in the pattern illustration. I'm also going to make the jacket single-breasted as opposed to zippered. The sleeves will be 3/4 length, too. As for fabric, I'm leaning towards a royal blue tone-on-tone jacquard, but I haven't found one yet. The muslin comes first!

I hope to have a muslin completed by the end of this month, so stay tuned!