Friday, June 29, 2012

Otakon 2012: At long last, progress!

Work on the Otakon costumes has been slow. Most of it has been happening inside my head, as I try to work my brain around how I'm going to achieve certain effects. It's kind of hard to blog about virtual sewing. I don't even have sketches. But trust me, things ARE happening.
One of them is Diana's Cruella de Vil dress. It's probably the easiest in terms of logistics and style to create, as it really is just a simple LBD (little black dress). But sewing anything for Diana means lots of fine tuning and discussions about fine points in the design (and she'll be the first to agree with me about this). Fortunately, this particular costume hasn't caused too much friction between us... yet.
After determining that the original concept of the shoulder pleats simply wasn't going to work, I decided to take a different tack. I drafted a straight-bodice sundress in PatternMaster, and then used Pattern Editor to add wide, tapered shoulder straps. I figured that this way I could pleat the straps without them affecting the darting of the bodice.
And it did look better; here's the second muslin after we did a lot of pinning and futzing with the shoulder straps.

And the back view:

The straps are just pinned in place on the back bodice; for the final version they would be cut on.
Her main complaint about this version was that the straps dug into the front of her armscye; she wanted to have more freedom of motion.
 The dress hangs a little funny because it's made out of black drapery lining, my usual muslin material. And yes, that's a little godet/fishtail at the bottom. It will be topped by a bow when everything is done.

So, back to work. This time I decided we were close enough that I could make the next dress out of the fashion fabric (a black raw silk from my stash that's been aging there for at least six or seven years). And after just a few minor tweaks, the dress has been pronounced a success.

Front view:
Sorry about the fuzzy pictures... there will be better ones when we get everything done in the next few weeks. Back view:
Those are the red shoes she'll be wearing with the dress; we found them at a flea market for all of one dollar!!
The last finishing touches to be made are to the back fishtail: I'm going to iron it into a series of fan pleats, and then top it with a removable snap-on bow. One bow will be black, the other red to match the shoes.
Now that the dress is pretty much done, I can turn to the coat. She found a faux fur coat that is passable; I just need to changed out the lining from cream to red. Still trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to accomplish that without completely dismantling the coat.
Stay tuned for further progress!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Otakon 2012: Cruella De Vil

Last night I got started with the first muslin for Diana's Cruella De Vil costume. Of the three costumes, this one should be the easiest, as it is just a simple "little black dress". But this is Diana we're talking about, so of course she had some definite ideas on what the dress would look like, and gave me a few sketches:

Rather than do an exact copy of the movie costume, she wants to do an "interpretation", to be slightly less wacky and a little more sophisticated. I'm actually going to get away with not making a fur coat, as she found an inexpensive faux fur jacket on the web for only $26 (and I really couldn't even buy the faux fur fabric for that little). But she has definite ideas about the dress, especially the neckline.
See the little pleats at the shoulders? I figured I could draft the top with a shoulder dart and just pleat the dart rather than sewing it. So I made the first muslin and she tried it on last night.
Front view:
The pleated dart really doesn't give the effect she wanted. Also, I added an inch of blousing to the bodice, so the waistline sits too low... will have to correct that in the next version.

Back view:

The dress has a side seam zipper. I'm probably going to cut the next back on the fold to eliminate the center back seam. The kick pleat is supposed to be an inverted box pleat, and will have a contrast bow trim at the top (held on with snaps, so it can be changed out). She will also add a wide black leather belt. The dress itself will be made from some raw silk I have in my stash, and I will be lining it (with what, I don't yet know).

So what should I do about that neckline? She also wants the Vee to be lower by about an inch. Her sketches have a scoop neck but she thought the Vee would look more sophisticated. Now we're thinking about a square neckline, but I don't think we can get the same shoulder pleating effect. Should I just add a bust dart to the side seam and then treat the pleating as a design effect, rather than trying to use it as the bust dart?
Just about six weeks to go to get all the costumes done. Fabric has arrived for the Maleficent and Jafar costumes; I'm now trying to figure out how to engineer Maleficent's horns and Jafar's huge turban. I got two packages of Inn-Spire heat-set interfacing, thanks to a suggestion from a reader (thanks, Virginia!), and will see if that does the job. Stay tuned!