Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another show is over

"Footloose" had its closing performance on Sunday, March 25, and it was so much fun watching the show. After the bows, the director took to the stage to thank the many people who helped with the production, and I was one of them. The costume director said such nice things, I was blushing! And they even gave me a lovely gift. After we all left the stage, I said to her, "This is all a bribe so I'll come back next year, right?" She laughed and nodded!
The stars were understandably tired out, but were gracious enough to pose with me in their prom finery.


Many thanks to Dylan Thai, who was the official photographer for the show.

The one thing I realize is that none of the pictures I took showed the lovely paisley lining I put into the jacket! It did show up on stage, though, since at one point in the dance "Ariel" strips the jacket off "Ren" and twirls it inside out over her head! I'm glad I decided to baste the collar down onto the body of the jacket so there would be no shifting during the show!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Footloose" costumes: Ariel's Prom Dress

This was a challenging and fun costume to make! I only had one reference picture to go by:
Since the 2011 movie hadn't been released when I got this assignment, I had to make a whole lot of guesses as to how the dress was put together.
The director didn't want pink for the dress, so I suggested a silver/gray, which would look great with Ren's burgundy tux jacket. Once I found the fabric (a costume satin from Joanns) and the actresses' measurements (the part is double-cast, so I had to make two identical dresses), I got to work.
My starting point was a sheath sundress with a straight bodice. I took the pattern into Pattern Editor and created the points on the bottom edge of the skirt, where I would be attaching the sheer fabric godets.
Initially, I had half-circle godets in each of the six hem points. However, my husband managed to track down a clip of the final prom scene from the new movie on YouTube (which ended up getting pulled a day later, no doubt due to copyright issues), and I was able to see that the flare of the godets was MUCH more dramatic than just a half-circle of sheer could create. So I got more of the sheer fabric and added full-circle godet inserts on top of the half-circles. The end result is a dress with a fabulous flare!
The flounce around the upper bodice was a bit more tricky to figure out. I ended up making a double-layer flounce, serged together at the upper edge, and topstitched onto the bodice between the straps. For the part that goes around the arm, I zig-zagged elastic to the inner top edge so it would hug the actresses' arms without digging in.
Here is one of the actresses modeling her dress:

Here she is doing a twirl!

Here's a close-up of the godets:
I didn't hem the godets, because I was worried that even a two-thread rolled hem would weigh them down too much. Each dress will only be work three times, so I'm not too worried about raveling.

One of the best moments I had was when the director looked at the costume, and asked me, "How do you do that?!?" When I asked her what she meant, she said, "How did you make the pattern?" I told her that I used a program to create the pattern. "Yes," she said, "but how did you copy the dress, just from a picture?" I told her I had years of practice from copying clothes from catalogs and web pictures. She just shook her head and said it was all just magic. That felt so great!!

Now I will finally have some time to do more sewing for myself. Well, actually, my extremely patient hubby will be getting a pair of trousers first. He deserves it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Caution: FIlthy pictures inside

My sewing room has a wooden floor, and I'm a lousy housekeeper. Put the two together, and it spells trouble. It doesn't help that my main sewing machine and serger are about five feet apart, so I am constantly rolling the chair between the two.
The other day I happened to look down (big mistake!) and noticed that there seemed to be some threads lodged in the housing of the chair caster. So I turned the chair onto its back and took a closer look.
BIG mistake.

It looked like my cat had deposited a hairball into the caster. When I looked closer, I noticed that ALL FIVE casters were similarly embellished.
It took ten minutes, a seam ripper and some tweezers to get most of the shmutz from around the caster wheels.


It really is amazing how much stuff can get embedded in certain places. I recognized fibers from fabrics I used three years ago.
Like I said, I'm a lousy housekeeper.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mystery Tool: Where to find it?

Several years ago I was in New York with a few friends and came upon this wonderful little seam ripper. One of the friends in the group bought one for each person; it was only a few dollars. Since then it has become my favorite seam ripper, and I would love to find more. But I rarely get to New York nowadays, so I'm hoping someone will recognize this little gem and tell me where I can find it online.

Here's the tool closed:


And here's a shot of it open:


There are no manufacturer names or marks on it anywhere. Is it something borrowed from the medical industry?

If anyone knows where I might find some more of these, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Costume Progress: Ren's Tux Jacket

It may come as a surprise to many of you that I haven't made a lot of jackets. Actually, I've only made one. But today I doubled my output: I've now made two!!
I took Ren's Tux Jacket to rehearsal this afternoon for a final try-on by the male lead before I did the last hand-stitching on it. I'm VERY happy with how it looks!
Here's a picture of the actual movie jacket (from the 2011 remake):


And here's my version:


The color in this picture isn't quite right... It's more a "Redskins Burgundy" in color.

Here's the actor in the jacket:
I'm very happy with the fit; he can do all the dance moves easily, and the insides look as good as the outsides (I used a paisley print!).
Opening night is a week from Friday, and I still have three dresses to make. I'm hoping to have two of them done by this Friday's rehearsal. Whew!