Aug 27, 2014

Costume Love {Pirates of the Caribbean}

I want to start a new blog series called Costume Love to share my favorite costumes from everything from movies to Broadway musicals. I'll try to post every week, but we'll see how it goes.

For my first post I'm going to start with Pirates of the Caribbean. These movies are so fun, filled with lots of adventure, awesome sword fights, lots of humor, and some really amazing costumes. All of the fabrics and the syles are just so amazing!

Because the first movie is my favorite, I'll be showing costumes from that film.

All pictures are via the Costumer's Guide.

The plum pirate gown which Barbossa has Elizabeth wear is just beautiful! The pictures of this dress are all really high quality, so if you open the image up in a new tab you can zoom it in to get a good look at some of the details.

 I think what I love most about this dress is the color and the material.

I love this dress Elizabeth wears in the beginning of the movie.

And then there's Will's end outfit. I love his hat! It's just so epic with the huge feather and brim.

Aug 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I keep seeing more and more people posting Throwback Thursday and thought maybe I would join.

Going back to 2012 and my first ever costume, Princess Leia from episode IV of Star Wars. I started the costume 3 days before May the 4th and with the help of my mom, had it finished just in time. I never got around to getting the accessories made though.

This costume was made from bed sheets. I remember my mom and I looking all over for the perfect material but couldn't find anything. Eventually I ended up finding sheets that, at the time, I thought were perfect!

There are so many things I would do different now. I made the costume in just 1 layer instead of 2 like it should have been done, and thus the wrinkling at every seam. It needed to be longer. The hood wasn't wide enough. The list goes on...


Eventually I'll redo this costume and do it properly now that I actually know what I'm doing!

Aug 18, 2014

The Petticoat of Doom {Rose Tyler Progress}

The other day I went to Hobby Lobby and bought the tulle for the petticoat of my Rose Tyler costume. The tutorial I was using as a guideline used 4 yards, but I bought 5 just because. Besides, it only ended up costing $6. Tulle is cheap, which is awesome!

I cut it out yesterday morning and started working on it. I had a tutorial but I decided it was easy enough and just used it as a guideline. Well, one of the things they said is that petticoats are made form the bottom up. But what did I do? I made it from the top down. Don't do that. Start from the bottom, you'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

I kept having trouble with my gather stitching too. It would be fine and then I would be pulling it to gather it and somehow it would all just come out. I still haven't been able to figure out why. So I ended up having to hand gather 25+ yards of tulle...

I put my circle skirt on over the finished petticoat to get an idea of how it looked. It looks fuller person. The pleats in the actual dress will add a lot of volume to it as well.

I chose a slightly off white color for the tulle because to match the costume. I ended up just using muslin for the top tier/waistband part which I already had in my stash. So the total cost for this costume is a whopping $6. The skirt is going to take a ton of material, so that'll make up for it.

Aug 17, 2014

Costume Analysis {Christine Daae}

This post is going to be a costume analysis of Christine Daae's "Wishing Dress" from the stage versions of Phantom of the Opera. I want to do a second post sharing my favorite reproductions of this dress, becuase I've found so many amazing and helpful links! But because this post contains a huge amount of photo's already, I'll save that for another day.

First off there have been so many different productions of Phantom of the Opera (which from now on I will reference as POTO) since the Original Long Cast back in 1986. Even though each production's dress is different, they are all very similar. For the most part they're all identical except for things like trims and slight differences in material.

I came across this website which has reference pictures from all the different stage versions of POTO. I went and actually printed out almost 100 pages of reference photo's at the library via this site. I've gone through all the different version to try and pick a version I like best and reproduce that one. But beucase they were all so similar I decided on just basing it on the newer US version and taking pieces from the other versions that I liked better and add them.

My research book.

Original UK version.
When I was looking through my photos I found something interesting in this photo. Along the bottom of the skirt are seven lines going around the skirt. At first I couldn't figure out what it was, but I have a theory. I believe this photo was taken during a dress rehearsal and the skirt wasn't finished yet and I believe this may may be the underskirt.
Original UK Version.

You can see there's a bit of a difference on the detail of the vest part of the bodice between the original UK and the newer UK versions.
Newer UK version.
There's a more tassels/fringe on the German version, which I personally don't care for.
Mexico, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina.
I love the bustle on the newer US version! Isn't it gorgeous?!
Newer US Version.
Newer US version.
If you look at the center of the apron part of the dress you'll see a seam and how the fabric is angled in so the pattern creates a "V".
25th Anniversary Special

 In this one it goes straight. No seam in the center. I think this is the only version that they did that with. I think it looks better in the other versions myself.
I believe this is from the newer US version, but I'm not sure.

Australian version.
 This is a great view of the skirt without the train. To save fabric they used their lining fabric on the part of the skirt that's covered by the over skirt/apron. Definitely a good thing to know!
Not sure which production.

Here's my list of the things that are difference in the various productions and which versions I will be using as a reference.

Collar and Cuffs Details - Newer UK

Neckline - Newer US

Apron - Original UK or 25th Anniversary version.

Bustle - Newer US

Wig - Newer US, Germany, or 25th Anniversary

Now lets talk patterns. I've searched high and low for decent patterns for dresses from around the period. Here's what I found.

For the corset I'm planning on using Truly Victorian 1880's Corset. For the petticoat I'll be using either Truly Victorian's 1870's Petticoat, or their Victorian Petticoat. I'm still undecided. And I still haven't figured out what I'm going to use for the bustle, but I'll probably keep it simple and just use a bustle pillow pad. I'll figure that out once I made the mock up.

For the bodice I decided to go with Truly Victorian's Ladies 1880's Dinner Bodice, which I purchased on Ebay since I couldn't find it on the Truly Victorian website. It'll need a bit of modification on the front, but it's the closest pattern I've found.

I still haven't found anything for the skirt. If I have to I'll draft my own pattern. And for the over skirt/apron I think I'm just going to draft it myself.

And the bustle. I've heard the style of bustle/train called a waterfall bustle, but I haven't been able to find any patterns or tutorials on how to make it. If anyone knows of anything even remotely similar, I would love to hear from you!

Shoes. I would love to purchase American Duchess's Tavistock boots. I've wanted a pair of these since she first announced she was working on them! But I doubt I'll be able to afford them so I'm going to be keeping an eye out in stores and places like Ebay for something suitable.

The hair. Oh gosh. To get a wig that long is going to be hard! I haven't done much shopping around yet, so I can't say what I'm going to do yet.

Aug 15, 2014

My "Go To" Reference Books for Period Clothing

We all have those books that we keep going back to whenever we have a question about our current projects. I thought I would share my favorite "go to" books for period clothing research. Even though I have yet to sew a non movie historical outfit, I do know a bit about period clothing. I just haven't gotten around to making anything yet.

My first book I go to for Victorian clothing is Victorian Fashion and Costume from Harper's Bazaar. This book is filled with great illustrations of fashions from 1867-98. The pictures have dates with them and usually a small, sometimes large, description of the piece. It covers everything from day wear to evening wear, from hairstyles to shoes. 

And you wanna know the best part? It's only $3.99 on Amazon!

My next favorite is Victorian Fashions Volume I 1880-1890. I was lucky to find this book at Half Price Books a few years ago for under $10, but I didn't know it at the time.

This book is also filled with illustrations from the Late Victorian era. It covers young girls, young ladies, and women's fashion between 1880-90.

Next is Period Costume for the Stage and Screen. This book is filled with patterns from 1800-1909. Just a warning, the patterns do not have any seam allowance. You have to add that yourself. And the instructions aren't exactly the best either. I don't recommend this book for beginners unless your using it for reference only.

Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail. This book has beautiful pictures of men and women's clothing through the 19th century. The only thing I don't like about this book is that there's usually only 1 image per outfit. There are line drawings, but it would be nice to be able to see the whole dress rather than just the one close up.

But the dresses in this book are so beautiful! I definitely recommend at least checking this book out from the library!

Aug 13, 2014

A Look at 1880's Undergarments

I recently saw Phantom of the Opera for the first time a few weeks ago, and it's sort of become another obsession both as a musical and because of the amazing costumes! Just to clarify, I'm talking about the 25th Anniversary special, not the 2004 movie. While some of the costumes in that were spectacular, the movie as a whole wasn't that great.

My favorite out of all of Christine's dresses is her blue dress more commonly know among costumers as the "Wishing Dress".

I'm going to write up a more full overview of the dress later, but right now I want to focus on what would be underneath an actual 1880's dress.

Now, since this is a stage costume it probably doesn't have historically accurate underpinnings. But when I make this dress I want to make period accurate undergarments. I figure that the closest era for this dress is between 1885-88 based on some research I've done. I don't know a ton about the later Victorian era since in the past I've been mostly interested in the 1860's.

Starting from the bottom and working our way up. First off is the chemise.  A chemise would be worn underneath the corset and tucked into the ladies drawers. Even though they were never seen by the women wearing them, some were very elegant.

Ca. 1887 made of Cotton via The Met
Ca. 1880's made of Linnen via The Met.

Next is everybody's favorite, the corset! In the 1880's ladies waist's got even smaller than before.

Ca. 1885 via The Met,

Ca. 1880 via The Met.

Ca. 1885 via The Met.

Next we have split drawers. These would be worn over the chemise to add a little bit of modesty underneath the dress. I've actually gotten to wear a pair of drawers from the early 1900's, and I have to say they're kinda fun!

Ca. 1885 via The Met.

Ca. 1887 via The Met.

It's not necessary, but over top of the corset women would wear a corset cover.

Ca. 1880 via The Met.

Ca. 1880's via The Met.

The 1880's was also the return of the bustle. For the most part the skirts would be flat up front and all volume would be in the back. There was a lot of different ways a lady could get the right silhouette. There were crinoline styles, petticoats with bustles built into them, petticoats with ruffles in the back for a smaller bustle, and other 'bustle builders' such as bustle pads.

Ca. 1885 via The Met.

Bustle petticoat via Vintage Victorian.

Ca. 1880's via The Met.

Depending on the type of bustle, there was usually another petticoat added over top to give it a nice and lush look instead of being able to see the framework of the cage or bustle.

Ca. 1880's via The Met.

Ca. 1880's via The Met.

Ca. 1880 via The Met.

So that's about it. It was tough work getting dressed back in the day!