Feb 23, 2017

Project P19 | Bodice Emrboidery

I don't have a lot to share what I've been doing for Padme's Picnic Dress, or Project P19, at the moment because most of what I've done so far is embroidery, but I wanted to post about what I have done so far.

I finished drafting the bodice on my sewing form (sorry, I forgot to take pictures of that) and patterned it a few weeks ago. It's a pretty simple design, consisting of a total of 9 panels. I cut my pattern pieces of 2 layers; canvas for the structured layer and a crinkled nylon chiffon for the top layer. I will also be cutting these same pieces out of my lining fabric, but I don't have any on hand at the moment.

Once all my pieces were cut I flatlined the top layer to the canvas by surging around the edges. This was a little tricky with the chiffon since it's so light weight, but I was able to get it done fairly well considering I've never really worked with sheer fabrics before.

The next step was figuring out the embroidery pattern. Only two of the panels have embroidery on them; the center front piece and the two on either side have just a little bit of embroidery. Figuring out the embroidery and turning it into a pattern I could use was a little bit of a challenge.

I was originally planning on drawing the pattern onto paper then somehow mirror it and transfer it to the bodice, but I quickly realized that that was going to be really difficult. I pulled out Dressing A Galaxy and some tracing paper and started tracing the main embroidery. I simplified the pattern because there's a lot going on on that bodice and was able to use that for my pattern.

Once I had my simplified version traced I cut it into 3 different sections and spread it over my bodice to get an idea of the size. Luckily the size of the photo in the book is pretty close to my bodice piece and I was able to use my tracings for my pattern.

This book. It's kind of amazing.
As soon as I knew that this would work I copied the pattern to a second piece of tracing paper and made copies that I could use to mirror the pattern, which I then pinned to the center bodice piece. And then it was time to start embroidering!

Here's the part that I'm currently still working on. I've started by working the outlining stitching. While examining reference photo's I saw that the outline stitching appeared to be very small chain stitches from a very thin thread. I opted to use normal sewing thread for this part instead of using embroidery thread and I really like the way it looks. My stitching could stand to be a little smaller (okay, maybe a lot smaller) but considering I don't know that much about embroidery I'm happy with it.

Once I was done with the first phase of embroidery on the bottom section I tore away the tracing paper and voila! Pretty embroidery! There's still a lot more to do in this section, but tearing away the tissue paper and getting a glimpse of what it will look like is really satisfying.

Then it was time to move onto the next section...

And that's pretty much where I'm at right now.

Feb 20, 2017

Project P19 | Costume Analysis

I feel like I've been jumping all over the place with my costumes lately. I'm at different places with each costume that I'm working on and when I'm stuck waiting on something (whether it be fabric, inspiration, or just procrastinating) I still have the need to be working on something which usually means starting a new project. In this case, it's my next Star Wars Cosplay, Padme's Picnic Dress from Attack of the Clones.

This costume was referred to as P 19 during production, which is what I've come to refer to it as, as that's shorter than Padme's Picnic Dress. ;D

I started the mock up several months ago (I think back in November) because I didn't have anything better to do and I was experimenting with new-to-me drafting techniques. However, I didn't finish the mock up and pattern it until about a week ago. I also decided on this particular dress because near the end of summer I found most all of the material's I need at Goodwill for about $30 and I realized May the 4th is coming up and I need to actually make a costume this year.

This costume consists of 4 main pieces: the skirt, the "corset" bodice, the blouse, and the shawl.

Skirt - This has been one of the more confusing pieces for me to figure out. I'm not sure what the shape is because as you can see in the photo above, it lays relatively flat in the front but has much more fabric gathered to the sides. The skirt is embroidered and has 4-leaf clover sequins that are also on the shawl.

For my costume, I decided on making the skirt with 5 A-Line skirt panels, making the side and back panels with more fabric than the front to try and replicate this. I'll be making this from 3 layers: the top layer, which is chiffon, the middle "petticoat" layer which is a yellow nylon fabric, and the lining layer. All three layers will be stitched onto a basic waistband and will close with an invisible zipper.

Bodice - I've seen a lot of people refer to the bodice as a "corset" but it's not. A corset is a structured garment that shapes the body. This is just a bodice that resembles a corset in shape and closes with a zipper closure in the back. It's boned, but if you look at promotional photo's you can see wrinkles in the fabric that indicate that it's only lightly boned. It's also heavily embroidered at the front.

I'm making my bodice from 3 layers: a crinkle nylon fabric for the top layer, canvas for the middle support layer, and a lining on the inside.

Blouse - The blouse sits off the shoulder, has spaghetti straps, and has long, wide sleeves that are gathered and tucked at the forearm and wrist. In this behind the scene video from Dressing a Galaxy, you can actually see this costume hanging and the blouse is attached to the "corset" bodice. I'll be using the same chiffon as I am for the skirt.

Shawl - The shawl is pretty simple. It's made of a mesh fabric embroidered with flowers and has an embroidered scallop edge. It sits on the shoulders along the same neckline of the blouse and is pinned closed at the front with a dragonfly broach. The fabric I'm using for this is a curtain panel that already has the same design (flowers and all) embroidered on it, it just needs to be dyed a slightly more yellow color.

Accessories for this costume include: a small dragonfly broach (mentioned above), green, yellow, and pink silk ribbon's tied around the wrists and in the hair, crocheted hair buns, embroidered ribbon headband, and of course shoes.

Padme's shoes are some of the hardest things to get information on because they're rarely seen in the films or BTS footage because of her long skirts, however there are photo's of the shoes from when the costume was worn in the Rose Parade. Picture via The Padawan's Guide.

So where exactly does that leave me? Well, right now I'm at the embroidery stage on the bodice. I'll be writing another blog post soon with more details about my making of since this post was more of a costume analysis. Until then, here's a little peek at what it currently looks like.

Feb 16, 2017

The Ugly Puffer

January came and went and I barely did any sewing, which isn't the way I had hoped to start the year. I worked on a few mock-ups, sewed a few 18th century petticoats, and made an ugly puffer.

What might you ask is an ugly puffer? It's this thing.

It lives up to it's name; it's ugly and it's puffy. But it works beautifully!

I'm not sure how historically accurate it is (full quilted petticoat's were worn in colder months, but I haven't seen any half petticoat's like this before), but it gets the job done. I first came across this wonderful little piece of fluff from Lauren at American Duchess, but I decided to make one after a fellow costumer on Instagram suggested it to add some volume for my petticoats. The Ugly Puffer is great for a ton of era's: 18th century, 1830's, 1840's, etc...

Here's a before and after the Ugly Puffer with my 18th C. Petticoat. I have two petticoats, both made of cotton and roughly the same same size each pleated onto waistbands and worn over a bum/hip pad which I'll post about at another time. As you can see, the Ugly Puffer adds a lot of volume. It also makes me wish I had made the petticoats just a little bit wider...

It was a cheap, quick piece to make that adds a lot of volume. I purchases 1 1/4 yards from Joann's which ended up costing under $10. I sewed it the same why I did my 18th C. petticoats with side slits so I could reach my pockets still and it closes with a drawstring. You could make it a little less ugly and finish all the seams, but I didn't bother since it's never going to be seen (though it's kind of starting to bother me that I didn't finish the seams and I may end up going back and bind the hem with bias tape).