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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Beetlejuice - Recap

I did a worse-than-usual job of documenting it, but I did in fact make Beetlejuice costumes last year.  The plan came together kind of pell-mell and I was more concerned with just getting it done than taking a bunch of photos.  But they turned out really well, so I thought I'd try to throw together a post for them.

Lydia was ridiculously easy and I improvised most of it, and because of that was one of the most fun things I've made in a long time.  The dress is basically a loose-fitting T-shaped sack, with a solid layer underneath and lace layer over it, and dickie with collar. So I started by folding a sheet both lengthwise and crosswise and cutting half of a T for the underlayer.  There are folds on the top and left, and raw cuts all along the right.

I used a t-shirt to mark and cut the neckline, then cut the top off a black blouse to use as a dickie for the separate underneath collar layer.  At that point I altered the neckline to accommodate the collar.

The sleeves ended up being a tad short so I added a ribbon ruffle, then gathered the cuffs with elastic.

I used the solid T of the underlayer as a pattern for the lace layer, which is the same shape.  The only difference is the lace layer had no sleeves.  I cut large half circles the length of my arm from the same lace and sewed those over the shoulder to make the little cape-style faux sleeves.  To give it more fullness, I used some shorter rectangular scraps to add another layer to these capes (not shown here).  Once all the lace was assembled, the dickie and dress layers were sewn together.

I also painted three strands of plastic beads black for the necklaces, and used some scrap ribbon for the choker necklace.  Black tights and boots from my closet and an old Halloween wig rounded everything out.  All told, I spent about $16 on the whole thing.

Beetlejuice was more complex.  Finding a good pattern was a challenge, because I wanted a plain jacket (simple piecing/seams) that could still be somewhat fitted (not too boxy).  I started with Simplicity 3688 but I decided the piecing of the jacket would be too complicated with matching stripes, so I stuck with that pattern for the pants but used the button-up pajama top from McCall's 5992 for the jacket.  Alterations were fairly minimal.  For the jacket, I added a split vent in the back so it would be a bit more fitted (I could sew a smaller size so it was more fitted, but it could still fit over the hips) and created a facing and full lining.  For the pants, I fully lined them and replaced the zipper with buttons and a placket.  Literally the only photo I have of the construction process is a shot of matching the stripes, which I was really proud of doing so well throughout the costume.

But my friend got a proper photo when she wore it at Labyrinth Masquerade.

We also busted them out for Halloween (the only photos I have of Lydia finished and being worn so far).

We ended up with a decent amount of leftover fabric, so sometime this year I might make Beetlejuice a skirt option (again, probably with Simplicity 3688).  All in all, it was a really fun pair of costumes to make, and super comfy and fun to wear. They'll definitely be making more appearances.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Hamilton - King George Crown / Collar Part V + Star Part III

My inspiration after seeing the show in September is still going strong, but between school and holidays and getting sick, time has been short.  I did finally manage to make some notable progress this past week though.

Firstly, I finished the chest star badge!
I did end up making some changes from the show's design and what I had planned, namely the silver paint.  I could say it was for the sake of creativity or originality or personalization, but in truth it just wasn't looking right after the way I had to go about making it.  The silver paint I added to the background hid a few sins and made it look a bit more dynamic, so all in all I'm happy with it.

As far as crown progress goes...

Because the edges of the bead trim were visible on the back sides of the vertical strips, it was looking a little rough, so I cut some 1x9" strips of cardstock and glued it over the back to cover it.

Back when I started posting on the crown, I gave a little preview of the filigrees/beads/gems/rhinestones and said I’d come back to it when it was more relevant. I’ve been putting off organizing that because there’s so much to slug through, but here we are.
  • The top cross and ball use 30mm teardrop pearl pendants (2), 12mm beads (2), 5mm round red cabochons (8), 18mm round clear cabochons (2), and 4mm round clear rhinestones (about 75). I initially got 6mm beads for the sides of the cross but they ended up too small, so I used the 12mm on the sides too.
  • Each vertical strip uses 25mm square filigree stampings (2), 13x18mm oval red rhinestone (1), and 4mm round clear rhinestones (10).
  • Each Maltese cross around the base uses 25mm clover filigree (1), 18mm round clear rhinestone (1), 8mm round blue rhinestones (2), 8mm round red rhinestone (1), 8mm round clear rhinestone (1), 6x12mm navette clear rhinestones (8), and 3mm round clear rhinestones (16)
  • Each fleur-de-lis around the base uses 8mm round blue rhinestone (1), 8mm round clear rhinestones (9), 4mm round clear rhinestones (18), and 3mm round clear rhinestones (11).
  • The horizontal band uses 25mm square filigree stampings (16), 13x18mm oval green rhinestones (4), 13x18mm oval red rhinestones (4), 13x18mm oval clear rhinestones (8), and 4mm round clear rhinestones (64), and 3mm round clear rhinestones (64).
And of course there were some whoopsies. For everything that uses 3-4mm rhinestones, I initially mis-measured and bought 6mm which ended up too big next to the 8mm stones, so I had to buy smaller replacements. I also had to buy more than I needed for pretty much everything, which was a hassle, so total cost and actual cost will end up fairly different on this project.

I started with the 18mm round clear stones on the centers of the Maltese crosses, then did the 13x18 oval stones around the base, then the 13x18 red stones on the vertical strips.  There's not much definitive strategy to this, but I am kind of working my way down in size since that seems to be the easiest way to handle it. 

The stage-used crowns have a specific asymmetrical pattern to the red/green/clear oval rhinestones on the horizontal strip around the base (and the real historical crown has a similar asymmetrical pattern). I couldn’t figure out exactly what the pattern was, and the asymmetry bothered me, so I simplified it: stones under the crosses are green, stones under the fleur-de-lis are red, and stones in the spaces between crosses and fleur-de-lis are clear.
Over a few more days, I managed to finish the rhinestones faster than I thought. The larger stones took quite a while because with their weight, I had to hold each one in place as the glue set so they wouldn’t slide around.  The smaller stones being lighter didn’t really drift much if at all while they were setting, so I could move faster from one to the next.  I also added stones around the ball on top after this.

All told, there are about 550 stones (!!!) on the whole thing.

I also assembled the livery collar. I’ve been waiting since there aren’t many places to easily store it as a whole piece, but I’m getting close to starting on the cape so I wanted the collar ready to go for that. (I was also bored and antsy and the collar was an easy thing to get done.)


Monday, January 8, 2018

2017 Recap + 2018 Plans

I had a really ambitious project list for 2017, and I didn't get even half of it done. As usual, my eyes were bigger than my wallet and calendar. But what I did manage to get done, I'm actually really happy with.

Mall disguise Cap and Nat (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) got another outing at Long Beach Comic Expo in February.

Both were already finished costumes, but Cap had some notable upgrades: finished shoes (same I usually wear, but repainted to look more accurate), new wig, new shield, and getting to wear my real glasses with new semi-accurate frames instead of fake ones.

Thomas and Lucille Sharpe's murder nightgown party costumes (Crimson Peak) were finished in March for WonderCon.
I don't put much stock in my sewing/costuming skills, but Lucille's nightgown and robe and everything that went into them made me appreciate that I do actually have some skill.

Wayne and Garth (Wayne's World) also made a WonderCon appearance. They're old costumes and very simple despite being crowd-pleasers, but it was significant because (like with mall!Cap) I used a new wig and got to wear my real glasses. (No photos of the upgrades though, because whoops.)

I made a quick and dirty circle skirt to go with my Her Universe cardigan and did a vintage Disneybound Imperial officer for spring Dapper Day in April. Fabric stash and closet cosplay save the day again.

Jack Sparrow and generic pirate!Norrington were done-ish (wearable) for Pirate Invasion in July.

They're really only a start, but a solid start that worked well. I pretty much want to do nothing but sew 18th century shirts now.

We got Beetlejuice, Lydia, and ghost!Thomas done for Labyrinth Masquerade in August.

Lydia was a fantastically fun, easy, cheap project, which was a nice change of pace despite still being another project with a tight and specific deadline. Beetlejuice and Thomas were more exercises in creativity, and made me appreciate my skills again like Lucille had.  (The photo of Beetlejuice and Lydia is from Halloween; we didn't end up with any photos from Labyrinth.)

And I (finally!) started some spoopy Halloween skirts, and planned a space-themed skirt for extra credit in my astronomy class (which I didn't finish in time, but I'll definitely still get to some day).

Not bad all told. I always feel like I don't accomplish much in a given year, probably because the things I don't finish outnumber the things I do, so recaps are wonderfully helpful to remember just how much got done.

And looking ahead...

I've already proclaimed 2018 the year of the UFOs (unfinished objects, that is). I always get frustrated with myself for being really ambitious, starting big projects, and then running out of time and energy. The deadline passes, I get depressed and lose interest, the projects sit there, and I start new ones instead of finishing the old (new is more exciting because it doesn't have the stigma of failure already attached). 2018 is going to be the time to break that cycle, even if only temporarily, and clean out the materials stash.

New projects from 2017 that didn't get finished are at the top of the list. Vintage Disneybound Hades and Maleficent didn't pan out for spring or fall Dapper Day, but the design work is almost done and we have all of the materials. We're also comparatively close to done with our Reserve TIE pilots: we have most of the pieces, and the few we don't are at least sourced. We found a solution to the hold-up on our belts, and the jumpsuit mods should be easy.

Next come older projects that were never finished or need overhauls, starting with Hocus Pocus. Sarah and Mary Sanderson were wearable for Mickey's Not-so-Scary Halloween Party at Disneyland a few years ago, but Sarah was in a really sad, slapdash state and Mary needed some improvements. I've since lost interest in finishing Sarah for myself right now, so if I don't force myself to finish that on principal I'll make a Winnie instead, and Mary will get properly finished. Alternately, we're tossing around the idea of doing Winnie and Billy like we'd initially wanted. (And no, starting two new costumes is hardly finishing UFOs, but in this case I look at Hocus Pocus itself as the project more so than the specific costumes, so whatever finishes the project in an enjoyable way is ideal.)

Less complete but still definitely in need of finishing are our Haunted Mansion costumes. They were the plan for Halloween at Disneyland the first year we went, but they ended up being more complex and time-consuming than I thought, and Real Life cut in.  The tightrope walker needs a complete do-over, and the dynamite guy is about half done with some changes to make.

There are a few somewhat in-progress but very laid-back found-item costumes that could get finished, if only because it would be easy to so why not. Sharon and Nat's Berlin costumes (Captain America: Civil War) are both very close to done: we need a new jacket for Nat, and dyeing Sharon's vest is optional, but otherwise both are complete. The Tramp and the Kid (The Kid) are good contenders too: Kid is done except for suspenders, and we've started sourcing Tramp's pieces.

I'm also set on finishing as much of King George as possible. I really want to wear the whole costume for Costume College and Labyrinth Masquerade, but I also don't want to push myself to finish too much too fast (that's how UFOs spawn). So at the very least I want to finish the accessories - crown, collar, scepter, cape, shoes, wig. I've already decided I can wear those with a red union suit and make the unfinished costume a bit of a gag.

For costumes already on a list somewhere but not technically started yet, we have French Revolution Zombaes, Gibson Gothic, and Lost Hope ballgowns. They'd be good options for Labyrinth Masquerade, and the historical bases sans creep factor would be good for the historical costuming world we're dipping our toes in. Any of those would be good for the big project of the year.

A few finished costumes also need repairs or upgrades: Lucille's robe needs to be repainted and her nightgown needs a paint alternative to the fake blood (way too messy), Thomas's black vest needs to be remade, Beetlejuice might get a skirt alternative.

Brand new projects will (hopefully) be few and far between. But we'll see. We're planning to go to the Great LA Air Raid next month, so depending on what I can dig out of the closet or find ready-made, that might require a few new pieces.

So here's the tentative tally for 2018:
  • Vintage Disneybound Hades and Maleficent (Hercules and Sleeping Beauty)
  • Reserve TIE Pilots (Star Wars)
  • Sarah and Mary Sanderson, or Winnie Sanderson and Billy Butcherson (Hocus Pocus)
  • Tightrope Walker and Dynamite Guy (Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride)
  • Sharon and Nat in Berlin (Captain America: Civil War)
  • The Tramp and the Kid (The Kid)
  • King George accessories (Hamilton: An American Musical)
  • French Revolution Zombaes or Gibson Gothic (historical/original), or Lost Hope Ball (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell)
  • 1940s something or other (historical/original)