Posted in Costumes, Finished costumes, Old, but gold

Vassagonian diplomat/spymaster at Lone Wolf LARP 2013

Hello my gentle readers!

Do you love getting nostalgic while going through your old stuff? Be it papers, school books or your closet? I do, I very much do.

There are hidden treasures in my closet – and I mean not only those old chemises my dear grandma gave me ( and which are sure retro and I love them). From time to time I bump into terribly old costumes, some of them still wearable and in reall good shape.

This specific one was my first attempt on full costume with all the needed nice-to-haves like: hand-painted patterns, eye-catching details and sleeves for show (pretty much for nothing else, especially not shooting a bow!)

To have a bit of backstory: my friends used to run a once a year Lone Wolf LARP (base on Joe Deaver’s books) for friends, which was outdoor, full of the old and lovable “go for questing, meet few NPC’s down the road and kill some monsters” and was nothing like ,the LARPs nowdays. Think oldschool and with heart.

I was asked to play a Vassagonian diplomat, who came to the land of the good people to negotiate peace treaty. And sell all their secrets to the Drakarim in Darkland and such (no wonder, I was playin a horrible bitch).

At the end, I managed to betray everyone I could, I robbed the one surviving Kail Lord Silent Hawk of the rescued and hardly retrieved book of Magna Kai (sort of a codex and a Bible for the Kai Lords), showed the way to the place to Dark armies and… well, happily pranced away.

I left behind few really pissed players because, well, I was lying all the game, that this time I’m really playing a good character. And… I wasn’t.

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Sue me, I just really like to play bitches – I´m too nice in real life, this is like my therapy!

Anyway – this costume dates back to the time, when I´ve divided fabrics to only two categories: cheap, thus affordable and hell no, that´s pricey! This costume is the definition of using cheap fabrics to create something affordable, yet awesome.
The two most expensive pieces of the costume being the red turban, which is actually a bridal saree veil. And the red taffeta pantaloons – saying, that in 2013 the taffeta was much cheaper then now (and it still costed a bunch!)

The costume itself consist of a ghawazee, undershirt with long sleeves and cuffs, a very heavy bra with cowrie shells red pantaloons and a turban.
The pattern for the ghawazee was drafted based on a an old vest with the cut out for the bust area. I´ve used very cheap underlining synthetic sating for the body of the coat (which was actually was not that bad idea in the end).

The sleeves and all the trims are remnant of the old synthetic satin saree, which happened to be around, waiting patiently to be cut and re-purposed. The front is closed with small hooks and lot of prayers.

The undershirt was made of the saree fabric and synthetic olive green satin for the sleeves, cuffs are made of the saree trims, underlined with the satin. The pattern I used was the same as for the ghawazee.

Pantaloons are very, very easy, don´t need to go to details I believe. The taffeta has a nice vine red color with black accents (I´ve never seen that fabric ever again, shame, shame!)

The rest of the costume is few hours with fabric colors and a brush and me trying to not dip it in coffee but the actual flack with the color.

And now take a look. I think that it´s a fine piece of work for a beginner!

 

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The detail of the back pattern – Berberian lio paw for protection and courage.All hand-painted with metallic fabric paint in bronze, gold and violet.
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The full costume without the undershirt and the turban.
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Here with the undershirt and in full glory.
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A good spymaster carries a saber, bow and eventually also a bodyguard with a crossbow!  (Just don´t mind the shoes!)
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Look at me,I´m pretty -And half soaked, it was drizzling almost the whole day!

 

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I spy with my vassagonian eye…
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The Midnight circus 2013 -Zingara Radha, the dancer and fortune teller
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This is the same veil used for the turban.

 

XOXO, Rael

Posted in Costume comissions, Costumes

Maev MacTyra also known as the Mother of the Dragons dress

Hello my dear readers,

this post is very special for me, as this was a special costume done for special girl.
I do not sew much for others, because… reasons. Mainly because I think I have so many things to improve, so I´m just not ready to sew for others.
I can do it, but you always need to know that there might be parts without a zig zag and some things just are not that pretty on the inside as they are on the inside. Because I´m still learning, you know?

This one actually was a very peculiar one.

I was asked to sew a costume for LARP summer camp last summer, which I also happened to be organizing. The task was to dress a witch, noble woman, mother of two, widow and woman of unaging, haunted beauty: Maev MacTyra, the mistress of many smiles.

The character itself was leader of one of Highland clans, but the she was refined, polished and very eerie-like. But also hard as stone and cold as dead mans hands.

After talking with my friend Míša, we decided to go for blue dupion and brown cotton for the godets in the skirt. The dupion to give the feeling of luxury mixed with more practical fabric, that was lying around (to create the illusion that she´s wealthy but – you know, all wealth can be spent).

I had the idea of Margaery Tyrell blue brocade dress, but obviously with less cut outs but still some serious cleavage – as the character is not aging and she can use her charm for whatever means she feels she needs to.

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After giving it some serious thoughts, I´ve decided to go for the straight front seam cotte- obviously to accentuate the divine waistline and the hourglass figure. Also, as this was /is to be worn mainly in summer, it´s convenient to have the right support and ditch the bra.

So with that, a coffee and cookies, we´ve drafted the dummy pattern and get to work.

I must say that a great deal of the dresses seams and long stitches has been done by Míša, so it´s more of a collaborative work (and it´s always great to sew for and with someone who knows roughly what is going on and what am I asking for).

The main issue I´ve encountered was – as always – bodice fitting.  Even though the dress is underlined (with my favorite corset fusible interlacing) the bust area came off very strangely.
I had to play a magician and come off with side darts to create reasonable neckline with natural looking side face (no mid bust corset effect, we wanted nice and round shapes). I actually blame big seam allowance and too generous decolletage for the necessity to add the darts (cotte with back lacing shouldn´t need darts of any kind, as it was properly fitted).

The skirt was drafted to be very wide – to be able to tuck the tip to the belt if needed, but still have the gorgeous flow of the fabric. Also – front bottom hem was ankle height to be able to walk/run in it. Back bottom hem is slightly longer, but we ditched any idea of trail.

The whole dress was accompanied with a short bolero M6911 (here), which was also done in blue dupion and underlined with the brown cotton.

I´ve found the pattern realy funny, because it took me one hell of a time to figure out how to sew the darn thing. Actually once I´ve understood the pattern (which is super-easy, mind you), it was finished overnight (with all the necessary zig zag and stuff).

Sadly, the bolero was not captured, even though it was worn over the dress.

All the accessories, the feather and beaded touches, were done by Míša herself.

And why the Mother of the Dragons, you ask?
Well – the color of course. Also, it was a bit of a running joke while we were sewing the dress, so it kinda… stayed with it.

And now, ladies and gents, feast yer eyes!

Maev MacTyra, mistress of many smiles – isn´t she gorgeous?

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The dress has two brown side godets, the sleeves are also underlined with the same brown cotton.
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We went for ankle height in the front to be able to walk/run.
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The crochet sleeveless plaid was a bit of lucky find between the fabrics. No sewing here, but it gives the dress more of a casual look.
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The wolf of Hunger, the bane of lady MacTyra
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Family and clan – and a good show how wide the skirt actually is.
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Not from a LARP – but also good show how wide the skirt is. You can easily ride a horse and still look like a lady with your knees covered!

 

EDIT:
At last, the pictures of the bolero!

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Photos from Letní kempy and Ivana Kuglerová.

 

XOXO, Rael

Posted in Costumes, Finished costumes

Battle of Five armies 2017 Crow witch dress and headpiece

Let´s continue with the railroad of the posts.
After one Battle of Five armies comes the next one. This time really quick dress I´ve made in 2 days and really not much of sewing around actually.

Last year I was a member of Esgaroth cookie squad, but this year my friend asked to join the “Dark army”. Well, why the hell not, said I. I´ve never played strictly evil character – and actually, there´s not much of role play going on, but why the hell not.

I´ve needed an interesting costume that goes with the whole “Dark and evil” theme. As I was joining the “Higlanders” a derivation  from the Lord of the Rings´Wildling, I was thinking tartan first. But as I was supposed to be a companion for the shaman (the lovely lady on the photos with me), I went for something more rough and unrefined.

I had this dress lying around with brocade bodice (sewn for 2016 LARP summer camp). The bodice is horribly done and needs a lot of re-doing, so I just ripped the thing off and started anew.

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I ended up being very disappointed on how the bodice was not fitting, try as I might 😦

I had a piece of black linen lying around, so I´ve fished out my princess seam pattern and created bodice for the two layer skirt (which is from two types of cotton, one very light, second one being grey-ish and bit sparkly).
The bodice is very tight because, as with the Merida dress, I just don´t want to wear regular bra at the battles (running around the forest makes it super uncomfortable and makes you wanna scream at the end of the day. That´s a biiig NO NO!)  For extra support I´ve worn wide belt which served a bit of a waist cincher.

I´ve the added the sleeves and bit of rags to the neckline (which left me with the very funny looking stripey sun tan after the weekend) to make it look more like “I´ve done this overnight from rags from the dead bodies”.
Being a witch you just don´t care how you look!

The skirt has a layer of see through linen with a trail and very long sleeves, which create very nice effect while walking or in the wind. Sadly – none of the photographers managed to catch it.

TA-DA! TEN MINUTE WONDER DONE!

As for the head-piece:
I have three of them lying around. It was a project done also for the 2016 LARP summer camp. The skull is done from papiermâché, cardboard, wire a and tiny bit of cloth for the eyes.
I´ve used acrylic paint and a spray varnish to protect them from rain.
The biggest of the three (on the picture above) has very heavy beak, so I had to add weight on the back of skull by attaching a feather dreads  and clay beads. It looks awesome, but it´s not for all day wearing.
For the BoFA  I´ve chosen the smallest which is ok to wear the whole day.

Mental remark: DO NOT EVER wear contact lenses in the midst of battle, it get´s dusty and scratches your eyes.

But I looked awesome!

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This is a lovely, lovely warg costume. Also – worn leggins to avoid mosquito bites. Turned up a good idea!

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That´s no make up,this is me being horribly white. Also, photo from the morning. At the end of the day, I was red as a lobster.

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The photos are courtesy of Qilip GrayMichaela Mizakoe ZázvorkováJiří StiborPavla Krona and Michal Kára · LARPy, cosplay a tak.

XOXO, Rael

 

Posted in Costumes, Finished costumes

QUEEN IN THE NORTH also known as the Ravenna dress

Hello my dear readers,

let´s have  a crazy and magical trip to world where everything is allowed and where there are no borders of what is real and what is possible.

Are you ready?
Because this world is crazy as hell. And leaves you questioning your sanity!

Welcome to the world of Changeling: The lost.
I had the opportunity to NPC for the second run in Prague, playing a very badass raven Beast, spymaster and kick-ass biatch called Ravenna (to read about Changelings and stuff, go here).

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KRA-KRA, BITCHES! New queen is in the town.

Basically it is very well thought LARP set in the urban surroundings with a tons of very colorful costumes in contrast to the not so happy setting (Changeling being mainly about coping with being snatched away from your family and changed to something…else. All the characters were humans once. But no more!)

And you know me – I so love costumes and make up; so this was a must do!Not to mention I love playing bitches! I must have been one in my previous life.

It is one of my most favorite ensemble I´ve ever done, because… well, it turned out great and even better and I actually had tons of fun with the project.

It´s a blue and gold dress with a grey coat with blue/gold lining and feather collar. Who is not in love with some serious feathery awesomeness, hmm?

I was ill at the time, so I had almost 3 weeks to finish both – dress and the coat. So some of the details were hand stitched properly and it just looks divine!
But first of all, I needed the wig – which was happily purchased in an Otaku shop and I adore it. I´ve always wanted a proper lace-front wig and this one just does the trick.

So with the wig in the pocket and few make-up tests I was ready to start the dress.

Since I´m a huge fan of Game of Thrones and especially certain Targaryen lady´s wardrobe, I´ve decided to do a GOT inspired costume.

I purchased McCall´s pattern M6941 (here), which is definitely Daenerys inspired costume. I wanted to go for the opening on the back, which is to die for (and will show the crows on my back, teeeheee!)
I also had a quite a lot of (almost) Daenerys blue dupion lying around, so I´ve decided to give it a call. I was scared ***less to cut the fabric, but what to do with lot of nice, blue fabric, if not a beautiful dress.

The story of the blue dupion is very funny. I´ve purchased it in local store with silken products and historical brocade (here) in the winter 2015 with the aim to make it a Dragon Age mage costume for summer 2016 LARP.

Sadly the LARP never happened and it was lying around and just catching dust. So I just thought to give it a try (because it is just the right color, you know? The Targaryen blue!)

I´ve drafted the pattern on a dummy fabric first, because I really had the luxury of enough time. It always ends with the me fitting like crazy, because the size of the pattern never fits 100%. I have enough space for another of pair of boobs and half of a rugby player attached to my ribs.
At that time it was quite funny ordeal, as I had no sewing dummy, so it was all about “pin – try on – not scratch yourself – re-pin – try on”. Very tiresome process, if I may add.
I might have ended with the neckline being too low, so I had to add the golden fabric to have the dress less booby!

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Which was most likely to happen, if I was to fight in the dress. And hell yeah, I was fighting in that dress, so boo-yay for amended neckline!

I also had to do a bit of research, as the dress is a crossbreed between the following ones (for certain reasons like the front opening of the skirt, the sleeves…)

So I´ve ended drafting some of the dress patterns by hand and purely luck.
The skirt was made from golden and blue  synth. brocade and synthetic silk, which I´ve actually used also for lining of the bodice to add the solid feel (as the dupion is very soft)
All the colors go very nicely together. I´m not a big fan of bright color schemes (which makes the pink and green ball gown and the pink taffeta one of the brightest dresses I have) so the Ravenna dress was also intended to be very reserved but expensive looking.
As Ravenna was supposed to be in love with all things expensive and sparkly.

I had a lot of issue to cut the dupion, because not only was it one of my most expensive fabric, but i was not  100% sure I´ll have enough fabric. So I had to commit such atrocity like not following the warp and such. You have to position, baby! Yeehaaa!

 

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All nicely cut out and also underlined wit corset interfacing to hold the shape better.

Unfortunately I don´t have the process itself documented. Once I started to sew it went pretty quickly, the dress was finished in two days with lot of coffee breaks and time to sleep.

The long sleeves were add just not because I loved the white Daenerys dress with them, but also for my comfort. I wanted bare arms, but also something to cover my non-existing biceps (If you know, what I mean).
The sleeves are underlined with the gold/blue brocade to match the rest of the dress, duh!

I´m still not quite happy with the very plain bodice and the plan is to add the distinctive scales Daenerys has on her dress, but it´s a project for the future (I mean, the dress itself is very pretty, but I just want this one extra cherry on the top to make it AWESOME and make people go WOW!)

Also, looking at the lower hem, it will need some serious repairs!

It´s coat time!
I has in mind something interesting, as I had a tons of fluffy feathers lying around from the time I planned the Dragon Age costume (purchased here, and I really recommend to visit this shop, I have only the best experience). Nothing says raven more than feathered collar, right?

I had very heavy cotton twill in just enough length for the coat and blue/gold synthetic brocade I used also for the dress to do the magic.
What I learned from this experience is that you can do the fitting without a dummy, but it takes lot more time to do so. And oh boy, so many pin cuts and scratches one could imagine!

I used McCall´s pattern M6818, which is done after Evil Queen´s attire from Once upon a time (here).

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Again, I´ve encountered the issue with fitting the bodice. Apparently with bigger size comes everything bigger and girl just can´t have smaller wait then bust. I again ended up with too much excessive fabric under the bust and in the side seams.

Which is for me the most horrible work ever, so I just do not enjoy this par as much as the other parts of sewing. Actually I swear so much during the whole process of dress making that my husband usually asks why I do it, if it´s such martyrdom.

Well, the results are totally worth it!

 

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Almost finished bodice…

I had quite lot of time to do the lining all by hand, so it can be said it´s so far my most precise work. I actually still loathe hand stitching, but sometimes it´s really necessary in order to have everything nicely done, no unnecessary stitches showing on the fabric, right?

The feathers were bought on a lace, so it was easy to stitch them onto the collar in stripes. It creates this very impressive silhouette with lion-like mane.

I´ve also worn this costume to Carpathian Conclave for the second day. I´ve added a fur stole to the dress to have this “diva-like” feel, which is not entirely fantasy. As there was a huge guy on the “Iron throne” present (with the throne made of swords on set) I really felt like a Queen in the North.
And hey, I snatched the hunky guy on Iron throne, so, basically, it´s very good term to use.

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Ravenna with the horrid bitch face she had all the time.
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More of the make-up and wig close up. I was wearing huge black contact lenses and it was killing me.
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The coat and the dress in the action. The awesome guy is Attila (yaas, gurl, THAT Attila)
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Close up of the dress, I´ve added small raven skulls on the ribbon on the neckline. Also, still very low neckline, but at least it´s not THAT low as before!
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Don´t you just love the sleeves? I certainly do!
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One with the fur stole – me making horrid faces again. I just can´t keep them faces straight, bitch!

 

Pictures from the Prague Changeling LARP and the Carpathian Conclave, courtesy of Budapest by Night, Zsigmond Kostály (kostyal.hu), Milán Mikó ( Miko Milan Photography) and Szilvia Petka.

XOXO, Rael

Posted in Costumes, Finished costumes

The drop dead gorgeous Victorian party dress (which is not that Victorian, more likely goth)

I´m known to do a last minute sewing stunts. You can call me a Minuteman – or more likely Minutewoman, when it comes to sewing.

I know I have all the right things to do proper sewing with all the needed refining, but I usually don´t have that much time for unnecessary things like zig zag and cleaning the hems and such.
When it comes down to new costumes, I have loads of time and then I just don´t sleep.
At all.
You must know that – it´s either not enough time before or not enough money to purchase the right fabrics.
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I know, I know: BALONEY!

Anyway, this one was my super quick sewing project for LARP Masquerade party held by Prague domain Sherif. And playing a very vain (and being a very vain) character, I´ve decided to do last minute dress – very plain, but drop dead gorgeous.
And inspired with the black taffeta dress I´ve worn on Carpathian Conclave.

Made from cotton with lycra and mixture of polyester (honestly I don´t know, what it is, I had it lying around for a while) I used the bodice pattern from the “Crimson peak” dress and a full circle skirt with knee length in the front and a train in the back (sort of high-low circle skirt).

I actually decided to go for a collar and open back (which sadly is nowhere to be seen) – which I kinda like, you know 🙂
The back has approximately 10 buttons: two on the collar, eight on the back itself. Bought golden filigree buttons, which are to die for!
Also decided to go for full length sleeves with bit of cuffs (without the buttons, so they can be folded and still look interesting).

The neckline and the back is adorned by the same lace as the “Crimson Peak” dress. I´ve also used the leftover hot fix rhinestones to go with it.  This time I went with the lace also to the bust area to have something going on.

The only other golden ornament (or bit bronze-ish) is the pendant in middle of the collar. This is hand-stitched to the dress but can be worn also without it.

I managed to wear this dress also for the College of Wizardry: The Challeneg LARP, so I´ve managed to have some really neat photos.

Enjoy, my lovely readers:

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Theressa Blackwater, the Toreador Primogen. The photo stands for “I´m dead gorgeous and bored…”
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Theressa Blackwater, the Toreador Primogen, less bored, still not amused.
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Hekate Weishaupt, the NIMBUS student, witch with attitude and Hermione hair 🙂
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This I love to call the Addams family portrait!

 

The credit for the photos goes to wonderful Michal Kára and Iulian Dinu, the Dziobak Larp Studios and College of Wizardry.

 

XOXO, Rael

Posted in Costumes, Finished costumes

The curse of the Crimson peak inspired dress: NOT DEAD YET!

Hello again, my dear gentle reader.
No worries, I´m not dead yet. I just happen to be preoccupied with things, that prevented me from writing a lot.

The Crimson peak dress is now finished and I´ve worn it not only to the Carpathian Conclave, but also in Prague for the Masquerade LARP (Sadly no photos).
It was a bit of a race to finish the dress and I had to drop the other sewing project, because I simply didn´t had enough time to do both.

So I´ve decided to do at least the one properly. Which at the end was the right decision. This is – I must admit – my very first ensemble which not only is head to toes awesome, the underlining is fitting and it looks totally like I was planning, but is also finished in every detail.

Anyway it was a hell of a work and not much time to do anything by daylight. So was mainly falling asleep with needle in the hand.
I seriously consider buying and extra lamp for the future sewing room.

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I know, Bianca, I know… So far no new extra lamp for me!

But about the dress:
I managed to fit the lining and the taffeta dress almost perfectly (say – one of the hem of the lining is 5 mm off, that is a huge success!). However in the process I´ve somehow lost few millimeters on the back, so I had to add extra piece of cloth for the buttons. It kinda works as a modesty panel (and in the end, it still is a very close call, while wearing corset. I believe it´s the sole fact, that the corset just moves your body around in different shape.)

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Again a quite a lot of excess fabric under the bust.
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Hello sickface and a loot of bewbs!
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The struggle is real: checking if the lace will be fitting to the rest of the dress.
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Fully underlined and heavy as hell. This is a fitted bodice, ain’t gonna move an inch.Creates quite impressive waist also without corset.
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Back pleates, how I hate thee! 

Buttons are actually a terrible thing. 21 buttons, fabric and bras Edwardian buttons I´ve purchased in Bath last summer. Sadly, I could have used all black, as the bow at the back of the collar hides everything.
The thing with the all buttoned back is – it´s historically accurate, but it´s one hell of a thing to button them.
I need my husband to do all the buttoning, which he HATES! He´s actually the one strong enough to do the buttoning, because the underlined taffeta won´t move an inch, nor stretch enough to allow to button the dress easily.

I´ve managed to fit the dress by an inch – I simply can´t put on any more weight.
However the good thing is that the dress fits also without the corset, and it still looks the right way.

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I actually managed to get the dress covered in lace and at least thousand of tiny little red and onyx gems. Not only the decolletage, but also the train. I happened to purchase hot fix rhinestones in just the right colors and do a magic with the iron.
Nothing says expensive as a lot of tiny glittering stones on a lace.

The skirt itself has been finished with red ribbon and two small bows in front of the openings.
I had to wear my normal bustle and petticoat, because that lobster tail construction fail was not working as I wished. Hence the train was towing behind me in very ungraceful-like manner.
This is something I need to work on a bit – I certainly need proper undergarment.

Unfortunately I don´t have good pictures of the whole dress, just a glimpse here and there. Waiting now to have the opportunity to have some nice pics done.
The dress is worn over a chemise and an under bust corset.

 

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The detail of the bodice with all the glittery lace. It goes over the shoulders and over the back. The collar is bit loose because I was strangling myself with the bow.
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Me in the back, you can see the tiny bows on the front openings of the dress.

Pictures are courtesy of Budapest by Night, Zsigmond Kostály (kostyal.hu) and Milán Mikó ( Miko Milan Photography).

 

XOXO, Rael

Posted in Costumes

Crimson peak inspired black dress vol. 3: Pattern, pins and kittens

It’ been a busy week, my dear gentle readers. Not only am I ill and bedridden, but also stubborn enough to have the time spent by doing some sewing (which may or may not be a good news for my doctor an I might be again yelled at).

So I’ve started to cut the pattern, which is the least favourite part of the whole process. You know, all the paper around makes you wanna cry and kittens meow in joy.
That´s right, I share my household with two Maine coons, who love to help (especially in the kitchen!).

Not very easy to cut out a bit, when there´s 7 kilo of fur, hate and cuteness stepping on the paper (and lying, running around, hiding – you know, doing kitten stuff!)

But somehow I´ve managed to finally cut out the whole lining.

I´ts a nine piece pattern (for the lining). I´ve actually cut it out with the add-on for the pleating – again, the taffeta is very, very light and I´ll need some weight to pull down the hem of the skirt.

The front is very easy three-piece – the bodice and the skirt  are together, so no ugly seams around the hips.

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You can see the finished pleat at the left bottom of the picture. The right side is still not fully pinned and it sticks up like some kind of dead bird wing.
Good thing to know, american patterns are bigger than I thought, so it´s good I´ve picked up smaller size. The fitting will not be that bad as I´ve feared.

However, I already know that the back will definitely need a lot more volume. So far just a half and it looks a bit narrow. I don´t mind, you see – having narrow skirt. But that´just not the it!
The pleats are all stitched down and I don´t plant to sew them together, but I´m used to have more voluptuous skirts.

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On a second thought I might just have it wrongly folded. It does not look nearly like this picture. Well, I´ll give it another try.m2031

As for the dress itself. It is in dire need of train. If there will be a fabric leftover (and I now know, that I´ve enough cotton and probably enough taffeta, as I ve purchased 8 m i/o 6 m) I´ll ad a detachable train with more fun and ornaments. I´m thinking hot-fix crystals and leftover lace from the bodice.

Which brings us eventually back to something more elaborate and definitely not plain.
However, creating is a process and it´s fun to be creative and ride the train.

Edit 20/01:

I´ve definitely realized, that the dress will need a train (I´ve even dreamt of the dress with a train!). I´ve also came to decision, that detachable train is great but might do a lot of harm (I´ve already one costume with detachable train – it does weird things and the hooks never seem to hold in place).

Therefore I´ve decided to add another panel to the skirt and do some pleating of my own. After few hours of research (and trying to understand, how the pattern works) I´ve stumbled upon a pattern for a skirt with train Balayeuse (here).

 

The pattern is contemporary. And without instructions and any text. Actually not much contemporary patterns online have any instruction and they just presume some sort of knowledge about the dresses, fashion and dress making.
Well then – I´m an amateur, I will say it out loud. So this will be a “give it a try, and we´ll see”.
It will be kinda funny – the pattern needs to be re-created and sort of… foolproofed 🙂

Between the “research, coffee, coffee, a nap, -holly-hell-I-can´t-do-that moments and a lasagna” I´ve started cutting the taffeta. Really – the worst material I´ve worked with.
Ever!
It´s so light and slippery it´s probably channeling the inner Fresh prince of Bel Air nylon jackets. I swear by a cup of Earl Grey I´ll go mad before I´ll cutt the pattern out!

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I´m already nearly out of all my pins and the fabric still moves like a snake – here, there, trololo – CAN´T CATCH ME. Great fun for the kittens, but not for me, you see.
There will be a lot of pain with the taffeta, but it definitely will be worth it.

So stay tuned for more things to come!

Xoxo, Rael

Posted in Costumes

Edith Kingdon Gould inspired velvet dress

My gentle reader, I present you Edith Kingdon Gould in her simple claret coloured velvet dress.

Isn´t she simply breath-taking?
I think so!
Edith Mary Kingdon Gould (24 August 1864, New York – 13 November 1921, New Jersey), American actress and socialite. Born to Canadian parents, she was educated in England, and worked as a stage actress until her marriage to George Jay Gould I, extremely wealthy financier and son of Jay Gould, in 1886.
Both bride and groom were only twenty-two, and the groom’s family were quite understandably unhappy with his choice; at the time, actresses were considered only slightly better than prostitutes.
But the new Mrs. Gould, by her vivacity and good humor, eventually won them over. Even more impressively, she went on to be accepted by New York’s extremely snobbish “Society”.
She died at the age of fifty-seven while playing golf with her husband on the golf course of their home in Lakewood Township, New Jersey.
Apparently she was no nitwit or a greenhouse flower, but a fighter and that´s the type I like.

But! She also rocked this House of Worth gown, as you can see in the portrait.
A little bit of history: The House of Worth was a French house of high fashion that specialized in haute couture, ready-to-wear clothes, and perfumes. The historic house was founded in 1858 by designer Charles Frederick Worth. It continued to operate under his descendants until 1952 but finally closed in 1956. The House of Worth brand was revived in 1999 (says the wikipedia).
However the haute couture was not reviewed in it´s full glory and in 2013 the House of worth discontinued presenting also clothes. Their business is now in the perfumery.

House of Worth is responsible for one of the most beautiful dresses I´ve ever seen! Let me pick a few:

Awesome, innit? And that´s just the beginning (you should just google it, if you´re not familiar with their work.)

House of Worth is known for their intriguing and quite richly adorned dresses. It´s a trademark of some sort. They are well-known for their work for some of the crème de la créme of the time:  Empress Eugénie, Sarah Bernhardt, Lillie Langtry, Jenny Lind, and Nellie Melba. Worth also created unique special-event pieces for his best clients, such as masquerade ball costumes and wedding dresses.

One time dresses, I tell you!
All the ladies around the world needed a dress from House of Worth!

But what makes the claret velvet dress so special?

It’s wonderfully clean lined and unadorned for Worth, but Jean Phillipe Worth, who took over after his father died, did occasionally produce work that was this simplified.

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You can se how very nice and simple lines fit the dress. I noted that the painter chose to edit out the waistline break, and narrowed Mrs Gould’s waist even more, even if it´s already small size.

The bodice break at the waits is bit unfortunate (or I find it so). The nice, smooth feel of the painting looks more… clear? And much more work to sew the dress in one piece!
Also, Mrs. Gould here was known for much more lavishing and elaborate dresses, adorned with a lot of jewellery:

Look at all the beaded details on the hem of the skirt! And the lace…
If you´re an actress, you simply must be seen. Therefore a lot of everything!
But the claret velvet dress is something!

In the seas of very mild toned ball gowns, Mrs. Gould must have been like ruby in the grass. eye-catching!

I´ve decided to take inspiration in her after deciding I need a velvet ball gown. My dear friend Lamal bought a hell a lot of a green velvet (I just love the colour, look at it!) and simply was the right thing to use!

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I´ll use ivory (and bit yellow-ish) cotton as lining, as the velvet is very light and slippery. And I need a bit of support and heavy flow for the skirt and the train.

I´ve decided to do the two pieces dress, as the original House of Worth, with very clean lines.

The idea evolved from a dress with a violet millinery flowers and lot of leaves to a drape pinned on the bodice with some feathers and tassels on the hip. And ended with a very plain and clean Edwardian silhouette.

I might consider to add a jacket, as the one below (different House of Worth velvet dress, this time with typical mutton-leg sleeves). This depends of the time schedule and amount of fabric I´ll use for the dress.

But really, the jacket is plain awesomeness.

However this is just a plan. Right now the Crimson Peak black dress need some loving. This is plan for th future, but it will hopefully be lot easier than the taffeta one.

So stay tuned for the progress on this one 🙂

I bet it will be just lovely!

 

Xoxo, Rael

Posted in Costumes

Crimson peak inspired black dress vol. 2: The curse of the fabric

You must know, my gentle reader, that I´m not a very patient person. Especially when it comes to something I´m really looking forward to.
This is the case – so I went and purchased some fabrics I´ve decided to use.

Black matte taffeta, red cotton for lining and a black lace, as I´ve decided to keep the dress really plain with the outstanding red bow/red flower.

What appeared as a very easy task was crowned by several “No, sorry, we don´t have this fabric.” and a few “What, matte taffeta? Who buys it?” from the local stores around. I know it´s weird, but I really want matte taffeta, not that really flashy and wrinkly thing.

Dear gentle reader, you can imagine my horror, when three clerks out of three shake their heads in disbelief. It left me wondering why all the e-shops have this type of fabric, but not the stores.
However, try nr. three turned to be quite a success at the end.

I found the right taffeta (“That´s not matte, miss. That is slightly glam.”). I also found the right lace (“This will go great with the taffeta, it´s last piece – it´s sold so fast!”) and fabric buttons.
I would go for coating buttons, but they´re sold out in the whole town (Really? This is Prague, this is the capital city and all the big fabric stores are sold out? Well…)

The crimson red cotton has been rolling around my flat for quite a time (I wanted to sew another cotte, but it´s still time for LARP season), so it fell victim to my lust for more Victorian dress.

Where´s the glitch, you might ask?
The taffeta is not that matte (or slightly glam) as I´ve hoped. It´s pretty shiny, if you ask me. And after  washing it it´s not that heavy as I hoped. At least the cotton is nice and heavy and will provide the much-needed support.

Also, remember the nice lace?
It´s blue!
Very, very, very deep blue, but it´s blue!

I don´t mind and I´ll probably not buy another one, as this one is very nice and lot better than the geometric ones I´ve seen (and trust me, gentle reader, it will give me nightmares! No nice geometric laces around!)

I´ve decided to switch the pattern and try McCall’s vault collection M2031 (here) and skip the big front drape, the black Crimson Peak dress has.

As I´ve said, I´ll try something plain, yet (hopefully) stunning and eye-catching. Also taffeta does not need much ruffles and stuff – it has the mind of it´s own.

I’ll go for the smaller drape in the front, this might be always discarded. I’ll also need more subtle lace or perhaps tassels for the drape and the bow. I’ve said plain but not necessarily poor.

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Watch out for my poor drawing skills!

The skirt is pleated and it creates a very nice fish tail at the back. If not satisfied, I’ll add some add-on train. But it’s optional an I’m not sure if necessary.

The bodice is four pieces stitched together with the skirt. I’m thinking of underskirt of some sort, if I’ll have enough time and fabric to add some volume to the hem. I always feel more confident with petticoat and it’s nice and historically accurate.

I’m still considering to change the black buttons on the back for one of the beautiful Edwardian buttons I’ve bought in Bath in summer. But alas, my dear gentle reader, they’re very few in numbers and might be too… much.

The dress will be worn with corset and I might dig up the Victorian unmentionables I have in my closet. Just for fun 😁

I’m still not decided, what jewelry to wear (an I’ve barely cut the lining!). This will require some treasure hunting and very careful selection 😏

Anyways, stay tuned for some “in progress” posts and fingers crossed for me. I’ m still waiting for the sewing mannequin, which was supposed to arrive – aand is nowhere to be seen.

Xoxo, Rael

Posted in Costumes

Crimson peak inspired black dress

To be honest, my dear gentle reader, I don ´t know where to start…

I’ ve been obsessed with Crimson Peak long enough to finally do at least one inspired costume. At least one. I’m in love with the whole movie and the set, the costumes and the story. If you didn´t see it (but I doubt it) I highly recommend it.
It´s just a very simple story, very gothic novel-esque. And very visual.

I´m a proud owner of the Crimson Peak: The Art of Darkness hardcover and I must say it´s totaly worth it. Inspiration and fantastic ideas are pouring from every page, so I dive in from time to time.

Since the first pictures appeared, I knew I would definitely need a costume inspired by this awesome movie. I´ve always seen myself more of a dark colours type, so lady Lucielle´s wardrobe was a sure thing.

Not to mention I´m not a big fan of early Edwardian couture with all the mutton-leg sleeves bigger than my head. Nuh-uh, I´m not a slender type of Gibson girl. I love frills and tassels and long trains. So to put it simply – the bit “old-fashioned” lady Lucille was the choice.

Just look at the lovely dresses!

They´re simply fantastic and haunting in the same time (which I like, to be quite honest, at some point she happened to be my favourite character in the movie).

All the three dresses are of the similar cut – the crimson red dress being the most intricate one (with the back stylized into a spine shape, the train looking like a pool of blood, etc.). And I happen to be of a possession of a similar pattern, so I´ve decided to give it a try.

To make it more complicated, I´ve stumbled upon wonderful and talented Angela Clayton´s pages ( you should check her page here, if you´re not familiar with her! She has serious skills and I wish I have at least half of it).

Her Pumpkin taffeta 1890´s dress (here) inspired by Crimson Peak´s Edith yellow dress made me wonder, if I don´t need a dress with a bow at a back of my neck!

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Yellow dress worn by Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak

Oh boy, I really need that dress, dear gentle reader! I certainly do!
So I´ve come to the point, when deciding between the two I´ve found the middle ground and drafted the idea of something in between.

But my mind has the life of it´s own and inspiration goes and comes when it wants!

And then I´ve seen Eva Green in Penny Dreadful! Not only does she look fabulous with all the coats she just rocks, but she also has the necessary “evil/mysterious eerie presence” I just love.
Not to mention that she´s a hell of a woman (seriously, this is show worth watching – and not only because of her! and the costumes of course!)

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I should be fair – the title of this page is not true anymore, as the idea has taken a totally different shape now. I´ve been thinking about this dress over a year now (yes, that long, my gentle reader!) and it has gone from “Victorian mourning” to “slightly Edwardian” and at the end to “Victorian mourning with a bow and inspiration from Ms. Ives”.

I´ve decided for a black taffeta with crimson cotton lining and black lace for the bodice. The hook of the dress should be either a red bow at the back of the train (instead of the bustle, as I´ve decided to skip it. I have enough large derrière to have it padded even more) or a single red rose (as seen in the Crimson Peak).

I´ve now a month and half until the Carpathian Conclave (a part of Vampire international chronicle LARP) so I´ve thing or two to do 🙂
No time, so many things to do.

 

I´ll definitely keep you posted about the progress on this one. Hopefully it will be the easier one of the two costumes I´ve decided to wear .)

 

Xoxo, Rael