Hold Up!

hold up!

[Stuart voice]: “Look what I can do!”

Hold Up!

Hold Up!
The Beyoncé “Hold Up” dress (here’s the original: yes, it’s amazing!) was my biggest project this Halloween. A friend saved up and went big – she not only requisitioned the dress, she acquired the hair, shoes (which were then hand-painted), and jewerly. There is nothing I like more than someone going all-out, and it was wonderful to be a part of that.

Hold Up!

Let me get right to the knitty-gritty of how (I think) the dress was originally constructed (it’s from a collection, so there is more than one version out there – which is confusing for a reconstruction effort), and how I duped it.

So, he dress appears to be made with tiered chiffon flounces, and lace appliqué on a mesh and spandex underdress. The flounces were also roughly pleated and lettuce-edged; the bottom two flounces were trimmed with lace. The dress is hardly structured at all, a lot of bare skin shows as well as the actual push-up bra. My client found the black bra herself and hand-stitched an interlining to emulate the double-strap look on the bra. I wish I’d paid more attention to that particular bra detail, as I could have done that job for her by machine; her handstitching failed at the party she was at (bras need to be very sturdy, especially for the large-busted)!

Because the dress is mostly a monochromatic garment, I had to figure out how to get four matching colors in the absolutely gorgeous yellow of the dress, and this affected my choice of fabrics. Notice in the photo at upper left a version of the dress looks warm and poppy-colored, at left – and greenish at right; you will also notice the dress appears several different colors in this post depending on the lighting I am working with. I ended up deciding to buy my 25 yards of chiffon, and dye the other fabrics to match using a local dye artist. Note that dyeing different fabrics (including fabrics with differing fiber content) is a bit of a technical challenge, and will likely involve lots of testing and different types of dye processes.

It took trial and error to get the fabrics dyed the correct color;  one nylon lace, for instance, simply didn’t take dye. My dye artist friend (Val from FiberPlay) had to do two washes to get the colors deep enough – but they were lovely and all matched, by the time she was done. Below, you see (from left, clockwise) the chiffon, spandex, mesh, and lace I used.

Hold Up!

One other major technical component was the pleating. I believe the flounces on the original garment were cut circular, not straight – which meant the pleats were formed that way as well (I think of this as sunray pleating although I’m sure it has other names). After lots of pleating research and a few phone conversations with the *amazing* Rusty at SF Pleating (415.608.1983), I opted to send Rusty labeled strips, and he pleated them all. The pleats arrived in these fabulous crepe paper bundles. Rusty was beyond amazing and I hope to work with him again!

Hold Up!

Hold Up!

Now that I had the pleated chiffon and all properly-hued fabrics, it was time to assemble! I build the mesh and spandex underdress, using carbon paper to trace my flounce positions. I then fussy-cut the lace motifs, and applied the lace to locations on the mesh underdress:

Hold Up!

The mesh needed a stabilizer to form a nice strong zig-zag stitch.

Hold Up!
All of the chiffon flounces had to be finished by serge, as chiffon likes to fray into these teeny tiny fibers. These flounces were then either edged by serge or edged by fishing line. The latter process is so fun! You wrap your fishing line around a form, use heat (boiling water or heat gun) to seal the shape of the circular culry-q’s, let cool, and feed this line into the chiffon while hemming. This process required a lot of trial and error; you have to find the right weight of fishing line – but was super fun. I’ll have to create a tutorial someday!|

After the flounces were hemmed, I applied them to the mesh in the locations I’d traced:

Hold Up!

One regret I had was not acquiring a twist-cord blank to dye. Instead I created cord from the spandex fabric, and used it for the dresses’ back-tie, as well as the three straps in the bodice.

Hold Up!
The original dress likely does not fasten by tie, but this is the most adjustable and comfortable way to go for a costume:

Hold Up!

So, obviously my friend K. stole the show at her event. It was both an honor and a privilege to get to make her something so special! And I can’t wait for my next pleated project!

Hold Up!

Costume Workshop Sew-Along Badge

costume workshop sew-along: finishing

Costume Workshop Sew-Along BadgeWe are almost finished with our costume workshop! Our first week we put together a simple hat with ears and whiskers. Then, we prepared our jumpsuit-style pattern and cut and marked our fabrics. Then we joined our shell, including our pockets. Last entry we joined the lining and prepared our neckline and front placket

Today? We are finishing and joining the costume. Our final post will be a little costume/tutorial workshop roundup, consisting of some helpful costuming resources (and please email me if there are any you’d like to share)!

Ready? OK!

Fist Bump!

Costume Workshop Sew-Along Badge

costume workshop sew-along: joining the shell

Costume Workshop Sew-Along BadgeOur first week we messed around with hats and ears and whiskers, that sort of thing. Last week we prepared our pattern and cut and marked our fabrics. Today we will be joining our shell (including pockets), to prepare for lining insertion.

A reminder: I am working with faux fur here, and if you are working with it as well you may want to check out my post from a few years back. 

Ready? OK!

Ready!

Costume Workshop Sew-Along Badge

costume workshop sew-along: hat with ears

Costume Workshop Sew-Along Badge

Costume Workshop Sew-Along: Hat With Ears

Yo yo yo! Today’s the day we get started on some costumery. Instead of a typical sew-along where we are all making the same garment, I’m showcasing some costuming basics so you don’t have to have endless mishaps, glue-gun burns, blunted scissors, and bent sewing machine needles!

Well let’s just be honest. You are going to get a few glue gun burns. That’s probably given.

Flames!

But here’s the thing. The real benefit of this sew-along are my Skype sessions. This is where you and I video chat and you can tell me all about your project and I can direct you to sources, help you find techniques, and advise you! My next three Fridays are open for Skype appointments  – 12 to 3 PM PST on September 16th, 23rd, and 30th! I already have slots filling in (albeit slowly) – so if you want to reserve a spot, text (360.500.3287) or email me!

Costume Workshop Sew-Along

costume workshop sew-along: supplies & pattern

Costume Workshop Sew-Along
Ro-Man (aka Robot Monster), 1953

Max From Where The Wild Things Are (Upgrayedd)

babycreeps #1: little dickens

On The Prowl

(post one September 15, 2016: hats with whiskers and ears, here)

(Literally waited until the earliest possible seemly date to start my Halloween sew-talk)

So hey. Hey good peeps. You know what?

I love making costumes so so so so much!

And given I’ve made quite a few for kids and adults all over the globe – from California to the Netherlands to Australia! – I wanted to showcase some of the methods I use to make a costume last, and last, and last.

SQUATCHIN

“I know a thing or two about love. Well, maybe just a thing. A big, blurry thing, like Bigfoot.”

Ralph was out of town all weekend. I was so busy it is amazing I didn’t fall ill, or forget to feed some animal and child and find them a skeleton sporting a tuft of fur by week’s-end.

Friday I delivered a sasquatch costume to an Events concern that needed one for a handful of festivities during the year. So far a picture or two has popped up on Facebook, and everyone looks like they’re having a good time – including the first paid person to don the piece. Included with the costume: a few types of black makeup, and a few types of false teeth.

SQUATCHIN'

I know, I know. It would have been nice to get more of my trademark detailed pictures of the piece. Well, it was a miracle – in the entire pedestrian usage of the word – I got photos at all. It was quite a rush job.

SQUATCHIN'

 For the front closure: hidden snaps in a black canvas underlap. A great technique I’ll be using for more costumes!

SQUATCHIN'

Fully lined in a delicious, nubby black satin. The costume feels good on the inside. Ain’t gonna lie – probably a fairly hot experience to wear it!
SQUATCHIN'

Toes: sewn and glued to fur spats – a nice, long foot that can be worn out in weather. I even painted little purplish moons on the nails. Who is going to look this close? Well the point is – I do.

SQUATCHIN'

So that? Was my last week. Grateful to have the project finished according to my timeline.

Saturday I hadn’t recuperated before hustling my eldest to her soccer game adjacent to a mushroom farm in Olympia (the game ended a 2-2 tie). Came home and worked a bit on my vampire film project. I am getting into Halloween the way my rabbit is into eating slightly overripe bananas!

In the last two days I’ve had an audition, yoga classes, and two volunteer bits – as well as cooking for family and friends and a movie night.

An audition? Oh yes. Today I landed a part in the ensemble cast of a local production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Kind of a lifetime dream as I have adored the rock opera since I was a little girl – and I was really, really into it as a teen. (Ralph will still put it on when I’m sewing, and having trouble.

So yeah. This next week? A little respite might be nice.

 

Toro T7

you know. like ya do.

Halloween costuming season is drawing to a close. I haven’t even put one toe in the waters of my own kids’ costumes yet, instead being quite involved in creating gear for kids around the North Americas. Today, sent out in the mail:

A TORO T7 LAWN SPRINKLER. For a five year old.

You know.

One of these:

Toro T7

Here’s a close-up of the top. I was told I had to be pretty accurate for this part. Like so:

Toro T7, Top

I finished the costume a little while ago but I was hoping to get a five year old to model. Still, I needed to mail it and five year olds were scarce, so my nine year old son stood in. Unfortunately his head is a little larger than the client’s, but I think you can get the general gist:

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

Sprinkling.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

Not Real Water.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A close-up of the sprinkler housing. All papercraft – attached to a pleather “skirt” with side and back vents for comfort, and wire in the hems for shaping.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

The top of the sprinkler… I didn’t want to make it uncomfortably tall for a five year old. Lined with a little pilot cap hat that snaps closed and is quite cozy!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A closeup of the water “spray”. Clear tubing and adjustable wire for the right arc.

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

100% cotton shell pilot cap and snaps!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

The top. This is the part I’m crossing my fingers on. Hoping the little client is pleased enough with it!

Toro T7 For An Extra-Spooky Halloween!

A little card and some care instructions. The costume cost one billion dollars to ship on account of its size – it went off to CA today.

So yeah, I have a 100% return policy for all my stuff. I’ve been joking about this costume that if the customer, God forbid truly, does return it, I can always sell it to someone else.

#LOOOOOOOOOL

a little warmth, or maybe a lot of warmth actually

UM, it is super-hard to get rid of inventory. I made this a while back but hadn’t taken photos, posted photos, shared in any way, or even put the garment in a local shop. LOL at me because I am a pretty-okay seamstress but not really a businesswoman in any real sense.

Anyway – here we have an all-fleece Max, more in line with the film’s version of the costume than that of the book. Hoping this version finds its way to a sweet little 2T/3T kiddo out there.

[ Etsy listing ]

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

Super-Duper Extra Warm Max!

needle & thread in a cold studio

Ripslinger-To-Be

This weekend I went balls-out, without enough sleep or preparation, to host a booth in the only show I’ve yet brought my wares: the Fiber Arts Festival in Elma, WA. Let me tell you a few things, it is a great group of (mostly) ladies and they have a lot of passion, like don’t even make a joke about how goofy an alpaca looks or anything. The attendants out there raise the animals (alpacas, llamas, Jacobs sheep, angora bunnies, et cetera), clean and process the wool, spin, knit, crochet, tat, make bobbin-lace, and do all kinds of weaving. For some reason at this festival they let my seamstressing ass in although I’m the only garment-maker, ever. I even sold a few pieces – Sea Fan, Squidlet, and a few other odds and ends, including a blue-velour tentacled baby bunting I never even took pictures of.

But I’m glad to be home.

Currently I’m up to my tits in Halloween. Today I’m working up a Ripslinger costume (from Disney’s Planes) for a three year old. The project involves a heck of a lot of stencil work, and, as promised, I am putting together a tutorial on the relatively simple process of making great-looking motifs.

Stencil Work

In the post:

Papercraft Bits

I sent my most recent Max out to NV and am now working up a Max for a 4 year old, a Bulldog hoodie for an infant, and a Louise hat for a grownup.

It’s a little more work than I’ve really got time for.

So if y’all could just come over and do my dishes and give my dog a walk, I’d appreciate it. kthx