Monday, January 20, 2014

In Other News....

My recent lack of project posts is due to the fact that I'm moving. My job is moving me to Michigan, were I will be joining the Midrealm. It's cold there - expect future projects to include more wool, and Renaissance ensembles with ALL THE LAYERS.

I'll get back to sewing and posting once I get moved and settled in.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Real Life Saxon Princess

When I met my co-worker's daughter Zoey, I kept thinking about how much she reminded me of the girl in this 1517 portrait by Lucas Cranach, Portrait of a Saxon Princess.

Her hair and eye color are the same, and even some of her facial features are very similar. And she's close to the right age. So, of course I had to make her the dress.

Since this isn't an SCA gown, and since she's likely to outgrow it so quickly, it's made out of a polyester satin and cotton or acetate velvet.

The bodice is made of the polyester satin with velvet guards along the sides and neck. A panel in the center has the gold "brustflek" stitched to the top. The gown opens along this side right seam, and is laced together over the white panel through lacing rings sewn along the sides.

The sleeves are finished separately and are likewise made of the polyester satin with velvet guards on the top and bottom of each sleeve section. The bottom section is bell shaped close to the wrist, as seen on the left hand in the inspiration portrait. The top and bottom sections are laced together at the elbow through ribbon lacing rings sewn to the inside of the sleeves, and the entire sleeve is attached to the shoulder of the bodice with three ribbons.

The skirt has three strips sewn along the bottom, two of velvet and one of embroidered satin (as I ran out of velvet), and is cartridge pleated to the waist. I wanted to experiment with rolled pleats, but didn't have quite enough fabric.

I think Zoey was very pleased with her dress. This project was all the more fun because she's 6, obsessed with princesses of the Disney variety, and was very excited to be able to dress like a "real" princess. She was an excellent model, and did a great job overcoming her fear of the pins used in the fitting stages.

Thanks, Zoey!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Wicked Halloween - Galinda's Bubble Gown

Some friends asked me to make the Blue Galinda "Bubble" gown from the musical Wicked for their daughter for Halloween. She is a talented young actress and a big fan of Wicked. And if someone is willing to give me a fun challenge like that and buy me lots of pretty fabric, I'm certainly not going to say no!

Lots of pictures of the original gown can be found on this website. There have been many versions of the gown made for the many productions of the musical over the years. I was mostly using the original Kristen Chenoweth version of the gown for inspiration. However, I did incorporate the sweetheart neckline that appeared in later versions. And my reproduction doesn't involve quite as many sequins and sparkles.

The gown is made from a light blue polyester satin with a shimmery chiffon overlay that ended up being more of a periwinkle blue. I ordered the fabric online and wasn't sure of the exact color. But together, I think the it ended up being just the color I was going for.

The bodice of the gown is patterned in five pieces: two in the back, and three in the front, with princess seams creating a "V" shape that comes to a point at the waist. It's interlined with cotton canvas and lined with plain weave cotton. I thought about using some cable tie "bones", but with the stiffness of the canvas interlining, it wasn't necessary.

I attempted the super-poofy off-the-shoulder sleeves - they didn't end up quite as poofy as I was aiming for, but work nicely.

The skirt is cut as three separate full circle skirts that get progressively shorter. I wanted to have a couple more layers, but I ran out of fabric. Five yards only goes so far when you're cutting circle skirts! The "scallop" shapes were cut into the bottom of all three layers, hemmed, then all three layers were attached to each other, then attached to the bodice.

The neckline of the bodice and the hem of the skirt tiers were trimmed with a very simple, single row of silver sequins. The original gown appears to have rows of hand-applied individual sequins on the edge of each scallop. Since I wasn't going in that direction, I decided that less is more.

It laces up the back, as I couldn't muster my courage and get over my fear of installing invisible zippers. Some day I will master this skill!

For the accessories, she already had the Tiara, and her dad made the wand/scepter.


Here I've asked for a "Galinda" pose.

Here we're getting a simulated recreation of the highest, most dramatic note in the musical.

She's really very good at the "Regal" thing.

And to my favorite Galinda-in-miniature, I hope your gown made you feel even more Popular. :-D