Miscellaneous, Sewing Projects

Once Upon a Time Costume Replicas

I’m afraid I’m long overdue in updating this blog; there’s been so many changes in my life lately and it’s been a challenge finding time to sit down and actually post! Back in August I resigned from my 9-5 office job with the intent of pursuing my costume design career while also offering princess parties and appearances.. and then along came Sephora. Many years ago I freelanced as a makeup artist (and continue to do so when possible) and had an opportunity to join as a seasonal cast member, so I figured why not? I had the intent of balancing both sewing and makeup, but as often happens with life plans reality came along and pretty much laughed in my face. I had no idea just how busy the holiday season can be for a store like that and now that I’ve experienced it I realize that trying to pull off both had landed me in the same boat as I was in while at the office; trying to balance a regular job, freelance job, and still having some semblance of a life.

With that said I’ve loved the ~3 months I’ve spent at Sephora; it was a great opportunity to work with some lovely people and learn new things. It’ll all be coming to an end shortly, and in preparation for that I’m in the process of getting back to all things costume related including party appearances as Elsa. I’ve re-opened the Etsy shop, updated social media accounts and am now working on the blog!

The project I’ve most been waiting to post about is my masquerade group from this year that I mentioned a few months ago. We ended up with 7 total characters from Once Upon a Time: Killian Jones/Captain Hook, Emma Swan, Snow White, Prince Charming, Queen Regina, Queen Cora and Belle. It took 7 weeks of insanity (while balancing Sephora and trying to sew!) with plenty of bedazzling assistance from J & D, but together we pulled it off. In the interest of not writing 7 individual posts I’m just going to include some photos and explain a bit about each costume; should anyone be intending on replicating these feel free to ask for further detail and I’d be happy to explain.

Killian Jones was my best fabric find; after some serious online research I tracked down one of the fabric sources that Once Upon a Time uses and managed to acquire the exact same fabric (even the exact same bolt it came from) that the show used for Killian’s jacket from S03E22, Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home. It’s a gorgeous embossed silk and was surprisingly easy to work with, just a challenge to press and steam without wrecking the pattern! My lovely husband was pleased to wear this outfit. The jacket was lined with a soft taupe cotton and French microtwill black facing and accents, with black grosgrain ribbon and more buttons than I ever again want to buy from Fabricland. I also whipped up a bright white sateen cotton shirt and coordinating French microtwill black vest as well; because I am determined, the vest itself was made entirely the morning of the masquerade. I am so beyond proud of his ensemble, the jacket is a particular point of pride for me partly due to fabric source and partly due to how it looks on the husband!


Since he’s in the above photo as well, we also had Prince Charming. I’m responsible for his shirt and tunic, the pants and boots were his own (and he insisted on cowboy boots to make it more ‘him’). His shirt was the same as Killian Jones’, but in a soft ivory cotton instead. The collar was a particular pain in the butt, as Charming’s is quite frayed. I sat with it for hours with a pin gradually unraveling the edges to keep it frayed without letting it fall apart. The tunic is a beautiful black faux leather with a natural grain, lined in red Kona cotton and trimmed with chocolate brown microsuede. The real tunic has perforated leather sleeves, which was a fabric I couldn’t find, so we went with a diamond quilted pattern instead.

DSC2689The boys’ costumes were actually the easiest ones to put together, the ladies are the ones with all the insane amounts of detail. Regina nearly killed me; K chose her dress from S03E02, Lost Girl, and of course it was plastered in rhinestones, hand painted lace and feathers. I found the original fabric for this one as well, but at $30/yard with a 10 yard minimum order it was just way too pricey, especially when we only needed 7 yards. Instead I opted for a satin charmeuse that came in a black/fuschia print, which was then dyed piece by piece with iDye Poly in Crimson. There’s roughly 600 black rooster feathers and 2000+ rhinestones on this one (all individually attached), but it was a labour of love even though it took the longest. It’s two separate pieces, a big skirt with pockets and then the bodice, worn over a bum roll and a triple hoopskirt.

Photo courtesy of Morgan Turner PhotographyIn keeping with the evil queens we also had Cora, Regina’s mother. Our Cora was less of an exact replica and more of an ‘inspired by’ type of deal. It’s actually what prompted the whole group masquerade idea; husband’s and my original plan was Red Death Phantom of the Opera and Christine (her movie masquerade gown) but the fabric I ordered did not look anything like it had on the website. In the hopes of actually getting some use out of it I suggested J join us for the masquerade, which led to an interpretation of Cora’s wedding gown from S02E18, The Miller’s Daughter. This is a duochrome taffeta and tulle mix with beaded bridal lace and more rhinestones than I really want to count. Tulle is an awful skirt choice when done in single layer, by the way.. especially when you’ll be walking around outside, hence the uneven hem as this was towards the end of the night when it got caught on stuff. The top is a proper steel boned corset (also worn over a much heavier steel undergarment corset) and the skirt is a gathered poofy concoction worn over a triple hoopskirt, also with pockets. I really like ballgowns with pockets. Our Cora is also best friend J who is usually behind the scenes manning my Nikon to take photos of Elsa and Anna!

Photo courtesy of Morgan Turner PhotographyAnd now the non-evil ladies! Belle was the original OUAT take on Belle’s classic yellow gown, the one she was seen in through seasons 1-3. My version was done with yellow satin and dyed brown satin, as well as brown beaded and heavily rhinestoned lace. The top was a proper steel boned corset as well, with the pleated skirt and pockets. Worn over a single hoop skirt and a small bum roll. Unfortunately Belle’s gown best shows how much my garment steamer failed me the day of the masquerade; while I’d pressed my seams during construction I didn’t iron the entire thing in the process as I’d planned to put the men to work steaming while us ladies handled the makeup and hair. Sadly the Rowenta upright steamer I’d purchased just for this occasion decided to spit water instead, and of course I was informed of this when I was in the process of dressing everyone and it was too late to bust out the ironing board. Therefore, please pardon the creases in the fabric. 😦

Snow White is the purple gown she’s most often pictured in (the one worn to Cinderella’s ball) from S01E04, The Price of Gold. It’s a beautiful lilac shantung two piece (sensing a theme here?) with a proper steel boned corset as the bodice, covered in hand painted lace and plenty of rhinestones. The skirt was pleated and also had pockets, and was worn with a bum roll over a triple hoopskirt. She didn’t take a single photo, but I do have one of her with Charming!

DSC2678And last but not least, my own gown. This is Emma Swan’s fairytale princess dress from S03E21 & S03E22, Snow Drifts/There’s No Place Like Home. I hate to point this out, but in the rush to get everyone laced into their dresses and to the masquerade I forgot to throw my bum roll over my petticoat, so I won’t be posting photos of me standing. I do, however, have a lovely photo that one of the photographers suggested that is my favourite! My dress was 10 yards of satin, with a steel boned bodice worn over a fully steel boned undergarment corset, and a massive pleated skirt with pockets over a triple hoopskirt (and designed for the bum roll I forgot to put on!). The original dress from the show had  bit of embellishment along the neckline but that was it; as anyone reading this blog knows I’m a huge fan of all things sparkly so of course I had to add more. The lace around the neckline was rhinestoned, but the hem is where it really stood out. It’s 9.7 yards around, and had scalloped lace sewn on the whole way. I then hand beaded that lace with Swarovski bicone beads and seed beads, and attached quite a few clear Swarovski crystals along with an insane amount of red crystals.


All 7 of these costumes were a TON of work, but they were an absolute pleasure to do and one hell of an experience. We had a lovely night at the masquerade, and we all looked amazing! Hopefully we’ll be able to visit the mainland in the spring to do a photoshoot in Steveston, where Once Upon a Time films their Storybrooke scenes.



Welcome to Jack & Ginger Co!

Ever since I was little, sewing has been my passion. In recent years, I’d even say that sewing has become my superpower. With 18 years of experience behind me, bringing costumes to life has always been a specialty. Feel free to explore the designs I’ve created for myself and clients, as well as the various appearances that friends and I have made as Disney characters.

Welcome to my new home, Jack & Ginger Co!


Sneak Preview & FAQ

I just had some new fabric delivered for my next major project, and thought I’d share a sneak preview of what’s in the works. This isn’t overly exciting, it’s just a stack of fabric.. but what that fabric will become should be fun!

Here we have (from top to bottom) 4 yards light yellow habutae lining, 10 yards yellow taffeta, 3 yards royal blue habutae lining, 3 yards navy blue velvet and 3 yards heavyweight sew-in interfacing. This batch came from onlinefabricstore.net, and so far I’m quite happy with my purchases. Even with the cost of shipping into Canada, it was considerably cheaper than buying at a store here and still excellent quality. Still in the mail (and hopefully arriving this week!) is another 3 yards of yellow taffeta in a different shade, 1 yard of yellow chiffon and 3 yards black tropical-weight suiting from Fabric.com

Any guesses what this will be turned into? 

I also thought it might be helpful to do a bit of an FAQ/About Me, as nearly every time I post a sewing project on Reddit people ask the same questions. I’m happy to answer, but figured it wouldn’t hurt sticking them all in one place anyway. 🙂

Are you professionally trained or self-taught?

Technically you could say both! I’ve never taken a sewing class in my life, but my aunt is a professional seamstress. When I was about 8 or 9 she and my grandmother both started teaching me; it took until I was about 11 or 12 for it to really catch my interest. Most of it came from my grandmother (basic skills, troubleshooting.. hell, I still call her to bounce ideas off her!), but my aunt gets to take credit for throwing challenges my way. I showed up to my cousin’s wedding when I was about 16 and was sat down at a sewing machine to help with alterations on the bridesmaids dresses! Their expertise helped me create three prom dresses in my last year of high school: a white tulle and satin ballgown for myself, a purple and black satin/organza gown for a friend, and a black taffeta/pink charmeuse corseted back a-line strapless dress that I ended up selling to a friend of my mother’s for her daughter. After high school I was pretty much on my own, and have been creating costumes ever since.

A lot of what I know how to do now has been from trial and error as well as experience. The majority of my sewing skills have been put towards costuming, but lately I’ve been working more on regular clothing. 

How long have you been sewing?

Well, I started learning at 8-9, but if we count from 11-12 when I actually started caring about it? That puts me at 14-15 years of experience.

What machines/equipment do you use?

For machines, I have a Janome CT2480LX and a Brother 1134D serger. I also have a dress form that I swear by now, and wonder how I ever got on without it before. My setup is pretty simple; I have a little shelving unit with bins and boxes that contain all my fabric, notions and various small equipment. I also have our old rectangular kitchen table that I keep both machines set up on, and work from there. Usually with the TV running in the background. 

Can you do a tutorial on __________?

Probably, yes. Just ask! I have a lot of planned projects in the works, so what you’d like to see may or may not align with them. I do have a regular full-time job and do this in my spare time, so please keep in mind that this is a hobby. 🙂

Do you take commissions?

Not usually; I’m willing to consider things depending on what it is you’re looking for, your budget and time frame. I don’t like to take on new projects unless I know for sure I have the time and skills required.

Will you make me a TARDIS dress?

I’m so sorry, but I don’t plan on making the TARDIS ballgown again. That dress was a challenge and while I learned a lot about my sewing abilities in the process, and likely would be able to do it again in less time, I just can’t bring myself to do it. That dress is very special to me, and now belongs to a lovely lady that just had to have it. I’d rather keep it as an original, one of a kind creation.

Will you make/sell a pattern for the TARDIS dress?

Again I’m sorry, but no. You’re welcome to try to create it yourself, but I will not be making or selling a pattern for it. The only part I actually patterned was the corset, and the rest was all freehand or draping. Also figuring out the fairness of money for it would be a nightmare; it’s Anne-Louise Richards’ design, but my work on the pattern itself.

And lastly, a bit about myself.

My name is Crystal, I’m 26 and I live on Vancouver Island. I’m married to an absolutely amazing man, and his job in the navy makes for a challenging lifestyle. I spend my free time during his deployments sewing anything I can think of to keep myself busy. I am a huge Doctor Who fan (so much that I have a TARDIS tattoo) if it wasn’t obvious by the TARDIS gown, and could talk about it for hours. I’m also a fan of Iron Man (RDJ, who isn’t?!), The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Sherlock and pretty much everything Disney. I read ridiculously fast and absorb books like they’re going out of style. When I’m not sewing or working my office job I’m taking advantage of the time I get with the husband while he’s home. 


Where to begin?

This blog may be new, but I’m certainly not new to sewing. I started at a very young age and by the time I was in high school I was pretty damned proficient. My grandmother and aunt guided me through the early years, and I soon began figuring things out for myself. I wish I had photos of everything I’ve ever made, but digital cameras weren’t popular til I was out of high school. God, that makes me feel old!! There are loads of film copies of older sewing projects, but tracking them down is a bit difficult.

I’ve never taken an official sewing course in my life. My grandmother taught me nearly everything I know, and she did the same for my aunt. Auntie is an amazing inspiration; she took the skills my grandmother taught her and turned them into something incredible. She’s done costuming for musicals and her work is just something else entirely. Whenever I’ve had questions, I’ve gone to them for help.

It might help to point out that I do more than sewing; as fun as it is to create a garment, my passion for being crafty goes far beyond that. Costuming is my absolute favourite. I love being able to create pieces for an outfit, or modify something existing so it works better for what I’m making. A lot of my recent projects have involved doing this.

Writing this blog wasn’t actually my idea. About two weeks ago, I posted my progress photos of the TARDIS ballgown on Reddit. A lot of the commenters had asked if I had a blog or twitter they could follow. I loathe twitter, my account still exists but I don’t think I’ve really used it in ages. I have another blog I’d been writing but as it’s attracted some unwanted attention I thought it might just be better to start fresh.

So, here I am. I’ve hunted down as many photos of my old projects as I can. Sadly some of my favourites I couldn’t find photos of, namely two prom dresses I made in grade 12. The majority of my older projects were made from commercial patterns, which I’ll be doing my best to add into each post to help those who are interested. I’ll be making individual posts for each project and detailing what I can remember about each one. My newer projects I’ve been taking progress photos as I’ve gone along, so those should be more informative posts. 🙂