Costuming, Public Appearances, Sewing Projects

A Long Overdue Update

A lot has changed in my life since the last time I posted, and while I normally wouldn’t go this into detail about my personal life on a blog about sewing and costuming, I feel like I owe some sort of explanation for not having written anything in months.

Shortly after my last entry, my life was turned upside down. I had been working from home for a few months trying to make sewing and costuming my full time job, and had actually landed a pretty decent contract. All of my materials had arrived, and then suddenly I was getting a divorce and possibly moving from BC back home to Ontario with my family before I’d even cut anything out. Things were difficult for a while; I made it through the sewing contract and got everything turned in on time (just barely.. as in 7am the day they were due by 11am!), and I started a new full time job that same day.

At the risk of oversharing, I admit that the divorce itself was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to face in my life. It was terrible timing (is there ever a right time for a divorce?), I didn’t know how I was going to start over or put myself back together. It took time, and a lot of learning about things that had happened during the marriage that I wasn’t aware of that helped me move forward, and I’m happy to say that I made it through okay.

With getting back into the regular workforce and putting my life back together I haven’t had as much time for sewing as I used to. I’ve made a few things here and there with fabric I had laying around the apartment – a Poison Ivy costume, a dress, and I’ve been gradually working on a leather jacket when I’ve had the time. Things seem to have settled into a routine now and I’m hoping I can get into more sewing projects before the year is out. Unfortunately the crappy Canadian dollar has put a limit on what I can do; usually I order my supplies online as it’s insanely cheaper, but with the poor exchange rate it’s not quite the same anymore.

With that said, my posts may be less frequent than they used to, but I will do my best to keep updating. My new job is wonderful but as it’s been quite a while since I worked full time hours away from home it feels like it’s taken over all of my free time. I’ve been trying to get back into doing birthday parties when I can; I really miss playing Elsa regularly but it’s a challenge to balance work and hobbies.

I do have some photos to share of the Poison Ivy costume as well as the dress to keep this blog going until I have something new. 🙂

Costuming, Disney Princess Series, Public Appearances, Sewing Projects

Queen Elsa v2.0

After nearly a year straight of wearing my Elsa costume on a regular basis for big public appearances and birthday parties, it’s time to retire my original costume and bring out a new one. I’ve enjoyed so many great experiences in my first design that it’s bittersweet retiring it, but after so many outdoor events its taken quite a beating and sadly.. it’s time. Frozen has had such a huge impact on my life this past year and it’s only fair that my favourite character get a new costume worthy of portraying her.

The upside of making Elsa for a second time is that I learned a lot from the first one, and there are way better fabric options available now. Sequins were a terrible choice as they cut into the organza cape and made the shirtsleeves pill, and the organza cape itself did not want to stay together anywhere there was a seam on the bias. With the popularity of Frozen there are new fabrics available that have been designed specifically for Elsa and Anna costumes, and I fully took advantage of that.

Supplies were ordered in late November, and even though a good chunk of them came from China they all arrived before Christmas! The early arrival was incredibly convenient as I actually ended up ridiculously sick over the holidays which led to loads of time sitting on my couch and therefore time for incredible amounts of detail. It’s entirely wearable at this point but I’m still wearing my old shirt; the new one is cut out but this time I’d like to rhinestone it before sewing it, and I just haven’t found the time yet this year to sit down and do that.

The skirt was first, and the same as my original with a slight change to the hem. My original had a pointed hem that flowed nicely with the cape, but made the skirt a lot more cumbersome when getting in and out of a vehicle. I’m usually driving to and from events/parties dressed as Elsa (unless lovely husband is available and willing to come with), so trying to fit the skirt and cape into the drivers seat was a challenge. The point also wasn’t accurate, which became more apparent when higher resolution reference material was available. This time I used fabric I purchased on Etsy, which was actually a bit more of a challenge than I expected. It wasn’t clear from the photos, but the silver threading in the fabric ran from selvage edge to selvage edge, meaning I had to cut my skirt pieces horizontally instead of the usual way. The back two panels are pieced together up at the waist; it was the only way to get the length I wanted and the seams are hidden by the corset. The skirt is fully lined with a periwinkle blue heritage cotton.

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Next came the corset which was the most involved piece of all this time. It’s the same overbust style I used for Snow White from Once Upon a Time with a few adjustments; I brought the neckline up a bit for some more coverage and trimmed the bottom edge for the refined point. This corset is four layers; the Etsy fabric and heavy twill flatlined together for the outer layer, and the periwinkle blue heritage cotton and heavy twill flatlined together for the inner layer. To keep the outer layer smooth all of the boning channels are on the lining layer; there’s flat steel in the center and at the lacing panel, and spring steel along each seam and in the middle of the panels. The grommets are hand painted, originally antique brass (as that’s all I have on hand that fits my press right now) but painted with a mix of Jacquard fabric paints to match the fabric. The edges were bound with the Etsy fabric after this picture was taken.

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Next came the part that nearly drove me insane, made my hands ache, but killed a lot of couch time while I was dreadfully sick. I took some 14 gauge vinyl and painted the back of the sheets with a mix of white, teal and blue fabric paints. It took a few layers until it was opaque enough, and once it was completely dry it was cut into rectangles. I did the majority of it a uniform shade but there is a section along the top of the corset that is a few shades lighter, I had some smaller sheets left that I added a bit more white into the paint to give it a bit of an ombre effect. After cutting each sheet into rectangles I then spent more hours than I am comfortable counting cutting each rectangle into a rounded rectangle.

IMG-20141221-WA0000 IMG-20141221-WA0003 IMG-20141224-WA0010 IMG-20141224-WA0002Of course, the tiny rectangle insanity couldn’t end there. Oh no. That was just nearly two days straight (and I do mean straight, from the time I woke up til the time I went to bed) of cutting. These little buggers still needed to be attached. Armed with a tube of E6000 glue, a lot of patience and the biggest bottle of Dayquil I could buy, I sat with the corset and my bowls of rounded rectangles and gradually glued each little rectangle down onto the fabric, one by one.

IMG-20141224-WA0015IMG-20141224-WA0017IMG_20141225_124405Once the rectangles were glued down I took a break, let it dry and then attacked it with rhinestones, beads and even more glue.

IMG_20141208_140754_nopm_IMG-20141226-WA0000 IMG-20141226-WA0002 There’s a modesty panel made just of fabric between the lacing panels; I’ve contemplated adding the vinyl rectangles to that as well but am concerned about the wear of the corset laces on it. I may experiment at a later date but for now, it’s just fabric.

I will admit that I bought the cape pre-made this time around. Making it last time was okay, but trying to find a fabric I liked this time that would also hold up to the methods available to me for putting the snowflake pattern on, well.. my choices were limited. I heavily contemplated chiffon this time over my previous organza, but as chiffon frays so easily I opted against it. I saw someone post a picture of a cape they’d ordered and fell in love , and after much digging I found a seller with it in stock. It was roughly the same price to buy the cape as it would have been to acquire fabric and supplies to make it, and saved me a load of time. As much as I pride myself in the things I make from scratch, the saved hours of labour and the screen accurate print were too hard to resist. Bought the cape, love the cape, greatly enjoy the cape. The below two photos are from prior to finishing the corset (and I realized after I hadn’t tucked the cape into the back of the corset) but it was Christmas Day, my best friend was here and she wanted to see it all together.

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With my old shirt, I wore this version out to its first event at the end of December. Ballet Victoria invited us to join them again this year for their production of The Gift, this time to greet children before the show and during intermission for their weekend performances. We met so many wonderful kids, and had a blast seeing my husband dressed up as Olaf. Anna had a hat and cape this time courtesy of Victoria Costumes, who were also kind enough to make it available to us when we walked in the Sidney Christmas Parade. I will get around to making them myself eventually, but other things keep getting in the way!

I’m so excited to have my new Elsa costume ready for the birthday parties I have lined up so far in 2015, and am scheduling as many appearances as I can.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Costuming, Sewing Projects

Spring & Summer Projects – The Pirate and the Princess (Princesses?!)

Believe it or not, I am not dead. There is life after Fan Expo, and it’s been filled with ridiculous quantities of fabric, steel boning, and pirate gear. This sounds weird, I know, as I normally handle princess stuff and not pirates, but bear with me.

Back in May, darling husband and I decided to join a local LARPing group. After spending most of last year and the early part of 2014 doing the whole prince/princess volunteer thing, I figured it was only fair that I go along with what he wanted to do this summer.. especially since it still meant I got to make costumes! Shortly after we decided this I didn’t want to let all of my princess gowns just hang in my closet taking up space and collecting dust, so I opted to sell them.

I know. You’re probably shocked.

I kept Elsa, but every other costume I still had has moved on to Victoria Costumes, which is a costume rental shop up in Brentwood Bay. The owner and I came to an agreement that worked for both of us, and I believe we found a new friend in each other as well. I can still visit any of the costumes any time I want, and still occasionally make appearances in costume for her!

Of course I can’t completely let go of princessing, and am in the midst of having Anna ready to go by late June for a joint appearance with Elsa. There will be a post on her soon, but in the mean time let me tell you about pirate insanity.

I started with a pirate shirt and vest for the husband, and whipped up an underbust corset and pirate shirt for myself. We wore these up to our first afternoon with the larping group where we observed how things go. At that point we also had fabric at home for a fabulous pirate jacket for Devin and some more corsets for me, but I only have so much free time outside of my regular 9-5 job! Just before that first adventure we also found out that husband was to be shipped off for a new training course out in Halifax for the majority of the summer, so I put his pirate stuff on hold and went to work on my own.

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This glorious jacket happened, and it’s officially one of my favourite costume pieces to date. It’s an ivory/pearl/gold upholstery fabric with the coordinating red/gold fabric as an underbust corset. The jacket is lined with an ivory cotton sateen and just absolutely plastered in buttons. It’s a modified version of the Simplicity Pirates of the Caribbean pattern; I bought the mens version AGES ago for husband should he ever feel the need to turn pirate, and since Fabricland no longer carries Simplicity I opted to mess around with the men’s version til I was happy with how it fit me. They also don’t have a collar on theirs but I feel that any pirate captain (or pirate queen, in my case) worth their salt would have an epic collar, so that had to be added. This jacket is comfortable as hell, I feel positively regal in it, and it just makes me stupidly happy. Before husband returns from training I’ll be making his jacket from a sturdy brown twill, and will likely embroider the crap out of it.

I also put together a corseted tailcoat for myself recently. I do a lot of Pinterest browsing for ideas and kept seeing this gorgeous corset/coat combos coming up whenever I searched for pirate corsets, and decided what the hell I might as well make one. After a bit of experimentation this is what I came up with:

In addition to Anna there’s a couple of small projects I’m working on; it’s pretty much guaranteed that at any point I have some sort of corset on the go at the very least. There’s one big project I have coming up, my first fabric order arrived yesterday and another should be coming in before the end of the week. I’m very fortunate in that I have an amazing group of friends who enjoy dressing up as much as I do, and they’ve all agreed to do Once Upon a Time costumes for the masquerade at the Fairmont Empress this October.

Our group is fairly large (there’s 6 right now but we may get more between now and October!) and as I’m costuming for all of us I know I’m going to be downright swamped this summer. Awesome husband is 100% on board as the dashing Killian Jones/Captain Hook, I will be Emma Swan, and awesome friends K, J, D and L are going as Regina, Cora, Snow White and Belle. I am stupidly excited for this as I am really looking forward to making these gowns, but so far my best find for this has been the fabric for the jacket Killian wears in the finale. Husband and I are opting for the ‘Prince Charles/Princess Leia’ outfits from King Midas’ ball, so the big red long sleeved dress for Emma and the brown/black jacket for Killian. I was lucky enough to track down the exact same fabric that the show costumers used for Killian’s jacket, which has basically had me giddy for a full week.

I’ve got my work cut out for me, and I can’t wait. I have Emma and Cora’s fabric already, Regina’s should be here by Friday, and Belle and Snow are ordering next month.

Like I said, I’m not too good at getting away from princesses. Gowns and corsets are what I do best, but sometimes it’s nice to be a pirate as well!

Costuming, Sewing Projects

December is Crazy

The last month or so has been absolutely crazy. Between holiday Princess appearances, sewing Christmas presents for friends and family and putting together a dress for New Years Eve, time has just absolutely flown by.

The crazy kicked off with the Christmas parade on November 23rd. Devin and I had already arranged with the DVBA to visit Centennial Square in costume and hand out candy canes. Best friend K was coming over for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode, so she planned to come with us. We then had a request from Ballet Victoria to join them on their parade float, which was an absolute dream come true! Since I won their Halloween costume contest we’ve worked with them quite a bit, but the parade was just the beginning.

Of course it was cold out, so with the DVBA Centennial Square visit I had already picked up a ridiculous quantity of fleece to make hooded cloaks for K and I. Putting them together was quite easy until I ran out of ribbon about 85% of the way through K’s.. poor Devin had to brave Michael’s on a Saturday afternoon to try and find me more, hours before we were due downtown, and ended up convincing another customer to part with her roll of ribbon. Brave husband! It all worked out perfectly with the parade, so after handing out quite a bit of candy in Centennial Square we made our way over to the start of the parade and spent the next hour or so waving at the crowds from atop Ballet Victoria’s float promoting their Christmas show, The Gift.

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After the parade came loads of Christmas presents. Those I didn’t take photos of, mainly because it was the same concept over and over with different variations. Everyone got pajama pants this year with some form of embroidery. Side pockets either had monograms or custom designs like Hello Kitty, a vintage Singer sewing machine, and various tattoo concept ideas for my parents. I made a plaid onesie for Devin’s best friend, and have a snowflake patterned one on the go for best friend K.

In between getting Christmas presents ready there were rehearsals for The Gift, which was on December 28th and 29th. Every week Devin and I attended rehearsals, partly to attempt to learn choreography (we are both painfully aware we are not dancers by any means) and partly to ensure that we could make our way around the stage and interact with the dancers without getting in anyone’s way. It was an amazing behind the scenes experience that culminated in the actual performances this past weekend.

Having done musical theatre quite a bit in school when I was younger, I was fully prepared to be a basket case prior to the curtain going up. You can imagine my surprise when I realized just how full the Royal Theatre was (with a 1416 seat capacity!) and the panic didn’t set in. It was the first time I’ve been on stage in ages, the largest crowd I’ve ever been in front of, and I was fine. Devin and I were wandering the theatre before the show and during intermission to take photos with guests, and adding that to actually being a part of the first act made for an amazing experience overall. I am so thankful to Ballet Victoria for including us, and am hoping to work with them more in the future.

This video also shows you a bit more about the ballet and cast, it’s worth watching!

To make things even crazier, I fell in love with some fabric and a dress concept, and ended up express shipping the fabric in from Thailand when I couldn’t find any local substitutes that weren’t three times the cost! I wanted something amazing for New Years Eve. Last year Devin was deployed so I went out with best friend K, and our choice of venue was a bar so I wore a short black sequin and rhinestone dress I threw together. This year we’re attending a black tie party being thrown at the Victoria Public Market by Brink Events, so given Devin’s and my shared love of all things retro I went with something 50’s inspired. I worked quickly on this one so there aren’t any progress photos to share, but I am 100% thrilled with the final product. I have yet to photograph this fabric and have it show up as it does in real life, but I will keep trying until I am successful!

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Tonight is the actual NYE event and I am beyond excited. Any chance to get dressed up is fun, and to do it in a dress of my own creation is even better.

Costuming, Doctor Who, Sewing Projects

The TARDIS Ballgown and the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who

Back in September I was contacted by a lovely lady named Amanda, who was interested in acquiring a TARDIS ballgown for a very special event. After talking with her about where and why she wanted to wear the gown, I knew that I had to help make her dreams come true.

Amanda and Brandon have quite the incredible story about how they ended up together, which I highly recommend reading on their blog. They’re still newlyweds, but between their absolute love of each other and Doctor Who, the 50th Anniversary Wedding/Vow Renewal was too good of an opportunity to pass up. With Amanda being the co-founder of the Doctor Who Society of Canada, the show itself playing a huge role in both their lives, and their Doctor Who themed wedding earlier this year, it’s no surprise that their dream honeymoon in England will turn into a vow renewal.

They are the only couple attending from Canada, so being Canadian myself I understood the desire to have a Canadian made dress for the ceremony. We hammered out the details, got measurements, and got to work. While we’re both in the same country we’re almost as far from each other as you can get; Amanda is in Ontario and I am in British Columbia, so I am highly impressed that we managed to coordinate this all via email. Once the supplies had arrived it was time to get to work!

There were many late nights but in the end, it’s all been gloriously worth it. Everything I learned from making my first TARDIS gown was put into this one to ensure it was perfect from the start. Straighter windows, better quality lining materials, nicer lacing and a hoopskirt as a foundation garment vs a bulky crinoline. The hoopskirt itself came about as I wear one with all of my princess gowns, and find it considerably easier to maneuver in as opposed to a petticoat without hoops. The corset part of the gown took the longest, but once it was all put together I was incredibly proud and anxious to get it shipped out.

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With the gown taken care of, now the only challenge is fundraising. I had heard about the 50th Anniversary/Wedding celebration months ago, and was quite surprised to find that there’s a hefty entrance fee. It’s entirely understandable, I had just been under the impression that, as it’s to be broadcast worldwide, the event might be a bit less pricey to be part of as it would be sponsored. Oh how wrong I was!

Amanda and Brandon still have quite a ways to go in terms of fundraising, and with their departure date looming every little bit helps. You can click here to visit their GoFundMe page where they are accepting donations, as well as visit their Facebook page. Amanda’s also been running a blog about their experience trying to get to the celebration. All three pages will also lead you to interviews they have done with local media.

They have their costumes and each other, now they just need your help to make it to England! Please consider donating to help make their dreams come true, or at least spread the word.

Sewing Projects

New dress, 98% complete!

As promised, an update on the new black dress! I worked on it last night while best friend K was over; we had a girly night of Disney movies, sewing and homework.


I prefer to use bias tape to create channels for my boning. Here I’ve pinned the bias tape to each seam, with the seams individually serged and pressed open. At the top right of my ironing board, you can see the massive cable tie that I’m using for boning. I’ve heard about doing this before, and always used Rigilene boning from Fabricland, so I decided to try the cable ties this time.

Here, the bias tape is sewn onto the lining.

Just a closeup shot of the stitching; since the cable ties are larger and stronger than the typical small ones, I had to be very careful to stitch very close to the edge of the bias tape. I was able to fit the cable ties into the casing as planned, but it was a very tight fit. Now that I’ve had the dress on I’m quite happy with the cable tie method of boning; Rigilene is crap and has a tendency to bend however it feels like but the cable ties are sturdy. They’re also cheap and readily available, which is a huge bonus!

I didn’t take any pictures as I finished it, but I’ve put an invisible zipper in the back (successfully this time despite the added surface layers, unlike the anniversary dress!!) and hemmed it with the serger. I did the narrow three thread overlock stitch with narrow stitches on both the satin and chiffon, and am quite happy with how it looks. I say it’s only 98% complete because there are two small things I still have to do; the top of the zipper needs a hook & eye, and there’s thread tails on both the hem and at the back that have to be tucked in/removed. I didn’t put the chiffon part of the skirt into the invisible zipper, so it also has the overlock stitch hemming it. It needs to be tacked down under the waistband pleat. However, I was far too impatient and after foiling some more highlights into my hair today I was feeling pretty and decided to make the husband take photos of me in the dress.

Husband and two of his friends have seen it in progress, and saw the final dress on the dress form this afternoon. They know I made it, but firmly believe it looks store bought. This makes me happy. 🙂