Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year (Costuming) Resolutions

New Year is here. 2009 is already over. Can you believe it? I don't think I want to.

Following the tradition, I too will take a few resolutions. Well, three to be exact. That's my number. I mean, why bother with more, since I probably won't stick to them anyways (just kidding; well...). But of course, I won't bore you with the weight loss or cleaning ones. Let's just stick to costumes. So here goes.


Resolution Number One

I will finish the costumes that are already cut and waiting to be assembled. That includes
Arwen's Angel Dress, a Light Blue Velvet Medieval Dress, a Tartan Skirt, a Valentine Yukata, my Cybergoth Geisha outfit, a Pink Velvet Irish Dance Solo dress (size 10, for sale) and these are only the ones I can remember.


Three skirt panels of unfinished Pink Velvet Irish Dancing Solo Dress

Also, if I wish to start a new project, i.e. one that is not already cut, I will try to use the stuff I have in my Stash already. For instance, I have all the material I need to make Eowyn's Green Gown and I have had them for quite a good number of years too.


The last part of this resolution will probably be the toughest for me to stick to, because pretty much all of my fabrics were bought with a specific project in mind, so if I suddenly want to do something else (right now, Otakuthon comes to mind - I have no fabric planned for an Anime or Manga costume), I'll have to buy new material.

Resolution Number Two

I will learn a new skill. I have been wanting to learn embroidery for years, but I never seem to find the time. It is an important skill for a historical costumer to have, especially one who hopes to work in the movie business one day. So this year, that is what I will teach myself.

Resolution Number Three

Okay, this is part news, part resolution. In the last year, I have been thinking of starting a costuming group here in Québec. I mean, no offence to my friends of
l'Alliance Impériale, but that group is no longer what it used to be. Besides, I would like to start a group for all costumers, whatever their costume preference, and organize events. For instance, remember my idea to have a day at the beach in Victorian Bathing Suits? It could be interesting.

The way I imagine it, it would be somewhat like the
International Costumer's Guild, but bilingual and local. I'll need some help of course (if you live in Québec and are interested in such a venture, e-mail me). For the moment, the name I have come up with is "La Société des Costumières et Costumiers du Québec" (the Québec Costumer's Society). Anyways, it is still a work in progress, but it is something I really want to do.

So what about you? What are your costuming resolutions?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Luna Lovegood's Christmas Tree Dress

I have FINALLY seen Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). The special edition DVD was amongst my many gifts (thank you Aunt M.) and watching it bonus features and all was all I did on boxing day. I waited until today to mention this because I wanted to add Luna Lovegood's Christmas Tree Dress to my Wishlist.

Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

It is really quirky, just like Luna, and yet it's absolutely adorable. Besides, with my natural blond locks, my choice of Ravenclaw as my House, I often say that I am Luna when I cosplay as a Hogwarts student. Add to that the slimming factor of layers and you know I'm bound to love it!

Looking around the net, I've been able to find a few good pictures of this dress. The following one shows in detail the neckline frill, which makes it look very vintagey to me, as well as the rhinestones on the fabric, which I hadn't noticed before, and the earrings.

Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)

I also found the next one on Cinereplica ("Cinereplicas in the Harry Potter's train!"). It is a picture of the actual dress seen on display.

Luna Lovegood's dress for Porfessor Slughorn's party

It is upon seeing that picture that I realized the dress was actually purple. I honestly thought it was silver. I can also say that I believe the outer layer to be made of Organza.

Now the only thing I couldn't find a picture of is the bracelet. In the Making-Of video where Evanna Lynch sits down with Costume Designer Jany Temine, they talk about it and they even show it to us. Apparently, Evanna made the beaded jewelry that Luna wears on screen. For the bracelet, she made a little rabbit, as that is the shape of Luna's Patronus.

Haven't seen that video? That's all right, I found it for you on YouTube.

I do love making costumes from the Harry Potter Movies. Expect to see quite a few more appear on my Wishlist in the future.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Costume Book Review: 18th Century Embroidery Techniques by Gail Marsh

Every Christmas and Birthday, I am spoiled with presents, which very often include books. I keep a very long wish list on Amazon.ca, so whenever my mom or my aunts wonder what to get me, they can pick a book from that list. This Christmas, I got four new books (well, it was five, but there was one my mom bought for me that I already had, so we returned it and I got clothes instead), so today, I thought I'd tell you about one of them.

By now, I guess you know that one of my favorite costume period is the 18th century. I really like the shape of Panniers dresses, but the ones I make are always kind of plain. I use nice fabric and all, but is never as impressive as the real thing, because I don't decorate them they way I could. Cue in my new book: I was very excited to get 18th Century Embroidery Techniques by Gail Marsh in my presents.
I've only had time to flip through it, but it is a beauty. It is filled with close-ups of decorative embroidery goodies, patterns and drawings. There is also a little historical background on the embroiderer's trade, the way they worked on garments, etc. For instance, did you know that the pattern piece was drawn on the fabric, which was then embroidered and then cut to be assembled? It is much easier to work on a flat surface than on a shapeless, limp piece of fabric!

Of course, as the titles mentions, there is also a little how-to. It is organized by types of decoration and associated with examples. But it is not for absolute beginners. If you don't know the basics, I suggest you learn before you decide to tackle one of these projects.

Now I really have learn to embroider.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Movie Monday: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

My, my! I apparently missed this one. The last movie to feature Heath Ledger (and a bunch of other very talented actors) came out last Friday, and it is filled with costumes. Have you heard of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)?

Just from the trailer, you can see I'm going to be incapable of focussing on the story: too many costumes to look at! Of course, right off the top, you know I've got my eye on that turquoise jacket and hat.

Lily Cole as Valentina, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009)

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see that movie.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Virgin Mary's Blue Robe

I'm off to Church (Gag me!) with my in-laws (I'll spare you the details). So today's post will be short and sweet!

Quick question: Why is the Virgin Mary's robe blue?

Madonna in Glory, by Carlo Dolci (Italy, 1616-1686), c. 1670, Oil on canvas

If you have answered "Because blue is the colour of the sky", you are wrong. That is a modern association.

The truth is (according to one of my Art History teachers), during the Renaissance, the most expensive pigment an artist could use was blue. Blue was made of crushed Lapis-Lazuli. Out of respect for "God's Mother", the people who commissioned representations of Mary wanted to give her the best and most expensive robe; the richer the commissioner, the purer the colour!

Gotta go, wouldn't want to be late for the service, now would we!

Edit: We were late and we skipped Church entirely. Darn weather! Oh well... (Thank you Mother Nature!)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Victorian Christmas Dress

Whew! Made it! I finished my dress in time. (Note to those following my crazy train of thoughts: the curtains for my Baby's room and Christmas Stockings are not done. Sorry Sweetheart!)

Once again, no one took pictures of me wearing the thing. Thank you every one! I mean, I only worked like crazy! (I myself only took pictures on my Daughter... But she was so cute!)

So, all I have to bring you for now are picture of the dress on my sewing dummy, and I will just have to do some sort of photo shoot eventually to show you how good I look in it (yeah, I know, I'm also supposed to get pictures of me wearing my
"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress).

Victorian Christmas Dress - Front

Victorian Christmas Dress - Side

Victorian Christmas Dress - Close-up

I am done with crazy last minute sewing projects (for now). I'm really happy with the way it came out. After all, this was my first attempt at a Bustle Skirt. And I did stick to the rule I imposed upon myself for this project about materials having to come from my Stash; all I bought was some fusing, boning and hook and eye tape for the bodice, but hey, those are notions, not fabric! OK, I also bought the trim for the bodice, but it was really cheap: it came from WalMart!

Now I really have to finish those curtains before I get caught up in another crazy project. (I've been putting off the Christmas Stockings for five years already - they can wait yet another year!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas day is here!

Christmas is here, and I'm adding the finishing touches to my Victorian-esque bodice (it's not going to be Victorian per se, just a bodice with off the shoulder sleeves).

In the mean time, Merry Christmas! I hope you had a lovely Christmas Eve.

Because I am getting my daughter into costuming at a young age, I get to post pictures of what she wore last night. Why wear a plain old pretty outfit when you can dress up as Frosty the Snowbaby!


My Baby being held up by her Aunt D.

Wasn't she cute? I know it's a little hard to see, but there is even a little Top Hat sewn to the hood. Now I have to say, I did not make that. It was given to me by Sciath who had it for her daughter last year. Judging from the tag, I think it's from Zellers. But she was very comfortable (and warm, an important factor when going to my Aunt S.' house).

Opening presents is exhausting

To go with the "Frosty" suit, my Baby wore her "Santa's Elf" onesie and Christmas socks with gingerbread men on them.

I know, some will say she will one day hate me for this, but I think she will just grow up having lots of fun with her slightly crazy mom! After all, every kid loves to play dress up!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa Claus is coming to town

It's Christmas, it's Christmas! OK, it's not quite yet, but it's Christmas eve, and every kid know that today is the day that Santa comes! And since I'm a big kid at heart...

Two years ago, I was asked to make a Santa Claus and Mother Claus costume for
Troupe Fantasia's Christmas play. While I went with a traditional cookie baking look for Mother Claus (a red dress with a frill on the hem of the skirt and lace at the neckline and cuffs, paired with a frilly apron), The art director and I agreed on a more Victorian looking Santa, inspired by Nicolas Noël, The real Santa Claus' look. I therefore made a waistcoat, which Santa wears over a red shirt and pants he got elsewhere, a fur trimmed, deep red velvet robe, belted with a gold cord, and of course, a hat.

Note: The following pictures are a courtesy of Troupe Fantasia. I only made the Santa Claus and Mother Claus costumes. The others were made by other seamstresses over the years.

Santa Claus on his throne

Mother Claus and Santa Claus with a couple of children

Santa's home!

Mother Claus and Santa Claus with Rudolph

The Claus go South!

For those interested, here are the patterns I used. for the Mother Claus costume, I used Butterick 6816; for Santa's waistcoat, I used Simplicity 8910; Santa's robe and hat were made using Butterick 3648. As for materials, the Mother Claus costume as well as Santa's waistcoat were made out of Christmas quilter's cotton, and as previously mentioned, Santa Claus' robe is made of expensive velvet and good quality faux-fur (the Troupe will be using this costume for the next 20 years, so it is well worth the price).

Merry Christmas everyone! Watch out for Santa tonight (I like to keep track of him with the Official NORAD Santa Tracker).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Necile

From the time they start airing all of the Christmas specials and cartoons on TV, I watch as many as I can. One I discovered a few years back is The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus (2000), based on a 1902 children's book by L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

I loved the presence of all of the mythological looking characters. Of course, right away I had my favorite: Necile. In the cartoon (I haven't read the book, but I think it's the same in there too), she is the Nymph who raises Nicholas.

Her outfit is simple, but I would like to make it one day. I consists of a blue dress with light blue yoke and sleeves, two-toned golden green wings and a flower headdress made of five teal and lilac petals. And as she is a nymph, I would have to get myself a pair of pointy ears.

That's it for today. I have a bodice to finish!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Progress Report: Finished Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt

A package has just arrived in the mail. It came from very, very far. It contains something that has to do with costumes and I am itching to tell you all about it... but I can't. It's a Christmas present for Nancy-Raven and it would ruin the surprise. (Let's hope I get to give her her gift before Easter this year - or later, which is what happens pretty much every year - so I can tell you what it is soon!)

In the mean time, I have managed to finish my bustle skirt. Yep, all finished! My, that's like, in advance! That's what you're thinking too, right? Wrong, I still have the bodice to finish. (Well at least it is already cut.)

I know, you're thinking "Enough chit-chat, we want pictures!"

Geesh! Patience. OK, here you go. Now please ignore the carpet, my sewing room is in need of a good vacuuming (amongst other cleaning duties).

Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt - Front

Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt - Side

Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt - Back

I'm really loving it. It just looks so good, if I do say so myself!

I added a piece of lace to the apron piece because there was a few big seems in the valence that I wanted to hide. And yes, the lace is also a leftover. Do you recognize the project it came from? That's right, my Edwardian / Titanic inspired Evening Dress. I just cut the fabric away from the lace design, as close as possible, and turned it upside down.

I can't wait to show my co-worker what I did with her curtains!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Movie Monday: Nine

What is a better source of costumes than a musical? A musical set in the 60's! Nine (2009) promises many beautiful eye candy outfits to costumers, and entertainment for the rest of the world.

"Nine tells the story of Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis), a world famous film director as he confronts an epic mid-life crisis with both creative and personal problems. He must balance the many women of his life, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren)." (From Synopsis for Nine on IMDB.com)

With such a line up of impressive actors, it's bound to be good, no?

If you are interested in the costumes from that movie, I suggest you head over to YouTube to watch The Costumes of Nine. I'm going right now, want to join me?

I love making-of, especially when it is about the Costumes!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

"La Fée des Étoiles", a French Christmas Character

For most of you, Santa Claus' feminine partner has probably always been Mother Claus. It is not so for everyone. You see, In France and French tradition in general, Le Père Noël is accompanied by La Fée des Étoiles (The Star Fairy). In the past, in families where some male relative played the role of Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, there was often an aunt dressed in a white or blue dress decorated with stars. It is our tradition.

My favorite depiction of the Star Fairy comes from a 1984 French movie, J'ai rencontré le Père Noël. I was at the local premiere with my parents, I was given the soundtrack and I still have it (it is a vinyl 45 rpm). It is not a great movie by far, but to me, it is associated with Christmas and I love to watch it and listen to the music.

In the movie, the Fairy is played by French Singer Karen Chéryl. Her dress looks nothing like the usual descrition: she wears a cream coloured Elizabethan inspired dress, complete with puffed and slashed upper sleeves and sheer fan collar.

In the following video (a clip from the TV show Champs-Elisées (1982) that originally aired on November 24, 1984), starting at around 2:20 minutes, you can see Karen Chéryl in her Fairy dress, full length and in detail.

Nowadays, the character of Mother Claus has been adapted in French too as La Mère Noël; but it is nice to remember our traditions and not forget the Star Fairy. After all, "every time someone says 'I do not believe in fairies', somewhere there's a fairy that falls down dead"*.

*Line from Tinkerbell in Hook (1991).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Progress Report: Finished Under Skirt (Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt)

Yeah! I finished the under skirt. OK, it's not exactly the most complicated piece ever, but at least something is done in this project and that makes me happy. Want to see? Of course you do!

Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt - Front

Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt - Side

Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt - Back

In case you are wondering, my Travel Bustle is under the skirt. I find it gives it a nice, light support. Discreet, but effective.

By now I can tell you that the pattern is not historical (for those of you who don't remember, I'm using Burda 7880). See those little white plastic rings on the back of the skirt? That is where you attach the over skirt to make it bustle. In reality, from what I have come to understand of Victorian bustle construction, the bustled over skirt should be gathered up using a system of rings and ribbon that hang down from the belt.

Still, it's going to look awesome.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Nutcracker: a Fairytale Ballet

I've been seeing the following commercial on tele lately, and every time, I sigh.

So I have come to an important decision: as soon as my daughter is old enough, I am taking her every year to see Les Grand Ballets Canadiens' production of The Nutcracker.

I have seen it three times already (once when I was a little girl, and the two years in a row about six or seven years ago) and I never tire of seeing it. Imagine: the costumes you see on the video have not changed in 20 years from what I can remember a least). I've always loved Clara's teal blue dress (as seen around 1:15 minutes), and of course, there are the beautiful fairies' tutus.

King of Candyland, Callye Robinson as Sugar Plum Fairy and Cotton-Candy Angels, The Nutcracker by Les Grand Ballets Canadiens; Photo by John Hall.

Now I wish I could add Ballet to my dancing repertoire!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Disney Princesses present Christmas Fashion

All little girls love the Disney Princesses; it is a well known fact. The little girls who grow up to be costumers love to dress up as their favourite princess, even once they are over 20. For instance:

I'm a girl. I still love princess stories. I would therefore love to make one of these dresses on day.

But as December is my Holiday special, I thought I might inspire some costumers to make a different dress next time: How about, a Christmas Disney Princess?

Disney Princesses

Now that would be original!

Mental note: maybe for next year's crazy last minute Christmas costume project...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Victorian Caroler

I got to watch Merry Christmas Mr. Bean! I love the whole show, and it is a part of my Holiday tradition. The kids caroling inspired me today's post. Now, I can sing moderately well, and for many years I have wanted to do some caroling of my own. Of course to do so, I would need a proper Victorian Caroler costume.

Simplicity 8910

That is why I own Simplicity pattern # 8910. I bought it years ago, just in case... (I do that a lot).

I once saw a few carolers in costumes at the train station, some years back, and nothing gets you in the Christmas mood like that, don't you think? Now all I need to do is get a couple of friends together, start a caroling group and I'll have an excuse to make that costume! (I know, my logic is strange.)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Progress Report: Finished Travel Bustle

Yippee! Yesterday, I somehow found the time to assemble (and finish) my Travel Bustle and I wanted to share some pictures with you.

Gwenyver's Travel Bustle - Side view

Gwenyver's Travel Bustle - Back view

Well that came out nice, don't you think? And I only broke one needle sewing through all the layers. I hope it gives my Bustle skirt enough support. I can at least tell you it is very comfortable to wear.

Every layer consists of fabric, fusing and lining, and each layer is gathered separately, making it very thick to sew through. The belt is 2.75 metres of very wide (22 mm) double fold bias tape which is meant for quilt binding. Sewing the four layers of pleated fabric to the bias tape was very hard. In some places, the tape twisted a little. I would rather have had it perfectly straight, but too bad. It's only underwear, and it is only for me (if it was for a customer or a gift, I would make it perfect).

My most recent sewing machine had no problem sewing through all of the skirt layers of my "Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress, but it broke while I was adding a piece of elastic to one of my Baby's PJ. Go figure. My older machine has been fixed by my Dad, but it makes a strange squeaky noise now. I'm afraid the timing pelt might be due to be replaced.

Lets hope my machines survive, I still have to make the bustle skirt, the bodice, four stockings, a tree skirt and oh yes, the curtains for my Baby's room that I've been supposed to make since Easter.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Movie Monday: Avatar

Have you heard of James Cameron's Avatar (2009)? It's coming out on Friday, December 18, and even without knowing the story, you know it's going to be a hit with costumers in the years to come. I mean, come on, blue skinned creatures with pointed ears and tails? I'll bet you'll see at least one at the next Dragon*Con.


Of course, there are also the 22nd Century Marine Uniforms.

As for the story itself, I'd say it is highly inspired by what happened when Europeans colonized America: you have this one group who want to exploit the Earth's resources with barely any regards for the native population whom they regard as primitive. Except this time, the "civilized" men are humans, the primitive ones are 3 metres high blue creatures called the Na'vi, and the "Earth" is a place called Pandora in Alpha Centauri. But as we all know, history repeats itself, so why not in the future? (Why not? Aren't we supposed to be getting smart enough as a race to learn from our mistakes? Ayeh!)

OK, you can come out of hiding now, I'm done moralizing! Back to this Blog's subject, costumes: I would love to see someone make a Na'vi costume out of foam latex. Then I could pester them for information on how to make it myself.

OK, I admit it; I have been watching the LOTR Making-of again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Change, Evolve, Transform: Recycling in costumes

Ask anyone who knows me, I am an absolute pain when it comes to recycling and keeping the environment clean. I grew up in the "Let's save the Planet" generation and I apply that mantra to my everyday life (my poor Sweetheart really hears it whenever he throws something recyclable in the garbage can). So if you are ever in the car in front of me and I see you throwing garbage out of your window, chances are I'll get out of my own car at the next red light to yell at you.

This is the reason I fell in love with this dress:

Change, Evolve, Transform by Sporkweilder

How cool is that: a dress entirely made of wrappers that would have otherwise been thrown away! I absolutely love it. And it is so colourful too!

Change, Evolve, Transform by Sporkweilder

This is what Sally, a.k.a. Sporkweilder used to make this outfit:

  • Cotton and Tulle
  • Crisp (that's chips for us North Americans) packets, sweet wrappers, soda cans...
  • Assorted Jewellery Supply
  • Randomly collected crafty type things like the feathers for the tiara
  • Coloured craft wire
  • Wallpaper
  • SEQUINS AND GLITTERS!

Change, Evolve, Transform by Sporkweilder

This is what she had to say about her design:

"I took the concept of recycling, evolved my design and transformed empty crisp packets into the dress you see here. FACET, the word on the belt, is the name of the imaginary company I was working for. I was aiming for a '60s feel..."

Great job Sally. I truly love your dress. I have been wondering what to make out of my weekly chips bag once I'm done eating it and that is wonderful inspiration.

I wonder what my Sweetheart will say if I start saving Lays bags and candy wrappers...

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Steampunked

I've been roaming the costuming websites, blogs and discussion groups for years and one day, I started to notice a certain word: Steampunk. At first I paid no attention to it. I thought it was probably an obscure reference to some Anime I didn't know. Eventually though, curiosity got the best of me, and so I began to research the Aesthetic Phenomena that is Steampunk.

So what is
Steampunk? The simplest explanation I can come up with is Victorian Futurism: it is a mixture of late 19th century / early 20th century fashion, industrial revolution (steam power) technologies and Sc Fi. As in many things, it began as a literary genre, in this case in the 60's, highly influenced by Jules Vernes and H.G. Wells.

What does this mean for costumers? Top hats, goggles, pocket watches, brass buttons, spats, vests, jackets and for girls, short bustled skirts, corsets and bloomers.

The one thing that can make any period costume Steampunk is the addition of clock gear (which you can easily find on eBay).

Need an example? My favourite Steampunk outfit to date is Alisa's Pirate Steampunk outfit.


It has everything I mentioned and it looks awesome. There are just so many details and layers, it is truly impressive.

For a more detailed view, you can also watch this Costume Tour she made of this outfit.


Want to add some Steampunk jewellry to your outfit? You can make your own or, if like me you have no talent for this sort of craft, you can buy it. There are many talented artists out there who make beautiful pieces from an array of materials.

Gold Steampunk Ironman Inspired Pendant by Matthew Nix

Matthew Nix from The Watchman's Shop over on Etsy is one of them. He makes beautiful Steampunk pieces (rings, pendants, money clips) from metal and fused glass, and he never makes the same piece twice!

If Steampunk is something that might interest you (costume wise), I suggest you watch the Threadbanger Steampunk Week videos. There are many interesting ideas, and their projects are quite easy to make!

And if you are really into Steampunk, head over to Steampunk Magazine for more information, stories and patterns on what has become a real Artistic Movement.

If you believe in the Many-worlds Theory, who knows, perhaps there truly exists a Steampunk world.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Progress Report: Red Taffeta Bustle Skirt and Travel Bustle

Hooray! I have managed to cut my bustle skirt from the four metres I had even thought the pattern asked for seven! It took a lot of puzzling and figuring out, but I managed. Of course, this means I had to cut my fabric by aligning my grain-line to the weft instead of the warp, but as the fabric is already stabilized by the diamond patterned tucks, I doubt it will be a problem.

So I have an underskirt:


And a bustled back:

I also have belt pieces cut, but I didn't photograph them.

I haven't cut the apron yet, but as I showed you before, it is already pretty much done. I'll mostly have to add pleats to the sides and I think that will be all.

Now concerning the Travel Bustle, I have also cut my fabric.

The bustle will consist of four layers of gathered fabric. If it comes out well, I'll make a tutorial for everyone to make their own if they wish to.

This cute patterned quilter's cotton was leftover from a piece I had bought to make practice garment in sewing class (I am sticking to my "it must come from the Stash" rule for this project).

To give you an idea of what the finished bustle will look like, I have layered my pieces, alternating between the fabric and the lining so you really see the different layers.

And that's that for now. Next step is fusing, sewing and finding some fabric for the bodice.

And since I have a lot of baking to do right before Christmas, I have to be done by next week-end if I intend to wear this outfit at all. No pressure.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Getting in the Olympics Spirit Early

Only 64 days left before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Are you getting in the Olympics mood? I'm not much of an athlete, nor am I very active (except when it comes to dancing), but I do love the Olympics Celebrations.

For a costumer, what is there not to like about, say, the opening ceremonies? Remember the last winter Olympics, in Torino, IT? The Placard Holders wore
Moschino dresses made to look like snowy mountain tops, complete with pine trees and lit-up village! I still can't figure how to make that one.

Miss Italia, Edelfa Chiara Masciotta, carrying the Placard for team Italy, 2006 Winter Olympics, Torino, Italy

I can't wait to see what Canada will have come up with.

In the mean time, to get into the Olympics Spirit, I got up at 6 AM this morning to go see the Olympic Torch Relay in Bois-des-Filion, QC (it was scheduled for 7:30, bu you know, one needs to get ready, shovel the driveway - thanks Sweetheart - and plan for traffic).

Gwenyver and Daughter with the First of the Bois-des-Filion Torchbearers (sorry, I don't have his name) December 10, 2009

I did participate in Coca-Cola's Torchbearer contest last winter. I would have loved to do it. It's not so much the honour which first motivated me (well, lets face it, the honour would have been awesome and I would have been grateful to get the chance to do it) as the Uniform. What? It's me we're talking about.

Torchbearer Uniform

These uniforms were designed by the Hudson's Bay Company. According to the Vancouver 2010 Website, "the 2010 Olympic Torchbearer uniform has been designed with Canadian winters in mind". Really? Up-close, I thought it was just a light nylon suit that could be worn over warm clothes - kind of like our mothers making us wear our snow suits under our Halloween costumes when we were kids - but I could be wrong (it was very windy and chilly and my focus was on keeping my Baby warm, which is why I closed my coat over her and added a blanket).

The Website further informs us that "the Olympic Torchbearer uniform highlights the Sea to Sky palette — the blue and green hues seen around Vancouver in the winter months". Ah, blue and green: that's why I subconsciously wanted to wear that uniform.

Finally, we also get a detailed description of the uniforms:

"The uniform consists of several pieces items, including a jacket, pullover pants, toque and mittens. As is the recent tradition, the uniform is mainly white, symbolizing a message of peace and hope. Colour accents decorate the left arm of the uniform, along with reflective elements for safety during operations in little or no light. The uniform prominently features the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay emblem as well as the universally recognizable Olympic Rings."

Paralympic Torchbearer Uniform

And for the Paralympic Torchbearer Uniforms?

"The torchbearer uniform for the Paralympic Torch Relay consists of several pieces, including a jacket, pullover pants, toque and red mittens. Designed and manufactured by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the 2010 Paralympic Torchbearer uniform is blue to represent ice and accented with bright bursts of blue and green on the jacket’s left arm. Silver reflective elements, including “Vancouver 2010” on the right jacket sleeve and right back pant leg, have been added for prominence and visibility.

The uniform features the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay emblem on the chest as well as the
Agitos on the back. From the Latin word for “I move,” the Agitos are the Paralympic symbol and are composed of three elements (red, blue and green) representing the International Paralympic Committee’s role in bringing athletes from all corners of the world together to compete.

The uniform has been designed with the comfort and safety of the torchbearers in mind and makes a beautiful commemorative keepsake.
"


Torchbearers, this Costumeholic is behind you 100%! Enjoy your run and your time with the Flame; I mean think about it, it has come all the way from Greece! That's just incredible. Mostly, be happy that "The design team from the Hudson’s Bay Company, in collaboration with VANOC, managed to find an ideal balance of function and fashion that will have the Olympic Torchbearers moving comfortably and looking great".

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Confessions of a Costumeholic is now on Facebook

It's true! This Blog now has it's own Fan Page on Facebook. Become a fan and you will get more links, more costume pictures and up to date crazy thoughts from me! Now who would want to take the chance to miss that.

If you are on Facebook, go to Confessions of a Costumeholic's Fan Page and click the "Become a Fan" button to enjoy all these new perks!

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Whoville's Twin Miss Candy Cane

I don't know about you, but I have started to watch all of my favorite Christmas movies, including Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). I remember seeing that movie at the Laval Colossus with my family. I loved all of this Whoworld created just for the movie. It really made the magick of it all com to life for me.

But right away, there was one costume that caught my eye: the two pink candy cane girls.

How original! How girly! I like it; I want it! They look so cute and happy. That is the type of costume I could see myself making and wearing for a play or a parade.

I do wonder how the head piece is made though. It is probably some king of under wire, because if it was just stuffed with bating, it would be much too heavy and difficult to maneuver.

Of course, this is not a costume I will make anytime soon. I have no occasion to wear it, but most importantly, I have a personal rule about certain body curves and spandex (which in my book should apply to all curvy people, but I can only act upon myself). But know that this costume has been on my wishlist for a decade (and I have been waiting since summer to tell you about it).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Disney's The Princess and the Frog

The Disney Princesses: every little girl's dream! I myself was once dressed as a five years old, beach blond Snow White for Halloween. (I have to scan some pictures for you eventually.)

This Friday, a new princess comes into our lives: Princess Tiana. Now little girls of visible African ancestry can have their own princess too!

I'm not sure how I feel about that. I have nothing against having a dark skinned princess, it's just that the first version of The Princess and the Frog (2009) I ever heard of was by a kid's TV show called Iniminimagimo (1987), and the story was set in China. But as it turns out, The Frog Prince was one of the Brothers Grimm's stories, so I guess it can be interpreted any way one wants.


Tiana wears two princess dresses in the movie. First, she has what I believe to be her Debutante Ball Dress.

Princess Tiana

It is very pretty, but I have to admit, I was a little disappointed at first because I thought this was going to be her official Disney Princess Dress (they all have one) and this shade of blue looks a lot like Cinderella's. Since this is the story of a frog, why not green? No other Disney Princess wears green as her official colour.

But I was of little faith!

Disney's Princess Tiana

Now that's more like it! Not only is it green, it is clearly inspired by a water lily. They really took the frog theme to heart.

I wonder how many little Tianas will be trick-or-treating on my street next year?