Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Halloween Polonaise: Pumpkin or Candy Corn

I have been really eager to illustrate my idea (make that ideas) for my Pumpkin Polonaise. I mean REALLY! So I have been sketching away and here is what I came up with.

My first thought was to make an orange polonaise with a Jack-o’-Lantern face on the stomacher, worn over a black skirt. I drew two variations on the theme: one with basic gathered trim, and one with ivy leaves used as trim.

Option 1: Orange polonaise with Jack-o'-Lantern stomacher, green and yellow gathered trim, black engageantes, black petticoat and miniature witch's hat.

Pumpkin Polonaise - option 1

Option 2: Orange polonaise with Jack-o'-Lantern stomacher, ivy leaves trim, white engageantes, black petticoat and fall leaves hair fascinator.

Pumpkin Polonaise - option 2
I was thinking how much fun it would be to have some candy corn jewellery to go with that, something like the charmbracelet from Epbot (but in polymer clay), when it hit me that a stomacher is the perfect shape for an upside down candy corn. So I tried a few (5) variations on the theme and came up with these (they are my 2 favourites – I won’t bore you with every different trim colour I tried).

Option 3: Orange polonaise with Candy Corn stomacher, black and yellow gathered trim, black engageantes, black petticoat and miniature witch's hat.

Candy Corn Polonaise - Option 3

Option 4: Orange polonaise with Candy Corn stomacher, yellow and white gathered trim, yellow engageantes, cream petticoat and candy corn hair accessories.
Candy Corn Polonaise - Option 4

To be quite honest, I think I’m more excited about the idea of a candy corn polonaise than the jack-o’-lantern one. I don’t know why I am so obsessed with candy corn; it is not a traditional Halloween candy in Québec (I only learn about it when I was about 14 and I watched Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s Halloween episode where they made too much of the stuff), and in any case, I am allergic to food colour, so I couldn’t have some even if I went south of the border. Yet now, I am obsessed with this sweet: I want to make some handmade candy corn for Halloween (using natural food dyes), and make jewellery and decorations, and maybe do some tole painting with candy corn motifs, etc.

So please tell me, which is your favourite concept for my orange Halloween Polonaise? I have my own, but I am always curious to get your feedback. Should it be the Pumpkin Polonaise or the Let them eat Candy Corn dress?

Monday, August 13, 2012

London 2012 Closing Ceremonies Costume Podium

The London 2012 Summer Olympics came to an end yesterday, in a 3 hour show of music, colour and yes, costumes. I will not review each and every one of them, but I wanted to share my top 3 favourites with you, or as I call it, my own Olympics Podium.

Bronze Medal / 3rd place: Ginger Spice

Ginger Spice at the 2012 London Olympics Closing Ceremonies - Dress by Suzanne Neville

I will openly admit it: I was a huge Spice Girls fan in the late 1990’s. At a time where fashion was all about grey, browns, tiny plaids and neutral preppy looks, those girls wore crazy outfits and plenty of colour. Of course most of their clothes back then were very revealing and I was glad last night to see that 15 years later, they managed to be a little more covered (more age appropriate for them) and yet regain their crazy colourful look. My favourite of all the girl’s costumes was Gerri’s. She may be 40, bu she looks amazing! I seriously want her red burlesque dress with gold accent and Union Jack bustle. I thought it was a nice reference to her infamous Union Jack dress of back then.

Silver Medal / 2nd place: Phoenix Ballet Dancers

A photo shows dancers performing during the extinguishing of the Olympic flame at the Olympic stadium in London during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games on August 12, 2012 (AFP Photo / Olivier Morin)

I know I’ve said it before, but I love dancing and dance as an art in general. I also love the costumes that are worn for dancing performances. Although I cannot claim to have ever been a Ballerina (a dream I hope to achieve one day, even if I’m 40 by then), I love tutus. That is probably why I was so impressed by the Phoenix Ballet number. 200 ballerinas dressed as phoenixes! I loved the fiery colours of their tutus and the fact that they were open in the front and still poufy in the back.
Gold Medal / 1st place: Annie Lennox

British singer Annie Lennox performs during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games on August 12, 2012. (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)

During the entire ceremony, I was chatting on Facebook with my friend Marie-Ange-the-Celt, and when Annie Lennox came out with her entourage on that boat, our reaction was “what is that?”. I called it “Hell’s Ball”, imagining the brain storming session that had given birth to that tableau. The mixture of historical inspirations with tattered looks and dark make-up was very well done and impressive. Just don’t ask me what song she sang; I was not paying attention to sound.

Honorary Mention: Volunteers

 Crowd-control volunteers were dressed in blue hats with working light bulbs on top (Patrick Semansky/AP)

During the show, the athletes were surrounded by volunteers dressed in royal blue, wearing royal blue hats with a light atop them. These uniforms sort of made me think of the Tardis; what about you?

How about you? Did any of the costumes in the show tickle your fancy? Which one(s)?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Halloween 2012 Costume Planning

I do realize it is barely the middle of August, it is still summer and very warm and sunny out, but I have been thinking of the next Halloween for a while now, so I believe it is time I shared my thoughts regarding the costumes I plan and wish to make. After all, I have no other costuming event in my near future and my brain needs a project to occupy itself with. Also, with the coming baby, I will most likely be out of service (sewing wise) for a good month, so I had better start working on costumes now if I hope to be ready. After all, by the end of October my youngest will be 1 1/2 month to 2 months old and will of course need a costume!

My original plan was to go for something like this:

I thought my 3 1/2 years old daughter would be thrilled if I made her a unicorn costume; I’ve long loved the pea pod baby costume (how adorable is that), so now would be my chance to make it; and as for me, I would just wear my Dark Maiden Dress – a classic (with a drawstring neckline, the easier to breastfeed).

Since my daughter is so very much like me, at age 3, if she does not want to wear something, she simply does not – she has many t-shirts, pants and dresses which have never been worn because she simply refuses to (my parents would tell you there IS a God - to which I answer there are several – because I was exactly the same at her age).

So instead of picking her Halloween costume for her, I have decided to involve her in the choosing process. I Googled pictures of Unicorn costumes, but she never seemed very excited about them, finding them to be for babies (ah! to be 3 going on 13!). I started to look at costume patterns with her on the various commercial pattern websites (I used to do the same with my mom, except we had to go look at the books at the fabric store instead), and she said she became interested in Simplicity 1768, and she told me she wanted to be a pumpkin. More image Googling and this is what she has confirmed to me that she wants: a pumpkin tutu dress.

Why not! I’ve made her mascot type costumes complete with padded heads since she was born, if that is not what she wants this year, so be it. Besides, that dress looks easy! Of course, it sometimes snows up here in Québec on Halloween, so I agreed to make her a dress like the one pictured if she would wear it over her green fleece PJ (made for her to go trick-or-treating as a flower last year – it still fits!). I’ll have to figure some sort of hat as well.

Her choice of a pumpkin costume got me thinking about making them for the whole family. After all, I could easily make an orange Jack-o’-lantern fleece PJ for my baby.

What I will do is buy Simplicity “It’s so easy” 1753 and add the eyes and mouth, maybe even a padded green fleece peduncle at the top, or some leaves… Plus, baby will be comfortable to help me distribute candy.

I offered to make a Jack-o’-lantern t-shirt for my Sweetheart, but he did not seemed too thrilled, so we’ll see in time.

But what about me?

All this thinking about pumpkins reminded me of an orange fabric I have in my stash: it is “faux linen” (thickly woven polyester) which I bought years ago to make a medieval dress, only to decide afterwards that its name really didn’t fool anyone and I did not want to use it for its original purpose anymore.

Since then, I have been looking for a way to use it, and now, I think I have found it: a Pumpkin Polonaise Dress. I’m thinking 18th century Polonaise with a Jack-o’-lantern face on the stomacher. Maybe some ivy leaf trim. Something ridiculous, outrageous, and creative that makes no true sense historically but would be fun for Halloween. I have 6 metres of that fabric, so plenty for a Polonaise; all I would need is a walking skirt to go with it, maybe in black.

Let me sketch out some ideas and I will get back to you on this.