Saturday, May 16, 2015

Costume Thoughts: Suicide Squad's Harley Quinn

I wanted to start a series of posts where I look at costumes and share my thoughts on them. And after the news about "Suicide Squad", I thought I would start with Harley Quinn
So, recently photos from the "Suicide Squad" set have been released, including photos of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.
 And here's her costume. 
I actually really like most of this costume. Harley Quinn would definitely wear this, based on the various images of her from the comics and games.
The colour scheme seems to be based on the Suicide Squad comic: red and blue. The dyed ponytails resembles Harley in Arkham City. So far, so good. I also like how this costume is slightly less revealing than some of her other looks.

I will say, this is a wholly impractical costume. Those sneaker boots are cute, but I doubt anyone can run around in them. If I remember correctly, Harley is a gymnast: I can't imagine cartwheeling in heels is safe. Wedges would have made more sense I think.

The t-shirt says "Daddy's Little Monster". A bit random. NB. Please let there be no daddy issues for Harley Quinn in this film. Apart from the random slogan it's a nice shirt. I like the accessories too, especially the studded belt and bracelets. The whole outfit makes me think of a roller derby (okay, I've never been to one, because Malta is limited like that, but I have an idea of what they look like :P). her choker seems to say "Puddin": if they're basing her character on cartoon Harley, then I think this is totally in character. Animated series Harley Quinn would definitely wear a choker commemorating her beloved Puddin': she's obsessed with him. 
 The jacket is also nice. It reminds me of those sports jackets I see in films about American colleges/schools. What I DO NOT LIKE about it is that on the back it seems to say "Property of the Joker". Urgh. I don't know how I feel about that. On the one hand, Harley is obsessed with the Joker, and wouldn't care who knows it. But I don't know if she would consider herself owned, or whether she would want to be owned. 

I really hope the film acknowledges how abusive and messed up her relationship with Mr J is. Hopefully we'll get a character arc where Harley realises just how awful the Joker is for her, and gets herself out. I don't know what to expect from "Suicide Squad"
 Harley Quinn, or the film in general. I haven't seen most of the recent DC Universe films because I keep hearing bad things about them. I want to be excited for "Suicide Squad". Mind, I had similar feelings when "Sucker Punch" came out, but saw it and loved it.
 Other things I'm not crazy about are some of her tattoos. I like the idea of them, but they seem very faint, as if she got bored and drew on her leg with a marker. The tattoos (I think that's what they are) on her arm are much better looking. I also like how her costume look beat up in some of these pictures. After all, no one can remain pristine after a fight.

If I were to try making this costume, I would use a stretch material for her shorts, and maybe lengthen them slightly for modesty. I would probably modify an existing t-shirt. I'm not sure what the jacket is made of, but I would guess some kind of pleather, or possible stretch velvet. I would probably not include the "Property of the Joker" slogan. Her choker could easily be made from craft foam. It would probably be simpler to buy her bracelets and belts. Other pieces I would buy are the boots and fishnets. A ponytail wig could easily be altered with permanent markers to create her colourful ponytails. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Leopard and leatherette halter dress

This is probably not apparent from my normal blog posts, but I really like leopard print; specifically, the smaller, more subtle or natural looking variants. Seriously, I have a leopard print duvet cover and blanket. 
I bought a length of leopard print material (knit, maybe velour) from Loughborough market last February, and brought it home, squished in my suitcase with some charity shop bargains. A few days ago, I was in a fabric shop looking at some leopard print linen, pondering making a halter dress from it, but then i remembered the leopard print I already had at home. After a bit of brainstorming, I figured out what I wanted to make:
I had a Burdastyle pattern that was ideal and I was inspired by the boldness of Smarmy Clothes's designs.

I really wanted to recycle scraps for this project. i had leatherette scraps from another project. They weren't quite big enough for the strap portion of the pattern, so I split the pattern into sections so that it could fit on the leatherette.

You can see here where I made all these little marks to help me match the pieces correctly.
Here's where the top front piece meets the back strap.
All the pleather pieces. The long strip of pleather was taken from a charity shop find. It was a strange dress, which looked like a plaid shirt sewn to a leather skirt. I removed the leather skirt and made it into a separate skirt, but still had the waistband of the dress, which I wanted to use for the leopard dress.
Here's the fabric. I think it looks gorgeous :)
I had a limited amount of material, so had to place the pattern pieces carefully to make sure that I had enough material left for the skirt. I wanted a large skirt, either gathered or a circle skirt.
Here are the pieces of the bodice all together. The leopard pieces are interfacing and basted to a lining material.
And here's what they look like sewn together. i used my serger, but once I collect my sewing machine I will reinforce the seams with a straight stitch.
The back of the dress was a bit loose, so I added elastic. Burdastyle bodices tend to be a little loose on me, and elastic was the simplest solution.
You can see here that it's a little tighter.
Next step was adding the waistband. It was longer than necessary, so I had room for error. It had a seam on it, which I matched with one side seam. Next I basted the pieces together, and overlocked the seam.
The bodice pieces, all sewn together, though the edges still need hemming and top-stitching.
I really wanted to make a circular skirt, and actually used By Hand London's Circle Skirt Calculator to check how much I would need. I didn't have quite enough fabric for a circular skirt, even a half or quarter circle skirt. I decided to instead make a gathered skirt, perhaps adding horsehair braid to the hem for additional volume (maybe). So I cut two large rectangles from the remaining material.
I pinned the rectangles to the bodice to get an idea of how it would look. So far, so good.

And then I got a bit lazy when taking photos. I added pockets to the skirt and gathered it; I recommend this video to show you how to do it, but leave one seam open so that you can add the zip later.
Next I added an invisible zip in the side seam. 
I hemmed the skirt using a double needle, since this material stretches.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Costume news aka Bodysuits are HARD

One of my planned costumes for this year was Asuka, but sadly I don't think that will be happening. 

I tried working on the pattern today, and found it really difficult. I have a lot to learn about sewing bodysuits, and Asuka is probably not the best costume to learn on. So now I'm left with quite a lot of stretch fabric and a bodysuit pattern. I was thinking of turning it into a Harley Quinn costume, but if anyone has suggestions, share them below.
The good thing about making a Harley Quinn costume is that I have enough fabric for it, and a blonde ponytail wig, though I need to add volume to the ponytails. I also have a giant hammer. The other thing I would need to work on is ENERGY. Last time I was dressed as Harley I found it hard to stay in character because of how energetic she is, always moving around and talking loudly and having fun. I can do that, but often I'm quite quiet. Her accent is also a bit tricky; I need to watch some more episodes of the cartoon to really pick up her accent :P

Friday, April 24, 2015

Daenerys Targaryen

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.

So Game of Thrones is back and Daenerys is still awesome. I like A Song of Ice and Fire; I finished all the books up to Dance of Dragons. At the rate the TV series is going, we'll probably see Season 6 before we get book six. 
Regardless of the media, Daenerys is one of my favourite characters (along with Arya, Sansa, Tyrion, Brienne, and DAVOS ). The series did make some changes with her character that I didn't like (why pray tell, change her wedding night scene with Khal Drogo from how it was in the book? WHY? Whine whine), but I think Emilia Clarke is superb in her role. 

And the costumes. Oh wow, the costumes. Daenerys gets some of the best (though Sansa's black dress and wedding dress are damn stunning). My favourites are her Season 3 and 4 "dragon" dresses, which all have a dragon-like scale texture, created with smocking, beading, and embroidery. 

For more information, I recommend looking at Michelle Carragher's website

I love all of these costumes, and would love to replicate them. I have a few metres of a white silky material, which sadly seems to be synthetic. I will test it to see if it can be dyed. If not, it might work for one of these pleated underskirts, though I found some promising pleated material in a local shop.
I'm thinking of using a material called India Cloth for the blue parts of the dress, as it has a slight sheen to it. I also found it in just the right colour for Dany's first dress.

I really like this midriff baring one, but not sure if I am confident enough for it. Still, I keep meaning to get fitter, so maybe this should be my incentive.

I have no idea what the material here is; some kind of amazing cutwork stuff with beading on the shoulders, as far as I can tell. I sort of want to make all these outfits, but be lazy and make only one pleated skirt and use it for the two long blue dresses (the white midriff outfit would need it's own skirt, because there's a little v-shape cut into the front of the skirt).

Theories about making the pleated skirt:
Daenerys often wears pleated skirts like this one. As far as I can tell, these are sunray or sunburst pleats, which look like this:
This would be very difficult to do at home. I did some reading, and you need a pleating board to make these pleats. Due to the length of the skirt, the board has to be absolutely enormous. It would be a big hassle to make at home. Theoretically I could create a pleating board from card, but it would be very tedious due to the circular shape. 
There are companies that will pleat for you, but that would be a little expensive for me, mostly because of shipping costs. There are a few cosplayers who have used pleating services and gotten lovely results, such as stephwallsz 

One idea I had for the skirt is to save myself time, hassle and money by buying a pleated maxi skirt, like the ones below. 

This might not be so good if you are tall, as most of these skirts aren't even a metre long. I need at least a metre of material to reach from my waist to the ground.
If you are willing to sacrifice a bit of accuracy, you can buy pre-pleated material and make a gathered skirt instead.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Medieval Mdina 2015: Juliet Photos

Medieval Mdina is over! It was quiet but good this year. I was only able to go up on Saturday afternoon (curse you ethers, aromatic compounds, and ionic equilibria). My Mum took some photos of the costume before I left. 

I met up with friends from college and we looked at the various sights, such as drummers, flag throwers, the slave market, falconry, and archery. I sadly didn't get photos because I was dumb and forgot my SD card. Luckily my friend agreed to take some photos. Her tumblr is: Go say hi :)

 She also managed to photograph me talking my way out of being executed. Step 1: have a dress with pockets, so you can keep coins in those pockets, so you can BRIBE the executioner.
Step 2: Show everyone that you're all right.
 Step 3: Laugh about it. Unless you're Ned Stark. Then you're screwed.

Summary of how this costume was made:
Part 1: White under-dress
Step 2: Mask
Step 3: Bodice & Beading
Step 4: Skirt
Step 5: Jewels
Step 6: Sleeves
Step 7: Head dress

Friday, April 17, 2015

Sakizo's Juliet: Part 7: Head Dress

I stayed up late last night to make this head dress. Sadly it turns out that the Short Film Festival at Medieval Mdina has been cancelled. Oh well, I will still wear the costume at Medieval Mdina, so I'm glad I finished it.

The first step was to make a plastic frame. i forgot to take photos, but it is basically two longer pieces of plastic (similar to bones for corsets) glued together at the ends to make a hairband, with short pieces of plastic glued along the empty space in the middle to help support it. Then I glued foam to the head band on both sides to pad it. Next I stuck a piece of lining material to the underside.
 I then cut a piece of velvet big enough to cover the head band. Next I pinned it into place and hand sewed it to the lining to keep it in place.
 It looked like this when I was done:
 Next step: decoration. I sewed on gold flowers and lace ruffles, then glued on half pearl beads.
 More decoration! White puffy trim, more lace. gems, miniature masks, pearl beads. This is not entirely accurate to Sakizo's design, but I didn't really want a head dress that went under my chin. 

 The very last step was to sew on ribbons to tie it closed. Looks quite pretty, doesn't it?