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).

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?

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sakizo's Juliet: Part 6: Sleeves

So the sleeves are done. The only parts of the costume remaining are accessories, but i doubt I'll be able to finish anything else in time for Medieval Mdina, so that will have to wait.
The first strep was making these sleeve caps out of gold lace, white satin, and interfacing. I also basted on the velvet and satin tabs. This makes them easier to sew in.
The upper sleeve is a puff sleeve pattern (Burda's Danielle). I wish I'd made it a little wider, to be honest. I interfaced the stretch velvet, then drew and cut each sleeve. The next step was the tedious business of measuring the sleeve and dividing it into sections to decide where the sew all the embellishments. I had a limited amount of gold and white cord, so I only sewed on 5 lines of cord per sleeve.
The white puffy strips of material were made following the advice of DoxieQueen1's guide to sewing this costume. It involves cutting a strip of fabric, ironing the edges under, then gathering it at regular intervals.
To create double puffs, I sewed a thin piece of elastic to the middle of the sleeves, stretching as I sewed to gather it.
Here's what the unfinished upper sleeves looked like.

The next step was creating the lower sleeves. I measured my arm and made a simple pattern from the circumference of my elbow, the circumference of my hand (important so that your hand can fit through the sleeve) and the length I wanted the sleeve to be. Again I interfaced the velvet before cutting. Once the lower sleeve was cut, I ruffled strips of white stretch mesh (cut from an old apron I made a while ago) and sewed them on to the end of each sleeve. 

The gold decoration is actually a piece of lace that I cut up and used for applique. 

I sewed the lower sleeve to the upper sleeve, then sewed each sleeve into a tube. Finally I sewed them to the bodice. I want to take them off and reattach them in the future, as the gathering is too bulky under the arm and not puffy enough on top.
The lining of this costume is a disaster, but it looks pretty from the outside, so that's something.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sakizo's Juliet: Part 5: Jewels

I got a little bored of sewing, and decided to start making the jewellery. I didn't take photos for all the steps, but the first part is quite simple. The choker is a strip of interfaced velvet, sewn into a tube and turned inside out, then decorated with trim and lace. I stuck on some half pearls with E6000, and closed it with a hook and eye.

Next . . . the gems.
No, not those gems. These gems.
I don't know how to use resin, but I did find several tutorials for making hot glue gems, though I altered the method. Instead of melting the glue in the microwave, I melted sections of glue stick in a metal spoon over the gas hob (be careful when you do this), and used a bodkin to stir in eye-shadow for colour. Once the glue mix looked right, I poured the glue on to some foil in the shape that I wanted. A mold would have been more precise, but i didn't have time. I could have used to spoon as a mold, but I found that the glue was too sticky and wouldn't come out of the spoon bowl. Once I was finished, I had 10 glue gems.
 Once the gems had cooled, I trimmed off the extra foil, and started gluing pearl beads around the circumference of each gem.
Took a while. E6000 stinks and is not something you want to inhale, so work in a well ventilated area.
And here are the finished gems. I really like the result of this experiment. They lack the clarity of resin, but they do still have a mineral look to them.
 Next step was to stick the big gem on to the choker. I also sewed on some lengths of pearl strings for decoration. 
 The next steps were making the ruff and the pearl necklace. The ruff was made by folding a strip of satin into the right folds, tacking them into place, and sewing them on to a strip of material, attaching that in turn to the choker.
 My method for making the pearl necklace was not very professional. I looped pearl beads on to some nylon fishing wire (should have used thinner wire), and tied it to make a loop of pearls. I managed to fix some jump rings and lobster clasps on to the ends, and sewed jump rings to the dress. The blue gem is glued on to the necklace. The tear drop pearls are glued on to the blue gem - there's thin clear thread looped around each one, then knotted and attached with glue to the gem. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sakizo's Juliet: Part 4: The Skirt

Making the skirt for this dress was not fun. I should have interfaced all the velvet, because it kept shifting when I tried to cut it. Even the lining material was difficult to cut properly. I intended to fully lining this dress, and cut out the bodice and skirt from lining material. 
I even added side pockets. 
 Lining the dress was a disaster. The lining and the velvet were not the same size, and it would not lie flat. I scrapped the lining on the skirt and only lined the bodice. Luckily I could salvage the velvet. The best option seemed to be ironing on interfacing to stop the fabric slipping about, then hem and decorate the skirt as I had originally planned. The hidden pockets would have to go on the white under-dress.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sakizo's Juliet: Part 3: Bodice and Beading

So, the bodice. Oh boy, the bodice. Just to remind you what it looks like . . . 
Yeah, it's super detailed, with beads everywhere.
The first step was making the stripes. I first made the bodice out of interfaced stretch velvet. The interfacing stops the velvet from stretching. I measured out where I wanted the stripes, then interfaced some gold satin. I then sewed the gold strips to the wrong side of the velvet. This is a bit live reverse applique: you sew it to the wrong side, then trim off the fabric on the other side, revealing your applique.

You can see how I trimmed off the excess velvet to reveal the gold stripes. I also added two extra stripes on the sides.

 Already looks pretty neat. Using this method was a lot easier than sewing gold stripes on top. I actually tried that and the stripes looked very crumpled and ugly. This technique looks much smoother,
Next step was adding embellishments. I basted on some lace to the neckline. When I add the lining the lace will look a lot better. I also began adding the pearls. I actually cheated a bit and order pearl strings, which have a continuous length of beads. This saves a lot of time and effort, since I don't like beading much (all the beading I did with my flapper dress!)
 I also began experimenting with the oval decorations on the bodice. I make these by cutting up duck-shaped sequins (what exactly would you need duck-shaped sequins for? I am genuinely curious). I then glued thin satin on top of each oval, coated it with PVa, and painted them white.
 While the white ovals were drying, I added the ivory pearls. Next I sewed on the gold waistband. It's actually a bit too narrow. I also stitched on the gold flower on the shoulders.

 Time to sew on the ovals. The pattern was drawn with a black permanent marker. I also began decorating the waistband with gold flowers, and adding white pearl strings.

 That took a while. Once that was done, i started making the little flowers for the waistband. The petals are cut from polyester material, the edges scorched with a candle, then stuck together. 
 I sewed on each little flower, then sewed a pearl bead on top.
 Result! I also stuck rhinestones on to the white ovals and gold flowers (shoulders)

Next i added the little fabric pieces on the waistline. I sort of botched the proportions of the bodice, so the bodice now looks a bit too long. Oh well. First step was ironing strips of interfacing on to the velvet, then making piping.
Here's all the bias tape I made. I actually made too much. to make piping, I folded the tape in half over a length of wool, and sewed it, making sure to sew close to the edge of the wool. Then I tacked the piping on to the velvet, and serged to raw gold edge. I folded under the serged edges and topstitched to keep everything in place.

I then cut 10cm pieces, tacked them to the bodice, and sewed them on, before turning everything to the right side.

Update 28/3/2015
So I've been working sporadically on this bodice. 
I added a lining to the bodice to hide all the interfacing and bits of thread. I was going to line the whole dress but it didn't work out. To line this dress, first I had to attach the skirt to the bodice and sew in an invisible zip. Then I placed the lining and bodice right sides together and sewed around the neckline, clipped the curves, under-stitched the neckline, then turned it inside out. It looked very neat. I hand sewed the lining to the zip, then hand sewed the lining closed at the bottom of the bodice. 
 The fit was good, but the lace at the neck looked too small, and it was missing the white puffy material along the neckline. I bought a metre of lace, painted the edge gold, and sewed it over the lace on the neckline. To create the white puff of material, I sewed a tube of white fabric, and turned in right side out. I closed one end shut and sewed it to one side of the dress, then began to stuff it (I used scraps of organza, but proper stuffing material might be a better choice). I cut the material to size and sewed it down at the other side. Next I took a length of pearl chain and sewed it down on one side, then began wrapping in round the white puff, tacking it down at the top and bottom. 
I will talk about the sleeves and skirt in a separate post, as this one is already really long.