Costume “Rules”

I always laugh about how people talk about my “off season” times at the costume shop. While it IS true that I don’t have hundreds of people walking into the store during the majority of the year like I do during October, there is no true OFF season anymore. The economy is getting better (or so they say) and people want to have themed parties, attend conventions, dance at masquerade balls, and parade about at historical re-enactments and faires year-round. And why not? Costumes are fun!!!

There are no rules as far as costumes go, no matter what people have told you. There are merely guidelines depending on the groups you may be spending time with. While you may find groups like the Society for Creative Anachronism, the 501st, or those like them, remember one important thing. If you aren’t having fun with them, there isn’t much point in being there. Don’t let someone who has to be “correct” ruin your day. They’ll puff themselves up being right, and eventually they’ll find themselves alone while you’ve moved on to better things.

That goes for more casual affairs too. If you get excited at the thought of being dressed from head to toe in the costume of your choice, and you are invited to a party, GO ALL OUT! If you are shopping with a friend and they aren’t into it, don’t let that stop you from enjoying yourself. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had a pair of people in the store and one person was happy and excited until the other acted like a jerk. It drives me crazy.

Go out. Find your happy. Dress like a pirate to go grocery shopping like I do occasionally. Why not? Worst that can happen is you end up on “the people of Walmart” website. And if you are wearing a Mandalorian mask no one will know its you.

Had a blast at Emerald City Comic-con 2015!

So, been recovering from con-crud as we all lovingly call it. Eating gluten by mistake made me miserable and open to catching a cold, and then working Norwescon 38 the following weekend didn’t help. Hey, when they pack 80,000 people into a convention center, you are bound to catch something! I had a good time though. Didn’t get to see as much as I wanted because we didn’t go Friday like usual, and I volunteered Sunday with the 501st for over 4 hours (leaving directly after so that Manbeast could watch WrestleMania… sigh) but it was worth it. I got to meet Tom Hodges, but most importantly, Anthony Daniels (He is so incredibly funny and awesome!) Manbeast volunteered with me too, and I must say, our RSO outfits looked awesome! Here we are with my friend Nikki!

RSO Emerald City Comiccon 2015
Saturday we spent with some amazing friends of ours. Dena was a steampunk vampire hunter, and I was her vampire. I loved the subtle light/dark looks we had, even though I was the evil one, I tried to wear my lightest colored steampunk costume pieces, while hers was a lot of darker pieces, even the rosary and sword were dark. It was glorious! I loved it.

Steampunk Vampire Comiccon 2015luring me in with her sweet blood, little did I know that the hunter had a silver chain in her hands!

Steampunk Vampire 2 Comiccon 2015The holy silver chain! HOW IT BURNSSSS!

Steampunk Vampire 3 Comiccon 2015
She pierces my heart with her wooden sword! Curses!

Steampunk Vampire 1 Comicon 2015 Yes, cleavage happens. Its called a corset.

I hope everyone else loved Comic-con as much as I did! I will post photos of the final Steampunk costume and a more in-depth look at the bustle skirt that I made for my friend Taylor’s wedding in my next post! (I’m eagerly awaiting the photos from the wedding! I loved my hair and my tiny black top hat from Brigid’s Whispers, you have no idea…)

If I didn’t make my costume, most of the pieces I wore came from the costume shop I own/work at, or from other local businesses and vendors at Ren Faire’s and Conventions.

 

Padme Picnic Dress Project

***Note: This is a continuous project page, and I will update it with my own photos as I go! (Updates will be dated and marked with asterisks)

Padme 1 and three quarters

This is probably one of the hardest projects I’ve ever taken on. The first source that I have to give credit to is MiraxThorn’s post on the Jedi Council forums, here: http://boards.theforce.net/threads/padmes-meadow-picnic-dress-v4-0.24588679/. YES THIS COSTUME IS ADDICTING. She was completely correct. And although many of the links in her post are not working now, the incredible wealth of knowledge and tips written there has been priceless. I couldn’t have gotten this far without that thread and all the costumers that helped make it. This costume is a product of all the trials and time others have taken before me.

I think a good place to mark as my starting point was after reading through that thread and comments and posting in it in April 2014. Today’s post is my progress after 7 months of on again/off again research and acquiring. So here we go!

My very first task was to gather images from many angles. This is a good location for that: http://www.padawansguide.com/flowered.shtml (Don’t skip over the images from museum shows and the like either! There are some shots people have taken that you never get from the film. The shots from the exhibits and fashion show really helped with this project.) A lot of the pictures are high definition, which is great for fine details, like the brooch. This location is also a favorite: http://www.rebelshaven.com/SWFFAQ/picnic.php. All my photos here will either be of my own project progress or from those two sites. Especially the close-up shots of some of the costume details. The Star Wars Costuming exhibit is coming to a museum near me this January so I’m hoping the Picnic dress will be there so I can see it for myself too! The final resource I grabbed was the book “Dressing the Galaxy” for the information it could give me. The close-up image of the corset embroidery is one of the pictures in that book. (Though they cut off the top of the picture. Lame sauce)

Assembling the materials has been a major challenge, and not just because of time, but also because screen accurate items are tough to get a hold of and good quality stuff is expensive. When Trisha Biggar decides to costume, she doesn’t mess around. The head costume designer for the prequels, she would track down fabric designers after seeing fabrics at shows and have things made from scratch! There are vintage pieces of fabric used that simply cannot be recreated unless you make the fabric yourself. All her costumes for the movies are truly one of a kind works of art, and I know I can’t match it stitch for stitch, but I’m going to do my best to make something close.

***Nov 18th update: I’ve started a physical project page to record materials used! It doesn’t seem organized, but its my way of visually matching colors and keeping track of number of strands for embroidery, etc. Its a good organizational tool to use if you don’t already do something similar. You can also keep track of dye lots and such this way!

Project page

The easiest way to do THIS particular costume is to break it down in its parts, starting from her head and going down to her feet. I’ll break it down into three major sections, Head, Upper Body, and Lower Body, with subsections for each.

Head:

Hair: I have very long light brown hair. Rather than dying and trying to get my hair to hold a curl/add extensions for fullness, I’ve ordered a wig from Westbay (The wig company we order stuff from at Lakewood Costumes) that I think will do the trick. Its called “Tyra” and I got it in 4, a dark brown. It goes down to the shoulder blades and has a wavy curl. I’m going to pad out a Styrofoam mannequin head once I have it and see if I can pull it back in the style from the movie without showing the weft too much.

***Nov 21 update: I got my wig! It looks great! Dark brown, with a wavy curl. I’m going to sketch out what the hair style should look like. Once I have the buns, ribbons, and the forehead band done, I’ll be able to style it. The wig is pretty thick so showing the weft shouldn’t be a problem.

Padme Wig

Buns: I’ve ordered the clip-in braided buns (H120) in the same color from the same company as the wig, they are 4 1/2 inches wide.

***Nov 21 update: The size of the buns I ordered is WAY too big for this costume. The color matches the wig, but they are Princess Leia sized, not right for this. lol. I have to order the smaller size.  Sucks, means I have to wait another week or more.

***January 12, 2015 The smaller size is perfect, and I have finished them! Here they are!

Gold snood Bun Cover 2

I have crocheted my own snoods for them using crochet cotton in a gold color. (I’m not going to post a pattern, as there is a lady online who makes these. If you don’t want to figure it out yourself or don’t crochet, go to http://www.snoods.com/bunsize.html and order a pair.) I’ve bought Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Thread in metallic gold, size 10, and it looks lovely. I’ve finished both, and I will either end up sewing clips to the backside, or I will just pin them in once I am finished with the forehead ribbons.

picnic32

Forehead Ribbon Band: (The hair ribbons match the ones on the sleeves, so more on that later when we talk about the shirt, with one note, the hair ribbons are only three colors, dark pink, light pink, and dark green. The arms are all five.) The forehead ribbon I’ve bought from http://www.ribbonerie.com. Go into collections, specialty, and then page 4-5 for the correct ones. They are made by a company in France which no longer makes them! They are a silk ribbon bordered on each side by a gold twisted braid. The correct color is number 4-hd-10_col_3, but it has long ago been bought out and discontinued. I bought some of the greenish blue col_4 that they had because that is the last of that style in a lighter color that they possess. I’m hoping a little dye might make it look better, I bought two yards of it so I have a little to play with dye-wise. I wish they had had a white version, so dying it could have been more possible. Once I get the color to something close to what I want, I will sew two strips together using gold thread and I will sew the embroidered roses onto it. (More on the roses in a bit in the shawl section) The forehead band goes all the way around the head and part of the hair, I will make it snap closed with clear snaps and the join will be hidden by the wig.

picnic8


Upper Body:

Shawl: Walmart to the rescue on this one! Better Homes and Gardens has a line of “vintage” styled shower curtains sold at stores and online. The embroidered curtain has vines with clusters of three roses in dark variagated pinks and also single roses, and it is the closest I’ve found to the shawl material. It cost me a little over $15 dollars after tax, and the roses aren’t embroidered as well as the original vintage fabric used, but what they lack in quality they make up for in time saved.

Shower Curtain Valance

Embroidering hundreds of little roses is not my idea of fun. I already have far too much embroidery ahead of me on this project as it is! The polyester fabric of the curtain is a white, I’m going to have to dye the fabric the golden color I need. I’m going to use a color fast product to protect the color of the roses as well, or attempt to anyways! The edge of the shawl is a green thread, and then it is PAINTED yellow. Crazy, I know, but I think I’m crazy enough to attempt this.

picnic3
Brooch: This is either going to need to be something where I find a real metalworker/jeweler who can make something similar for me, or I’m going to have to make it out of silver colored clay. I’d rather do the former but its going to be pricy. More research is needed on that.

***Update January 12, 2015: Success! I have found a jewelry maker that is re-creating this pin! I’m so excited. I will share photos once they send me something, but I’ve decided to make it with real gemstones. Pink Tourmaline, topaz, sapphires and emeralds will be the stones. I’m so excited! This will be a real showcase piece, I want to do the rest of this costume justice to really bring it all back to life. The Jeweler is Anubis Collections: https://www.facebook.com/AnubisCollections

dragonfly brooch

Above the original, below the wax piece before it has been cast:
dragonfly brooch

The reason there are some visual differences is to increase the longevity of the piece. It is being made with silver and the stones will be held in better so that I don’t lose them like the original costume has.

Corset: I’m having issues getting started on this because I haven’t been able to find the right fabric. I found a crushed silk Dupioni from NYfashioncenterfabrics.com, and I thought I had an almost perfect color, but then this happened:

Swatch problems

The swatch is the color I wanted, the silk fabric behind it is what they sent. I was told that silk and dyes make it so colors don’t always match, but this is a significant color difference. I’m wondering if they sent me a Rattan colored crushed silk swatch by mistake because the crinkled chiffon in 238 is almost the same color, and then the color 29 is the light yellow of the fabric they sent. Oh well. I messaged the company and they said I could send it back with the swatch and they’d try to find a better color match. We shall see!

*** January 12, 2015: The company did not have any more of the dye lot of the swatch they sent me. Let that be a warning, call customer service and make sure you are getting the same dye lot of the fabric swatches you have ordered!!!! I have credit with the company, I think I might just have to order it in the white and dye it myself.  A task of which I’m not really prepared for, but will undertake if necessary, especially since I have to dye other things as well.

Embroidery: *** Nov 18th update: These color choices are a labor of love. I agonized, holding first one color up to the high-definition photos, and then another. I used the book’s photo so that I wouldn’t have to worry about screen differences, as the colors all depend on the camera and lighting. The embroidery is machine done, but I don’t know if my machines could handle something like this. So here is the floss for a hand-embroidered corset:

Thread colors are the following in DMC floss:
Gold outlines: 5282 (I bought it in Pearl Cotton form because it was cheaper and in larger amounts than the regular floss skeins, with no visible difference.)
Flames: Lightest to darkest, 744, 743, 742, and 3853
Scalloped Sunbursts: 745 (I’ve seen some embroidery where they are two colors, but the high-definition photo in the book showed no visible difference or shading attempts inside these bits)
Leaves and Stems: 746, 734, and 731
Daisies: 744 for petals and 742 for centers
All of it is done with two strands of floss held together.

I have studied photos, and you can see that the straps are attached to the corset, not the shirt. The straps have snaps for the shirt and shawl to attach to, as well as a couple roses sewn on. This is great because the size of the roses helps determine the strap’s width!

I haven’t settled on a pattern for the corset either, but it is going to need to have a back opening that I can cinch up, and then cover with a hook and eye flap to disguise it, because I am not shaped like Natalie Portman. Either that or the corset will have to be a lot bigger, and won’t look right, because my waist won’t look slim enough. No bueno on that. I want to look as slim as I can for this. That also means steel boning. And dark yellow coutil for the inside for strength. (And if I make it adjustable I can wear it even if I lose weight!!!!!!)

Here is the embroidery image from Dressing the Galaxy and a shot of the back. You can see the way it closes in this picture from Padawansguide.com:

corset front detail4 back of corset

Ribbons: The ribbons are 5/8 of an inch wide silk ribbon. Not your normal ribbon that you can buy at the store! The ribbon colors are a gold, a light pink, dark pink, dark avocado green, and a light bluish green. There are five sets, two for each arm and one for the hair. I think I’ve found a company that I can get four of the colors from. Based in Seattle, Of the Earth (flowerseedpaper on Etsy) dyes ribbon of the size and type I need. Its cut on the bias, so there is a seam every two yards, but if I’m careful I think that will be fine. They do a good job hiding it. I can’t get the gold color, but if I get white then Dharma has a dye close to the color I want. I will list the colors I get once I order them.

Ribbons on arm
Blouse: I’ve found a crinkled chiffon from nyfashioncenterfabrics.com, in 238 Rattan, which I think will work for my outer layer. It is very sheer, but with an added layer of old gold polyester chiffon from Joann’s under it the blouse should be modest enough. The smooth polyester chiffon can also be used to finish the sleeves and make the straps. I will be embroidering the blouse fabric with viscose thread from Gutermann in 8910 (a dark olive green) for the “vines” and using the four petaled off-white sequins I acquired from Afaeryschild on the Jedi Council Forums. The fabric also has “flowers” on the vines, which I decided on the 1440 Gutermann Viscose thread. Each flower has a tiny seed bead. I’m using size 11 beads that are a clear shiny bluish-green color.

Skirt embroidery

Lower Body:

Skirt Top Layer: The skirt top layer is done in the same fabric and embroidery as the blouse. Its a circle skirt with a fitted waistband, with no gathering at the top. The skirt is not just one circle however. Most of the re-creators have found that you need an extra half of a circle to get the proper folds in the skirt hem. I plan on adding the extra half-circle like they did. All the edges will be done with my serger, to give it a perfect rolled hem.

Skirt Under Layer: The underlayer is a semi-sheer ivory color with splotches of pinks and yellow dye all over it. I haven’t gotten this far yet, except I ordered dye for polyester from Dharmatrading Company for it. I plan on using a polyester ivory chiffon layer because I’m spending A LOT of money on the silk for the corset and top layers of the blouse/skirt. This fabric is also on the underside of the blouse. The pink color shows through in several photos.

Shoes

Shoes: I haven’t decided how I’m going to go about finding these yet. I hate buying shoes online and these are not a favorite style of mine:

picnicscreen5clearshoeshot

And here, later, on Kelsey for the Rose Parade:

Padme Picnic Dress Shoes

An ivory color with a pointed toe and strap, but no heel, but a wedge. I’m fairly certain the shoes in the rose parade are different from the ones in the film, but the style is similar. Yay for no heel! (Easier to walk in at conventions!) This might be something I just end up finding randomly, or I may search through the shoe catalogues at work and see if I can find something similar. (Though costume shoes ALWAYS have heels it seems like…)

And that is the breakdown of what I’ve found so far, and what I need to find. Woo… this was a long post. Forgive me! If you stuck with it, congrats, I hope the links I included helped! I will update more once I’ve gotten more fabric in!

And finally, our finished Cyd Charisse!

And finally, our finished Cyd Charisse!

While there are a bunch of things on this costume I’d tweak if I could, and I could definitely put MOAR GLITTER/SEQUINS/SPARKLIES on this sucker, I’m happy with the result. Everything fits as it should.

Jasmine in the photos is the dancer it was made for, and I made it in a knit fabric so it could stretch and move with her. I shortened the shoulder straps to 13 inches, and I put re-enforcing fabric under the stretch sequins so that it gave her better support. (Before I did that the top was threatening to spill her out, and that isn’t acceptable!!) There is a built in elastic bra lining which, honestly, probably gives no support whatsoever, but it helps the silhouette of the overall top, and keeps her in when she moves, so that’s all that matters.

WP_20140527_014

I used a bit of the stretch elastic and added a snap to make a quick choker. If I had had time, I would have made her a sleeve for the left arm with all the bands/bracelets Cyd wears. Hell, given another month I probably would have done a ton more to this, but I think my boss would have finally thrown up the red flag, as I had taken quite a bit of time on it already. (We won’t tell her I worked on it at home. Lets be honest, this dress took a lot of planning to work out the kinks, and it deserved the time, whether I got paid for it or not!)

WP_20140527_015

I can’t wait to go to the play and watch her perform! I’m super excited, I hope everything works out well!

Cyd Charisse Dress Day… I think I lost count…

Cyd Charisse Dress Day... I think I lost count...

Yeah, wow, more than 40 hours later, we have something that is actually a DRESS! I can’t wait for the dancer to come and try this on. I’m hoping that everything fits alright. I’m not happy with the elastic sequin straps, but there isn’t much I can do about it. I took the leotard pattern and made a lining for the back, as well as the front, so that I could sew the movable upper straps into the bodice cleanly. Instead of making a lot of flaps and sewing them down to the bodice, I’m going to suggest the outlines with more of the fabric glitter and glue.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

I need to sew on the last gemstones on the back and front, and then glue glue glue!

Cyd dress, Day 3

Cyd dress, Day 3

I’ve snapped a couple needles today attaching the sequin trim. I think I’m going to put the trim on every other piece of the skirt, to save more time and materials (and needles… I jump EVERY.SINGLE.TIME… I have nightmares of needles in the eyes!!!). My goal tomorrow is to complete every piece of skirt and the torso pieces as well, because I have realized I can’t really put the main body of the dress together until I get all those flaps done. At the moment that is 16 pieces I believe. At least I have everything cut out at this point!

I also have glitter EVERYWHERE. EVERYWHERE I tell you. AHHHHH!!! WHAT WAS I THINKING! Oh, but look how sparkly it is! And no beading required! I will just have to sweep and vacuum like crazy when this is all done. I’m using a fabric glue from Joann’s, with Tulip green glitter over it. After two hours of drying, there is minimal glitter shedding.

But there is still SOME… I will probably be finding glitter everywhere for a while. In my ears… my hair…

No one should poop glitter. Sigh.

By the way, if anyone is wondering what the heck this is from, watch this video:

Cyd Factory!

Cyd Factory!As you can see, I’m plugging away at the Cyd costume! I have all the pieces done for the plain “modesty” underskirt. I have 14mm square gemstones that I’ve started sewing onto the “over” panels. I am going to make a stencil for them, and use puff-glue and glitter to make the designs. This is a fast version of the costume after all, I don’t have time to bead 32 panels!!!! Plus as a rental, you want to make a costume as tough as possible.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

I’m using the green knit fabric and some interfacing to help them maintain shape, I’m going to sew the skirt panels to a belt that I will attach sequin edging to. I can’t wait to see how it looks when its all finished!