Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Eowyn Victory Dress Part 8: Finished at Last!

Whew!  This monster of a project is finally done!  It has been a tough couple of weeks, I can tell you that.  Between canning everything coming out of the garden (and off the peach trees), I've done nothing but can and costume this entire month.

I'm not entirely pleased with the final result.  There is a lot I don't like about the dress, but I'm not going to start pointing it out.  Here are some shots of the jacket.  This is before I tacked down the sleeves so that they aren't so poofy.  I will mention that I know that the "belt" isn't correct in the back, but I had a lot of issues with where to put the zipper, and I ended up making it a lot tighter than I'd originally planned, so that threw everything off.  I wasn't going to start ripping, though.  I'm also not thrilled with how the sleeves lay, but the fabric just didn't lay correctly to begin with.  It's on the lightweight side, but I chose a heavy satin for the lining.  Unfortunately, with all of the gold embroidery, it makes the fabric a bit too stiff, and because it's so light weight, it just doesn't sit correctly.  Oh well.  There's nothing I can do about that.  I could either have it lay perfectly, or have a more authentic pattern.  I determined that the pattern was more important.

The interesting thing about the bodice and front panel is that the majority of it all is hand-stitched.  I did use the machine to stitch the bodice together, make the seams on the sides, and add the two pieces of ribbon down the front, but the rest of it is hand-stitched.  The front piece, the belts, the ribbon along the top, and the sleeves are all hand-stitched to the bodice.  And don't forget the beading!  It might not seem like a lot, but that was maybe 10 hours worth of work.  I also had to rip the belts out once and redo them, as they'd somehow gotten bunched up without my noticing, and the one side was markedly different from the other.

Here is the complete, finished piece.  This includes the dress and jacket with front panel.  Some day I'll get some good photos, but not at 1:30 in the morning the day that we're leaving.

I will probably be posting the work I did on Matt's Eomer costume when we get back from Dragon Con, so keep an eye out for that!

I'm also now on Instagram, so look for me there as CasualCostumer!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Eowyn Victory Dress Part 7: Accessories

This post is going to be short and sweet!

Eowyn's wig:  Something you may not realize: shopping for a wig online is INSANELY difficult!  I bought one that seemed perfect, and not only was the color totally wrong from the photo (it had streaks of brown), it wasn't the same shape, either.  I had to send it back.  I purchased the Cassie wig from Amphigory, which was about $30.   I purchased color 24B (which is not the color in the photo).  I found out about this wig from a Cosplay Island Eowyn costume.

Eowyn's shoes:  The shoes for the outfit can be seen in only one shot of Miranda Otto walking to set.

I bought a $20 pair of ballet slippers from Payless, and spray-painted them gold.  I used Rust-oleum that I had laying around from repainting an umbrella stand, and it seemed to work really well.  I didn't want to spray the insides, so I put on a pair of old socks and sprayed the shoes while wearing them, let them dry for a few minutes, then slowly peeled the socks off.  It seems to have worked really well!  We'll see how they hold up after a night on the con floor.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Eowyn Victory Dress Part 6: Where Were We?

I haven't blogged all week because I've been working on a lot of little stuff here and there.  It's too much to put into one post, though, so let me start with Eowyn's jacket and front panel.

I really put off making the sleeves because, frankly, they scared me.  After draping a few times and making several tests, I did finally buckle down and make a pattern.  I used the sleeves from Simplicity 4589 as a starting point. 

Here's the pattern that I made:

I cut out the lining and the actual fabric and found out ... I was like two inches too short with the damned fabric.  NOOOOO!  I don't know how that happened.  Oops.  Anyway, the sleeves of the jacket are now just a tad too short.  I may have to adjust the sleeves on the dress so that they're not too long.

I also added in the piping.

It's not puffy like that anymore, it's sewn down.  I do need to tack it in a few places so that the lining doesn't droop.  I am a bit disappointed at the weight of the sleeve.  I feel like it doesn't sit correctly due to all of the crazy embroidery, and it doesn't have the weight that I really wanted.  Oh well.

The other thing that I worked on this week was the front panel.  I couldn't find any trim that would work for the seams down the middle.  I tried to simple make seams, but you couldn't really see them.  I ended up buying gold organza ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  I think it works okay.

I then beaded the four rows of gold beads and the pattern down the middle.  I haven't done the embroidery yet, but that's not a priority.  If someone comes up and is like, "where's the silver embroidery?" I'll just smack them.  I am pretty pleased with how this came out.  I had a really hard time finding beads that I thought worked.  I ended up just grabbing a bunch of different stuff from Hobby Lobby.  It's not exactly what I wanted for the green beads, but it'll do.

Tomorrow I'll be placing the front panel on the jacket, attaching the sleeves to the jacket, and putting on the belts and finishing up with the zipper.

Here's a reference shot of the front panel detail for comparison:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Eowyn Victory Dress Part 5: The Dress

I had planned on writing this blog much earlier in the week.  And then something bad happened, and I didn't sleep all weekend, and all the work I ended up doing over Saturday and Sunday had to be ripped out and remade, and then I got really sick because I hadn't had a good night's sleep for four nights ... but tonight, I finished the dress (except for the hem and serging a few seams, because I need a second pair of hands to help me with the hemming, and I'd rather serge everything at once).

Here is the reference shot:

The dress should have been a simple build.  I used a combination of my two favorite Simplicity patterns (4940 and 9891).  As I have obviously used both patterns multiple times, I wasn't worried about the fit.  I modified the front panel so that the neckline was correct.  I decided early on to simply make a gown and not a separate bodice, because no one was going to see anything from the hips up.

It looks pretty good, right?  WRONG!  Honestly, I don't remember what I didn't like about this because I was hopped up on Dayquil, but I had a freaking meltdown when I put it on.  I think the entire front poofed up or something.  I spent the next few days readjusting the bodice.  Also, I had gold piping on the sleeves, but then I realized later that there is no gold piping on the dress sleeves, only the jacket.  Argh.  So THAT all got ripped off.  As for the rest of the dress, I wasn't going to remake the entire thing because I wasn't about to start dying fabric again.  Luckily, I had JUST enough fabric left to make a bodice, like the dress is supposed to have.  Also, I don't have a shot with the sleeves, but they were WAY too long.

Using the pattern I'd made for the jacket, I made a new bodice.  I wasn't too happy with my original shaping, so I reshaped the neckline to make it a more gradual angle, and then made the neckline a little more pronounced.  I tried it on several times to make sure it would work.  Because the original costume has blue trim along the edges and I didn't really feel like worrying about that, I simply sewed about 3/8" from the seam to give a textured look.  I think it works.

I then pinned it in a very general manner to the original dress to see where it should lay.  After trying it on about six times, I was finally happy and sewed it on.  Believe me, cutting off the original top was very difficult to do!  I mean, if it didn't work, I was screwed.

 I think I may have dropped the waistline about 3/4", but unless you are paying a lot of attention, I don't think it's noticeable.

The final step was to add the buttons in the front.  I used these buttons from JoAnn's and painted them light blue by mixing together a variety of paints I had laying around.

I finally attached the buttons down the front of the bodice.  They don't lay totally straight because they have such a big stem to them, but they'll do.

And tonight, I realized that the shoulders weren't sitting correctly, so I ended up taking about an inch off of them.

Let's just keep something in mind here - NOTHING FROM THE WAIST UP WILL BE VISIBLE.

I'm hoping to finish the majority of the jacket and front panel tomorrow so that I can get started on Matt's Eomer tunic.  I'm so glad the dress is done.  It was much more of a headache than I would have liked!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eowyn Victory Dress Part 4: Piping

The trim along the sleeves of both Eowyn's jacket and dress is gold piping.  I couldn't find any at the local shops, and I wasn't going to go all the way to Vogue or the fabric district to find piping.  Plus, piping is about $2.50 for three yards, and I need a LOT of it.  There was some on eBay, but again,  too much money and waiting. 

So, for the first time, I made my own.

I bought one yard of gold metallic material from JoAnn Fabrics.  With my 40% off coupon, it was about $2.50.  I used 1/8" cotton cording from Home Depot.  It cost me just under $5.

I cut the fabric into strips just over 1" wide, then pinned it along the cording.

I sewed it with a medium length stitch so that it would be easier to rip when finishing the ends.

I sewed as close to the cording as I could without sewing through it.  Because the material is so slippery, it was bunching up a little as I sewed, but if I didn't catch the cording, it would stretch back out.

I finished with about 35 feet of cording for less than $10.  The only thing I didn't realize is that when I went back after putting all of the material on to sew over the edges and prevent fraying, the very act of sewing made it fray more.  I guess I should have sewed the edges as I went along.  It's okay: if it's not usable, I can remake it.  It only took about two hours to make.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Eowyn Victory Dress Part 3: Jacket Front Panel

I still don't know what to call this darn thing.  It must have an actual name.

So, the jacket has this really cool embroidered detailing over it.  I started drafting it the other night. I'm a bit annoyed that we don't know what the back looks like.  Is it just the front panel, or does this detailing go down over the back at all?  Oh well.

I made the jacket bodice mock-up out of white muslin, so I used scraps from Shadow Weaver to make the front piece and belts for contrast.

 I made some adjustments, then made another mock-up out of the original brocade I'd purchased for the costume.

It's just about right, so I made the patterns with seam allowances.  There will still be some adjustments to make with how the belts lay on the sides, but I think I'm about 95% done with the fitting for this.  I won't know for sure until I finish the base of the jacket, which won't be until I figure out what to do about the sleeves.   I also made the base of the jacket longer.  It can always be trimmed.

Patterns pre-seam allowance

The embroidery for this is going to be the trickiest part.  I won't be tackling that until the base of the panel is completed.

Here it is with the actual fabric I'm going to use and the jacket mock-up.  It still needs some adjustments, but overall, I'm pretty happy with where it is at the moment.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Eowyn Victory Dress Part 2: The Jacket

Yesterday I dyed the fabric for the jacket, and today I worked on drafting the pattern.  For the bodice of the jacket, I used Simplicity pattern 4940, which is a pattern that I turn to for a lot of projects.  In addition to the gown, there is a separate bodice pattern.  It's actually two pieces, so I had to alter it into one piece.  I did make some other adjustments, including lower the bottom of the bodice (I still have to make it a tad lower).  I do still need to work on the sleeve area, as it doesn't fall quite right with the drafted sleeve.

The fabric is a gold metallic brocade from JoAnn Fabrics.  I dyed it in my washing machine on the medium load setting with 2 tsp Teal and 2 tsp Evening Blue Rit Dye.  I think it turned out pretty well!  After careful consideration, I decided that the best thing to do was to make the next draft of the bodice out of the actual fabric.  The reason for this is that the fabric is a lot stiffer than the muslin, and I wasn't sure if it would lay the same way.  Luckily, I have about 16 yards of this stuff, so as long as I work with the same pieces over and over as I make my adjustments, I'll have enough to make more.

Here is the base of the jacket, both front and back.

The sleeves really had me confused for a long time (and I can't say that I'm NOT confused by them right now).  First, they are split in the front, which is actually more difficult to figure out than it seems.  Second, there aren't many reference shots of the sleeves, and they're not very good quality, so the shaping, the length, and the cut are difficult to discern.

After trying to modify one of my sleeve patterns, I decided to attempt draping.

But first, because my only reference photo of the length and width of the sleeves is of Miranda Otto from the back, I had to make a duct-tape dummy of just my bent arm.  I pinned this to my mannequin so I had a shape upon which to build the sleeves.

This is only a start, but I am heartened by how it went.  I think if I can use one of my sleeve patterns to do the shoulder area, I'll be able to use the sleeves that I formed by draping to make the rest.

Draping - Rear View

 And here's the sleeve sewn onto the bodice.  There is a lot of material that I have to remove under the arm and figure out how to do the split a little better.  I also feel like it needs to be slightly wider.  Also, the sleeve isn't actually that long, but I haven't figured out long they need to be.  I need to be in the proper shoes, first.

So, that's where I am now.  Tomorrow I'll post about the front panel (front piece?  What do I call that?)  I actually worked on that the other day.  Because so much of it requires trim and beads and embroidery, I'd like to get the base of it finalized this weekend so that I can start the detailing.  I ordered all of my lining yesterday, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to finish the under dress next week.