Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Big, Big, Big Day!

Yeah, it's been a while.

I'm trying to move this blog more towards what it was intended to be, a costuming/history blog, and in that effort I decided not to post until I had something, well, costume-y to post about. So . . . Halloween:)

After my original plans sort of didn't prove feasible (and based on my belief, backed by science!, that no one wants to see a fat girl in spandex) I decided the frigging week before Halloween to change my entire costume. Because I like an insane challenge.

Every time I went into my workroom, the Effie fabric I bought so many months ago would mock me quietly. "Maybe you should make a pillow out of me!" it taunted. "I bet you could sell me on eBay, and somebody would make an Effie costume out of me!" it hissed, jeeringly. Yes, my fabric does this. Shut up.

Truthfully, I felt really guilty every time I saw the pile of Chinese brocade and the gold boots just sitting there, unused. So, I had a flash of brilliance (?) and decided, around Thursday the week before Halloween, that I would be Effie Trinket after all. No pressure or anything.

Saturday morning I got up at 7am and started laying out and cutting. I used a basic pencil skirt pattern; I don't even remember which one, and it doesn't matter. Any pencil skirt will do, as long as it's the correct length and it fits. Then, I used one of the darted bodice 1860's Martha McCain patterns from Simplicity for the jacket; I cut it like a Civil War bodice and fitted the lining, using a Sharpie to mark out the cuts for the armscyes and the opening in the front. It took a little while to get it right, but once I was happy I used the lining/mock-up to cut the outer fabric and once that was together, I made the shawl collar. Like a real kimono, this was not a curved piece; just one long, straight, folded over strip of fabric. I sewed the bodice together, leaving the armscyes and bottom edge open (for the pouf, which I was making Sunday). The belt was just a costume belt that I encased in the same fabric. Easy-peasy.

Sunday dawned around 7am as well, and after a sudden brown-out (don't you love LA?) had me panicked, the power came back and I got back to work. I measured out 4 yards for the pouf. I had a couple choices: I could make it just a tube of gathered fabric, or I could reduce the bulk slightly and make the underside smooth, gathering the bottom and top edges of the pouf to it. I decided not to worry about bulk; after all, this was supposed to be a big bubble peplum, and I went with the gathered tube of fabric. I hand-gathered (I HATE machine gathering!) and then sewed the peplum to the jacket, the opening in front, and stuffed the pouf with tulle. The sleeves were next; no pattern, just eyeballed it. Once they were done I hand-stitched the armscyes closed and did the rest of the finishing hand-work.

The under-blouse was just a dickey of cumin-colored silk taffeta; it took me around ten minutes to do that part:) The whole thing needs to be hit with the iron in this pic, but this was the first time I put it on the mannequin to look at it together.

And, voila! If I were to wear it again, I would find a method for getting the jacket to stay more closed in the front; my boobs are, after all, much larger than Elizabeth Banks';) Otherwise, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I did do the little doo-hickie on the back of the skirt; I glimpsed it in one photo and improvised, figuring it would mimic an obi bow.

The gold silk looks really green here; unfortunately the flourescent lights in my office turned all the gold green and really washed out the makeup. Oh well. I did win the costume contest at my office, though:)

My pics ended up posted on Elizabeth Banks' website, along with many others who dressed as Effie for Halloween; I was tickled to see them added. I hope everyone jad a lovely holiday, and I'll do my best not to be so antisocial in the future:)


Trinity said...

Nice to see you online again! Your costume looks fantastic! I must ask - where did you get the fabric? I want to make that outfit but could not find the fabric. For Halloween, I made Effie's reaping suit which was kinda cool since I haven't seen many others like it.

Ginger said...

I got it at Michael Levine's here in LA; I'm not sure, but they might still have the fabric in their online shop:

Quondame said...

Fabulous! You look great.

Nicole said...

So nice to see you back online! You did a beautiful job. :)

Lex said...

That's crazy amazing! Can you make time slow down? Because if that was really a last-minute costume, I suspect you have time control powers.

Gigglebangs Riceball said...

Amazing costume! It looks fantastic!