This is an old dress that I have had for a while. It belonged to me great aunt. I have decided to upcycle to piece to create my own version of this impressive garment. I love the detailed work with the beads and sequins. I want to make these more prominent. I have started work with this piece. The first change I wanted to make was cut out the lining. I also decided to cut out the shoulder pads and cut off the sleeves. Unfortunately the dress was a bit tight on my hips so i decided to have the split in the dress bigger. I aim to create an overdress from this dress. I want to get a black slip to go underneath. I will soon post photos to show my progress. My next step is to re-enforce all the beads and sequins as I’ve been finding that some have been falling off as I’ve been working with the dress.
These are some more images from working on the Macbeth production. These images were taken in the first few days of working on the production. These are some examples of the work i created while shadowing Caryl working with props. I wore down alot of leather with sand paper. I also learned how to sew with waxed leather and how to wrap sword handles with leather. I cut the leather into a long strip and tightly wrapped the leather around the handle. It was very important to wrap the handle as tight as possible to make sure that the actors could grip the handle well enough. I first struggled with the handle as it has a round middle. I found that after a few attempts the technique became alot easier.
I have been very busy since I finished with the Macbeth production. I have invested in a sewing machine which I am in love with. I have been using it to work on my dress that I have been making. I have also bought a dress making book which has become my dress making bible. I’m really enjoying learning the skills and seeing my dress come together. I made a visit to Cardiff market. I visited the fabric stall. I bought 2.5 metres of a lovely emerald green silk and an antique pink lining. At the moment I am still working with my practice material. I want to perfect my pattern before I work with my final fabric. I have also decided that instead of my original plan of having a zip down the back of the dress I want to have a corset tied back. I will soon upload pictures showing my progression of my dress.
For Comic con this sat 4th March. My two friends and myself decided to dress as characters from the Netflix show Once upon a time. I decided to dress as Snow I used this image as reference which can be found at: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/125537908335626409/
I had a very short space of time to achieve this look. I put the costume together in two days. I feel there is alot more I could have done to make my costume better however, I am happy with my result. I started my raiding charity shops to see if i could find key items which I could alter.
My first item I purchased was a light brown leather jacket with sleeves and a white fur collar. The first adjustment was to cut the sleeves off the jacket. I found that the jacket was too short so I cut the sleeves open and attached them to the bottom of the jacket. In the image below you can see how I used pins to attach the material to the bottom. The length was alot better with the added material. I also used pins to tuck the extra material around the shoulder pads to make the new adjusted sleeves look neat.
As you can see in the image of Snow above, on her jacket she has panels of different materials. The image above shows some material that I had kept from my degree. I was used in my installation for the end of degree exhibition. I like the pattern on the material however my only issue was the colour. I wanted the material to blend with the colour of the jacket. I decided to experiment with the idea of dying the colour of the material. I had to be efficient and use what I had to hand. I took a bowl and filled it with coffee and water then left the material to soak. The image above shows the result. As you can see this has made a difference however not to the extent I needed.
I decided to carry on experimenting with other substances. I tried using white face paint to make the material lighter. I also used watercolour to dye the material. My last idea was to use gravy browning. I diluted it slightly with water so that it wouldn’t be too sticky. I made the material patchy to look worn and old. I found that when I held it to the light the orange and red pigment was still showing through so I turned the material over and painted the entire piece with diluted gravy browning. I did loose alot of the orange pigment by doing this.
My next concern involved the fur. On Snow’s jacket the fur is tonal with different browns. Due to the short space of time I had to make the costume I could only find a jacket with white fur. I am also aware that the fur looks very artificial. I used a comb to try and make the fur look more natural. You can see the difference in the first image above. The second image shows a spare piece of fur that i unpicked from the bottom of the original sleeve.
I decided to apply my experience from Macbeth and use the same method to colour the fur as I did with the old man wig. I used a comb and I experimented again with coffee and gravy browning. I used a paint brush to apply coffee to a comb which I then brushed through the fur. This method works really well as you are left with a natural look. The colour does not look blotchy. The coffee worked really well and I was really happy with the resulting colour. I found that the gravy browning did not work as well. Even when diluted the gravy browning was making the fur clump together and look patchy. I found that I was achieving the same richness in colour by using different qualities of coffee to water. The less water I added the darker brown I was achieving. This was brilliant as it then becomes much easier to achieve natural tones in the fur.
I wanted to decide whether i should or not dye the fur on the jacket. I used the spare piece of fur that I dyed with coffee to see how the jacket could look with the cream fur or the dyed fur. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to dye the fur. If I had the time I would have definitely dyed the fur. I may continue with the project even though comic con has passed.
These are images that I have taken through my experience at Macbeth. Starting from setting up through tech and to the get out.