Saturday, October 14, 2017

Beauty and the Beast Belle's peasant dress (2017)

First things first, a good friend of mine is literally Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Ever since I have known her, she has been in love with the original Disney animated movie. Belle has been one of her biggest influences since she was a little girl. Not only has Belle made a huge impact on who she is, but Emma Watson has been as well! So you can only imagine her excitement when Emma Watson was set to play the bookworm princess herself!

A few months before the movie was set to release in theaters, my friend came to me with an idea of making Belle's peasant dress from the new movie, I REALLY wanted to make it happen for her. I've never really made a costume for anyone else, and I was so excited to take on the challenge. I immediately tried to gather as many pictures from the movie as I could, I wanted to make it as screen accurate as possible. While Sarah (my friend), started searching for the perfect fabrics, I took on the search for patterns.

 I took a look onto , one of my favorite resources for patterns due to their low prices and instant downloads! I felt like I hit the gold mine when I found their vast collection of dirndl dresses. I sent a few different links to Sarah, and she ultimately decided on this one , which was a great choice. I was able to print it out and start looking at what I needed to change within the pattern to get the results we wanted.

First, I knew that the front bodice seams needed some re-adjusting. The middle piece was too narrow, I wanted the seam to lay a little further out, right next to the straps.
This very middle seam is a bit too narrow for the look we wanted, so I extended it right next to the strap.

Not much of a change, but it really helped with accuracy! Also, if you look at Emma's dress, it is clear that she has an extra "flap" of fabric that is sewn into the front right seam, wrapped around to the other side. For this, I traced the section of the bodice pattern pieces that would be covered by the extra flap, with tracing pattern paper. I added a seam allowance all around this new piece for the reason that I would use two layers of fabric. I also had to make a new piece for the part that the flap would attach to. I traced the back half of the side front piece, again adding seam allowance due to double layers of fabric that would be used. Ultimately, this piece would be sewn into the left side seam.

Left side front piece
For the skirt pattern piece, the directions have you draft it yourself since it is just a large rectangle. I wanted the skirt to lay just above Sarah's ankles, so I added ten inches to the length of the original drafted measurements. I used the apron pattern piece, but simply sewed it onto matching bias binding for a more simple appearance.

As you may notice, I did not use the dirndl's sleeves, or the part that peeks out above the bodice. I used a separate pattern, also from Burdastyle, of a drapey, thin shirt. You can find the pattern here. This shirt is pretty simple to assemble, as there are no notions, interfacing, or closures to be installed. The sleeves lay just above the wrist, and the neck is a little draped.

For the towel strap, i made blue bias binding out of the same fabric as the bodice and skirt, and sewed the two towels into it, folded over the ends, and stitched a line all the way down.

Sarah did all of the shopping for the fabrics, the main color is a medium blue cotton or cotton blend fabric. The middle of the bodice is a red floral calico cotton or cotton blend fabric. the extra flap on the front of the bodice was made out of a terry cloth-like fabric that I had in my stash. The apron was a dark blue and white plaid cotton fabric. For the shirt we used some old curtains that were white and very sheer, Sarah had these leftover and it truly worked so well!

Interfacing for the whole inside of the bodice (I pieced together used dryer sheets because I'm thrifty like that)

7-9" invisible zipper dark blue (skirt)

7-9" separating zipper dark blue (bodice)

Fourteen 5/32" Eyelets (Get the tool kit if you don't have the tool already)- bodice

Red and white yarn (bodice)

Blue thread

White thread

Two towels similar to Belle's


Once I had the pattern pieces figured out I was able to begin the construction of the dress. I used the new pattern pieces to cut out my fabric. Before sewing up the bodice, I placed the flap fabric right sides facing, sewed at the 5/8 seam allowance that I added, trimmed the allowance, and turned it right side out. I ironed the flap and then top stitched all around at 1/2". I did the same thing with the attachment flap piece. Both pieces were then sandwiched into their corresponding seams on the bodice, pinned, and then sewn together. I followed the rest of the directions on the pattern as they were. When attaching the lining I was sure not to catch the extra flaps that I added. I also skipped sewing the straps together since I will be adding eyelets and lacing through them.

The original pattern builds the outfit as a connected dress, instead of doing that I made the skirt separate from the top. To do this, I simply added a typical waist band to the skirt, still keeping the original slit for the zipper.

Other than these changes, I followed the patterns as written.

Here are a few pictures of the finished product with the princess herself!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

My first Comicon!

Well, I finally did it, I went to my first con with one of my hand made costumes! I'm a little late to the game, but I'm so glad that I finally had enough courage to go. STL Comicon was hosted by Mighty Con at the St. Charles Convention Center. 

My boyfriend and I arrived to the convention around one o'clock, I wore my Starfire costume that I made last summer (still need to write her own post). I was so nervous/excited that my body was shaking, I didn't know what to expect. We entered and waited in line to receive our wrist bands from the pre-ordered ticket line. Once we received our wristbands, we were able to go in the convention hall. It was so wonderful, this place was filled with amazing artists, vendors, and cosplayers. Many people asked me for pictures, as well as me asking them for pictures. Everyone was literally so nice and courteous, I was overwhelmed with acceptance! It is truly such an amazing feeling to hear face to face how people appreciate my work and the effort I put into my cosplay. Once, after taking a picture with one guy in particular, I heard him say to his friend as they were walking away, "That is the best Starfire cosplayer I have ever seen." This brought me so much joy, I can't even describe it. I loved talking to the other cosplayers and appreciating their costumes, and taking pictures with my favorite characters!


Negan bashing my head in

Cute lil' ewok!

Me and Amanda
After a few hours, three of my friends showed up, Amanda, Sarah and Dustin, two of which were also cosplaying. Sarah dressed in her newly bought 2017 version of Beauty and the Beast ballgown, and Amanda was dressed as Rey from Star Wars. It was so exciting to have them there with me at my first con (they've both been to one before). Aaron had a good time with Dustin being there, they're in love. 

The five of us walked around the whole con, viewing all the artists' work and the awesome props that were being sold. I ended up purchasing a beautiful print of Ariel from an artist named TriStarr, you can follow him on his Facebook page here! I love this piece so much and can't wait to find the perfect place for it in my sewing room. 

I also saw some handmade Negan bats that I realllly wanted, but I figured I could make one myself if I really wanted to, and I do! 

As the day came to a close, we all went outside to the water fountain and took pictures. My friend Amanda got some really great shots of me in my costume, which is always such a value to cosplayers. This con really opened my eyes, and I am so excited to go to more! I have been searching like a mad man for any kind of convention, large or small, around the St. Louis area. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Blue Hair!

I realize that this has nothing to do with cosplay, or sewing, but I have to share the plunge that I took into a full head of blue hair! I have ALWAYS wanted a full head of luscious bright blue locks, something about it just makes me feel so magical and unstoppable. It seemed as though everything got in the way of my wish, such as theater activities in high school, jobs, jobs and more jobs! Luckily, I now have the summers off due to working at an elementary school and I can do what I want for 2.5 months!

I bought the supplies I needed a few weeks in advanced, eager to get started. I headed over to Sally's Beauty Supply and bought a mixing bowl and a tinting brush. I also bought the small packet of Salon Care Lightening Blue bleach powder, and the small bottle of Salon Care 40 Volume developer. I went ahead and picked up Manic Panic's Virgin Snow toner. Since Sally's didn't have the Manic Panic colors I wanted, I went ahead and ordered Atomic Turquoise, Voodoo Blue, and Blue moon on Amazon. 

If I were to do this process again, I would have bought more bleaching powder and used the full bottle of my developer (I only used half the developer due to directions). Before I bleached my hair, I coated it in coconut oil the night before and slept in it. I am always afraid of damage, so i do my best to minimize it. I bleached my hair and left it on for about 45 minutes. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't as light as expected and it was a little patchy, leaving some parts pretty dark. If I had more on my head, I'm sure I would have got a more even application. After rinsing and drying, I put on the violet toner, this did very little due to the fact that my hair had more orange tones than yellow. I left it alone for that night. The next morning I washed my hair, without conditioning, to make it more accepting of the dye. After it was dry, I put aquaphor around my hair line and ears, put on my gloves, and I was ready to go. I simply took random strips of my hair and alternated colors each time. Once my hair was completely covered, I wrapped it up on a plastic grocery bag and let it sit for about two hours. I rinsed it out with cold water, poured a cup of white vinegar through my hair (they say that locks the color in), let it dry and BAM! These beautiful results:

Now, i will warn you, Atomic Turquoise fades FAST. I did everything to keep the color in, vinegar after dying, using only cold water when washing, washing as little as possible, using dry shampoo, but that part of my hair faded into a pale green within a week. I had so much left over, due to buying three different colors, so I decided to touch it up by just using one jar at a time all over my head. I used the rest of the Atomic Turquoise for my first touch up, again, faded with in a week of super high precautions. Six days after I touched up with atomic turquoise, I touched up again with the rest of the Voodoo Blue color and this lasted really well, compared to the Atomic Turquoise. It was still pretty vibrant after about three weeks, especially on the ends, but I decided to freshen up my look with more natural style. 

Overall, I think that manic panic is a great brand if you are looking for something pretty temporary. Some colors in the brand last longer than others, but everyone's hair is different! Play around until you find something that works for you. :)