Another cameo

Cameos are another thing I ❤ – traditional or the updated skeleton/octopus/bat ones that I’ve acquired and worked with recently.  I had this cameo pendant (from Michael’s) for a while, and while doing my crafty-ness I thought that I would put it together with some chain and black pearls that I had in my ‘stash’ (also from Michaels).  The problem – the length of the chain was just too long for one strand (without a lot wasted – plus a bit too skimpy for the large pendant) and too short for two strands.  So, I got out the jewellery pliers, and started playing around with the connections.  I actually had to open up the chain to get the pendant on anyways (between the pearls) since the pendant bail is smaller than the pearl…

Cameo pendant

From there I attached the second piece of chain up along the sides of the supporting chain – but with enough excess so that the chain will droop slightly – not unlike my Tudor-meets-Victorian necklace that I made a while back.

I haven’t had the chance to wear this yet.. but I think it will work nicely with my Steampunk-inspired outfits!

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Black bustle

Going through old photos reminds me of all the projects that I actually HAVE completed – but never got around to posting!  I actually made this black bustle before the Sari Fabric Bustle that I posted (almost a year ago!) but I never got around to posting this one!

Black bustle

The fabric is just plain black cotton broadcloth, and I used black twill tape and drapery rings to support the cording to create the bustled effect.  This means that I can undo the cording to wash the bustle, as well as re-loop it to create potentially different effects… The sides and hem are all trimmed with wide black lace, and the bustle is pleated into a waistband that has trouser hooks at a few places to make it a little bit adjustable.

Inside of the bustle – I’ve used white cord on the lower tier here, but then I traded that off for black twill tape like the top tier so it would be a bit more discreet, on the off chance it might be seen.

The one problem I had with this bustle (or rather, not a problem, just something I did differently with the sari fabric bustle) was that it lacks a lot of “poof”.  It isn’t lined at all (which I’m ok with… I don’t mind the cording/rings being ‘visible’ – since it will always be ‘behind me’ and not actually visible to anyone when I’m wearing the garment.) but if it were, there might be more body to the garment. It’s ok though – there’s a time for big bustles, and a time to just use what nature (and ice cream) gave you…

Close up of the rings creating the bustle.

I also made a draped front apron which I didn’t photograph.  I like it well enough, but it doesn’t photograph off the body well.

Cut! – Portrait of a Lady – Isabel

The poster, click for the full version

Not far from the tiny little dress worn by petite Renee (Beatrix Potter), was a dress worn by tall, statuesque Nicole Kidman in the Cut! exhibit.  It was kind of interesting to see the contrast between the two costumes, since on-screen I can’t say I’ve ever really noticed the difference.  (Mind you, I’ve only watched about 10 minutes of Cold Mountain, (a movie they were both in) and wasn’t watching for that either…)

So, next up in my photo-spread of costumes from the Cut! exhibit is from The Portrait of a Lady (1996).  I feel that I should have seen this movie, but, looking at the trailer, it doesn’t look a bit familiar, so I guess I haven’t!  Not surprizing; if you have noticed from my previous posts about costumes from the Cut! exhibit, there are a LOT of movies – even costume dramas- that I haven’t seen!

Side view of Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

The poster describes the movie and the costume as (click the poster above for a larger photo):

“The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

A dramatic Victorian tale of betrayal based on the novel by Henry James

Set in Europe, 1880s

Nicole Kidman as Isabel Archer

In this film the costume designer shows us many beautiful an evocative outfits that follow Isabel Archer’s Journey of self discovery.  This white gown with its pinkish hue and pearl bead embroidery is a fine example of the layers of detail and the fine fabrics that reflect Isabel’s inheritance and new-found wealth.  The beaded front panel of this skirt is an original piece from a time when such an elaborate panel would have been made up and sold separately to have a dress created around it.  This panel was four inches too short for Nicole Kidman, so it was lengthened with fabric inserted at the waist which is covered by the jacket.”

Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

A beautiful shot of the back of the ‘jacket’, showing the seaming to go from shoulders to an amazingly narrow waist.  While the lace works on the back collar because of the front of the bodice, I have to say I don’t care for the bow at all!  I imagine that the designer saw Nicole with her hair up for this gown, because it would be a huge fuss to have her hair down with this silly bow at the back!

In this photo I can also see the shoulder seam shifted far back – this could just be a design/fit solution for a curved shoulder blade, or it could actually be a shifted shoulder seam.  Without seeing the top of the shoulder, it’s hard to say.

I’d also point out the horizontal waist seam in the side panel of the jacket as well.  All of the other panels are long without the horizontal interruption, which makes me wonder why this line is here.  It could simply be a matter of piecing fabric… since there doesn’t seem to be a design reason for it.

Lastly, I’d like to point out the gathering on the sleeve, above the cuff.  Very pretty….

Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

The lower part of the back of the outfit, lots of lace, trim, ribbons, flowers.. etc.. wow.

Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

Aaother shot heading down the back of the dress.

Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

So finally the front… the false waistcoat in what looked a lot like wide-wale peach corduroy, false buttons, lace and ribbon collar, ruched trim… etc etc etc.  I have the sneaking suspicion that the closure is hooks and eyes under the false buttons.  There don’t appear to be any button holes, so that’s what would make the most sense to me.  In this photo you can also see the top of that pearl beaded panel for the skirt.

Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

Here’s a close up on those false buttons, the peach corduroy (or maybe it’s a figured velvet in stripes?  Up close it looks more like velvet than corduroy…), the lack of buttonholes, and the pearl beading.  No real conclusive proof of a hook and eye front closure though.  However that ever-so-slight gap at the very top of the photo makes it look as though this certainly is where the opening is.

Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

The ruching from the ‘jacket’ front continues down the length of the dress to the floor, where it meets more trim.  Here you can see the full length of that pearl beaded panel.

Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

Closer shot of the elaborate trim, pleating and ribbons on the hem of the dress.

Isabel's costume from Portrait of a Lady

Finally a  close up of the sleeve that I pointed out earlier.  What confuses me is that little hint of silver glittery ribbon/elastic at the wrist.  It really did look like wide elastic (like from elastic belts from the 1980s) and colour and fabric-wise it didn’t really seem to suit the rest of the outfit.  However, I do love that gathering!

The Costumer’s Guide doesn’t have a write up for this costume itself, nor any photos that I could see when I went to look – other than this movie still.  However there are a number of other costumes from the movie that have many photos – and many of them look incredible!  This looks like it might be a great movie to watch on DVD, pause button at the ready!  For more screen captures check out Period Movie Caps.

So… is this dress inspiring?  More so than the Beatrix Potter dress for me, certainly!

Cut! – Miss Potter – Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter's costume

Well the Cut! exhibit certainly gave me a lot of blog-fodder, so here’s another costume – this time from Miss Potter, a movie (that I frankly never heard of – which isn’t a terrible thing, since I’m not a big movie fan anyways…) about Beatrix Potter.

Poster for the costume - click for full version

The costume description poster (click for a larger view) describes the movie as:

“Miss Potter (2006)

The story of Beatrix Potter, author of the best-selling children’s book ‘ The tale of Peter Rabbit’, and her struggle for love, happiness and success.

Set in London, 1870’s

The day ensemble consists of a ruched beige silk bustled skirt with lace trim and a high-necked jacket with ore ruching and lace trim as well as a crocheted-covered buttons.”

Beatrix Potter's costume

I suppose either I’m not in an inspired mood at the moment, or the costume didn’t strike me as particularly inspiring, because I don’t really have much to say about this one…  I don’t think that the ruching is all that attractive (although on tiny little Renee Zellweger perhaps it would be ok!) so it’s not an element I’d want to repeat.  The colour is bland and boring, the poofs and lace seem dowdy with the cut of the outfit overall, the only thing that I find even mildly interesting is the shape of the skirt – though it looks a bit off where the front part meets the back at the side seam…

Beatrix Potter's costume

Well, the buttons are kind of nice I suppose, and I do like the way the front fullness is gathered with the lines of ruching – though again, not something I would want to reproduce to the extent done here.

Beatrix Potter's costume

Pst… what is that last button doing down there – there isn’t even a buttonhole…

Beatrix Potter's costume

Why is the back fabric all pleated at the shoulders?  The ruching here isn’t just controlling the fabric, they’ve actually added in additional fabric.  Not really attractive to me…

Beatrix Potter's costume

Ruching! Puffs! Lace!

Beatrix Potter's costume

Again, a bit overdone for me… too much fabric without enough of an impact.

Ok.. so if you see something I don’t in this costume, let me know in the comments below.  Maybe there’s a context that since I haven’t seen the movie I’m not aware of? Perhaps I’m just in an uninspired mood!

A Steampunk in Tokyo

When I started thinking about my “Mysterious Sub-continent Steampunk” costume, I couldn’t help also think about an Asian-inspired Steampunk costume as well.  I thought about doing a bit of research to start off to see a) if there are interesting things already being done b) if anything appeals to me, and c) if there’s anything I really want to do…

From Fragile Whispers - click for original

To start off – one of the images that first got me thinking about this was from Fragile Whispers on Deviant Art.  I agree – I think this would be a sweet costume to make – though if I were going to make something like this, I’d make some significant changes for myself and my own body-type.  I like the colours (for Steampunk that is) with the golds/browns/creams/etc contrasting with the small touches of blue.  I like the corset and the bodice top, along with the bustle-like overskirt.  The front panel really does make it more Asian, along with the closures on the bodice, however beyond those touches it really requires the styling for the “Asian” element to come through. Still, what a great inspirational image!

From Laui Lashire - click for original

Next up, another image from Deviant Art, this time from an artist Laui Lashire.  I don’t think the art in this piece is as successful, though I really do like some of the elements she’s captured.  I love the kimono sleeves (with the banded top), the harness, the bustled overskirt/apron, and the wrap-front top.  This definitely feels more ‘modern’ steampunk vs. Victorian steampunk though, and I think I’m leaning more to the Victorian side of things…

This next one I LOVE.  It’s very much comic/graphic novel/illustration style though – more about the ‘story’ than what she’s actually wearing (which means that it’s often hard to interpret). This is from Mongrel’s Sister on Deviant Art. I think it’s the details in the image below that really work for me – the extra-large brass grommets on her tall boots with the embellished heel – along with the little peacock knot covers… the neck collar with the bow and cameo, the smoking headpiece with cogs and clock hands…  and despite the intense colour (which the artist says is slightly different from the expected Steampunk colour scheme) I adore the colours as well – the red looks so lush and ornate…  (I don’t totally dig the mis-matched eyeshadow or the bow tied in the front for the obi, but I digress…)

From Mongrels Sister on Deviant Art - click for original

Also from Deviant Art I thought I’d share a photo of a costume – I think this one is a little more on the nose than I’d like to go for, but I can appreciate the thought behind it. This is the Steampunk Kimono from Tanya.  Another that I found, but didn’t love enough to post an image (but still wanted to include for reference sake) is by artist Pooling Waters, and his Steampunk Geisha.

From O.F.A - click for original

Another image like the one above – where it’s more cartoon-y and less realistic is from the “Opium Fashion Agency” which appears to be clothing for computer game characters.  I only understand this in theory, having never played these games nor had any interest in playing… but nonetheless – cool costume!  I can’t say that I love the British flag use – though I can see this becoming a beautiful contrasting fabric instead. (Click here for a super-large version.)  There are some really cool details in this costume too – the little tiny hat, the tiny ‘Chinese lantern’ hair sticks, the neck corset, the gears/chain/keys embellished corset, the bustle…  There are also some elements I don’t care for as much – the bustle doesn’t seem to go anywhere -there are red bows at the sides for all of the pleating – but it’s nowhere to be seen in the front, and I don’t like the tiers of ruffles on the sleeves.  Still I think it’s a really interesting interpretation of the theme.

From Nerf Gun Bobbins - click for original

Next up… now this is really interesting!  From Nerf Gun Bobbins, a geisha costume from a contest.  I think it’s the strapping that really makes this one work… using a traditional kimono shape, with kimono fabric, and then adding the strapping and buckles to connect pieces and transform the overall structure into something quite different.  On the downside, as a Steampunk costume I don’t love the colour combination, but like the overall effect.  This too is a bit more modern than I think I would want to do – though I can definitely see how this could be adapted by making the length longer (my heart dreams of floor length, but the part of me that hates having my dress stepped on will settle for ankle-length), adding a bustle, perhaps doing something in the neckline area.. etc…

On Craftster there’s a costume (top) taking a straight jacket, cut in Asian-inspired brocade, and with a small bustle added into the ‘tail’ of the jacket.  It’s not what I want to do, but I thought it was interesting enough to include as well.

DragonFly Designs - click for original version

I would be foolish to try to put together any inspiration post for Asian-inspired Steampunk without including a photo from DragonFly Design’s Steampunk Geisha.  I adore pretty much everything she’s done here from the colour scheme (although I can’t say I’d be able to wear that golden-green shot dupioni silk corset!) to the cut, to the accessories.  It seems like a beautiful fusion of Victorian Steampunk and Asian.  With this outfit, it really is the accessories that sell it – though the costume itself is wonderful too.  Click the link to see more photos in-progress as well as lots of up-close photos of the accessories and back views with a beautiful bustle.

Years ago I found a post and some photos by a woman who made a Victorian Polonaise out of sushi-print fabric, and although this isn’t what I actually want to make, it certainly has some of the flavor of what I have in mind.  I hunted and hunted over the web, thinking I remembered it from the Great Pattern Review Truly Victorian page, but after not finding it there, and being curious about the other patterns, I finally found it on the Past Patterns page instead. The #904 – 1880’s Polonaise and Walking Skirt is near the bottom of the page – click the link for a photo.

So – jumping off from there, I think that Truly Victorian TV410 – 1873 Polonaise would be a good start for a pattern, and I love 1880 Split Pannier Overskirt… though I don’t know how it would look on me.  Ah.. I think sketching needs to come before patterns!

So… do you have any other ideas – cool photos or interesting links to share?  Please send them via the comments at the bottom of this post!