Rustic Luxury completed

completed hooded dress

So I started off with the idea of a green velvet hooded cowl dress, (from my Rustic Luxury post) and I just wanted to post the finished version.

Original sketch of the "Rustic Luxury/Winter Wonderland" dress

I did actually finish this on time (hurrah!) but it took me a while to get this post up with photos.  Overall I was very happy with the finished product.  I had to adjust the pattern slightly to accommodate the hood with the cowl; adding a seam between the cowl and it’s self-facing, but the result was good.  I don’t know that I would do another one like this, however I think I would love to do a hooded jacket/topper/etc out of this fabric.  I did a wide facing for the hood in the same fabric (so it has a lovely deep turn-back) but then I lined the remainder of the super deep hood with a black knit lining fabric.

Before cutting out the green velvet, I tried out the cowl neck part of the dress in a super-soft grey knit as my ‘muslin’ to start, which helped significantly since I had to raise the empire waist a lot from my original draft.  I’m hoping that with some tweaking I’ll be able to wear the grey ‘muslin’ as a top at some point too.  (I usually try to make my muslins out of something wearable if I have the option, just to extend the wearability, and reduce the waste.)

The armholes have self-binding with the green velvet, and I used a blind hem stitch on the hem to keep it pretty invisible (since in the velvet a stitching line would show up plainly.  I’ve included the original sketch of the idea for the gown.  I just wanted to scratch down the details so I could see how it could work together, rather than just visualizing elements in my head.  I ended up putting an empire waistline into the pattern (largely to make the cowl be more fabric-efficient), and moved the hood forward slightly to better fit with the cowl neckline.


Close up photo of the hood on my dressform and headform

Since I’m usually the one behind the camera instead of in front of it, I needed to get photos of the finished garment on my dressform instead of me.  Just a note, my dressform is vintage, and WAY smaller than I am, thus it’s not exactly the best fit.  The cowl isn’t nearly as low on me as it is on the dressform.  Likewise, my dressform doesn’t have a head (of course!) so I put one of my styrofoam heads on top to hold up the hood.  It’s a little out-of-proportion, but it should give you an idea of the finished garment. 

Full length (almost) photo of the finished dress.



Icy winter wonderland tiara

So while I was shopping for materials for the Winter Wonderland tiara, I didn’t think that I would be able to find the supplies to make something similar to the Twiggy Wire tiara from my inspiration post.

white wired vine

But – what luck!  I found something somewhat similar – though instead of being brown with white ‘berries’ this one was white with ‘crystal’ beads and ‘crystal’ flowers along with white ‘berries’.  I wonder if later in the year (spring or summer) if the plainer version might be available – if the ‘crystal’ version is the winter product?  Either way – it worked out perfectly, especially for the winter wonderland theme I was working with.

almost done

So, I ended up getting it as well, and making up two of the tiaras (although ultimately for the party I only wore one.  I often make multiple versions it seems, partially because I guess I just really like crafting, and partially because I’m worried things won’t work out, and I’ll be out of time to make a replacement.  This way I have choice…) one from my previous post, and then one with this white wired vine with ‘crystal’ elements.

Since the other tiara was well underway, I basically just constructed it in a similar way, then spread out all of the ‘twigs’ on the vine.  I pulled out some of the leaves from the other tiara, but really prefered the tiara monochromatic – so didn’t attach them. Instead I pulled apart a number of the flowers with the rhinestones in the middle, and glued them in instead.  Super simple, but I think it looks nice.  I didn’t use all of the vine to make the tiara, so I pulled the remaining pieces apart and wound them back in again too.

Finished tiara

close up

Since I had a few of the white roses left over, I put together a cute hair clip too.  I just started with a black felt pad, glued a clip into it, some leaves on top, and then arranged three of the roses on it.  I also trimmed the edge of the petals with some glue and added some clear glitter.  Since after all, it’s not a craft project if there isn’t glitter somewhere!

Finished version

Winter Wonderland Tiara

winter wonderland tiara

So inspired by some of the examples I mentioned in my inspiration post, I decided to go about making one of the woodland-inspired tiaras.  When I got to the craft store I really didn’t think that I would find the material to make the Twiggy Wire one, so I started to look for materials to make something inspired by ‘the shape of clouds’ one instead.  I figured that the most challenging thing would be finding the base itself – but finding the faux-vine covered wire was actually pretty easy.  They only had it in one width and colour – but as I had been thinking of building the base out of millinery wire and then covering it in brown ribbon, I wasn’t going to get too fussy!

faux vine-covered wire

I also picked up some silk ivy – they had a bunch of different types so that actually only took some effort just in picking out which had the colours I wanted and the right sized leaves.

silk ivy

Then flowers!  I actually had a bit of a hard time with this.  First there were some wedding flowers I liked right away – stark white with rhinestone centers – but the shape of them didn’t seem right – they were too deep for the design of this one.  Then I remembered that in the description of ‘the shape of clouds’ the artist said she used paper flowers, so I checked out the scrapbooking area and wasn’t terribly impressed, but picked up a tin of paper flowers in cream and white.  Then in the silk flower area I found a stem of white roses.  I wasn’t really sure what I would use, but I got all three.

Sheer ribbon

I also picked up some sheer white ribbon.  I know that I have some somewhere, but I didn’t know if I had enough, or if I’d be able to get to it (yeah, the basement is still a post-reno mess…).

So putting it together was pretty easy – first making the base, and wrapping the ends with the sheer ribbon so  that they wouldn’t catch on my hair.  From there I used a hot glue gun to attach the ribbon, then a bunch of the ivy leaves, and then the white roses.  (They just looked a lot better than the other flowers.)

The starting base

I contemplated adding pearls or rhinestones, but preferred it looking a bit more simple.  However I did dress it up a bit by winding the ribbon back around the tiara over and under the flowers/leaves.

The finished version

Rustic Luxury

Again, this will be a post that I’m writing long before it posts.  In this case, I’m writing this in early March, but won’t publish the post until after the event.  In this case, I’m attending a party where the guests have been asked to dress up, in a luxurious way, while the party itself is in a ‘cabin in the woods’.  (Actually it’s taking place in a chalet in Banff where I’ve been several times.)

In my last post about what I’m thinking of for this event, I mentioned the hooded green dress – which turns out to be from Episode III of Star Wars.  I did a bit more research on this dress, and decided that the dress itself isn’t really what I want to make, but rather I just really like the hood.  Just to record some of the information, I found a lot of information at the Padawan’s Guide, which has a lot of photos from screenshots, displays, and replicas that different costumers have made.

Hooded dress from Roxx

Looking through different things on the Internet (I love Google Images!) I found another ‘inspiration’ image for the fantastic hood idea.  This also has the historical feel to it that this event also seems to be evoking, but I think it’s a little over-the-top from what I really want to do.  I love the hood, I like the bodice (sort of, it looks as though it doesn’t quite fit the mannequin)… but the over-dress and the sleeves are a bit too much for what I am thinking of for this costume/dress.

This example is from Roxx btw, and there are a number of these dresses shown in different fabrications.

From the Blacklist Blog

Here’s a fantastically-shot Giorgio Armani dress from the Blacklist blog – I don’t care that this is from 2007 – it’s still incredibly hot.  (Though I’d never wear the balloon hemline, it looks terrible on me!) How beautiful is this photo, btw?

So, I know that I want to do a hooded dress. I really want to use that olive-green spandex velvet that I mentioned in my earlier post.  But where from there?  I love the idea of a cowl neck dress as well, especially in velvet.  I’ve been wearing a lot of cowl necked shirts lately, and find them flattering….

Ralph Lauren dress

So, cowl necks… Here’s a shot of a dress from Ralph Lauren dress from Harper’s Bazaar.  (It’s #9 in their list of top trends, and how to wear them, although the photo was chosen for it’s “wear bright at night” element.) I love the luxury of this, and how the draping really highlights the pile of the velvet; it just makes me want to touch it.

Next Door Style

So, how about blending the two ideas?  What about a hooded cowl neck velvet dress?  Here’s an artistic version from Next Door Style.  I don’t love the super wide short sleeves, and I’m not sure why the hood is seemed across the way it is, but it looks like a successful interpretation.  The neckline looks like a draped collar (like a turtleneck, just really low) vs. an actual cowl, (it would be hard to cut that with such a tight dress too I imagine), but still the overall look is pretty successful. also has a cool version, with a tutorial. I don’t love how tight the hood is, but again, this is sort of the extra long and wide turtleneck turned into a hood.

Haiiku backless dress

Here’s a  version from Haiiku, however this one is backless, which I totally wouldn’t want to do, but again it has a hood and a cowl front, which I think looks pretty sexy! Ok, I’m sure 80% of that is the hot model, the photography, and the makeup/styling, but still, it’s another successful interpretation.  I’d like to see the full length dress though – I find it weird that they haven’t photographed that for the website.  Actually – all of the photos on the website are beautiful, but don’t really show enough of the garment for shopping purposes.


While I’m looking at velvet dresses with interesting necklines, check out this one from BCBG – which I found on a Prom Dress website.  I like the micro pleats at the neckline (bust fullness perhaps? I don’t see any side darts/shaping.) and what looks like a wide tube of fabric making up the neckline above that.  I don’t particularly care for the elongated petal-esque sleeves, and I find the waist seam a bit awkward.  I’d rather see this straight, or shaped at the side and back seams instead.  Totally unrelated to the design – I adore this colour – dark blue with just the slightest hint of grey or perhaps green.  Delightful!

Tampa Bay fashion blog green dress

Another great dress – or at least one with a great neckline – here’s an example from a Tampa Bay fashion blog.  This one has a pleated/gathered neckline, all flowing down into the dress itself. I don’t like the way it’s styled (with what seems to be an elastic belt) but I think it’s a great cut – all of that pleating and draping again really highlights the beauty of the velvet.  The yellow seems to be either bleaching or dying to add dimension to the pleats – though you can really only see this if you click through to the full size version.

So, I think that my goal will be to make a long, cowl-necked dress in green velvet with a deep hood.  The thoughts I still need to think about are: if and how the hood will be lined, if the dress will have sleeves, and if so, what kind?

Hmmm seeing as I have a WEEK to pull this together, I had better start deciding soon! (Not to mention drafting, making a muslin, and sewing up the final version – that is if I can find the room in the crazy mess that is my basement still…

Winter Wonderland

So, although this isn’t loading up until mid-March, Im actually writing it mid-February.  (Hurrah for scheduled posts!)

Ive been invited to a potentially cool party, where the theme is luxury in the woods.  It’s a surprise party, so hence the post-delay! I’m going at it from a Winter Wonderland perspective to start out… and we’ll see how it goes from there…

Photo from DarkFairy

So, recording down some inspirational images.  For some bizarre reason the my browser was acting strange, so if you see any odd marks, they’re just ones I didn’t catch!

With this first image, I like the luxury contrasted with the woods – the big ball gown style, the over-the-top hat, but even the fact that there is a lot of texture, and the long red hair is lovely too.

In contrast, there’s a cool image at which has a lot more colour – a bit more jungle-themed vs. this sort of elegant gothic look.  I’d show the image, but it wont let me… 😦

from ealiaine on deviant art

Next up, a digital photo manipulation – this one is interesting being all-green, and again the texture is part of the appeal despite the mono-chromatic look.  I like the leaf-feather boa, and the leaf-feather hairpiece as well in this one.

A lot of my web-searching also took me to photos of ‘fairies’ like the next example.  I don’t think that there will be any wings for this party though, so although I like the costume in theory – I don’t think that it’s the right direction.


tiara or hairpiece

I quite like this next image – the tiara that is.. though its not surprising, since I already have something similar to it – though it’s on a comb instead of a hair band just for starters, and the ends are crystals on mine instead of pearls, and it’s silver rather than gold.  Hmmm but otherwise it’s exactly the same 😉  This version is also significantly larger (taller) than the one I have.

That led me to start looking at different ‘natural’ tiaras and those sorts of things – it’s my thought that perhaps an entire costume isn’t necessary, but instead perhaps just some well- placed accessories.  I started looking at a particular Etsy seller called WhichGoose, and totally loved some of the different styles she had for inspiration.

Queen of the Woods by WhichGoose

First up, a tiara that is aptly named ‘Queen of the Woods’.  I really like that she’s used a natural base, that it’s asymmetrical, the colours are soft and natural, and it’s still glamorous with pearls and things. I don’t really care for the ties however – the tiara isn’t closed, but rather adjusts and ties together with satin ribbons.  I suppose I’m nervous about the ties coming undone, and would rather see something that is held with clips or something (?).

Next up by the same seller is another version; I really like how the photo shows it sweeping across the forehead, almost like a floral bang/fringe.  I can really see something like this coming together – with the pine cones and the star anise, and something like silk freesia or something.  I think the hardest part would be finding the low-contrast, muted tones for the flowers. 

I love the ‘double crown’ of the next example as well – also by Which Goose.  I think it’s especially successful because of how well the base blends with the model’s hair- seeming as though the flowers are almost floating through the hair.

double crown by WhichGoose

So, the next two by the same seller are ones that I think could really be getting more to the idea I have in mind – or rather, are more aligned with what I think the vision of this event could be…  who knows if the party host will feel the same though! LOL.  Isn’t that sometimes the way? Regardless, the first one is the Twiggy Wire style, and I really like this one just

Twiggy Wire

because of it’s simplicity, and because it is so down-to-earth in it’s own way.  I also think it would be exceptionally easy to reproduce, assuming I could find the right base to start out.  I also think that it could quickly look less luxurious if not done ‘big’ enough.

The Shape of Clouds

And last, the one that I think would work best is called The Shape of Clouds – which I like partially just because I find the name inspiring as anything else I’m sure! LOL  The wavy base, the curly-q’s with the pearls, the lush-looking flowers…  I think I like this the best, though finding the base materials, finding the flowers, all of this might be challenging overall – but I think that this is a good challenge, it really captures the idea I have in mind.  It’s elegant, while still be woodsy and natural…

So that brings me to outfit – and I can’t say that I really have much of an idea for this. My first thought is something rather ball-gown like, or sophisticated cocktail.  While searching online (for I have no idea what..) I came across an image of Natalie Portman from Star Wars, with this green gown with a hood, and I think that this might be a good jumping off point.

Natalie Portman - from Wikipedia

I picked up that olive-green spandex velvet back before Christmas, and haven’t quite figured out what I want to do with it.  Part of the problem is that I like it so much, I have TOO many ideas to use for that fabric – some steampunk, some some not.  But the hood idea is pretty consistent, so I’m thinking of something long, fairly straight, but with a deep, luxurious hood like show in this costume.

So, that’s what I came up with today… I have a feeling as though I might be coming back to this – the only hold-up, I STILL don’t have a functional basement (the construction is done, but the cleaning keeps being stalled because of other issues) so any sewing/crafting is going to be difficult…..