Tag Archives: Tutorial

Creating Miniature Buildings for The Magic Flute

29 Dec

Die Zauberflote or The Magic Flute is one of Mozart’s and the world’s most famous operas. It is a fantasy story about an Asian Prince who has to undergo trials, and he is helped by his half-bird/half-man friend, Papageno.

At the end of the play the Prince has to face the challenges of the Fire Temple and the Water Temple using his Magic Flute.

I wanted these two temples to be a part of my final image, and I wanted them to be something you could focus your attention on once you were done admiring Papageno and Papagena!

Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

I built these two temples as miniatures using blocks, balsa wood, craft foam, toys, expanding foam and styrofoam. First I drew a concept, and then imagined how to make it 3D in the physical world. Using toy blocks as a base, I built them up, like modeling with clay, but by using rigid pieces. Below you will see the beginning of the Fire Temple.

Using a child's toy block, balsa wood and craft foam, I made the base of the fire temple.

Using a child’s toy block, balsa wood and craft foam, I made the base of the fire temple.

Anything that looks right for my purposes is enlisted, including empty containers. A paper cup was mutilated for the top of the Fire Temple.

I cut apart a paper cup for the building up top.

I cut apart a paper cup for the building up top.

I wanted the fire temple to be a building built into a volcano. The concept was for the volcano to have erupted during the buildings existence, destroying part of it. To make the mountain I added expanding foam, the type used in home repair.

I added expanding foam to the block to create a mountain.

I added expanding foam to the block to create a mountain.

After the expanding foam was dry, I carved it like a mountain. I also added a cute toy sphinx, because The Magic Flute has a heavy Egyptian influence in the story.

Once the expanding foam dried, I carved it to look like a mountainside.

Once the expanding foam dried, I carved it to look like a mountainside.

After everything was primed, I painted the Fire Temple with colors that matched reality. There’s also a tiny Isis statue at the bottom, one of the gods who is praised in two different songs in the opera.

Here is the Fire temple painted.

Here is the Fire temple painted.

Looking at a close up of the top of the temple, you will see how I tried to make it look like a volcano had erupted.

A close up of the little Sphinx and melted building.

A close up of the little Sphinx and melted building.

The Water Temple, on the other hand, was less heavy and rocky. I wanted it to look like it was built on a plateau, but tha the water rushing out of the temple had eroded it so far over the years, that it was just sort of hanging on a hollowed out spire.

The water temple was made out of a toilet paper tube, styrofoam inster and more expanding foam.

The water temple was made out of a toilet paper tube, styrofoam insert from some random package.

I used a styrofoam insert for the base, and I loved the way it looked textured and rocky when painted. I think the styrofoam mixed with the expanding foam worked better than just the expanding foam alone.

The water temple gets it's own expanding foam piled on to the styrofoam.

The water temple gets it’s own expanding foam piled on to the styrofoam.

I primed this one in two colors. The black was for bricks. I carved brick shapes into the craft foam which was built over the toilet paper tube. When the carved foam is painted black, I could then lightly brush the surface with brick colors, grey and brown, and the black in the brick’s crevices would stay black, making the bricks pop, visually.

I primed the pieces in black and white. Black to create shadows, white for better color application.

I primed the pieces in black and white. Black to create shadows, white for better color application.

The little Grecian temple at the top of the water temple turned out very wonky and misshapen, but I fixed that in photoshop. I even added glitter to the greens so that little weird light effects would occur when the miniature was photographed for the composite image.

Here is the water temple painted.

Here is the water temple painted.

Viewing the completed composite once again, you will know how those tiny buildings were made! There are even more tiny buildings and cities seen throughout my project. Can you spot them all?

Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

Now, when you look at the image again, you will see the two temples flanking Papageno and Papagena! Die Zauberflote, Act 2 by Tyson Vick

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18th Century Hair & Wig Styling — The Book

6 Jan

Hello, everybody! There’s some exciting news! Kendra Van Cleave, author of the Historical Demode Blog, is writing a book on 18th Century Hair & Wig Styling!

She is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo in order to publish the book! Crowdfunding is where you ask your fans and general public to support something you are making. In this case it is a historical hair styling book.

Kendra Van Cleave’s blog posts about wigs have been instrumental to my own wig styling for my Mozart Project! I have used her blog for reference on many wigs, and I’d like to share some of the creations I’ve produced through her thorough step-by-step process (obviously there was a little creativity on my part as well, but her book will feature numerous different styles, so you won’t need to be too adventuresome!)

Another view of my finished hat from the front.

I used this wig in my Der Schauspieldirektor photos.

One of the most elaborate wigs I’ve made was based on Demode’s Pouf tutorial, but I twisted the strands when pinning them up, instead of leaving them straight!

Gina in Costume as Madame Silberklang.

Gina in Costume as Madame Silberklang.

I used the tutorial on my wig for Countess-as-Susanna as well!

The Final Wig for Countess/Susanna

Here is the finished wig with the hat in place. (I added some more ribbon flowers at the back after I took this.)

You can also see the model wearing Countess-as-Countess in the image below.

Laura as the Countess, and the Countess disguised as Susanna, talking on Ye Olde Celle Phone

Laura as the Countess, and the Countess disguised as Susanna, talking on Ye Olde Celle Phone

You can see my high pouf below. This wig was styled on top of a wig that was already shaped this way, but the process was mostly the same.

The Countess wig

This is the Countess wig.

I created these wonderful wigs with the help of Kendra Van Cleave, and so I strongly advocate supporting her book! Please check out her indiegogo campaign here!

 

Mitridate – Craft Foam Armor Tutorial

26 Mar

For my upcoming photo shoot of Mitridate, the tyrant king needed some fancy armor. Buying custom armor is very expensive, and so I went with the standard Cosplay route of making my own!

Cosplay is a hobby where a fan creates an outfit and dresses up like a popular fictional character (Star Wars, Video Games, Anime). The cosplayer often has to use Craft Foam to make their own armor. This is something I did before I knew what cosplay was, but when I found out about cosplay, I was very pleased to find that they provide many useful tutorials on making things out of craft foam. I have adopted a few of their recommendations over the years, and I would like to make a little tutorial to show you how I created Mitridate’s breast plate using all of these techniques.

Update (April 2013): I am now able to share the final image so that you can see the breastplate in action!

Mitridate Act One by Tyson Vick.

Mitridate Act One by Tyson Vick.

Craft Foam Breastplate.

(Note: Any piece of armor you make will utilize these tools. This post will only focus on the breast plate, however.)

Step 1. – Gathering Supplies:

  • Craft Foam (Available in many colors at craft stores like Michael’s. I use white mostly.)
  • Gauze Fabric
  • Large Gauge Wire (I used AnchorWire Multi-Purpose Wire, 16 Gauge.)
  • 3D Paint (I used Delta Accent Liner – Air Dry PermEnamel for glass ceramic and tile.)
  • Gesso
  • Metallic Paint
  • Metal Leafing supplies (Leaf and Glue)
  • Jewelry pieces (If you want accent details)
  • Hot Glue
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors and Knives
  • Straight Edge

Step 2. – Making A Craft Foam Form

First, I drew a picture of what I wanted to make. Then, I took the measurements of the model and padded out my dress form to match. Then, I took a large blank sheet of Craft Foam and guessed at making a pattern. I do this sort of thing quite a bit, and I realize this might be difficult for some people to do. I have put the final cut-out piece on my cutting mat so that if anyone wants to know the dimensions, they can see them in the picture.

The following image of a foam rectangle with a hole cut out of the middle is the breastplate. The head goes through the hole, pointed edge facing the chin, and the foam covers the breast and back.

Here is the foam breastplate cut out. I laid it on the cutting mat in case anyone wants to know the dimensions.

Step 3. – Adding a Fabric Backing

My next step was to cover this craft foam piece with fabric to add durability. I used a cheap gauze from JoAnn’s (It’s like .99/yd) and glued it to the back of the foam using Mod Podge. Mod Podge is a glue/sealer that is available at most stores that sell craft supplies. It comes with many specialized finishes and consistencies (Matte, Glossy/Fabric, Paper Mache). I used the basic Matte version. Many tutorials talk about mixing glues with water, etc. to get the correct consistency, but since Mod Podge has already perfected it, why bother mixing? The Mod Podge dries with quite a bit of flexibility, unlike some glues (like Tacky Glue) that dry hard.

This step is recommended by many cosplay tutorials, and this is the first time I adopted it for one of my projects. I chose to use it because the craft foam needs to support the weight of a cape in the photo, and I thought extra stability would be useful.

The next step is to use a fabric and glue it to the back of the foam to add durability. I used a cheap gauze that I had laying around, and put a layer of Mod Podge (Matte) on the foam and then over the top of the fabric.

In the pictures you will see the un-glued fabric gauze sitting next to the craft foam in case you need an idea of what the fabric looks like. On the back of the foam I put a layer of Mod Podge, and then smooth the gauze over the top of the glue. Next, I add another layer of Mod Podge over the fabric. This is generally a messy process, and you can use gloves if you prefer.

I know I do.

Then, you wait for the glue to dry. Once the glue is dry, you can trim the edges to match the craft foam.

Here is a full view of the gauze back glued, dried and trimmed.

Step 4. – Wire Edging

This is a step that I have never seen on any other tutorial, but it is one that I have always used. I take a large wire, I used 16 Gauge Multi-Purpose wire, and hot glue it to every edge of the craft foam. I glue it on the back, the side with the fabric. This wire can later be bent to shape the armor in any shape you want. It is very much like how Millinery wire is used in the brim of hats. The wire needs to be thick enough to support its own weight without bending, but not so thick that you cannot reshape it easily. I bought a spool at Lowe’s.

Here are two close ups of the wire that I hot-glued on the back edges. This will help shape the foam into any shape you care to have, and it will hold.

Step 5. – Decoration that goes under Edging

With this project, the wire will be covered by craft foam edging in a later step. Therefore, anything that goes under this edging needs to be finished now.

Using some drawn guidelines, I glued strips of craft foam to the front of the breastplate. I also took a 3D Paint (Delta Accent Liner – Air Dry PermEnamel for glass ceramic and tile) to make a fancy etching-style pattern on the front lower edge of the breastplate. This “etching” matches the tattoo that Farnace wears in my previous Mitridate Photo. The 3D paint is applied in two layers on this particular project.

I also have Jewelry Pendants and Findings that will be added towards the end. In the image below, you can see there are some circles drawn in where one of these will go.

This is the design I created using strips of craft foam and 3D Paint.

Step 6. – Craft Foam Edging

This is the step where I cover the wire, and created a nice finished edge all around the breastplate. Using a strip of craft foam which is wide enough to cover the wire in the back and the rough edges on the front, I hot glue the strip all around every edge of the breastplate.

These two images show the craft foam edging which covers both the wire on the back (left) and the rough edges on the front. (right)

Sometimes I do not use this step. You can get away with just leaving the wire exposed on the back if it will never be seen, and you don’t want a raised edge all around your piece.

This is a detail of the finished edging.

Step 7. – Gesso that Sucka!

The next step is to prime the piece for painting. I use a primer which comes highly recommended to me, and from me, called Gesso. It is a very nice primer.

I used Gesso to make everything white.

Step 8. – Painting, Leafing, Details

Next, I painted my breastplate with two types of paint. One is your typical Silver acrylic paint, and another is a metallic paint from “Sophisticate Finishes”. Sophisticated Finishes make the best looking, affordable metallic paints. In the image you will see the blue-metal is one of theirs.

I also used Silver Leafing on top of the silver painted areas once it was dry. Leafing is a technique where you put down a layer of special glue, wait for it to get tacky, and then apply thin sheets of metal over the top of the glue. Leafing is fairly difficult to learn how to do well and evenly, but the results are far better than the cheaper alternatives of metallic paint or Rub ‘n’ Buff. Actually covering the piece with metal leafing makes it look more like metal than any paint can.

Leafing is extremely messy, and many a wayward breath or gentle movement has sent the metal flying all across the room, but for all the trouble, and all the glue that bonds your skin together, and all the vacuuming, this is one of the only difficult processes that I swear by. The result is worth the trouble.

This is also the point in the process where I added my Jewelry findings, because they needed to be leafed to match.

Here is the breastplate painted with blue-metallic paint and leafed with silver leafing. The Jewelry has also been added.

Step 9. – Finishing Touches

There are a few finishing touches that this piece needed. Different pieces will need different finishing touches. This breastplate needed eyelets for closure, sealer and distressing (not pictured). I use either Mode Podge or Leafing Sealer for the sealer.

The Craft Foam Breastplate is seen here on a body form. The sides are held shut by running a string through eyelets. After this picture was taken I distressed and aged the armor, but this was a late decision and I will have no images of this effect until the final shot is taken.

Tutorial Achieved!

Any armor item you choose to make will use the tools and steps listed in this tutorial. This breastplate is only one of the many craft foam pieces I have made over the years. I have made masks, hats, models and props out of craft foam (and leafing) to achieve custom metal items at a low cost.

Mitridate’s breastplate was actually created to match a helmet I made for him over a year ago! The helmet, which is a great deal more complex, uses a plastic mask and paper clay in addition to the techniques listed above! You can see it in the image below.

Mitridate Helmet to go with the Armor. It is made in the same way with craft foam, but on a plastic mask base. It is based off of a historical military mask called Sutton Hoo.

Mitridate Act One by Tyson Vick.

One final look at the helmet and breastplate in the final photo! Mitridate Act One by Tyson Vick.

Der Schauspieldirektor – Costume Diary, Part 3

10 Dec

My first costume is nearly complete! All that is left is the hat!

I have created an embroidered Jacket and Gilet (a sort of waistcoat) for my upcoming Der Schauspieldirektor photo shoot. In my last post I wrote all about the embroidery on this jacket and gilet, and in the post before that I shared the making of my corsets for this shoot.

I have to make all the costumes for my photo shoot, and I was inspired by a page in the book “Fashion” by the The Kyoto Costume Institute which features two fancy ladies’ outfits from the 1790s.

The costumes from The Kyoto Costume Institute that have inspired the look for my current project.

After all my embroidery was complete, I began sewing my jacket together. It came together very nicely. The jacket has a front layer of silk, fusible interfacing, one layer of cotton interfacing, and a lining layer of silk with fusible interfacing. The gilet has one more layer of cotton to secure the boning. This makes the outfit look a bit plush, and I believe I used much more interfacing than the original as seen above.

The jacket sewn and turned, without sleeves.

I have a nice pattern for period sleeves that I adapted from the Simplicity Pirate Coat  #4923. I made up my own cuff pattern on the spot, and sewed the sleeves together.

The jacket sleeves getting ready to be put in.

After that was all put together, I set to work on the gilet. Because I drafted my own Gilet Pattern, and the inside had to be boned (“Do not ask for whom the bone bones, it bones for thee!” — Bender Bending Rodriguez),  I had to decide how to best sew the garment together.

One side of my gilet is seen here. I turned the who piece, boning and all, through the tiny hole at the top back, which was quite a process!

I had to decide which seams to sew together and how to turn the garment. The curved side seem, and front boning meant I could not easily sew it like a typical vest (in a Y shape). I decided to sew everything except the top arm seam, and turn everything through a tiny 3 inch hole. It took a while, and the boning had to be reset in the channels afterwards, because it twisted about during turning, but I think it was probably the best way to go about it.

Then I combined the gilet, added eyelets to lace it up, added buttons to everything, et voila!

My finished Jacket and Gilet!…

My jacket and gilet is seen here, finished. It features 30 buttons with embroidery. It was inspired by the piece from Kyoto Costume Institute.

I knew at the embroidery stage that I hadn’t rounded the bottom of the gilet to get that unique “u” shape in the original, so mine comes more to a point. But since I wasn’t aiming for exact reproduction, I am quite all right with this.

My jacket from the back. I decided on a functional back, rather than a decorative back.

When we tried the jacket on my aunt, I decided to add ties to the back of the jacket to keep the front flat against the bust without having to run a pin through the jacket.

Here is a detail of some of my embroidery and buttons on the gilet front. I embroidered and covered the buttons myself. There are 16 buttons on the gilet alone.

When placing the buttons, I tried to cover as little embroidery as possible. I only had 16 cover buttons in the size used on the gilet front, though I think it could stand two more at the top (one on each side).

A view of the lapels of my Jacket and gilet.

My lapels are a bit pointier than the original garment as well, and the gilet doesn’t open down the front as far. If I were striving for more reproduction quality, I would pay attention to these things next time. However, I think it looks very lovely.

Sleeve detail of my jacket. I used my own collection of cover-buttons, and chose this smaller size.

I am pleased with this garment, and now it is on to the next one! I will go to work as soon as I finish this post!

I will have more posts on that next time! Stay tuned!

  • Buy the Kyoto Costume Institute’s book “Fashion“.

Update – All the Posts From This Series:

  1. My first post follows the making of the corsets for both ladies.
  2. The second post takes a look at my embroidery process, and brief reviews of some of the movies I viewed while sewing.
  3. The third post shows how I put together my Jacket and Gilet.
  4. My fourth post shows the inspiration and final pigeon breasted drawstring-front jacket.
  5. The fifth post talks about the hats I created, and features a step-by-step construction process.
  6. The sixth post shows outtakes from our photo shoot and the ladies in costume.

Der Schauspieldirektor – Costume Diary, Part 2 (Now With More Embroidery!)

6 Dec

I have just finished my week long embroidery spree as I create a jacket and gilet for my up comming Der Schauspieldirektor photo shoot. You can read about the play in one of my previous posts, or follow my costuming progress in my last post on the corsets I made.

I have to make all the costumes, and I have decided to costume my models  in outfits inspired by a page in the book “Fashion” by the The Kyoto Costume Institute which features two fancy ladies outfits from the 1790s.

The costumes from The Kyoto Costume Institute that have inspired the look for my current project.

There is no pattern for the aqua blue jacket and gilet (a gilet is a sort of vest), and so I had to draft my own.  Nobody actually seems to know what the back of the garment looks like.

A reproduction of the teal blue jacket and gilet was made by the company Reine des Centfeuilles. I used their photos of the garment they made as my reference pictures.

This image shows a reproduction of the Kyoto Jacket and Gilet created by the company Reine des Centfeuilles. The website features more views of this garment than the Kyoto 'Fashion' book, and so I used their images as reference to create my pattern.

The Reine des Centfeuilles reproduction is very beautiful, and when compared to the original, shows that they re-drafted the embroidery pattern. Much of the original KCI (Kyoto Costume Institute) garment is worn and the embroidery is missing. The sleeve is also a much smoother cut on the RdC (Reine des Centfeuilles) reproduction.

Lapel detail of the reproduction created by the company Reine des Centfeuilles.

My own embroidery is only suggested, or inspired by, the embroidery on the RdC garment. I did not have any satisfactory ways to transfer an embroidery pattern to my own garment, and so I did not feel the need to do something with such a diverse repeating pattern as the KCI and RdC jacket and gilet.

Collar detail of the reproduction created by the company Reine des Centfeuilles

I printed out these images, took some muslin, draped it on my aunt, and while looking at the image, I cut out the rough shape of the muslin (I used part of a simplicity pattern for the side and back of the gilet.) I did not document this part of my journey, because 1. Documenting my work, interrupts creative focus, and I cannot easily create while documenting my process. Unless, of course, I feel completely at ease with what I’m doing. and 2. There is no sufficient light to take pictures at my aunt’s house at night.

Here is the muslin mock-up of the jacket front. The side seams are broken because I cut off the back to use that muslin for the collar pattern.

I drafted patterns from my muslin mock-up and cut out my silk, which I then interfaced to add support to the embroidery.

The cut and interfaced pieces of my own gilet pattern in "Sea Foam" silk... (Seam Foam is a fancy way of saying teal blue.)

My first step in embroidery was choosing a color! I chose embroidery floss DMC 3033 and 712, these numbers are merely the technical way to say “Ecru”, which, itself, is just the fancy way of saying “Off-white”. Then, I started to zig-zag embroider all the edges of my cut out pieces.

I started with zig-zag embroidery around all of the edges of the pieces.

This process was completed by eye. I only measured the distance from the edge of the garment, and then I guessed at how far apart each zig and zag stitch should be. It’s not an exact science. Nobody cares how far apart the zigs and zags are… or if they do, they should probably be locked up in a home for the bewildered.

Here the zig-zag embroidery is finished on the gilet front pieces.

The zig-zag stitching took around two and a half days, and I watched, like, 10 movies while doing it. I just have to say that “Revolutionary Road” is a stupid movie, and the only difference between it and “Death of A Salesman” is that in the one, the salesman just dies normally, and in the other one he rips out his placenta and bleeds to death. Good times.

However, I can recommend the latest Pirates of the Caribbean (the one with mermaids). It is the only pirates film I enjoyed, and I particularly liked the end, where Jack is trying to escape from Penelope Cruiz, and she keeps coming up with outlandish excuses to get him to stay.

I cut out little vines out of heavy interfacing to "couch" embroider over, so that I didn't have to transfer a pattern.

I did not have a good way to transfer an embroidery pattern, and therefore did not see fit to draft the pattern from the RdC version. I decided an easy way for me to work would be to couch embroider my vines. Couching is where you take a cut out shape and then embroider over the top of the shape, encapsulating it in the embroidery floss. To make my shapes, I used heavy interfacing.

Here, the couching pieces are laid out on the gilet front. I glued them on with Aleene's dry cleanable Fabric Fusion glue.

I cut out many pieces using only two different shapes and laid them out in different formation on my jacket and gilet pieces. I then spent a few days couching over my vines.

I watched mostly “Leave it to Beaver” during this stint, with another 10-or-so movies thrown in. I just have to say that the original Rollerball is an idiot, and its non-plot is frustrating all the way through.

So, the sports players play rollerball, and the “bad guys” keep changing the rules, such as “today there will be no-time limit”, which is just as head scratchingly bad as it sounds. Can you imagine baseball or soccer with no time limit? But instead of getting bored and chillin’, like they would in real life, the Rollerballers decide to kill each other.  End film.

Maybe it was just too deep for me.

I far preferred “Dan in Real Life”, which is about a single dad with three daughters who goes to a family reunion and learns to love again. It’s cute.

Here is a close up of the couching embroidery, where you can see how the thread is sewn over the vine shapes.

I drew a little pattern to help me remember where each flower, leaf and vine would go, and then started adding fancy things to the vines. However, I didn’t like the embroidery leaf that I did, so I cut out some interfacing leaves to couch over as well.

After sewing one leaf in, I decided to cut out some leaf shapes to couch over as well.

I then spent the rest of my days adding flowers and sprigs and watching more “Leave it to Beaver.”

The parents in “Leave it to Beaver”, Ward and June, always make me laugh. They’re really funny. I like it when Ward accidentally locks June in the closet, and when June tries to deal with her kids hanging out with white-trash. I like how sometimes Ward says sexist things and then they both snicker, as if they’re in on a joke that the writers aren’t.

This is my second time through the series, and I’m starting to get the sneaking suspicion that Ward’s dad was a physically abusive bastard. I think that Ward and June have this secret running joke about how much of a dick the guy was. Maybe it’s just the difference between the 50s and today, and I’m reading too much into it, but they never talk about Ward’s dad without smirking a little, as if they think it’s funny how much of a tool the guy was. My strongest evidence to support this theory is that they never mention the guy when Wally and the Beaver are in the same room… as if they don’t want their kids exposed to their dead grandpa’s douche-baggery…

Sneaky parents…

Here is a close up of some leaf and flower embroidery added to the couched vines.

I embroidered for many days, and no matter how many exciting adjectives I add to any given sentence about embroidery, it really just isn’t that exciting of a thing to describe.

“I nobly raised the shining embroidery needle high into the air, and then with a gallant thrust — Wham! — I plunged it deeply into the sturdily interfaced silken fibers.  The needle screamed, surging through the silk, spreading the threads aside, like when Moses parted the Red Sea. A sinewy trail of embroidery floss quickly followed behind the needles’ ever-vigilant eye, streaming through the puncture hole as if it were a snake crawling into its sinister hole beneath a gloomy rock. Suddenly, the needle turned upward in my hand, and with another violent thrust — wham! — it ripped once more through the fibers…”

In this image you will see one finished lapel, and a cuff in progress.

After 7 days of working between 8 and 12 hours a day, I finished my embroidery!

Here are the finished pieces. From Left: Gilet Front, Jacket Collar, Jacket Front.

My next step will be to sew all these things together and see if they actually make a wearable garment!

Come back again next week to find out how far I have progressed — and maybe some of these things will actually start looking like clothes!

Update – All the Posts From This Series:

  1. My first post follows the making of the corsets for both ladies.
  2. The second post takes a look at my embroidery process, and brief reviews of some of the movies I viewed while sewing.
  3. The third post shows how I put together my Jacket and Gilet.
  4. My fourth post shows the inspiration and final pigeon breasted drawstring-front jacket.
  5. The fifth post talks about the hats I created, and features a step-by-step construction process.
  6. The sixth post shows outtakes from our photo shoot and the ladies in costume.

Der Schauspieldirektor – Costume Diary, Part 1

29 Nov

I am currently putting together all the items form my “Der Schauspieldirektor” photo shoot. The play is about a group of actors auditioning for parts, and you can read about it in one of my previous posts.

I have to make all the costumes, and I have decided to costume the ladies in outfits inspired by a page in Fashion by the The Kyoto Fashion Institute featuring two fancy ladies outfits from the 1790s.

The costumes from The Kyoto Fashion Institute that have inspired the look for my current project.

Because I am building the costumes myself for the ladies who will be modeling, I have to start from the underwear and build my way out to the hats and the hair. The next few posts will follow my costuming process!

To start with, I have to make two corsets — one for each lady. There is a Blue Silk corset, made from a blue silk dupioni shot with Fuschia, and a Rust Corset made from an attractive upholstery weight fabric. I decided to use Simplicity Pattern #3635 because I feel that it is a versatile corset (in practice, being worn) and it is easier to make than some other Rococo corsets.

The insides of a corset. The first step is to cut out the pieces. This image shows the interlining where the bones will be placed. I used Simplicity Pattern #3635.

A corset has to be made in layers. Many corset patterns call for you to have one fabric front, one lining and one inter-lining. The directions say to sew the boning channels through all the layers, and place the bones between the lining and one of the fashion fabrics. However, after my first corset, I ALWAYS use a double inter-lining to keep the boning completely separate from the front fashion fabric and lining fabric. The boning can poke and scratch holes through the decorative fabrics, but have a hard time getting through a inter-lining of heavy canvas, cotton or muslin.

Here are all the cut pieces of my Blue Silk corset stacked together. The boning channels have been drawn on.

I decided to make both the Rust and the Blue corset a bit differently from each other, though they are the same size and same pattern.

With the boning channels drawn on the inter-lining with a water-soluable marking pen, the inter-lining is pinned to the outer fabric. This one shows my rust colored corset.

I only loosely pin my inter-lining to my fabric, because once the channels are sewn through all the pieces, they hold the thing together very quickly, and it is a lot of extra work to remove the pins from something that is too thoroughly pinned.

In this image, the corset inter-lining is pinned to the corset fabric. Here you can see it from the front and the back. The boning channels on the Rust corset are sewn through the outer fabric as well.

I cut both plastic and steel boning for my corsets. I made an all steel corset once and I felt that it was too oppressive, and had too little give. If all the bones are plastic, though, I find that the corset doesn’t offer as good of support or shaping, so I mix them. I use Tin Snips to cut my boning, both plastic (which is made smooth and easy!) and steel (which still takes some leverage).

The Blue Corset side panels, inter-lining, fully boned. Unlike the Rust Corset, the Blue Corset fabric will be added after all the channels are sewn.

A corset must be made smaller than the person’s measurements in order to shape the body. With thinner people, I only reduce the shape around three inches, but with plus size ladies, five to six inches come off easily without strain or too much discomfort.

All the boned pieces are sewn together to form the corset front, which in this image is seen from the back to show the channels.

I am not very good with avoiding the boning as I sew. On these two corsets I broke four needles in the machine completely in half by accidentally hitting steel, and I have a sneaking suspicion it was always in the same place as well.

You will see here that the Rust Corset has different colored boning, light and dark. The light colored bones are plastic, the dark are steel. I mix them up because when I used all steel the corset was too ridgid.

On the Rust Corset I cut in the tabs as directed in the pattern. In the Blue Corset I did not cut the tabs, which will keep the hips a little flatter.

Here is the blue corset with all the pieces, front, inter-lining and lining in place and ready to have the bias tape stitched around the edges to finish the look.

.I used store bought double-wide bias tape for the edges of the corsets. Sometimes I make my own bias tape out of the corset fabric, but I didn’t feel like doing it this time, because I was making two corsets.

Here is the blue corset all sewn together without bias tape as seen from the lining side.

My corsets each have a different look. One, the Rust Corset, features boning channels sewn through the front fabric and has tabs. The other, the Blue Corset, has the inter-lining and front fabric separate so that the  look is smoother, and it has no tabs.

All the pieces of the Rust Corset, including bias tape, are in place. Seen from the lining side.

After the bias tape is on, I put in eyelets to lace the corset up. I do not have any pictures of this part of the process, because I have to go into the dark basement and hammer away on the cement floor, because if I do it in my apartment the whole building shakes.

Here is the front of the Rust Corset with the bias tape on. The last step is to add eyelets to lace the corset.

Both of my corsets are now finished, and you will get to see them soon! Now I am working on the famous Jacket and Gilet based on the Kyoto example, and I have been drafting a pattern and embroidering fabric. I hope to share this process with you in my next post! Come back next time to see what I come up with!

Update – All the Posts From This Series:

  1. My first post follows the making of the corsets for both ladies.
  2. The second post takes a look at my embroidery process, and brief reviews of some of the movies I viewed while sewing.
  3. The third post shows how I put together my Jacket and Gilet.
  4. My fourth post shows the inspiration and final pigeon breasted drawstring-front jacket.
  5. The fifth post talks about the hats I created, and features a step-by-step construction process.
  6. The sixth post shows outtakes from our photo shoot and the ladies in costume.

Embroidering an 18th Century Waistcoat

3 Apr

Today I am going to show you some pictures of the process I went through in order to embroider the Count D’Almaviva’s vest (waistcoat) for my Marriage of Figaro Shoot.

Here is a picture of the finished vest:

For reference, I relied on the book “18th Century Embroidery Techniques” by Gail Marsh.

18th Century Embroidery Techniques by Gail Marsh

Photographs of the Embroidery Process:

Making and 18th Century Men's Vest

The vest fabric and lining cut out. The fabric is Plum dupioni silk. I did not use the ivory lining after some consideration, and cut another out of purple.

The collection of packaged ribbon flowers that I used for the embroidery. I used many red/purple shades.

I laid out the flowers in a pattern featured in the book "18th Century Emroidry Techniques" by Gail Marsh.

Using a white marking pencil (Which I don't reccomend. I have found a much better water soluble marking pen) I drew the embroidery pattern on the vest by eye.

I laid out a cord along the vine line, and pinned it in place. This will be "couched" over, where thread is sewn over the cord to hold it in place.

Starting the couching, I used a green thread to sew over the cord, taking the pins out after tacking the cord at each pin.

Here the vine is further along.

Next, I started adding little embroidery leaves to the vine using a slightly lighter green thread.

Once the vine is finished, I added three flowers according to the marking pencil pattern.

Here is a picture of both the left and the right, fully embroidered. I also used glass seed beads and sequins more and more towards the top.

Here is the unattached collar with the finished embroidery.

A picture of the covered button with a sequins flower.

Close up of the Finished Count D'Almaviva Plum Silk Waistcoat