|I love the film Stardust so much, I think it's just perfect! Una is a great character and her peasant dress at the start of the film is the sort of dress I'd love to wear and similar body shape too, so it should suit me.|
I got the Stardust companion book with notes and sketches of all the costumes cause they're such fantastic designs. After looking through this I knew the hardest part would be finding fabric with the right pattern/colour, so it was on hold for ages until I found the right one.
Now I just need to convince people to make the other characters and I'll bring her out again :3
First Outing (Posted 9th September 2011)
I finished Una for the May Expo 2011 and it was such a comfortable and fun costume!
Now I've worn it out once I think there are some improvements I can do whilst I wait for the people I've been badgering to make their Stardust costumes (would love to have a group one day) :3
Firstly I want to try dying the dress to a darker shade. I think mixing a deeper blue with the green I have left is the way to go as the turquoise was too light a base colour despite having the right mix of blue/green. Thankfully I have enough off-cuts left to do proper testers of how it will take over the current dye.
Secondly look at that straight fronted silhouette, I now think she's wearing a corset underneath the dress, so I'm going to give that a go next time. She definitely has one in her other costume (which has many references out there), so it's highly likely to be the case here too.
Props (Posted 27th June 2011)
I wanted some props to play with but I couldn't find a real glass snowdrop or fake wildflowers anywhere! In the end I turned to funky foam and used the hairdryer to heat it up and stretch a curve into the petals and stem. I had to keep it in a jewellery box to stop it getting squished on the day :)
I used a load of ball chains linked together for the magic chain, but it was a bit fine so you can't see it in many photos.
Dress Back (Posted 25th May 2011)
I used a separate strip of elastic tape in the skirt back because the more fabric you load on, the less retractable it becomes. Then I could sew the top to the bottom as a normal seam just inside the elastic which was pulled taught.
The ribbon wrapped round her waist is raised on one side through a small loop of thread. Luckily I had some assorted embroidery threads with a turquoise, which I used to put a belt loop on one side. If I wear this again I think I'll put in another loop for the lower ribbon as moved upwards to overlap with it all being one length wrapped round. The other option would be to make the upper ribbon separate to the lower one so the tensions can be different.
Joining (Posted 24th May 2011)
And the gathering continues...
I used the pulling two threads method to gather the skirts along the front half and then join them to the top front.
This is the kind of thing I usually spend ages thinking about before I attempt it (I take way too long on costumes), but there's only a few days left if I want to wear this to Expo.
Frills (Posted 23rd May 2011)
I added some straps to the top and used my overlocker gathering attachment to easily add the frills onto the front panels.
I should have used a stay stitch to hold the panel shape while I did this (hindsight is a wonderful thing). The whole front is cut diagonally (on the bias) and it stretched into a curve as I added the frills, thankfully because the front is gathered I can even it out, but I would have been starting again if it was a flat top!
The frills were torn off the fabric sheet rather than cut to get that fluffy frayed edging. From what I can see in the references the top is folded into the waist, rather than gathered, which will stop the waist seam getting too bulky. I've sewn the front down permanently so it will always sit nicely and the elasticated waist at the back will let me get it on and off.
Gathers (Posted 14th May 2011)
There is so much gathering on this dress!
For the gathers at the shoulders I needed much tighter gathers than my overlocker can do. I sewed two parallel rows of long stitches along the seam allowance then pulling on the two ends on one side of the fabric gathers the fabric up. Having two rows keeps the gathers straight making it easier to get a neat appearance when you sew the seam together.
For the back I used elastic tape so I wont have to use any zips or fastenings to get the dress on. It makes nice gathers, but can be tricky to keep the tape stretched out as tight as it can go whilst sewing it down to the fabric (make sure the needle is down so nothing shifts if you need to let go midway).
The back can bag a little, but I'm pretty sure the skirts are going to be heavy, so that should pull it flat.
Checking In (Posted 13th May 2011)
The down side to journals is seeing just how long ago the last update really was! Has it really been so long?
Over the last few weeks I have done more on this. I drafted a wrap top pattern from an old Readers Digest sewing book (yay freebies) and made a mock up out of cheap cotton to see where I'd need to change it for Una. I extended the back panel as it's gathered all the way across and lowered the front panel to gather into straps rather than join at the shoulder.
Quite a bit of trial and error, but I'm happy with the way it's going so far.
Currently trying to decide if it's worth buying the blue piano shawl she sometimes wears. Actually typing this I can't remember it appearing in the film, only the promo shots...maybe not worth it.
Accessories (Posted 26th October 2010)
I just bought a whole mixed set of hair clips to get one that matches my cosplay ref. The things we do for this hobby!
I think I already have some earrings that will do as I can't find a single shot on the DVD that gives a clear picture of hers. I can just make out something dangly and turquoise catching the light though.
Dress Progress (Posted 17th October 2010)
This is the skirt portion of the dress done, it's a 4m tube that will be gathered and pleated at the waist.
The trim didn't seem to have a hem in the pictures, so I used a double thickness folded at the bottom (pretty handy as the trim is flimsier than the main fabric I used and this bulks it up).
When I dyed the embroidered fabric I threw in some plain white cottons for the trim, but they both took the dye to completely different shades, so I had to hunt round the market for anything that matched and came back with this plain soft cotton. The camera flash makes it seem more vivid, but in person they're not so different.
I managed to find a really lovely wig with lose curls on eBay, nearly went for styling my own as all the perfect ones were ~£100 lace fronts, then this one popped up for £20!
Petticoats 2 (Posted 28th September 2010)
I am so in love with my rolled hem foot and the gathering attachment on my overlocker. They saved so much time hemming and attaching all that ruffling <3
The petticoat should stop the dress looking flat and thin; before I noticed it I had thought the dress hung like a really full skirt, now I know why. There are also little holes in the embroidered fabric for the dress so I needed to put something underneath anyway XD
I've got to the stage where I'm watching the DVD with the pause button at the ready. Not only the petticoat, but she has earrings, black suede sandals and a little flower clip in her hair!! Costume designers you are so subtle, I thought this was a simple one!
Petticoats (Posted 17th September 2010)
Hunting for references I stumbled across this one which shows a super petticoat!
Luckily I'd bought a load of 99p cotton to use for mockups, lining and odd job fabric. My petticoat is a circle skirt of four pieces (took 3m of fabric) cut slightly longer at the back to account for my big bum. I made 12m of ruffles before running out of fabric, but I'm aiming to have about 21m+. They look really tightly gathered in the pic so I want at least three times longer than the hem circumference. I'm going to put a drawstring in the waist rather than elastic, so I can position it at whatever height looks best under the dress.
Dye Fail (Posted 13th September 2010)
So the battik dye needs a sealer applied or it washes out almost instantly...
The dye pooled into gathered areas and only lightly touched others, plus even the tiniest of droplets on the fabric instantly formed a tye dye ring as there's loads of excess dye. This was so frustrating, I'd found the perfect colour and it's completely impractical to use on large amounts of fabric (unless you want very pale shades or are after that uneaven battik look).
Backup plan time, I turned to Dylon and got a turquoise that almost matched and their amazon green to make it a little less blue and hopefully darken it at the same time.
It's come out lighter than I wanted due to the fabric content (bah they said it was 100% cotton, liars), but it's the right tone so I'm fairly happy with it. Annoyingly the genuine cotton trim fabric has taken the dye better than the dress fabric so it's a much richer colour.
Colouring (Posted 9th September 2010)
I am now a SMURF! I used gloves whilst dying and then took them off to tidy up...all the dye >.<
So yeah, I did some testers with the actual fabric and tried one neat, a bit watered down and a very watered down version. The neat one was the winner (adding water pushes it into neon colours). I then tested a bit with embroidery on. It looks like the while the fabric is cotton, but the thread is synthetic and doesn't hold the dye, so I may end up with silver patterns instead of darker turquoise. I'd love to have it perfect, but to be honest this is probably the closest I can get it and in silver they might show up more in photos, which would make it worth spending so long looking for the right fabric!
No, I'm not going to draw over all the threads in thin marker pen :p
The plain skirt trim is now drying alongside the dress fabric which I've scrunched up to keep it's crinkly effect when it dries.
Fabric Dye (Posted 24th June 2010)
I've been looking into a lot of fabric dyes. All the main brand 'turquoise' colours are very blue and the one that did look right has been discontinued in standard packs (but available in £50 bulk tins, helpful). I was looking into mixing dyes, but not too keen on this as it means precise measurements and getting it right multiple times.
Then the other day a liquid dye popped up in my eBay search, Berol liquid batik dye, in turquoise. When I dipped the test piece in it seemed very blue and I thought it was another dead end, but I left it out to dry and when I came back it had dried to a greener shade! Put it up against the references and it's spot on, I'll need to water it down for the paler shade, but no hue mixing hassles!
Fabric Hunting (Posted 24th June 2010)
I've been keeping an eye out for fabric over the last year and realised I was unlikely to find fabric with both the colour and pattern I needed.
A month ago I stumbled over the closest pattern I'd seen yet in white cotton and on sale! I snapped it up and on getting home to look at pictures it's actually a very close match, a bit less leafy, but without making it myself (not going to happen) I'm very happy with it.
Now to find the right fabric dye.