21st October 2013: Last few things… Since I had time after finishing the costume, I’ve made a matching bag with spare fabric and the test brocade piece I’d painted.
Her rose ring is a bit of an odd design with the rose stem extending quite a bit away from her finger. I bought a silver ring with a suitable rose on it from ebay and haven’t bothered trying to adapt it because I don’t really like the design and think it’d be a bit awkward to wear.
I’m using my own hair, although it’s not ideal since it’s thin, fine and determined to remain straight. It’s at least a good idea for the pulled-back hairline but I may try to incorporate extensions or a fall of some sort to add more volume in future. I’m copying the looser style from episode 2 because it seemed easiest.
I’ve also had the fun of trying to create some cleavage – not something I’m naturally blessed with in the slightest. Given the dress is backless with a low neckline as well, it’s all about tape.
21st October 2013: Belt thing I’m hopeless at the props and accessories side of costumes and I really need to thank Squiddley for detailing how she made her rose belt thing - hot glue worked perfectly to keep it light and flexible. I bought a fake fabric rose brooch and painted it gold with the same pens used on the bodice. The stem base is craft foam with hot glue on top. I’m terrible with getting this sort of thing neat and found using a heat gun helpful to even out the glue. I tested out a few different paints and decided on silver acrylic and the Krylon gold leafing pens again as those coped well with any flexing of the hot glue. The belt attaches to the dress with snaps and the ribbon bows are also functional.
20th October 2013: An actual dress With the designs all done I could assemble the bodice. It’s lined in bull denim for support and the edges understitched where possible. It fastens at the front with hooks and bars, backed up with some large snaps.
On studying the references further I realised the skirt isn’t gathered into the bodice at all, so I revisited the construction of my skirt and essentially settled on a half circle skirt. I only had to cut one new panel and re-shape my existing ones a bit before assembling the skirt again so it wasn’t a complete disaster. It was frustrating undoing my nice seams and going back to square one from having had a finished skirt, but the gathering at the waist just looked all wrong so I’m glad I persevered. I assembled it again with French seams and have roll-hemmed it. The underskirt is also now finished and hemmed.
The shoulder and back pieces were patterned out with a bit of draping experimentation. They have a base of Fosshape to give them the right sort of thickness and help them retain that curved shape. They’re looped on to the neck strap of the bodice and a few hand stitches prevent them shifting. I also used elastic thread to attach them where they meet the bodice under the arms - I wanted to ensure it’s not likely to break if I move my arms too much!
8th October 2013: Brocade One half of the bodice done so far.
8th October 2013: Brocade I put some clear plastic over a lamp and leaned on that to paint so the bright light would clearly show up the pattern to follow. I’m using Krylon’s gold leafing pens because I hate neatly painting fine details and they’re a gorgeous metallic colour. They also leave a dark border to the design which was a happy accident – I’d been debating proper silk painting with a resist to get that sort of effect, but I’m much more comfortable with this method and it’s ideal that it’s producing a similar result.
The photo is my test piece which, if I have time, will be part of a matching handbag. Might as well put it to some good use!
8th October 2013: Brocade I could then iron the interfacing to the blue silk, as on the piece on the right in the photo.
8th October 2013: Brocade With the pattern finalised, I drew the bodice outline on to some interfacing and started to sketch out the gold floral designs. I mirrored my references in Photoshop for this so that when the interfacing was ironed to the silk, the designs showed through the right way round. The fabric needed to be interfaced anyway and this approach gave me the designs fixed in place as an accurate template. After I was happy with the designs drawn out in pencil, I went over them in dark pen to make the tracing easier. Having done one half of the bodice, I used that to trace the design on to the other.
8th October 2013: Bodice Pattern The bodice wasn’t as difficult to pattern out as I expected. I made just one mock-up which I basically threw together with a princess seamed bodice pattern as a starting point and some reference to a halterneck dress I own. I drew out my best guess at the shape and it worked out pretty nicely! After trying it on I adjusted the fit, cut in the low back, tweaked the neckline and that was about it. Given it ends quite high on the waist, I managed to avoid side seams and I found the entire thing could be cut out in one whole piece (assuming you had enough fabric – I have a seam at the centre back), which seems to correspond to the construction of the actual dress because I can’t spot any seams or hints at a break in the brocade pattern anywhere (other than probably the centre back). After I was happy with the mock-up, I cut the pieces from my bull denim lining fabric, and tried it all on once again to ensure it was ok.
7th June 2013: Skirt I based the skirt off Butterick 6195 and made a mock-up in white polycotton to test out incorporating the overlapping front panel. That gave me my pattern, and the mock-up has now become my underskirt. I wanted an underskirt given how flimsy my silk fabric is and there does seem to be another layer to her skirt. I think I’ll keep the underskirt as a separate piece (i.e. it won’t be sewn into the bodice) and I got rid of the overlapping front panel again so I’ll have a complete solid skirt underneath the silk. It’s all sewn together and overlocked so just needs gathered into a waistband now and eventually roll-hemmed to the correct length once I can try it on under the finished dress.
For the actual silk skirt, I’ve cut it so that the selvedge forms the edge of the front panels and used French seams. Once I can gather it into the bodice and try it all on I’ll then finish it with a rolled hem (can’t face attempting anything else!)
So I can’t do much more with the skirts just now. Photo shows the underskirt and silk skirt along with the ribbon and shoes I dyed to match.
7th June 2013: Silk Dyeing Adventures I knew I wanted to use silk for this since it’s appropriate for Margaery, quite possibly what the dress in the show is made from, could be found in a suitable weight for the fluttery-ness of that skirt and it could be dyed. I bought 6m silk twill from whaleys-bradford.ltd.uk. The twill’s a cheaper but decent option – it’s light and comes in a very narrow width, which keeps the price down, but that still works for my purposes. I used a tiny amount of Jacquard’s acid dye in turquoise with a bit of brilliant blue leftover from my Alice dress to dye it. At the same time, I dyed narrow silk ribbon from rainbowsilks.co.uk to form the matching belt ties.
It took me three attempts to get the right colour (I don’t want to know how much water I’ve wasted!) and I basically spent a whole weekend with silk, dye and vinegar in the washing machine and heaps of fabric drying on the washing line. It came out very turquoise at first and I was worried about dyeing it too dark so tentatively added more of the brilliant blue until I got there.
The photos show how the colour progressed with each of my dye attempts (from left to right). It’s not helped that the dress colour in references inevitably varies according to lighting, but after my fabric dried off after each dye attempt, I photographed it in as many different lights as possible and compared it to a range of screenshots. Then I’d do more test swatches (you can see one in the middle photo) and have another go.
I’m not too concerned about the shoes for this costume because they won’t really be seen, but I happened to find cheap silk wedding shoes on ebay so dyed those to match. I kept back some of the dye solution that I’d added to the washing machine and brushed it on to the shoes (dyeing my paint brush in the process) and added another corresponding coat each time I re-dyed the fabric. It’s still not an exact match because the shoes are a very slubby silk and the slubs took up more dye than the rest, but I think the overall effect is a close enough to my fabric.
Finally, I plan to use bull denim from venacavadesign.co.uk for a supportive bodice lining. That doesn’t strictly need to be dyed, but I had spare blue Dylon machine dye from my Eureka costume so I’ve used it up.
Sephirayne - 9th June 2013
Oh awesome choice ^_^. You are going to look great. Can't wait to see your progress on this.
Speckles - 9th November 2013
This costume was absolutely gorgeous in person. It was lovely nerding out with you about Odin Sphere :)
Sephirayne - 9th November 2013
You look so stunning in this. I love the details on the dress.
Squiddley - 10th November 2013
Ahhh it was so lovely having you at the got meet on sunday!! Your dress is STUNNING, you've put so much work into it and it really shows, especially on the painted details! I'm so happy that my attempt at Margaery's belt helped you with yours as well :D <3
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