Friday, 12 September 2014

DIY Lolita: Mary Magdalene inspired/replica dress UPDATED

I have always loved Mary Magdalene  dresses. They have a really simple design that I love and a little while ago I completely fell in love with this style. Unfortunately, Mary Magdalene sizes are small even for Japanese lolitas, so I figured I'd try and make one for myself. DISCLAIMER: In general I'm not a fan of replicas and certainly not a fan of replica dresses being sold when they take business away from the original desiner. The reason I've made this for my own personal use is because I know I will never be in a position to wear on of Mary Magdalene's dresses for myself, and I want to use this simplistic cut for my own work. I ideally would like to get to a skill level where I could simply be "inspired" by this design, but at present I feel the finished article style is too close to the original for me NOT to call it a replica.

Going for something like this
Fabric and trim (didn't end up using the rickrack)
Firstly I used Anny's Princess Seamed Bodice Generator (available here) to make the bodice because I find usual princess seamed patterns don't really accommodate my shape. However, the generator only really helps you make the bodice, and doesn't tell you anything above the top bust, so I drew it out, stitched it together, then lay some calico under the bodice and drew in where I wanted the arm/shoulder parts to be.

I tried it on, and it was WAY too big. so I tailored it at the sides and front, and started laying out the new pattern on the fabric. To start I cut out the lining just to check I liked the shape, then laid the lining piece very carefully over the fabric, as I really wanted to make sure the stripes lined up correctly on the finished dress.
Lining on mannequin with a petticoat for shape

 I used a tutorial on Riley Blake Designs to make the scalloped edging on the neck and on the hems. The easiest way to do this is to cut a facing out of the same fabric, mark the scallops, stitch them together and cut them out as close to the stitching as you dare (about 0.5cm)

Also remember to measure the hem and divide evenly by the number of scallops you want. If I remember correctly there were 10 scallops on the front and 6 on the back.

 Once you've cut the excess flip them right way out and PRESS! This is incredibly time consuming but totally worth it.

The sleeves were a very simple capped sleeve tutorial which I sadly miscalculated my measurements, so while the sleeves fit they are a little bit small. Then I added the cream crochet trim to the neckline, sleeve ends and scalloped hem.

 All that was left was to hand gather (why do I do this to myself) 7 strips of 150mm dark green fabric to make the ruffles on the bottom. I didn't quite like the way it sat at the back, so I added some of the dark green fabric to make a sash and break up the shape a little.

Final touch was some pearls, and a straw hat and as many cream/pink/white roses as I could find (which was 7, as well as a little rose I made from scrap fabric)
Of course I blinked as the photo was taken!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Persephone Cosplay

I came across this absolutely stunning dress by Lyrota which I've fallen completely in love with! It's really inspired me to do something on a similar vein for Glasgow Comic Con 2014, and Persephone is one of my absolute favourite goddesses. Please go check out Lyrota's work, it's absolutely stunning and she's talking about possibly selling a gown similar to her work in the future. 

Lyrota's Persephone dress

I began by draping a rectangular piece of cream chiffon over the mannequin (which I now regret and If I did it again I would create a v-shaped bodice), cut a slit for my head and then gathered the overhang together very tightly for the shoulders. I covered the gather with a wee bit of burgundy lace from the waist tie. I pinned and hand stitched some little gathers into the waist of the back to give it a little more shape

 After that I added flowers to the back, and then to the front, and then to the back again.

 The tree branches were made from this fantastic wire bark which I ended up having to order from the US. I absolutely loved it though. It was attached to the shoulder and then wound down the back and then around the waist. Then more flower petals were added. I bought 500 of them but probably only used about 400 which were all glued on with fabric glue.

 Then came the fun part. I really wanted to dip-dye the bottom of the fabric but knew that dye would never take to the chiffon which I was pretty sure was polyester, so I bought some acrylic ink, mixed it with a little water and put it in a spray bottle. After repeatedly spraying, letting it dry, and spraying both the top and a rectangular under layer of chiffon I was happy with the result (as well as having a very pink shower). I then glued about 200 flowers on to the bottom, which was a lot harder than it looks.

At long last! Finished
I then fashioned myself a crown out of some of the remaining tree bark wire and added some little wire berries that looked a bit like pomegranate seeds.

 I began hand beading this wonderful necklace pattern I found. I really wanted a big thick, heavy necklace which made people think of pomegranate seeds.

 And this was the final result!

Photo on the day from Alasdair Watson Photography