Thursday, November 13, 2014

Queen of Hearts Dress Costume

So my final bridesmaid's dress for the Wonderland Wedding did a little bit of evolution as I worked on it throughout this summer and fall. Originally it started out to keep it very basic and uniform since the initial plan was to go as a card guard. Then I found some photos of Victorian fancy dress costume.
Playing card themed dress. Unknown date.
Queen of Spades costume c. 1905.
Along with my can-can research, it inspired me to do a number of add-ons, including my heart bloomers and the ribbon trim along the edges of my bloomers and bodice sleeves, and the hearts on them. In addition, I maxed out on the accessories.
Astoria Shoes
Red clocked stockings
Stockings and shoes were from from American Duchess.
 Matching garters from Zofi Design.
What really changed the direction of the dress though was the heart tiara, from Venus Jewelry. Originally I was going to do some type of fascinator, but I couldn't say no to the tiara and after I put it on, everyone wanted to know if my costume was the Queen of Hearts. I went with it and said yes, especially after we took this picture with Ben, the King of Hearts.
So here is the finished dress in all its glory.

Although I wasn't sure about the sleeves initially, but they certainly grew on me the more I wore the dress because somehow they just "work" with it. However we have found that due to their size, there's a number of photos where they're peeking out of the corner of the frame.
Since this a costume dress, I set up the bodice to lace up the back, rather than worry about hidden hooks and eyes. Originally, I had also planned to sew some hearts near the skirt hem, but then ran out of time. Looking at all the photos, I think I'm going to just leave it off.
Underside of the skirt and my bloomers in action.
The best part of course was the underside of the skirt. For all the swearing and cursing that went into it, it was absolutely fantabulous! There was a lot of skirt flipping because I had to show it off.

I had such a blast in this dress. It's definitely going in the "too keep" pile and I really hope I get another chance to wear it again soon!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Millions Ways to Die in the West review

So I will readily admit, the only reason this movie initially interested me was because of a bustle joke in the preview. I've seen movies that poke fun at history and figured that's what this would be. History is cool, but the occasional joke about it is fun, right? Right?

A Million Days to Die in the West is more like a million ways to have to suffer through bad Seth McFarlene jokes.

The movie opened with potential. You have the typical Bad Outlaw, played by Liam Neeson, and his gang of thugs out to harass the locals. Charlize Theron is Anna, the unwilling sidekick who isn't exactly keen on the outlaw life.

Ten minutes later, McFarlane - as Albert - walks on screen and everything quickly deteriorates from there. When writing the script, it seems that his already shallow bag of working jokes suddenly ran off and all he was left to pull from were the same three things. F-bombs abound, and all McFarlane can seem to focus on are the bathroom and penises.
"See this? This is my brain. I used it to try and write a screenplay and failed miserably."
Neil Patrick Harris and Amanda Seyfried provide support as the Girl Who Left the Main Guy and the Guy She Went to Instead, but even their characters do little to beyond providing additional outlets for McFarlane's poorly written screenplay.

The writing itself is far from decent when it comes to mocking history. At one point, Albert starts spewing off a bunch of modern day terms and his drinking partners stare at him stupidly. Because, yeah, no one in 1882 has a grasp of what you're trying to interject in here.

Even the bustle joke turned out to be a bit of a downer. As Albert tries to figure out Anna's large backside, she pulls it up to reveal something that looks more like a medieval torture device and it quickly delves into a joke about oversize hinnys.
"Is that really your real butt?"
It becomes obvious that even the writers (including McFarlane) have no idea what they're doing, when Albert looks at Anna in her dress (a semi-decent interpretation I might add, but still years off from 1882) and goes, "It looks like Jane Austen vomited on you."

Probably the one standout moment is during a flashback to Albert's high school days when Abraham Lincoln shows up as the guest speaker. He opens his mouth and the next thing you know, it's Gilbert Gottfried. It isn't the Abe Lincoln you expect, but one of the characters even says, "I don't think that's the real Lincoln," but that's what makes it even more funny.
"I'll give you $1 to shoot everything. $10 if you shoot this movie into oblivion."
Usually I try to do a costume review, but I found even these to be very lacking (outside of the okay bustle dress). Again, no research, so just whatever looked good on the actors seemed to be pulled from the wardrobe and fit with the movie.

Although I wasn't expecting much to begin with, the fact that the movie had zero redeeming qualities made it a complete two-hour waste. Oh wait, I did get yesterday's blog post up, so not quite.

Overall rating - 1 out of 5 (only for Gottfriend's performance as Abe Lincoln)
Costumes - 0.5 out of 5 (and only for the plaid dress)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Alice Wedding Dress Finished

Well I'm back from New Orleans and now have enough motivation to sit down and sort through photos. The wedding went off without a hitch and Jenna loved her dress! I don't really have too many construction photos leading up to the final dress, but I have plenty of photos of her Alice dress.

Jenna loved the final dress and everything fit great on her. Although color shopping was done based on online web pictures everything matched Joe's - the groom - suit.
For the finished bodice, a powder blue satin was selected and it miraculously matched her stockings. For the a little extra something, I sewed a small lace trim along the edge of the bias trim. The blouse was a bridal lace with clear sequins sewn over a white sateen cotton fabric.
The back was finished with silver grommets and a double faced white satin ribbon to go with the skirt.
The skirt itself was spectacular. In order to show off the ruffles underneath, Jenna came up with a hooking method to pull the skirt up and back to show off the underside.
The sides are hooked at the very back underneath the bodice and create a nifty drape effect at the back.
Walking down Jackson Square, the wedding location.
Perfect weather and perfect location for a great wedding with wonderful people. We had a great time and I'll make sure to post pictures of my dress and of the costumes worn by the other guests over the next couple of days. 

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Pattern: Mashup between Butterick 3906 and the waist cincher from Simplicity 1819 with heavy modifications.

Fabric: Cotton twill lining and interlining, powder blue poly satin for the fashion fabric and self-made bias tape.

Notions: 1/4" wide lace trim for edges of bias, silver grommets, 7" busk, and white poly satin ribbon for lacing.

Pattern: Blouse from Simplicity 1819 with modifications, sleeves added from Sense and Sensibility Regency gown pattern.

Fabric: White cotton sateen for lining, bridal lace with sequins for the outer layer.

Notions: Sewing thread

Pattern: Cancan skirt (TV280) shortened for the bride's preference

Fabric: White poly satin for outside, white poly/cotton broadcloth lining with ruffles made from cotton quilting fabrics.

Notions: Hooks and eyes for the waistband, large thread covered hooks and eyes for "bustling" the dress.