Gilligan's Island: Howell Madness!

Okay, maybe not "Madness!" but it is a little bit unusual, don't you think?

For my final swimwear exercise, I tried a "standard" string bikini with a stringy twist.  You know, I kind of felt strange using such a little amount of fabric to cover up Trina's girly bits.  I mean, if a regular piece of paper represented the amount of material I usually use to make a garment, this outfit would be represented by a postage stamp.

The hat was essential, and I chose the plaid print to echo a Mr. Howell sports jacket, of course.  It usually would be used for trousers or something, but it is actually stretchy, so I thought it would be a good choice for this character.

Always not wanting to keep things simple, I wanted to also add something extra and unusual, so inspired by the idea of a scuba-diving outfit, I made a string-embellished raglan sleeve shrug that is almost off the shoulder and buttons off center.  I think it adds a nice fashion touch, even if it would make for a strange tan pattern after a day at the beach.

Just to point out as well, check out the awesome backside to this bikini bottom!  I used an inward curved center back seam to "lift and separate" which also prevents the fabric from riding up and in while the girl is walking.  I will use this technique again!

Square Pegs: Around the Corner

It would probably be overdramatic to tell you how I agonized and agonized over this outfit.  I made three different tops before settling on this one.  The others were either too old lady, too unflattering, to just too wrong.  This cardigan-like sweater is a little on the simple side, but I actually can see a high school/college age girl wearing it.

The reason why I had such a hard time was that I started with the fabric with no TV inspiration!  I was totally lost before I noticed the squares in the pattern and the pegged pants.  Square Pegs!  That's it!  There's no particular character this would fit.  It's not dorky enough for the nerdy girls and not uppity enough for Muffy.  So let's just say that Trina would be playing an extra on the show.

Speaking of Trina.  Raine is quite upset right now because Trina is using her body.  Well, namely her torso.  I needed a pose that was a little less upright to make the look work.

The Addams Family - Fester's Fabulous!

Completing my Darkness collection is a very unexpected Uncle Fester! (Actually, it's Fester with a little Pugsley combo, just like the Morticia/Gomez mixture of my last post.)  Yes, I know that Fester is bald.  But I can't do a whole standalone picture series with a bald headed model!

On the show, Fester wore a dirty looking monk's robe with a fleece or fur muffler. I recall the robe being burlap, but maybe it wasn't.  Either way, it didn't look too comfortable or flattering to the body.

For this outfit, I wanted to make something just as figure-hiding while still being fabulous.  Baggy and bulky are usually not my style, so I of course had to pair it with something fitted and skimpy, hence the hotpants and tight sweater just to make me feel more at home.  The result is a ensemble that is part Addams, part Dr. Zhivago, part Streetwalker.  Love it!

If you look at the non-fur part, yes, that's burlap, or a version of it, that I got a huge bolt of years ago for a dollar a yard sitting on a street corner.  I've used it to upholster some of my furniture peices and make window coverings, and now, it's a bog coat.  I'm telling you, after working with all that burlap and fur for this project, my nasal passages are hating me!  I'm dreading vacuuming my sewing room and looking forward to it at the same time.

FUN FACT! Wondering what make me think of making those funky curved cut-out layers with the brown tabs hanging out?  When I make mock-ups of symmetrical pieces, especially ones that require a lot of fabric, I often only make one side. After all, why waste the material if both sides are the same? Well, with this coat's mock-up, I made one side properly, and the other out of scrap material that was left over after I cut out the mock sleeve.  So the curve at the bottom that you see is actually the shape of the stop of the coat's sleeve pattern laid flat.  I liked the way it looked, so I used it as an overlayer!

I'm not going to lie and say that this coat has nothing to do with my experience in making Henry VIII costumes, but I think that I've updated it competently and Nora thinks it's hot!  Literally!

The Addams Family: "Morticia, have I made you very Unhappy?" "Oh, yes, My Darling, Completely."

Part two of my mini-collection of darkness is Morticia Addams.  This suit is one of the main reinforcements of why I don't like to design in black.  This is the most complicated jacket that I have ever drafted.  It has three collars going all different directions, one and a half peplums, tiny pinstripes angled every which way, and hard-to-make sharp-cornered seams.  And you can barely see any of the work!  The unfortunate outcome is that Tish looks like a dominatrix 50's airline stewardess.

In the end, I kind of knew that I wasn't going to like this one.  After all, it's not really my style, but I really wanted to do a black collection so I could get over it and "come out of the darkness and back into the light."  Corny, yes?  But whatever!  You don't know me!

But for those of you who want to know, "What was he thinking?!" I can point a few cool things out.  First of all, I do know that the original Morticia costumes, both the Carolyn and Angelica versions, put the actresses in dresses so tight at the knees they could barely walk.  Making a fishtail gown, though, would be too obvious, so I started by making very tight pants with huge flares at the bottom with a corset at the top.  Then I realized that flared pants are SO not in style anymore, so I scrapped it and started over by making an uncomfortably tight jacket with padded shoulders and a strange, spider-like collar treatment with an attached choker that makes her decollete' look like a heart.

I even made a pair of impossibly tight ankle pants as an option to try and make it look less stewardessy.  I like the pants, but I think I'll leave the jacket/tight pants combo to another designer who likes to use black and make similar combo outfits.

So this was a good excercise, but soon will be put into the phail file!  I should have taken a picture of what a mess my sewing room was after all this.  Black fabric trimmings all over the place makes it look really creepy!

The Freak Show Castaways

Pre Shooting Post!
    Below are a few test shots of some new outfits for an upcoming shoot I would like to do, with my thoughts and ideas for the styling.  These concepts are not set in stone, however!  They are just what I used to inspire me during the design process and I know that the model will make these look extra-special.
The Faded Flamingo- A magician's assistant, she was left at the side of the road when "Mr. Magic" decided that he was better off on his own and didn't need a pretty sidekick.
She's supposed to look like a half Flamingo-half Showgirl and I see her sitting on a suitcase in really dirty surroundings in this super-frilly outfit looking all dejected and pissed off.
I envision this look to go with curly unruly blonde hair, like this.  I still have that wig should we want to use it.  I also know a headdress designer that will lend us a white headdress if we would like to use one.


Petra Vitanseski, the Flying Feline- A member of a Romanian family of trapeeze artists and tightrope walkers called, "The Flying Vitaneskis." Petra declared, as she was the most talented and beautiful, she deserved an act all of her own.  The family disowned her.  She reinvented herself as the "half leopard/half lady."

 This outfit is actually a swimsuit, and then I made a stretch jacket with shoulder pads to go over it.  The skirt is really full, so I can see you having some fun with that, but truthfully, I think you will like the look with just the swimsuit because it's a really hot swimsuit by itself.  I want to put you this dark wig wearing lots of makeup for this look to add to the "Romanian Beauty" vibe.

"Sarafina The Reptile Woman" - A briefly popular attraction at the sideshow, the lady who looks very beautiful from the front turns around and has a back full of reptile spines.

I had this one finished, but broke the zipper when I took it off the mannequin, so that is why it looks a little boxy.  There is also not a good shot of the reptile spines because they are made to stand out when you are hunched over.  The makeup should be insane for this one and obviously hair should be up or short in order to keep the spines in back from being covered.  I high bun or even a huge braid hanging down the side could also be nice.