the slinky dress- 1920s

Right now I am working on two velvet gowns inspired directly from two that were used for film of the late 1920s, these are very representative of a style worn through the 1920s.

I have endeavoured to credit the design or wardrobe team where possible.

Vilma Banky in The magic Flame (1927, uncredited designer), and Norma Shearer in Upstage (1926, Kathleen Kay*, Maude Marsh and André-ani).

Both of these gowns are from the height of the flapper era, and yet both are designed to cling to the body from shoulder to hips. And they are not alone!

 

Nita Naldi, Cobra (1925, Adrian), Anna May Wong, Nita Naldi Cobra, (1925, Adrian)

These gowns are clearly designed to make a stark visual impact and yet the materials are soft and flow around the body.

 

These gowns have defined body shaping. It is achieved using inserts and cutouts to take in or spread out  V shaped elements- using decorative elements to achieve a closer fit, and was used a lot in the 1920s to shape clothing.

From experience it is a style that is best draped on the stand. French bias* is used through the 1920s which affects stretch in seams and this style makes most use of barely diagonally cut fabric.

It can be seen on long clinging gowns, short gowns, and even what I am calling a demi skirt- a flared rather than gathered skirt that ends below the knees and before the ankles.

A hip seam (straight or also v shaped) is of benefit in anchoring the bodice to the torso especially for skirts that are gathered or flared.

*french bias is barely off the grain and is usually used on the CF line. True bias is cut at 45 degrees to the grain. A lot of shaping of this time is not true bias, but uses the same extra ease offered from french bias

  

Dorothy Sebastian & Anita Page, Our Dancing Daughters (1928, David Cox), Colleen Moore, Clara Bow

 

Norma Shearer, The Last of Mrs Cheyney (1929, Adrian), Joan Crawford, Our Dancing Daughters (1928, David Cox).

And the fit was even used for Robes de Style!

 

Arlette Marchal, Clara Bow, Jacqueline Gadsen

Anita Page, Our Modern Maidens (1929, Adrian)

 

In this case the fit is from the hips up to underbust at the side and then the excess from the bust is eased into the scooped neckline.

Paul Poiret evening gown, 1920s, Christies auctions.

This gown makes use of the seaming needed to create the geometric patterns to also fit to the body. This use of decorative seams to hide functional seams can also be seen in Patterns of Fashion, a blue silk crepe dress from 1925 has teardrop shaped panels that are used to take in or spread the ground fabric.

1921 evening dress, Les modes, “where there’s smoke” by Patterson.

 

 

Making sequins/spangles

(Hello people coming here from tumblr! Just as an update- I am waiting on an order of similar width sequin film to test for durability and ease of use. I keep having on and off issues with being able to scratch the Shimmer Sheetz however the colour is so perfect.. So I’m also going to attempt to tone the sequin film. )

I also have an updated list of all sequins I tested:
http://www.arrayedindreams.com/costume-portfolio/fantasy/frozen-elsa/frozen-elsa-sequins/
The methods will be the same though I need a new paper trimmer as the blade has escaped and I am short sighted enough to not be able to find the inch wide bright orange piece of plastic it is attached to! I hope that the heavier density of the sequin film will allow me to sand the corners smooth as well.

Elsa is semi on hold while I work out my Maleficent DragonsDemons Daydreams but I’ll update methods here regularly, including any new glues.

http://www.arrayedindreams.com/2014/03/28/my-josyrose_tweet-sequin-film-arrived/

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So very similar but a little more durable.

 

No, not hard core stamped metal but I finally got cutting of my Shimmer Sheetz:

Shimmer Sheetz are produced by Elizabeth Crafts.

I have just ordered Turquoise as well because I think the two together will give a good gradient to the bodice. Here they are in action:

I was really worried the blue iris was too flat in colour but I also suspected that once cut the effect would be greater. And it was.  These tests didn’t even use all of the three strips I made from one sheet. Each strip is 1cm wide then cut to about 1.5-2cm with a few irregulars. I have five packets of three sheets so I should have more than enough 🙂

I’m gluing to net as I can increase sticky from underneath if need be.

The process to make them is as follows:

I scuffed the Sheetz on the reverse, this is to ensure the glue adheres. Not only is the iridescent layer laminated and so prone to pulling away but the surface is shiny. This means even the best glue it not going to grip unless it welds through- and that will lead to warping.

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Then I cut the sheet in to 1cm wide strips with a handy line cutter. I am going to invest in a better one, but this was enough to get a feel for how it will cut.

Then each strip was cut into shorter pieces. Preferred length is 2cm so this gives 180 larger sequins per sheet. So 540 per pack.

At this stage I will sand the edges into rounded shapes. Not only because the artwork shows this but also to eliminate any potential extra snagging.

In the below with flash is on the left, without on the right.

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I glued the pieces to two different kinds of net (the net of the sequin fabric and the old net for the cape). I tried irregular overlapping and I tried an open pattern. I prefer the open pattern, the shine really kicks through and the outlines of the background show up.

To glue I picked up each piece with angled tweezers and swept the underside over the end of an open tube of Shoe Goo (Same for E6000 or Goop) then laid and pressed the back in to the net. I used a sheet of styrene inderneath (would prefer waxed paper or sheet silicon to prevent sticking but also to allow the piece to lay flat during curing. I’d also like a roller to press the glue evenly.

So I tried from other angles and with and without flash to capture the effect.

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Below are samples of the Sheetz with clear AB pale blue sequins and the base sequinned fabric.

Lined up vertical and horizontal to see which way works best.

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All the fabrics before any alterations.

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And finally just the intersection of cape, shirt and bodice and why I wanted power net and rounded edged sequins! There is a lot of friction there!

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Elsa painting!! ZOMGZOMGZOMG!!!

I get chased by a bee at nearly 2mins. Just saying if you want to hear me get very squealy, that’s your cue.

 

 

I have to share I don’t care if anyone uses these techniques and “pips” me to the post, this is too too too fun! And I’ll be using this on the cape and shoes. Read on for more info 🙂

So Resolene is the most amazing awesome finisher ever. The fact that it will bind to leather even under a wax polish? That makes it a bit special. But I wasn’t sure if it would work on sequins as they are plastic with a plastic coating. Leather is porous. Sequins are not.

Materials:

Pearl Ex (interference green and duo tone blue/green)

Resolene, matte.

Technique:

You just mix the pigments straight in to the Resolene and that is it.

 

Okay, you’ll want to work out what the best mix ratio is.

Resolene is very runny- it’s like skim milk/no fat milk in colour and viscositys. It also isn’t sticky until it starts to dry. It does however smell of ammonia so you will need to work in a ventilated area. But this is true of spray paint 😉 And if you have used acrylic paint from a tube it’s pretty much that… but more so. Not sure why some acrylics smell like ammonia and others don’t. Liquiset and PA don’t after all.

I patted the brush on the sequins after sweeping-brushing caused more pigment to build up under the sequins (which acted as mini scrapers). So I think airbrushing will be the best option. I need a new brush and a compressor. I have two cans of air but they may or may not last so will be set aside for make up.

I wouldn’t recommend a sponge as the Resolene will be sucked in to that too much as it is so liquid.

 

So for her shoes I’ll use my left over Russet (vege tanned, unfinished leather for craftwork) and dye them.. hmmm.. possibly a mix of the black and yellow dyes I have. But Feibing also does a white acrylic “dye” (it’s opaque but should work well) so I’ll go over with that as well.

And then use the Resolene/Pearl Ex mix over that with a brush to shade.

 

For her cape I’ll airbrush with stencils as well as use heat set crystals to make the designs pop. I may be airbrushing first and then deciding how many crystals I’ll need. But I won’t be setting them butting each other rather with regular spaces between.

 

So I’m back to photoshop to make the dozen special snowflakes and layout. Kinda liking working with paths again but it was frustrating trying to get my cape pattern to properly scale. I tweaked it a bit.

Elissa net skirt!

I took the original apart and made an extra layer so there are four all up with ruffles on each. Put face to face so that all the ruffles are inside rather than directly under the taffeta skirt or against my legs.

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And it stands up by itself..

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The third layer is the most supportive:

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The ruffles are super dense at the top to create a bit of a bustle.

Outermost ruffles are soft and long (three rows). So the following photos are from outside in:

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Elissa ribbon trim

Once you get the rhythm going it’s really pleasant to loop the ribbon over and under.

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This goes over five seams in total (side fronts, side backs and centre front). And jewels! Up and down.

My modded Blood Dragon armour with my custom Turian enhancements and the Black Widow because I can- this is why I made the BW in the end over a pistol- which I was going to do as I still have some rough patches on this thing. Surprise original costume is a suprise. So fun how many people got it. Especially kids who probably shouldn’t be playing the game!

(Photo credit to Matt Glasgow of Star Wars NZ (I’ll link the rest of the parade photos when I get back from the show- and to the Armageddon Cosplay account).)

Glam paint job is glam. A layer of flat paints then washed with translucent yellows and pinks mixed with interference pigments (green over the yellow and blue over the pink).

I made 99% of this costume from raw materials. And patterned about the same. Huge shout out to trodoon on dA for his renders of his 3D models as I had print outs on my workroom walls for reference and used them heavily.

Her name? Neimhaille which is a word I created in 1999 and has since been taken up by fantasy artists with my explanation verbatim 😉 Also there is a Bioware account holder who snaffled it but I am so not ditching it given I did literally create the name. It was for a sportsfighting persona (Scottish- I had my play in music sorted as well- Give me the Prize from Highlander 😉 ).

Anyway so Neimhallie (Nee- wa-yeh or Neev-ayel depending on how authenically Gaelic you want to be- though I don’t object to Neem-ayel either 😉 )

My modded Blood Dragon armour with my custom Turian enhancements and the Black Widow because I can- this is why I made the BW in the end over a pistol- which I was going to do as I still have some rough patches on this thing. Surprise original costume is a suprise. So fun how many people got it. Especially kids who probably shouldn’t be playing the game!

(Photo credit to Matt Glasgow of Star Wars NZ (I’ll link the rest of the parade photos when I get back from the show- and to the Armageddon Cosplay account).)

Glam paint job is glam. A layer of flat paints then washed with translucent yellows and pinks mixed with interference pigments (green over the yellow and blue over the pink).

I made 99% of this costume from raw materials. And patterned about the same. Huge shout out to trodoon on dA for his renders of his 3D models as I had print outs on my workroom walls for reference and used them heavily.

Her name? Neimhaille which is a word I created in 1999 and has since been taken up by fantasy artists with my explanation verbatim 😉 Also there is a Bioware account holder who snaffled it but I am so not ditching it given I did literally create the name. It was for a sportsfighting persona (Scottish- I had my play in music sorted as well- Give me the Prize from Highlander 😉 ).

Anyway so Neimhallie (Nee- wa-yeh or Neev-ayel depending on how authenically Gaelic you want to be- though I don’t object to Neem-ayel either 😉 )