Wednesday, November 7, 2012

You've Been Scratched by a Woman!

Porkchops in the oven. So famished am nearly see-through. Protip: Drinking a venti double-bagged Awake Tea from Starbucks is NOT a good lunch substitute.

But onwards ho! Dr. Jacquin was finished up last Thursday and debuted at the Museum Gala Saturday night. Here's the second half of that story.

When we left off last time, the cuffs and collar were patterned up and I was on the verge of starting the embroidery. If you placed your bets on things ending in despair, you're probably a few dollars richer right now. This was the product of three nights' work: 

If Dante's Inferno described an eleventh level of hell, it would probably feature metallic embroidery floss. The ladies at the shop made rage faces when describing the difficulty of working with this specific floss and I blissfully ignored them until I was two or three stitches in and found I was spending ten minutes per stitch untangling the damn stuff. So any notion of a fancy padded satin stitch, as per the historical examples, fell by the wayside. Instead, I seized upon a embroidered trim bought out of Turkey for Giovanni Auditore's lapels that looks passably enough like Napoleonic embroidery. eBay turns up a LOT of good trims if you search for "medieval trim" or "renaissance trim" or even "vintage sari trims." Oddly enough, this particular trim is also used on one of Henry VIII's costumes in the fourth season of The Tudors.

Not sure why everything is getting flipped tonight. Before the trim could be added, it needed to be a bit more gold so I grabbed the left-over gold paint from Marius' armour details and gave it a light going-over. I didn't want to coat it too thickly because that would clog up the individual stitches. In the image above, the first four segments are painted and the last isn't, so you can see the difference. Not huge but enough to make it jive with the gold buttons and aiguilette* a bit better.

The trim came with adhesive backing but I tacked it on with a few stitches here and there just to be safe. It was a lengthy process but not as lengthy (or rage-inducing) as embroidery.

Then I only had to get the cuffs and collar on for good and add the buttons. This is how it looked Thursday night - only had to add the shoulder knot and get my boots sorted out.

The shoulder knot should normally grow out of the aiguilette up towards the collar but this one, being current military issue, didn't have that feature. So I hashed something quickly together with some generic cord from Fabricland.

Not perfect but enough to "do the look" until I find a cord that matches the aiguilette better. Attaching this was a bit tricky - to hide the stitches, I had to make sure they fell parallel to the twists in the cord which let me lay them down in those little crevices created by the twists.

On to the boots! The second half of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century were all about those sexy brown-topped riding boots and that's what Jacquin's wearing in The Duellists (go figure). I've got a bit of a thing for riding dress boots (versus field boots, which lace up around the ankle) so I had a spare pair I could modify for this costume. The basic pattern looked like this:

I drafted it up quickly by taping a tube of pattern paper around the top of the boot, tracing the top line and then adding a couple of extra cms for the bit that would fold to the inside, and then cutting it to shape. The bottom lip had to be folded up and glued and the center back seam had to be stitched up which made it a bit bulkier than predicted. Nevertheless, it did the trick. Gave them a bit of a polish while watching the movie for the three hundredth time.

And that was it! No really decent photos yet but how about a super-classy one taken in the lieu halfway through supper?

Note the careful inclusion of the bag with two bottles, one corkscrew, and a flute. As you can see, the front is pulling downwards a bit from the weight of the aiguilette, which Jacquin's doesn't do in the film. I'm still debating whether I'm going to add a layer of extra-heavy adhesive interfacing behind the buttons on the right side to fix that. The maroon sash is temporarily covering the gap between the top of the white riding breeches and the bottom of the coat until I get a proper pair of period breeches made (where the waistline will be somewhere in the vicinity of my armpits, thereby eliminating the problem.)

And that's another project crossed off the list, minor alterations aside! This isn't going to hit a Con floor until early Spring 2013 but I'm working at lining up a decent photoshoot in the interim.

Lastly, on the topic of Cons, the roommate and I popped up to Edmonton for the second day of the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo. I wore Marius for that one and I think there was a moment where I may have put the wind up some Legend of Korra cosplayers. Going over to chat with them briefly, I asked if they were going to Pure Spec and told them I was working on a Korra costume. They were looking at me askance and confused the whole time and continued to do so after we parted ways. I only realized a day later that it might have been another case of unintentionally bending the gender, as they say. I still don't understand why my voice doesn't give it away but there it is.

Ah well. Currently halfway through Korra, who is coming together beautifully. Just have to get a bit more ripped, a bit browner, then we're almost there! Stay tuned for an update this weekend.

*'Aiguilette' is surely the hardest word in the world to spell correctly.

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