Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Marat Project: Closing In

So what's new? Let me grab my notebook here. It says to include the following salient points:

Ermine Collar

Salient Point the First: Socks

Naturally the procurement of breeches required appropriate socks and where better place to turn than Couldn't decide on a colour or a style so $64 and a week later saw this collection arrive on my doorstep:

I'm a bit partial to the olive-coloured ones and the gray ones next to the olive - probably one leg one colour and one leg another. When you're producing a daily newspaper whilst on the run from the police, there's not much time to make sure your socks match. However! Opinions are more than welcome so if you see something that catches your eye, point it out! The breeches are on the left for comparison. N.B. It has to look shitty.

Salient Point the Second: Waistcoat

Not going to lie. The stripey fabric that turns up in the 1780s/90s makes my arms do stupid flaily things. Let's get some examples here.

The ever-dapper Maximilien Robespierre.

The also-dapper students from Les Mis. Sure, 1830s*, but still stripey.

Camille Desmoulins and Max Robespierre from La Revolution francaise
A waistcoat isn't required for Marat's outfit but I want to make one regardless. Because, let's face it, THE SEXIEST. And so, I lay before you The Fabric Selection.

The blue on the left and the red in the middle came from the Stash but I bought the green/brown this week because the earth tones fit nicely with the rest of the outfit and seem appropriate for Marat. The green matches his eyes. <3 #getalife Being upholstery fabric, it's also got a good weight and texture to it so I don't need to interline it. The irregularity of the stripes is a slight issue - most of the striped fabric I've seen from the period has an obvious pattern to it. Compared with the muted tones of the earlier 18th century, it's like the wearers wanted to say "Hey, we're wild but we're not that wild..." I'm sticking with these irregular stripes because... well, because Marat, who was pretty irregular himself. That's on the agenda for this weekend.

Salient Point the Third: "Ermine" Collar

I was nervous about this from the start because I was worried it wouldn't lay right through the comparative thickness of the faux fur. But I threw a linen backing on it over the weekend and it came off without a hitch. Here it is without the seam allowance trimmed and before it was ironed flat:

It actually ironed superbly and sits much better on the coat now. Pictures next post.

Salient Point the Fourth: Shirt

The shirt took up the balance of last week. I hand-stitched the thing because, really, that's the only way to make historical shirts. Plus it makes you feel much more... authentic. I took the basic pattern from The Tudor Tailor - Renaissance-era, yes, but apart from the collar and cuffs, shirts were pretty near the same between the 1500s and our era here. And it's a damn good pattern.

This is a light cotton from the Stash but I should have used linen because it just looks way better - more wrinkly, more lived-in, which is definitely what we're after here. I cut the body shorter and narrower than normal - these things are typically tents when they're cut right - but I didn't want a whole bunch of bulk under the jacket or extra shirttails to stuff into the breeches. I'll let Finn from Adventure Time demonstrate the intensely sexy 'Bulky Shirt Crammed Into Pants" look:

Yeah, like that.

Salient Point Number the Fifth: Makeup

Need that reference image again here.

I took a night last week to have a go at the makeup. Didn't bother with any prosthetics this time so it doesn't look near as dudely as it should but I wanted to focus on getting the shadows sorted out so I devoted most of the time to the left side of the face. Marat's eyes and cheekbones were huge, striking, and prominent so that was the path I took here. Gave everything a good base of medium tan first and then lightly brushed a layer of yellowish water-base over top for the highlights (skin the colour of old newsprint, yo). Tried a different route with the shadows than I normally do - like the highlights, they were layered in lightly with a fluffy brush (like a small powder brush) and darkened up once I got the basic placement down. This effect is MUCH better than the hard angles I've used for chaps like Marius and Giovanni.

Not quite the sort of thing you show the in-laws. The mysterious skin disease is still a work-in-progress - I got an initial effect by dabbing on a few layers of latex and then adding appropriate reds, light browns, and yellows. It's a step in the right direction but I gave myself a real skin condition getting the stuff off - it was like peeling off a band-aide the size of your face. So we won't be using latex next time.

And so to bed. Apart from the shoes and the weathering, this is pretty much in the bag. Now do I have the time to finish Malfatto for Emerald City or should I do Season 2 Korra? Let's see what the weekend brings....

*Is it 1830s? IDEK. In my mind, there was only ever ONE revolutionary movement in France.


  1. You are a cosplay/costuming superstar! So impressive with that makeup.

    1. Thank you! This totally belated but I really appreciate it! :) The makeup will take a bit more practise so it will go a bit quicker but it's still pretty lengthy.


    Latex is evil, but you did a great job making it look realistic. I've used gelatin before for skin texture. It's not as durable, but it don't give a me a real skin problem in return when I take it off!

    1. Hey, thanks!! I always assume this blog exists in a vacuum (sort of a sounding-board for my own ideas) so it's thrilling to some feedback!

      Glad you dig it! I picked up some gelatin last weekend and I'll give that a shot. I've also got some textured silicone pieces in the works that I can glue on - MUCH better than latex!

      Thanks for stopping by! :)