Tuesday, December 3, 2013

All We Own...

And so back to Oz we go. When I initially conceived the idea for the Guard costume back in March, this is pretty much how things went:

A whole lot of enthusiasm but not much sense. And the results were... less than satisfactory. There was a lot of blind fumbling with skirt sizes and wasted time/fabric* as well as ham-fisted armour design due to a poorly proportioned dress-form.

So it's time to step back and figure out the next steps. First off, let's get a bit of design going on here. I've never been keen on a costuming project unless it's related to a character who makes the work interesting. This was an issue from the start with the Guards because they're all the bloody same. So the sketches started and after a couple of months, I started coaxing out some individualism.


There's already a noticeable difference from the Guard design in the film. They've ended up with pointy ears (because I wanted an excuse to have pointy ears) plus looong braids which may/may not be symbols of rank. Lieutenant Illarion in the top left is the chap I'm basing my costume on. I've got him pegged as the guy who gives the broom to Dorothy in the film. I've cooked up this whole backstory which morphed into a rather convoluted Oz 'fanfic' (gross) that lurks in the bowels of my hard-drive. There is even a Mk. I version of this costume - something light I could wear until the final version is finished.

ANYWAY, with a bit of time to mull the characters over and with commissions finished, it's time to get this road on the show again. So where are we at? Walk with me. We'll do this together. Currently, this is what I've got (damn, now I've got to put it on... right, just a minute here):

So when we left this in *coughAprilcough*, the skirts weren't fluffing out the right way but some clever application of bustles solved the problem perfectly.


Note the bustle fabric choice. This is currently missing the third skirt, which I have to recut. I'm tempted to add another layer of interfacing to the second skirt for extra support because they do have an obvious rigidity to them. The interfacing will be tricky - while it irons on smoothly enough, it develops bubbles over time where the adhesive lets go and I want these looking as smooth as possible from the outside. If anyone has tips on how to iron fusible interfacing to best effect, I am all ears!

Also, the shoes were a total fluke. The chaps in the film are wearing 'blocked' shoes and I didn't have the faintest clue what I was going to do here until I was over at my room-mate's parents for dinner one night. There was Chinese opera playing on the TV and one of the characters was wearing boots that were nearly identical to the Guards' footwear. My room-mate's mum happens to be just such an opera singer and - lo and behold - she had a pair in the house! A couple of weeks later, a pair were procured for my monstrous feet and we were off to the races. I'm going to build a greave system around these to widen them out a bit. (And practice walking in them because snapped ankles tend to put a damper on things...)

I'm trying to decide if I want to rework the tunic top to make it more robust. The hooks and eyes feel a bit precarious and the collar doesn't fit as well as it should. I want this whole thing to be as functional as possible - as if it were a real uniform.

So the next steps? Get the skirts straightened out. Add the second interfacing panel to the second skirt, add the embellishment, add the lining, and then move on to the final outer skirt. The second and third skirts will be held up with belts while the first one underneath is attached to the tunic top.

Onwards ho!

*I'm never sure which is worse. Probably time since you can usually buy more fabric.

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