Ding dong, the Witch is… sewn up neatly and shipped off in time thank you very much!

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I present… Elphaba! These photos were taken whilst we were constructing her (no sleeves!), and it took three of us about a week to make her… with a LOT of discussion, pinning, unpinning, more discussion and lots and lots of sewing!

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The Bodice was pattern cut, the pieces embellished with strips of sequin, lace, and other oddments in quite an organic way. It took time to place the layers in a way which didn’t add too much bulk to the costume- and therefore make the across look like she’s been eating all the pies!-  and there’s quite a few layers. Maya did the main bulk of the sewing for this section and I had to admire her patience!

We wanted to emphasis the ‘tornado’ effect, because of the character of Elphaba, which would pay homage to the original Broadway design but be a little different and put a Midnight Costume Services twist on it!

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The skirt was where we ran into some difficulties. We didn’t have enough time for this costume really, and we needed to some up with a solution which would look awesome, not use too much fabric and be quick… yeah, it was asking a lot, I know!

In the end we cut and alternately pleated and gathered strips, onto the panels of the bottom section of the Skirt. The top we stitched to match the bodice so it would ‘fish tail’.  The bottom of the skirt started to look do a really good impression of Madonna in her Material World phase and after panicking for a few minutes we discovered that sewing each layer down, and trapping some sequin trim as we did so, solved this issue whilst looking brilliant at the same time.

With a Crin underskirt, sleeves, lace tatters and some incredible Red Diamante Hot Stones which glittered brilliantly  we were finished and I promise to share pictures as soon as we have them!

Happy stitching!

A little of what’s been happening…

Well, ever since Laura After Midnight changed and adapted to become Midnight Costume Services and I returned to my roots Designing and Making Costumes for Stage and Screen we have been run off our feet! My little team is gradually growing and I just got back off of my first Holiday in years to Paris… but more on that delicious adventure later!

Since Christmas we have been building Costumes for a Holiday Park including mini versions of over 15 West End and Film Musicals, dream job, right?! We were also commissioned to make 8 matching Madonna Cone Bra Corsets for some Dancers, worked on an awesome Victorian BBC TV Show and completed more work for Celebrity Cruises on three more Cruise Shows and that’s not everything… phew ‘eckers!

I’m going to be sharing more over the coming weeks as I slowly get back in to this blogging lark- it’s been nose to the grindstone a bit, with 12 hour days, 7 days a week and I do hope you can understand why I haven’t been sharing the love on here so much recently- but I thought I would start with the Anna and Elsa Costumes I shipped this Thursday… because they are a treat!!

We used the Yaya Han Corset as previously talked about for the base for all three Frozen Dresses because we knew it fitted the performers really well. It also gives a great foundation to be built upon. All skirts and Cloaks were then hand drafted to measure. The most work went into the Elsa Snowflake Dress, which took three of us about 4 days to build so I thought I’d share the process…

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The Corset for the Elsa Snowflake Dress has been made from 4 layers of fabric to build up the look I wanted. In the animation it’s actually illustrated as if it’s layers of square sequins however; anything like that that I tried to replicate was either too expensive (budget for this dress was about £100) or just didn’t move enough on stage and looked ‘clunky’ so the decision was made to emphasis the Snowflake aspect, which I think really worked.

About 200 Snowflakes were hot knifed from the Crystal Organza to use on the Silver Glitter Body Suit, the Corset and the Cloak.

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Once I started sewing the Corset together I had to get it on the mannequin almost immediately to see how it looked! It’s not often I get this excited as there’s a lot of prep that goes in to a Costume so I normally have a good idea of how it’s going to look… but this was different! The layers of Organza and Satin looked amazing once they were sewn! I also started to play around with the placement of the Snowflakes at the neckline. Super exciting!!

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Once the Corset was sewn properly, the Snowflakes were attached, and then Hot Stoned with Diamante Hot Stones, which really made the whole thing shimmer.

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The neckline of the Silver Glitter Body Suit was also strewn with Snowflakes and then Hot Stones, as you can see from the far left and 2nd left pictures above the Diamante Hot Stones really make the whole thing sparkle.

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The final costume was gorgeous however; because of the tight deadline we don’t have too many pictures. We shall hopefully be rectifying this soon, as we hope to soon see the costumes in action.

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As you can probably tell, I have tried to simplify the design of these Costumes. This is due in part to budget and time constraints however; it is also because I believe there is a risk in over embellishing Disney Costumes. Often the simpler they are, the more like the cartoon they look.

Above is Elsa’s 1st Dress, which has been colour blocked with the design hand painted to the front of the Corset. The thing I’m most pleased about? The Cloak!!

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And last, but not least, Anna. I love the simplicity of this dress. Love it! I think the green stripes of the Skirt work wonderfully, and in person the hand painting on the Black Velvet Corset kinda glows, it’s a shame it’s not showing up so well in the photos.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into my fairy-tale world!

Happy stitching!

Adventures in Showgirl Corsets.

Using commercial patterns in Costuming feels like cheating, I don’t know why, but it does! However; ever since Yaya Han released her Corset Pattern I have been dying for an excuse to use it… which I know is super weird as I am not only a pattern drafter and cutter, I have my very own Corset Pattern for sale!

M7339, Misses' Overbust or Underbust Corsets by Yaya Han M7339, Misses' Overbust or Underbust Corsets by Yaya Han

I guess sometimes I just want to join in with the cool kids, the those CosPlayers are some pretty damn cool kids! Any hoo, I needed to make three Showgirl Costumes and, because this Pattern has a range of Cup sizes I thought it would be perfect, and save me the time of drafting my own. Win!

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These bad boys needed to be spangly, so after much hunting I finally decided upon this gorgeous (and very hard to locate!) Gold Sequin and Pink Sequin fabrics. Each had to be backed with matching Silk Habotai to ensure the sequins reflected as much as possible, and they were both lined with Coutil. They are fully boned with Steel Boning and have a quick rigged,open ended zip at the back because of quick changes.

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Offset with some gorgeous Indian Beaded Trim (eye wateringly expensive and used sparingly because no more could be ordered if there was a mistake as it takes about three weeks to arrive!), in the ‘V’ of the cleavage they shimmer gloriously in the studio, and look amazing on stage.

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Matching shorts were also made- in the Gold here, but also in Pink- as they are used in several different styles of dance including the Can-Can.

I think I did Yaya Han proud, and I am super impressed with her Pattern. I didn’t really use the instructions because we made these up a little differently that they would be for personal use. Here each panel is made and neatened separately in case of alterations, the cups are kept in alterable separate pieces and all of this makes the insides look a little messy as you can see all of the Overlocked channels. They aren’t laced, as the performers had a quick change, instead they zip up which in real life looks a little clunky but can’t really be seen from the stage when they’re performing.

All in all I’m really happy, and they fit great.

If you are thinking about sewing your own Corset this Pattern can be found here, and the Eventide Corset Pattern from Laura After Midnight can be found here. A full Sew-Along for the Eventide can be found here, and discusses many of the techniques used to make these up.

Happy stitching!

A week in the life of a Costume Maker!

The last week has been incredibly hectic, with not one but three huge Costumes being made in the Studio. The first was another for Celebrity Cruises who wanted the Evil Enchantress Costume I made up earlier this year in Blue…

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The Collar was again constructed by hand using layers of Crin, Net, Calico and Blue Lycra (the base fabric of the Costume) with the addition of those fab Laser Cut Butterflies.

Each Butterfly is individually sewn on, which as you can imagine take quite a while. Indeed, I had someone just on Butterfly duty!

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Front, side and back of the final Costume. The Skirt is separate for ease and a Quick Change. I’m not sure, but I think I like the version better than the Black one!

In total this Costume took about 100 hours and three people to create however; we only had three days so you can imagine how quick we were stitching!

The second order was two Georgian Dresses for a Media Ball. Again, a little bit of a rush job but with myself and my trusty seamstress assistants we just about managed it.

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One was a delicate and flouncy affair, with Silk Ribbons, gorgeous Linen Toile du Juoy Underskirt, delicate silken Pinked and Scalloped Ruffle and Satin Bows.

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The second was a darkly Gothic creation made from lovely, heavy striped Velvet with a dark Purple line which inspired the dark Purple Silken Pinked and Pleated Ruffle with Black Satin Bows and Black Lace detailing across the Bodice and Front of the Skirt.

With over 10 meters of Boning in each Bodice, over 20 meters of trim in each and taking about 80 hours to create these were managed in a 2 and a half day period as a last minute order. We stitched until the last possible moment, but these fair ladies made it to the Ball!

After a few days off to look after my Husband who has just had an operation I shall be back at the Sewing Machine on my next order… but also at the drawing board for a huge Costume Design Commission I will be building in the new year, eek!

Happy stitching!

I’m in The Stage! Woop!!

It’s always rather pleasing to see something you have hand crafted in the Press, and this doesn’t disappoint because it’s accompanied by a rather lovely review! I’m head over heels a Costume I created was in a review in The Stage! I say again… woop!

Kristin Hutchinson, Catherine Cusack and Liam Smith in Howard Baker's Judith: A Parting from the Body at the Arcola Theatre. Photo: Nick RutterI was commissioned a couple weeks ago to create the Lead Actress’ Costume, a stunning Edwardian Bodice, Skirt and Petticoat (above, knelt center stage) in Green/Gold Shot Silk Dupion for Catherine Cusack in Judith: A Parting From The Body at The Arcola Theatre.

This costume had to be ”quick rigged” because the Actress had to unbutton the Bodice on stage, quickly, so all the buttonholes are fake! What fun!

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With a Design and some measurements I drafted a Pattern and my assistant and I got stitching! Apart from the nifty fake buttonholes I also drafted a lovely detail in the front of the Bodice, wherein the darts are incorporated into a separate Pattern piece under the bust, with gathers above. I’m pretty pleased with the outcome!

The Skirt is shaped, as the Actress was taking the Bodice off pretty early on we decided it would create a lovely shape with the shirt underneath whilst also being period accurate.

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In just four days this was picked up and whisked off to London to tread the boards, and I have to say she looked fantastic.

Happy stitching!

It’s been a bit quiet…

… so sorry!

It’s been crazy times in the Atelier recently with 5 or 6 costume jobs being stitched up by my growing team of wonders. Most recently shipped off were these beauties for Celebrity Cruises production of Elysium.

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The Evil Enchantress

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Autumn Ballet

I’m sure I shall be sharing a little bit about the methods behind construction soon but before I catch my breath I’m off to get married this Wednesday! Eep!!

Can’t wait to start sharing more of my Sewing adventures with you soon.

Happy stitching!

Wedding preparations!

So, we’ve booked the Wedding, had a peek at the hall and are currently writing lists of all of our favorite foods and then I remembered (after having a very graphic dream where no-one turned up!) that we should probably tell people about it!!

So I have illustrated some Save The Date Flags!

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We’re seeing a lot of our families over the next week or so and I thought they would be super fun to hand out! These are the illustrations behind them… if you look closely they give a little flavor of what the wedding will be like!

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I’m rather pleased with them however; it did take me quite a while to get us ‘right’. I kept making artistic changes and suddenly I was looking at a weird girl and a guy I’d never met!

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In other news, I do believe I have decided upon the Dress Patterns for my Wedding Dresses! Eek!! Two because we will be getting married on the Wednesday, then partying on down with everyone we can think of on the Saturday! Yay!!

Happy stitching!

 

 

The Dimpsy T Sew-Along: Week 3 The Facings

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I hope you are anticipating a Sunday full of Sewing, like me!

In this weeks last post for the Dimpsy T Sew-Along I shall be showing you how attach the Collar, stitch on your Facings, turn them out and Understitch them and finally get a good look at what your Dimpsy T will be starting to look like!

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Firstly, with right sides together, sew the Shoulder Seams of the Facings and the Front and Back Bodice. You may notice that the pieces do not match perfectly, this is because (as illustrated above), one side is making allowance for the Seam and will mis-match by 1.5cm Allowance.

It is also important to maintain the slight curve on the outside edge of the Shoulder. This allows for the Hem to be made when sewing up the Sleeve edge.

Once sewn, Zig-Zag neaten the edge of all seams. All Seam Allowances are now mainly 1.5cm.

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To attach the Collar, you will be able to match the Tailors Tack on the Fang to the Center Front Seam however; as you can see I haven’t made a Tailors Tack! This is to illustrate how you can use the Collar itself to tell you where it should be places.

I have cut the Pattern so that the Collar follows the curve of the Neckline at the Center Front- as you can see above, left. Place the left hand Fang Collar piece on the Neckline and move it until it matches as mine does. Pin.

For the right hand Fang Collar piece, you shall need to do the same- move it about until it matches the curve- however; at the same time you’ll need to check the overlap of the Collar is directly on the Center Front Seam (as illustrated above, center). Pin.

And there you have it- above, right- one beautifully pinned Fang Collar in anticipation of being stitched in place!

For the Pan Collar this process is even easier! Simply match the edges to the Center Front Seam and pin as there is no overlap.

You may notice that the Collar curve and the Neck opening curve are a little different. This is to ensure the Collar ‘rolls’ away from the Neck opening and looks as lovely as possible!

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Once the Collar is pinned in place- and you will have noticed that they do not quite reach all of the way to the Center Back, which is entirely intentional!- you will need to lay the Facings, right sides together as illustrated, straight on top.

Pin the Shoulder seams so that they match first. I like to push one seam left, and one seam right as illustrated (above, right) to reduce the bulk of the seams.

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Continue pinning around the Neck opening, then down the Center Back along the Keyhole detail.

I am yet again pinning at a ninety degree angle so I can stitch away when I am ready. As you can see from the below, we are going to be stitching three layers- one of which, the Collar, is a different curve- so it is extremely helpful to keep things pinned for as long as possible. That is unless you feel like tacking/basting everything… and I never feel like that!

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With 1.5cm Seam Allowance, and starting at the bottom of one side of the Keyhole, sew all the way around to the other side. Remember to take the curve slowly, stopping and starting to that it is even.

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Once sewn, you’ll need to clip the corners and curve as above. Clipping the corners will reduce the bulk so that they can be turned out to beautiful points, Clipping the curve releases the fabric so that once the Neckline is turned out it will curve gracefully.

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Turn your Dimpsy T out the right way… doesn’t it look lovely? This is my favorite bit, as you start to get a real feel for how the final garment will be. Fabric always looks so different when it is sewn up, don’t you think?

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The last thing for today’s class is to Understitch and neaten your Facing. This will help the Neckline to retain its shape and keeps the Facing magically towards the back. Pin the Facing to the Bodice (above, left), with the Collar sticking out. Do this slowly so as to ensure no pleats are pinned in.

Stitch super close to the edge (above, right) with a neat Top Stitch. Stop and start on every Pin as you’re still sewing a curve and it is very easy to stitch in a little pleat, and we need this to be as smooth as possible.

face17Zig-zag neaten the edge of the Facing- as above- by stitching on and off the very edge of the Fabric edge. This binds the edge of the Fabric and stops it fraying.

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Iron the Collar, and the center back Key Hole detail. As you can see the Collar still stops short to allow room for the Button to be sewn on later… and because I think it looks super sweet and nice!

Hand your Dimpsy T up and admire your work so far!

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Happy stitching!

The Midnight Atelier Skirt Making Book, a Stitch Bitch Companion!

So, this little number is now available in my Pattern Shop!

Front Coverpages pattern drafting skirt book

The Midnight Atelier Skirt Making Book, a Stitch Bitch Companion… a 36 page long, handmade and hand stitched little Pattern Making tome! Each includes instructions to Pattern Draft your very own A-Line Skirt… Choose to draw the Pattern straight on to the Fabric, or make one up in paper as also included are four separate Pattern adaptations to turn your original A-Line Skirt Pattern in to a Circle Skirt, Pleated Skirt, Tulip Skirt or Vintage style Pleated Circle Skirt! Wow!!

Available as a PDF or Hard Copy Print. Grab your copy today…

Happy stitching!