A rainbow of Tailcoats!

These last few weeks Midnight Costume Services have been creating 8 matching Tailored Tail Coats for a new Cameron Mackintosh revival production of 5 Guys Named Moe!

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We were sent the designs, measurements and a huuuge box of fabrics and I got started individually Pattern Drafting each Tail Coat to each performer. I drafted sizes 36” chest to a 54” chest! Wowzer!!

There wasn’t time for Toiles so my wonderful assistant Maya got to cutting the fabric- she was also on Waistcoat duty, as I had my hands full Tailoring!- and got stuck in.

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Enormous stack of fabrics… and each Tail Coat cut, interfaces and Pad Stitched.

To be honest, this might fill some Costumers with horror, but I do love a ‘run’ of Costumes. You can really get obsessively ocd and I very much enjoyed creating the Tail Coats, so different individually because of each performers size, shape, shoulder slope or hollow back, to look sharp and exactly the same.

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The Tail Coats cut, interfaced and Pad Stitched awaiting Collars.

There was an additional challenge as some of the fabrics sent were thinner than others, and yet more had a pronounced stretch which needed to be stabilized with interfacing.

Once interfaced, all were pad stitched with horse hair and cotton tape and- with a sigh of relief if I’m honest!- they started to look sharp and lovely.

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Lined up and ready for sleeves… inserting sleeves… checking the drape… arm gussets looking swish.

Inserting the collars was a little tricky as the fabric supplied was slippery however; once tamed with yet more- you guessed it!- interfacing we managed beautifully.

There was an increased amount of ease to inserting the sleeves because I wanted to create a delicious roll to the sleeve head. I think we created a beautiful, clean line, despite having gussets inserted (which are imperative for dance performers).

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Sharp, sharp, sharp! Collars in, welt pockets done, covered buttons covered and sew on.

To finish the client had requested Welt Pockets and the designs showed Black buttons. Because of the fabrics supplied we had to create faux welt pockets. We covered Buttons in the correct sizes for the Sleeve and Centre Front and, all together, I was super happy with how sharp it all looked!

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Matching waistcoats with shawl collars and matching, covered buttons.

Matching waistcoats were also made in house. Again, they were patterned individually with shawl collars and matching, covered buttons.

I can’t wait to see pictures of these bad boys in production. From what I saw of rehearsals whilst fitting, this show looks amazing!

Happy stitching!!

You can see pictures of these wonderful Costumes in their stage show here.

Madonna Boobs!!

Quite often, Midnight Costume Services will be asked to create ‘runs’ of Costuming for various Production Companies, Theatre Productions and the like. Earlier this year we worked with Costume World to create multiple Madonna Cone Corsets. All identical, but in different sizes, from glittery sequin fabric ans stretch velvet. If I say so myself, they looked pretty spectacular!

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Specifications from the Production Company included a zip front, no lacing, matching pants and for them to be as stretchy as possible! We were’nt told what they were for (so obviously Beyonce’s backing singers… right?!) but they all had to match but be made in various sizes.

I created the Patterns- cone boobs are pretty awkward, and we had a phase where they were super wonky and pointed in different directions!- then graded them to make the different sizes. We made a toile that got okay-ed by the production company, then got to stitching!

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The cups were created with layers of Calico, Coutil, Wadding, Sequin and Lining, then sewn all about in a spiral. I wanted to make sure they retained their shape but- because we didn’t know what the Performers were going to do (we don’t want no-one stabbing Beyonce in the eye now, do we?)- I also wanted to make sure they were crushable.

Like I say, I was super happy with the result. My team and I created something I think Madge would be proud of!

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!

Week III: Corset making resources

In writing and sewing for Corset Month, I have stumbled across a couple other websites which have some handy notes on creating Corsetry and further corset making resources. There are a myriad of ways to create a bespoke Corset, especially if you are unfettered by historical restraints, and these websites will illustrate both that and how to execute some of them.

As ever, there aren’t many! Corsetry is a very secretive art form it would seem but then this is why I have developed the Eventide Corset Pattern!

Foundations Revealed

Figure 29: The final corset, front.   Figure 30: The final corset, back

A fabulous resource, many of their articles you have to subscribe for (which I highly recommend if you want to continue creating bespoke corsetry, and particularly if you are interested in creating Historical Corsets) however; there are a couple free Corset making articles including this one from Sparklewren. Included are all of her helpful tips to sew clean lines, and some interesting hints including a neat little trick with Bias Binding. There are also links through out to other free articles including how to Draft your own Corset Pattern, tipping Boning and Dyeing your Coutil.

Steam Ingenious

Steam Ingenious have a whole host of Corsetry resources, which are from a more Costuming, Steampunk perspective which is really great to read through. Tutorials include Drafting, and Making Up as well as separate tutorials on Inserting Eyelets and using non-traditional Fabric and a fab list of other resources. It’s a great read, and I think presents the reader with a lot of alternatives which, as a Costumer I am more than aware of, but the home sewer or beginner will find fascinating. It is also great to read about someone learning and sharing all of these techniques!

Sidney Eileen

Black Low-Hipped Underbust - Quarter Front View, by Sidney Eileen

This thorough Corset Construction post on how to make a Basic two layer Coutil Corset is often spoken of and I think I learnt about it from Steam Ingenious. It is a very thorough Tutorial and well worth a read. Because it has been around for a little while, the comments make an interesting read too. Many of the techniques can be used for Sewing up the Eventide if you would like a different look.

I hope you enjoy as much as I did giving these varied resources a good read! As ever, don’t forget that you can share your Eventides‘ on Facebook and Twitter, as well as finding inspiration for your creation on Pinterest.

Happy stitching!

Studio Snippets

Today I thought I would share some images of some gorgeous Medieval inspired Costumes I Designed and Made Up a couple months ago. I think I am in love with quilting again, and intend to make up some Bolero Jackets and Spats featuring this rather elaborate technique…

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This is a technique I have employed before for Historical Costumes. Not only is it accurate (-ish, I do it by Machine), it is a cost effective trick to create a brilliantly elaborate piece!

I first made a Paper Pattern for the Doublet, then drew the Quilted Design on to it to make sure it would work, and that I liked it. It is very easy to become a little too intricate so drawing out the pattern is a very good exercise! I then- somewhat free hand- drew the Pattern on to the Jerkin with tailors chalk, making slight adjustments to ensure it matched both sides because there were to be eyelets and lacing down the front and a seam at the back.

I backed the Blue Linen with very thin wadding and a lining- cut about 10cm larger than the Linen as there is to be expected some amount of movement when machine quilting- then started in the middle with the circles and worked outwards. When employing this technique I use a medium large stitch on my sewing machine and just take it slow. The whole jacket took about 7 hours to quilt in full but I am so pleased with the results, and can’t wait to see pictures of it in action!

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Above is some fabric I created for a Dark Queen Costume around the same time as the Doublet. I made it up on to a Waspie for the Costume, which looked just fantastic.

I worked with some Black Coutil for the base, then placed two layers of Gold Lace, a layer of Matt Black Sequinned Lace on top. I then Machine Stitched in Gold to outline the Pattern of the Sequins. This looked simply gorgeous and I fully intend to create a full length, Victorian Corset using the technique. It only took a couple hours because tracing around the outline of the Sequin pattern was done semi-freehand.

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I think I am becoming a little ‘known’ for my Machine Embroidery techniques!!

This above is a sample of some freehand machine embroidery I created for Dark Queens costume. I adapted and echoed the pattern from the Sequinned Lace and added in my own embellishments to create this piece of fabric which was ultimately cut up in to little strips!

Whilst machine embroidery is a relatively quick technique- which is why I use it so frequently in my Costumes, as if done correctly it can look like Medieval style hand embroidery or Black Work- it can still take time and I think I spent about 20 hours Quilting and Embroidering for this commission! I was quite content though, and adore the out come.

If you like the look of Machine Embroidery, why not check out Bristol Sewing Club to learn? I am also working on a handy little Zine full of hints and tips for the budding Machine Embroiderer too. I think it is a wonderful thing to master and can be used so many different ways.

Happy stitching!

Ooh La La!

I have just discovered the most amazing Blog on Vintage Lingerie sewing… this is from Mrs Depew (the same Lady I bought the 50s Pin Up Bra from yesterday)… & I am hooked!!!

A Few Threads Loose

Mrs Depew emailed me a link along with the PDF Patterns because there is a concise & incredibly informative tutorial for the Pin Up Bra that she has posted.

Obviously many things about this process are going to match up with my knowledge about Corsetry and Costuming however; it is always incredibly helpful to see a pattern made up as it stops a seamstress from making as many demoralizing mistakes as she may have done… which basically means it keeps your pep up & you remain enthusiastic enough to finish.

As I have said I am hoping to start offering courses in Vintage Lingerie construction & so all information is helpful!!

Take a look at A Few Threads Loose, its a really beautiful Blog. Try not to be too jealous (as I was) with all of her wonderful Vintage supplies though!

Another lovely Blog I have also stumble upon, with thanks to Mrs Depew, is Ohhh Lulu. Stuffed brim full of gorgeous Vintage inspired Lingerie it is heaven!

Happy stitching!