Hollywood Old Timey Jazz Glam!

Given the chance to design a Chorus Line for a show I of course went Old Timey and pulled influences from old school Hollywood!

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Who wouldn’t, right?

Working with a very limited budget, I decided to create some stand out Tail Coats, then add different Costume elements to them to create different looks. Most of the budget for this show went into these Tail Coats, and I think they really sell the piece… not so much on this mannequin though! Why are store mannequins so weirdly shaped?!

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I thought that Black Sequin fabric was a super swell find, and would really pop on stage, but I didn’t want to over use it. The Black fabric was also sequined, but a little more gently, and simply shimmered but provided real movement.

We also made silver waistcoats, hot pants (girls) and trousers (boys) with silver sequin tuxedo stripes. For the more modern dance numbers which were a little more energetic we created t-shirts with stars and others with music notes on them, also from the silver sequin fabric (actually, the silver sequin fabric scraps! We were really using every last piece!!)

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Finally, and I was super duper over the moon with these bad boys I can tell you!, I made some silver mini top hats with shooting stars… ta da!!

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And put it all together and… … …

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That’s some pretty hot jazz!

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!

ON SALE NOW!!!

Get your Eventide Corset Pattern, PDF Eventide Pattern or Eventide Corset Kit while you can to join in the Sew-a-Long starting on the 21st… go on! It’s going to be amazing!!

Available now on my Etsy store…

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The Eventide Corset Pattern and Kit… £42 +P&P

Includes multi-size, graded re-usable Eventide Corset Pattern, Instruction Book with recommended Equipment and Suppliers, and full instructions to make the Corset up including re-sizing the Pattern to  fit you perfectly. Also included are Coutil, Steel Boning, Busk and Tipping. Only a limited number are available!

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 The Eventide Corset Pattern… £12 +P&P

The graded, multi size and re-usable Eventide Pattern and Instruction Book… all wrapped up and ready to go with a bow on top!

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PDF Eventide Corset Pattern… £8

If you can’t wait to start!

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The Little Book of Corset Tips… £2.50 +P&P

Notes, hints and tips from the Instruction Book,  this is an informative little tome! It contains the Supplier and Equipment information, notes of adapting Corset Patterns and more. It’s so cute, how could you resist?

Snap all of these up from my Etsy store and use Coupon Code CORSET15 for 15% off until 21st April.

Happy stitching!

Yay, my First Pattern Release!!!

It’s happening Monday folks, it really is! The Eventide Corset Pattern from Laura After Midnight is going to be released on Monday. . . eeeeekk!!! I’m seriously jumping over the moon with delight and excitement!

Available as a Hard Copy Pattern, instant PDF Download Pattern or as a Kit including Coutil, Steel Boning and Busk I am releasing this Monday 14th , with the Sew-a-Long to start on the 21st.

I know it’s been a little bit more of a wait than anticipated however; I also have some amazing, fabulous, splendid news!!! I have managed to persuade a production company to  make a series of films to release alongside the Sew-a-Long. Entitled The Corset Sessions, they’ll highlight the trickier aspects of Corsetry, and provide a glimpse into the Professional side of making a Corset. There are hints about working quickly, production and construction so they’re unmissable quite frankly!

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Take a look at the revised schedule here. See you Monday!!

 Happy stitching!

Taking orders now…

Good afternoon, lovely people! I do hope it’s a little less grey where you are than it is here. We keep getting little flashes of sunshine, and patches of blue sky though so I am hopeful!

Now, I have some exciting news today… Laura After Midnight is open for Bespoke Mini Top Hat, Corset and Costume orders!!

Having been hard at work finishing several commissions, I am now able to start taking on orders again! Whatever your hearts desire, and where ever in the World you are, we can stitch you up something gorgeous and send it off with a bow on it! One of the things I love about being a Costume Designer and Interpreter is the many, many different directions this job can take me! Please do  not hesitate to contact me however big or small your request! Below are some pictures of just some of the many, many wonderful pieces I have created for people, and for sale on Etsy, over the last few years…

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White Hat 2      Red Hat 2      Blue Hat 1

Mini Top Hats… … … from £45 +P&P. Order time 7-10 days. Price includes design consultation and all materials.

 

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Bespoke Costuming. Price on application, order time up to 6 weeks. From Elven Jerkins, to Cosplay and Steampunk corsets, Dragons and more, whatever you can imagine we can create! Womenswear and Menswear orders are now being taken, we have made pieces for Feature Films, and private customers alike, and will happily work to your budget.

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Cream Corset FRONT Red Corset CLOSE UP TRIM

Bespoke Corsetry… … … prices from £95 +P&P. Order time 2-3 weeks. Price includes design consultation, illustrated design and all materials. Gorgeous Silks, Satins and Embroidery with overlays of Sequins and Lace, who wouldn’t want their own custom made Corset?

I am so excited to see what you have in store for me! Please do not hesitate to contact me at laura@lauraaftermidnight.com for all enquiries.

Making your own Christmas Cards

bauble2Making your own Christmas Cards is a very satisfying experience! For years I have grabbed a couple potatoes and happily stamped away however; for this tutorial I have updated the technique slightly to produce permanent stamps which can be re-used again and again.

You will need:

Sticky Back Foam (click here to buy)

Acrylic Blocks (Click here to buy)

Scalpel

Paper

Scissors

Stamp Pad and Acrylic Paints

Blank Cards (Ebay is an excellent resource to buy these in bulk, cheaply)

Paint Brushes, Pencils, Pens and Paper

Firstly, use the Pens, Pencils and Paper to sketch out a couple Designs. You should keep them super simple to start, and just have a little fun before refining your technique. As I am an avid fan of different printing techniques- I love Lino Cuts and have been producing them since I was a child- I wanted to attempt the most Christmassy of things… Vintage style Baubles!

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Having sketched out a couple designs, I liked the 3rd the best. It’s not overly complicated but it will look good in silhouette as a stamp.

Once you have chosen a Design, draw it on to the Foam. Proceed to use the Scalpel and Scissors to cut the Design from the Foam. Loosely cut around, then cut the finer details out until it is finished. Lastly, you will need to neaten up the edges

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Peel the back of the Sticky Back Foam away, and stick to one of the Acrylic Blocks. This enables you see where you are Stamping the image, and hold on to it properly.

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Press your beautiful new Stamp on to the Stamp Pad, rock slightly then move and stamp and rock again to properly cover the Stamp with Ink.

Gently press the Stamp on to your Card, and press down in each corner to make sure the Stamp prints properly.

I will stamp a couple of practice runs to make sure I am happy with the result before I stamp the final cards. I also like to mix in different coloured paints to make the result you can see in the far right picture above.

Squeeze out some paint on to some card, and using a paint brush spread it out as evenly and thinly as possible in a large enough area to cover the Stamp. Gently press the Stamp in to the paint, then in to the Stamp Pad to cover with Ink (this works best if the Stamp Pad is a Gold, Silver or shiny colour), then stamp on to your Card.

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So, what do you think of mine? Shown above are some of the Bauble Stamps I have cut, my paint trials and a finished Card. I think I like these best in a single colour, and I am going to do some in Hot Pink, Teal and Purple with Gold. They will be available on my Market Stalls, and through my Etsy store soon.

Of course, you could use these stamps to make Gift Tags, Wrapping Paper or even purchase some Fabric Paint and make your very own Christmas Fabric!

Christmas Month continues with Presents!!

Happy stitching!

How to Make Vintage Christmas Tree Lights

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These Vintage style Christmas Tree Lights make me so happy!! I think it’s a truly delightful Christmas Month make, ideal for a little crafting by oneself or something simple to do with smaller Children. I first saw the idea on Pinterest some time ago and this is my take on things… considering they’re made from Felt, they really do light up when fairy lights are put next to them!

You will need:

Felt in various colours, I chose a rainbow of colours!

Yellow Felt

Narrow Yellow Ribbon

Stuffing

Scissors, Pins, Needles and Thread

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Vintage Christmas Tree Light Pattern. Click to enlarge, then re-size by hand or at your local Copy Shop

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Cut a Front and a Back from each colour of the Felt. Sandwich them together and Whip Stitch around the edge as illustrated. whip stitch

Whip Stitch, pass the Needle and Thread through the back to the front, then repeat. 

I chose to use a Red Thread but you could use Gold, Glittery or different colours if you want to get fancy! I guess you could also alternate the colours of the Felt back and fronts too… stitch around all of the Lights.

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Use a pencil to gently stuff each Light. You wont need much!

Next, use the Top Pattern to cut the Yellow Felt up. Fold each Top in half, pin on top of each Light, then use a Running Stitch to attach each Top to each Light.

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Running Stitch. Try pushing the Needle in and out of the fabric in one movement. It’s quicker and more accurate!

Finally, you’ll need to sew the Ribbon in Loops on to the Top of the Light, using Running Stitch again. I first pinned on the Ribbon, to make sure they were as even as possible, then stitched.

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And don’t they look jolly! I have hung mine on a lamp for the moment all ready for the Christmas Tree but at this rate I may have to unpack one of my Mini Christmas Trees, or take the annual pilgrimage to Paperchase for another beautiful Mini Tree for the season!!

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You could try making them from Patterned Fabric, Satin or Shiny Fabric or even Glittery Fabric! Whatever you do be sure to share it with me here or on Facebook!

Exciting news on the Pop Up Shop front! I have several local Crafters and Designers joining me, so the Mini Market is shaping up to be rather exciting! I am also going to be in The Bristol Magazine, which I am over to moon about! I am staging a small photo shoot later this week which I am sure I’ll share, because I’m super bad at keeping secrets!

I have already had some wonderful comments and responses to Christmas Month, I’m so pleased you all are enjoying it. It looks like Jewel Birds will be decorating Christmas Trees about the globe! Tomorrow I’ll have an extra long post all about printing your own Christmas Cards and the various ways to go about doing that… watch out, and have some potatoes handy!!

Happy stitching!

Techniques and Tutorials

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I have just updated the Vintage Sewing Techniques and Tutorials Page, click the above tab to see it in all of it’s wonderful shiny, new glory!

Now included are links to my Notions series including tips quick tips on things like Pinning, threading a needle, ironing and general dressmaking, as well as tutorials for making a Simple A-Line Skirt, inserting various Zips, Machine Button Holes, Darts, Gathers and Pleats and a multitude of others! There is also a handy quick reference to all four weeks of Pattern Month.

I have also included a larger cross section of the many, many blogs which I follow on a daily basis- they’re well worth checking out. Don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin‘ to see all of them.

Please do not hesitate to comment below if you would like to see a tutorial or Notions post about something which is not already there… I’m always looking for ideas! For a more comprehensive guide to Understanding patterns, Pleats, Darts, Tucks and gathers and making various Seams hop on over to my Etsy store to buy a copy of my Zine. There are currently four available, with more in the works.

Happy stitching!

Week 4: Making Working Patterns

Making a Pattern from a Basic Block is an art form, and it is at this point in the process that it would be beneficial to have a Pattern Cutting book to hand. Obviously I would recommend Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting however; there are many others out there.

I shall try to impart as much advice as possible however; I will be writing this article as if you have some help at hand in the form of a Pattern book. Towards the end of the piece I shall list some helpful websites if you do not.

Really, the hard work has been done at this point, you have a Basic Block which has been adapted to fit your form from your Toile. Now all that is needed is a little imagination and magic to create the pieces about the Basic Block to create your design.

You will need to start by creating a Technical Illustration of your design. this differs from a Fashion Illustration in that it should be a picture of what you would like to make however; it should contain all of the seams, pleats, details and information you need to work from to make the Pattern. You should illustrate both the front and back, as this is what you will be using to create your Pattern. It is incredibly important to create a Technical Illustration to work from, as it will stop any second guessing and random making up of details!

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I have chosen to make a simple Top with some small design details. As you can see, I have illustrated everything I’d like to be included in the Top, with annotations to explain the finer details. The next step will be to decide which patterns I need to draft, what changes will need to be made to those Patterns and finally, what details I will need to draft to create finishing details for the garment. The easiest way to decide and start forming an action plan is to make a list:

  1. Most obviously I will need to draft the Sleeve Block, then adapt it to create the pleat at the Sleeve Head, and the Scallops at the Hem. I will also need to make a facing for the Hem as it is the easiest, neatest way to finish a Scalloped Hem.
  2. I will need to re-shape the Neckline of the Front Bodice to make it a V-Line Neck.
  3. A Collar will need to be drafted for the Front and the Back.
  4. The Front Bodice will need to be adapted to allow room for the series of Tucks I want to place at the Waistline, and a Button Stand will need to be added to the Centre Front.
  5. I’ll have to split the Back Bodice in to two sections to make the Yoke, then add in allowance for the Pleats/Tucks I want along the bottom of the Yoke.
  6. Seam allowance will need to be added to all of the Pattern Pieces as I complete them, and all will need to be annotated with Grainlines, Piece Names etc.

The following illustrations annotate how I would break down making this pattern up. Each change needs to be traced from the Basic Block- which I cannot stress enough- needs to remain intact, unharmed and unchanged! I am sure none of you relish the idea of starting from scratch all over again, which is what has to happen if you start cutting up Basic Blocks!

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As you can see from the above, listing the things to do and components needed for a Pattern is very important- it’s so easy to forget something, or get a little bit sidetracked!!

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There are nearly as many changes to be considered on the Back however; a lot of the time these can be simpler because there are not the fitting considerations to be made as there are for the Front Bodice.

As ever, click the images to enlarge.

If anything more complicated is to be attempted, a Pattern Book of some description will need to be purchased. They are invaluable when drafting more fitted garments, or for drafting things like Sleeves and Collars.

So, at the start of this post, I mentioned that I would be sharing some other posts on Pattern Making however; I have a confession: there aren’t many!! Burda have some helpful advice, as always, and this article will take you through making a Princess Line Dress from your Basic Block. I have shared Madalynne’s great Pattern Cutting Tutorials before but they are well worth a look as she has Tutorials on some interesting finer points of Pattern Making. A pretty straightforward Tutorial on how to lift basic Pattern from clothing can be found over at Sweet Verbena, there are  many Tutorials on YouTube which take you through the process but I am going to reiterate that trial and error are the best teachers. Until you give it a go, and make up your first pattern it will all be academic and you simply wont know if it works or not!

Happy Patterning!