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!

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!

 

Hail to the King!

Midnight Costume Services is finally at the end of a long run of Costumes for an Entertainment Park, and this job comes to a close with a Panto! Dick Whittington… and I thought I’d share the process of making some of the pieces, like King Rats Tail Coat!

Easily my favorite Costume to make so far, I decided to loosely Hand Tailor the Tailcoat to support a couple of incredibly dramatic Shoulder Pads. To get the right look I played about with layering existing Shoulder Pads and felt but in the end- even though it was more work- I had to resort to a more traditional technique and ended up layering the felt in decreasing sizes to build up a pointed, exaggerated Shoulder. As you can see in the first picture using the existing Shoulder Pads looked super clunky!

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Using a mixture of hand stitching, machine stitching and a little bit of glue, each Shoulder Pad has about 20 layers of felt and is quite malleable, allowing me to gently sculpt a curve. I haven’t some this in a while and I was super pleased with the results!

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I found some (pretty disgusting, but amazing for the purpose!) quilted fabric which I thought looked a little like Bin Bags… it’s the kinda thing I thought the King of Rats’ would have a tailored jacket out of!! In a concession to the performers I created the sleeves from a stretch Leather- which is why they look a little like they’re pulling- but means the Jacket will fit multiple performers and wont restrict movement.

The mannequin this is pictured on is a little too large, but I think it still looks majestic!

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I find Panto a difficult beast to design for, I want to do character analysis to find their motivation and design around that, which doesn’t really work here. It’s all a bit too tongue in cheek, shiny and primary coloured for me but in starting with King Rat I helped myself a lot! Deciding that as a character he would have had quilted and embroidered bin bags fashioned in to a Tailcoat got me on my way.

I also fashioned medals and ribbons for the lapel, because of course he would be decorated!, and used lace and matt black sequins to applique and embroider detailing in the lapel and jacket. With a final sprinkling of darkly glittery hot stones and a Top Hat I think he turned out to be quite the dandy!

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The hat was hand stitched and created using strips and fragments from the Tail Coat machine embroidered on, with layers of sparkly net and sequins overlayed. Slightly battered- he does live in the sewers after all!-the ears were made from faux fur, a lot of dye and sprayed dye.

As I have a commission to create a White and Gold Louis XVI Sun King Tail Coat I am really pleased this turned out so well. The Sun King Tail Coat will have to be much more viciously tailored to create a base for a spectacular Gold Feathered Shoulder Piece, and I can’t wait to share it!!

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!

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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!