Thursday, November 21, 2013

Onwards with the sound of her wings

After big projects I usually make a statement to my friends and family that I’m going to have a vacation from costume making… Who am I kidding here! Every time I make that promise, I’m back at our workshop few days later! Before I tried to redirect or suppress my urge to make something, but now I think I’m at a point that I don’t even want to fight against it. For me, creativity is just something that keeps me going and makes me happy! So yes, me and my sewing machine have had quality time together during past weekends!

Ten years ago I dressed up for penkkarit, which is a traditional masquarade when you are on your last year at upper secondary school in Finland. I didn’t know about cosplay back then, but the basic idea was the same; I was portraying a certain character from certain comic issue with clothes, props and make-up.

As a teenager I read a lot of fantasy literature and somehow found Neil Gaiman and the comics he wrote. And I totally and utterly fell in love with the character of Death in a form of perky gothic girl. Back then I dressed up as casual Death with jeans and tank top, which is her best know outfit. I was so proud of the costume, even if no one except my friends recognized me. I actually didn’t sew the clothes, because I didn’t have much experience or skills back then. Instead I bought white jeans and dyed them black, because apparently back jeans were really hard to find… Borrowed boots and tophat from my friend, altered a tank top and bought an umbrella. Sadly, I have no photos from the get up. Probably it’s better that way, since there is a high change that time plays its tricks with me and the costume was an utter disaster!

Ten years have passed since my first portrayal of a fictional character. Because I’m still in love with Neil Gaiman, The Sandman and endearing Death, I thought what would be a better idea than to take a second round with her. And now that new volumes are published, I couldn’t have chosen a better time!

Make-up test with white cream make-up and a random black wig.

This time I wanted to make more complex outfit from Death’s wardrobe and chose the formal wear from Season of Mists. The outfit includes a tulle skirts, a blouse with corset and satin gloves.

It was nice to make a corset for a change! I patterned it so that it has some traits of corsets made in 1700’s with flat bust and shoulder straps. The references I gathered shows that Death’s corset has lacing on front. I wanted to make my version so that it would be laced from the back. I wanted my corset to be more of amanipulative one and with back lacing it would be easier to tighten. As a result of this reasoning I made the lacing on the back and a fake lacing on the front. All those eyelets and my fingers… Outch!

With the shirt I made something that I have sworn not to do ever again! I layered organza with another type of fabric. I do like the look, but organza is just so annoying to sew and more so with a material that acts totally different! It’s just nerve-racking! After few seams it fortunately started to be manageable and in the end I had a sheer blouse with organza and fine dotted tulle on top. I covered some old buttons with cotton and stretch satin to match the shirt and hand-sewed the decorative sequin ribbon on the front.

The skirt is still unfinished, because I underestimated how much tulle I actually need to achieve the look from the comic. I think I've used about 6 meters now and I'm still counting.

Next to clothes I’ve made the string of pearls she has on her hip and the necklace. I actually will redo the ankh, because… Well, I tried to use Worbla to make it, but apparently I do not know how to work the material to make it look reasonably good. I probably will try my luck with Fimo. I’m positive that it will be a better choice, since I have some knowledge about it.

The wig is the only component I haven't started yet. I have a reasonably good base wig for the purpose, but Death's updo requires some drastic changes on the forehead. I will finally be able to try making a lace front wig and that is something I'm really looking forward to!

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