Making a Horned Headdress from Pink Brocade

Last week I found myself in a bit of a rut. I had finished a few projects and wasn’t feeling very inspired or motivated to move forward with any new plans. My progress was so slow that it was barely worth making the effort.

Usually when this happens it means it’s time for me to make something fun that is different from my recent projects and won’t take very long to complete. I didn’t have anything specific in mind, but during a trip to Jo-anns I came across a pack of framed stones that gave me an idea.

Isn’t it funny how you can have a room full of fabrics and beads and no idea what to make, but a four dollar pack of embellishments can give you a dozen ideas? I bought some seed beads to go with the stones, but I already owned the rest of the materials for this project.

Those materials include various gold brocades, a pink floral brocade, scroll print chiffon, fake pearls, and a few different types of glitter mesh.

Horned headpiece progress-7949

I planned on using these materials to make some sort of elaborate horned headpiece, with one of the stones sitting at the center front. None of the materials for this project are historically accurate, but I wanted to make the silhouette very close to the traditional heart shaped headpieces from the 15h century.

Like most of my headpieces (ecspecially the medieval ones – remember my escoffin?) this design was inspired by, and based on an image from Women’s Hats, Headdresses and Hairstyles: Medieval to Modern*.

Here is my sketch, and some fabric swatches.

Horned headpiece progress-8245

Drafting this was…interesting. I started by making the cone since I thought that part would be easy. I was wrong. The cone isn’t a partial circle. To cup the head properly and cover the ears it has to have a totally different shape. And trying to fit the base those cones attach to was a challenge as well.

Eventually I ended up with something that looks like this. The original plan was for the horns to be sewn together at the center, which would give them an upright look. When I attempted to do that after assembling the horns I realized that would cause my ears to show, so instead they were sewn a quarter inch apart. That’s why my finished headpiece has a flatter top than what’s shown here.

Horned headpiece progress-7963

Horned headpiece progress-7964

I transferred my pattern onto thicker paper, then traced the new pattern onto heavyweight interfacing and cut the pieces out.

Horned headpiece progress-7966

Three of the pieces were sewn together to create the domed back of the headpiece. Then wire was sewn into the edges of all the pieces.

Horned headpiece progress-7968

The wire caused the base of the horns to sit nicely, but the tops were collapsing inward. So I sewed two more bands of wire into each horn to make them stiffer.

Horned headpiece progress-7971

The horns were a bit bumpy at points, since the interfacing can have a weird texture to it when it’s forming curves. I covered them with quilt batting to fix this, then pinned them into cones and held them up to make sure the shape was right.

Horned headpiece progress-7974

They looked pretty good, so I went ahead and draped the striped patten that goes overtop.

Horned headpiece progress-7975

The pattern was cut apart, then transferred onto paper where I added quarter inch seam allowances to each piece.

Horned headpiece progress-7981

Then I cut all the pieces out! This took longer than I had planned since I ended up adding overlays to most of the tiers. To do this I roughly cut out the pattern from mesh, then sewed it onto the base fabric and trimmed the edges.

Trimming the edges afterward means you don’t have to worry about the mesh warping as you sew it and becoming too small to cover the base layer.

Horned headpiece progress-7984

Here are a bunch of trimmed pieces, ready to be sewn together.

Horned headpiece progress-7985

I started with the top tiers.

Horned headpiece progress-7987

Then did the rest! I wasn’t thrilled with the end result – the seams are a bit bumpy and I felt like the contrast between the fabrics was poor. But I wasn’t too upset since I knew beading would help differentiate the tiers and add a lot of texture to the piece.

Horned headpiece progress-7988

Horned headpiece progress-7989

I stretched the fabric over the cones, then folded the raw edges under the interfacing. After sewing the edges down I did up the back seam with upholstery thread, which turned them into actual cone like horn things!

Horned headpiece progress-7991

And the beading begins! I decorated the second tier with iridescent sequins that follow the pattern of gold mesh. Then used two rows of pearls and seed beads to cover up the seam line.

Horned headpiece progress-8001

The forth tier has rows of gold seed beads spaced one inch apart. Once again each seam is covered by a line (or two!) or fake pearls that are framed by seed beads.

Horned headpiece progress-8089

The bottom tier has a quilted design created from pink seed beads, and the bottom edge is trimmed with piping.

Horned headpiece progress-8090

Here are the two horns finished!

Horned headpiece progress-8091

I covered the interfacing that makes up the back of the headpiece with quilt batting and gold brocade. Then I sewed the horns onto it. After doing this I could try it on and get an idea of how it looked. It was at this point that I realized the panel i’d cut out for the front was way too small.

I recut it from more interfacing, this time adding a half inch to the sides and a full inch to the back edges. Once again I sewed wire into the edges, then it was covered with pink chiffon and trimmed with piping. I sewed it onto the rest of the headpiece, and now I had something wearable!

Horned headpiece progress-8096

To finish it off I cut out the veil  (a partial circle)  from the scroll print pink chiffon. Then I turned the edges inward by hand so they wouldn’t fray.

Horned headpiece progress-8098

I sewed the veil onto the front of the headpiece, then covered its join point with one of the stones that originally inspired this project. The final touch was a line of pearls across the front, and that was it!

Horned headpiece progress-8240

The headpiece is currently unlined, since I’m not sure if I should partially stuff the horns before lining them or not. I’m also not sure if I should sew combs in to help keep it in place. I’d like to figure those things out before finishing the interior.

After trying this on I noticed the horns didn’t cup my my head as nicely as I wanted. This was fixed by gathering the center back slightly and bending the wire.

As you can see the back isn’t too pretty (or symmetrical – oops!), but the veil covers most of it!

Horned headpiece progress-8243

And here is a close up of the horns, look at all those different fabrics!

Horned headpiece progress-8242

I took some worn photos of this headpiece yesterday, but the lighting wasn’t the best and the only photos I like show it from a single angle, which sort of stinks.

I’m sure i’ll get more pictures of it in the future once I make a costume that matches it! In the mean time I’m wearing it with a brocade kirtle I made last year.

Horned headpiece 2

Horned headpiece 1

After wearing it for a bit I’m pretty sure I need to add a ruffle to the back to cover my hairline…or maybe wrap my head with fabric before putting it on, so that isn’t visible. But since it’s quite tight that might be difficult. I’ll have to play around with it a bit.

Other than that, I really like this! I think the beading turned out nicely and I love all these fabrics together. It took me about a week to make, but I could have made it in half that time if it was my only focus.

It was a lot of fun, but unfortunately now that it’s done i’m back to feeling uninspired! I may have to make another one of these…

Thanks for reading!

 

Making a Gold and Ivory Gown, Part Two

It’s time for the second post about making this years holiday dress! Part one can be read here and is about making the bodice. Today i’ll be going over how I made the sleeves, which i’m excited about because they are my favorite part of this dress. I wasn’t expecting to like them so much, since they are really simple, but I adore how the cuffs turned out. They have little bows on them so my wrists feel like presents!

I started by drafting a full length puff sleeve pattern. They flare out more at the bottom, so they have a slight bell shape but are pretty full at the top too. I probably would have made these wider but I was working with fabric limitations. I’m kind of happy the fabric restricted me, because the shape worked out really nicely and they probably wouldn’t have looked right if they were any bigger.

DSC_9601

I turned the bottom five inches of the sleeves edge inward by a half inch and sewed it down. Then turned it inward again so the raw edge was hidden, and sewed it in place with a whip stitch. I did this because the lower few inches of these sleeves have to be left open to allow my hand to pass through.  My hands are too big to fit if they are sewn closed all the way to the wrist cuff!

DSC_9649

I also gathered the lower edge of the sleeve down to my wrists circumference by hand with a running stitch that was pulled taught as I went.

DSC_9648

Then I cut out the lining for the cuffs, which are just rectangles of quilters cotton. I marked guidelines an inch away from each edge, then folded the raw edge up so it touched that line and sewed it in place.

DSC_9654

This way every edge of my cuff was finished.

DSC_9656

I pinned my sleeves onto the cuffs, with all the raw edges facing upward. Then sewed it down with my machine.

DSC_9657

The gathered edge was quite bulky so I topstitched over it several times until it became relatively flat. The backside of these did not look pretty, but they are functional, which is what matters most when it comes to the interiors of garments!

Since these cuffs are very fitted I decided to use hook/eye closures. I sewed two of these into each cuff – one at the top, one at the bottom.

DSC_9665

My cuffs fit perfectly at this point, but I realized later that I actually made them too small. The cotton had a tiny bit of stretch to it, so they eased nicely over my wrists. Once I added the top layer of fabric (which didn’t have ANY stretch) to the cuffs, they became much more difficult to hook up and I was left with some red marks after wearing them for long periods of time. Silly mistake on my part.

DSC_9667

Once the hooks were sewn in I trimmed the frayed edges at the cuffs.

DSC_9659

Then I cut out two pieces of ribbon and stitched them over the top side of the cuff, so all the ugly bits were hidden.

DSC_9675

Doesn’t that look so much better?

DSC_9673

Now it was time to make the bows for the cuffs. Here are the two lengths of ribbon I cut for them – I’d say I used around ten inches of ribbon for each one. I sewed the ends of the ribbon together so I had two circles, then pressed down in the center of the circle so I had two even loops.

DSC_9672

I wanted to use the same ribbon for the centers of the bows, but this ribbon is awfully wide for the centers of such small bows. So I folded the velvet part of the ribbon towards the gold trim and sewed it down. This created a quarter inch wide fold that made my ribbon a half inch smaller, and much more appropriate for these bows.

(I take bows very seriously, clearly)

DSC_9671

Then I wrapped the smaller ribbon around the center of each bow and sewed the ends together. And tah-dah, perfect little bows!

DSC_9677

I was going to put these on the backs of the cuffs, but they were so cute that I decided to sew them onto the front instead. Here they are pinned in place.

DSC_9678

And sewn on!

DSC_9681

DSC_9682

Then I sewed up the side seam with a french seam. Like I mentioned earlier, I left the lower few inches open so I can fit my hand through.

DSC_9691

I sewed the bottom half of the sleeve on first, then gathered the top half so it perfectly fit into the arm opening. Then it was sewed in place with a whip stitch. I’ve been doing puff sleeves this way a lot recently because it lets me better visualize how dense I want the gathers to be before sewing them, which I like.

DSC_9705

At this point the interior of the bodice wasn’t looking great. It isn’t that bad, but there are some frayed edges and knots of thread which aren’t nice to look at.

DSC_9713

So I cut out a layer of lining from quilters cotton.

DSC_9724

Pinned it in place.

DSC_9726

And sewed it in with a whip stitch.

DSC_9743

Then my bodice, and sleeves, were complete! It still doesn’t look like much. I think this bodice really comes to life when it’s worn, it’s quite…flat looking when it’s just laid out. Luckily I will have worn pictures to share very soon – they should be going up on Wednesday or Thursday.

DSC_9744The final “The making of” post and video about this project will be up tomorrow! And that will be followed by photos of the finished ensemble. I got behind on my Christmas related posts, so you will be getting a lot of posts at once (I hope you don’t mind too much)!

Really quickly I wanted to mention the Christmas themed headpiece I made. It isn’t exciting enough to get it’s own post, but I’m really happy with how it turned out so I wanted to share it with you guys. A tutorial on the process of making it can be watched here, and photos will be below!

DSC_0169

DSC_0191

DSC_9769

DSC_9770

Thanks for reading!

Making a Silvery Blue Dress, Part Two

This is a continuation of this post, which goes over drafting and making the bodice of this project. If you haven’t already, I would suggest reading that post first. In this post I will talk about making the sleeves!

The design for these sleeves is one i’ve used before – a large puff at the shoulder, fitted to the elbow, another large puff at the elbow, and fitted to the wrist. It can easily be made as a four piece pattern. The difficult places to fit sleeves are at the shoulder and elbow, so it is actually really great pattern if you find sleeves hard.

The sleeves on this dress bring back memories of making my Merida cosplay a couple years ago. I was really proud of the sleeves on that dress….even though the edges of the chiffon were unfinished and the sleeves were unlined so it frayed everywhere. The sleeves also didn’t really line up – and by that I mean the “puffs” were an inch away from lining up at points. Yikes.

But I did a much better job this time!

I started by taking a set of measurements, mostly paying attention to the arm length. After I got the proportions and shapes right I took this pattern in to fit my arms width.

DSC_2021

 The pieces for the “puffs” were altered a lot. Since I wanted them to have a lot of volume I made the patterns almost four times wider than the size they will be when gathered!

DSC_2026

 The lining for the puffs were cut out of silk organza, I had long scraps of it and thought it would create more volume than thin cotton. I cut the rest of my pattern from mismatched batiks, the same type I used for the bodice lining.

DSC_2022

 The organza pieces were gathered down roughly by machine, then stitched on to the batik pieces. All the edges were turned over and stitched down to ensure they wouldn’t fray too much.

I also stitched up the back seam and tried them on to make sure the fit was good – they ended up being a little large, so I made some alterations to my paper pattern before cutting out the top layer of fabric.

DSC_2048

 I trimmed the edges to be a half inch and then sewed them onto the bodice. I ended up with a big ugly mess that looked like this! But it fit really well, and that is the important thing!

DSC_2049

 So I moved on to making the top layer of sleeves. Step one was cutting out the pattern, again. This time from brocade (the fitted portions of the pattern) and the mystery fabric i’m using for the skirt (for the puffs).

Once the pieces were cut out I folded all the edges over a half inch and stitched them down. I was concerned they would fray and wanted to add a bit of stiffness to the brocade, so I fused one inch strips of interfacing over all the raw edges.

DSC_2031

Unfortunately I can’t find a picture of the fabric for the puffs ungathered, but here is what they looked like after I painstakingly gathered each one by hand. It took a long time. Much longer than I was expecting. I may have even done it by machine if I knew how tedious it would end up being.

DSC_2028

 I smoothed out the gathers a little bit, then pinned them onto the brocade parts of the sleeve.

DSC_2032

Then they were stitched together! This part so it took a long time too.

DSC_2035

But eventually I had two lovely sleeves!

DSC_2043

 I did up the side seams and they fit nicely! So I sewed them onto the bodice and stitched the cuffs to the cotton lining.

DSC_2051

 Now it was time for another fitting, which went quite well!  A few little puckers from the lining not being arranged properly, but that can be smoothed out later.

DSC_2053

 Before moving on to the next step I decided to stitch flannel into the bottom of the lining. Batik is pretty delicate, and so is brocade, neither are really strong enough to support the skirt.

 Eventually I’ll stitch the skirt onto the flannel and then cover the flannel with brocade.

DSC_2055Now I could attach the brocade bodice! Here it is pinned in place.

DSC_2056

And all stitched down! I left it open at the bottom so the skirt can be attached.

DSC_2057

That is it for this post! The next post will be the final installment about this project and talk about making the skirt.

Thanks for reading!

The Christmas Costume – A Glittery Gown – Part 2

Today something pretty unbelievable happened – I hit five hundred thousand all time views on my blog, which some people probably wouldn’t consider a lot. But i’m amazed, and smiling, and giddy because that is just so many people. I can’t even comprehend the fact that many people have read or willing viewed the ridiculously long rambles I write about making things.

I mean, hell, I still remember the months where I would get one thousand views in the entire month. And I was so proud of that, and now I get that in a day, and it’s insane. But I’m also really happy, and I really appreciate the fact so many people continue to take interest! So thanks for reading, even if you don’t read often, because it has contributed in some way to this overwhelming happiness i’m feeling today.

Anyway,

I do actually have progress to share, too, and I will get into that right now. 

Since Christmas is just around the corner, it seems fitting to talk about my Christmas Costume! A few weeks ago I wrote a whole post on the concept and how I made the bodice, and that post can be found here. If you haven’t already, I would suggest you read that post before this one. 

This post will talk about the skirt, and the crown. I should have the post about the cloak up on Sunday, with photos of it all together posted on Christmas eve! 

The skirt and crown were by far the easiest part of this costume. Especially when compared to the bodice and cape, these pieces were an absolute vacation to work on.

I had originally planned to make my skirt a giant rectangle… but then I realized I didn’t have much material left, not nearly enough to make the skirt as full as I had wanted. I decided to attempt it anyway, figuring it would probably be fine. 

So I used all the material I had left…

DSC_2728

When I draped it over the petticoat I had made ( I talk about making it here) I realized it was really not going to work at all. The skirt was too small for the petticoat, and it looked like a stuffed cone that caved in at the bottom. A disaster. 

I mean, disaster might be a slight exaggeration, but it definitely wasn’t what I wanted.

DSC_2723

Soo I rifled through my fabric bins and came up with some yellow brocade that didn’t really match, but would have to be good enough. I sewed it onto the back panels of my rectangle skirt, then gathered it down onto a basic waistband. Here is what the back of the skirt looked like once I was finished…

20131203_150234

I thought it looked pretty terrible, and to be honest I still don’t think it looks quite right. But it’s grown on me a lot throughout the sewing process. I think it brings out the yellow in the sleeves, which creates more contrast and makes the costume as a whole look more interesting. 

I went ahead and hemmed the whole thing, I did a double three quarter inch hem and whip stitched it by hand. It took longer then I would care to admit, but it looks much better then doing it by machine. 

Once that was finished I sewed the skirt onto the bodice (by hand) and declared the dress finished! 

DSC_2922

And when worn…

(since I wasn’t wearing heels the dress is a bit too long and folds over in the front, oops) 

DSC_3076

I’m super happy to call that complete! But this post isn’t over just yet. 

When I first looked at this fabric it looked so holiday and christmasy to me, and when I decided to make an elaborate gown from it, I knew I needed a matching headpiece. I thought about several crown ideas before deciding on a flower crown. 

Now you may think that flower crowns are too casual to go with such a dress, and most probably would be. But when you choose (like I did) to make one entirely out of glittery christmas tree decorations, they definitely do not fit into the casual category. 

My materials were all purchased at Michaels (a craft store) from the holiday decor section. These were all 50% off and cost me seven dollars or so in total? It was something like that. 

DSC_2628

I also took some supplies from my stash, plastic boning, organza, and some hot glue. 

DSC_2774

I cut my organza into strips, then did a half inch rolled hem.

DSC_2775Once both edges were finished, I gathered and sewed it onto a piece of plastic boning.

DSC_2781

I pulled all the flowers off the stems, and cut apart the leafy gold ones that I purchased. Then I went a bit crazy and glued them all over the damn thing until I was happy with it. 

Once I was done I used hot glue to connect the two ends, then I snipped away the extra and it was done!

DSC_2786

Isn’t that lovely?

DSC_2791

It’s pretty ridiculous I know, but so is the dress, so I think it works! 

Thank you for reading~

The Christmas Costume – A Glittery Gown – Part 1

Like the vast majority of my projects, I’m not entirely pleased with the name I’ve chosen for this, but I think it is more amusing then calling it “Red and gold dress #2” so I shall stick with it. The name was inspired by the fact that this costume is red, gold, glittery, and decorated with things purchased from the christmas section of a craft store. Wearing it makes me feel sort of like a princess, but mostly like I belong on top of a tree. 

I originally came up with this idea when I was researching 17th centuy gowns and the baroque period – as I have plans to make a very simple taffeta gown of that style in the near future.

Unsurprisingly I got distracted, this time by a stunning painting of Anne of Austria which can be seen here.

I really loved the idea of having a dramatic cape and overdress on top of a heavily printed gown. Then I remembered some materials I purchased for my birthday earlier this year that would work really well for such a thing. I had a little less then six yards of a lovely brocade, along with several yards of matching gold satin and organza. All together I was sure I had enough to make something wonderful! 

When I went into NYC a few weeks back I purchased eight yards of velvet to turn into a cape, as well as enough tulle netting for an underskirt. And so it began…

My first sketch looked like this, very similar in style to the painting that inspired it. I ended up dropping and changing a lot of these in my  more finalized sketch later on.

DSC_2618

I began with the bodice, I altered the pattern I made for my pirate bustier to better suit this project. Then I cut it from a heavyweight twill which became my lining, and again from brocade. I sewed the boning onto my lining, then sewed it right sides together so each edge was finished! 

20131107_212924

20131107_212947

I went through and tacked both layers together with a cross stitch so no topstitching would be visible on the fabric. Then I moved onto the sleeves, which were going to be the most elaborate and outrageous part of the costume. 

I wanted a very specific shape, one that requires a very poofy base, so I decided to start by cutting a normal sleeve pattern which would be quite snug. This is the base that I would sew everything to. 

20131109_231315

 I made little rolls out of quilt batting rectangles. 

20131111_132503

 I sewed two rolls to each sleeve, marking where each puff would be. 

20131111_142808Then I cut much larger rectangles of quilt batting and draped them evenly on top of the smaller rolls. 

This is much more time consuming then any other sleeve base method I’ve used, since these have to be hand sewed down very carefully and evenly to get identical shapes on both sleeves. But I do like how this ended up looking much more, it is also far sturdier and more comfortable then just stuffing sleeves like I did in past.

Definitely a method I plan to use again in future projects! 

20131111_142927

 I took a large piece of satin and gathered it down the middle. Then it was pinned onto the sleeve base.

20131111_150715

I sewed this down and repeated it at the top of the sleeve, then again with my other sleeve. I cut off many extra inches of material that hung over the edges.

20131112_122824I repeated this with gold organza, except this time I used an even larger piece of material and a pattern I drafted to make sure they were actually even. 

The picture shows me attaching half of the second piece of organza. 

20131112_141101

20131112_141625

20131112_141831

Finished with that step, but the sleeves were far from done! 

20131112_145625

I did take a momentary break to see if they had the shape I wanted and they really, really did. They looked exactly the way I wanted and I couldn’t have been happier! I was stupidly giddy over the shape of these things.

I would also like to say that this is the actual color of both materials. I’ve been switching between photographing things with my phone and my nikon, my phone tends to make everything much less vibrant. The brocade also has a tendency of changing between red, pink, brown, and maroon depending on lighting. 

turmlrr

Next I went ahead and made the strips for a sleeve overlay, which was a somewhat tedious and boring process that I didn’t photograph at all. But once I was done I ended up with two of these

DSC_2629

Which were sewed to the sleeves, and looked like this!

tumblr

You could see the icky bands of interfacing between the puffs and at the bottom of the sleeves which I needed to fix.  I cut a few strips of satin and a very long piece of organza which was turned into a ruffle, and when that was sewn on I was left with this! 

DSC_2715In the picture above the sleeves are sewn onto the bodice, but the side seams are not yet done, which is why they look a little loose. Once they get stitched up they should fit nice and tight! 

I should also mention that each edge of the sleeves were encased in bias tape so they wouldn’t fray. 

Thanks for reading!

The next post will talk about the skirt. Or the cape. Whichever I finish first.