Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dress Diary: Steampunk Cleopatra: Other

This post is where I've decided to detail all the "other" elements of this outfit that I've made.

First and simplest is the blouse/chemise that I made to wear under my corset.  The original pattern shows a black sheer v-neck top that covers the shoulders.  It has gold Egyptian elements attached to it.   So I knew I wanted a v-neck, low cut blouse, with gathered shoulders.  I wanted to make it out of cotton or muslin, for comfort.  I bought the sheerest black cotton  I could find at my local store, which wasn't quite as sheer as I would have liked, but I was pressed for time.  I contemplated draping the top, but again for time decided to use a pattern as a guide.  I used Simplicity 2254 as a base pattern.

This shows the sheer fabric,
which doesn't really show up otherwise.

I decided not to add any metal Egyptian accents to the blouse, at least not right now.  If I decide I'd like them there, I may add them later.  I want the focus to be on the corset, not the chemise.

The underskirt as I last posted about it needed a couple of additions.  I wanted to add some kind of gold trim to the bottom.  I waited to do this until I had cut the gold fabric for the corset and the headdress, so I would know how much fabric I had left to work with.  (Unfortunately this still created problems, as I had to remake the back panel of the corset and didn't have enough of the same gold to do so...lesson learned.)  I debated what kind of trim to make.  I considered a simple band of gold, ruched trim, etc, but I settled on pleated trim.  Pleats seemed appropriate for an Ancient Egyptian styled costume.  I don't have a huge amount of experience with pleated trims.  Much as I love box pleats, for instance, I was concerned about time and my own skill level.  So I settled on simple knife pleats, which also seemed more appropriate for an Egyptian mood.  So I pleated and I pleated and I used nearly every inch of silk fabric I had to get the most pleat for my money.  I used a thin satin ribbon to cover the stitching and I'm quite pleased with the effect.

I added one more thing to the hem of the train: a loop for holding the train up.  I used gold fabric again (although this is from a non-matching dye batch) and simply sewed a wrist strap to the underside of the hem.  I have always been afraid of making outfits with trains because I am terrified they will be stepped on or otherwise damaged, especially at crowded conventions.  So this is a way for me to keep control of my skirts.

The front apron/panel/sash/belt piece of the costume is a necessity for the Cleopatra look.  (I googled and googled and can't find that this piece has a NAME.)  I drew the shape of it from the photo and made it in my black fabric.  I added appliques of gold fabric for the inner stripes, and then bound the edge in gold for the outer stripes.  I intended to bind the bottom and round parts in gold as well, but found that took away from the shape of the piece.  I knew I didn't have the artistic skills to paint hieroglyphs on the center panel and didn't want to add printed fabric to the costume, so I went with a line of large brass gears.  I have no rationale other than I really like the effect.  (Also, see my post about the use of decorative gears in steampunk.)  Because of the size of these gears, I worked that transparent thread would be too noticeable, so I used E6000 to glue them on.  The upper portion of the panel in the original has gold rays either painted or appliqued on, which I thought would be a perfect use of clock hands.  These I both glued and sewed in place.

I originally intended to attach a waistband to the panel and wear it that way, but as this was one of the last pieces to be finished, I ran into a snag when my chronic back condition flared up and made sitting at a sewing machine extremely painful.  I decided to simply bind the top edge and pin the panel in place under my corset for the time being.  I should be able to ensure the placement is perfect that way at any rate.

Once again I find I have no room for the novel that I need to write about the headdress, so it looks like that piece IS getting it's own post.

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