April 25, 2015

A Medley of Miscellany

As the title may suggest, tonight's past projects post is a medley of miscellany!  Four shows and various accessories, though none enough to make a post of their own, I still wanted to share...

I'll begin with senior year:  As I mentioned previously, in addition to costuming for A Christmas Carol High School, I had the privilege to costume for two more shows with the Young Open & Honest Players (YOHP).

All photos via Facebook.

First was Picnic (2014), the 1952 drama by William Inge.  (Thanks again to Stages for loaning us costume pieces.)  Pam Mount, our beloved directer, and I co-costumed the show.  I had injured myself in a car accident (long, complicated story...) about two weeks before the show, so she had to step in to finish as the show must go on - and it did, perfectly!

Next was a series of one acts, Nothing is Written (2014), written and directed by the very talented Emma M., who I am so lucky to consider a good friend.  She has some real talent, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if she became a professional playwright!  What I like most about YOHP, besides the people, of course, is the flexibility of the troop.  Pam Mount has been absolutely a gem, offering plentiful opportunities for aspiring actors, playwrights and stage managers to express and explore their passions - and even offering me the chance to do what I love best - costume!

Emma's play consisted of five, separate and brilliant one acts:
  1. "Breaking and Entering" - set in the kitchen of an elderly Russian lady, early 2000s.
  2. "Victoria Terminus" - two strangers at a train station in Mumbai.
  3. "The Doll Doctors" - my personal favorite which chronicled the wartime correspondence between two doctors in the allied forces: one in a Belgium hospital, the other in Arabian barracks.  
  4. "Away with the Bathwater" - a very moving conversation between two women in Central Park NYC, 1939. 
  5. "La Maupin" - set in the French countryside, 1692. 
Anyways, to make a long story short, we had about two weeks to throw the entire show together.  Challenge accepted.  Despite the complex costume needs, there was definitely some late night sewing involved, somehow everything came together!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures...I was too busy frantically sewing having fun! ;)

Image via: Facebook

STAGES, the Children's Theater at Rochester's Auditorium Theater, allowed me the great opportunity to return to student costume two shows senior year.  The first was Doctor Dolittle (2013) (post pending), which served as my "senior show" and the highlight of my portfolio, and the second was Into the Woods (2014)!  For the Sondheim fun, I was asked to create several headpieces.  The directer specifically asked for the costumes to have a "medieval" flair and approved my sketches for the party headpieces as well as some velvet caps.

Along with some pictures of the party headpieces, here's some fast & easy DIY turban instructions (originally published on my previous blog), perfect for any medieval or regency costumey outings and children's dress up boxes!  There are two easy styles you can make: the "open" turban or the "closed" turban

The "open" style turban band.

The "closed" style turban.

  • Batting for the tube (I actually used 3 layers of mesh because that's what I had on hand at the time)
  • 2-3 fashion fabrics to match the main outfit 
  • Decorative trims, broaches, feathers, etc. 
  • Basic sewing supplies: measuring tape, needle & thread (or hot glue gun)

Directions for making an "open" style turban:
  1. First, measure the circumference of your head (all of the actresses' were around 23").  Then, to make the base, cut a band measuring 3" wide x circumference of head + 1" (for seam allowance) long
  2. Sew long ends right sides together and, when finished, flip to right side (you should have a flat-shaped tube).  Iron and stitch short ends of the tube together to form band.
  3. Cut a rectangle from the batting measuring circumference of head +1" or 2" extra.  Roll into a tube and secure the ends. Stitch the ends of the batting tube together.
  4. Cut generous rectangles of 2-3 fashion fabrics.  Experiment with width (I'd use at least 5") and the length should be at least twice as long as the circumference of head (I rounded to 5" x 60").  Optional: to prevent fraying, cut with pinking sheers, stitch a narrow hem or serge.
  5. Wrap fabric rectangles one at a time around the batting tube securing with a few stitches or a drop of hot glue every turn or so.
  6. When satisfied, wrap and secure beading, pearls, thin ribbon or other trim for contrast.
  7. To finish, whip stitch the base to the inside of the decorated roll.  For more sparkle, feel free to add any other decorations - broaches, feathers, etc.  Enjoy your new turban!

The stepsister's party headpieces:

Party Headpiece #1.
Materials included: baby pink taffeta, pink taffeta, "pearl" trim & patterned chiffon.

Party headpiece #2.
Materials included: silver satin, light purple stretch velvet, beaded "pearl" trim & silver chiffon. 

Directions for making a "closed" style turban:
  1. First, measure the circumference of your head (all of the actresses' were around 23").  Then, to make the base, cut a band measuring 3" wide x circumference of head + 1" (for seam allowance) long.
  2. Stitch a narrow hem on both long sides of the band and sew the shorter ends together (you should have a flat shaped tube).  Fold the tube in half and iron
  3. Cut a generous-sized circle of fabric (mine was 20" in diameter) and gather with 2 rows of running stitches.
  4. Stitch the gathered circle into the band, enclosing the raw ends, to form a base. 
  5. Follow steps 3 through 7 above (from the "open" turban instructions) to finish!  Have fun turban-ing!

The stepmother's and Jack's mother's party headpieces:

Stepmother's headpiece.
Materials included: mystery glittery mesh (backed with black polyester lining),
white stretch velvet, black satin & "pearl" trim.

Jack's mother's headpiece.
Materials included: medium weight polyester lining, red velvet & white, shimmery, mystery fabric.

I'll end with Junior year:  Penfield High School's annual musical was Hello Dolly! (2013) and I had the chance to sew some much-needed set pieces as well as assist backstage with quick changes, especially those for Dolly:

(Image via: Mrs. Abrahamian's - PHS music teacher and vocal director)

Mrs. Darling (the drama teacher) had me busy sewing curtains for the milliner's shop and 13 table clothes for the Harmonious Gardens scene.  Each table cloth, made from sparkly 100% polyester costume satin (shudders), needed to be hemmed on all four sides, and I am so, so grateful my mom stepped up to help with that task...I also was pleased to notice that some of the hats I made for Stages were borrowed and appeared in the millinery shop!

Curtain & table cloth material.

Curtains in action!
(Image via: Mrs. Abrahamian's school webpage)

And finally, in-between shows, I like to sew gifts for my friends!  For Elizabeth's birthday, as she is the bookworm of the group, instead of trying to come up with a book that she has not yet read, I decided to put my sewing skills to the test and create something special for her.  When asked her favorite colors, she replied "cobalt, deep purple and blood red," I really hoped she liked it!  The purse is fully lined, washable and closes with a snap:

The finished purse, no flash.

A peak at the lining, with flash.

Thank you, as always, for reading!

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