July 30, 2015

Doctor Dolittle (Part III)

What made the show so special for me was that it was the first time I really saw my designs fully realized on a stage which broadcast to a larger, local community.  I guess it was then that it clicked in my head that this fun hobby could become my career...

Tonight we're wrapping up Doctor Dolittle (2013), the Stages musical that I had the privilege of student costuming, with the third and final past project post of the series!  (You can read Part I here - all about Emma's foundation - and Part II here - an in-detail look at Emma's Act I ensembles.)

Emma's "Island" dress & bonnet.
Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Like in the first act, the directer, Dianne Schaumberg, wanted Emma to have three outfits for the second act: one for the "shipwrecked" scene, another for all of the "island" scenes, and one final, grand outfit for the "protest" scene.  So, without further ado, I present the act II costumes - enjoy!

Doctor Dolittle (Part III): Act II Costumes


Act II opens with our poor protagonists recovering from a slight navigational error.  Emma's trunks are nowhere to be found and she, herself, seems to have, ehem, lost the clothing off her own back! 

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Embarrassed to appear in only her underwear, a pair of pink drawers and a matching corset (see part one), every effort is made to successfully recover her clothing trunks.

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Pink Island Dress & Bonnet

Emma's trunks eventually wash ashore, and for the majority of act two, Emma dons her "island" ensemble.  

Preliminary sketch.

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

The dress itself was another refashioned 80s prom dress.  (Could you tell by the giant bow?)  Delicate lace and sequin trim were added along the neckline.  At the time, I didn't have the heart to remove the giant bow in the back, but the slew of polyester flowers had to go!

Next, perhaps my favorite piece of the entire show, a matching, dinner-plate shaped, 30s poke bonnet was fashioned.  (Nicknamed the "Cosette Bonnet," and a little inspired by the bonnets in the 2012 Les Miderables, directed by Tom Hooper.  Les Mis has always been my favorite musical!)

Constructed in pretty much the same way as the Act I Turqoise bonnet, a straw base was cut to shape and bound with pink bias tape.  Gathered, cream lace was tacked along the inside brim, and the same, delicate lace that appears on the dress was used for the bavolet.  Flowers, vintage plumes and a neat, crocheted (?) butterfly complete the trimmings.  

Finished portfolio pictures:  Jessica (Emma) looked stunning! 

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Finalle "Protest" Dress

Last, but not least, Emma needed a dress worthy of her grande finalle when she took the stage one last time to rally the animals in protest against tyranny and oppression.  The only dress I could think of to do the job was my "Young Victoria" inspired dress, a tiered confection of lacy fanciness! 

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Inspired by one of my favorite films, Jean-Marc VallĂ©e's The Young Victoria (2009), which was costumed by the talented Sandy Powell, this dress was originally created for the "pop culture movie" themed spirit day at my former high school.  There is just something about period dramas that instantly draws me in...perhaps it is the lovely dresses or dancing, not to mention dreamy couples.  Yes, Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend were perfectly cast as the royal couple - talk about one of the greatest love stories ever! 

Historically speaking, Queen Victoria has always been one of my favorite female figures of the past.  I admired her sense of nationalistic duty, her courage and bravery, her leadership skills, and just her all around toughness.  (I even channeled her words for my senior yearbook quote: "we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat.  They do not exist." ~ Queen Victoria)  So, lucky for me, I found a pale, pink prom dress buried in the back closet just waiting to be turned into an 1840s ballgown!  

Picture taken without flash.

After a fair amount of repair and alteration, especially to the undersleeves and pleated oversleeves, lots and lots of lace was added!  If you look closely at the lace panel on the bodice, you will see my piecing job.  Worn over a hooped petticoat and one ruffled petticoat; a vintage cameo brooch is pinned to the bodice.  

Picture taken with flash.

And that concludes Emma's Act II wardrobe & the Doctor Dolittle past project posts!  Thank you so much for reading!  

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

July 27, 2015

Happy 1st Blogaversary!

 “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
~ Walt Disney

Blog-a-versary (noun) - the anniversary of one's first blog post. 

Today, my little corner of the blogosphere for scribbling down sewing hopes, dreams & aspirations, The Young Sewphisticate, officially turns one year old!  I can hardly believe how fast time flies - it seems like only yesterday, I was introducing myself to the blogging world, and now, a whole year later, I'm still writing!  

Without a doubt, it has been such a pleasure to share my interests, studies and passions for the past and its clothing over the past year.  I am just so full of gratitude, thanks and praise for everyone who has taken the time to read and encourage my sewing & future!!  I've said it before, and I'll shout it again: every single comment, suggestion and tidbit of advice has been greatly appreciated and keeps me blogging!

Taking a peek at the amazing statistics from the year, I can't help but smile!
  • We've had 6325 total pageviews this past year alone.
  • 21 fabulous followers join the sewing adventures.
  • 67 posts with 106 comments in all published. 
  • And, the most popular post to date has been the HSM January Challenge: 1850s Undergarments, with 564 views.  

Over the past blogging year, the main focus was placed on the following:

(1) My 2014-2015 Internship with the Genesee Country Museum & Village.  From the Sophia Project, to the fairy camp costumes, to the 19th century fiber-related experience days and much, much more, my adventures in the costume shop and around the museum were recorded in weekly & monthly reports.

(2) Past Projects.  In detail posts that recalled a variety of "throw back" theatrical costuming projects, mostly completed throughout junior & senior year of high school.  The majority were rewritten and re-posted from my previous blog.

(3) Learning & practicing 19th century sewing techniques.  Not only did I begin to appreciate and enjoy hand stitching through a few amateur ensembles, I also dreamed, researched (mostly thanks to Pinterest) & gathered materials for a whole bunch of "to make, someday" projects to expand my historical wardrobe.

And, for the upcoming blogging year, I plan to focus on the following:

(1) Sew all the things!  Much, much, much more sewing will hopefully happen, as I am determined to expand my historical wardrobe...the other night, I wrote out all of those "to make, someday" projects floating around in my head, and the list is already over two pages long!  (A girl can always dream, right?)  Anyways, stay tuned for more historical sewing trial and errors, along with, hopefully, a few successes!

(2) Continued work at the museum as a seasonal interpreter, as well as every day life as a new "host sister" to our German exchange student, Lisa.

(3) My first semester enrolled at Point Park's Conservatory, and the start of my several year journey on the costume design & construction track.  Plenty of excitement to come!

Finally, if you've liked what you've seen here, please consider commenting, subscribing and/or sharing...

Your thoughts, suggestions & support are always appreciated on this journey!  And, as always:
THANK YOU for reading!!

“First, think. Second, believe. Third, dream. And finally, dare.”
~ Walt Disney

July 21, 2015

Doctor Dolitte (Part II)

This past weekend was the Civil War event in Mumford!  It was unbearably hot and humid, but, despite the weather, we had so much fun!  It was such a pleasure to catch up with friends, long-time and new, dance at my first ball in the most gorgeous (borrowed) sheer dress, have my likeliness taken from a tintype camera, and make so many more memories.  I am already looking forward to next year's event as well as any other opportunities to make 1860s wear that may come along!

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Last Friday night in Doctor Dolittle (Part I), I introduced the fall musical, Doctor Dolittle (2013), that I had the privilege of student costuming for at Stages.  Not only was it an honor to be placed in charge of designing and creating the lead female character's 1830s wardrobe (as well as her backstage quick changes); but, what made the show so special for me was that it was the first time I really saw my designs fully realized on a stage, which broadcast to a larger, local community.  I guess it was then that it clicked in my head that this fun hobby could become my career.

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Anyways, tonight, picking up from where we left off last, it's an in-detail look at Emma's Act I wardrobe.  In the first act, the director, Dianne Schaumberg, wanted three outfits: one for all of the courtroom scenes, another for her solo at the crossroads, and another for the scenes at Doctor Dolittle's home and circus.  So, without further ado, here are the act I costumes - enjoy!

Doctor Dolittle (Part II): Act I Costumes

Turquoise Courtroom Dress & Bonnet

Emma first appears in the courtroom at the trial of Doctor Dolittle, and, because the actress wears this first outfit the most, I definitely wanted it to stand out.  

Preliminary Sketch 1

Preliminary Sketch 2
The dress itself was an 80s prom dress from the costume attic that I altered to fit the actress better.  White eyelet lace and cream-colored, lacy rose trim were added to the neckline, and finished with a red rose placed center front.  The ruffle on the hooped petticoat peaks out to make the dress floor-length.

Next, inspired by the wide, dinner-plate-shaped brims of the 1830s pokes, I created a matching courtroom bonnet.  (Nicknamed the "Dickens' bonnet" because the actress looked like she was ready to break out in Christmas carols.)

Once the straw bonnet base was cut to my satisfaction, I carefully bound the edges with dark-green bias tape.  Then, added red, satin ribbon ties, gathered and pleated the white, frilled, sheer material to the brim, and pleated the same white eyelet (as seen on the dress) as the bavolet.  On the outside, I gathered matching teal satin to the crown (covering the raw edges with more green bias tape) and trimmed the bonnet with red & white flowers, leaves and feathers.

Finished portfolio pictures:  The turquoise, white and splashes of red contrasted nicely with her slim figure and beautiful, dark-brown hair!

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Lavender Crossroads Ensemble 

The next outfit planned for Emma was her crossroads dress.  I wanted something feminine, delicate and floaty for such a pretty solo as she sings and "stands at the crossroads of life."  

Preliminary Sketch.

The dress began as a 1980s wedding dress.  After removing several giant bows and shattered linings, a length of lace with looped, cord trim stitched to the ends was draped over the shoulders and cinched by a pleated, lavender sash.  Add a pearl broach for some extra sparkle and pair it with the lavender headpiece I made the year before for Sleepy Hollow - voila, another outfit ready for the stage!

Finished portfolio pictures:  Dan Olean, the official photographer for STAGES, did me a huge, huge favor by agreeing to take photographs of Emma's finished costumes for my portfolio!  I am so, so very grateful to him for graciously giving his time and pictures; Lisa, the head costumer, for arranging the entire session; and Jessica, the gorgeous actress herself, for agreeing to pose for all of the photos!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Cranberry Act I Dress 

The final staple of Act I.  Emma repeatedly appeared in this ensemble for the small, in-between scenes at Doctor Dolittle's home and at the circus.

Dress Design.

Easily one of my favorite of Emma's outfits.  Again, an 80s prom dress altered to fit the actress.  I carefully overlapped the lace at the collar and added looped, cord trim to hide the stitches stitches.  A wide, pleated belt and brooch (actually a vintage clip on earring) finished the elegant look.

The matching headpiece was, again, a reused piece that I had constructed previously for Sleepy Hollow.  Both were in need of a few touch-ups and repairs, as well as new ribbon ties.  It was so surprising and wonderful to see how perfectly the reused headpieces complimented their new, respective outfits.  

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Finished portfolio pictures: 

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

Photograph courtesy of Dan Olean.

And that will do it for the next installment of Doctor Dolittle costume adventures!  Stay tuned for plenty more pictures up next in Emma's Act II Costumes.  Thanks for reading!

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