Saturday, April 17, 2010


Some people collect sports cards; others collect stamps. I collect sewing pattern, preferably costume ones (amongst many other collections I have). I have over 250! Whenever there is a sale, I can’t help but get a couple more that I don’t yet have. And yes, sometimes I buy some twice by mistake (I should sell my doubles here). My collecting made me buy this Hanbok pattern by Butterick:

Of course at the time, I had no idea what it was supposed to be; I just thought it looked nice. But you know me; I have to know everything about everything (costume related) so I went online and did a little research.

As previously stated, it is a Hanbok. “And just what is a Hanbok?” I hear you say. It is the traditional Korean costume. Just like Kimono in Japanese means garment, Hanbok literally means Korean clothes. The modern Hanbok is based on the fashion of the Joseon Dynasty which ran from 1392 to 1897, but of course, it has evolved in the last century, for practical reasons. Nowadays, the Hanbok is worn as semi-formal or formal wear for traditional festivals and celebrations.

A woman in Hanbok at Beomeosain in Busan City

The traditional women’s Hanbok consists of two pieces: the Jeogori which is the short jacket, and the Chima or wrap around skirt.

The Jeogori is made up of Gil, the bodice; Git, a band of fabric that trims the collar; Dongjeong, a removable white collar which is placed over the edge of the Git; Goreum, the ribbon tie that keeps the Jeogori closed at the front; and sleeves, which can have Kkeutdong, different colored cuffs, or not.

Here is a video showing how to properly tie the Goreum:

The Chima is made of a rectangle of cloth which is gathered into a band of fabric (which we’ll call a waistband but really sits atop the bust). The waistband itself extends to be used as ties to securely close the skirt. There are also shoulder straps attached to the waistband that keeps the skirt up and in place.

Men's Hanbok Rental by Hanbok House

The traditional men’s Hanbok also consists of the Jeogori, but it is paired with baggy pants called baji, which is also the modern term used for pants. Following the introduction of Western influences at the end of the 19th century, modern men Hanbok also often include a Jokki, which is a vest.

Korean Royal Costumes

Traditionaly, upper classes Hanbok were woven from ramie or silk, of a variety of colours, although bright colours were usually reserved for children. The colour of the Chima indicated the wearers social status; for instance, navy if she had sons. Only royalty could wear Geumbak or gold leaf printed patterns at the bottom of the Chima.

Commoners were restricted by law to wear cotton (at best), white for everyday clothes and dull shades of pale pink, light green, gray, and charcoal for special occasion.

I’m not sure when or for what occasion I might use my pattern, but it looks like a very comfortable thing to wear!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Movie Braids

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I am clueless when it comes to hairdos - which is kind of ironic since may hair has been long for over two decades. Often when I'm on the Internet, I look for ideas and tutorials. Sometimes what I find is a hairdo for costuming; and then I have to share it with you.

Arwen's The Two Towers Cut Fight Scene Braid by Mary Bertke

Over at Dreamweaver Braiding, Mary Bertke has tons of examples and tutorials on how to braid hair from the classic three strand to the more complicated eight strand, without forgetting twists and Herringbone. Once you know the basics, you can create complicated assemblages such as Arwen's do in the cut Helm's Deep scene (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - 2002).

Liv Tyler as Arwen, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Using a Herringbone and French Braid technique, she also shows us how to create Legolas' hairstyle.

Legolas' Lord of the Rings braids by Mary Bertke

The resemblance in uncanny.

Orlando Bloom as Legolas Greenleaf, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)

Finally, while looking through her pages,. I also found this style. Does it remind you of anything?

Dutch High Classic with French braid below

Think back to your childhood, from a Galaxy far, far away...

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa, Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

That's right folks, it's Princess Leia's other hairdo; the one from the medal giving ceremony.

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa, Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Of course, I choose to present only movie hairdos today (as they can be very useful for costuming), but Dreamweaver Braiding has many more examples, many of which are perfect for weddings or RenFaires. Check it out!

On my end, since my hair is not as long as it once was (currently at mid shoulder blades level, but butt length a few years back), I think I'll use Nancy-Raven as a guinea pig!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gum Wrapper Prom dress

Did you hear about the Junior high school girl who made her prom dress (well, the corset part of it anyways) out of hundreds if not thousands of Gum Wrappers? And not just any gum: Wriggley 5 – for the colour of its wrappers. Now that is what I call DIY fashion!

Elizabeth Rasmuson of Garner, Iowa, got the idea when she heard hearsay of another DIY fashionista who had made her Prom attire out of Duct Tape. Liz got her friends involded too; she bought the gum, distributed the pieces around and gathered the wrappers. Since such a project requires planning, she started right at the beginning of the school year. And so her date wouldn’t feel out of place (or clash, which would be worse), she made him a matching vest.

Elizabeth Rasmuson and her Date

The technique for weaving wrappers is fairly easy and it can be applied to other materials such as magazines and chip bags. All you need is to cut pieces measuring 2” by 4 ½”, fold them a certain way and begin weaving.

I found this a blog on the subject, Wrapper Purses - Made completely from recycled potato chip wrappers. There is even a tutorial to make a hand bag from woven chip bag and I have to say, I am loving this idea. Finally, something I can do to recdycle my weekly bag of Lay’s!

But back to the Gum wrapper dress, I looked into it and a pack of
Wriggley 5 contains 15 pieces and costs 1.26$ CAD before taxes: that means to get 1000 wrappers, it cost her 84$ (CAD), not including dentist fees for cavities and jaw problems developped from chewing all that gum. Not bad for such an original bodice; plus, she made it to Tele!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Morgan Le Fey's Teal and Red Chiton

As you might imagine from all I tell you about myself, I love the Arthurian Legends. I also love TV series and movies on the subject. One of these was the 1998 Mini-series Merlin staring Sam Neill. Although the costumes were not even close to accurate, the craziest ones went to super natural creatures so it made it somewhat okay. The one I truly loved was Morgana’s Chiton. Frik creates the illusion of her beauty and he dresses her up in the fashion of his youth.

Helena Bonham Carter as Morgan Le Fey, Merlin (1998)

Of course, as with most historical dresses in Hollywood (or should I say unfitted historical dresses), it is not actually cut as a chiton would, but it is still a lovely dress.

Sam Neill as Merlin and Helena Bonham Carter as Morgan Le Fey, Merlin (1998)

I would make my version as two rectangles of blue taffeta bag lined in red taffeta, sew it up the sides and add gold buttons and loop at the shoulder. Sure, taffeta is hot, but I feel it would achieve the right look. Also, by bag lining both rectangles, I get a two colour, reversible chiton. Imagine that, a two for one! (Hmmm, maybe I should market that for the SCA...),

Add jewellery, a gold belt, some gladiator sandals and a curled updo and your ready to party with Queen Mab and the rest of Avalon!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Project Progress Report: Sherbet Striped English Dress - Fabric cut

I finally made an effort last night to cut my dress and skirt. Nothing exciting to see yet, but I’ll still show you!

Sherbet Striped English Dress - Bodice Pieces

Sherbet Striped English Dress - Sleeve Pieces

Sherbet Striped English Dress - Front Over Skirt Piece

Sherbet Striped English Dress - Back Over Skirt Piece

Unfortunately, when I started to cut the skirt, I realized I did not buy enough fabric. I don’t know what I was thinking! My favourite 18th century skirt pattern is based on Butterick 3640: quite simply, you cut two 115 cm long rectangles of fabric for the back and two for the front, one of which you cut in half length wise; these become the side front panels so that you have the same width, but no seam on the center front. Now if you’ve been following, that means I need 4.6 metres. But for some reason, I thought I would be fine with 3 metres at the time I bought it.

So tonight, I’ll go back to the fabric store and hope they still have enough left of this fabric to save my skirt (I got it from the bargain section and there wasn’t that much left on the roll to begin with, so I’m really crossing my fingers). If they don’t I’m not quite sure what I’ll do.

Maybe combine it with the 80cm I bought to make my daughter a Medieval t-tunic and cut it on weft instead warp? (Do I have enough to make it work? Hmmm).

Edit: I stopped by the fabric store and I found the last piece of my pink fabric in the bargain bin. It’s only 80 cm long, but combined with my two other pieces, I’ll be able to make something decent. I will have to cut the skirt on weft, but as it is a woven linen blend and the intended result is a very full skirt, so pull is not an issue and it will do fine. I do feel a little bad using a piece I had promised to my daughter, even if she is much too young to understand or remember. I’ll have to make it up to her. I think I have some lighter pink linen in my leftovers which I can use for her T-Tunic.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Movie Monday: Kick-Ass

Most of us have worn a Superhero costume for Halloween at least once! Okay, I personally haven't, but boys usually do: my brother got to be Superman, a Ninja Turtle and a Power Ranger (at different times). So what a thrill it is when a new Super Hero movie comes out, such as Kick-Ass (2010)! Based on the Comic book by the same name, it tells of a young 16 year old would-be superhero who one day decides to don a costume on and become Kick-Ass.

The story features four powerless Superheros...

Kick-Ass (2010)

Dave Lizewski, a.k.a. Kick-Ass, the main protagonist:

Aaron Johnson as Dave Lizewski / Kick-Ass, Kick-Ass (2010)

Hit-Girl, an 11 years old, purple wig wearing assassin:

Chloë Moretz as Mindy Macready / Hit-Girl, Kick-Ass (2010)

Her father, Big Daddy:

Nicolas Cage as Damon Macready / Big Daddy, Kick-Ass (2010)

And Red Mist, son of the story's antagonist:

Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Chris D'Amico / Red Mist, Kick-Ass (2010)

Personally, even if the idea of an 11 years old killer of is more than a little disturbing, but the kilt and purple bob are kind of cute!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Balmain Spring 2010 RTW "Logan's Run" Dresses

I was flipping through a magazine when I fell upon pictures of Balmain's Spring 2010 RTW (that stands for "Ready to Wear" for those of you wondering) collection.

Okay, so look at them for a moment and tell me what they remind you of... Classical Greco-Roman styles? Yes, but more than that...
It made me think of the women's costumes in Logan's Run (1976).

Jenny Agutter as Jessica, Logan's Run (1976)

Okay, so I know that Jessica's dress is quite high necked, but that was the style of the 70's. Really! My Mom got married at about the same time and her dress neckline had the looks of a turtle neck.

But look again at the length of the dress, the gathered waist, the layering of fabrics...

Jenny Agutter as Jessica and Michael York as Logan, Logan's Run (1976)

No? What about the way it looks once it is all torned up?

Jenny Agutter as Jessica and Michael York as Logan, Logan's Run (1976)

Ah, ha! Now you see it, don't you? It even has a similar brownish colour!

By the way, did you know they were re-making Logan's Run? It's set to come out in 2012. Personally, I believe some classics should remain untouched (I mean, can you imagine if someone decided to re-make Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings in 30 years?), but I guess it'll give me another costuming excuse!