Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maleficent Velvet Cloak and Feather Collar

Ah yes, time for the hard parts. Here is where all of those materials are put to work: the collar and the velvet cloak. Well first things first. Time to get to patterning.

I referenced a LOT of movie stills in order to pattern out the collar. I have a Uniquely You dress form which is a duplicate of my shape. If you cant get someone to help you, I HIGHLY recommend using a dress form to pattern on. We just moved so I used a piece of the packing paper as my pattern template. I used a sharpie to identify the right shape and then made notes on those lines. I cut paper, I added some back with tape, I made a mess of it. 

the dress underneath is there to judge the front length of the collar
the dots are the spine placements
pattern with shape trimmed
After I patterned it all out, it was time to transfer it to L200 foam. Tracing it onto the foam and then cutting it out with just a regular pair of craft scissors was pretty easy. The collar pieces were patterned and cut separately.

The L200 foam can be kept in shape using a heat gun and letting it cool pinned in the shape that you need it to stay in. After I had the shape that I needed, I covered the L200 foam in Worbla. And as Worbla will stick to itself when heated, I used it to attach the two collar pieces as well. The Worbla is really there just to add stiffness and stability to the foam but it works incredibly well as a sort of glue.

As you can see, I only used one layer of worbla. That stuff is spendy and when youre really only using it as stability, you don't really need to use the sandwich method where you put the foam between 2 layers of worbla. Ill be covering it all in feathers anyway.

Next is adding the spines. I patterned out the spines in paper first and then cut them out of worbla. As I was covering them in the scale leather, I didnt need to use foam with it at all. I shaped the spine parts using a mound of poly clay. Get the shape you need out of the clay then cover it in a layer of aluminum foil. Once the worbla is heated, shape it over the foiled mound and let cool then repeat the process for all of the spine parts. 
 I left part of the ends of the spines uncovered so that I could heat them and the worbla in the spots I needed it to adhere too. Press them together and viola! Theyre "glued" on! 
 Repeat this process with all of the spine parts at each of the markings you made

this is what the collar looks like with all of the spine parts attached. Next comes the bone parts. You can see on the worbla where I marked the bone placement for the next step.

squirrel jaw bones all prepped for attachment

I used worbla to attach the bones to the worbla

The next part was a touch more difficult and included dye. I had a bunch of feathers on hand from a  previous project and a bunch of new duck feathers too. I had 3 different dye baths going to achieve the look I wanted -chartreuse, dark brown, olive green. The olive green dye came out almost red for some reason. I read comments from other people that they had the same issue so I only left the feathers in that dye for an extremely short amount of time.

If you're new to feather dying, its going to get kinda smelly. The feathers will also look really gross until they dry out but they will reshape, I promise. The oven is a really valuable drying device when put on the lowest bake setting. A hair dryer is also extremely helpful to speed up drying time when you dont have all day to wait for the feathers to naturally dry.

I alternated feather colors to mimic a more natural mottling. I normally dont recommend using hot glue on any project but Ive always used it to attach feathers to costumes so I used it here. Normally, I use a glue like E6000 but that stuff is a little too toxic for me anymore. At this stage, I also attached the scaled leather underneath and used pinking shears for a natural scaled cut effect. I wasnt going for perfection but enough to convey the overall feel. 

I attached an elastic loop on each side of the shoulder area on the underside of the collar as arm straps to keep the collar in place. I also lined the underside of the collar in black felt for comfort around the neck area.
Here are the pictures of the finished collar.

The next part was the most difficult for me which is ironic seeing as how the sewing part usually is the easiest. The difficulty was in the patterning and that took a rather large amount of research work. Angelina had a whole lot of input when it came to the costume choices and they incorporated a lot of the shapes she preferred to wear into the costume. At home, she likes to wear flowing, lose clothing like caftans. The velvet cloak had no shoulder seams which means that it was likely sewn similar to a caftan.
I decided to divide my velvet into two equal lengths and construct it almost like a kimono. I draped it initially in the lining material as it was cheap and I had a lot of it so if I messed up, no little "oops"es would be seen. Everything I did on one side, I repeated on the other and then sewed the two sides together in the back. Here are a few draping and cutting pictures

I used the lining as the pattern to cut the velvet
When you put all of the pieces together, it doesnt look all that bad :)

Of course, as this is my first time trying to explain how I put a costume together, I know it isnt all that perfect so please send me any questions you might have. Ill be happy to answer everything to the best of my ability :)


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Making the Headdress

First off, I thought Id show some pictures of what my work space looks like and all of my supplies gathered together.

 So now that you see what I'm workin with. Lets get to making this headdress.
In my previous blog post, I shared how I changed the lambskin into the dark brown python for this project. Here's how I put it all together.

First I grabbed the headdress and the costume horns. As you can see from this pic, the headdress is misshapen from shipping and the Disney horns are quite a bit larger than the crushed ones on the headdress. To fix this, I hit the whole headdress with a heat gun. This allowed me to let it cool in the right shape and it released the adhesive keeping the horns on the rubber headdress.

 Next I stuck my fingers in that molding hole and cut out the end of the foam horn
 The horns have a plastic tube that guides the elastic through. I cut this out as well
 This is what the headdress end looks like with the horn detached. I coated it in contact cement.
 After coating the inside of the horns with contact cement, I affixed them over the horn holders on the headdress.
 So far so good. Now they dont fit exactly so I made sure to angle them the right way so they line up as much as possible to how I want them.
 I know the horns look large on my little mannequin bust but I have a far bigger head and the profile looks good.
 This is what the headdress looks like from top down.

Now comes the snakeskin part. I used a LOT of still frame reference from the movie and from costume exhibits for this part. The guy who created the turban wraps spent a long time learning from the masters on how to do it so I had to wing it big time. Also, I wasnt using a python skin but a printed lambskin so mine is going to have an added level of difficulty.
I cut my printed leather in a way closest to what the costume fabricators did. Its not completely movie accurate but the best I was gonna get with the supplies I had. Here are some progress shots of wrapping the turban with smaller strips.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. There were two different snake skin headdresses she wore so I kinda smashed the two wrap styles together and this is how it all turned out:
reference photos and the finished product

Movie headdress compared to mine. Mine is not at the same angle

movie still from Maleficent and my headdress

Now on to the collar...