Sewing the Sink the Pink Winter Ball. Catsuits for professional show-off, Glynfamous.

Part 2 of the Sink the Pink costume sewing festival.  I hadn’t actually planned on making more than three main outfits for one of the dance numbers but I ended up getting really into things and ended up making two extra garments as well as my own hot mess of a dress. That’s not shade by the way, “professional show-off” , Glynfamous is a self-confessed professional show-off and scene stealer.

Observe.

Sink the Pink Winter Ball

Unfortunately, the only photos I have of this outfit were taken on the night of the Ball during the performance. Excuse the back of that guy’s head, but I think it’s better to view a catsuit on stage, in it’s natural habitat, rather than on a hanger.

Sink the Pink Winter Ball

Yes, well, my camera seemed to only be interested in focussing on Fred on the right over there. Needless to say, he didn’t require my sewing services. Glyn, on the left, and Chester (centre) were kind enough to wear my catsuit offerings. I’ll get to Chester’s outfit later, here’s a rundown of Glyn’s first.

I was lent a pattern drafted by *Jay Barry Matthews, the costume director of the show. I made up a muslin first to see how quickly it came together.

Obviously, I had to stuff the crotch for added realism. Not sure I got the dimensions exactly right but I figured if I could get a pair of tights in there, it’d fit most! The next part was just deciding where to put the panels and be careful not to stretch the fabric as I overlocked it.

The majority of this was made of lycra but I incorporated a bit of power mesh and “rusty snake” fabric. I could’ve closed the front up but for ease (mine) I decided to leave it open.

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It got a lot of use and I enjoyed making this almost as much as I did seeing it onstage.

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I could happily make these all day.

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The pattern for this catsuit was lent to me by very generous and talented Jay Barry Matthews. I’m really grateful for his help and encouragement in all this, it meant a lot to be trusted by someone so skilled and creative. Jay actually made a number of beautiful pieces for the show which were wonderful and an absolute joy to see onstage. I’ll post some of these up in the next few days.

Thank you Jay x

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Jay, Sink the Pink

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Sewing and the Sink the Pink Winter Ball. Body Con dresses for the modern man.

The last bit of sewing I’ve done is a few costumes for the Sink the Pink Winter Ball. Sink the Pink is, to quote the Guardian, “a camptastic rave up, a joyous mess of face paints, glitter and wigs!” And last night’s ball was no exception. Three thousand people at the Troxy, hours of joy and all kinds of wonderful. Apologies in advance, my brain is still resetting itself after getting in at stupid o’clock so words are a bit of a struggle today.

But, look! Here’s Jono Kitchens of Hot Heels. If he can’t teach you how to dance in nosebleed heels, no one can.

Sink the Pink Winter Ball

This was actually the second piece I put together for Jono. There were 5 pieces in total for four people, which I’ll post later once I’ve sorted through pictures. This piece came about because I’d already cut out and sewn the top half. I was thinking I might need to attach it to the leggings I was making for one of the other guys, Ted. I had my doubts about the leggings staying up during the choreography. I needn’t have worried!

The fabric wasn’t as much of a drama to work with as I had expected but it is very, very unforgiving. No unpicking or pinning as it shows every puncture. In the beginning I used pegs to hold the pieces in place but the fabric kind of sticks to itself and I’m not really pinning as much as I used to anyway. The only thing I had to be careful of is not getting any puckering around the points.

Sink the Pink Winter Ball

I’d loved to have added some huge shoulder fin pieces but I had to be mindful of the really vigorous choreography. He wore this during the opening number, I was pretty thrilled at how it looked under lights and how the light worked on it.

Powermesh was a treat to work with. I can’t believe I haven’t used it more. Yes, I should’ve added binding round the neck and arm holes but, it is what it is and it looked wonderful on him. Pretty much anything looks wonderful on these guys, I could’ve sent him out in a bin liner and eyeliner and he’d make it work.

Sink the Pink Winter Ball

I spent so long looking at this fabric in the last few days that at times I may have slipped into that familiarity breeding regret stage. I got to a point where I kept thinking anything I’d made out of this fabric just looked deflated, sad. But costumes exist in a different form when they aren’t worn. Especially when the costume is for dance. It only really comes alive on a body, in movement, and even more alive under lights, onstage. Looking at a garment off the body is like looking at a bunch of ingredients for a meal before you start cooking. You see how it’s going to work but it isn’t really the same as the finished product.

In this case, the finished product was pretty delicious.

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Mistletoe and Whine.

I almost titled this Camel Toe and whyyyyyy have I changed my mind?

In my last post I was happily getting involved in making three outfits for the Sink the Pink Winter Ball. I’d run up a couple of lycra costumes and had started planning where I’d put the panels in the cat suit. Then, on a trip to Goldhawk Road for a few things, I fell in love with foil lycra. There it was right near the door, calling to me.

Dammit.

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It was like a whirlwind love affair, we got involved very quickly and started something beautiful. A few days later and I could barely look at the bloody fabric without thinking, ‘you’ve ruined my life (or at least my evening), I need a drink just to be able to look at you. Oh god, I’m sick of looking at you. I’m going out to go look at something more stable, like a cotton’

*slams door*

*goes cruising Goldhawk Road and caresses all the wovens*

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But, we’ve reconciled and it’s more wonderful than ever. I understand the limitations of this stuff better. I even managed to get a zip in the centre front of Chester’s catsuit. No mean feat, this fabric has a no unpicking policy! It’s super fussy and I was a bit worried it wouldn’t hold up to the energetic choreography but I think things are going to work out just fine.

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I’ve seen the catsuit and the leggings on and they are just about done. Jono’s dress is a little further behind but I’m planning on having that done by Monday.

It’s only 8 days til the show and I cannot wait. Of course, I have no idea what I’m going to wear yet. Probably a hangover and some eye liner. I may have to roll in glue and throw myself into the remnants to see what sticks!

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Lycra love-in. Get your drag on! The Sink the Pink Winter Ball is fast approaching!

I had such a blast sewing costumes for the Sink the Pink Summer Ball, I’ve come back for more. This week I’ve been mostly Lycra-wrangling and working out designs for a trio of dancers. If I had to put the look in words it’d be ‘ girl band, fire, fire, catsuit, hip pads, sex’ . Looking at it written down it looks like a pretty busy weekend… But, in fact, it’s going to look something like this.

Outfit one, which I’ll refer to as the Chester.

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The decision making process probably takes me longer than the actual construction. I’m going with a version of the view on the left, the one in the right looked too much a like suit of armour! I’m toying with the idea of an arm piece that resembles armour for another outfit but we’ll see how things go. I end up with a whole raft of possible directions I could go in and, if I had the time, I’d pursue all of them. I’ve learnt to go over rejected sketches rather than throw them out immediately, there’s usually something useful in there.

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So far, so good for the Chester. The catsuit will be the base and I’ll make other pieces to the shoulders. Outfit two, the Jono, is practically done. A body con dress as a base but I’ll be adding hip pads as a separate piece later this week once I figure out proportions.

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The third look, the Ted, is still on paper but I have a complete idea down so it’s just the process of cutting and stitching that needs doing.

I’m so happy to be working in these, it’s bringing me a lot of joy not only in terms of sewing but also to be making something for these three talented and lovely guys.

And now, I’m off to Shepherd’s Bush to collect supples!

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Sewing the Colette Sorbetto. A totally out of season sewing post.

I thought I better post something that’s not a peacock or a lycra snake lest I give the impression I wander round dressed like a one-woman pantomime. Although when I think about it, that could be a really fun idea and would at least keep me warm….it might just happen.

Here’s something that I probably spend more time ironing than wearing.

Of all the free sewing downloads, I like the Colette Sorbetto. It’s a nice blank slate to use as a bodice block. I’ve only ever made the Hawthorn dress from Colette and, as sweet as it is, it’s not really me. But, it did teach me a lot thanks to the sew-along posts.
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I can see the fit issues in this orange top even with my eyes closed. Darts too high, too tight and the placement of that blue flower on the right could’ve been better thought out. But, you win some, you lose some, it’s still wearable so I can live with that.

This is another version I made up last year and never got round to posting. I made binding for it and all, wore it til it fell apart and never bothered to get a decent photo of it.

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It took me ages to use these fabrics, I got them on a trip to Australia and, if memory serves, my nonna bought them for me. I guess I was saving them for something special but then I figured I should use them on something I’d wear more frequently. The print’s loud but they make me happy.

 

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Sewing the Kung Fu Panda Costumes. Snake. Part 3 of 3.

The final costume I made for Magical Quests Kung Fu Panda event was Snake. Here she is hanging out in my  flat with Master Shifu on a Saturday night. As you do.

Kung Fu Panda

Snake was a bit of a head-scratcher design-wise. Have you seen Kung Fu Panda? Snake is, well, a snake. No legs, arms none of that so I had to get creative and interpret that into a human shape. I started with the hood, which would cover the head and neck, and worked my way down.

As you can see, I erred on the side of caution and cut the face hole (that’s the technical word, I’m sure) far too small at first. It gave me a chance to take some silly pictures too, unexpected bonus.

I got it right eventually and added a binding and snake print strip that I extended down the back.

Snake. Kung Fu Panda costume

After taking these photos I made the end of the snake print strip into a forked-tongue at the back.

The main part of the costume is basically a tunic made of different lycras. There was only a certain amount of snake print so I had to find a way to eke it out so it’d cover the front. Luckily, there’s a belt which covers the join so I don’t feel too bad about that. I must have stared at that print for ages trying to figure out how to make it work. At one point I’d convinced myself it was, in fact, leopard print. I think I have a problem where everything looks like leopard if I stare too long. “If you stare into the abyss, a leopard stares back into you”. Or something.

To finish it off, I added lotus flowers to the hood and made long, fingerless gloves.

Rocknroll approved.

I wish I’d taken more photos of snake but below is a shot of the actual event, complete with Panda on the left (I did not make that one though!)

 

The Lord Shen costume I made is over here and Master Shifu is here.

 

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Sewing the Kung Fu Panda costumes. Lord Shen. Part 2 of 3.

This is a costume for Kung Fu Panda’s Lord Shen, albino peacock, evil genius and pretty swish in the sartorial stakes. In fact, it’s kind of obligatory for all evil characters to look impeccable  (struggling to resist impeckable pun there).  Last month I made three costumes for Magical Quests, a company that hosts events and plays, and this particular show was a children’s party based around Kung Fu Panda. The Master Shifu costume I made is over here.

Lord Shen

For reference here’s Lord Shen as he is in the film. Pretty impressive, right? I had to find a way to interpret this look within the time and performance constraints. Much like the Master Shifu and Snake headdresses, this was built around a tight-fitting lycra hood and one celebratory can of Polish lager, austerity times.

I look a bit like a novice nun in this picture. Almost.

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I added chiffon “feathers”, covering the head and down the neck and finally a crest of red and white feathers. The whole thing is secured by ties that join under the chin.

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I didn’t want to take it off. It sure made the daily “what the hell are you doing?” conversation with my hair easier.

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The last part was a cape of white and red “feathers” which was worn over an existing gown. To make this I used white chiffon with a scalloped hem and layered red chiffon over the top. At one point the scallops looked a bit bosomy. Fun and disturbing but not exactly Scary Kung Fu Peacock.

I unboobed the hem and it was OK.

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That cat’s always gotta be involved.

Lord Shen

Here’s my best Queen Victoria in negative pose.

Lord Shen

Truth be told, I’d never even seen Kung Fu Panda 2 before this came up. But peacocks? I’d seen plenty of those at university and that’s not even a euphemism. Sounds idyllic right?The little entitled bastards would crap everywhere and screech throughout exams and lectures all day long.  I didn’t even need to watch the film to know they had a nasty streak.

Thank you Master Shifu for taking these photos.

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