View Full Version : Decisions make my head scream...help?

08-28-2011, 08:36 PM
Okay so...my group is up and running with a fabulous little scheme. I'm not gonna talk about the theme, as its not the problem here and its kinda a secret. My outfit already fits into it, so I'm not worried about that. What I am worried about, however, is this bloody skirt.

I'll try to upload images at some point, but right now that's pretty much impossible for me. So instead, let me give you a pretty indepth description of what's going down...and what the problem is.

First off, my color scheme is black and red. Very basic, familiar scheme, but its fitting. And yes, I'm well aware that red was still a scandalous color in the age, but that's why its perfect. ;] Anyways. My hair will be dyed a blue black at the time, and half will be up in a short bun, the other left loose. Because its gonna be short--above shoulder length--at the time, there's limits to what we'll be able to do and having half up in a more proper manner and half going bloody crazy is pretty ideal for this character.
I am considering making a red or pink polymer clay brittle starfish as a fascinator--its a long story, but the starfish itself is kinda important...and doesn't have to blend in--but that's still in the air. Make-up wise is up in the air too, but I'll most likely be going with a cateye and bright red lipstick...possibly a beauty mark but limited eyeshadow...if I do eyeshadow it'll probably be dark.

The top of the ensemble is a rich red wool fabric with black accents. Its a basic fit bodice with a light tail to go over a bustle with a raised color and 3/4 sleeves. I'm modifying it to have a dramatic v-neck with lots of sharp angles and a double-breasted front. I also have these great buttons--I'll have six to eight of them--and two large buttons to put on the back. The whole thing will have black edging wherever possible and will be lined with this gorgeous black, white, and gray houndstooth.

Beneath it all I'll be corseted--currently having to tolerate my blue and white corset, but hopefully will have a red or black one by the time I'm actually wearing this--and will be wearing either fishnet--not the basic fishnet pattern but a more dramatic weave--or a set of pantyhose with these really ornate black buterflies sewn into them. Boot wise I'll either have black knee high--possily with red laces--black ankle boots, or some red ones. Its up in the air right now.

Last but unfortunately not least, is the bane of my existence...the skirt.
I love traditional bustle dresses. I sit and stare at them and just drool a little they're so gorgeous, but they require a looot of fabric a looot of time and an actual pattern...which I'm currently lacking in. But that's not the biggest issue.
I am currently stumped on my skirt's design.
When I first drew it up, I was planning on basically doing a bustle skirt without the underskirt...just that big bustly back and a separate, gathered skirt in the front. I loved the design--and I still love it--and went ahead and got the fabric for it. I now have this gorgeous--and gorgeous to drape--black fabric with slightly shiny circles on it, and this dramatic sheer with big ornate flowers. I also have red lace I was planning on putting at the edge of the gathered skirt. But as I came home and started fiddling around with it...I started realizing how...saloon girlish it looks. In the right setting that might be okay...but in ours its starting to worry me...and I just keep thinking and overthinking and thinking and headaching and now I'm seriously doubting my design...and I'm just..stumped.

So I'm asking all of you lovely people to help me out, and help me decide whether to stick to my original design, or try something new.
One thing I was thinking was to take the sheer--which I was going to overlay the bustle and train with--and use it for a basic straight underskirt...that way you still get to see my legs but its perhaps a bit more proper. At the same time though I'm worried that might look tacky...or the original might look tacky....blegh I'm just in a spot. xD

If anyone has any sites that have free bustle "patterns"--how tos are better as my current living arrangement makes draping easy and patterning a nightmare--that would help too. Just...anything to get my confidence up so I can get started on this sucker.
On a side note, I'm also planning two large "belts" full of different size vials. They're both to be made with this fabulous alligator print "leather" I found--its a gorgeous reddish brown--and have little black grommeted straps to hold the vials in.

Thank y'all for your time! Hope to hear back soon.

08-28-2011, 09:26 PM
Sounds like you have a lot settled nicely. For the skirt, I would use the sheer as the drape and the bustle and the solid black you have as the skirt. I wouldn't go too long with the skirt if you still want to show your legs a bit. Maybe knee length. You could trim the edge of the skirt in the lace you have. It might be kind of neat to have your skirt drawn up in places, not an even hem. Like a scalloped edge. That would make it look even cooler with the lace I think. As for the bustle, the drape in the front shouldn't be too hard. Do a piece that is narrower at the top, wider at the bottom, and either gather or pleat the sides up. Then for the bustle, you can just cut a large rectangle or do it like the front with the narrower top, wider bottom. What I do when I'm not making an actual dress bustle is cut my pieces (line them if that's what I want), finish all the edges, put the waistband on the drape and bustle (put a closure at the side, buttons, snaps, hooks and eyes...whatever you prefer) and then get ready for some hand sewing. I just start grabbing pieces of the bustle, gather them in places, and hand stitch through all the thicknesses several times and tie them off inside the bustle. It looks pretty cool and you can make it symmetrical or asymmetrical.

Here's the back of one of mine I've done: http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2726406/ Note that this one doesn't have a drape, it actually snaps directly to my corset at the back.

08-28-2011, 09:44 PM
The problem with using the sheer as the drape or the bustle is its movement. The solid was what I planned to use there because of the way it drapes and bustles...it just looks much much better. The other one is nice, but it just doesn't drape quite as well...
Plus to be honest, I'd rather not have an underskirt at all and just go back to my original design rather than use the solid there. It wouldn't fit the character very well...
If I was to use the solid, however, I'd probably go with a third idea and rip it up a bit. This character is the epitome of Wrath, so I don't have to worry too much about keeping things neat and tidy...just gives her something else to flip out about all the time.

The way you're describing the scalloped edge is confusing me a bit. I think I've seen too many images and don't have enough names for them, 'cause I'm getting two different images in my head and I don't know if either is right. Are you meaning like actually cutting it in a scallop, or gathering it more like some curtains are..? Sorry--I'm still learning the lingo. xD;

The drape I can certainly do like that. It was on the drape that I was considering putting the lace. =o I thought that might be a nice way to continue the red since there's song a long interlude of black and it looks boring to me. But I also thought that might look too saloonish with just the drape and the lace and that's why I'm so stuck in the first place. xD; You seem to lean towards the skirt. =o Do you think a skirt would look best? I can try and sketch something up real' fast if that might help bring some...coherency to my explanations. xD;

I love your explanation of the bustle and drape, by the way. Thousands of times easier to understand than what I've been finding. xD I don't get why folks can't just...say it like that to begin with. -headdesk- Thank you~

That back looks fabulous too. I was thinking about putting a train beneath the bustle...what do you think? I love the way things look when they're spread out on the floor...and a simple train would be easy to scoop up and continue walking...

That image is very pretty, by the way. :] I like

08-28-2011, 10:52 PM
You could still do the drape as the solid and the sheer as the skirt. I just like the illusion of sheers over solids, but it's yours to do with as you want. If you don't want a really long skirt, you could do it just slightly longer than your drape in the front. And I like the thought of it being a little ripped up (I love deconstructed looks). The lace on the drape would be good too.

As for the scalloped edge, I was thinking something like this: http://www.threadsmagazine.com/assets/uploads/posts/8771/3_scalloped_edge_sqs.jpg But instead of just cutting it like that, make your skirt in panels, and along the seams, you gather them, and it gives it that swag. Sort of like all the drapes on Belle's yellow dress in Beauty and the Beast.

I understand not wanting it to look too saloon girlish. I would put something under it to keep it from looking like that. But I would have fun with it, just making it something a little bit over-the-top and different, maybe shredding up the edge or something since you said it's supposed to be the epitome of Wrath. Maybe shorts? But I don't know if you are comfortable making them or not. You could make some that are shorter, but gathered at the bottom and use some of the lace at the hem. That's just a bit of an idea to throw out there.

Glad I could help with the bustle and drape. I've used a lot of patterns, both historical and strictly costume, and that's almost exclusively the basis of it, with a few extra details. But it works the way I described. Just make sure that the tops of your drape and bustle will fit around your waist entirely as well as having your seam allowance. That will keep you from having a gap at the sides. I hate when I can't find easy explanations for what I'm looking for, so I try to be as easy to understand as possible^^

I think a train always looks great! You could cut your back long enough to bustle and leave the rest of the length as the train. Or you could make a separate train so that you have the option of wearing it or not. It is pretty easy carrying a train around a con, especially if you put a wrist or finger loop on it so you don't have to actually hold on to it the entire time.

Thank you for your compliments. I do hope I've helped some and can give you some more help if you need it^^

08-28-2011, 11:21 PM
I pinned it up both ways for a second, and I definitely like the solid as a drape better. I do agree that sheers look gorgeous over solids, but I prefer it when they're different colors. You lose that cool effect when they're both the same color, I feel..

I really love this sheer..and the more I look at it the more I like it longer than shorter. It jus has this great way of catching the light I never would have noticed if I hadn't like..shoved it up there.
I like the scalloping idea..but I don't think it would look good in this situation. When I fiddle with it..it just looks...strange. It might be the fact that both fabrics have subtle patterning that's bugging me about that..but I'unno. I also feel that that shape looks best on a hoop..which I will not be using. Its something to think about though.

I can make shorts, but I think of shorts on a younger character, and this one is in her late twenties to thirties...and I just can't picture her in shorts at this age. Definitely when she was younger, but right now I just don't get that vibe. I do know what kinda short you're talkin' about though! I actually have a pattern just like that somewhere...I just don't think it'd look right with her character or age group. :]

Right now I think I've got the gist of what I should do...but I'm still...hesitant. xD I guess because I no longer have access to the fabric, I'm like...hesitant to take that step now in case I change my mind and then am..stuck.
But I think the best thing I could do would be to go with the sheer dress and the dotted bustle and drape...and maybe make the train have the sheer...not sure where I'll put the lace but I can figure that out later I suppose.

I guess I'm off to find a basic skirt pattern, for better or for worse. xD Thanks again for your help~ You've really done me a boon. ;P I'll post up pictures as I go along.

08-29-2011, 12:23 AM
I do agree having different color sheer over solid gives a great effect (just used it earlier this year on my Yuuko costume to get a nice peacock look).

I understand the scallop looking odd with a patterned fabric. And I think it would be interesting to see how a sheer would look catching the light as it trailed longer.

Shorts do usually suit younger characters, though I've used them on some designs for older steampunk characters, but they don't suit everyone. I just threw that out there as an idea since I don't know all the circumstances of your costume set-up.

The great thing with the lace is that it's the last thing you have to add, if you decide to.

I'm glad I could be someone to bounce some ideas off of. I will keep a look out for your progress pictures. I love seeing people do original ideas.