Heath Ledger’s Joker

I made this in 2011 for my baby brother, but due to a family emergency, the party was missed. So I got pics the following year.  This ensemble included the slacks, shirt, the vest, and two coats. Since he lives in Florida, I made the blue coat sleeveless. I didn’t include the tie. He was going to get one himself in 2011, and it looks like he forgot. 🙂

The slacks and shirt are typical in cut. He did say the slacks fit him better than any other pair he’s ever had!

The green vest has two sets of double-welt pockets.  A single welt is a pain to make. There are eight on this vest.

The blue coat is a piece many people miss. David didn’t realize there was one until he opened the box and saw it. The purple coat he wanted to have the versatility to wear as either the Joker or as Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, so there are a few slight changes, notably the cuffs. The blue and purple velvet coats are both lined in orange. I found screen test shots showing this, so of course it was done.

His hair is real. The dye is temporary as he grew it to donate.


More photos are in this Facebook album.

Lady Guinevere gown

This beautiful medieval-inspired gown is a very light silk shantung. When I say light, I mean it. The entire finished gown is only 8.95 ounces. I have a jewelry scale that weights down to 1/100th of a gram, so this weight isn’t an estimate! That weight includes 9 yards of gold gimp trim around the neckline and going down the back, the armcythes, and the top of the sleeves, as well as at the bottom of the solid part of the sleeve where the two silks meet, and the bottom of the gown. Most of the weight is the trim!

The underskirt is gold brocade and has two rows of the gold gimp trim. It has a very flat self-waistband and closes with a hook and a few eyes to choose which feels most comfortable. This skirt would be lovely worn without the gown over it and with just a gold or bronze dupioni corset.  The same brocade is used to make the belt, which also closes with hooks and eyes, and has two hooks so that the purple skirt can be held up.

I made two thread eyes on the front of the purple skirt that aren’t too easy to see unless you’re looking for them.

Though I have been referring to the gown as purple, it it actually shot with magenta.  You can see how this makes the silk shift color in the photo to the left.

More photos are in this Facebook album

Regency Peacock Sari Ballgown

I made this gown from an Indian silk sari featuring India’s national bird.

The split overskirt and bodice are entirely from the sari, and the back of the underskirt is added fabric. Saris are available in set lengths. The slate overskirt has a sweep train and is tightly gathered in the back few inches. The underskirt has a larger circumference and is pleated to allow for the movement of dance without adding bulk.

The gold edging has a green glass bead in the center of each tail, a blue glass in each eye, and gold balls in each diamond closer to the edge. The bodice center panel is made from strips of the edge with the same beading, and the skirt center panel has a glass blue bead for each eye. The directions of the edging mirror each other. This gown closes in back with hooks and eyes.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Van Dyke Regency gown, blue

This was the mock-up of an extant gown I planned to replicate by hand (and later did). A mock-up is a tester used to check the fit. I happened to have many yards of silk dupioni laying around and decided to use it for my mock-up and to sew it by hand as well. Well, it came out nice enough that this is a bonus gown not really fit to be called a mock-up. 🙂

The original, which is the green one on the right, is in the Greene Collection at the Genesee Country Village & Museum. Known information is that the skirt has three panels with slight gathering on the front and pleating in the back. The sleeves and bodice top each have two tucks. The wonderful pointed cap sleeves have what would have been white silk ribbon bows. The sleeves are long enough that they would have to be pushed up on the arms to use the hands. I’m not sure what’s going on on the bottom, if that’s trim or discoloration, but I made tucks, and closed this gown with buttons. Buttons weren’t common, but I used them anyway. The VanDyke points around the neckline have been used a lot on old quilts. It’s the same technique, and it’s lovely. I’ve matched these details in this blue silk mock-up/replica. It was a lot of fun to wear!

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Titanic pink wool coat

This coat is made from fine pink wool lined with a silk blend as pure silk shatters over time. The design on the collar and cuffs are sewn using two thinnesses of a fine, beautiful soutache braid, with the edging being sewn on using a cord that looks like a single strand of soutache (think of those popsicles that have two pieces that you break form the middle, with soutache being the full popsicle and the cord looking like one half), and French knots between them for the dots.

The buttons are covered with sewn soutache, all of it just like the original, except for the lining. This coat was photographed over a silk swim dress I made while outside fighting the wind during a very brief rain-break. The gown is available separately.

More photos are in this Facebook album for this coat.

Petite Phantom of the Opera Masquerade gown (film version)

Over 25 yards of fabric went into this little gown. There are layers underneath, including a petticoat and crinoline, in addition to what’s easily viewable. The bodice of this little gown is lightly boned not for constriction, but to help it with shaping. Otherwise the basque, that point in the front, would stick out as she moves. The seams are film-correct. The top is embellished with point d’esprit, two types of Venice lace, a dozen satin ribbon rosettes with Swarovski crystals, and shimmery tulle flutter sleeves. It hooks and eyes up the back. The original film gown zipped up, but I really didn’t want to use a zipper on this gown. The original gown’s trim also went further gown the bodice, but since a pint-sized princess’s body proportions are different than an adult’s, wider lace looked too heavy.

The skirt has the same shimmery tulle over it as the sleeves. Before bustling, the train was over eight feet from the waist. The bottom two rose sprays were made to match the film’s from location to color. The bottom one does have the same ribbon and lace, though I used a narrower ribbon. Again, a wider one just looked too heavy for a child’s proportions. The top spray is different from the film’s. Instead of two small tails with roses much smaller than used anywhere else on the gown, I decided to use three larger roses with a ribbon tie. I decided against the band of gathered tulle at the edge of the gown.  The original used a hoop skirt, which I didn’t use. Charlotte hadn’t had much practice in one yet, so I decided to skip it.  An adult version of this gown would include a hoop. Without one, you’ll get a bustle that looks later period, as this gown shows. At the front is a pink rose with ribbon on a pin. I did this, rather than sewing it directly onto the bodice, so that the front of the skirt can be hitched up, as shown in some of the photos. For a little one who wants to run, this makes it easier for her to do so without tripping.

Plus it shows off the petticoat! The bottom of the bright pink petticoat is pleated all around. It took a few yards cut into strips to make enough to go around! This petticoat has a sweep train. The crinoline only covers the sides and back to keep the front relatively smooth.

The necklace is genuine pink pearl, cultured, not freshwater, and AB Swarovski crystal with a sterling silver toggle clasp in the shape of a flower and curved stem. I made that too. Her tiara was a gift from a sweetheart named Lisa, and her gloves were from a shop here in town, though the fingers were too long and had to be altered down. She wore white pearl earring and silver glittered shoes.

These photos were taken at the Portland Art Museum. She was ridiculously excited to see the ancient Greek statues on special exhibit.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Rainbow Dash dress

This dress was inspired by the My Little Pony character, Rainbow Dash. Dashy is a blue pony with a rainbow mane. Made of a polished blue cotton in regency styling, this dress takes an un-regency twist with a rainbow of buttons down the back.

The sash can be tacked at the sides or left loose. The hair ribbon is on a spring-pin and is included. Every little one who loves her favorite pony needs something for her hair! Each pony will eventually have a dress.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

Tiny Rapunzel

This is a semi-deluxe version of the gown, minus the embroidery. I had planned to do that by hand while my embroidery machine was in another state in storage, but never did.

This dress is three pieces (in the film, her gown would have been four pieces, a camisole that buttons up the back, the outer bodice that laces up the front, a lace-trimmed slip, and the skirt). I combined the camisole and bodice and made back-lacing with longer sleeves and skirt so that this dress can grow with her. The neckline, arms, waist, and solid fabric of the skirt, have pink satin cord. The wrists, neckline, and skirt hem have white lace, and the waist has pink lace. I couldn’t find suitable pink lace, so dyed some of the white.

The upper sleeves have six yards of ribbon between them. That took a surprisingly long time to do. The bodice and front skirt panel are a rose brocade, and the bodice inset, upper sleeves (under the ribbon), modesty panel, and rest of the skirt are matching solid bridal satins. The lower sleeves are doubled tulle. The bodice is entirely lined in light purple cotton except for the lower sleeves. As I said, this dress was made to grow with her. So the back laces over a modesty panel (so no skin will show) that matches the front inset. The skirt has a waistband that, at its smallest, is her current waist measurement. I inserted a godet where a zipper would usually go, and extended one side of the waist band a few inches. On the extended tab, I placed a few buttons so that it can be buttoned on the one most comfortable. The skirt and bodice have hooks and eyes to keep the bodice and skirt from separating when a little one decides to jump around and roll on the ground!

This gown was made for hard play, and so I took pictures nine months later to show how it wore with…well, if you’ve ever parented a child, then you know how much a child will wear their favorite thing.  To the grocery store, the fabric store, the book store, her therapy appointments…  She wore it everywhere.  In this gown’s Facebook album, you can see how well it held up.

Elven Oscars gown

How cool to make a gown to be worn at THE Oscars party for The Hobbit! This commission came in on Monday, and I finished in a quick six says. Monday through Saturday while finishing up a corset. Not too bad. 🙂

The goal here was something Elven without being a character gown. Moss green crushed velvet with some stretch and lovely train (I’m a sucker for trains). The wonderful thing about this fabric is no sewing for the edge is needed. If the train is too long or you want the front a little shorter, just cut it and it won’t unravel. And that woven trim! I love it so much I wanted to buy the whole spool. But at $7/yd, at the time I couldn’t justify buying it to keep sitting around.

The neckline isn’t laying quite right in these pics. To get the right proportions, I had to borrow a bra from a friend with the right chest size and stuff it. So the “boobs” are like a shelf instead of a nice slope from collar down, leaving the neckline in front to cave it a bit.   I am extremely jealous of anyone getting to hob-nob with the cast and see Billy Boyd’s band, as this lovely elf did!

More photos are in the Facebook album dedicated to this gown.