Phantom of the Opera “Think of Me” Gown

I admit I’m not a fan of the movie (Andrew Lloyd Weber called it the biggest mistake of his career), but the gowns are gorgeous! **This is the standard version of this gown. The deluxe would have more starbursts in tiny Swarovski crystals. The ultra-deluxe would be in all silk, including silk tulle, which would give the softer bustling effect in the back.**

Oodles of tulle and sparkle! Boned corset-bodice with pink tulle detailing, floofy skirt over a (client-provided) hooped petticoat. Starbursts on the skirt, and the silver-blue tails are easy to overlook… So much more work than it looks like it would be! About 2,000 rhinestones, over 50 yards of trims on those tails (since they’re layered over each other, some of the trims look like one trim), all sewn on.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

“Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” Blue striped dress

This dress is made of a crisp, taffeta-like fabric. The vertical stripes are somewhat iridescent. The crystal buttons are decorative, and this dress closes with a side- zipper. Unfortunately this dress didn’t work for the actress, so wasn’t used. Still very pretty.

I managed to find a remnant of this fabric that I intend to turn into a corset at some point.  The colors are just so beautiful.  More photos are in this Facebook album.

“Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” Finale dress

This dress came with a specific pattern request that I ended up not using, and it demonstrates why I hate using commercial patterns.  This one is clearly for completely-flat-chested ladies (I’m not kidding, completely flat-chested), and the designer has information on her website on how to make this pattern work if you actually have a chest. While patterns usually require a little tweaking, altering several pieces to accommodate even the slightest amount of bust that most women have shouldn’t be one of them.  Altering the pieces would have taken more time than drafting from scratch.  So in the end, I decided screw it, and did my own thing to get this one to work, including leaving out the boning so it can be altered.

Hannah was lovely. After it went to the theater, they decided to add some…I’m not sure what. Glitter dots? Rhinestones? I’m not sure, but for this gown, it works well. I did make a sash out of the contrast fabric, though the same silver ribbon for the blue swirly gown ended up being used instead.

More photos are in this Facebook album.

The Princesses Project

This year I will be doing what I’m calling The Princess Project. This project has two gowns, one that will be my own, and one that will be Shirley’s. A rule I have set for mine is that it can’t interfere with anything else I have to do. This is motivation to me to keep on schedule. I’m not a fan of the sun, and love the rain and snow, but how much of it we’ve had is dragging even me down.  So if my agenda for the day is to get X drafted and cut out and the shell assembled, Y’s skirt seams and hems, and Z’s buttons, all finished, I can only work on my own gown if those things are finished.

Shirley’s is pretty straight-forward. Hers will be made with over 10,000 Swarovski crystals on real silk crepeline and yumissima.  A lot of fabrics labeled as silk crepeline are not actually silk crepeline, which drives me up the wall.  This fabric is the finest silk fabric made.  It’s ridiculously and unnervingly sheer, and the yumissima is extremely expensive, and I have a bolt of it waiting to be dyed.  The underpinnings will be massively fluffy, and the bodice boned.  All the supplies are in my sewing store room, and as soon as my garage is cleared out and we are done finishing it (in the next few weeks), I will begin.  That gown will be too huge to fit into my sewing store room or my sewing room, and I won’t dare leave it in my sitting room where animals could get to it.

Now I think I’ve summed up why I don’t like the yellow dress Emma wore in Beauty and the Beast…or at least why I don’t like it for the role of Belle, and what I think should have been done differently to call it a ballgown of any sort. Since I like a good challenge, and sometimes like to put my feet where my mouth is (“if you don’t like it, let’s see you do better!”), I decided I would recreate this gown in the way I think it should have been done in the first place, at least within the design for the gown that was insisted upon. So I will stick with that design, but make it better, rather than recreating a properly historical ballgown that would have fit in better with the design aesthetic of the movie.

So within that parameter, I am using silk satin organza, as was used in the movie, that I dyed to a yellow shade more suited for me, and am using gold embroidery and Swarovski crystals. My bodice will be boned, and I will be wearing a corset. The underpinnings will include both a small hoop as well as organza petticoats. Another change is that the bottom layer will be on a separate waist band so that I can wear a shorter layer that’s the same length as the middle layer. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll embroider all of that, or just part. But either way, that will make this gown easier to wear in real-life situations, such as to the ballet, or Disneyland, where full ballgowns and costumes aren’t allowed (a tea-length version without tons of petticoats should be acceptable on a redhead in late September).

Last Wednesday, I started the embroidery:

And as of today, the top layer’s embroidery is finished. The edges are not, and the crystals haven’t arrived.

I’m not usually one to toot my own horn too much, but this just might be a project worth subscribing to my blog for.  The Disney Cosplay for Adults group get first peeks, but photos of progress on both gowns will be posted here soon after, as well as some bonuses on my Aria Couture Facebook page in this Belle album, and the one for Cinderella will be posted here once it’s started.

“Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” wrap dress

This dress is one of five I made on very little time (one week). Since this dress is for theater, the seams are raw to make it easy to alter. Unlike the famed wrap-away dress (highly popular pattern in the 1950’s, known for needing only a couple yards of fabric and being easy enough to make that you’d cut it out in the morning and walk away with a new dress for lunch) that uses very little fabric, this one ate it up. The walk-away dress also had the outer layer close in the front. This dress is pretty simple in construction. As I said, it eats fabric like there’s no tomorrow, but it’s pretty twirly. The layer that wraps first is the back part. It closes in front under the bust. For this one, I used a piece of elastic to make that easier to adjust. The top layer is the front, which closes with ribbon. This is hard to describe. Hopefully the pictures are clearer.

More photos are in this Facebook album.