Halloween came a little early to our house this year and yes, I got the Mermaid costume finished, I was (finally) Selene for an evening.
Reading back to my first thoughts on this year's project, all buzzing with inspiration and optimism, I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry; I had such great plans and hopes and have found it, instead, to be deeply frustrating. Giving up and starting again was exactly the right thing to have done, the wonderful Mrs B is a wise woman indeed! It was a therapeutic and very satisfying experience and one that I found that I didn't want to blog about. The majority of the dress is handstitched, curled up on the sofa with the boyf and the dogs, remembering, as I went along, little details about how I made the first dress and reminiscing about those first early days of falling in love with the Jedi. It became a private process that I felt no desire to document.
That said, now that it's all done, I'm more happy to share the results and finish off Selene, once and for all! Starting off with my favourite picture of the evening, taken by Mrs S. Blurry I know, but I love it. It's us.
So, to start, my lovely little Starfish and Seashell tiara. This was the second attempt as the mutts ate the first and I mean ate... demolished, destroyed. It was touch and go as to whether I took them to the vets; happily, starfish, it seems, are not poisonous to dogs, nor bits of shell and silver plated wire... Even more happily, I had spares of everything and time in which to quickly wire them all back onto the headband. It was a huge improvement on the bouncing silver stars I sported in 2006!
And then the dress itself. A boned, empire line bodice attached to a gathered skirt, in the dark grey/blue sateen. The bodice was of my own design (I may post the pattern later) and the skirt was based on the fantail skirt from the Victoria costume. I shortened it to the point at the back of the knees where it is gathered and cut the front into a slightly deeper "V" that dropped from knee 3-4 inches. Each panel of sateen was matched with a 1/2 as big again panel of a very soft net tulle which was gathered, stitched on and then treated as one piece. In this way I was able to create the deep drapes and ruches without losing too much structure. The bodice was attached to the skirt and the netting handstitched to it, first along the neckline and then gathered, vertically, along each seam of the bodice and stitched in place. A zip was then handstitched in at the back. The bodice is a far improved version of the original and inspired by a 50's prom dress that I have. The front panel naturally fell into an attractive drape and so I left it as was. The bottom, fishtail, of the skirt was a double layer of a pale blue chiffon under a iridescent, stiffer, dress net. This was just over twice the width of the skirt hem, gathered and stitched in place. The back half of the skirt was gathered at the back as per the fantail skirt pattern.
Green ceramic beads and silver and orange seed beads were stitched across the top of the bodice and at various points on the dress, with individual shells added in places and a rosette at the knee of sari fabric ribbon and a shell "corsage". Again, a huge improvement on silver stars!
So that's it, before and after. An although I have replaced my Jedi for a Vampire...
...it all worked out in the end ;o)