Thursday, July 17, 2014

My First "Official" Costume Design

Things that bug me:
1) Bloggers who disappear for weeks on end, then suddenly announce that they're pregnant.
2) Bloggers who say they'll do better about updating, then don't.
3) Bloggers who come back after a lengthy absence and post totally unrelated things (i.e. not sewing, if it's a sewing blog).
4) Myself, apparently, since I did/am doing all of the above this year. Here, have a non-sewing-related blog post!



I just finished a couple of intense summer school classes at Canada College: Intro to Costume Design, and Copying RTW Garments. I'll talk about the second one in another post (who knows when that will actually happen!), but I just wanted to quickly share my final assignment from the first class. We were supposed to design a costume for a character from any work of literature, TV show, or movie, complete with an essay about how we arrived at the design, a detailed sketch, and even fabric swatches if applicable. Thankfully, we didn't have to actually make the costume, since mine would have been way more work than I had time for (and also beyond my skill set/budget).

In keeping with my only other real previous costume "design,"the Girl on Fire dress, I decided to go with another Hunger Games character, Annie Cresta. And because I can't stay away from flowy, special occasion dresses, I designed her wedding dress. In Mockingjay, all we get to know is that the dress is green silk and that Cinna designed it for Katniss' victory tour. I took the idea of Cinna-awesomeness+ocean-themed wedding+mercurial, delicate-but-strong character and came up with this:

I sketched this in pencil first, then went over it with my super-fine #005 Micron pen that I haven't used since my anime-fanart-drawing-days in college. Do you know how ridiculously difficult it is to draw something as flowy as chiffon and make the draping look not totally stupid? I can't wait to take fashion illustration classes, but in the meantime I settled for looking at lots of reference pictures online. The color pencil was added at the end. 

Then I had to write a few pages of blather about it all -- my first real essay since graduating from college -- but it was definitely easier to write about character history and fabric choice than say, changing cortisol levels depending on how stressed one is. Here's an excerpt of my expert BS-ing:

The only description we are given of Annie’s wedding dress in the book is that it is green silk. However, we do also know that she chose it from the collection of dresses that the main character wore on a government-sponsored victory tour, and was designed by one of the foremost designers from the capitol. It must, therefore, be quite elaborate despite its use in a secret rebel wedding. We also have clues as to the sea theme of the wedding from the descriptions of the wedding cake, ceremony, and ocean-centered traditions of District 4. Because of all these hints, I chose to design a dress that is luxurious, and yet maintains the simplicity of Annie’s character.
            I chose an ombre teal-green silk chiffon as the main fabric of Annie’s wedding dress. With her fragile beauty and mental state, it seemed appropriate to echo that in the fabric’s ethereal, delicate quality. Its drape and movement are also ideal for simulating the waves of the ocean; because Annie picks this dress out of many other options, there must be something appealing about it, and I imagine that being reminded of her home and natural environment would be comforting on her wedding day. The bodice is ruched chiffon over a structured, boned foundation, representing Annie’s somewhat messy, disorderly outer presentation, but also inner strength in persevering despite the tragedies she has witnessed. Like the ocean she grew up on, the skirt is full and free to move; this symbolizes both her husband’s unconditional acceptance of her despite her shortcomings, and the potential for their new life should the government be successfully overthrown. The frothy white underlayer of the skirt further mimics the foam of the ocean, and small accents like a fishhook rope belt, shell jewelry, and a fishing net fascinator bring the whole ensemble together. 
I know, super embarrassing...I just shared some of the worst writing academic writing ever. But hey, I got an A on my project, thankfully!

For the Copying RTW class, I had to make a rub-off of a woven garment. Seeing as how I'm currently seven months pregnant and have no idea what size I'm going to end up eventually, I settled on making a copy of one of Mr. Cation's casual button-up shirts. I'll post more about the process and what I made soon(-ish)!

Incidentally, I also have three actual finished garment posts all written up, just waiting for pictures. I don't know what it is about being pregnant (oh, try a huge belly, maybe?) that makes me not want to take photos!

20 comments:

  1. I always love your posts, timing or topic aside. I'm most definitely guilty of #2, and am hoping to be guilty of #1 in the near future. Thanks for sharing this post. I love hearing about what you take in your classes—I get to live vicariously through you. And also, thank you for the free top patterns you have shared. I've made two of them multiple times and am so thankful!

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    1. I hope you get to do #1 when you want! It's a good excuse for not blogging :)

      So glad that those top patterns have worked for you!

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  2. Pretty sure I've commited most of those this year, too...

    Love the dress design. I wouldn't worry about bad academic writing, though... I've seen much worse! ;)

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    1. Hahaha so have I! But then, it's hard to do one's best work with pregnancy brain...

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  3. I love the dress design and the colours. So beautiful... I would so wear that.

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    1. Thank you! I would wear it too if I could make it ;)

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  4. The design and your illustration are both beautiful.
    My pet peeve is not bloggers that get too busy to blog but those who disappear without a trace leaving the blog active and everyone to wonder if they are all right.

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    1. Oooh, yeah, that bugs me too...like I know she's the Selfish Seamstress and all and doesn't owe us anything, but I really wonder what happened to her!

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  5. Beautiful design and wonderful thought process! You are leaps and bounds ahead of some of the professional costume designers I've worked with when it comes to your art skill! Your sketch makes me want to start building it!

    I think a lot of bloggers are behind in posting this year - life just gets in the way sometimes. I've got a backlog of photos I still need to sit down and sort through and start writing about for mine. We bloggers are a pretty understanding bunch, so don't feel bad. =)

    ~ Brooke

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    1. I've noticed that too with bloggers this year...it makes me feel better!

      And thanks for your kind words about my costume design!

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  6. oh wow, I love Annie's dress and all the symbolism you've extracted - more please! ;)

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    1. Thank you, but I don't think I'll be doing anymore HG costume design...

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  7. Looks great!

    I am also *so pleased* that you have been posting about all your classes - mostly because it means I learned they exist, and I have plans to go take them as well in a year :)

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    1. You totally should! They are very affordably priced and I've learned so much!

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  8. Beautiful illustration - I love your detailed pen work. And hey, I'd call your post peripherally sewing-related!

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    1. Yes, I suppose it is at least related...I give myself a pass, then!

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  9. That illustration is amazing! Please take a fashion illustration class and then post all your assignment drawings here!!!!

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    1. I do plan to take fashion illustration, but it'll have to wait for a year while I have SHB!

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  10. A woman of so many talents....your illustration is gorgeous!

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