Friday, September 30, 2011

October Movie Preview

Go See Today:

The Help

Costume Designer: Sharen Davis (Ray, The Pursuit of Happiness)
Plot Summary: An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960's decides to write a book detailing the African American Maid's point of view on the White families they work for, and their hardships they go through on a day to day basis.

There's not much out there for period right now. September is usually a lull between Summer Blockbusters and Oscar Drama seasons. This movie has 60's dresses, though, and they look really good too.



Release Date: October 7
Costume Designer: unknown
Plot Summary: A historical drama based on the founding of the Republic of China when nationalist forces led by Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty.

I love me some Jackie Chan. He's so talented, and seeing him get to actually WORK and do some good acting is a real joy. Period costumes make it even more yummy :D

The Three Musketeers

Release Date: October 21
Costume Designer: Pierre-Yves Gayraud (The Bourne Identity, Perfume: the story of a Murderer)
Plot Summary: The hot-headed young D'Artagnan along with three former legendary but now down on their luck Musketeers must unite and defeat a beautiful double agent and her villainous employer from seizing the French throne and engulfing Europe in war.

They've steampunked 17th century France, and it will be glorious! Don't expect accuracy from anyone, but plenty of eye candy!

In Time

Release Date: October 28
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, Alice in Wonderland)
Plot Summary: In the future people stop aging at 25 and must work to buy themselves more time, but when a young man finds himself with more time than he can imagine he must run from the corrupt police force to save his life.

Contemporary clothing, but with Colleen Atwood doing them you know they'll be smashing all the same. Hopefully it will be released, I hear there's some pretty heavy litigation against letting this movie be seen at all.

The Rum Diary

Release Date: October 28
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, Alice in Wonderland)
Plot Summary: American journalist Paul Kemp takes on a freelance job in Puerto Rico for a local newspaper during the 1950s and struggles to find a balance between island culture and the ex-patriots who live there.

Johnny Depp, Puerto Rico, and 50's fashion, what's not to like? Kinda odd that two Colleen Atwood movies are coming out against eachother, though.


Release Date: October 28
Costume Designer: Lisy Christl (John Rabe)
Plot Summary: A political thriller advancing the theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford who penned Shakespeare's plays; set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her.

It's going to be hard to decide which movie to see Halloween week! This one is splashy Elizabethan finery by a newcomer, but it looks like this may get her more work!

Save Your Pennies:

The Artist

Release Date: November 23
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood)
Plot Summary: Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.

Next month is going to be a budget buster, but I had to go with the glam of silent film stars.

Coming in 6 Months:

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Release Date: March 2012
Costume Designer: Marlene Stewart (Coyote Ugly, Terminator 2)
Plot Summary: Catching up with Hansel and Gretel 15 years after their incident involving a gingerbread house, the siblings have evolved into bounty hunters who hunt witches.

Not exactly 6 months, but there's not much scheduled for April yet. This one has a very interesting premise, and I'm excited to see if it will get fantasy clothes to go with its fantastic plot!

Watch for in a Year:

Anna Karenina

Release Date: None Yet
Costume Designer: Unknown
Plot Summary: Trapped in a loveless marriage, Anna, looks for a better life, but finds only a more complicated one.

Keira Knightley and Jude Law in a Tolstoy classic? Count me in!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Video Update

I'm still working on tracking down pictures for the rest of my WorldCon/DragonCon costumes, so instead of those updates here's some fun clothing news:

40's Era Dress up for auction reveals a great history: it was made of a Nazi flag stolen for a Danish spy woman by her American soldier suitor. The story of the woman, and the dress, is amazing.

Snopes talks about the origins of sagging pants and what they mean culturally.

FIDM has a "20 years of acquisitions" exhibit up. If you can't go there's a catalog available on their website.

CanineHybrid on LiveJournal posted a video of the fursuiting panel from NanDesuKan. It's very interesting and informative!

And, speaking of panels, here's part 4 of my 5 part dyeing panel from DragonCon:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

WorldCon and DragonCon Part 3

This next costume was worn at Renovation's Masquerade where I judge clerked and Sunday morning at DragonCon. It's also one of my current favorites :D

Dr. Barlow from Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan/Behemoth:

This costume was a lot of fun to figure out. Dr. Barlow is a scientist who creates genetic chimera animals, so I went with a lot of synthetic looking animal prints and funky colored fake furs. I also tried to have a steampunky color palate because the books are very steampunk in theme. The resulting mix is a very comfortable costume that I will probably be wearing quite a bit!

Next, here's part 3 of the Dyeing panel:

I'm going to start working on the tutorial videos I mention in part 5 very soon. I'm going to start with stove-top dying because I want to do that for one of my niece's pageant dresses. She's singing "You are my Sunshine" as her talent entry, so I'm making a dress with 6 tiers of ruffles that are dyed shades from yellow to dark orangey-red. Her mock-up fit perfectly, and she's very excited about her new dress!

From September 13, 2011
From September 13, 2011
From September 13, 2011

I also got her brothers' requests for Halloween costumes yesterday, and I'm super-excited about one of them, so more on that soon I hope!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

WorldCon and DragonCon Part 2

My next costume was worn at both WorldCon and DragonCon. It's Zola from Girl Genius:

I've been working on this costume for a very long time--over two years! It was worth it, though. I made Phil Foglio do a double-take when I walked up to his booth, and I got a costume award from Kaja. They are such nice people, I was very glad to meet them and pick up the entire series in paper form (and they autographed all of them, what troopers!).

The boots are scrunched down in my picture, they're going on seven years old and stretch pleather apparently just doesn't hold up well! At WorldCon it started flaking and binding, so I really need to get a new pair, probably with a lower heel. I also need to add on the belt loops again, and I realized after wearing it for an hour that when I took in the sides of the pants I sewed the pockets shut accidentally, so I'm going to correct that soon :D

I've also got another video update! Here's part 2 of the Dyeing Panel:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

WorldCon and DragonCon Winddown

I had a great time at both Renovation, the 2011 WorldCon in Reno and DragonCon, the Sci-Fi extravaganza con in Atlanta. Too bad next year I have to choose (they're on the same weekend in 2012) because doubling up was fun! Each con has something the other lacks, and I'd really like to be doing both when I can.

For the next few days I'm going to post pics of costumes, videos of panels, reports of stuff, and whatever else occurs to me that's related to the cons.

First, a costume picture! I'm working with the Kansas City in 2016 WorldCon bid, and for Renovation that meant planning a party with a '20s theme to go along with the gangster/superhero theme that they've got going (mostly we went gangster and ignored the superhero thing). I decided one night that I needed something to wear, so I threw together this in a few hours:

The pattern was based on the handkercheif-hem dress in Patterns of Fashion. Originally it was dagged with a handkercheif hem, but I didn't like how it looked so I ended up cutting the bottom dags off and adding the red sash and the organza tiers. The fabrics are a sequined lace I got in NYC when I was there for CostumeCon, a black Casa satin from JoAnn's for lining and binding, black Mirror Organza for the bottom ruffles, and red double-sided satin ribbon for the trim. I originally planned to wear my Mollie Johnsons with this, but my roommate convinced me to switch to my Red Canas at the last minute and I was very happy she did! I haven't gotten any good pics from the party, but I know they're out there so hopefully they'll get updated soon!

From DragonCon I have a video! I'm very thankful that Jennifer taped two of my panels, and the track director Lee Cox and my co-panelists Scott Merrill and Michael Cowart were gracious enough to give me permission to post this one on You-Tube so everyone could see! Here is part 1 of the Dyeing panel held on Monday:

I'll put up the next section tomorrow because they take forever to upload!

Also, in news looking forward I'm working on a series of dresses for my niece. Last night I sewed a mock up so I could send it out to get fitted on her:

I have this crazy fear that she's going to have a five-year-old fit over it being brown and yucky :( It could be hard to explain "mock up" to a five-year-old. Hopefully, though, it means she will get a dress that's much better fitted than last year's halloween costume, which was based on measurements and a pattern and ended up being a few years too big:

At least it's good for dressup for a while :D

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dyeing Links

Links from the Dyeing Handout and mentioned by panelists during the Dyeing panel at DragonCon.

Dye Manufacturers:

Other Good Dyeing Links:

Dye History Links:

Dyeing Books:

Wild Color by Jenny Dean
The Chemistry of Natural Dyes by Dianne N. Epp
Fabric Dyer's Dictionary by Linda Johansen
Fabric Dyeing For Beginners by Vimala McClure
Dyes & Paints: A Hands-On Guide to Coloring Fabric by Elin Noble
Fabric Dyeing and Printing by Kate Wells

Dyeing Glossary

This is the handout from the Dyeing panel I gave at DragonCon.

Acid Dye – dye that is good for protein fibers. Uses an acid to bond the dye, and usually needs high temperatures.

Adjective Dyes – use a mordant to bond the dye to the fabric.

Aniline Dyes – dyes derived from coal tar, first synthetic dyes discovered. Rarely used now (mostly just leather) because they are very toxic and not very colorfast.

Antichlor – a neutralizer for chlorine bleach. There are safe versions, such as hydrogen peroxide and Sodium Thiosulfate, and dangerous versions that produce toxic chlorine gas when in reaction with chlorine bleach such as vinegar and Sodium Bisulfate.

Binder – the “glue” of a paint. Some paints can be purchased as a separate “binder” and “pigment” to allow the user to mix their own paint.

Burn-in – when the dyeing process destroys the fibers of the fabric. This is especially a problem with polyesters in professional dyeing. There is no solution to this.

Carrier – a chemical that helps to dye polyester at a lower temperature. Thought to swell the fibers to allow the dye to penetrate into them. Most are noxious and harmful to the home user.

Cationic Dye – dye for acrylic fibers. Uses a base to bond the dye. Hard to find non-commercial suppliers.

Cellulose Fibers – fibers that have a cellulose, plant base. These include linen, hemp, ramie, jute, cotton, rayon, bamboo, pineapple, etc.

Citric Acid – a powdered acid used in acid dyeing.

Colorfast Dyes – dyes of any type that are resistant to fading, rubbing off, bleeding in wash water, or otherwise changing their color.

Devore – using an etching solution to make a pattern in a fabric.

Discharge – removing dye with bleach or a chemical dye remover. Bleach removal should be stopped with antichlor.

Dyed in the Wool – fibers that are dyed before they are spun into yarn and woven into fabric.

Dyestuff – material that releases a dye. Can be a chemical powder or a natural plant or chemical.

Etching Solution – a chemical that dissolves specific fibers. There are cellulose-specific and protein-specific solutions. Can be use to dissolve patterns in fibers or to make a lace-like material out of fiber type blends.

Disperse Dye – a dye that suspends rather than dissolving in water. Usually uses a carrier to dye fabric. Used on polyester, nylon, and acetate.

Dye – a color that attaches directly to fibers in molecular form to change the fabric’s color without the use of a binder.

Electrolyte – changes the conductivity of the dye bath. Fibers in water commonly develop a negative charge at their surface, and dyes are commonly negatively charged as well so they repel each other. An electrolyte helps to overcome this repelling by ionizing the water and overcoming the surface tensions of the liquid and the fibers. The most common electrolytes used in dyeing are salt and acids.

Exhaustion – when all the dye in the dye bath has attached to the fiber and there is no more dye to color with.

Fixative – a chemical that permanently bonds dye to fibers so they are wash-fast. Soda Ash is commonly called a fixative, but it is actually a reactant.

Garment Dyed – fabric that is dyed after it has been woven, cut, and sewn into a garment or yarn knitted into a piece before dyeing.

Griege – fabric that is undyed, unbleached, sized, and possibly dirty.

Humectant – a chemical that prevents dye solution from drying out before fixing to the fibers. Most common is Urea.

Low Immersion Dye – when a strong solution of dye is poured over a fabric, barely covering the fabric.

Mercerization – a treatment of sodium hydroxide applied to cotton to make the fibers swell and accept dye more readily. Also softens the hand of the fabric.

Mordant – a chemical that bonds with both the dye and the fiber, making it easier for the fabric to dye. Commonly used in natural dyeing, common mordants are alum, urea, chromium, copper, sodium, aluminum, and tin. Mordants commonly change the color of a dye.

MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheet. OSHA regulates that these must be available to workers. Prepared by the company that makes the product, these sheets detail the chemicals used in the product and safety measures that should be taken to ensure no harm comes to the user of the product.

MX Dye – a reactive dye that is popular with hobbyists because of its ease of use and low temperatures needed to use.

Natural Dyes – dyes derived from animals, plants, minerals, fungi and lichens.

Ombre – dyeing fabric in a gradient, from dark to light, or fading from one color to another with no discernible breaks.

Optical Whitener – a “dye” that reflects light in a visible bluish hue when exposed to ultraviolet light. This bluish light helps to mask any natural yellow colors in a fiber, making it appear whiter to the naked eye.

Overdyeing – dyeing a fabric that has already been dyed.

Piece-Dyed – fabric that is dyed after the yarn is woven into fabric.

Pigment – a large molecule of color that does not dissolve in water. Pigments require a binder to bond with fibers.

Prepared for Dyeing – fabric that has been bleached but has no sizing, optical whiteners, lubricating oils, or softeners to interfere with the dyeing chemical process.

Printing – using a mechanical resist or application to selectively apply dye. Includes screen-printing, stamping, and transfers.

Protien Fibers – fibers that have a protein base. These include hairs (wool, cashmere, etc), silk, and nylon. These fibers can be dissolved or destroyed with chlorine bleach.

Reactant – a chemical added to cause a reaction. Some dyes are reactant themselves, others require a mordant, acid, or base.

Reactive Dye – dye that bonds to fibers with a covalent bond. Best on cellulose fibers.

Resist – something that is applied to fabric to prevent it from bonding with dye.

~~Chemical Resist – a chemical that prevents a dye from bonding.

~~Mechanical Resist – an object such as a thread or clip that prevents dye from reaching the fibers

~~Paste Resist – a paste such as wax that seals fibers to prevent the dyebath from reaching them.

Retarder – a chemical that prevents dyes from quickly bonding to fibers. Used to help achieve a more even dye color.

Scouring – Removing all contaminants from fibers before dyeing. Must be done with a detergent that does not have optic whiteners or softeners added that can interfere with dyeing. Soda Ash and Synthrapol are common scouring agents.

Shibori – A class of Japanese resist techniques that uses binding, stitching, folding, clamping(Itajime) and pole wrapping (Arashi) to get different dye patterns.

Sizing – a chemical used to treat yarns and fabrics to smooth and bind them together. Used to make weaving easier and less destructive to the yarns of the fabric. Can interfere with the dyeing process.

Soaping – washing dyed fabrics with a surfactant and hot water to remove dye that is in the fabric but not bonded to the fibers. Very important with reactive dyes.

Softener – a chemical that lubricates fibers, coating them and allowing them to slide across each other more easily, reducing static charge and giving the fabric a softer feel to the hand. Can interfere with the dyeing process.

Stripping – removing dye from fibers, commonly using sodium hydrosulfite and a very hot water temperature. Result is usually not white fabric.

Substantive Dyes – color fibers without a mordant.

Surfactant – a chemical that lowers the surface tension of a liquid allowing molecules to more readily dissolve in that liquid. Electrolytes are surfactants, but not all surfactants are electrolytes.

Tea Dyeing – using tea (and sometimes coffee) to color a fabric or item tan, beige, or other shade of non-white. In my experience black teas are often a reddish hue, coffee has a yellowish tinge, and green teas have a greenish tinge. Speeds rotting of fabric, causing it to decay faster (shortens lifespan of fabric by 30-50 years).

Tie Dyeing – using flexible mechanical resists such as strings or rubber bands to make patterns in a fabric.

Union Dye – dye that is a mixture of two or more kinds of dye. Used for home dyers to dye a variety of fibers in a very inaccurate way, or in industrial applications to accurately dye blended fibers.

Vat Dye – when a fabric is immersed in a dye bath.

Wetting Agent – helps a dye to penetrate a material, synonymous with surfactant until you get really into dyeing chemistry.

Yarn Dyed – yarn that is dyed after the fibers are spun but before the yarn is woven into fabric.