Friday, March 25, 2011

Cheerio Costume from Glee

Like much of America, I have totally gotten sucked into the Glee craze! It's a show about the outcast kids in high school learning to have confidence and pride in who they are and not what people try to label them as. Plus they constantly burst out into song!!! What's not to love? Haha For those of you not familiar with the show, the cheerios are what they called the cheerleaders. I feel like they are one of the most recognizable costumes from the show, since everyone else is dressed in fairly normal clothes.

As Halloween 2010 was approaching I was working on 2 costumes for my boyfriend and I to wear to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disneyland, but finished them early and decided it would be fun to make something a little more "cheerful" to wear to work for our Halloween party. Thus the Cheerio/Cheerleader idea was born! I rummaged through my fabric boxes to see what I had laying around. To my surprise I actually had everything I needed for the costume in my craft nook! So I found some reference images, sketched up a plan and started working!!

A) B)

When I was looking for reference images of the Cheerios, I found out that had 2 versions of skirts, one was their official skirt and has all the slitted pleats, the other was their practice skirt, which was just a little fitted mini skirt that's red and black matched up with the shirt (aka the shell). Since I only had a couple weeks to finish this, I decided the pleated skirt might be a bit too ambitious, so I went with the practice skirt as seen in the reference image (Photo A). You can see in my sketches (Photo B) that I played around with the idea of both skirts, but even in my sketches I recognized the pleats complexity.

With my design figured out it was time to start pattern making, and that meant breaking out the muslin! Within an hour I had a rough pattern draped on Bell, my dress form (Photo C). It was so helpful to have Bell, as I was able to figure out the seam placement, and get the right fit for the shell! The next day I started cutting out the actual fabrics. In order to get the red and black cleanly on the white pieces, I used these iron on transfer sheets called "Heat'n Bond" I had left over from another project. It allowed me to turn the black and red panels into iron on patches that easily attached to the white base shirt (Photo D). Next up I used the Heat'n Bond to turn my ribbon into iron on pieces as well, this was very tedious!!! It was sorth it though, as it kept all 3 ribbon colors straight and ready to attach to the shirt (Photo E). Once ironed down I proceeded to sew the edge of each ribbon. The Heat'n Bond worked better then pinning the ribbon onto the shirt, and I felt I was able to get much straighter smoother lines with it already being attached to the fabric (Photo F)! Finally it was time to sew the rest of the shirt together! I attached the side panels and shoulders (Photo G). It was time to try it on, to make sure everything was fitting appropriately (Photo H).

C) D) E)
F) G) H)

With everything fitting as it should, it was time to add the thicker black trim to the side of the shirt (Photo I). It was really starting to look like a Cheerio Shell at this point! With the black trim attached, it was time to get started on the skirt. The skirt was really simple, I was able to draft the basic shape off of a little mini skirt I already owned. I used the Heat'n Bond again on the skirt to attach the red panels, then sewed it all up (Photo J). Once I added the black trim to the skirt, I pinned in the zippers to both the skirt and shell. It was time to try it all on and make any last adjustments before sewing everything in place (Photo K). I also was able to figure out where to hem the skirt, which is why the bottom looks so wonky in that picture. I cut off the extra fabric from the skirt, leaving just enough to hem, and laid it all out. Seeing how everything lined up both in the front (Photo L) and back (Photo M) felt really rewarding. I finished the hem, sewed in the zippers and called it a night. It had only been 5 days and it was already coming together!!

I) J) K)
L) M)

No cheerleader is complete with out her trusty pom poms (Photo N)! The cheerleaders on Glee used the fluffy round plastic ones, and I was able to find them for a great price at under Pom Poms>In-Stock Cheer Pom Poms. They shipped them fast and I got them in plenty of time for Halloween! I also ordered a pair of red cheer briefs from them, which came with the Pom Poms, I wanted to be authentic, and I didn't have time to make the briefs (and for $5, why bother? haha).


Everything was in place, I just had to make the WMHS Logo to go on the front of the Shell! Since I don't embroider, and I couldn't find the correctly shaped iron on letters at Jo-ann's, I decided to go the old fashion crafty rout! I used felt and fabric paint! I used white and red felt, that I cut out in the shape of the white background and the red letters (Photo O). Once attached, I used black fabric paint to outline the lettering (Photo P). When it had dried, I hand stitched it to the front of the shell, and at last the costume was complete (Photo Q)! I am so pleased with how it turned out, and it's time to get my Glee on!!! hahaha

O) P)

When Halloween rolled around I threw on my costume and skipped to work! Well, I drove, but I skipped down the hall once I got there!!! I had so much fun wearing it, and made up silly little cheers all day. That night I picked up Josh from the airport, and he had brought his red practice jersey to wear. It was just great, I think we looked especially Glee-ful at the party that night! Just check out our awesome photobooth pics! hehehe

*********************IMPORTANT PLEASE READ*********************
Thank you all so much for the incredibly overwhelming response to this post! It really is such a compliment to have so many fellow Glee fans show an interest in my costume. I have received many e-mails/posts/requests asking if I am either selling, or willing to make and sell this costume. At this time, my costumes are my personal hobby, and while I love making them for my friends and I, it is not something I'm doing as a "job" or for income. So I am sorry, but I am not accepting commissions at this time. As for the costume, I am not selling it at this time. However, if I ever do decide to sell any of my costumes, I will be sure to post about it on this blog for you all to have first dibs! Again, thank you so so much for the interest in this costume, it really is very flattering. I will of course be happy to answer as many questions as I can if any of you want to make your own at home. I have thought about trying to translate my pattern into a tutorial for people to follow. Is that something you all would be interested in? Also, The Split Pleated Skirt is still on my to do list, and will hopefully come about soon!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dr. John Watson and Mary Morstan from Sherlock Holmes

Last May I posted some sketches from Sherlock Holmes and talked about working on making Watson and Mary for Comic Con 2010 with my boyfriend.

Since sewing is it's own form of art, I thought it would be nice to share both some progress pictures as well as some pictures of the finished costumes!

It was a really fun project to undertake! I made both of our costumes from the base up! I learned so much about the Victorian/Edwardian fashions, from appropriate undergarments to detachable collars on men's shirts. It was really a neat experience, and once they were done, it was fun to wear around downtown San Diego with my Man!

Getting started, I wanted to be as authentic as possible, so I decided to find and follow as many patterns as I could, altering them as needed to better suit the costumes. Here was my initial lineup before starting!

I had wanted to make this corset years ago and never got up the courage, so I already had everything I needed! For Watson I was able to find a retired Simplicity pattern that would help me make all the pieces of the suit aside from the white button up, which I purchased the basic McCall's pattern for. At this point I was ready to get started!

The Suit:
Having never made any real menswear before, I decided to start with Josh's Watson costume. We chose to do the gray with blue stripes suit that he wears in the film (Photo A), and were able to find a fairly similar suiting material for it. We then picked out a really nice light cotton for the white button up shirt, which we felt would be helpful since he was going to be wearing it all in the summer heat. Now it was time to start sewing. I made the white shirt first, which came together in about 2 nights, minus sewing on buttons. Next I started on the vest! It was so neat to see it with the white shirt (Photo B). Next up I set to work on the Jacket. Photo C shows a close up of the pocket detail I was doing. This was not actually part of the pattern so I had to make it up as I went along. I did 3 pockets on the jacket and one on the vest. I had totally spaced on making the vest pockets, primarily for his pocket watch, and so I only made one since I had already sewn up the rest of it. If I ever remade this costume, I would be sure to put to pockets on the vest haha. The pants were super easy and straight forward! I whipped them up in a night, minus the waist band and hem since I wanted to make sure it fit Josh before I finished it all. It was neat to see 3 pieces of the suit all together though (Photo D) I just couldn't wait for Josh to try it all on!!! At the point that Josh visited I had everything finish, jacket, shirt, vest and pants, minus sewing on the buttons and having the pants hemmed. We did a fitting and he looked so dapper! Photos E and F show him both with and without the jacket on. His costume was almost finished, which meant it was about time to start on Mary!

A) B) C)
D) E) F)

The Corset:
Once I finished Watson, it was up to Josh to get the rest of the props and accessories for his costume! Now it was time to start on Mary. I wanted to make it feel as authentic as possible, so that meant creating the right undergarments. Having a corset would give my body the more appropriate shape to really sell the look of that period. It was my first time ever constructing a real corset. I used the Simplicity 9769 pattern and was able to order a kit from this site that included all the correct boning sizes, busks, grommets, casings and lacing! It's a great deal for really high quality stuff! I will likely order this kit again when I make another corset! Now it was time to set to work, but I was a bit nervous about cutting into my expensive corset coutil and white brocade, which I purchased from a local store Richard the Thread (you can also order from them online) so I decided to do a test run in muslin just to see if it would come out the way I wanted, as well as give me some peace of mind (Photo G). After the dry run with the muslin, I felt ready to cut into my coutil and brocade. Now the interesting thing about this Simplicity pattern is it doesn't call for the corset to be lined, which seems silly to me since the lining, I used coutil, would help to give the corset more strength and support when you're sinching it in. I did use my coutil to line the corset, by following the same sewing instructions for the brocade. I still attached all the casing to the brocade because I liked the line details it added on the outter side of the corset (Photo I). Once I sewed in the busks, I basted the bottom of the brocade and coutil, wrong sides together. I then added double fold biased tape to finish off the edge with a nice clean look. It also helped to close off the bottom of the boning casing, meaning it was finally time to insert the boning into the corset (Photo J)!!! After inserting all the boning, I added double fold biased tape to the top of the corset for a clean finished look (Photo K). All that was left now was to add the grommets so it could be laced up. I marked all the places on the corset and Josh went to town hammering head grommet into place (he's so helpful). I was so pleased with how it turned out! Here's a shot of it from the front (Photo L).

G) H) I)
J) K) L)

The Bustle:
With the corset finished, the bustle was the next step in creating the right shapes for under the garments. Since I still had an entire skirt and polonaise to construct, I decided to go for a simpler/easier bustle. The corset had taken a significant amount of time already, and the Comic Con deadline was closing in fast! So in roughly one night, I constructed an adorable but pillow! It required 2 pieces of fabric, 2 pieces of boning, stuffing and some elastic. It certainly looks ridiculous, but overall it was very effective and aside from seeing my breakdown of the costume, you'd never actually know when looking at the finished garment. ^_^

The Polonaise:
It was time to tackle the next most complicated section of my Mary Costume, the Polonaise! BEfore starting this project, I had no idea what a polonaise even was. A quick search on the internet put me on track though. "A polonaise (originally robe à la Polonaise) is a woman's garment of the later 1770s and 1780s or a similar revival style of the 1880s inspired by Polish national costume,[1] consisting of a gown with a fitted bodice and cutaway, draped and poufed overskirt, worn over an underskirt or petticoat." (This was copied from Armed with this knowledge I found a great polonaise pattern on that was a perfect starting point! It would need a few adjustments (reference Photo M) such as making the sleeves more fitted so that they don't flair at the elbow, making it wrap in the front to create more of a v-neck instead of the square one suggested in the pattern, and finally fixing the bustle in the back to better replicated the artistic drape in the film. I bought yards of this beautiful navy blue silk charmeuse, and it was not cheap, so before I so much as stuck a pin in it, I wanted to do a quick run through in muslin (Photo N) to make sure everything fit perfectly first! I was able to practice the bustle with the patterns suggest bustle piece, I think it worked pretty well (Photo O). It was finally time to start cutting the silk (Photo P) which was both exciting and terrifying! After getting all the pieces cut, it was time to start sewing, and that I did! I loved finally seeing the silk with the striped fabric for the under side of the bustle (Photo Q), everything was looking so great even in pieces!

Seeing the silk sewn and on the dress form was really rewarding! It was really starting to look like Mary's polonaise (Photo R)! In all my searches, I wasn't able to find a good faux fur trim, so instead I made my own using some decent looking faux fur I found at Jo-Ann's. It wasn't as ideal of a match as I had hoped, but with limited time and selection it was the best I could do! Since I was making it into my own trim, I did a trial run to see how it'd work with the silk sewing it between some of my scrap fabric (Photo S). With the trim figured out it was time to sew it to the polonaise (Photo T). Even though I hadn't attached the sleeves, it was so exciting to see the drape working, especially on the bustle (Photo U). Once the sleeves were on, it really started to feel complete (Photo V). The end was near, it was time to take on the skirt and all its massive amount of pleats!

M) N) O)
P) Q) R)
S) T) U)

The Skirt:

The skirt was fairly straight forward, I used another pattern from Truly Victorian since it was designed to be worn with a bustle. The Pattern also had the pleating at the bottom, the only thing it was lacking was the double fold trim that transitioned from the skirt into the pleats. This was easy enough to figure out though, as I was able to just cut 2 strips of the fabric, fold, iron and sew on at the point I was attaching the pleats to the rest of the skirt. However, I'm getting ahead of myself, once everything was cut out, I was able to start pleating. It was a long and tedious process as I measured, marked, starched and iron each pleat. The end result was definitely worth it (Photo W)!!! Once attached the skirt I threw it on the dress for and stepped back to enjoy seeing it in 3D with the bustle and everything (Photos X & Y). Wrapping the Polonaise on over the skirt really just made it all come together.

W) X) Y)
Z1) Z2)

After months of sewing these costumes, it was already the week of Comic Con. Needless to say I did not have time to make the hat, or the fur muff. Perhaps I will have them finished for Comic Con 2011! All in all, I was still very happy with how the costumes turned out. We wore them on Saturday of Comic Con 2010, the weather was gorgeous, and we were able to get some beautiful photos takes by our friends. Our friend Steph joined us in her wonderful Irene Adler costume as well, which made for a really fun group!

The Following Photos are thanks to Katie Reihman:

Katon Callaway Also took some Lovely Photos of our Group: