Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sherlock: Costume Closet: Fanny Norton

It's no surprise that I have a deep love of clothes.  One of the main things I always tried to do with the photo shoots here at Reconstructing Grimm was make really interesting visual choices with the costuming for all of our photo series.  With Sherlock Holmes and A Most Irreugular Tea Party I wanted to do the same thing, even though this is more of a period costume piece than anything we've done in the past. 

The first thing I thought would be to create this Steampunk-ish world for the characters to live in.  That way we could use semi-modern costume pieces and still keep a Victorian feel intact.  That sounds easy in theory, but in practical application it gets a little tricky.  This is made even more difficult due to the fact that I was an idiot and scheduled the press photos in such a way that only gave me a week to finish all the costumes. Yeah.... shall we see what I came up with?

Okay let's start with the character of Fanny Norton played by the incomparable cute-as-a-button Amanda J. Hull.  Fanny Norton was one of two costumes I built completely from scratch.  Here's the sketch I did for what I had hoped the costume would end up like:


And here's what we ended up with:


Not too bad.  Several things were added in the realization of the pieces.  For example, the leather collar and the belt.  The belt gave the waist more definition, which is incredibly flattering.  Sometimes Victorian costuming can get a bit frumpy, which while that is historically probably more accurate however nobody wants to watch frumptastic matrons prance around the stage for two hours.  You gotta give it a little umph and think the fit of the jacket and the addition of the leather collar really gave it the edge I was looking for.

Now the skirt I am proud to say I did without a pattern... well sort of.  I found this great online tutorial link here:  The Incredible Easy Bustle Skirt

You just plug in the measurements of the person you're building the costume for and boom in about two hours you're done.  I will say I did modify the pattern a bit and did some nipping and tucking here and there, but one of the best things of this skirt is that it's light weight.  For the movement Amanda (the actress pictured above) that she does in the show keeping the costumes able to flow was vital.

Then there was the headache of the hat.



Yes I made that hat.  Over the course of about 6 and a half hours I built that puppy.  Now why would I do that? Especially when I could just buy one that might look just as good if not better.  A couple of reasons.  One; I suppose I'm a glutton for punishment.  Two; we don't have a massive budget on this project and I could built the hat for about 10 bucks while buying one would put us into $50- $75 dollar range on the cheaper side.  In fact Amanda's entire costume only cost about $30 to make (To be fair the fabric was found in some old costume storage and a lot of the other smaller pieces needed I had, if you were buying everything you needed for the costume it would have been a lot more expensive).  The third reason was that buying a hat would insure that it would match the costume the way I wanted it to.  So how was this done:
 - Firstly I got a frozen pizza box and cut out the brim.  Then I spent three hours sewing by hand steel wiring onto the outer edge.
-Next I used my sewing machine to sew the green fabric to the brim of the hat then set that piece aside.
 -The crown was a circular piece of the pizza box that I dredged in water and placed in a bowl to get the right shape and the assaulted with a can of spray starch.  Then I let that sit over night to dry.
-The next night I fired up the glue gun and covered the crown of the hat in the same fabric that I used on the brim. Then put the two together and bent the brim until I liked the shape.
-Finally it was time for all the trimmings.  The flowers and ribbon I held up to the hat adjusting and fussing with it until I was happy then glued all the pieces to the hat.  
-The last bit was attaching a bit of elastic to that it would stay in place on someone's head.  Then I was done and ate lots of chocolate.

(If there is a demand for it one day I'll do a step by step tutorial on how to make the hat with pictures; however this won't be til after the show closes. I won't have time till then.  But, if you want to learn how add a comment and I'll get off my tush and show you.)

The whole ensemble from start to finish took about three days, eight hours a day.  I do have a day job, I just got up very early and went to bed very late for about a week.  I don't suggest anyone else do this... ever.  It makes you extremely cranky and in this case I got really sick buy the time I wrapped every thing up.  

That's all for tonight.  Next Costume Closet we'll be looking as Sherlock's costume.
 


 

 

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