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Archive for November, 2010

Biblical Costume – simple, knit, unfinished edges

Couldn't resist the silly pose. Notice the unfinished selvage gave the edges a rustic look.

Our Middle-School program needed a Jesus robe, so we whipped this one up in about 20 minutes.  My friend Caroline is married to Keenan, the director of that program (also the actor who played Tyler at our Niwot campus for several years).

Caroline picked out a couple of yards of white, double-knit fabric that has some GREAT rough selvage edges.  (The “selvage” is the factory-produced edge of the fabric which usually doesn’t ravel. )  The fabric also had a metallic thread running through it which we thought would do well under theatrical lights.

I wouldn’t try this technique with any type of fabric that wasn’t heavy and very stretchy. Fleece would work.  Terry cloth.  But keep in mind, sleeve inserts were invented for a reason, lol.  This fabric was perfect for this approach though, and we were going for a rough, hand-sewn “biblical” construction look, and we saved a TON of time doing it this way. 

click to enlarge.

My model, Caroline, looks like "Friar Tuck goes to Heaven" Is that Monty Python Gregorian chanting I hear?

If you need a pattern, I suggest “see & sew B4326” which I picked up at my local Wally World discount store. 

The instructions above are for how we made this hooded robe WITHOUT a pattern, but having recently made several of these hooded pullovers from this pattern  –  I had recently honed my mad skills at hood-making (lol). 

With the right fabric, this approach would work for producing massive numbers of angel or hooded shepherd robes for a kids choir for instance.  The sewing is so easy, you could fly through these in no time.

To raise the hem off the floor, just blouse the top of the robe over the belt.

Sewing together two long strips of fabric made a rough, unfinished belt.

If they are too long, cut a belt out of left-over fabric. Tie it around the waist and blouse the fabric over the belt until the hem rises far enough off the floor.




Fredrick Sam’s Fabulous Fringe and Flower Fiesta

Sam's sweater vest gets an update

Peace out, yo.

Sweater update for Sam

Cammie and Sam (aka Heather and Christine) picked up cool knit sweater to update Sam’s look at the Fredrick Campus.  They paired it with a bright, abstract patterned green flow-y shirt.

At first glance, these pics look a little like we attached girl scout badges LOL!!! Maybe that’s because of the turtle-neck.  But paired with the bright v-neck shirt Sam wears with wide flowy sleeves, it looks just right.

Not the look we were going for, LOL.

Phil (Creative Director) wanted us to punch up the flower power on the fringy sweater, keeping the look very Boulder Bohemian, and Christine wanted a great big peace sign on the back, so I picked up some flower appliques  and a big iron-on peace sign.  Michael’s craft store had packs of cool “flair” buttons with saying things like “tree hugger”, “don’t be trashy – recycle”,   “save water”  etc.  So I picked up a bunch of those as well. 

Thanks for the inspiration Jen (a la Office Space)

My friend Caroline was over at the house when I needed a model, (see the steampunk costume blog entry)  ttp://vsplash.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/womans-steampunk-costume/  and there is a cool Rush Hour connection there.  Caroline is married to Keenan, who played Tyler at the Niwot campus for years until he “retired” to begin a middle-school drama program at Rocky. 
Thanks Caroline, for agreeing to be my model!  hugs, V-

The Information-ator

Brian IS... the Information-ator

This year, Phil had added a fresh new take on Rush Hour to mix things up and add some variety. We have a new format to add to the standard song/welcome skit/character sketch/Word Segment/song/etc… format. 

I dunno if this is Phil’s brain-child or came from the 252 curriculum folks (see glossary) , but twice this season, we have taken an entire RH production to talk about FAITH SKILLS. 

At Rush Hour, we believe with all our hearts that what happens in the home is WAAAAYYY more important than anything we do on the RH stage.  So on a Faith Skill week, we give the character actors the week off (Vinny, Mrs. F, Cammie, Gordo — those are our character actors).  Instead, we get the crew, vocals, and the comic and credible hosts to lead the audience through a series of hands-on discussions and activities so they can get some practice using these faith skills. 

The first week we did this, the Faith skill was about sharing our faith.  “Who Can You Tell.”  That’s when we used the Shakespeare costumes, etc.  We also had a bit using an “information-ator” costume.  It had a couple of important features.  #1 it has to look computer-ish.  #2 It had to look like a contraption the co-host made.  #3  It had to somehow prevent the co-host from being able to tie his/her shoes.  Because it was a heavy-duty costuming week for me with 2 complete Shakespeare outfits to sew, and TONS of lines to learn, I went with a simple poster board design for the Informationator.

Just slip hands thru the pipe-cleaners and spread fingers to keep the keyboard on the hands.

The keys on the keyboard are fun-foam.  Pipe cleaners poked up from underneath hold his hands in place on one finger and his wrists – loose enough to slip his hands through, tight enough that he just has to spread his fingers out for it to stay on. 

Headpiece construction - click to enlarge

The “screen” is made from poster-board, decorated and hot-glued to a girl’s plastic head-band.  I then attached the headband to a visor for stability.  I twisted some pipe cleaners around mine to get my sunglasses to stay with the visor. That way I could put it on in one quick movement.  Brian’s sunglasses are nicer, I think he put his on separately.  🙂

CDs, net and silver ribbon. Just because.

It needed a little more movement and goofyness and flash, so I took some black tulle (petticoat netting) and hot glued some silver ribbon and some CDs to it.  I sandwiched the net between pairs of cd’s and put the hot glue on the cds, not the net.  I used real cd’s but you could use fun foam, cardboard, poster-board, etc.  I folded the net in half and cut a slit in the net for the actor’s head.  Not that it was crucial to the design, but I did hot glue some cd pairs right on the shoulders next to the neck slit.  They were vaguely reminiscent of epaulets, and did two things… 1. Made it easy for the actor to find the head-hole.  2.  Reinforced the slit in the fabric so it didn’t rip.  Easy-peasy.

It was a good design for a quick change and it fit my schedule better than a head-toe Iron-man costume complete with real computer parts fastened to a spandex jumpsuit.  Although the spandex and computer parts would have rocked!

hugs, v-

Woman’s Steampunk Costume

Steampunk Caroline

My friend Caroline wanted to develop a steampunk costume for Halloween this year and I was happy to pitch in and help with it.  Steampunk is basically this:  If you were a steam-powered Victorian, what would your vision of the future be?  That’s steampunk in a nut shell.   Think HG Well’s time machine, The Golden Compass, that sort of thing.  Gears, gadgets, corsets, Victorian car coats, granny boots, goggles, and “tarted up” Victorian garb, you get the idea.

Caroline found this cute rattan woven basket and a canteen that looked pretty steampunk, so we used those to accessorize the outfit.  I lined the small basket with left-over corset fabric so she could use it as a purse put her keys in there without them rattling around all night.  We added some upholstery tacks to the outside, and I braided a long length of twine for a waist strap. 

SteamPunk corset with gears and the rattan purse.

We started with a simple corset design.  Just a few layers of fabric, some bias tape, a few inches of boning, some grommets, a grommet installation gadget, and some twine and a pinch of hot glue were all that were required.  We started with two layers of muslin for thickness.  I sewed the two pieces together at intervals to provide channels for boning to be inserted.  then we added a top and bottom layer of fabric.  Caroline wanted this to be reversible so she could use it for Shakespearean productions, Renaissance costumes, etc.   After all the layers were basted together and the boning installed, we finished the edges with bias tape trim, added grommets for lacing and phase 1 was complete.  We later added a zipper down the back because we wanted it to look more SteamPunk-ish.  That allowed us to remove some fabric from the back.  The final design then had a bigger “gap” where it laces up in the front and the whole thing could be cinched tighter for a flattering waistline.  We cut some gears out of silver fabric which we layered with very thick interfacing.  We added some brads (the kind you use to hold reports together) and I hand tacked the gears to the corset.  Caroline had some game pieces that were little wrenches, so we hand sewed that to the corset as well. 

Later, we adjusted the goggles to a more jaunty angle on the hat.

added a zipper

improved cinching


I made the goggles by sawing off the bottom of some transparent, red plastic cups.  I wrapped them in twine, decorated them with hot glue and some “pleather” I harvested from a faux leather jacket my daughter wore in grade school.  I added some grommet to some leather strips and attached those to the goggles and voila! 

Swaped the yellow plastic buttons for these metal ones, added the canteen. Goggles in the background.

The skirt was from a dress pattern that Caroline had that she knew fit her very well.  I cut out the skirt pieces from the dress pattern, added a waistband, a zipper, some skirt hooks, and gathered the skirt up the back to form a bustle.  We gathered the skirt a few inches in several places all around the hem so that it would have fullness and let the petticoat underneath peek out.  Then I added a large ruffle down the back and tacked it in place by hand.  I wanted her to be able to get in and out of it without having a dresser’s help (we just don’t know any Victorian ladies’ maids).  That meant I needed to attach the bustle ruffle BELOW the zipper and add a hook and eye to the top of the ruffle and the waistband so she could slip on the skirt, zip it, and hook the bustle in place at the waist all by herself. 

skirt front deatail.

Some bustle action in the back.

I replaced the buttons on a yellow silk overcoat Caroline had, so they would look more Steam-punk.  I just had these buttons at the house on a coat that was no longer in style, so I re-purposed them.  They were big round and metallic and they looked great on the coat.  Caroline added some great accessories like pattern stockings, a vintage hat, brown leather gloves, a scarf, and voila!

We spent one afternoon hanging out with Caroline’s awesome children, P and M when they came over one afternoon while we were working on the costume.  They went as a TV (with changing channels!) and a POP Star Diva. 

Caroline and her two wonder-kids, M and P.

Happy belated Halloween!
hugs, V-

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