Monday, October 24, 2011

The Real Inspector Hound

As I mentioned before I am a huge theatre lover. Not only do I love to watch it, but I also love to participate. My favourite part is of course costume (and stage and props occasionally), which is what I would like to do as my career in the future and my next preference would probably be directing. However I also really enjoy acting, but it would never be something I would like to do as a job. But in my last two years of "Gymnasium" (the German equivalent of High School or Grammar School) I was a very active member of the theatre course (we actually got grades for it), which included acting. It was also my first ofiicial opportunity to try my hand as a costume designer for a whole production and I'm still very grateful to my teacher for trusting me enough to pretty much give me free reign with the costumes.
I planned to share the costumes I made for these two theatre productions for quite a while and now I'm finally getting around to it.
The first ones I'll be posting are the costumes from our production of Tom Stoppard's awesome "The Real Inspector Hound", which we performed in February 2010 and hopefully soon I'll be posting the ones from the year before.
I certainly hope for your sakes that you know "The Real Inspector Hound" because it is SO hilarious. It's a very witty, intelligent and also rather complicated comedy, so I'll be lazy and copy the summary from wikipedia:
"The Real Inspector Hound is a short, one-act play by Tom Stoppard. The plot follows two theatre critics named Moon and Birdboot who are watching a ludicrous setup of a country house murder mystery, in the style of a whodunit. By chance, they become involved in the action causing a series of events that parallel the play they are watching."
I guess that's it in a nutshell. The play also features (as characters in the play within the play)
- Mrs Drudge, the housekeeper
- Lady Cynthia Muldoon, the lady of the house (whom I played)
- Simon Gascoyne, recently escaped from an insane asylum and Lady Muldoons lover
- Felicity Cunningham, a friend of Cynthia's and Simon's ex-girlfriend
- Major Magnus Muldoon, Cynthia's brother in law
- Inspector Hound, the local police officer

Sorry if I'm boring you here, I'm just introducing the characters and the story, so it'll make at least a tiny bit of sense when I talk about them in relation to the costumes ;)

First off: Moon and Birdboot, the critics.
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I didn't really sew anything (except Moon's bib, which you can never properly see in the pictures), but I did put them together. Our whole colour concept was black and white, with all of the characters having one colourful accessory or detail. Birdboot (left) had an orange pocket square and orange suspenders and Moon (right) had a turquoise bow tie (bow ties are cool!).

Mrs Drudge:
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In the play, Mrs Drudge is an almost witch-like character, which the girl who played her, portraied perfectly (and hilariously). As her costume, I chose a kind of shapeless dress with a small floral pattern to achieve a kind of old lady/cleaning lady look in combination with the apron and the shoes. Her colour was bright yellow... and I can tell you, sewing the head band seriously hurt my eyes.

Lady Muldoon:
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I'm tragically short on pictures of myself in this dress, because during the performances I seem to either strategically place myself in front of the black walls (which makes the dress hard to see) or behind the sofa. So this one's from the mini photoshoot we did for the posters.
Cynthia is a real drama queen, hence the pose. I actually posed like this several times in the course of the play.
The dress has a HUGE slit in the front, all the way up to the middle of my thigh (which you can't see here, but you can see it in the posters which will be at the end of this post). My colour was red (Cynthia's kind of a femme fatale), hence the nail polish and lipstick and during the performances I also exchanged the ankle straps of my shoes with red ribbons.

Felicity and Simon:
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Felicity is introduced right as she's coming from the tennis court, so we decided to have her wear her tennis costume. I had the dress she's wearing (though I usually wear it as a blouse...) and simply put a pink ribbon through the belt loops for her colour.
The only part of Simon's costume that I made was his waistcoat, which I already talked about in an earlier post. For his colour, we gave him a purple flower for his lapel.

Magnus Muldoon:
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Again, a suit, this time with a long jacket and awesome medals which my friend Kathy made. To emphasize Magnus' colour (dark blue) because the ribbons on the medals are rather hard to see on stage I took the regular collar off a shirt and attached a blue band collar instead.

Now that's almost it for this admittedly very long post. But now at the end I also want to share with you the posters for our performance (which I photoshopped) because I'm still very proud of them and also because you can maybe see some more aspects of the costumes on them. Also this way you get to see the Inspector, whom I didn't forget, but just wasn't able to find a good picture of right now.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moose, procrastination and an introduction

My big main project, the rococo dress, isn't going quite as fast as I would like it to, because fashion school keeps me busy. I still love it though :)
My other ongoing project, a jacket, is also still not finished, though I could definitely use it in this weather...
So today, there's more of a general update of sorts.
Last weekend, it was my good friend Anne's birthday and I made her a laptop bag/sleeve.

You can use it as a shoulder bag, but you can also detach the strap and use it as a laptop sleeve, so your laptop is all snuggly and safe when you put it in your regular bag :) It's made out of soft grey wool fabric and you close it with a simple button.

On the other side, I painted on a moose. She loves moose :)
And now let's take a look on the inside.

This is unfortunately the only picture I took of the inside, but at least you can see the actual "pocket" for the laptop (I used the laptopesque birthday card I made as a dummy because I didn't have a laptop on hand). I used dark green silk tafetta that I had left over from my graduation dress and in between the outer fabric and the lining there's a layer of fluffy fleece to make it extra snuggly for the laptop which I quilted a bit on the lining.
I really like the end product and it's a really great way to use up some left over fabric!

And now, as the label said: an introduction. Look who wants to say hello!

I have a new sewing machine!!! Yay!
I mean, don't get me wrong, I love my vintage Necchi (which is seriously about 60 years old) and I'm sure it's a much higher quality product than ANY new sewing machine I could buy. But the brand Necchi doesn't exist anymore so it's nearly impossible to get parts (even finding fitting presser feet is really hard) and almost no sewing machine shop will do maintenance on it. In fact I had to repair the power plug myself twice and I'm definitely not an electrician.
Also it doesn't have a button hole function, decorative stitches never worked properly and slowly but surely the thread tension adjustment is getting wonky.
So, because I figured I'd be sewing even more now that I'm in fashion school, I saved up my money for a while and now purchased a Singer Confidence 7470.

I already love it. It works great and is a lot of fun to sew with. I even like the decorative stitches which I usually find kind of useless. All in all a great purchase :)
And the first thing I sewed on it was a pretty little vintage-y cover for it:
I definitely spent way too much time on this thing... it's quilted, completely lined and has a pocket for the cables and pedal. At least now it's not only functional but also pretty :)

And now I have to stop procrastinating by writing a blog post and get to work on this thing...
It's due Tuesday and I still have 20 rows to go... Wish me luck!