Costume Design for YouTube Webseries Malcontent’s Lab!

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Hey y’all,

A few months ago, I was commissioned to create an original design for a new webseries. I designed,  created a pattern for, and constructed a custom steampunk-inspired lab coat for the titular character in the new YouTube series, Malcontent’s Lab for actress Alana Jackler this past summer. Designs were bounced around and around, playing with elements of the late 1800′s, as well as Futurist aspects. Over the course of about 5 weeks I designed, constructed, and finished this giant job and you can see the process below… Malcontent’s Lab is one of the many shows on the YouTube channel, ScifiRiot.

 

Alana Jackler in Malcontents Lab

Alana Jackler in Malcontents Lab

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The coat took approximately 22 hours and the process included preliminary sketches, merging sketches and then a final sketch was approved.

My sketches for the coat

My sketches for the coat

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So the sketch on the bottom left was the one picked, yet I would include a purple tulle underskirt to soften the hardness of the coat and also to convey a little fantasy in the character.

2. The next step was drafting the pattern! I did a simple bodice design with a full circle skirt and then chopped one side of the front bodice and enlongated the other. This would give that asymmetrical center front and create the palette for those leather straps and buckles you can see in the drawing.

3. Construction/sewing!

The pinned bodice pieces

The pinned bodice pieces

The bodice with the open skirt pinned

The bodice with the open skirt pinned

THE FINISHED PRODUCT!

THE FINISHED PRODUCT!

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The finished product :o)

The finished product :o)

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A LAST MINUTE ADDITION: a little M emblem, she beckons the idea of a superhero for herself

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;O)

Making Old Good // Decorating @ Home

About six weeks ago my boyfriend and I took up residence in a 122 year old Downtown Jersey City apartment, relocating from Brooklyn after ten years for him and seven for me. It was a big and well-needed shift and we love it. Despite the fact that our building has survived several wars, yes, It’s a trendy Pre-pre-pre-pre War… (It’s been around since before the Spanish -American War), it has needed some TLC, which I love doing.

After moving in, I couldn’t wait to do research on the building and found that it had been a saloon in 1900, owned by a German named Gustav; and our landlord told us that it went on to become a boardinghouse….. Not to start the idea train, but I am thinking saloon+boardinghouse = whorehouse!

Photo: IFC Films // House of Pleasures

Back to renovations….The hugest undertaking to date has been the re-modeling of a pantry closet off the kitchen. Flaking paint, rounded walls, poor workmanship to seal off what used to have been a shared bathroom complete with ancient flooring kept past tenants from using this large walk-in pantry off the kitchen, yet without much storage in the entire apartment, we found it necessary to bring the space to utilization, we had to fix it. I, being a Bob Vila/Norm Abram fan since I was around nine years old, with parents who fix everything, dove into this/these projects.

I bought paneling, paint, and with a lot of sweat c/o a handsaw, I managed to cover the possibly lead-inflicted surfaces with the white paneling and also painted the existing bead-board a lovely light blue. Lastly, I brought in inexpensive black and white tile laminate flooring, which transformed the space to a whole new look. It’s a lot better. We still are in disbelief that no other tenant had touched some of the antiqued space since the ’60s.

More to come. ;o)

Spring / Law & Order SVU Sketches

Photo: Jessica Lynch

Photo: Jessica Lynch

I’ve got Spring Fever, cabin fever, what have you. I want outside time asap!

Here are the finished drawings I did for a Season 14 episode of Law & Order SVU:

Copyright 2013 Desira Pesta

Copyright 2013 Desira Pesta

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Pants Re-do

I bought these Talbot’s pants at a thrift shop a few months ago because I liked their odd fabric and thought I could turn them into something better.  They sat in my drawer for a while until this morning,when I decided to give them new life.  They fit poorly, wide in the hips and crotch; and then tapered into a strange high-water.  The bottom hem was a solid 1.25″, so I dropped that and also took the pants in about 2″ on each side overall. I meticulously pinned and sewed and re-pinned and sewed again to achieve a skinny pants look. The original fit was again, odd, so it took a lot of tweaking before I got them right.  I am happy with the results and look forward to doing more of my pants. :o) They went from a size 10 to about a 6.

Talbot's Size 10 Pants Before + After

Talbot’s Size 10 Pants Before + After

A Year in Furs

Call it winter blues, call it writer’s block, I have been been working less in the last month after the holidays than usual.  These moments of less activity kind of bum me out, but I think I am winding down from a crazypants year of hyper-activity! I have to remind myself what I have done because whenever I am feeling “lazy”, I mull over my past projects in my mind and go, “Oh!, right, I did that.”

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That refers to my being cast as Ann Marie, Ashley Greene’s rival in the ABC pilot, Americana, using my own designs to portray a fashion designer. The pilot was sadly not picked up, but this was my first opportunity to be able to showcase my two loves, fashion and acting.

On Americana with my designs!

On Americana with my designs!

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That refers to my first theater production with my old theater company, Homebrewed, back in April-May, which I served as stage manager & actor in.

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That also refers to the completion of & performance of my first full length play, Crystal Atlas, at the end of May

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That also refers to the completion of a one-act play, Yess, Texas, which I also made 9 costumes for (my Spring 2013 Collection) and performed with my new theater company as part of Williamsburg Fashion Weekend.

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That also refers to the wood-nymph photoshoot I held with one of my best friends of said collection in the woods where I grew up.

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That would also refer to the fact that I got cast as a featured wife of a warlord in one of my favorite director’s, Darren Aronofsky’s, newest film, Noah. I got to be a part of the amazing experience of this biblical times feature complete with mud, rain, and amazing sets galore.

Me on Noah

Me on Noah

 To be continued…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from 1969

I haven’t blogged in like months. Wow. Well, the holidays came and went and for the second year in a row, my family, bo and I visited the Bethel Woods Center, the museum and venue which now stands on the site of Woodstock in 1969.

It is a religious experience for my parents and for me in that you can feel the essence of those times still thumping and pumping through the veins in the earth there. The museum is gorgeous and well-done and included hundreds of quotes, artifacts, full-size period vehicles decked out in great flower power paint jobs and lots and lots of clips and films showcasing a lot of the concert. Two rooms have at least 18 ft. screens showing footage and actual performances. My favorite, Joe Cocker, the tie-dyed Brit with his blue leather starred beatle boots opens the film show, as I laugh continually at his idiomatic mannerisms and gestures when performing. As a young person, I became enamored with the music and styles of the 1960′s thanks to a pair of hippie parents equally enamored. Spouting every word when tapes and records were on, the second concert of my life was The Monkees at ten or eleven.

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I only wish that my generation and the one younger could react to the current climate in some way similar to that of the Sixties and Seventies. The music, art, literature, and ideologies that emerged from the time of Woodstock brought forth a fervent youth so potent, that change actually came about. These days technology is shielding us from each other and ourselves. We have grown into a “me” culture, hellbent on satisfying our own needs, mostly shallow and selfish. Technology is simultaneously bringing us together and pushing us far far apart. We have lost touch with spirit, sensation, honesty, purity, and singlemindedness in communication. Things claiming they want to bring us together are more so hoping we buy the products advertised in the same places we hope to share time. Life has lost it’s beauty, it’s simplicity, it’s depth, and it’s emotion. I only wish I didn’t have a phone glued to my side all day. I only wish people still called one another and spent time without looking at work emails. We used to connect so much harder and stronger without all of this stuff clogging the airwaves and our brains. Music wasn’t only about creating a complicated algorithm to sell a record in the Sixties. Many many many musicians expelled tunes that were directly in line to their political and social beliefs and dreams. Music was made to create peace, understanding, comradery, hope, anger, outrage. It wasn’t even made, it was often an artistic outlet or even almost regurgitation of feeling. It was pure emotion more oft than not with Richie Havens improvising “freedom” while onstage at Woodstock, a direct anthem for black America and youth in general. Jim Morrison sang of shamanism and death, exposing his need for escapism in music and in life. Janis Joplin’s lyrics might have been simpler, but her raging screams brought light to a fighting angry soul within. Simon and Garfunkel’s peaceful lullabies told us tales of proposed quiet and rest, narratives of the marijuana culture that so desperately searched for life to be a lovely journey. Music was an escape, a newspaper headline, a beating heart trying to get yours to beat along, a lullaby for political sleep, a draft-dodging credo, enlightenment, it was electric and transitory and completely changed what it had been before. There were top 40 songs and there were the DJ’s who gave others a chance, seeing merit in something other than money. Live concerts, like today were experiences together, feelings had in tandem. With hands linked, arms outstretched to the sun, voices raised, and fervor brewing, the children of the 1960′s rocked our world. Why can’t we do that again?

Kollaborating With Kollabora

So I have been involved with the great company Burdastyle since 2007, working for them & with them and am so proud of how huge the site has become. Check it out, if you haven’t already. Nora Abousteit, (one of the co-founders of Burdastyle, a woman of all trades, author, founder….), just c0-launched her newest creation, Kollabora . Propelling the DIY movement to a whole other level along with those who have also fostered it (Etsy, Threadbanger, etc.), wooooooo

“Kollabora is a social platform for DIYers, consisting of a craft supply marketplace and multiple maker communities linking to projects, supplies, and how-tos. Kollabora soft-launched sewing, knitting, and jewelry making communities with fashion-forward projects, and plan to expand into many more DIY communities, including home decor.”

They graciously send me a beautifully packaged and wrapped “Sewing Kit”, which came complete with a paper pattern in a variety of sizes, some fabric yardage, and a booklet of instructions.

They sent me some beautiful black and white dot cotton/silk blend fabric from Mood Fabrics. There wasn’t enough fabric to do the front and back in the dotted print, so I brought out some red raw silk and made the back and bias tape with it, respectively. I also used some black woven silk for the little bitty pocket and decided to do a lined pocket verses the suggested simple layer hemmed pocket.

The pattern was super easy to use and the instructions were super easy to follow.  I went with the Large size because I am 5’10″ and it fits pretty well!  There was also an option to do a dress or tunic version, which I will try next time.  I think this is a great pattern for a nightgown! I will make hundreds.

WHAT I LIKED:

**The inclusion of french seams, versus a regular seam.  French seams are very strong and I am happy that users can learn how to do them because they are rather easy. They are not only for more advanced garments either!

** Photos in the sewing guide, which are great for those who are visual learners

**nice thick pattern paper, great for re-use (tissue really falls apart after a while)

**It’s a fast project! If you’re an advanced seamstress, you can really whip this out fast and who doesn’t love that! If you are a beginner, you should have no trouble finishing this in a day.

** The wonderful thoughtful packaging

**How easy it was to upload photos to this site!

So, my top is a little 101 Dalmations or “What’s black and white and red all over?”, but I love b&w and red! Silk city, baby!

Thanks, Kollabora!