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)

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!

Duvet & Flange Are Strange Words

I moved into a new place June 2nd and have been obsessively sewing for home, as opposed to my usual fashion/accessories endeavors.  I just can’t stop!

A few months ago I made a duvet cover for my comforter out of lovely robin’s egg blue cotton and cream for the underside.  For a closure, I made simple ties.  Today I just finished some semi-matching flange pillowcases for accent.

I think I might start selling housewares in my Etsy shop.

Next project: cafe curtains to let some light in from my huge windows, while maintaining some privacy. :o)

Fashion Divorce, Fashion Make-up & A Pilot!

February 2010: Myself and my amazingly talented and devoted intern, Bethany, killed it and made an amazing collection to show for Fashion Week.  I did my biggest fashion show to date, it got rave reviews from the crowd and some press, including the Huffington Post & The AwlProject Runway asked me to audition for it’s 8th season and asked me to bring 10 pieces, as opposed to the 5 they asked of everyone else… and then I showed them the things I had worked harder on than anything in my entire life and the things I was most proud of ever and… they bashed me. I missed the final cut of contestants by one. Tim Gunn told me they’d call me that night to tell me if I was on or not.  I left the audition and made my way to my boyfriend at the time’s office to meet for coffee. I was shaking and decided that even if they wanted me, I would not accept.  I am far too sensitive to be put through the rigor morale of Project Runway’s intensity and editing. I didn’t get on, but I did realize that I was in desperate need of a fashion break.  After six years of nonstop selling, ups and downs, Etsy, customers, trends, & 16 hour days, I had to put it to rest.  I felt empty. I felt as though I had lost why I started sewing in the first place.  I’m not going to blame it on that bad PR audition, but it definitely left me questioning what I wanted of fashion.  I did not want to get into production.  I am too much of an artist to have the business-heavy skills it takes to be a real fashion designer in the fashion industry.  I was riding the wave between being a super indie handmade clothing artist and the fashion world in Vogue and I fell off my board towards the indie.  The fashion industry has a lot of evils.  I needed to re-kindle my love all-together.  I used to obsess over style.com and the fashion shows and magazines and fabrics and I found myself disinterested, feeling like a long lost daughter, unsure of her past. I pushed it away and grabbed for steady work with employers who weren’t myself; and with appointments and places to be rather than a self-made calendar.  I threw myself into acting much more wholeheartedly and my boyfriend and I broke up. I had some health problems, I kind of had a breakdown, and then winter hit. I moved out of the magnificent studio space that I had shared with ten peers, including Etsy’s founder, Rob Kalin, for three years.  The life I had known for three years was over. I was almost officially divorcing my fashion business.

Fast forward one year. My sewing studio had been collecting some dust, and I’ve become nearly completely absorbed in acting, but a glimmer started.  I sewed here and there and still sold accessories on Etsy and then a few months ago, I got a job teaching sewing lessons a few hours a week.  I made a few new dresses and pieces for myself…

Last week, all of my sadness and confusion and hard work came back full circle… Sometimes it just isn’t the right time… There were a few pieces that I was most proud of from my fashion show for Autumn 2010 back in February 2010… those things, combined with my dedication to acting (tons of classes, workshops, auditions, seminars, in the last two years) have paid the hell off.  I landed a tiny role on a new ABC fashion drama pilot called Americana. Casting was looking for SAG actors who were also fashion designers.  When I saw the posting, I screamed.  There had to be like 2 of us in the United States.  After weeks of deliberation on their part, I got it!!!! and on Thursday, three ensembles from my 2010 show that had been in a garment bag for two years awaiting their debut and two never-before seen pieces were walked down a runway on models on a freaking tv show with me as their real-life and tv designer.  This isn’t reality tv. This is a scripted Ashley Greene-starring pilot and it was utterly surreal.  I play a rival fashion design student of Ashley’s named Ann Marie. On top of it, I got to act with Emilie de Ravin of Lost & Roswell, which was my favorite show in high school. Lastly, the director of Americana is Philip Noyce, who also directed Clear & Present Danger, Patriot Games, The Bone Collector, and one of my favorite movies of all time, The Saint, which I have seen 27 times. I won’t disclose anything else.

My models & I

Hard work pays off.  I’m preparing to work just as hard from here on out.  Thank you, universe. Now, it’s time for my agent to come along….