onsdag den 5. november 2014

Lasercutting: branching into video tutorials

One of the main new things I have worked on during the maternity leave is lasercutting. I tried it out for the Icequeen ensemble, but after that I have worked on quite a few things.

A few people have asked how I get access to a lasercutter, and the answer is simple: FABLAB. Fablabs are fabrication laboratories, that allow normal people free access to high tech equipment like lasercutters, CNC cutters and 3D printers. There is a whole charter about it, but the main rules are:
  • No weapons
  • No commercial production
  • But DO DO DO share your knowledge!
As I am the only one at FABLAB RUC currently using the lasercutters for fabric it was thus natural to help the guys operating the Fablab in making an instruction video on how to cut fabric.


søndag den 2. november 2014

A step by step guide to a petticoat on instructables!

One of my last projects were this step by step guide to making a tulle petticoat for 50'ies dresses. I know I have posted one here a long time ago (in danish), but after I bought a pleating foot for my sewing machine it has become so much easier to make petticoats. I also started using my overlocker to treat the edges, giving a much less scratchy result.

So pop by and see my first instructable!

torsdag den 30. oktober 2014

The male corset

An other project I worked on during the maternity leave was a male corset.

I have wanted to make a male corset for quite some time, as as my own body was in no shape to get into a corset, this was the perfect time.

I found a model in Niels Laigaard Mikkelsen, a Makeup artist I have worked with on several occasions. Unfortunately the corset was finished very close to the birth of my son, so we do not have any fancy pictures of it, as I was using all my energy on my son.

I did however mannage to take some snapshots of the corset on a pillow, and I think it turned out rather lovely! The pink binding was rather hard to find, as it is lighter than fuchia but darker than pink, and we affectionally named it flamboyant pink:)

mandag den 27. oktober 2014

Another corset for Lady Effulgent

During my maternity leave I also created another corset for the burlesque performer Lady Effulgent, -this time a pink corset. This time she rhinestoned the corset herself after a sample I made, and to be honest I think she made it look stunning!

The corset was then used for an act together with Lea Blue Delmas for Copenhagen Grotesque Burlesques Way out west -Vauderville party in August, where Lea Blue delmas wore the black corset with rhinestones that I made for Lady Effulgent last year.

Don't they just look divine?

Photo by Mariam Zakarian

lørdag den 18. oktober 2014

The long silence

I know there has been a very long silence on the blog, but as you know from the last posts, I have been pregnant and am now the proud mother of a 5 month old little boy named Erik.

Now I haven't been completely inactive with the sewing machine, so in the coming days I am going to post about the different projects.

So, let's start with something for myself during the pregnancy:

When I was pregnant I was so lucky to go for a pregnancy shoot with one of my favorite photographers to work with Tine Sørensen. I made two peignoirs for the shoot, and the resulting photos were just what I hoped for.

søndag den 9. marts 2014

The Ice queen ensemble -boa, stola, skirt and photoshoot!

Unfortunately I did not take a lot of pictures when I made the skirt, stola and boa, but hopefully the photoshoot pictures will tell you a lot.

The most challenging part of the last three pieces was definitely the fishtail skirt. While the original design called for a simple pencilskirt, I soon changed my mind and ended on an elaborate fishtail design, with fur trimming and loads of rhinestones, as this matched the overall design much better.
Not having a fishtail skirt pattern, I created one from the pencilskirt pattern I had for Lady E: I elongated the pattern to floorlength in the front and a train in the back, and added plenty of width all around. Then I was merely a matter of putting the mockup on Lady E and mold the pattern into what I liked.

 The next step was to add a fur trimming all around the lower hem. Here it was very important to know that the dress had the right length already, as the pattern for the fur trimming would be a copy of the pattern of the skirt. Thus, a 5 cm change in skirt length would alter the pattern for the furtrimming radically, and naturally I did not want that to happend.
So once the length was decided, I made a paper pattern of where I wanted the fur, and tested it on the skirt. Here I did take some pictures:

I did have some minor altercations to do, but in the end I was ready to cut the fakefur, sew each panel together and attach it to the skirt. The to of the fur was sewn on right sides together with the skirt fabric, in order to fluff up the fur a little extra, and the bottom was sewn together with a simple overlock.

Cutting out the fakefur was an interesting thing in itself: Because of the risk of cutting the fur strands, you do not use a scissor. Instead a sharp knife is used on the back, cutting only in the bottom layer of the fur. This ensures that all furstrands are intact AND that you have as little loose strands flying around as possible. The last this is not to be underestimated, I had fakefur strands all over the house for 2 weeks afterwards...

Above the fur the skirt was decorated with rhinestones, creating a gradient from the fur and up into the skirt, just like of the bra and corset. However, as the skirt had a much bigger surface to be coveres, the stones were not set as close as on the other pieces, but I still think I must have crossed 2000 stones on the skirt. I really should measure and calculate to figure it out:)

The skirt was finally closed with a zipper, placed at the top of the front slit. I put in the zipper upside down, so the skirt could be removed elegantly on stage, and the slit length be varied by opening the zipper more or less.

So, that was the skirt. Now on to the easy part:
The boa and stola were both relatively easy to make, as they consist of rectangles of fakefur sewn together into tubes. The stola was closed in both ends and had satinbands attached to tie it on with, whereas the boa had a little more going on:

Here the boa had to be attached to the arms with two elastic bands, that I covered with matching satinband like you would on a garterstrap. It was also decorated with wooden balls painted and rhinestoned to match, so the whole boa looked a little more exclusive.

The balls together with the cvorset and bra,  before they were put on the boa.

All in all both boa and stola were easy to make, and if anybody feels the need for one, I apparently added the measurements to one of my design sketched above.

and now onto the exciting bit: The photoshoot!

I was so lucky that I could asemble a really good team for the shoot: Lady Effulgent was ofcource the model, then we had the ever talented and crazy Niels Laigaard as makeupartist and Michael Tonsberg as photographer. Niels I have worked with before and absolutely love, and I have admired Michaels pictures for a long time now, so it was all very exciting!

And here are the pictures:

fredag den 21. februar 2014

The Icequeen ensemble -the headdress

The next interesting part of the ensemble was to make the headdress. My beloved burlesquedancer Lady Effulgent had contacts that could help us get access to a lasercutter and also teach me how to make my patterns for it and use it. Very exciting!

We started out making a rough pattern for the headdress, so it sat in the right position on the head. An interesting note here is, that the perspective of the viewer is very important here! I started out sculpting the headdress while Lady E was sitting, but the silouette was all wrong when she stood up. We then realised that we needed to check everything while she was wearing her showheels, in order to know just how it all would look.

Next step was to design the snowflake pattern on each of the peaks. I looked at a lot of different snowflakes on google, and this is what I ended up with. It was a very rough sketch, but it was enough to go by and after it got scanned I had something to work with at the lasercutting center.

At the center I learned to clean up my sketch and turn it into a vector pattern using CorelDraw. This was really fun, as I originally started out playing with this program when I was 13 (I used Corel Photopaint for 5-7 years before I switched to Adobe Photoshop for my drawings).
Using this vector we first tested the pattern on cardboard, and then when we were happy with it, cut it out in 3 mm filt. The filt is flexible but solid enough to make the self-supporting snowflake pattern. It should handle accidental crushing better than a stiff material, and still be able to carry the weight of the rhinestones.

To asssemble the headdress, I glued the peaks together and onto a thin layer of filt. I planned to use a gluegun, but unfortunately did not have time to buy one. Instead I used wood-glue, something I rather regret now:
First off, I tried to brighten the cream white of the filt with clothpaint. In order to quicken the drying process, I put the whole piece in the oven at 75 celcius. The woodglue did not take kindly to that. It turned an horrible shade of burnt orange, that clashed with the white and blue colortheme.
Secondly, when I started to move the headpiece around to work on it, I realised the woodglue did not keep it together very well, and I had to re-glue most of the areas.

All in all a very good reason to buy that gluegun:/

Rhinestoning the headpiece was pretty much the same story as with any other piece of this outfit: Patience and more patience. Between gluing everything else and this, I had to cut down my nails (I broke one at work) and found out that having long nails to grab the stones with is a huge help in rhinestoning. And thus, not having long nails slows me down.

To attach the headpiece, I added one hairclip in each side, and checked that I had enough hairpins to secure with behind each spike. It held on very tight!

Hold tight, as next up is the boa, stola and skirt, all covered with fakefur!

fredag den 14. februar 2014

Tutus for kids!

Yeah, these will definitely not fit me, but that is ok, -it is for a colleagues daughter as a thank you present for the children's bed I got from her for free.

The first tutu (the pink one) had a 1 m diameter of the skirt and thus is a little big, as it is almost as wide as most children are tall at that age (its for a girl up to 5-6 years old). So I made a smaller tutu by skipping the two top layers of tulle (the orange one), and ended up with a nice 80 cm diameter.

Anyways, I guess other people would have fun making one too, so here is a little tutorial.

25 cm matching non-stretch cloth
2 m dark tulle (150 cm wide) (should be skipped for smaller diameter)
2 m tulle in a lighter color (150 cm wide)
appr. 50 cm elastic

base layer:
cut a rectangle of 25 x 60 cm from the non-stretch cloth and fold over all edges. Fold over one of the long sides to create a tunnel for the elastic band.

Cut the dark tulle into four pieces (each 2 m long):
2 pieces of 40 cm
2 pieces of 35 cm

Cut the lighter tulle into six pieces (each 2 m long):
2 pieces of 30 cm
2 pieces of 25 cm
2 pieces of 20 cm

Sew each layer of tulle on to the base layer, starting with the widest piece (top piece). Pleat the tulle in 6:1. I bought a pleating foot for my pfaff machine, and it does it by itself as a 6,66:1 pleat (you can adjust the pleating length). The layers should be spaced evenly out on the baselayer.

Here you can see the lines from where the tulle layers are sewn onto the baselayer.

A little video showing how my pleatingfoot works.

Keep the tulle from catching on anything while you sew, and make sure you do not accidentally sew fold and sew over the baselayer (I did, and it was very annoying).

When all the tulle has been attched, insert the elastic band and measure how tight it should be on the kid. There is no need to sew the baselayer together in the side, the tulle should push everything in place.

Et voila!
One tutu is ready for being dragged through mud and glitter:)

The size of the tutu can be adjusted for older kids (like grownups) by altering the length of the baselayer and correspondingly the tulle length. Remember that you need appr. 6-7 m tulle for each m baselayer. As I said, all five layers makes for a rather big tutu, so experiment with either 3 or 4 layers for the real kids.

fredag den 7. februar 2014

The Ice queen ensemble

As I have mentioned before, I have my very own pet burlesque dancer Lady Effulgent, that I occasionally sew for. A big relief in my time of volume, as this means that I can still make huge gowns that are larger than life!

 Foto by Pao-Lung Tsai

This February Lady Effulgent needed a dress for the "Wicked Waltzes at the Russian Cabaret Verboten", aka Copenhagen Burlesque's winter party. With the theme set as a winter wonderland, I soon came up with a costumedesign, that we both liked: The ice queen ensemble.

 (yep, that is how my conceptdrawings looks like today, rather random, and often on whatever paper is avaliable. Also: I store them as crappy photos taken with my old smartphone that has a rather poor camera. )

As such, we believed this would not be such a hard dress to make. I had already made her both a corset and a pencilskirt before, so nothing new there. So we added a little bit of finesse to the design: For the headdress we wanted to try out lasercutting, and why not cover corset, bra and headdress in rhinestones?
Snow glitters after all.

Yup. This is going to take more than one post to tell you about!

The Ice corset and bra, and how to become philosophical from too much rhinestoning

A rough calculation told us that the corset alone would need 5600 stones, that one of us was going to glue on the corset by hand. Oh, and we wanted an iciclepattern on the corset too.

 So, I sewed up one of my by now classical single layer underbusts: 1 layer of coutil, same fabric for boning channels, spiralsteels and flatsteels for boning and nice big grommets to make it easy to take off on stage.

As I am a controlfreak, I also ended up doing the rhinestoning. That way I was sure to get the corset exactly as I wanted it.

Now, I am becoming quite fast at adding rhinestones, but 5600 stones are not set in one day. So after a couple of evenings rhinestoning, I ended up rather philosophical on the subject of sewing and rhinestones:

 Aaaalmost there!

A lot of people comment on me being creative... I find that somewhat amusing.
Honestly; creativity really isn't the main characteristic you need, when making big bold dresses.

Creativity is good and nice and entertaining. Creativity is what gives you the initial design, and it helps you along the way, when stuff blows up and you have to well, be creative.
But most of the time, what you need is dedication. Dedication, Precision and Patience.

You need to find references for your concept, you need to find the right material at the right price. You need to find a pattern, alter it, test it, and then alter it again, just to be sure you don't fuck up your expensive cloth. You need to sew the dress and then rip up the seams because it wasn't perfect. You need to take your time doing things right, and when you fuck up, you fix them. And when you decide you want to use 5000+ rhinestones, you sit down and glue each and every one of them on, in the right pattern and in the right spot, no matter how long it takes. Because at this point, you just made the dress of your life and god damn it, it's going to be perfect!

So, creativity really isn't that big a thing for me. Nor is the ever elusive 'talent' everybody seems to be obsessing about. Having an inherited talent is absolutely useless, if you do not back it up with hours and hours of hard work to improve yourself. And this is where motivation and inspiration comes in.

Nobody does anything without some sort of motivation, and everything is possible with the right motivation.
Having fun, getting praise or mere inspiration, it doesn't really matter what rocks your boat. If you get it from doing something, you get motivated, you will keep on doing it and you will become good at what you do.

So that is why I am having loads of fun, doing the same menial task 5600+ times.

I am not creative.
I am merely so inspired by the project, that I just HAVE to see it done. And then I'll become good on the way.

Minor rant over, it should be safe to come out now:)

The corset ended up with 6350 stones on it and it is sparkly! We also bought a white bra to match, and covered the cups in matching rhinestones, approximately 1450. So the total of rhinestones is currently 7800 pcs with more to come.

fredag den 31. januar 2014

Uprising by Lady Effulgent

I've been involved in Copenhagen Burlesque for approximately a year by now, helping out at the shows and sewing for one of my favourite performers there: Lady Effulgent. 
It is a load of fun, and a way for me to make costumes that are more elaborate and showy than even my ordinary 'larger than life' dresses.

This fall we had the event "Dark City, Dreamy dystopia" and the Lady and I had out first collaboration in the show 'Uprising'.

 Photo by Maxmarkov.com

For the show I made a corset, a bumtail bow, a fishtail-skirt that could be transformed into a pencil-skirt and a dress to cover it all up in the beginning. Combined with a few bought pieces, a shitload of rhinestones and some handsome blokes, we had a nice setup for her act:
Lady Effulgent: The uprising

fredag den 24. januar 2014

The nude underbust

After making the NYE dress, I decided to modify the pattern from a 6 panel piece to a 7 panel, making it possible to create an even more dramatic silouette with a stronger hip to waist curve.

The nude underbust is a test run on that pattern, with a single layer of coutil, cotton twill tape for waisttape, spiralsteels and flatsteels as boning and cream satin for binding and lacing. Now, I did get a rather amazing figure from the corset, as I had modified it to reduce the waist 2,5 cm / 1 inch extra compared to the NYE dress. And it did fit as a dream.

...I just didn't take any pictures at the time.

I planned to make a photoshoot with it, with loads of cream and white colors, and I even started collecting nice accessories. And then I got pregnant.

Now, 5-6 months later (still rather pregnant btw), I'm not seeing a photoshoot happening for this little thing any time soon. So, in order for it to at least be shown, you get a picture of it on my mannequin. Unfortunately corsets just don't look as good on a non-squishable mannequin, so there are some rippling in the fabric around the waistline and the silouette is not as marked as it was in person.

Looking at it now, so many months later, I can see the potential to bring it to a new level, as I got some pretty lace in cream lying around and just got some new rhinestones that will match the color theme quite well. 

So this piece might just be my motivational treat to get my figure back, once everything calms down.

mandag den 20. januar 2014

Victorian winter

I have not been very active with photoshoots this winter, so instead I have a little treat for you from last winter: A pair of well to do victorians, posing to the photographer.

The photo was taken by Rene Bang at Christiansborg on a cold December day in 2012. Both outfits were made by me, Jacob is wearing a set made specifically for him, and Sascha Norsbo my promenade dress.

It was a very odd thing seeing another person wearing one of my dresses, but I think that Rene, Jacob and Sascha together created such a good picture, that it was quite worth it.

torsdag den 16. januar 2014

50'ies trainride

In early summer 2013 I finished a 50'ies dress for myself. By now I've made a few of them like the yellow dress and the striped dress, and I got the basic shape down quite well. This time I thus focussed on the details of the dress: A wide standing collar, matching cuffs, scarf and belt. I had my trusted white petticoat and a matching pair of shoes, that although not vintage did the job quite well, so I was ready for a little trip.

At 'Græsted Veterantræf' a weekend filled with vintage vehicles of all kinds, I was so lucky to find a nice matching train, with the same gray tone as my dress and a red stribe to match my lipstick! How lucky can you get?

'Sølvgrisen' (the silver pig) is an old lady from 1952, that used to work near where I grew up in Lyngby Taarbæk municipality. She is currently living in Græsted, where the nice people from Nordsjællands veterantog takes good care of her.

Photographer: Anders Hansen