engageantes

southerncalcosette  asked:

Which Christine costumes had the most love/care/devotion put into them, which have the most detail etc.? I've noticed the Spanish productions seem to take a lot of time to make their costumes super well!

(This post is really long so I apologize if the read more doesn’t work for those of you on mobile)

So in terms of love/care/devotion, details, tailoring and and faithfulness to the essence of the original design is important. 

Hands down, for me it will always be the US costumes. I’m biased because I worked in the shop and I spent half the time getting lectured on precision and the importance of tracing every line, cutting every seal and laying every trim JUST so. And it’s one of the first things I thought of when I read “care and devotion” in the question because it was just INSANE watching the way those things were built up from muslin bases. And I look at the US costumes and it’s just… so much thought was clearly put into them. Something as simple as the engageantes going from high to low (and being so damn fluffy while they’re at it):

As opposed to this, because this just looks really weird:

The costumes are at their best when they are in fact custom tailored to the actress, and hand me downs are generally pretty meh because we end up with things like sleeves that are too short, and baggy or blocky fitting bodices.

But WHEN they are custom made, MAN US costumes get my vote for best tailoring, hands down. 

It’s not even just the details, it’s the fact that they go above and BEYOND, I mean just LOOK at the way the flounce extends from the center of the bodice all around the hips. No other production bothers with that, most of them just attach the first flounce to the waist and call it a day. I’m also of course head over heels in love with the ornate detailing on the angel chestplate:

Then there’s the fact that you know I think the US Wedding gowns are freaking diamonds. Whereas a lot of versions of the wedding gown tend to be sparse in the lace on the skirt or sparse in the bodice decorations, the US ones strike a perfect balance between both portions and it’s made incredible ornate by that silver lace (hence DIAMONDS).

Sometimes I wish the Wishing gowns didn’t look like they had so many “straight lines”, which is the look the blue ribbon trim all around the gown can give when seen from the back of the theatre, but look at how gorgeous these backdrapes and panniers are:

Ungathered panniers bug the crap out of me. They hang straight and look weird:

I could go on but I feel like people are already rolling my eyes at me gushing about the US costumes yet again hehe.

BUT for the sake of fairness, I’m gonna talk about other productions too!

Keep reading

Random progress pic. Been working many hours on the collar and faux vest pieces and decorations.  Progress has been slow due to hand-sewing the appliqués; I originally thought I’d machine sew them, but the velvet on velvet was too slippery and they really needed hand-sewn.  Added a lot more hours but I think it’s turning out great :)  I’ve also been spending time on sewing snaps & closures at the front.

Next up is sleeve work & hem work. I already have the pleated cuffs created, as well as the velvet pieces that go on top, and appliqués sewn on them… but they need all the layers of trim, and the engageante lace - which I’m waiting to arrive in the mail.  I’ll also be working on the trimmings that go on the hem of the bodice.  I never realized how much trim is on this version until studying it closer!!  Love it.

The silver/blue trim was custom made because we couldn’t find anything remotely similar to the original.  It looks a lot cooler in real life, my phone camera doesn’t do it justice and makes the color look wonky.  Blame my poor basement lighting!!  There are three trims that go along the bodice hem and on the sleeves: a layer of the white trim (seen on the collar), layer of blue velvet ribbon (just arrived in the mail!), another layer of white, and then the intricate light blue looped-trim with tassels.  

We couldn’t find anything similar to the tassel trim, so I’m going to custom-make that too.  I’ll be dying white looped fringe home decor trim to the shade of blue I need, and sewing tiny tassels on.  Taking a closer peek at some reference photos, I’m almost convinced that the real deal might also add tassels on to a more basic trim.  I could be wrong, but it looks very custom to me!

More evidence of my theory is that some wishing gowns have the same, or similar looped trim, but different tassel arrangements…

 Tiered version

 A plainer arrangement

Because I can’t sew on the white & velvet trims until I stitch on the home decor trim, I have to wait until I dye the trim.  (These trims need to cover the top of the looped fringe trim, which is about ¾" wide.  You can see in the reference photos that you just sort of see the looped part).  I just got some proper dye tonight so that’ll be my next step.  The tassels can be sewn on at any point, so I don’t have to wait for those (they just got ordered today, so it’ll be a week or two before I get them).

And if you guys know me, I freaking love tassels; I am like a cat.  Fascinated by them.  And the mini ones are going to be so cute.  It took a while to find them online!  Only one seller had something remotely similar to what I needed.  But anyhow, tassels make everything cooler.  So I’m excited about that!

10

Dressing Gown #10

Modeled after Sierra’s version in the RAH 25th anniversary gala, it features a bodice, belt, and skirt made of jacquard silk.  The ruffles (and engageantes) are double-layered: a soft netting layer with scalloped trim underneath, and a cotton eyelet with a wider scalloped venice lace trim on top.  The front and back of the belt are decorated with lush appliques filled with sequins and pearls.  It also features custom bias tape around the bodice opening and an extended train on the skirt.

I want to thank Emily from the bottom of my heart for commissioning me and helping support what I love to do!

Want your own dressing gown or other custom replica, costume, clothing or accessory? Visit kaedralynn.com and see what I can do, and contact me there! :)

A few in-progress photos coming soon ;)

10

ALRIGHT LET’S GO. Like three of you are actually going to read this monster of an essay, but fuck I’m going all out.

Column 1: West End/UK

Column 2: US/Broadway/Vegas

Column 3: World Tour/South Korean/Aussie

Bodice:

Recent UK ones have had two layers of lace/embroidered fabric along the neckline (there’s also an older u/s gown with one layer of ruffle, which was chiffon trimmed in lace), gathered and stitched straight into the neckline and covered with  bias.

Unless it’s an understudy costume, the belt is usually decorated with a large beaded appliqué. It also actually ties closed, which is important to note becaaaaaaaause…

The US version does not. It’s a mock bow and it closes via magnetic two magnetic snaps on the end and one more small snap half way down the skirt to keep it from flapping open too much when she moves. It’s a plainer belt made of stiff fabric covered in white satin.

The neck ruffles are made out of the same burnout satin as the rest of the ruffles. It’s actually sewn in a zig zag pattern  to achieve that waterfall look. It’s edged all around in a smaller lace trim and bound with bias.

WT ones also have two layers of ruffle along the neckline, gathered and stitch straight into the neckline, the top layer is lace and the underlayer looks like burnout satin trimmed in lace. The neckline piping on the edges and the belt is actually trimmed with little pink and green flowers along the outer edge. It’s also tied closed. One really interesting thing is the ‘patching’ over where the darts/tucks usually are, both in the front and back. I think these are intentional (as opposed to a really clever way of hiding repairs) because they’re present on more than one Dressing Gown, which is just another element unique to the WT Dressing Gown.

To sum this part up really quickly, the UK and WT ones have had much more variety as to how the ruffles are done than the US ones (which has maintained a lot of consistency in recent years), so what I’m pointing out is not necessarily going to be the case for every gown you see.

Back Belt:

UK ones are usually pretty ornate, with a diamond shaped design going on, it does wonders for shaping the waist. 

US and WT ones are actually the exact same design, which blew my mind considering how different they are in every other aspect (and how how different all the other belt designs tend to look). Four pieces, one larger arch and one lower arch, the train of the skirt flowers out from the center. Much more effective aesthetically if you look at the US one, since the gathers are centered there rather than spread around the whole back of the garment.

The major difference between the two is just less than half an inch in size and of course the floral trim on the edges.

Engageantes: 

UK ones are two layers, and use the same material as the neck ruffles. Shorter in the front than in the back (which is important to note because some productions do NOT do this and it looks awful). I’m uncertain of exactly where on the arm the sleeve is supposed to hit since I’ve seen it anywhere from above the elbow to several inches below it. So it could either be a case of inherited gowns OR just a shift in aesthetic choice, which happens sporadically and without reason all the time.

US ones are the most complicated ones, with the bottommost layer being lace (a VERY expensive chantilly has been favored recently), then a burn out satin edged with lace, then a shorter scalloped lace on top, tied with a ribbon in the center. These various layers of lace give US engageantes their particularly 'fluffy’ look. Fun fact: The white ribbon was at one point pink, which they eventually did away with.

WT ones are once again the odd ones out with the sleeve actually coming gown over the engageante portion and adorned with a large bow in the front. One layer of lace.

Materials:

It varies. A LOT. So much. For all of them. A lot of it is pretty much just dependent on availability when they’re making a new one. I’ve seen older UK ones using a paisley silk for the bodice and I’ve seen newer ones use that same silk, but in between there have been floral print silks used for the bodices. What stays consistent is that the skirt and bodice fabric are always different. The lace changes just as much.

On the other hand, the US has stuck pretty resolutely with a different paisley silk (a GORGEOUS one at that) for almost a decade now. The bodice and skirt are always made of the same material. The lace on the edge of the ruffles changes so much… so so so much, just… so much. I could make an entire photoset just dedicated to different trims that have been used. Fuck me I probably will.

WT gowns have used what looks like a more opaque burnout satin with a scrollwork pattern for the most part, but the skirt has been a lot of different kinds of silk, and this pic is just a small sample: 

Silhouette:

UK gowns tend to drape a bit straighter on the wearer, if I had to think of a way to describe how it looks on a whole. US gowns are constructed to flatter the curves of the wearer when fit properly (hence my rant about new gowns the other day). WT gowns are… the worst in the fit department, even when properly tailored, they have never been particularly flattering to the wearer and tend to lumpy and shapeless, the wider sleeve doesn’t help either.

Okay… I think that about sums it up. That was fun. And it only took about two hours.

4

As requested: Undersleeves! (Part I)

Undersleeves were worn…well, underneath the sleeves of a dress and went from about wrist to elbow.  Also known as engageantes, these sleeves emphasized a woman’s modesty and could be removed or changed.  Usually white or off-white, the sleeves used either ties to attach to the gown or were kept on by an early form of elastic in the top casing.  They were a necessary part of the mid-19th century wardrobe.

First image from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, remaining images from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.