Friday, 8 May 2015

Gold handmaiden robe

So I still have a few posts about the construction of the gold handmaiden. Now since I was stressed about finishing it in time for Celebration I worked a lot, but didn't take a lot of photos of the process.

The robe was constructed from velvet. I chose to do a separate hood and robe. The robe itself had a few challenges, not the least in the sleeves. Whenever I looked at pictures I had a feeling that there was simply too much fabric. I saw a lot of folds, but couldn't really see if they belonged to the sleeves or the body of the robe.

Above is one of my photos where I simply tried to trace all the folds and pieces of fabric. I also went looking for a lot of other kinds of costumes to see if I could find something similar. Since I think the costume has quite a clear Japanese influence I looked up different kinds of kimonos, and come upon the more ceremonial kind called "furisode"
The picture above was the closes I could find in getting the same kind of folds in the fabric. The thing with a furisode is that the sleeves are big rectangles of fabric.

When I had cut out the velvet it was time to put the symbols on. I was very happy that KayDee had been to the Power of Costume exhibition in Seattle, and she had taken a lot of pictures of the sleeves for me, including pictures that showed the whole markings.

This is my sketch of the symbols. It consists of the same symbol repeated four times in a square. For the symbols on the hood I used a single symbol, but for the sleeves and robe markings I used the square. Now this sketch is not proportional, it's actually too big. I did not have enough space to be able to have three sets of symbols, in a _I_ formation, but had to only use a _ _ formation, or else one of the symbols would have ended up on my sleeve.

Painting the symbols was actually quite simple. The velvet I used was transparent enough in a strong light that I placed the sketch under the fabric, under a kitchen lamp. and then simply traced the symbols with a red fabric pen.

Here is one half of the robe, showing the symbols and the shape of it.

When sewing the robe I interlined the velvet with a gold organza and used an old gold satin as lining. The lining is not attached to the robe at the hem, but hangs loose. The sleeves are not sewn totally shut, instead they are tacked together at the front, just above the symbol, and then the back of the sleeve is sewn together. This creates two "points" at the bottom of the sleeves, that are clearly visible in this reference photos.
There is gold braid piping all along the sleeves and the opening of the robe, but not the hem.

These last two photos show the finished robe, and hood.

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