A modern girl in a 19th century world (robes_of_earth) wrote in thedarkupstairs,
A modern girl in a 19th century world

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Tia Dalma

I've always been a prop replicator. Since I was a little girl and I made a computer book so my brother and I could play Inspector Gadget, then i made a Johnny five out of lego, I hunted down a waistcoat exact to Sarah's from the Labyrinth when I wasin year 11, and I used to dress like Punky Brewster back when she played in prime time.

These days, most of my favourite movies are fantasy, or at least have wonderful props and costumes. I have a Harry Potter costume complete with wand and prefect badge, but i don't have anything really spectacular. So...

The beginnings of the Tia Dalma project!

To start with, for those of you not overly familiar with the details of the movie costume, here are some shots:

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Now, some of you already know how fussy I am with things like this, and I'll tell you now, I aim to be almost as good as Sith Camero when it comes to detail. That said, I obviously can't track down every single EXACT design, so while I'm being 'don't look twice and you'll be fooled' with this costume, the reality of it is that I'll be going for the vibe of the dress rather than having every flower and fringe be an exact replica.

Making a costume like this is about experiemtnation and moving things around- I certainly got an idea of what it felt like for them to construct it, once you get into your stride you find all sorts of neat things you could use!

I've been collecting bits and piece for this costume since the day I saw it, some of the stuff I've had in my collection since before that. To begin with, I'll have my brother run me up a 'base canvas' of the dress, and I'll take over with the embellishments. He's a fashion designer who specialises in re-creating 19th and 18th century women's clothes, and he's as fussy as I am!

Now, onto MY pictures!!

This is an 'inspiration board' I set up, just basically cobbling together the stuff I have on hand right now:

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Ta-da! Again, some things here are just in it for the vibe, they won't necassarily be going in the final piece.

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The corset netting is apparently VERY hard to find. I won't say exactly what mine is because I'm enjoying keeping the secret, but I'll give you a clue, it's not from a craft/fabric shop! That's a good trade secret to know in general, look everywhere for your elements- hardware shops, furniture detailers, junk shops, camping stores, discount stores, art supply shops, the supermarket...keep your lateral eye out. The red canvas cotton underneath is from a water-damaged curtain from the 1950s.

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Bits you can see here include strips of the braiding on a Victorian floor rug (falling apart anyway), hem trimmings from rotted silk Indian hippy dresses from the 60s, new braid I bought for pirate hats (oh well...), dyed cotton Indian bedsheet, dyed woollen crewellwork patches, tasselled trim from a 1930s lamp and some lace that turned out a bit too pink, so that alot with everything else here will get another dye job.

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Some Jewellery and shell fragments. The clip that holds the chicken foot and animal fang on Tia's necklace looks like a disc from an Indian bellydancer's chain, so I'm going to use one of these silver links that I have off an old anklet chain I bought years ago, that broke. The cowrie shells are from a friend just last week (handy!) and the beads are all random thrift over the years. I haven't got any rough glass beads like the one on Tia's necklace, but I know a bead shop/glassblower near the city who'll have some like that, or maybe be able to make up replicas.

The 'fang' is made from Sculpey (fancy modelling clay), one I made for a necklace ages ago, so a bigger one of that (and a little less wonky!) should od the trick. The loopy thing next to the shell fragment is a hook from a vintage fur stole- I lost the other half, but last time I checked my brother had a box full, so I'll be right! They hold the corset front, you can just see one of them under the tie of the belt in the costume photo.

The belt will be the first thing I'll make because I have all the stuff for it already.

Here's a sketch of the details:

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And here's a close-up photo of the rudimentary outlay:

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The shells and beads through the belt is actually a belt out of my everyday wradrobe that I already wear, I just put it there to give a bit of an idea of what the belt would look like completed. Of course, it'll all look much stronger and darker once it's been backed and dyed.

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The knobbly thing underneath there is some kind of Tibetan...thingie. I bought it yeeeeears ago at a festival, and I don't think it's that old (though you can never tell with Asian stuff)- it's mostly just to illustrate the kind of beads I'll be using to place between the cowrie shells -they're the ones labelled 'Tibetan resin beads' on the sketch, because the ones I have are resin copies- but if I have to take this thingie apart, I will.

So there you go! I'll get the belt done some time soon I think as I'm quite excited about how accurate it'll turn out, but the dress part will have to wait until I can afford to trade a little money. Doesn't mean I shouldn't stop collecting more stuff! I even thought about selling on some of it to costumers- Sith Camero found identical scarves to Jacks and he sold them for $132! They probably only cost him a fiver...
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