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  1. mdb's Avatar
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    Jul 31, 2013, 6:50 AM - Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #1

    So this is not really a movie costume.. but I thought it was different enough from what other projects I have shared, just to show diversity This outfit starts as a ballet costume, becomes a full blown diva gown c1881 and then is worn under a dressing gown for the title song. All on stage and all changes by cast not crew. And only a handful of seconds each time. There are some notorious stories of the skirt failing as well.

    So first of all the big diva costume:
    Hamburg, mid 90s:
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    World Tour (reused Aussie costumes)
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    So those are my main influences. The bold contrast of the Hamburg and the overall bling factor of the Aussie/World Tour The Aussie version has a sixth tab over the waterfall drapery at the back which kind of makes it my favourite of all It makes the stage change harder but hey, it's super pretty

    The dance costume underneath has as much variation. The Aussie and US skirts have soft velvety ropes vs plain cord used elsewhere. So guess what I'm aiming for
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    This is the side hip of a US costume.
    So, someone who saw this exhibit (one of the US tours) said the ropes were in fact tubes of velvet. And in fact were basically rolled strips of velvet as opposed to being sewn in to tubes. This has been confirmed by people in the workshops (sigh, so envious.) I finally lucked in to some stretch velour that is a close match to my velvet already used to make this task even easier.

    So finally my work:
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    Collection of materials. This hoard is a decade in the making. The rope skirt at the top will be replaced as this was made way back when I had no idea what the skirt ropes were made from in the Aussie show. The bodice and faux bodice pieces are centre bottom.

    Dance outfit overhaul:
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    Faux bodice (attaches to the top of the Diva skirt), bodice decorations, decorations on the bodice with old rope skirt. The centre front is made from strung beads in gold. These are heavy and I hadn't made them yet. They are centre right in the photo of the hoard
    The bodice decorations are made from two layers of fusible interfacing on the back of a plush velvet. The border is gold cord prich stitched in place. The gold shapes are gold metal organza Heat n Bonded to the velvet. Since then I have sewn bugle beads in a herringbone pattern around the inside edges and couched the outlines in fine gold cord.

    Underskirt:
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    To support the heavy drapery, and also allow the onstage change, the underskirt cannot be made of hoops. The gown Carlotta wears, and the Princess and other ladies of the chorus do, but this skirt needs to be put on in a specific way- wrapped from the front. The stage versions do all use tulle as I have but I interpreted the layers a bit.
    There is 30m of netting on there. Two layers zigzagged together as a really firm base, shaped in gores with the back seam open. Then short tiers of pleated net sewn to that and two longer layers over that and finally a single layer of net to enclose all the flounces and prevent them catching on the legs or inside of the skirt. The waist and each side of the back opening are sewn as well to again prevent catching.

    Overskirt and drapery:
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    Waterfall drapery, I have a how to plot your own guide on my site: waterfall drapery mdb- costuming it includes variations on the theme

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Old apron drape, but it shows the bodice and faux bodice well.

    Decorations:
    The tabs that hang from the waist are decorated in almost every way possible! Velveteen circles are Heat n Bonded to the shot green taffeta. Then I used an awl to poke a hole at the bottom of each and threaded some braid into that and hand sewed the trim all around each circle:
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    Several months/years later of sort of but not really working on them:
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    Bugle beads covering the gold on the bodice decorations (also cord couched around each shape) and appliques made from the Saree and three piece. The Saree pieces were all fray checked and hand cut then glued to the velveteen. The appliques made from the three piece outfit were Heat n Bonded to the taffeta.
    Each tab was machine sewn to a lining and gold ribbon machined around the edges and then trim hand sewn over that.

    And most recently I have started sewing the jewels on...
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    Oh there is way more to go on than that! More appliques to be made as well.

    And trialing all the skirt layers to see what I liked:
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    That brocade is real metal with a shot and warp printed ground but it just is too fine a repeat to really hold its own against all the trim. So I'll stick with the original green skirt and start sewing ribbon to red shot taffeta to make the pleated hem.

    Tonight I Heat n Bonded the last of the embroidered pieces of the three piece outfit. You can see the tunic fronts quite well. The waterfall drapery hem was Heat n Bonded too. Using pins and lunch paper to shape and prevent scorching. Still melted some of the plastic beads but I will go over them individually as I hand sew the ribbon on the green side.

    Tomorrow I'll be bonding the fill in shapes on the tabs to make them a little more blingtastic.


    And I have run out of spaces to post images!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. this space left blank RPF Premium Member James Kenobi 1138's Avatar
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    Jul 31, 2013, 9:01 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #2

    Neat idea for a project, looks good so far.
  3. mdb's Avatar
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    Jul 31, 2013, 8:47 PM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #3

    Some more progress today included getting the left over trim cut and about ready to be stuck on the costume, and then the big pieces bonded ot the costume:
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    I think I am about 1/3 of the way with the main trim if that....

    The apron drapery needs lots of appliques added. The green of the waterfall drapry needs at least two rows of ribbon. The skirt iself needs scroll work between each hanging tab. The hem (red taffeta) needs to be completely covered in ribbon, pleated and sewn in place then a lattice of gold ribbon made to hang from the apron trape and the top of the pleated hem.

    And then all the stones I can get on the sucker as well as the dance outfit. But I'm loving that I am getting the effect of the Hamburg costumes even if there are some clear differences.
  4. Freya Willia's Avatar
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    Jul 31, 2013, 9:43 PM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #4

    This is stunning - the underskirt netting alone impressed me. I have zero patience for pleating/layering/sewing tulle.

    I also love the green and red... very Byzantine. I have never seen the show, and I wasn't curious until now I have to confess.

    Ill definitely watch for updates on this.
  5. mdb's Avatar
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    Aug 1, 2013, 1:43 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #5

    Thank you The movie for me is a drinking game, not a fan. But the stage production has some really lovely moments as well as all the crazy costumes The net skirt is amazing- I was so excited when I saw photos of the originals surrounded by the stuff . Was looking in to finishing this for D*C last year. That whole underskirt rolls up to the size of a cushion With careful packing it just about allowed me to bring Darth Talon, Shae vizla and that gown. Now I'm thinking I may be able to go another year (not this) and bring this gown and Mina (red fully pleated gown) and my Blood dragon. It would be nice to go from gaudy, to elegant to bad ass

    And in a simliar related note, I have lots of pieces from now dead sarees and some may be suitable for A cersei gown, so long as I find a suitable gold to go with it I may pick them put and iron them and see how they like heat n bond or fray check.
  6. mdb's Avatar
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    Aug 4, 2013, 2:19 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #6

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A few more pieces Heat n Bonded between the gold shapes I had slaved over with hand sewing and fiddly monofilament.....

    Also two rows of ribbon sewn to the pleated flounce.

    Also, this costume is so OTT but perfectly appropriate to a late 19thC French opera performer at the Opera Garnier (which I have visited XD). The 25th anniversary recording at the Royal Albert Hall is opulent but doesn't quite capture the magic of the stage show. It was designed as a magic trick- everything appearing and disappearing from an empty stage. We go from the final moments of the lair (with lots of stage dressing) to nothing for the curtain call. In a similar way that (Bram Stoker's) Dracula was supposed to be nothing but costumes creating the atmosphere

    I may get a few more stones sewn on tonight but I have put away the sewing machine because the ribbon is driving me insane!
    Last edited by mdb; Aug 4, 2013 at 2:24 AM.
  7. mdb's Avatar
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    Aug 10, 2013, 1:47 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #7

    Click image for larger version. 

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    So excited! The hem is five widths of fabric with five rows of ribbon sewn to it. Then pleated (by hand...) pressed to shape and currently just pinned in place to the overskirt. The rest is pinned in place too.


    I fell in love with Phantom of the Opera before it was a fully realised production as well. The promo video for the title song? Yeah. I was nine and obsessed with ancient Egypt and had no idea about anything and the video got me hooked. So this is a costume with a lot of personal sentiment as well as fun for the costumer. Once the entire ensemble is done it'll be more clear it's a transformation costume so the next step is to get the ballet costume version able to be worn.
  8. mdb's Avatar
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    Jan 12, 2014, 4:33 PM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #8

    Handsewing galore!
    Attachment 268211 Attachment 268212 Attachment 268213 Attachment 268214
    Tiara:
    Attachment 271036 Attachment 271037
    Ribbon lattice to go over the pleated hem:
    Attachment 271038 Attachment 271039 Attachment 271040 Attachment 271041
    1" wide gold ribbon wrapped in an X over plastic, purple metallic ribbon sewn to the X and green metallic ribbon to the top row. Gold tassels at the bottom of each XX and paste jewels to each intersection. All hand sewn. And ready to be hand sewn to the hem and the hem tacked down at the top of the filligree ribbon.

    Bodice and decorations:
    Attachment 271046 Attachment 271047
    Full dress:
    Attachment 271048

    The beading of the final bodice applique is happening...

    But I tested the bodice and wig (badly pinned in place because my hair is FUCHSIA!!! at the moment) and tiara:
    Attachment 273062
    And my hem:
    Attachment 273063
    This hem is build of:
    1" gold ribbon with green and gold shot ribbon over-4 lines of hand sewing
    row of beaded and embroidered trim from a skirt and jacket Heat n Bonded and shaped- still needs a few fixes by hand
    1" gold ribbon with green and gold shot ribbon over-4 lines of hand sewing
    Trellis of 1" gold ribbon with purple and gold shot ribbon, red paste jewels and white paste jewels all hand sewn, gold tassels hand sewn to the ends.
    The pleated hem underneath was a strip of red and black shot taffeta sewn over with 2X wide filligree silver ribbon, 2X 1" gold ribbon and 1X green and gold ribbon then hand pleated and sewn to the hem.

    Next up is to sew the looped braid somewhere on that hem to make it blend in more with the rest of the costume.
  9. RPF Social Media Team FANGS's Avatar
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    Jan 13, 2014, 9:26 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #9

    Posted to Pulse!

    Thanks for sharing so much detail!

    Entertainment and Movie Prop News | The RPF Pulse
  10. mdb's Avatar
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    Feb 12, 2014, 8:16 PM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #10

    Thanks Angela XD This continues! I have more braid on and some appliques:
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    Ribbon trim on the bodice, hand made by wrapping the ribbon around pins in connected 8s.
    Triangle appliques made from velvet heat n bonded then the hand cut appliques glued in place- how about those new gen fabric glues huh? I tried hand sewing but this was way more effective and neater of all things. Then looped braid sewn by hand.
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    The braid in place, also the silver filligree braid/ribbon hand sewn on both sides- eased to shape which is very curved.

    Also tiara building!
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    Necklace set pulled apart and wired in shape over 8 filligree pieces also wired to shape with paste jewels.

    Another 10m of net for the underskirt has been cut and sewn and I think, I think, that may be enough. I have done enough in total to actually start assembling this whole thing but I still have braid and ribbon so I'm going to see what can be done where. I also need to bone and grommet the bodice before that (so I don't have to remove any trim to change the shape at all.)
  11. Morrigoon's Avatar
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    Feb 13, 2014, 1:12 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #11

    Loving this build! One of these days I'm going to make the blue "Wishing" dress, but I always have my eye on the Elissa gown because of the opulent details.
  12. mdb's Avatar
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    Feb 13, 2014, 2:11 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #12

    BLUE DRESSES UNITE!!!! Sorry, yeah a bit obsessed by that one It's why I wrote my waterfall tutorial: http://www.arrayedindreams.com/artic...rfall-drapery/
    I have a particular love for the original Aussie costumes (they got a bit off proportion when reused for the first World Tour and even more now- the original Blue Dress had a wonderful jacket style bodice so incredibly striking of the particular era that has now been cut back to be more like the rest of the productions.)

    I am giving serious thought to getting some shot taffeta screen printed to redo mine.

    But yes, I think maria had a blast designing the Hannibal sequence XD Nineteenth century French opera set in ancient times... yeah this is an excuse to use everything up to and including stripes, gold, jewels, floral patterns and trim on trim on trim. I used plain fabrics because of the influences but yeah. Broadway. Wow. Love them too. WOuld love to actually make an entire B'way version as well
  13. Morrigoon's Avatar
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    Feb 13, 2014, 2:26 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #13

    Just noticed you're in NZ... I have a sneaking suspicion we've "met" in the blog world too. LOL.

    I have been letting Spoondollars pile up in my account (commission from my fabric designs that people miraculously want to buy) so that some day I can buy someone's recreation of the blue silk print to finally make my dream dress I've spent 20+ years learning to sew for. Yeah, that one blue dress has launched many a hobby costumer!
  14. mdb's Avatar
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    Feb 13, 2014, 11:41 PM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #14

    lol! I think so I thought your user name appeared familiar XD

    And yep, funnily enough it started my obsession way way way back in.. oooh I know I had seen some images by 1988 as I knew who the PRB were thanks to the show...

    It was in fact the music video that set me all obsessed with costumes in general and then the Complete Phantom historic costumes full stop.


    I keep looking at my own image files and thinking that I want to find a shot silk and a screen printer....
  15. mdb's Avatar
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    Aug 26, 2014, 4:11 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #15

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It doesn't look like much but new steels and stays, new trim, and the start of the hip belt.

    I also have a wig!
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    I have not trimmed the lace, but it is this wig from WigFashion on ebay. To say I'm impressed is an understantement as it is so lovely in person. They also do wigs without a widows peak but I have one naturally and wigs without them sit truly horribly on me. Also the lace is hand knotted for a good inch which makes for a good fake hairline even relatively close. I still need to cut small curls to frame the face as well but will do so with a proper wig cap and everything
  16. mdb's Avatar
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    Aug 28, 2014, 6:49 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #16

    http://neimhaille.tumblr.com/tagged/elissa
    I started live tumblring to keep myself motivated

    I'm going to get some more braid and also try and figure out the crazy Aussie trim up the centre front. It looks like woven ribbon, with a red ribbon woven through as well.
  17. mdb's Avatar
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    Sep 3, 2014, 2:49 AM - Re: Phantom of the Opera "Elissa" gown- on stage transformation #17

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Tested wig and bodice and decorations today And I have purchased velvet to make the ropes (cutting and hand rolling 100/120 of the things, urg..)

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