Thursday, 29 May 2014

'Turtly' Burlesque Brigitte Scarf

Hello folks!
A bit of a departure from my usual creations here, as I've been busy costume-making with my fellow Sirens for our burlesque show the Upturned Boat, which took place last Friday at The White Lion in South London. It was such a fun night with a great crowd and a lovely venue, but we were flying by the seat of our pants trying to get all the costume and props sorted in time, as well as polishing the choreography on some of our newer pieces!

So, although we made loads of weird and wonderful things for the show- clamshell breast covers for a mermaid piece, handkerchief tops for a gypsy dance, turtle shells for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle piece...Yes, you heard right. As it was World Turtle Day last Friday, we decided that a burlesque routine centred around the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would fit the bill nicely!
 For costume I warped the chic Brigitte Scarf pattern from Tilly and The Buttons new book Love at First Stitch into the perfect ninja masks and arm ties.

Here's my inspiration shot:

Not so far removed from this, right?

It turned out that the scarf pattern measurements are the perfect length for making ninja eye masks. All I had to do was find bright fabric that would be comfortable worn on the face and make the variation with slanted ends. 

Once I'd done that for all four turtles I traced on eye shapes with tailor's chalk using a party shop highway robber mask as a template, then zigzagged around the chalk outline I'd just made and cut out the eyeholes in the middle. However I ended up cutting out the zigzag stitching to make the eyes bigger as I hadn't factored in that drawing on the inside of the template mask's eye holes is going to create a smaller hole than is required- so if for any reason you want to try this I'd add a couple of millimetres around the outside of your line so you can properly see out and let your false eyelashes through! I ended up having to blanket-stitch the eyeholes by hand in the end due to time/location constraints. If you wanted to make these a bit more flattering you'd probably want to do some shaping around the nose too, to fit the masks a little more closely to the face, but I had no time for tweaking!

To make the costumes a little more 'genuine' I also made the upper arm ties from the same pattern, just shortening by about 20cm or so to get the right length for the look.

Brigitte scarf as ninja eye mask- with the party shop mask for template

Here it is on (as the show photos are black and white)
Do you think Tilly ever imagined her pattern being used in this way?!

We Sirens also got crafty making shells from reclaimed corrugated cardboard- here's a snap of us getting started:

Violet Empire and Ottolie Divine hard at work in Lady Libertine's garden
You can see the piles of fabric ready to be cut into Brigitte scarves here at the front, but not the book- this had been snaffled away by Lady Libertine's lovely ma, who proceeded to go ahead and whip up a Delphine skirt that very afternoon! As I had to take the book back to finish off bits at home, and she was so enamoured with it, she went ahead and bought herself a copy. Spreading the Love (at First Stitch)... (Sorry for all the terrible puns). 

Anyway- here's the bit you've all been waiting for...the finished result at the show!

Photo credit: John Barrett
Unfortunately there aren't any photos of the turtle shells that aren't a bit too frisky for a blog like this, but if you want to see more pictures from the night they'll be appearing soon on the Salacious Sirens facebook page.

That was a bit of a fun back-to-basics sewing (a relief after the heartache with my last project) but I'm glad to be going back to slightly more challenging dressmaking. Sticking with Tilly's book I'm currently making a Megan dress with some more African wax-print fabric (this time with birds on it). It's shaping up pretty nicely so I hope to be able to share it with you soon, especially as I've been getting back into Mad Men lately and every dress this season looks like something I could potentially rip off with a Megan variation (I wouldn't be at all surprised if Mad Men is where the pattern's name came from).

Until next time,

NorseOtter (or Ottolie Divine!)


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