You shall go to the ball

One of my all time favourite period costume films is Marie Antoinette written and directed by Sofia Coppola. Everything is just so luscious and extravagant there are over 60 dresses just for Antoinette’s character. Milena Canonero the films academy award winning costume designer and 6 assistant designers created the gowns, hats and suits. Another thing I like about this film is the juxta positioning of modern post punk music by bands such as Adam and The Ant and The Strokes whilst also utilizing period music and the cheeky glimpse of converse next to 18th century court shoes.



“The idea was to capture in the design the way in which I imagined the essence of Marie Antoinette’s spirit. So the film’s candy colours, its atmosphere and the teenaged music all reflect and are meant to evoke how I saw that world from Marie Antoinette’s perspective. She was in a total silk and cake world.”

Sofia Coppola

“So many of our costumes were in the framework of the song ‘I Want Candy. We chose colours and textures that remind you of things you would want to eat. We go from very pale and soft to more shocking. You can say we were very influenced by the period but we don’t present a classical vision. It’s more of a fashion statement. At times it was very rock and roll.”

Milena Canonero


Milena Canonero used macaroons as the colour palette. “We squeezed the essence of the period, without reproducing it, I simplified the very heavy look of the 18th century. I wanted it to be believable, but more stylized.” Milena Canonero


Ever since my first unknowing glance at Madame de Pompadour I have had a love for the 18th century and it’s these films that have captured my interest and inspired me to venture into theatre production design.

These are the gowns I have awed at but never actually thought that I would ever be able or knowledgeable enough to actually make myself. And well it’s about time I made something for myself again and why not go for one of my most love movie costumes ever. I may even get to wear it to a cosplay ball in December.

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This is the dress I will be making, Marie Antoinette wears it to a masquerade ball so I think me wearing it to a cosplay masquerade ball is quite fitting. Except for her mourning dress it’s the only other black dress she wears in the film usually her day and court dresses are soft pastels and vibrant shots of pinks. The film follows 20 years of Marie Antoinette’s life and you see her change from a naive girl into a sophisticated woman, her dresses become richer and the necklines become lower. This gown is confident and sexy but in an understated way.

marie 2

I’ve never seen an 18th century gown have cap sleeves over elbow length sleeves. The bodice looks to be put together in the way you would expect an 18th century bodice to be, probably with hook and eye closure at the centre front, that’s how I plan to do it anyway. A gown like this might have been made of taffeta, silk or satin in the 18th century, I will probably make mine in taffeta. The bodice is either embellished with jewels in a floral design or the fabric itself is embroidered with metallic thread.


I never realised watching the film that the skirt has on overskirt of black tulle, I just thought it was black fabric until I started researching. I don’t expect 18th century gowns would ever have this feature but I love it. For the skirt petticoat I will use fabric to match the bodice.

marie 1

In this photo shoot for vogue you can see a white petticoat with maybe a flounce or pleat around the bottom edge, I can’t spot it anywhere in the film but I like the effect. Where an earth I’ll get those amazing shoes though I don’t know. And yes I’m getting a wig, I am unbelievable excited about the prospect of wearing a wig which I don’t really get as I’ve avoided them in the past.

Just a note: These images are not mine

The Two-Face Zoot Suit Costume








Another red and black project honestly i’m going make something pink next! So my first adventure in menswear was always going to have some challenges but considering all of these I am extremely happy with the outcome. I used a vintage Vogue 1940’s men’s zoot suit pattern and I also made a matching shirt and tie from a McCalls pattern.

Sorry I don’t have any images of me actually making the costume I was so busy making it I forgot to take any and it doesn’t look like much on a hanger but hopefully I will get some pics soon of it in action.. and it might be onstage, my friends a comedian.

The Harley Quinn dress in action at MCM London 201

Well it’s been a while but i’m going to get back into my blogging. The Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy 50’s style costumes for my friend seemed like a world ago and I have completed another comic book character costume with a historic twist and I am now in the midst of two more projects.

There are tons of photies of Lucy looking  swell (I’m being 50’s here) in her Harley Quinn costume but not so many in her Poison Ivy costume, Lucy has now set up her own cosplay facebook page you can find her here I am also rather proud to say my Harley Quinn costume has been featured in the official MCM photo video montage and the official cosplay video which can be found on their website here, Try to spot Harley Quinn and her Joker.

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A successful MCM I would say, and I would also like to say a huge thank you to my good friend Lucy for making the dress look so amazing.

Harley Quinn Dress With A 50’s Twist

I haven’t really blogged about making the Harley dress I’ve been to busy making the thing. I used the vintage 50’s pattern as a guide and draped the bodice on the stand. Here’s Lucy having a quick fitting of the skirt and muslin bodice.


I added more seams with boning for more structure. The bodice actually now fits a bit like a corset and feels a lot more secure so it doesn’t depend on the straps to keep it in place. 


It’s made from taffeta, the front drape is hand sewn and the bodice is fully lined. The original design had a side zip but I’ve moved this to the back. 


Doesn’t it look great with the petticoat giving the skirt that 50’s silhouette. 

I know I have been neglecting this blog but I have been working on some new big exciting things. Lately I have been totally overwhelmed and whilst it’s frightening taking this huge step and risk it’s also immensely satisfying  and I can’t wait for it all to actually start happening. 

The Poison Ivy Dress with a 50’s twist

The dress is finally complete here’s a few photo’s…


One of the fittings with Lucy before some alterations.

The finished dress.


Hopefully will get lots of photo’s of the dress in action when Lucy goes to MCM London this weekend and i’m also planning a little photo shoot.

Chester Food and Drink Fest


Some photos from the Chester Food and Drink Fest the Mr and I went to over the Easter weekend. I turned my nose up at it being and Chester Racecourse at first but I really enjoyed it even if it wasn’t in a farmer’s field like Claremont. Claremont Farm Wirral Food and Drink Fest fans and festival vendors seem to be gutted that the festival is not happening this year. It’s rumoured they didn’t make enough cash but I’m hoping they are just giving the ground time to repair itself. It was really nice to see some of my favourite stalls from Claremont there and Muff’s of Bromborough from my Village was there too. My new favourite was a stall named ‘Dough It Yourself’ their pre-made pizza bases where lovely and I bought some of the nicest chorizo I have ever eaten.



Looking forward to eating my body weight in cheese, chorizo and hog roasts at the next festival soon, not forgetting getting ‘accidentally’ merry drinking very strong cider.

Poison Ivy Dress Progress

Last week I was having a few issues attaching the sleeves, I got myself a bit confused about which bit attached to the bodice front and which bit attached to the back. I found the instructions here a bit confusing too so I decided not to slip stitch the lining but machine sew both fabric and lining and finish the seam with an over locker. The style of this dress has off the shoulder straps but these were ill fitting and too revealing so I followed Gertie’s instructions on her blog to make the straps sit more on the shoulder. I was still concerned about the sleeves so called for a fitting, they needed altering again. I didn’t take into consideration the seams when making the alteration and I’m now left with messiness. I will try and neaten it up and over lock the seams. Next time I will do this differently, I will press the joining seam open and the over lock before sewing the sleeve in place. It also goes to show that cutting corners does not always pay off; I should have checked the sleeve alteration in a muslin made to fit my model.


Well the dress is coming together now. I made the drapes for the skirt and then basted them to the skirt front. I then attached the bodice to skirt, my machine struggled a bit going over the layers of fabric where the drapes sit on top of the skirt pleats but thankfully my needle did not break. If you plan on making this dress make sure the boning in the bodice is push down the boning channel and hasn’t started to slip out at the end your sewing as you will break your needle. If you’re worried you could probably use a zipper foot. Every seam and dart matches nicely except for one dart at the back, I’m not sure what went wrong here but it is going to have to do. I am planning on making this dress again so it will be interesting to see if this happens again I’m not sure if it has something to do with which way I pressed the dart.





The thing I hate sewing more than sleeves is zips so I’m going to hang on until I have one last fitting before I hem it and put the zip in.


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