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Starting Ravenna

June 23, 2012

“That was the most labor-intensive dress,” Atwood said of the wedding gown worn by the evil queen (Charlize Theron). “It took four people over a month to make.”

I think I’ll do it alone in five weeks. That sounds reasonable. Whenever I start looking for costumes I’d like to make, I’m always drawn to Colleen Atwood’s work. So even though I haven’t seen Snow White and the Huntsman (I hear it’s terrible), and even though I don’t have enough time, blonde hair, or any idea how to turn paper into bones, I think I’m going to launch into Ravenna’s wedding dress anyway.

I’ve been gathering reference pictures on a Pinterest board. (Hey, I finally found a productive use for Pinterest!) I always start a costume by considering what the biggest challenges will be. Once I figure out how to overcome those, I feel good about starting. For this costume, it’s:

The shoulder cage

I originally thought that the shoudler cage was a thin wood or straw sort of material connected together. It’s actually glazed parchment paper. Whereas I thought the bends were connections, they’re really just shaped into the paper.

A few nights ago, I started experimenting with card stock and the first glue I found in the house. Clearly not the final plan, but good enough to see if I could do it. It’s going to take… oh, possibly the rest of my life… but I think it’s at least possible. Here’s how it went with the card stock:


The dress pattern itself

Look at the hips here. If you look at the front of the dress, it looks like a top and a skirt. But when you get to the back, it’s clearly connected all as one dress. I’ll have to think about the best way to work that out.

The notions

I read that the pieces at the tops of each pleat/godet were found in some little corner of Italy, so I don’t think I’ll be stumbling across them in the local AC Moore. I’ll have to hunt for something similar or make them. There are only 24, so not too bad. Then there’s the little four-leafed metal findings that go up the sleeves and down the front. There are “only” 216 of them.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 3, 2012 2:42 pm

    Wow, and I thought I was ambitious when it comes to costumes! I can’t wait to see your progress on this. What are you making the costume for?

    • Ruth permalink*
      July 3, 2012 2:45 pm

      It’s for Dragon*Con. 😮 The only five weeks is because I travel a lot for work, so once I subtract that, I’m down to not so much time!

      I *love* your steampunk Baronness costume! I hope I get to see it there in person!

      • July 5, 2012 8:42 am

        Thanks! I hope I’ll get to see yours, too. It looks like it’s going to be amazing!

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