Everything I may or may not have mentioned up til now, and what DIDN’T work out… PROBABLY the last panto post, you’ll be relieved to know!
- the parrot costume. After Billy Bones hands over the treasure map and dies, the actor was thrust back on stage to act as Long John Silver’s missing parrot for a while… cape made from stash, feathers freehand pinked from appropriate stash remnants, parrot features copied from this tutorial in felt from stash. Elastic wrist loops and ribbon ties for the hood. It went down a storm!
2. The sailor suit. This was made from another of my not-large-enough-any-more duvet covers, which JUST HAPPENED to be white with blue ribbon trim and pintucks, so I cut to use them to their best advantage. This was one of my rare attempts at draping on the body, so a sort of freehand bit of work made to look too small and skimpy as required by the script. The bow tie was a convenient bit of chambray bias that I had in stash, exactly the right length. I mentioned the breeches in the previous post, the hat is his own.
3. The wedding outfits for Jim and Benn. Israel Hands ‘finds’ them in a bag of treasure, and hands them over [geddit] as ‘some stitchin’ for yer hitchin’ . The waistcoat for Ben Gunn was backed and lined in stash scraps, the gorgeous glittery fabric was another find at Barry’s and cost about £2 I think. I found the sequinned stuff and taffeta lining for Jim’s coat on a Facebook de-stash group. I scaled up the pattern from the Theatrical pattern book, and it was a BEAST to sew, I hate sequins! It was so scratchy inside that I had to hand sew binding over all the raw edges, so this garment, only worn for about 5 minutes, took AGES to make.
4. THAT transformation dress and jacket. The dress, in silver lame from eBay was simple…once I got my dad dressed up in the padded bra so I could drape the bodice!
Making the ‘rip down’ dress to cover this up was no laughing matter…but it served me right. I left this til last, as I knew it would totally distract me otherwise! I started with the base skirt, using some vile yellow satin from what I had leftover from Munchkin costumes for the school play. It wasn’t really long enough, so I had to add the ruffled, pinked frill. THAT was fun.
To this, I added an overskirt in an equally hideous, very thin satin with holographic dots, found on Barry’s bargain racks.
The overskirt is attached to the skirt at the waistband along its lower edge, then the top edge is attached to the over-bodice. I made this in some sturdy green twill, as I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t disintegrate when ripped off! I used the Lolita S8285 blouse pattern again, but with some dramatic changes:
- sleeves were slit from neck to waist, and re-connected using some old duvet-popper tape that’s been in stash for about thirty years!
- side seams from sleeve cuff to waist edge also left open. Sleeve seams joined with more popper tape, side seams with velcro. I attached all this popper tape then decided it was the wrong way round, and too visible so had to swap all the overs for unders if you get me, fastening it towards to back
- Elasticated necklines and sleeve ‘cuffs’ all pieces in two parts of course.
- I then had to work out how to add support tapes inside this lot, making several attempts on the actor and lots of swearing, until we got the positioning and length of the twill tapes right so the whole caboodle could release the hidden wedding dress, but not hang down too low underneath it and ruin the effect. 4 tapes, running from bodice arm pits to skirt waistband.
- After more faffing and experimentation, excess over skirt was cut away and the top edges slightly elasticated, to make pouches for the skirt of the wedding dress to tuck into.
- THEN I decided it didn’t look trashy enough, so I added another layer in orange to resemble a corset over-bodice with tabs at the waist to disguise some of the mess! VERY uneven elastication held it all together.
The tutorial I referred to for all this was this one
The order of dressing was this
- Yellow underskirt , buttoning at back, all upper bodice pieces unfastened and hanging down front and back
- Silver wedding dress
- Silver skirt rolled/tucked LOOSELY into the yellow overskirt puches as the bodice is fastened at the shoulders
- Actor sticks his arms out while 2 assistants fasten sleeve poppers and waist velcro
- A little more tucking and primping to ensure the silver dress is covered and in the right place to drop down nicely!
We had to experiment to find the best place for him to grab the bodice and tear it down, as well as how to manage his twirling in his VERY high heels! I added a couple of curtain weights to the hem as the fabric is VERY lightweight.
Just before the wedding scene, he added the hideous pink reversible coat, trimmed in lime green voile ruffles and purple bows, and a vile ‘Little Orphan Granny’ ginger wig with more bows.
After Smollett proposed, and Long John Silver reluctantly agrees to marry them, before making them walk the plank, the coat was removed and turned inside out in one motion, to be donned by the Captain as his/her wedding look, and the Dame twirled magically into her ‘just in case’ wedding look. Like a pair of turkeys ready for roasting!
The audience loved it!
This post is long enough, but if you DO want some pics of how this worked, I can lay it out on the floor and take pics to demonstrate…
The poor crab hat did NOT get worn unfortunately, but he watched the show from on top of Ben’s ‘cave’
I didn’t get to make the mermaid costume after all, but that can be realised another day…
And there we have it. Treasure Island panto, done and dusted. Onward and upward!