Inspiration and Mood Board: Pinterest
For a little while I've wanted to make a dragon outfit, and in general I'm very into fantastic creatures and fantasy stuff, so when I saw the theme of the contest this year I thought, "What if I started making a whole collection of fantastic creatures outfits?" I came up with the Phoenix idea as I think the Phoenix is a good representation of renewal and eternity. The Phoenix is the first outfit to be released and I will do the others next.
As an inspiration I searched for other phoenix costumes I could find online and I came up with my final design. I wanted to use very fiery colors and fabrics. I got inspired by Barbara's tutorial on embellishing corsets and wanted to use pleated silk chiffon on the bust gussets. I wanted to add some details and sparkle to the corset so I found amazing flame-colored strasses in different sizes that were perfect for my design.
I wanted something that could look like a couture dress and be used in photoshoots, so that’s why I added this huge headpiece with feathers to look more spectacular. I didn’t have time to finish all the accessories I intended but I’m still happy with the final result I managed to get done before the deadline!
I decided to challenge myself with this design. I did the pattern myself from a well-fitting overbust pattern I made using the FR tutorial; that was a challenge itself to alter the original pattern to add the gusset. Then I made several toiles to get a good fit and get rid of back fat. I have a rather big bust and bust support wasn’t easy to achieve either but I think the final result is worth the effort! Thanks to FR articles and Barbara’s tutorials on Patreon I got all the advice I need to overcome the difficulties and achieve a good fit. There are still some creases in the gusset I could fix for the next time I will use this pattern.
Another problem I had is that I fused my silk taffetas to the coutil for an easier task but there are some places where the fusing is bubbling a little as I don’t have access to a professional press. It’s not that visible but that still bothers me.
To get the effect I wanted, I tried something new to me: dying fabric. I learned to dye some fabrics when I was in my costume classes but I haven't dyed anything since then. As I wanted this gradient effect on the skirt and the lacing and as I couldn’t find any fabric that suited my wishes with that gradient effect already, I decided to go for it myself and I’m really satisfied with the result.
Silk taffetas, coutil, leather, feathers, busk, flat steel and spiral boning, strasses, pearls.
What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?
It was a motivation to challenge myself: until the last moment I didn't know if I would enter this year or not. I started to work on my entry really late and I feared I would not have enough time to finish it before the deadline. But it is really satisfying to push yourself to get it done. I feel really satisfied having managed to participate.