HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE
HANNAH ALEXANDER ARTWORK
I began this costume during the shut-down period of 2020 back in April, and had ambitious ideas of how to achieve all of the gradients and embellished details in the design. I ultimately decided to create my own engineered print to be sublimated on fabric, with additional rhinestones added on top for an impressive 3D effect.
The process began by patterning my bodice, sleeves, and skirt patterns out of fabric and then transferring my patterns to paper. I then photographed them and converted the patterns to digital form in Adobe Illustrator where I was able to recreate the original artwork to scale. I first made a gradient block that I applied to all of the bodice and sleeve pieces, and used a radial gradient for the circle skirt pattern. I knew I wanted to use a multitude of rhinestones in varying sizes and shapes, so I began some research to find the best options for purchase. Once I knew what size and shape of rhinestone I wanted to buy, I then created the intricate design along the skirt hem, bodice yoke, and sleeves to scale. I created the design so that the rhinestones that I used would fit perfectly within the spaces and I could use the engineered print as a guide.
Once I was happy with the final design I arranged all of my pieces on 6 yards of fabric and sent it to be sublimated on chiffon fabric from spoonflower.com.
When the fabric arrived the sewing process was ready to begin. I cut out all of the engineered pieces and flat lined them in high-quality matte satin, basting around all of the edges. Then I was able to assemble all of the pieces together and top-stitched down all of the seams. The skirt features a matching blue lining and waistband, with the printed chiffon flowing on top. The bodice is lined in matching blue satin with dramatic puff sleeves and elegantly lined pointed sleeve cuffs with pearl button closure details.
Adding all of the rhinestones was the best part! I first added on all of the iron-on hotfix rhinestones to the bodice yoke and skirt hem. I used two different colors of stones in 5 different sizes. Then I glued on all of the larger flat back stones to the yoke and skirt hem, and once dry, I had sewed each individual rhinestone securely in place. In total this costume has 2,955 rhinestones on it, not including hundreds of additional smaller stones that are scattered along the skirt gradient, along the bodice seamlines, and the sleeves.
Finishing off the look this costume was paired with a delicate hat decorated in florals and pearls, and victorian era boots with handmade ribbon shoelaces.
This was an extremely involved and lengthy process which required hours and hours of planning and sourcing prior to the actual construction or design process. Creating this costume tested my organization and planning skills and I truly believe it elevated me to a more advanced level of costume planning and producing.