Thursday, February 15, 2018

Walkthrough: Nightclub Harley Quinn Dress

I wasn't the biggest fan of "Suicide Squad" but I did like the costumes. I already made Harley's main outfit, but I also like this dress she wears in a flashback scene. The original dress is made of metal mesh, with a black and gold diamond pattern.
Although I quite liked this design, I wanted to try something a little different. I decided to make a dress based on this one, but in red and black.
Here's the design I drew up. 

I looked at a LOT of tutorials to make this dress, and I'll provide links to them here, as they were incredibly useful.




I followed TEoELLE and Arlena Fae's advice for drafting a pattern. I took the measurement  of the widest part of my hips, the bust measurement (with allowance for the fabric to drape), and the distance from top edge to bottom edge of the dress on the back and front.
I used lining fabric to make this mockup: I eventually used it to line the real dress. I checked the fit on myself and my dress form. The dress form was useful for playing around with the draping, but trying it on gave me a better idea of the actual fit and whether I could move in it.

Once I was happy with the lining, I had to do some maths to calculate the size of the diamonds, and how many I would need. The basic mathematics is as follows:
Height of the dress / number of diamonds
Width of the dress / number of diamonds
You can use these figures to draw a grid and work out the size of your diamonds. My diamonds were approximatley 17cm by 11cm. I made a template and added seam allowance (about 1cm)
Then I had to cut out the diamonds. A LOT of diamonds. I had half a yard each of black and red sequin material, which was just enough for all these diamonds. 
WARNING: be careful which grain you cut on. I cut my diamonds on the wrong grain, and the dress shrank when I sewed them all together. It fit fine width-wise, but was much too short. I was able to solve this by adding another row of black diamonds at the bottom, but it was a little annoying.
Once all the diamonds were cut out, I sewed them together in diagonal strips: Arlena Fae and TEoELLE demonstrate this in their tutorials. Then I sewed all the strips together. When I realised that my dress was too short, it was a bit difficult to sew on the extra black diamonds neatly. I have areas where the diamonds don't line up perfectly, but I have some spare sequins which I can sew on to disguise this.
Here's the dress with an extra row of black diamonds. I pinned on some black fringe to see how it would look. Some cosplayers just use sequin material and cut it into strips, but I don't think my material would hold up to this. It would probably shed sequins all over the place. 
I bought 2m of fringe, but perhaps I should have bought more.
To be continued . . . 

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