Have you ever heard the phrase "kill two birds with one stone"? Well I killed multiple birds with this one dress. Not literally, but theoretically. So I've officially dubbed this as my "hunting dress" because sometimes I name my sewing projects epic names. Hey, parents name their children and the way I see it every sewing project I work on is a labor of love, thus these are my children. Call me crazy if you'd like but that's just who I am! :)
I've been taking a few sewing classes online as a way of expanding my sewing skills. This is what I've been doing for the moment instead of college. I call it "homeschooling through college". It's not for everyone but it works for me. One of the classes I've been doing is how to sew with knit fabrics (like t-shirt material). This is my final project for the class and definitely my absolute favorite!
The fabric I ordered online at Mood Fabric. Before whenever I needed fabric for a project I always got it from either Joann's, Hobby Lobby, my personal stash and occasionally Hancock's. But as I was taking the class the instructor said that the only place to get quality knit fabric is to order it online. The ones in the stores aren't good at all. After trying some I bought at Joann's I decided she was right.
One of the places she suggested was Mood Fabrics. The fabric was pretty expensive, the color was darker than I thought it be and the fabric was REALLY clingy and thin! I was not pleased with the overall product but the service was pretty good and the delivery speed was timely. I think I'll try ordering from them again because I ordered some other knits at the same time and they seemed to be really nice. So I'm thinking that maybe this fabric just wasn't that great. But it was a learning experience and I definitely learned a lot from it!
I was still in need of one more costume for my character in Literal and since I had yet to make a costume for myself I decided to use this as one of them. Christopher helped me pick out fabric that we both liked for Ann so now I have one more costume. That I made! See if you can spot it in the episodes to come.
The dress pattern came with the class so I didn't have to buy it separately. It has an empire waist, quarter length sleeves and an A-line skirt. The dress shape is more or less created by clear elastic sewn into the waistband that helps hold it against the body. You would think that it would be tight but it's really very comfortable.
I hemmed the sleeves in a way I've never done before. I cut a band out of the fabric that was the length of the sleeve end and 3/4" wide. I pinned it up underneath the sleeve with just a 1/4" still peeking out then I sewed it in place. After that I sewed up the rest of the sleeve as the directions called for and, because jersey tends to roll, I just let the fabric do its thing creating the effect you see here. Basically I just worked with how the fabric naturally acts to achieve the look I wanted.
Even though I loved how the sleeves turned out, they are not my favorite part about this dress. No my favorite part is still yet to come.
Wait for it...
Wait for iiiit...
Yes that's right, pockets! The pattern did not originally call for pockets but I used a pocket pattern from another pattern from the same class and added it in. See, in my opinion, all skirts and dresses should have pockets. You know just in case the need for one arises. Guys are so lucky because almost every pair of pants out there has pockets. So if you're a girl and want pockets, you're going to have to wear pants. But what if you feel like wearing a skirt? This is a major problem in the clothing industry that I think needs addressing.
If anyone is interested in the class I took to make this dress (or the patterns) you can find out about it at Craftsy: Sewing with Knits. I would TOTALLY recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to sew with this tricky material. The instructor is amazing and carefully walks you through every step so you know exactly what to do. Well worth every penny!
"I am the Law and the Law is not mocked"
Inspector Javert I am the Law Les Miserables
In the town of Literal, the Chief of Police also serves as the local judge. His name is Chief Law & Justice. He may be the shortest citizen of Literal but his is definitely the most feared. My youngest brother plays Chief Law & Justice and man can this kid play the part!
Chief L & J is a Vietnam vet and has that former-military-turned-small-town-police-chief mentality. We wanted him to look tough, sort of like a cross between military and police. So we found a pair of blue camo pants (from Old Navy on clearance) to refer to his past war life, and a light blue polo (from a local consignment sale) that is common to a policeman's uniform.
The vest was found online as a child's dart vest. I was so excited to find this! I was worried we weren't going to be able to find anything that would work that we could afford. The only down side is that it's really heavy, but Gideon wears it because he thinks it's cool (and because I make him!)
As with the vest, we had some trouble finding a hat. For the longest time we couldn't decide what style we wanted and when we finally did make a decision, we couldn't find one to fit Gideon's head. Once again, my amazing Google master mommy found this hat on ebay. Sometimes I don't know where we'd be without her!
A lady we know who owns her own sewing business (like me) graciously custom made us two police badges, one for Chief L & J's shirt, and one for his hat, with "Literal Police" across the top. This was the director's idea which goes to show that even someone without any sewing experience can contribute to the costume making process.
To complete the look, we added a pair of sunglasses from our local dollar store and a pair of combat boots from a thrift store (They are actually women's shoes but don't tell him that! :).
For one of the episodes Chief L & J has to be a judge in a local court case which means we needed a judge's robe. Considering that most judges are over 5 ft I had to end up making Gideon's robe using a pattern for a child's choir robe (Butterick #4542 view A minus trim). The fabric was purchased at Hancock's. He looks soooooo cute in it, I mean, um, so intimidating! :)
Police Vest- $32.95
Judges' Robe~ $13.50 (all together)
Combat Boots- $5.00
Custom Made Badges- $0 (donated by our friends at Little Clothes & Bows)
*EDITOR'S NOTE* Thank you again to the Bath Family for providing the costume for Master SmoothLips' character. All the money we saved there we blew here! So you guys can brag about how you "made" the character of Chief L&J :)
So as you can tell, Chief Law & Justice was the most expensive person to costume (and yet he's my favorite character). But, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do in order to make a character look right. Thankfully, we saved money on several other costumes so this one really didn't break the bank. I've got someone watching over me :). Congratulations Gideon! You take home the award for "Most Expensive Costume"!
To find out more about Chief Law & Justice and all the other characters in Literal be sure to be on Youtube on August 5th when the first episode of Literal: What We Believe airs. To hold you off until then follow S.C. TreeHouse Productions on their website, this blog and my brother's google plus page for updates on the production process. Be sure to spread the word and thank you again for all your prayers and support!
Amidst the busyness of filming I have managed to slip in some "me time" with a book; mostly because I had to review it for Bethany House. It was a great way to force myself to slow down and relax.
This book is called Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund. I've read her previous work, The Preacher's Bride, and absolutely fell in love with it! Mrs. Hedlund adds adventure to her plot line that prevents the story from becoming too much of a "mush-gush" love story. Also, she portrays marriage and true love as loving someone for who they truly are and sacrificing one's own desires for the other person's betterment. You can tell that her characters really do love each other and are going to honor their wedding vows to the end. These two qualities are what draw me to her books.
Captured by Love takes place on Michilimackinac island in 1814 until early 1815 during a siege by the Americans to claim the island from the British. Mrs. Hedlund offers lots of historical background to not only the island but to the inhabitants' daily lives there. The book is dripping with facts about the geology, biology, and meteorology of Michilimackinac Island. It was almost like reading a history book along with the story! I love books like this one where the author researches about the time and place they are writing about so much the story seems to have really happened!
The story follows Angelique MacKenzie, an 18 year old woman living with her abusive stepfather and Pierre Durant, a fur trader and voyageur. The two grew up as childhood friends until Pierre ran away to become a voyager. Angelique had a crush on Pierre and now that they are adults she can't seem to stop thinking about him as more than just a friend. Pierre also can't believe how beautiful Angelique has become and finds himself being drawn more and more towards her. But, along with many other obstacles, Angelique is promised to Pierre's brother, Jean, who has been banished from the island due to his loyalty to the Americans. With the approaching war Angelique and Pierre face many hardships and broken hearts as they learn to trust in THE L-RD and that sometimes doing the right thing is not easy.
The first half of the book focuses more on Angelique and Pierre's relationship while the second half deals more with the war and their fight for survival. While the plot was amazing and very intriguing, I must admit I had a hard time liking the characters. It's not that I hated them, it's just I didn't really find them interesting. For one, Pierre is very full of himself and in his flirtations with Angelique he tends to brag about himself.
"You're not just saying yes because I'm such a good kisser, are you?"
She laughed. "Of course that's why... What other reason could there possibly be?"
"Oh, let's see. Because you think I'm incredibly handsome, and sweet, and fun. And because I can cook the best stuffed whitefish in the world."
"And because you're very conceited," she teased.
While sometimes these little jokes are cute they tend to get annoying. I much prefer it when the guy is humble than when he's blatantly flirting with a girl. And while I didn't despise Angelique (she was supper sweet!), I just have other literary heroins that I like much better. I really didn't start liking the characters until the last part of the book when they started to overcome some of their "human sinful nature."
Remember when I wrote my review for until i found you by Victoria Bylin and I mentioned that I thought couples should be careful with how physical they are with each other because things can become very dangerous? Well this book is another great example of what I mean. As mentioned above Angelique is betrothed to Pierre's brother Jean and while she tries to honor her vow to him, she very quickly ends up basically cheating on him. She and Pierre are not careful around each other and pretty soon they're ending up alone way too much and kissing each other. The author does handle the situations very well in the end however, using them to teach the characters a lesson. I just thought I would elaborate a little more on what I meant in my last book review.
Along with the frequent kisses there are a few sexual references in the book. Angelique's stepfather sleeps with several women and is very unfaithful to his wife. The author does discuss the sinfulness of his ways and Angelique does learn from him but it is mentioned. I think the author handles this issue very well. She doesn't go into much detail but it is mentioned throughout the whole book.
Something else I had a problem with was the "swimming" scenes. Twice Pierre and Angelique go swimming in one of the island's lakes. While them swimming is not what I had a problem with, the fact that Angelique swims in her chemise and Pierre goes without a shirt is. I know this isn't such a big deal in our society today because a chemise of that time covered more than most dress of today do, but the fact of the matter is that this was a woman's underwear and to see a man without his shirt was considered very inappropriate. Nothing happens during these scenes, but the two of them are definitely swimming in their underwear!
All together I'd give Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund a 3.5 rating (see sidebar for rating scale). The story was great and the history amazing but I wasn't fond of the characters and there were a few sexual issues I had a problem with. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone under the age of 17 due to this. But honestly, this book ended in the best way possible! The author wrapped it up soooo nicely that I couldn't have asked for a better ending! I can't tell you how she ended it, you'll just have to read it yourself.
P.S. I was given Jody Hedlund's Captured by Love by Bethany House Publishers in exchanged for my honest opinion.
"One will have many chances to hear the truth."
St. Church Literal
The next character to be revealed is Literal's own man of G-D, St. Church.
I had a little bit of trouble figuring out what I wanted for St. Church. I didn't want to put him in a suit because I already had two other characters in a suit and I didn't want to put a third person in one. My mom had this great idea of putting St. Church in just dress pants and a dress shirt with his sleeves rolled up. That way he looked nice but at the same time had a more "modern" pastor appeal to him.
The first shirt we got was one of my Dad's and was way too small in the neck for our St. Church actor. He came out from changing practically choking! I felt so bad! It looked like we were going to have to go to the thrift store again and try to find another shirt, but at the last minute Christopher remembered our BOO! costumes. We were able to find one in that stash with a bigger neck size. This one fit much better (and to be honest, I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of spending more money on costumes!).
His pants came from GoodWill and cost about $4 (they were the half price color of the week.) The only thing I had to do was hem them up. I decided to add a cuff hem to the pants to add something different to the whole outfit instead of a normal hem.
St. Church's tie has a little bit of an sentimental value to it. It use to belong to my grandfather who died back in December. Gideon was very brave and gave it up for St. Church to borrow.
We had a bit of trouble finding a pair of shoes for St. Church. Like many Americans (including myself) our actor suffers from a foot uniquely created NOT to fit a standard shoe size. Mom and I searched everywhere until at last we found this pair at our local K-Mart. Even then they are a little snug so we're just praying that our actor doesn't hit a growth spurt until AFTER filming is complete! (and yes I know the hem on his right leg is turned up I purposely did that to see if I had to re-hem them. Just ignore and look at the hem on the left leg. Thank you)
St. Church came together really well! I'm glad we got to bypass sticking another character in a suit. Otherwise I'm pretty sure the actor would have killed me! :)
Shirt- from our stash $0
Tie- borrowed $0
Socks- actor's own $0
"Lips. It's Master SmoothLIPS."
Master SmoothLips Literal
My second favorite character from Literal would have to be Master SmoothLips simply for the fact that my cousin did such an AMAZING job with his part! Master SmoothLips' character is actually quite sad. I mean this guy really doesn't know what he stands for. He's all talk and no action.
Another thing that helped to make this one of my favorite characters is that his costume cost me absolutely NOTHING! The actor provided his entire costume with the exception of his tie (yeah, he was the costume team's favorite :). The tie came from one of my aunts as a leftover from my cousin's wedding.
I wanted Master SmoothLips to look like a lawyer because of one of the roles he plays in Literal. This meant he needed a suit. The actor was in need of one anyway so the family just decided to get one in time for filming (I love you guys!). I wasn't really wanting black so they got him a navy one. They also provided his shirt, dress socks, and shoes. Thank you Bath Bunch!
The big thing about Master Smoothlips' look is not his costume at all, but rather his mustache. While I was in charge of makeup for Literal, I didn't do his mustache. That was a combination of Christopher and Daddy's artistic skills. In order to get our actor to look right he had to spend about 45 minutes to an hour in a chair
as someone glued little tiny hairs to his face. I would have gone INSANE! After the first two times of doing the mustache Christopher passed on his knowledge to Taylor. Taylor then became the new mustache master. One less responsibility for the director!
All that time certainly paid off because it really did help make Master SmoothLips' character. The actor also did an INCREDIBLE job portraying the part. We were all blown away with how he could portray someone so opposite from himself! The best way I can think to describe it is the way Christopher said it: "I looked into his eyes and thought 'What happened to my cousin?'"
Suit- actor's own $0
Shirt- actor's own $0
Shoes- actor's own $0
Socks- actor's own $0
Tie- borrowed $0
Master SmoothLips brings home the award for cheapest person to costume!
Mr. News Literal
If you have been following my brother's google + account you'll have noticed that he has started revealing characters from Literal. For the next 5 weeks, until the first episode premieres, Christopher is going to be revealing a new character at random and I will be doing a blog post on how I costumed that character. For the first "reveal" Christopher shared the character of "Mr. News" (to read his description click here). I'm so excited to share how I costumed this character so let's get started!
Mr. News is the main character's best friend so I kinda wanted their costumes to go together as well. As you will learn, Doug's wardrobe is very.... how should I say this?... eccentric, and I wanted Mr. News' costume to mirror that without taking the focus away from Doug. So I decided to go with the "dorky" look for Mr. News.
The first thing you'll notice about Mr. News' outfit is his sweater vest. Originally I had wanted an argyle sweater vest but my mom found this one online at Macy's on clearance for $ 21.94 (much cheaper than some of the argyle ones we had seen). The vest buttons up the front and is made of 100% cotton. The color is a grey that almost looks tan in some lighting which I think is pretty cool! The actor for Mr. News likes the fact that the vest has two pockets on the front. The first time he tried it on he stuck his hands in the pockets and went "ooh pockets!" and began flapping around like some retarded bird; thus earning him the nickname "Mr. Flappy".
The second thing you'll notice is his smashing-looking bow tie. As you will soon learn I didn't do as much "sewing" for this film as I have in our previous projects due to a lower budget and a modern day setting (which required no period pieces.) So, because I really do like to sew I simply put my foot down on some issues and stated that "I WILL make that!". One of which was Mr. News' bow tie. Mom and I both agreed that he needed a bow tie and an ugly one at that! (then it turned out super cute so we just went with it!) We found some cotton fabric at Hobby Lobby for about $5.59 a yard. I used interfacing I already had on hand and a hook that was $1.99 for two. I'm so pleased with how it turned out and how easy it was!
The shirt and pants are actually the actor's own clothes. This helped cut costs because he already had them. I simply asked him if he had a short-sleeve button-up dress shirt and a pair of dress khakis. Isn't it great how G-D makes things work out? (Notice the belt with pink duct tape. That is NOT a part of the costume that I put together. Rather it was the only belt he had to hold his pants up with. Thankfully the flappy vest covers it!)
To top off the look, we added a hat that my brother Christopher already owned. All we did was add a card that said "NEWS" to the side and Mr. News was completed!
So all in all, here's how much Mr. News' costume cost:
Shirt- actor's own $0
Pants-actor's own $0
Hat- ours $0
Bow Tie- $4.50
Shoes-actor's own $0
Socks- $4.00 for three pair
TOTAL = $30.50
When I was explaining my vision for Mr. News' costume with the Director and Assistant Costume Director I said that I wanted his outfit to look like he was in his grandfather's attic one day and found all this and thought it looked stylish, (when it really wasn't). When I first showed my dad a picture of the actor in costume he laughed and said the Mr. News looked like he should be sitting on a park bench feeding pigeons.
7/2/2014 2 Comments
Filming for Literal has offically begun! That's right! Last week from June 19th thru the 25th my family and I along with several others "literally" fell off the face of the earth while we filmed almost three whole episodes and parts of scenes for several others. Now y'all get to see what exactly went on during our EPIC week of absence!
(Late night shootings at "The Mill")
(Yes doing hair on set was this intense!)
On Thursday we drove to the Chattanooga airport to pick up our cousins from North Carolina. They were going to be the actors for two of our characters, Typical Christian and Master SmoothLips. Because we are who we are, we made signs with their stage names on them and held them up like you see people do at airports. The looks on peoples faces as they passed by were priceless!
(Can't touch this!)
On Sunday we went over to another actor's house to film. We filmed from 8:30 am until 9:30 pm (one hour later than we intended.). As we were getting the last few shots we received a call from two guys who were driving up from Texas to help us film one of the episodes. They were lost in Cleveland so Dad and Nic had to go find them. So they "literally" got to walk on set and right into the middle of things! But they handled it well and even helped with the clean up afterwards.
(People kept playing with my costumes namely Taylor and Bud)
From Monday thru Wednesday we filmed at the local county courthouse everyday from 8:30 am (when they opened) to 4:30 pm (when they closed.) We ran into a lot of trouble on Monday and Tuesday. First we had to spend most of Monday morning working on lighting and then only got a few shots in before we had to pack up and head to Cleveland for that night's shoot. On Tuesday all of our actors kept messing up their lines and we spent all morning trying to get only ONE on the shots needed for that day. Later that night in Cleveland the crew ran into MORE lighting issues and only got about half of the scenes they needed. To top it all off, several of us had gotten sick (including our director who lost his voice Sunday) and by Tuesday we had to add to that list my cousin, Sarah, whose character plays a critical role in the series' plot line.
(We had a wig that one of the actors wore and everyone kept running away with it!)
So as you can guess, no one was particularly excited when Wednesday rolled around. Everyone was tired and stressed out. We knew we had to finish because our cousins as well as Cameron and Taylor were leaving the next morning. Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like you have given your all to G-D and there is nothing else left that you can give? That's exactly how I felt Wednesday morning as we started to set up for the day's shoot. I was tired, my body felt like a train wreck and I really just wanted everything to work out so we could all have a break! I knew that day was going to be bad and we were all going to end up snapping at each other. But then something happened. I don't know what or how but somehow we got caught up from the previous days, got all the scenes scheduled for that day, got some extra close up shots, AND FINISHED EARLY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have no clue what happened but somehow it just worked out! (yeah, we were on cloud 9 throughout the whole day!) All I can tell you is that right before we filmed I just got on my knees and said "Lord, I can't do this anymore. Somehow you've got to work through me because I can't do this anymore. I'm spent and I can't control it. You've got to work a miracle here." and the next thing I knew we were ahead of schedule! (I later learned that several other people had done the same thing that morning.) I think G-D just wanted us to get to the point where we were so weak that WE couldn't make this series happen anymore and HE got control of everything so HIS GLORY was revealed though the project! I'm so thankful that we have a God whose weakness is "...stronger than men." (1 Cor 1:25).
I can honestly tell you that if it wasn't for HIM this project would have fallen through. There were SO MANY ways where HE intervened or something happened that we didn't plan that made this project happen. Like providing money for our cousins to not only come down for the week but FLY none the less! Or providing a camera man and assistant boom operator from Texas whom we had never even met before! HE sustained us each day with the food and the strength we needed to worship HIM in a way we NEVER could have done without HIM! My heart overflows with joy when I think about all the blessings HE has given us this past week as well as the weeks and months leading up to it. I know there are many more days like this past Wednesday to come because when you worship THE LORD ALMIGHTY exciting things happen!
Some people worship through dancing, some people worship through song, and still others worship through prayer but I worship though film making. Because it is there in film making, when I am at my weakest, that I see HIS GLORY revealed! May all I do go to HIM and HIM ALONE!
("Um, ok, now what do we do now?" "Everyone point at the director!")
SOLO DE GLORIA!
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