Angela Wicentowich used drapery fabric from OSF to make the under dress of her fantastic “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” costume. Here’s her costume in action at the 2013 Vancouver Zombie Walk.
The under dress is made from Italian drapery fabric.
We asked Angela a couple questions about this amazing costume.
You clearly have some sewing chops! How did you learn to sew?
I started sewing about 30 years ago when my grandmother placed my first embroidery project into my hands. I was eight or nine. She taught me to take pride in my projects: the wrong side of a project should look almost as nice as the right side of it. We always did crafts together and as I got older I started making outfits for my dolls and then for myself. I attended Blanche MacDonald for their Fashion Design and Textiles program. For the most part I sew for myself, but will do a couple big projects for clients throughout the year. I seem to sew a lot of dresses: wedding dress, bridesmaid, flower girl, prom and evening dresses. Over the last five or six years I have leaned towards sewing from authentic vintage patterns. Mens’, Womens’ and Children. A close second is costumes.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to sew a historical costume?
The pattern I used for the Pride and Prejudice costume is a Butterick Hallowe’en costume pattern. My first bit of advice – read through the instructions and I mean read, not skim. This way you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Second – making a historical costume (which is much different than a historical ensemble) TAKES TIME! This pattern had a total of 67 separate pieces of fabric for the dress and the coat. It took me over ten hours to cut out all the pieces. I worked on and off on this for several weeks. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work, but the outcome is worth it. I do have friends that think it’s insane that I spend all this time working on the costume and then cover it in fake blood, dirt and ash.
Do you have any favourite resources for costume sewing?
There are A LOT of fantastic sites and images out there for pretty much any and every idea out there. It always depend on what you’re looking for. I have a handful of favourite blogs. There is Lauren in the US (http://americanduchess.blogspot.ca/p/about-me.html) who makes authentic 18th century garments that blow me away. There is Leimomi, an ex-pat in New Zealand blogging as The Dreamstress (http://thedreamstress.com/about/). Going a little more into 20th century vintage a few of my favourites are: Laura at Lilacs & Lace (http://www.lauramaedesigns.com/ ), the always fun Gertie – GREAT tutorials at: (http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/) and Beccie – we have the same taste in blogs (http://www.sewretrorose.blogspot.ca). Another two favourite I’d like to mention due to their repurposing of items are Peter at Male Pattern Boldness – he sews both contemporary mens’ clothing for himself and vintage clothing for his “cousin Cathy” (http://malepatternboldness.blogspot.ca/) and then the queen of refashioning herself Jillian the Refashionsta (http://refashionista.net/about/). Many of these bloggers show their steps and offer tutorials for their readers.
For stores – it’s a free for all. I’m a self-proclaimed fabric hoarder. I buy at store sales, yard sales, online stores, ebay, etsy, thrift shops, second hand and OF COURSE, Our Social Fabric.
Do you often use recycled fabrics for projects?
As I’ve confessed already, I am a fabric hoarder. This means I will buy fabric I love and it can sit in my stash for years (or decades as I’ve recently discovered), but it always gets used. I can always find a use for fabric, scraps and all. One of the things I liked the first time I went to an Our Social Fabric sale was that I could buy some really nice smaller pieces of fabric. I use these to supplement a project. This means if I don’t have enough fabric in my stash for a complete dress, I can still use the fabric because I have a piece from OSF that I use for pockets or facings. Depending on the project, I’ll either use something that matches, or something that contrasts. This way, not only do I get to use up my stash fabric, I have kept smaller pieces out of the landfill AND have created a unique garment.