I've worked on costume and window display projects in the past and my best friend has always been the glue gun. This includes the time I made thousands of fabric roses for an artists' group working on the Spring windows at Fortnum and Mason and I still have the scars to prove it. This time however, with camera close-ups and strenuous physical movement by actors, I decided I would stitch and often hand-stitch most of the costumes and accessories, which is probably why it took me so long! Being a glutton for punishment, the worst design idea I had was the witch's hat veil but more of that later.
I'm starting with this accessory as it is one which certainly should make a comeback into everyday life. It was also a relatively easy piece to source and put together, furthermore it involved a satisfying mix of refashioning and upcycling. The chatelaine, being worn either by the housekeeper or 'lady of the house' carried all sorts of useful items such as keys and scissors but I, imagined the old woman/witch would have a different set of accoutrements.
The chatelaine on the right comes from the Pinterest boards of steclub.ru, which has many other fine examples on show. Instead of silver filigree and chain, mine has as its basis, a surprising find from a French haberdashers. To wit a bikini scarf made from blue thread interwoven between feng shui lucky Emperor coins!
The other ingredient in the mix was a Turkish-style slipper. I had bought this for pennies at a thrift shop and worn them to destruction over the previous Summer but had saved the uppers for future use. Seen here above is the remaining piece of one upper after I had cut out the central motif to use on the costume collar. As the upper was lined with a faux silver leather and the top fabric could be split from it, this gave me options to use thinner or thicker sections of slipper, so as to cut out complete motifs (as above) and/or to remove individual beads and sequins more easily. Somewhere in all my belongings resides the actual Turkish slippers I bought in Istanbul, which I was lucky to visit as a child. They are not to be compared with the false ones. Their workmanship is exquisite formed onto a beautifully shaped piece of leather sole and it was this visit which informed on my life-long love of beadwork and embellishment. However, with the magic that is cinema, the witch wore rich rubies from her red slippers.
So having found a suitably narrow, navy blue belt on which to base my chatelaine, one given me by my cousin, I started to deconstruct the thread and tassels of the bikini scarf, so as to rebraid and remake them into the supporting hangers for the witch's paraphernalia. To keep each chain separate and facing forward and also to carry on the theme of fortune telling and introduce a far eastern theme to my witch, I used the emperor coins and held them in place with beads taken from the slipper. Feng shui coins are considered to be even luckier when associated with the colour red and I do like the fact that this detail will, according to the shooting schedule, be picked up by the camera. In reality whether minute detail is seen, is not an issue, I will know it is there!
Vade mecum or Grimoire
I had real fun planning and making this. I had decided to use only one slipper on the whole costume and as most of it already had a designated place in the design, I was down to small sections but these made the finished book look even more ancient and mystical.
For the book covers I used one of our standard materials (other than pallets), fruit crate wood and covered the front and spine with slipper fabric.
Potion or Poison Bottle
Again this was another fun thing to make and used up yet another item from my hoard, this time one of those small perfume bottles that come in duty free collections.
This was created with the aid of an old wine cork, sculpted to fit, gold thread, beads from the slipper and some purple/violet watercolour paint! This time the glue gun proved invaluable!
I also added a bouquet of feathers both from my own chickens, which I always collect when they moult and some Guinea hen plumes from my neighbour's poultry. This I decided was some unexplained aigrette, a totem of the witches fabrication and gave balance to the chatelaine. I made it from a bunch of feathers, with the ends enclosed in a piece of slipper.
You can find my Pinterest Costume Inspiration Board here and find out more about The Golden Goblet and Climb The Ivy Films here
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All the very best,Sue
Refashioning Project - Boho Chic, Ethnic skirt and sheath dress fusionI made this as part of a witch's costume but it is eminently suitably streetware or a party frock.. read more
© 2015 Sue Cross