Friday, June 24, 2016

Part 4: The #Hamildress in Fresno

Warning! Gratuitous #Hamildress photoshoot ahead! 

Turn back now if you feel your eyes starting to roll or don't say I didn't warn you.

If you missed the journey of hand-dying this dress to match the textured gradient of the Hamilton Musical poster art, here you go:

I cannot WAIT to wear this to the Richard Rodgers Theatre!

     As of today, I am 3 days away from our plane flight to New York. On top of that I am a mere 5 days away from seeing Hamilton: An American Musical and crying my eyes out the entire time! As a disclaimer, listening to the Hamilton Cast Album has only made me tear up ONCE and only once. Surprisingly, it wasn't even at the point you would think! One day while driving to work I started to sing Eliza's words in "That Would be Enough" and I felt the tears stating to well up: For some reason I suddenly really identified with Eliza's strength and pain of separation from (and potential loss of)  Alexander. She's "not sorry" for writing to Washington to tell him she's pregnant; She's not sorry for being a "poor man's wife"; and she's not sorry for so desperately needing him there (and alive) for their son. 

     Anyways, actually singing the words (and acting them.. you know me) helped me to see how difficult that situation would be. I tell you this only to let you know that I'm not usually a sappy person: I don't think I've ever actually cried whilst listening to a cast album, so "the orphanage" line didn't get me, the death of Philip didn't get me, and certainly not the overly-expected death of Hamilton. 

     HOWEVER... I cried like a baby for the Tony Awards. For the first time in my Tony-watching history, I had been following the stories of the people involved in the musical. Because of this I KNEW them and celebrated their accomplishments. I realized after my mascara streaked down my face that I need to find another type of eye makeup to see Hamilton in because I will be crying throughout the experience. I am (and will be) more than moved that I get to see firsthand this musical that is making (and changing) history. I will be overwhelmed by the joy of the "wonderful people out there in the dark" that have done everything in their power to get in that room at that exact moment. And I will be overcome with emotion that my Hispanic, Hmong and African American high school students will forever be able to see themselves as the history makers who shaped our country.

Without further ado, here are some pics from the #Hamildress' first day ever in the sun! Stay tuned for the next post however, where it gets to walk the streets of NYC!

Belle shout out: "It's my favorite part because... you'll see!" 

It's like she knows something you don't. Hmm..

Accessories time:

Oh, how I love poofy skirts!

Especially with a black CRINOLINE!

Beaded vintage clutch belonging to my Great-Grandmother (Ole-Mor)

Beautiful black bow shoes from my good friend Rebekah! 

Necklaces: Gold chains with a simple black bead partial strand and golden quill feathers.

And other pics, just because you're already here...

Hamilton = Bliss. Funny thing is, I live right here!

The flaw depicted below is that my pleated belt wants to resist covering the yards of gathered skirt fabric and so it keeps rising up to the path of least resistance.


My necklaces have a hint of black beading with gold feather quills to reinforce the brass buttons on my belt.

Amazing Mural District Art!

 And finally, a pic of my beautiful friend Rebekah who snapped all these pics for me:

See you in NEW YORK!

Follow me on Twitter (@chelseabees)
and/or check the #Hamildress hashtag
to see a play-by-play of all the fun!

UPDATE! Here's Part 5: The #Hamildress in NYC!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Part 3: Something's Coming, Something Good... The #Hamildress!

As you well know, I AM GOING TO NEW YORK TO SEE HAMILTON and I needed to channel my excitement into a healthy pastime... so I decided to make a dress based off the musical's poster art. I sent off fabric to Vermont, had it hand-dyed, cut out my vintage 50's pattern design and here we are... almost ready to travel!  

If you are late to the party, here's Part 1: The Hamilton Dress where I document the process of trying to mimic the cover art's gradient & Part 2: Sewing the #Hamildress where I show the process from toile to gown.

Here's what I've been up to in the past month:
As you can see, I've managed to fit the dress over the wide shoulders of my dress form (a miracle in itself). The dress should look better on me since it's been fitted to my body, not the cookie cutter dress form. 

There are three main dye gradients not entirely visible in the pic. There's the yellow starburst bodice, the medium gradient belt and then the darkest shade depicted in the skirt. The shirt even has its own gradient where the hem is darker than the gathered top edge. The back (which is shown in my previous blog entry) has a beautiful textured gradient from the yellow to the mid-range orange. It's really hard to capture all that in my photos and I'm hoping it reads when I'm walking through the streets of New York!

Don't like waiting for blog updates in order to see my progress pics?  on Twitter for #Hamildress updates while I am in NYC!

Finishing the raw edges:

I finished all the raw edges (as per the pattern recommendations) with yellow seam binding. This was new for me! I have 100 yards of it now so I imagine it will be making a reappearance in a future costume. 

Here you can see the process of attaching the binding to the hem. Next, I hand-sewed the top of the binding to the skirt as invisibly as possible.

Crinoline steamed and ironed!

The crinoline:

I steamed and ironed my new black crinoline to give it the needed poof. It's shorter than my yellow one but it gives the dress some youth and energy. How am I going to get this to New York without squishing it too much? I'm guessing I'll get strange looks if I just wear it over my jeans on the plane. Hmm.

The embroidery idea is OUT!

Sadly, I ditched my original idea of embroidering along the hem.  I had come up with the plan of combining the two song lyrics below in order to have the right amount of words to stretch across the four yards of hem.  

My chosen song lyrics were a hybrid/found poem of sorts: "I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable, I am an original. There's a million things I haven't done but just you wait, just you wait for it..."

My test swatch looked cool but I doubted my abilities in this new domain of embroidery so it was OUT.

Failed embroidery attempt!

The belt & my hair: 

I ironed and starched the heck out of the brass-buttoned belt. And... I cut and dyed my hair red! I'm testing out all sorts of vintage styles to go with the dress!


His skill with the quill is undeniable!

Accessorize it: 

I also have been scouting out accessories! Here's a two necklace combo pictured below with a single strand of feathers (to represent the power of the quill of course) and a three strand necklace with black beading. The gold metal is a nod to the brass buttons on my belt and the black beading is meant to evoke the star logo (and tie in my shoes, crinoline, my Olemor's (Great-grandma's) beaded purse and possibly a black hair accessory).

Don't judge me.

I also may-or-may-not have gotten a temporary TATTOO made especially for the trip.

I CANNOT be more excited... well, yes I could. 

If Lin-Manuel would invite me along with MY husband Manuel backstage for autographs, well that would work for me to bump up the notch of excitement to insanity proportions. I wish you were listening, cast of Hamilton.

Stay tuned for the #Hamildress in NYC! 

UPDATE: If you are ready to see some completed pics of the dress out and about in the exciting town of Fresno, hop over to Part 4: The #Hamildress in Fresno (photoshoot pics!)