Bitch Witch, part 1
Updated: Jun 27
Sewing can be a bitch. Especially when you're doing it on the fly.
One of the climactic costumes from Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" is the dramatic reveal of the Witch after her transformation from old hag to beautiful sorceress.
The Witch's plight is that she used to be hot, but a Mysterious Man (ooooh, how mysterious!) stole her magic beans and she was punished with ugliness by . . . someone. (The plot never mentions who). The Witch's revenge upon the man is a curse, rendering his entire family infertile. Cut to decades later, the man's son, now a Baker, wants to have a child with his Wife, but can't.
The Witch appears and reveals her dramatic plan for the Baker and his Wife to retrieve different ingredients needed to make a potion that will restore her beauty. If the Baker and his Wife are successful, she'll lift the infertility spell on their family.
I thought, a person going through so much trouble to bribe, blackmail, and beat up others for the sake of being attractive again, is probably extraordinarily vain. So, if I'm going to make a costume for the Witch's grand transformation, it had better be a sexy, smoking bombshell.
Well, the process sure did bomb on several occasions, as I was left to salvage whatever shards I could to make this thing work. As I said, sewing is a bitch when you're doing it on the fly.
Like with the Evil Stepsisters, I did not work out a sketch or pattern. Instead, I decided to make it up as I went along (ballsy!), using my fabrics as inspiration.
I started with the idea of an overbust corset, with a dramatic plunging front, made from three different kinds of brocades.
The pattern was salvaged from an old project that I'd abandoned years ago, of an 1870s day bodice that I made out of canvas for some reason. Running low on more durable fabrics like canvas or coutil, I decided to re-purpose and re-pattern the Witch's corset using this 1870s canvas bodice.
Unfortunately, the video and photographs of the patterning process were lost. Though, the pattern went through some dramatic changes while the corset was under construction, resembling a 6-paneled Victorian corset.
The construction of the corset was identical to the Evil Stepsister corsets, stitching wrong sides to wrong sides and covering the raw edges with contrasting boning channels. This led to problem #1:
One of the things that I didn't like about the Evil Stepsister corset was that it was stupidly hard to stitch the boning channels, given the polyester fabric did not press very well. It made wobbly fabric that was constantly shifting out of shape while stitching the boning channels.
The same thing happened with the Witch's corset. Not happy with the stitching, I decided to try something a little different.
If anyone is an aficionado of the 18th century, then you'll know that clothing was made very different back then compared to now. When it came to making trims of gathered ruffles and bows, the edges were sometimes "frayed". Meaning, the individual threads of the fabric were pulled to create a decorative fraying effect.
It's almost like making fringe. So, I unpicked my atrocious seams and re-did the two outer seams with the raw edges unfinished.
Then, as this crafty little video demonstrates, I pulled the threads along the edges lengthwise, to create nice clean boning channels with an added element of spunk.
Crises averted, for now.
Don't worry, another crises is on the horizon, much bigger than this one. You'll just have to leave it to suspense to find out.
Until then, have a shot of whiskey.
#costumedesign #costumedesigner #costube #intothewoods #corset #corsetry #beading #sequins #embroidery #sewingproject #theatreproduction #brocade #fantasydesign #costumecollection #costumerental #dressdieary #sewingtutorial #tutorial #witch #witchcostume #thewitch #witchy #red #gold #redandgold #redfabric #floralfabric #vintage #vintagesewing #repurpose #upcycle #costume #theatrecostume #therackstar #18thcenturyfashion