Posted 20 hours ago

My dad found me a $30 sewing table that’s given me much more room to work on than the rickety, small one I’ve been using as a substitute to my old table. (My old table was taken away to use for something else and technically it wasn’t mine to begin with… But we’ve been looking for a cheap sturdy alternative for like a year).

Posted 1 day ago
I've always love costumes (your vblog makes me so happy), but unfortunately, I can't sew to save my life. Do you have any tips on where to start? I'd love to be able to do what you do!
workinmywaybacktoyoubabe asked


1. Decide exactly what you want to make before starting. Makes it easier to stick to the plan and find more info on that exact project, than only having a loose idea and alter the concept several times. 

2. If possible, study actual stage costumes (doesn’t have to be Phantom). It’s incredibly useful to see how others do it. There’s usually an idea behind what you see - why bodices are boned, why an opening is where it is, why seams are where they are. If possible, ask the maker of the costumes. Maybe you can visit the costume department of a local institution? 

3. Don’t respect the fabrics too much. If you’re afraid of making mistakes, progress is slow. Buy cheap fabric - IKEA, old bed linens, whatnot - and practice with those. Unless you’re using an inherited antique silk brocade (which you shouldn’t for a starter project, anyway), everything can be replaced/mended/bought more of. 

4. Making costumes is not so much sewing as it is building and constructing. Try and understand what pieces is needed and how to put them together. It’s more like LEGO than sewing, really… 

5. A key element for POTO costumes is layers. Fabrics on fabrics, with one, two, maybe three trims on top, and these trims does of course have beading or other types of decorations. You’re sculpting, not sewing. Also, different colours on top of eachother - black lace on a red satin, for example - creates wonderful effects. And remember that no ends are left unfinished. There’s always a lace edging, scalloping, points. 

7. Learn as much as you can from books, good online sites, or knowledgable people. Pattern books like Jean Hunnisett’s “For Stage and Screen” taught me so much. Still does. Explains in simple terms how to add boning to costumes, different ways of closing a garment, theatrical shortcuts VS the real deal etc. 

8. Remember that you always need a lot more materials than you think. Especially trims. An average POTO costumes takes ridiculous amounts of trims, even if it doesn’t look like it. 

9. My seams looks like crap. I don’t care. I’m not in it for “Best Stitch Award 2014”. I sew because that takes me where I wanna go. I hand sew a lot because it’s easier to manipulate trims in place, or because I bead, not because I think it’s prettier. And if the backside doesn’t look stellar, too bad. I’ve become much better throughout the years, sure, but my goal really isn’t to create awesome seams - it’s to create awesome looking costumes. 

Also, don’t forget to have FUN! It’ll probably be frustrating along the way, but the challenge is also what makes it fun, I think. :) Also, thank you for your fantastic words. 

Posted 3 days ago

One of these days I’m going to get back to rendering all the replicas I’ve actually made.  But in the meantime, here are some of them - drawings & costumes by myself!, original designs by Maria Bjornson.  You can check out all the artsy things I do at my portfolio at or like my costuming page at my facebook.

Posted 3 days ago


Making the Phantom Valentino Wig

In 2007 I took on the Phantom’s slicked-back “Valentino” Wig as my new project to help complete my Phantom costume and compliment my evolving makeup.  I vented (hand knotted) hairs three at a time onto a wig lace base, which was built over a head cast I had made of myself.  Front hairs were tied on one at a time to transition the hairline and make it more realistic.  This took approximately three months in my spare time.  I’ve worn this wig to several Halloween, cons, costumed events, and the 2009 and 2012 fan gatherings in Las Vegas.  The second Valentino project I started remains incomplete at this time.

To learn more, check out the following links!

Phantom on a Budget:  Making of the Phantom’s Wig

YouTube:  Phantom of the Opera Valentino Wig

(last two photos by Art Andrews of The Replica Prop Forum  2009)

I love wigs and desperately want to learn how to do this one day!  I’ve just never had the time to.  ONE DAY I’LL LEARN!  But for the moment, I’ll appreciate the skill that is Phantom on a Budget! :)

Posted 3 days ago


For shipwreckdsiren: I promised you a photo of the ends of the Hamburg rope skirt some time ago.

The ropes seems to have been dipped into some sort of liquid right after cut. But I cannot tell what that liquid is. Strong enough to avoid fraying through years of dancing, but also soft to touch, and semi shiny. Not hard, like typical glue.

The ropes themselves: the red and green seems identical, apart from the colour obviously. The core is 6-7 white “tubes”, possibly nylon, and then the outer red/green has been braided around them. The black is made the same way, but has a black core, and seems a BIT different in weave. There’s alternate red, green and black ropes in the skirt, with some additional gold ones with tassels + strings of bead ones in front.

The ropes are super light, and when they slap into eachother when dancing, it sounds like the wing of birds.

Hope that helped - or that you still needed the info!

Thanks! Is the /total/ weight of the skirt heavy, though? The skirt I made is very heavy and it’s made out of similar nylon rope. The ropes themselves are light, but all together, it’s so heavy.


Yeah, the skirt is heavy as shit, compared to how tiny the costume is. But the skirt has a really nice flow and moves lightly, something my own replica skirt - made of thinner ropes - does not do. So the actual weight is significant, the skirt is very easy to wear - if that makes sense. 

Posted 6 days ago


I really want a mint rooftop cape. Or, just to make one for someone else.  I’d probably use jacquard silk and dye it.  But I feel like there are so few patterns available (at least to order online) for jacquard silk.  It’s like the same 6 floating around every website (paisley, underwater, pebbles, etc).

My tastes for costumes I want to make vary and change all the time, but right now it’s

  1. Red from OUAT (Currently in-progress)
  2. Aminta (In progress but stuck — will come back if I EVER find materials for the right price!!!!!! >_< )
  3. A minty rooftop cape that flows in the chilly moonlit night…
Posted 6 days ago
An odd question you may have already answered. I notice that, with a lot of these costumes, they've left the lace on their lace-front wigs untrimmed. Do you happen to know why they don't do this? It may not be noticeable to the average person, but to a costumer like me, it really stands out like a sore thumb and drives me crazy!
Anonymous asked


I just don’t know enough about wigs to be able to give you a good answer on this one. I really wish I could. 

But shipwreckdsiren? phantomonabudget

For stage purposes?  I think it’s much easier for the lace to stay on the head.  Even from a front row seat, the lace is difficult to see.  I have a cheaper lace-front wig I’ve trimmed down considerably, and when you trim it close to the head, it can get a bit tricky for it to stay down even with spirit gum.  More skin it’s attached to, the better it might stay on.

Also if multiple people (like, down the road) are planning on using the wig you wouldn’t want to trim it too close to one specific person’s hair line.

It’s really noticeable in backstage photos, but I’ve sat front row in both Broadway and Vegas at Phantom and you really can’t see the lace under the stage lights/makeup etc.

For film it’s different… high budget films, I’m sure would tailor the wig to that one actor/actress for that one character, use a much more subtle-looking lace and hide it well with makeup.  But theatre, I think needs to be more flexible.

Edit: I didn’t realize phantomonabudget already answered - she’s got some good info over on her post so check that out too!

Posted 1 week ago


Ariel’s UK [25th RAH Anniversary] Wishing Bodice :) It features a front closure and a detachable bow.  The silver/blue front trim and tassel trim are custom made for the project, and the appliqués custom-embroidered.  Thank you again anachronisticsiren for commissioning me to do this piece! <3

Please like Enchanted Sea on Facebook! :)

Contact me at my Enchanted Sea website if you’re interested in a commission.  I’m also on:  Etsy | Instagram | deviantART 

Adding this over on this blog.  Also, portfolio update!  This, Dressing Gown #11, and the Red Evening Dress are now featured on :)

Posted 1 week ago

Currently editing photos of the UK Wishing Bodice


Posted 1 week ago
I just want to say that I absolutely love your work and everything you do. You are such an inspiration to me, and I'd really like to do costuming in the future, but I feel like it won't ever happen because I can't get enough practice (I only just got a sewing machine, but because of weird storage arrangements I don't have access to it yet) I was wondering, though, if you had any tips for someone who'd like to get more into costuming? Like important basics or things to research?
opalinnightvale asked

Hello!  Thank you so much for your compliments!

One of the best things I did for experience - which was free! - was volunteering at a theatre.  I had to look around for theatres that would accept me as a volunteer specifically for costumes.  Some theatres / costume departments might teach you for free, since you are volunteering your labor.  I already knew the basics of sewing and then some when I volunteered, so the head of the costume department trusted me to stitch things and alter things.  But, she taught me a lot of additional stuff - cutting techniques, construction, alterations tips, etc.

You might not get to do the fun stuff ALWAYS - I also did a lot of laundry and ironing… sometimes sorting through costumes.  A lot of taking costumes apart (picking out all those stitches takes a while!).  But being around the costumes was fun for me regardless of what I was doing.  And chatting with the costume head made me learn so much.  When she wanted me to do something I didn’t know how to do, she’d teach me.  When I had questions about how to make my own personal costumes, she answered them.  I got free show tickets too ^_^

That would be ideal, since you don’t have to have any of your own equipment or supplies and you pretty much get a free teacher.  You just have to find the right theatre, right person.

Other than that, I am self-taught.  A lot of things I learned through making a ton of mistakes, really.  Doing things again and again and again.  And a lot of my online sewing friends have given me incredible advice.  I read a lot of blogs and sewing tutorials, too.  

In addition, a book that helped me when I was a beginner was The Sewing Book by Alison Smith.  Lots of basic tips and even some advanced!  Good photos.  But there is a wealth of free information online too - YouTube tutorials, etc.

I started out using commercially drafted patterns and then slowly began teaching myself to draft patterns.  Taking apart existing clothing (like from the GoodWill) sometimes gives you a great idea of how it’s constructed.  And always do mockups before making something in an expensive fabric.

Hope this helps dear!  Thanks again for your kind words.

Posted 1 week ago

UK Wishing bodice is *almost* finished.

I just need to cut any loose threads, etc, and make sure everything is how it’s supposed to be.

Once I do that, I’ll take some photos with my good camera and post them on my Enchanted Sea blog.  

I’ll also try to write up a larger blog post about how I made it and some challenges, etc. Challenge is the key word on this project!  I ran into a lot of little issues that I had to resolve (whether it be trying to find materials, or hand-sewing certain things, etc) and it taught me a lot. It was definitely one of the most [fun] challenging things I’ve ever created, and a labor of love. I’m excited to share the photos of the final project.

Due to a lottttttt of unforeseen hand-sewing, I clocked in at a whopping 66.75 hours for this bodice O_O (originally planned for about 35 to 40).  But I watched a lottttt of documentaries while I was hand-sewing and man, did I expand my brain quite a bit :D … Win-win ::thumbs up::

Posted 1 week ago

I think I’ll be able to resume sewing again tomorrow:

the tassels finally arrived (*furiously bats at them*) so I can resume the Wishing bodice and I’m very close to finishing the slavegirl.  I think I have 5 to 10 hours on each costume.
I’m definitely still open for commissions, feel free to read all the details about how it works and what to contact me with at :)
Posted 2 weeks ago

I’d love opinions on this :)

I’m quite satisfied with the fabric I found for Red’s corset (a VERY similar one to the original) and finding the exact fabric for her cloak.  But I’m flip-flopping on the skirt fabric.

It’s a vertically-crushed velvet, in scarlet, which I had a VERY hard time finding online.  I found regularly crushed velvet (like crinkle velvet) and all the polyester / cheap / (horrible) panne velvet that I won’t use.  I actually had to order a swatch of something all the way from India, as it was the only thing remotely close to what I could find.

But, the color isn’t exact.  I need a deep scarlet. (Red with an orange-y tone/hint)  This is close, but it’s more of a crimson or wine color that’s very brownish, with notes of plum in it.  However, the weight and feel of it is divine - I think it’s pure silk, and it’s the most luxurious thing ever.  The crinkle is vertical and just how I wanted it, too.

Here’s some reference photos from my OUAT book.

(Ignore the other draped fabrics for now)

I realize color will differ on monitors, but here’s some photos of the fabric.  It appears much browner and darker in real life; for some reason, it photographs a lot better than it appears, color-wise.  (That’s strange!)


And here’s some detail of the depth & texture of the crinkle.


Should I go with this?  Or wait until I come across something better?  (Like I said, it photographs a lot closer to what the original looks like, but doesn’t look very close in real life)  … I really don’t think I’m going to get any closer than this.  Unless I’ve been searching with the wrong search terms.  (Is there a specific name for this type of velvet?).  It’d be like a $70-$90 investment for just skirt fabric.  I’m like, 75% happy with it.  But if you have an opinion I’d love to hear it?

Posted 2 weeks ago


It appears 4 hours of rope cutting and sealing, as well as 5 hours of hand sewing yesterday have rendered my hands quite useless today.  My fingertips are in a lot of pain and I pulled or irritated a tendon in my wrist.

I’m convinced it’s from pulling the trigger of the lighter I was using repeatedly for 4 hours, and cutting through dense rope, is what hurt my wrist.  But the hand sewing - 5 hours is nothing.  I think it’s because I’m sewing through some tough material (rope & faux leather).

I’m going to try a few more hours of hand-sewing today (I’m sure I’ll have to quit after about an hour) and then switch to something else.  I don’t have much machine sewing left on the slavegirl; it’s all like 80% hand-sewing.  Can’t move forward yet on the Wishing bodice until the tassels arrive (which are coming from Thailand rather than China, I was wrong).  I think they might have just left the country, so it’ll be a while.

In the meantime, I’m debating on whether I should start Red’s cloak or not.  I got the sample for the skirt fabric from India today (I had to drive all the way to my post office, 20 minutes away, just to pick it up, which sucked big time for a swatch of fabric, haha) and I’m not sure about it.  I think I want advice, so I’m going to make a separate post about it with a photo :)

Posted 3 weeks ago

Finishing Off Rope: My Solution

Another technique post :)

I’m not sure what blog I posted it on, but back when I was planning for the UK Slavegirl I asked about methods of finishing off Nylon rope.

Well, I finally got around to cutting all the rope today and attempting to finish the ends. (I’ve been putting it off, as it’s the most tedious part of the costume).  

Before I cut all the rope, though, I experimented with a few different ways of finishing it off.

My original plan was to dip the ends in hot glue.  I even bought a small little ‘pot’ specifically made for melting hot glue and dipping stuff into it.  Well, I got around to opening it today.  Plugged it in, waited a good 30 minutes, and it didn’t melt anything.  It didn’t get hot.  Read the instructions, and there’s no switch or anything - just supposed to be plugged in.  Defective…  So, that option was out.

So, I tried burning the ends.  I wanted to see if I could do it neatly and without charring it too much.  After cutting the end of the rope with scissors, the nylon frays; and I was able to melt it to where it looked halfway decent.  Yet, it was still bulky at the end.

But then I took a look at how the company I ordered from finished off the ends of the rope.  The ends were melted, but there was also tape on them.

So, I tried wrapping tape (I used clear packaging tape) around a section of rope.  After I cut it in the center, I used a flame to melt the end of the rope.  It melted it well and the packaging tape slightly pulled back from the end (curled back from the heat).  I then removed the tape, and it was a much cleaner melted end.  It only took about 1-2 more seconds of a flame on the end to make sure the edges were really sealed off.

Tedious, so tedious, but it actually worked and gave me a neatly sealed edge. It wasn’t bulky like the first time I tried it - the end was the same circumference as the rope itself.

I ended up going through two full lighters (I had a lot of rope).  I used the lighters with the extended tube, not like a basic cigarette lighter.  Tip: get one that’s comfortable to use.  I just used the ones around my house, and one had a really awful safety mechanism.  They all have those - where you must hold two things down at once (index finger on the trigger, thumb on the safety), but not all of them are comfortable.  Some are a lot easier to hold down than others, and it’ll save your skin.  Although I should probably be thankful I even had those lying around the house, because if I had to use my regular hand lighter, I’d be bleeding at this point.

So there you go.  An entire blog post on finishing off Nylon rope.  I suddenly feel I’ve reached the level of boring that Sherlock did when he analyzed 243 types of tobacco ash.  But maybe it’ll help someone, somewhere, using nylon rope… whether it be for costuming, crafting, boating, or bondage ;D