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Soot Sprite Inspired by Emma Chante

Posted on Sep 29, 2015 by in Season 3, Studio Ghibli | 1 comment

soot spritesMy first inspiration was the soot sprites in spirited away. The plan was to do a dress from a gray wool I had in my fabric stash with a black dip dye on the bottom edge and some pastel star applice. But after patterning was done and I lay the fabric out to cut I discovered there was a large piece missing from the fold. As I thought about how I could incorporate other fabric(s) into the design I thought of contrasting the light, whimsical side of spirited away with the darkness. The boiler room, pollution, shadows and fear. The beautiful flowers, the flow of wind and water that are a signature of Miyazaki. This became my new concept. I pulled another fabric out of my closet, one I bought years ago because I loved it but never had quite the right project for; this was at last the perfect project.  The fabric reminds me so much of the beautiful animation that is a signature of Miyazaki films in particular. I feel that this look, while less specific and obvious than my original plan, encompasses a wide range of Miyazaki films.

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Now keep in mind this look is not meant to be an obvious reference to Studio Ghibli, rather women’s fashion inspired by the style and themes of Miyazaki films.
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When I lay the fabric out and found that I was short I decided to cut everything but the center back and sleeves from the wool. The back because it would be an unexpected touch in a seemingly simple dress, the sleeves to give cohesion. I also liked the idea that at first glance the dress is somber, but when you look closer it is cheerful and feminine.
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I started out with a size 10 B sloper and adjusted it to my measurements. I then traced that off (I was in need of a new personal sloper anyway) and converted it into a sheath dress, and from there into princess seams. I prefer princess seams to darts because they are easier to adjust fit and I feel the lines are cleaner.
emma-dress-4I ❤️ understitching! I added fusiknit interfacing to where zipper would be put in to prevent rippling.  I wanted something colorful inside from the beginning, but not having the time or gas to drive to the nearest fabric stores (my search in LA a few weeks ago for a silky fabric with little brightly colored stars on it was fruitless) I picked up some costume satin from Walmart.
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Sewing was fairly straightforward (besides finding a babysitter so my 2 year old would leave me be for more than 5 minutes at a time). I let out the hips on the sides by 1/4 inch and took the hips in on the princess seams in front 1/4 inch to get a smoother finish.

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