Recently I have become somewhat obsessed by a short film called Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. It has an somewhat corny title, and this reflects it's somewhat corny contents.
My husband turned this on Netflix a few weeks back while I was in the kitchen making dinner. Now, I love musicals and he knows this, so it was kind of like he was teasing me. I kept popping my head into the living room to see what was going on, the music drew me like a shiny fishing lure, but I still missed most of it.
The next day I sat with my daughter and watched the whole thing through. Then we watched it again. And maybe just one more time for good measure. :D
The story is a comedic tragedy that is, in my very humble opinion, a genius piece of work. It is a supervillain/superhero musical, only 42 minutes long, and was released completely free on Youtube 4 years ago. Not your typical piece of movie-making! All the actors, writers, technicians and everyone worked on this for free (for fun, for family!), only getting paid later if (and when) the short film made money. And it did!
The campy-ness is slightly reminiscent of the old Adam West Batman series, which I just love.
The thing is, for all its seeming goofyness and constant laughs, it does what the greatest stories do, and that is let us get a rare glimpse into the human condition. The entire film is loaded with deep ironies, dark humor, and insights into modern American culture. This is not Superman, where everything is pretty black and white. This story shows us that all people are shades of grey, and not everyone is what they appear to be.
Oh, and I just adore Neil Patrick Harris in this role! His voice is wonderful, and his acting is amazing.
I also JUST got the DVD, as it has some bonus features, including "Commentary, the Musical!", an entire second musical that is nearly as brilliant. But I digress.
Now you may be saying to yourself, but Linda, this is (mostly!) a sewing blog. What has this short movie to do with sewing?? The answer: Everything! I have decided I absolutely must re-create Dr.Horrible's lab coat (um, for James, of course!).
It is a vintage piece, the style is called a "Howie". There are no patterns that come even close, so I'm pretty much winging it. I did find some people who have used Simplicity 5386 and altered it somewhat successfully, so I started there myself, using this tutorial. However, I was quick to discover (after much tissue alteration) that this costume pattern doesn't really make what I want. It flares at the base, as the Matrix trench coats do. The Lab coat I want is very rectangular. The altered pattern also lacks a proper facing where the buttons are, so I've had to make that up as well. There are other alterations I have made, but I'm still at the tissue altering/drafting stage. I cut a muslin from ~gasp~ a baby blue floral sheet ! James will be thrilled when I have to fit him in it, LOL. But I really do want it to be pretty authentic looking, not some cheapo knock-off.
The good news is I get to re-watch the movie a bunch, trying to find good shots of the coat...or I so tell my husband. Mwahahaha...haha. Yeah...I need to work on my evil laugh. :D
I even plan to hand embroider the caduceus on the breast pocket....so wish me luck there.
I have been taking pictures and making notes, as I want this costume to be very authentic. I plan on posting a 2 or 3 blog-post long tutorial with lots of pictures, so if you interested, stay tuned! I was lucky today and found the perfect slightly off-white cotton twill fabric for only $6 a yard (needed 3 yards, I hope!!), and buttons. It will be up to James to design and / or find the accessories.
Now back to the stunningly boring chore of...laundry! :D