Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Steampunk July Sale

New items in my etsy shop. July seems to be steampunk month!
40 Euro
I’m selling these to help raise money for university. I was accepted into a veterinary medicine course. Now I doubt I’ll raise enough money to cover tuition but a bit of extra money will definitely help me out. I also want to get rid of things that I won’t have room for, and I really don’t want to throw anything out. 
Steampunk skirt; brown, stretch cotton with a half elastic waistband. The skirt hem has horsehair braid for extra flair. 12 Euro
Paisley waistcoat, ideal for steampunk fashion. 15 Euro. Poly linen shirt with Bishop sleeves and applique + embroidery details. 15 Euro

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Harley Quinn Part 4: Cuffs, Gloves, Boot Covers

I was lazy about taking photos, so the cuffs, gloves, and boot covers are being crammed into one post. The boot cover patterns was made by me wrapping by foot in tape and paper and drawing where I wanted the seam lines to go. The pattern was originally made for Asuka, but works for Harley. I'm using wedges for extra height. . 
 These boot covers aren't perfect, but I've never tried making ones like this, so for a first go this is pretty good. The red one is less stretch, because i laid the pieces wrong. But I can wiggle my foot in.
 Super lazy photo. Here are my gloves and cuffs. I made the gloves by tracing my hand, cutting, and sewing. Make sure to leave extra space when you draw around your hand, or the gloves will be too tight. The cuffs were made in the same way as the ruff I made for Sakizou. You take a strip of cloth and mark where you will sew down the ribbon, then tack the ribbon down. I added velcro closures to the cuffs. 

Harley Quinn Part 3: Collar

Ah, that jester collar. I think this could have been nicer, but I really wanted to use up my white lycra.

 The first step was to make a pattern. i traced the neck shape from the catsuit pattern, and took a piece of paper and draped it around the bodyform, then drew the petals out. I played with it until it looked right. 
 Once i had the right shape, I traced it on to my fabric. I cut out 2 pieces, then serged them together. 
 I then cut out a hole in the middle so that it would slip over my head.
 I added a collar by creating a rectangle of lycra, then adding darts to make it fit. the collar helps to hide the gap between the hood and the catsuit.
The last step was pom poms Remember these?
 . Sew each pom pom to the collar petals. 

The lycra doesn't lie perfectly flat, but it saved me the trouble of adding a zip.

Harley Quinn Part 2: The Hood

Although I've seen plenty of people cosplay Harley's catsuit without the hood, I wanted to make one. My blond wig with ponytails is not the nicest, and I also wanted to keep my costume versatile. The hood is probably fine for winter but would be too hot for summer (the whole suit is too hot for summer, but nevertheless)
I made the pattern by wrapping a styrofoam head in clingfilm. I then drew the lines of the hood on the clingfilm and cut it out. I then copied the pattern on to the lycra. I also created a pattern for the horns by measuring the height and length, then drawing a horn shape.
 I had to add a dart of the pattern to make sure it would lie nicely over my head. The collar isn't in the photo, but you need that too to make a neat hood.
 I think next time I make a hood, I will make it a bit longer, because this barley covered my hair line. To hem the face opening I used elastic. I sewing the elastic to the right side, then turned it under and top-stitched with a zig zag. This creates a neat edge. I added the collar; that was quite easy. I also added a zip to the back of the hood. 
To finished, I handsewed the horns to the hood. 

To create the pom poms, I cut out circles from white fleece.
 You need 4 big ones for the hood, and 12 little ones for the collar. 
 Sew them closed except for a small gap, then flip them inside out. Then stuff them and handstitch them shut. 

Harley Quinn Part 1: The bodysuit

Harley Quinn. I think at this point cosplaying Harley is something every cosplayer has done at some point (or it seems that way at least). I myself have made 2 Harley Quinn costumes: her Bombshell look, and a Harley inspired skirt + bustier. I've been wanting to work more with spandex for a while, and Harley's classic bodysuit from Batman TAS seemed like a good starting point. It didn't hurt that I already had most of the materials. I had red and black spandex that i has bought for Asuka's plugsuit, white spandex that I used for Sailor Mars, fleece to make the pom poms, and iron on tear away stabiliser. I think the only thing I bought for this costume was white ribbon to make the cuffs, and that wasn't expensive. This costume was a good way of utilizing materials that I already had.
I used a Kwik Sew pattern to make the bodysuit. THe pattern is ideal for Harley Quinn as it has a front and back seam. Interestingly it has no side seams. This is easier because it means less seams to sew, but it does mean you can't use the pattern for designs where there is no front seam.
 The first stage was cutting out the pieces of the bodysuit. I cut out a red piece and a black piece. I then measured from my neck to below my bust to determine where my waistline would be. Harley's waistline is a little above her natural waist, but this isn't flattering for everyone.
 I then cut apart the pieces and re-sewed them. Be careful when you do this. Remember, Harley's left is top red, bottom black, and her right is to black, bottom red. I used an overlock machine, but a sewing machine with a stretch stitch should also work. I did the same thing for her collar, though I actually used the collar for the hood.
 The next step was to add the diamonds. I used Acceleration Cosplay's video series on making a Haley Quinn suit, and I highly recommend them. She explains everything very clearly, though she is working with two preexisting catsuits that she cut up for her costume. I made the diamonds according to her specifications, and also traced the shapes on the sleeves and legs so that I knew where to sew them.
 Here are the arm diamonds. To attach them I used Iron On Tear Away Stabiliser. You iron this on to the right side of your applique, and the wrong side of your sleeve. This stops the material stretching while you sew. I sewed the diamonds on with a small zig zag stitch (almost a straight stitch), then tore off the paper of the stabiliser.
 I also had to make the sleeves tighter; my wrists are quite small and I wanted snug sleeves.
 Here's the stabiliser in action; you can see that I've ironed it the wrong side of the catsuit pieces.
 When you've finished ironing and stitching, your suit should look like this. I should also note that my placement of the diamonds could have been better. Next time I'd like to position the red diamond further forward so they show from the front.
 I then started sewing the catsuit together. I used an overlock machine and sewed slowly to make sure that no material was bunched up and that I sewed the correct parts.
 I didn't take photos, but I added a zip and hemmed the neck, sleeves, and legs. The zip was basted on, then I sewed it on using a slight zig zag stitch. The pieces didn't line up perfectly at the back, which was a bit annoying. 
 The finished bodysuit. I was very happy with this, considering that I'd never made a bodysuit before. 
In my next posts I'll write about the cuffs, collar, hood, gloves, and boot covers.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Purple Waistcoat: Welt Pockets

Been a while since I last posted, due to exams. Back now with a different project from my usual. This time, I'm making menswear.
I'm making a waistcoat for icantseeyourtoes; something Cecil Palmer inspired. I'm using Burda's Jason pattern; unfortunately I haven't got the instructions, so I'm having to make things up as as I go along. One of the trickiest parts of this waistcoat is making the welt pockets. I tried making two piece welt pockets before, and they looked terrible. I want this waistcoat to look great, so I decided to ssimplify things. Firstly I'm only making two pockets, not four. Secondly, instead of making double welts, I'm using Ikat Bag's Single Welt Pocket tutorial . I tried it out using some scrap fabric.  
I managed to make a welt pocket! I am really pleased with how this turned out. I used awful yellow and blue thread but the pocket still looks good. The pocket isn't very deep, so I'm thinking of adding internal patch pockets (secret pockets!) but that might ruin the line of the waistcoat.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Costume Thoughts: Akuma Homura

NB. SPOILERS for Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion Story

I really like Puella Magi Madoka Magica; from concept to music, I think it's fantastic. Two of my favourite designs from the anime (and subsequent movies) are Ultimate Madoka (Godoka, or Madokami) and Ultimate Homura (Devimura, Akuma Homura, Homucifer). Today, I'll be talking about Homucifer.
I am pondering making this costume, and am wondering about how to make the bodice.
The bodice is strapless, with a low v-shape in front. 

initially I was going to make a corset, but then I saw the back of the dress: it is essentially backless, except for one strap.

Now i'm wondering what is the best method to use:
1. Non stretch fabric, very structured, edges held down with sock glue or similar
2. Stretch black material, maybe in the form of a leotard so that it doesn't ride up.
3. Adding flesh coloured panels to either the stretch or non stretch method. This method seems like a good method, but I worry about finding material that matches my skin.

I did have a look at the woks of other cosplayers, but it is tricky to see how they achieved the bodice. One managed to make a non stretch bodice with fabric panels (mesh, I think) that matched her skin. Others look like they've taped/glued theirs down.

Other points: the feathers. It would be prohibitively expensive use make an entirely feathered skirt. It would also be difficult to maintain. I think tulle or chiffon shaped into triangles would create a similar effect (the picture below is an example). I would  sew a floor-length overskirt that is much shorter in the front from black material, lined with galaxy fabric. An easier way of doing this would be to have 2 skirts: one short one, and one long overskirt (like a bustle). Due to the layers of "feathers" the separation of the skirts probably wouldn't be too obvious.

Next, Homura's accessories: the gloves, shoes, arm bands, hair ribbon, and stockings. The stocking's aren't too hard to find. I've found "backgammon" stockings that look good: you can buy them in white and black, or purple and black, or tint them with poly-dyes. I've also seen people use Argyle print thigh highs, or use tights with a smaller diamond or checkered pattern.

The arm bands can be ribbon or cut from the same fabric as the bodice and tied on, or attached using elastic. The bow looks like it is attached to a hair band, so I would personally tie a bow with maroon ribbon and stitch or glue it to a hair band. You can buy black gloves, though if you want them to perfectly match the bodice you have have a hard time finding a perfect match, unless you want to make your own gloves.  
Homura's shoes remind me of ballet slippers. I think the simplest way to make them is to stitch thin black elastic to flat shoes.
Finally, Homura's wings. These are quite unique, and have a very mechanical appearance. I think these could be made of craft foam or even real feathers. I'm not sure what I would use to make the "wing bones", nor how I would attach it; possibly clear elastic?