Monday, June 27, 2016

San: Part 2: The Tunic

The second stage of making San's clothing was making her tunic. I found a fake suede curtain in a thrift shop. The first step was cutting out two rectangles of fabric for the front and back of the tunic. I used a large t-shirt to help me decide the size. 
 I draped it on a dress form, over the purple dress.
 Next I pinned the pieces of material together at the top, where the shoulders would be, and drew out where the armpits are with some chalk. With help, I pinned the sides to get the correct width. I also drew the neckline. I drew out the seam allowances and cut out the tunic pieces.
 Next came hemming. The sides are double folded hems, and I made a facing for the straps and neckline. I pinned the sides and used a big needle and some yarn to sew the edge down, to make it look more authentic. I made a facing from a thinner fabric. I used yarn to sew a running stitch along the straps and neckline.
 Once all the hemming and stitching was done, I sewed the straps together with yarn.
 Next came the side lacing. I used two part eyelets, then sewed over the top with embroidery thread, mixing the colours to make it rougher looking. I used some kind of string trim the lace the sides shut.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

San: Part 1: The dress

Princess Mononoke was one of the first Japanese animated films I ever saw, and to this day I still love it. It's stunning: the writing and story are excellent, and the animation is beautiful and fluid. 

I made a San costume a while ago:
 I think it was a pretty well made early costume, but I've given away from of the components. Now I'd like to make a new and improved version of this costume. I'm going to try and use as many recyled or reused materials as possible, in keeping with the spirit of the film.

The first piece of San's costume that I made was her purple dress. My first dress was made from a stretchy polo neck jumper: easy to make, but not very accurate. I wanted to use more appropriate materials. I found a large linen (?) skirt in a secondhand shop (I think it cost around 2000 forint). I'd previously bought some material that I thought would be good, but this skirt was perfect: plain linen and the perfect colour.

 I made the pattern by tracing a chemise/night dress that I own. I cut out the back and front, and sewed them together (I forgot to add side pockets - doh!), and overlocked the seams. I finished the top edge with bias tape, also made from the skirt. 
 The straps are made from twill tape that was also part of the skirt. They are sewn to the front of the dress, but attach to the back with small buttons that came with the original skirt.
 The nice thing about recycling this skirt was that the dress now has a lot of interesting looking seamlines on it, even though I only actually sewed the two side seams; for example, the armpit area of the dress looks like it has a gusset sewn in.
The next stage is to distress and weather the dress: i will update the blog when I do that.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Luna Lovegood and the End of Finals

Finals . . . are . .  . done! I've passed the first year of vet school. Only 4.5 years left (sob)

Actually found on the door of an exam room/office.
The moment I got my chemistry mark (last exam), I started work on some summer projects. I can't sew anything until I get home from Budapest, but i can start designing. 

One is a galaxy-print dress. I've been wanting to make one for a while. I want to make it from recycled materials, so I'm not sure if I  can achieve the full skirt, though the black underskirt will help with volume. 
 Another project is a Luna Lovegood inspired dress. I made Luna's Spectrespecs and thought I'd expand it into a simple costume (my university friends and I are planning a Harry Potter group for Halloween We've got a Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Hagrid. There's some debate if I should be Malfoy or Luna though :P). 

SpectraSpecs Tutorial!

 Here are the Spectrespecs and the fabric. The Spectrespecs are made from paper, card, craft foam, plastic, cellotape, and a lot of glue. 
 1) Start out by printing the template: 
This is the one that I used. Glue it to a piece of card.

2) Next, cover the printed Specs with sticky-back plastic, contact paper, or strips of transparent packing tape. This helps to protect the surface and make it shiny. Cut it out
 3) Use the cardboard cut out to trace the pattern on to craft foam. When cutting the foam, cut a little inside the lines so that the foam isn't bigger than the outside of the Specs. This is also a good time to cut out the lenses. Use the lens holes on the specs to help you trace a circle, but make the plastic circle a little bigger than the lens hole: this will help you to glue it in. I cut circles from a Fanta bottle (blue Fanta = elderflower. Hungary loves elderflower. And rosehips.) and a laundry detergent bottle (surprisingly hard to find red plastic bottles that are also transparent). You could use cellophane to get a similar effect.
Cut out the plastic.
 4) If you want to reinforce the Specs' arms with foam, cut off the little piece at the end. This will make it easier to bend the arms. 

5) Glue in the lenses with a strong glue. I used hot glue.

6) Glue foam on to the back of the card pieces.

  7) Next, the arms. Score the line of the tab and fold it. Decide how you will position the arms on the main part of the specs. Make sure you'll be able to fold and open the glasses. Glue down the tabs with a strong glue.
 9) Ta da. Finished spectrespecs.

I didn't want to make an exact replica of any of Luna's costumes from the films. Instead I thought I'd try an original design. I found a pair of satin pyjamas with a lovely print: dark blue background with gold/yellow stars. I thought that would be perfect for Luna's personality. The colours are also quite reminiscent of Ravenclaw. I painted a few designs (sorry for the camera quality: my phone was not cooperating), and I'm trying to decide which is the most "Luna" like. Feel free to make suggestions on which design is best for Luna. 

1. Empire line, with gold netting ruffle
2. Empire line, with gold trim, and ruffle
3. Darted bodice, with gold netting ruffle and gold straps
4. Darted bodice, with ruffle on hem and gold trim
5. Empire line, with simple sleeves

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cosplay Throwbacks: Rapunzel

When? Back in 2012, though I never actually wore this costume and sold it soon after making it.
 How? This was made from cotton sateen, some kind of furnishing fabric, chiffon, faux silk dupioni, and a pair of tights. I painted a lot of the details with acrylic paint and fabric paint, such as the "embroidery" and the stripes on the sleeves. 
 i think the skirt is a half circle skirt. I painted on most of the details 
 I think the design looks surprisingly good, considering my lack of experience with fabric painting 
 This was also one of the first costumes I made which I used piping and tried to make sure that all the edges were properly finished. 
 I also tried to make this as accurate as I could, but did take a few short cuts; for example, instead of making the lilac corselet a full piece, I turned it into a stomacher and a panel for the back; both of them attach to the main bodice with snaps. 
 Has it aged well? Hard to say, since I made it so long ago and don't have many good photos. I think it looks quite good. 
 Would I remake it? It was fun to sew, but I probably wouldn't remake it. I would, however, remake the miniature clay Pascal that I made (sadly I can't find photos!)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Cosplay Throwbacks: Wonder Woman

When? 2013. I made this for Malta Comic Con.
 How? The corset is made of stretch velvet because that was the only nice red material that I had at the time. I made a Tudor corset using plastic boning and some kind of twill. The shorts are made of a slightly stretchy star print material. I made the pattern myself. The Belt, Bracers, and Eagle are made from the back side of a piece of vinyl that I spray painted gold, then attached to the costume with snaps. The bracers close with velcro. The tiara is made from craft foam; I painted the star red with nail polish. THe bootcovers are made from the same stretch velvet as the corset, and white lycra.

 Has it aged well? I think it looks quite good, though if I made a Wonder Woman costume today it would make a more realistic version. If I wanted to keep to the classic design, I would alter the shorts to be slightly more flattering and use a bustier pattern instead of the Tudor corset.

Would I remake it? I'd love to make another Wonder Woman costume, but probably not this variant. I like Gal Gadot's costume in Batman vs Superman, and I've seen some Xena-inspired designs that look great.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Cosplay throwback: Lady Gaga

I made the American Flag bikini from Telephone in 2010; I think it was for Notte Bianca. I made the Red Leotard from an event in 2011 (JapanEase) - I wore the latter for a Joker/Harley "Bad Romance" skit (hence the cake: it was for Puddin' and Harley's anniversary - and a really convenient prop for all the backup dancers to hide behind before we made our appearance). These are two of my earliest costumes. 
American flag bikini: I chopped up red and blue t-shirts, painted on the stars and stripes with acrylic paint, and stamped the little stars on to a piece of blue cotton for the headband. The top is fastened with snaps. The wig is a cheap Halloween wig. I think I attempted to paint the star on my face with a silver lip gloss and black eye liner.
Red leotard: Made from an old red jersey dress. I made a leotard pattern - I think I traced around some shorts and a t-shirt. The cowl is just a rectangle of fabric sewn into a tube. The belt was black stretchy fabric and felt.
 Have they aged well?
Ehhh . . . the Stars and Stripes bikini hasn't. It's pretty ugly. I didn't even keep it-I think it got chopped up for another project. I think the Red Leotard was more successful: it fitted and looked pretty good.
 Would I remake it?
No. It was fun to wear these, but I don't have any particular desire to revisit Gaga.