Thursday, December 26, 2013

Anteater is DONE! - L

All Anteater posts are here.  Please scroll to the bottom of this post for the most recent updates.  Thanks.

Remember this guy?

I finally cut a muslin and Robin fit it for me.  So now I'm ready to cut fabric.  The only thing....

I have a couple of things I NEED to do before Thanksgiving.  This does not count cleaning, shopping and prep for the actual cooking.

Here are my patterns.

The fabrics and trim:

The underskirt was fairly simple.  The pleating is going to take a long time because I decided to try to make the pleats look like pinstripes by pleating the white part  out.  Looks neat; takes forever.
 Finally a picture of the lobster tail bustle.  Fast.  Easy.

I added a layer of netting flat-lined to the back of the skirt to give the bustle extra pouf (recommended in instructions).

And a picture of the Sisyphisian pleating job I created.  I pleated one of the five panels and set it aside.  Also, I set the pleats with vinegar.  It really works.  The smell really goes away.  I can pick up the pleated panel and shake it, and the pleats lay down perfectly.  Which is good because I didn't have time to spent hours pleating.

This pleating will be a rainy day job for quite a while.

I did manage to squeak out the overskirt though.   It still needs a hem, and all of the trim.  I have sated my need to work on the anteater dress for now.

After nearly a month, missing in action, I am back with an update!  I have, quite literally, bled for this project!  Part 2 - Fit-erations.

You know when you have a good idea, and it totally poops the bed doesn't work?  It's been happening a LOT.  Let me list the things that have not gone as planned:

1 - The very cool pleating for the skirt.  Yes, the pleats stayed in, however the rayon fabric is just too soft and drapey.  After my first pleat-a-thon, I discovered that the fabric wrinkles easily and badly.  I re-pressed the pleats removing all horizontal wrinkles.  This knocked some of the pleats out of alignment, and the fabric wrinkled again (horizontally).  Making fancy pleats is boring but worth it.  I love 'em.  But I don't love them enough to know that I couldn't sit in a chair or a car for 20 minutes without wreaking havoc.  Even hanging on a hanger messed up my glorious pleats.  This idea will have to wait for a more appropriate fabric.  This girl knows when she's beat.  Moving on.  I ruffled the fabric and made two rows of ruching to go over it.  Not nearly so awesome, but I'm content that I've achieved the hairy, hairy anteater look.
(Ruching is merely pinned in this picture.  I wanted to make sure it looked straight.  And yes, the skirt sort of trains in the back)

2 -  The trim.  Here is yet another bad photo, showing the finished trim.  I sewed it onto the overskirt by machine, one layer at a time.  Mistake.  The white fringe stretched.  The satin black ribbon wouldn't give on the bias at all.  The brown lace stretched more than the white fringe.  So yes, I ripped it all out and sewed it on by hand.  I had to make careful snips in the black ribbon to get it around curves.  And the bodice has a lot of curves.

Here I am, hand sewing, in bed, watching Naruto Shippoden with my son, with a cat on my head.  (for the record, watching anything with subtitles while sewing is a really bad idea)

3 -  Fitting the muslin too snug.  Oh, yes I did.  Robin helped with this crime.  I flatlined my wool bodice with denim left over from my son's Assassin's Creed cosplay, plus I made a pleated center front that added bulk.   Luckily, I didn't cut all the seams to match the muslin so I could still close the front.

4 - Horizontal pleating on the center front.  This isn't a mistake.  I love it.  But ohhhh, the time.  Actually, these aren't pleats, they are tucks that are sewn in.  I sewed the tucks into the fabric before I cut it.  Otherwise it would have been 'change-of-plan' #4.  I'm not good enough to figure out how to measure for tucks on a curved edge before I cut.

Here is a sample - and no, it wasn't finished at this point.

I also started making a hat because just look at that anteater!  I need to have a hat.  I've made two other hats so I got brave and made up a pattern myself.  Lucky for me, feathers and ribbon hide a multitude of hubris.  Here's the hat pattern, and the pinned together decoration so far.  More to come.

 I still have a decent amount of work to do.  I need to fit and sew the sleeves.  I need to bone the bodice.  And I need to sew down the ruching on the underskirt.

And of course, I need to finish the hat.  Here are some views of the work in progress.  Please excuse the mess in the background.  Homework was being done on the floor all around me.  And it's entirely possible that Richard Armitage is on the TV in the last photo.  Because why not?  I'll be back to write a final post with a picture of the dress (and me in it).

And it's done.  Things got seriously annoying at the end.  Finishing work can be that way, can't it...

And I didn't quite finish it because I didn't get all the boning in so it is a bit rumpled in spots.  There is just something off in the boob region that I will have to fix.  But it's Christmas, we're all sick, and I am outta time.  So here it is:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I made a top hat! - L

I made the man a top hat.  I used the Lynn McMasters pattern.   I chose 100% plastic dupioni silk and got some dayglo pink halloween print flannel for mulling.  Who doesn't want to hide that print inside a man's hat?

I made the buckram frame, mulled it in pink, and tried to glue polyester fabric which is just...  ick.  It ain't perfect, but it's done.  The man is a sweetie who is more excited that he has custom made clothes, than that the items are perfect.  So...  Ta Da!


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fixin' Dickens and Lounging Trousers - L

Procrastination is one of my superpowers.  I have postponed making the pants that go with the shirt... blah, blah, blah.  Why?  Ironing.  I didn't feel like ironing the linen.  Why did I break down and do it?  The pleating for anteater skirt was even more annoying.

Here is the pattern from Decades of Style.  It was easy to construct, and the instructions were excellent.  They also came out a bit too big and it will be a challenge to fix them.  OK, NOT a challenge.  A fussy bit of noodling.  For now they fit fine and if I lose 5 pounds they will fall off.

I took a quick picture before I put in the hem.  Sorry that everything is wrinkled and the picture is blurry.  The mirror is very dusty.  I used these pictures because the mirror is at an angle and they make me look very long and lean.  And I like that.  I lurve these pants.  Comfy and stylin'.

The bust dart that I added to the blouse is directly under my arm in the side view, about an inch below the arm opening.  It can be identified where the stripe takes a jog to the left.  Why is it so difficult to take pictures with an iPad?
New - will dangling sleeve linings!

Next up (in an effort to avoid pleating) is fixing the blue plaid Dickens dress.  I made it in a rush last year and it didn't fit well.  I needed to shorted the skirt and take in the waistband.  I needed to fit the waist of the bodice and re-set the sleeves.  Also, I wanted to add some lacy stuff at the neck to hide my cleavage a bit.  I also wanted to fix my bonnet (it was a disaster that was unwearable).


Bonnet is all Christmas-y
All of the stuff for Dickens

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Corsets, crins and calculators - L

I am making TWO skirt structures.  First, a lobster bustle in non-gigantic.  I'll probably regret not choosing the gigantic size.  But that ship has sailed.  I have a pattern.  I haven't had a pattern to use 'as-is' for a while.  It's like a sewing vacation.  I'm making them black because I have some strong black cotton that I have no specific plan for.  (I totally forgot to take a picture of the bustle but will amend that error in my next post)

Second, I'm drafting pocket hoops for our 18th C court dresses.  I'm using Nora Waugh BUT Robin and I are tall and we want BIG hoops.  We chose pocket hoops for easy packing and the ability to sit down.  I didn't resort to trigonometry, so there was some guessing and estimating.  The plastic tubing was curly and didn't want to hold the proper shape.  I had to stick it in boiling water to get it to behave.  My fingers are still a bit angry about that.

Also, both of us are making two corsets.  One for the 18th C court dress, and one for Regency.  We had a sewing Sunday where we traced patterns, cut muslins and did first fittings.  We are using the Butterick Making History pattern for 18th C.  It is NOT a great pattern.  Apparently someone added ease to a corset pattern.  However we each have unique fitting issues anyway, so we worked around it.  For Regency we are using Mantua Maker's long stays.  Let me just say... big bust + Regency stays = laughs that go on for FAR too long.  Kinda like stuffing an octopus in a fold over sandwich bag.

Patterns, paper, canvas EVERYWHERE

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Conner Kenway complete - Lisa

All the detail is in the previous post.  Here it is.
done with all the gear.  Please note, he decided to wear my Uggs at the last minute and didn't want to wait and hide them under the leggings.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Conner Kenway costume IS DONE - L

Part One - Jacket and Shirt

As promised, I am making a Conner Kenway (Assassin's Creed 3) costume for my offspring.
This is straight up cosplay which isn't really my thing...and yet, figuring out the coat is something I've  been thinking about a lot.  There are a couple patterns floating around on the interwebs but I didn't find them helpful.  I ended up using a woman's jacket pattern (Butterick 4929) modifying it (both in shape and in size).  I made it narrower but longer.  And I make the two piece front into one piece because no boobs.  In addition to having no boobs, my son also has no waist which I didn't account for in the first muslin.  Major 'do-over'.
The main part of the jacket was pretty easy.  It's the devil in the details that is gonna get me.
There are also brighter images of the character at this site
Conner Kenway

Since the video game is set during the American Revolution,
technically he should wear a coat, a vest and a shirt.  BUT there is a plethora of detail around the shoulder that was probably fun to draw but not so much to sew.  I have opted, like other cosplayers, to make the top coat into a vest and put the sleeves on the 'vest'.  I got the sleeveless coat drafted and sewn in a day.  I also drafted the over-shoulder piece along with the blue waist detail.  And I picked one of the boy's shirts that fits well to use as guidance for the vest/sleeves.

The front of the vest has a horizontal pleating detail so I needed to make a muslin first and pleat the white denim before I cut.  Just easier.  The back will only be muslin so I can sew in a big tuck to alter the fit as he grows.  Although I swear he's outgrowing it as I sew it.  I made the sleeves narrow but with a gusset at the elbow.  This gives him more room to move and the character has three buttons there anyway.  I'm leaving the lower arm seam open until I make the forearm pieces.

The jacket shoulder has some fussy strips of blue and leather.  I made the strips and then sewed them
over the lining layer, turning back the top layer, and sewed them in using the leather (read: ultra suede remnant) to bind the raw edges.

So here is a bad picture of my progress so far.

Followed by an exciting (ha!) action pose.

I have a LOT of accessories to make and a lot of 'dirty-ing' to do after I take a break to clean the sew-pocolypse in my dining room.
PART 2 - The Stuff - and holy cats, there is a LOT of it

Hood - I ended up making 5 drafts before I got it right  - no pictures yet - still have to make the symbol on the center front.  Oh good!  Drawing!  Something I'm pretty bad at.

The 'metal' bits - made of sculpey, painted silver.
The left bit is the back of the tomahawk, center is the belt piece, right is the bracer piece.  The blade of the tomahawk is, well, done.  Turns out I'm even worse at sculpting than I am at drawing.                         And the handle is a bit of scrap wood painted brown.  I'll wrap the handle with microsuede and hemp twine to make it look less like an afterthought.   The same goes for the arrows (doweling painted brown) quiver (cardboard covered with fabric and decorated) and bow (lathing strips, glued and painted brown).  I'll put up pictures when I get a chance and they are a bit more finished.

The 'beaded' armbands are made of burlap and painted to look sort of beaded.  It would be interesting and fun to actually bead them, but TIME!!!!
Here is the sash, finished buckle with belt, and one of the two cheap pistols we bought (Amazon, $10 including shipping) and painted.

And the bracers, one matches the coat, and the other is 'leather' with a metal bit and a hidden blade (which will be left off because... 12 year old boy).  They are only partly done and smaller than they ought to be because my 'client' likes them better that way.

I did this all in a day.  And as I was working on the leather, one of the cats decided I was done for the day.                                He was right.  I'm taking a couple days off from this costume.  

Back with the last of the gear!

Bow made of lathing painted brown, jute string to cover the join.  Arrows made of painted doweling and glued on seagull (rhymes with eagle, RIGHT?) feathers.

 Bow with string.  I already snapped it once and had to re-glue it.  Quiver with some decoration in a similar theme to the game image, and six arrows.  and the 'leather' bracer with metal symbol.  Don't ask me what it is.  I never finished with Ezio much less played this game.  It closes with velcro and has a secret blade compartment in the wrist.  With any luck, no neighbors will be injured in the making of this Halloween.

And the tomahawk.  Did I mention sculpture was NOT my strong suite?  Still it's made of sculpey, rub n buff, jute string, yarn, ultra suede ALL on a bit of 1x2 scrap wood.  I did some serious gluing to hold this together.  It has heft.

The boy LOVES it.  There is a wire loop to allow it to hang from his belt.

And the $1 stretch gloves from JoAnns with the fingers cut off (and tacked to prevent runs)

 The leggings have straps to tie around his legs and over his cargo pants.  A bit of twine will tie the front of the leggings to his belt loops (as with game Conner).
Microsuede doesn't really fray so these were easy.  The cat should provide scale, but only if you know how big he is

And finally, I have failed to photograph the buttonholes and buttons on the jacket, the gun holsters and belts that wrap over the coat, and the final part of the turnbacks on the jacket, the tamale pot full of coffee grounds and salt to age the white fabric, and the torturous hood.  They'll be clear in the next post with the boy WEARING this costume.   My final picture is the eagle emblem on the hood.  It is 'embossed' with yarn and specially 'aged' to highlight the symbol.

Staying tuned for the 'wearing of...'