Friday, October 10, 2014

Last Minute Throwdown - L

I've been working on something.  I'm not making much progress, but I'm working.  It's a fantasy costume comprised of things I have laying around.  I started a post, but I lost access to my pictures due to a power cable malfunction.  It is soon to be resolved.  Separately, my son informed me that he was going to be William Lloyd Garrison for his Historical Figures character.  It's a large part of his grade for this quarter.  Students choose a name out of a hat and do a presentation in costume.  Most kids don't have mothers with time or sewing experience so they just need to make an effort to dress sort of like their character.  There were some inspired ideas.  One kid wrapped a white dish towel around his head to represent a wig.  I made something fast and relatively easy.  And best of all, it looks like I spent a LOT of time on it.  A tailcoat!  (not at all a proper tailcoat)

I had a 'sort of' jacket pattern for the Attack on Titan jacket.  I used that.  I made curved darts in the back for fitting and to make it look like a tailored coat. I made the tails by looking at pictures, because they are just curved flaps. I made the collar smaller, and crossed it over in front and added buttons.  I made a VERY simple vest.  The kind where you start with rectangles and cut big arm hole curves, a neck curve, a V and add buttons.  I made a cravat (8 x 36 inch rectangle).

The pants are from his suit.  The shirt is a regular shirt with the collar pressed up and tabs ironed into the front.  The top hat and cane are things we have lying around.  I didn't get a good picture because he just doesn't stand still for longer than 2 seconds.

What he had to say?  'I look GOOD'
What his friends said?  'Overkill much?'

I probably won't be back to this blog for a month.  Robin and I are taking a 'girl's trip' soon, and until then I REALLY need to clean the sewing room.  Last time I started to clean, I ended up down the rabbit hole of making a fantasy costume.  Yes, it will burn down the stash, but it is making one hell of a mess in the process.  And the holiday season is coming.  That time when the sewing room has to fulfill it's purpose as 'guest bedroom'.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Stuff that got done - L

 For a year or so, I keep hearing that I should meet the 'other' Lisa.  The costumer for a bunch of local theaters.  And then my son got a part in a local Shakespeare production of Midsummer's Night's Dream where she is costuming.  We met.  We talked at high speed for an hour.  I agreed to help with some bonnets for Oliver and the costumes for Oberon's boys.  She gave me the plain bonnets and a box of trim scraps.  I gave her back these bonnets.  The plain red bonnet is what the forms look like before trim goes on.  They are actually not bad!  And cheap, on Amazon.

I like to call this project 'Hurrah for Hot Glue', though some of it is actually stitched.

If you're not into bonnets, please scroll down.

One of Oberon's boys.  Tree bark fabric from Spoonflower that matches the trees in the park where the performance takes place.  And, for the record, when someone says 'Do you need more fabric?' the answer is always 'YES'.

These things are knitting needle cases.
I made up the pattern myself because I'm cheap.

The mustard 'cotton' and purple is a gift for my knitting girl.  The grey/brown and winter foliage is for me.  And for the first time I can recall, something that is meant to organize ALSO takes up less space than the box the knitting and crochet needles were stored in.

There, I'm sorta caught up.  Ive been dealing with family stuff and vacation plans.  So see y'll soon!

Monday, August 25, 2014

All the pins came falling out - L

Another sewing day!  We are headed to Costume College soon and realized we have nothing to wear! Yeah, we left it a little late.  I need to fix the Anteater skirt and then I can wear that.  Robin needed to take in her 1880's ball gown bodice.  We got that done.  We also worked on our Regency dresses.  Robin had her Regency dress in good shape for final fittings.  We got that done and she even cut out sleeves and sewed them in.  Her fabric is a sheer white cotton dotted swiss with an ivory under layer. Very pretty.

YES, I started this exactly one month ago.  And never finished it.  Here I go again....

We are using the Simplicity pattern based on Sense and Sensibility.  Why? Because Robin bought it a while back during one of those $1 pattern sales, and before we decided we have trouble fitting Sense and Sensibility to us.  Now we know that Robin doesn't have much of a problem, but I'm still 'challenged'.  The back was too big for both of us.  We both trimmed the side back piece.  Later, I also took a LOT out of the center back.  Both of us felt the volume of the skirt was meager.  And we each added about 4 inches.  I would only recommend this pattern for fragile young things.  For the more womanly, expect to do a few muslins.  And yes, that is frustrating when you are making a muslin dress.  Any-hoodle, moving forward...

I had my underlayer cut and sewn, only to discover that I didn't really need it.  My fabric was heavier than I remembered.  Also stretchier.  And therein lies my tale of woe.  Beware, my friends, of cotton gauze.  No pins shall stay where they are placed, if they stay at all.  I took the underlayer apart and used it as my pattern for the gauze.  Then I tried to baste, only to discover that there were no pins.  Where do they go??  All over the floor.  Once I basted, I tried it on and it was utterly unfit-able.  It just kept stretching.  Sooooo, back to the underlining and sewing it all together again.  Once I got them together the stretch was under control but the back had magically grown.  So I re-did the center back. And it STILL seemed huge.  Now we were scared.  (BTW, I did manage to get the chest mostly right.  A little too long but that was easy to manage).  
Fitting text, no sleeves
At this point we did something very smart.  We left the bodice tentatively pinned and moved on the skirt.  And woe was me again!  My fabric is plaid and while I made no particular effort to match the plaid, I really felt it needed to be straight across the horizantal line at the underbust.  The avoid causing sea-sickness in others.  The required gathering, basting, trying on, pleating, re-basting, etc etc.  It took seven tries to get it sorta, maybe correct.  At this point, Costume College was looming and I still envisioned having this dress to wear.  I would text a picture to Robin and she would text 'nope', 'better', 'still not there', and 'don't give up!'.

To keep this long story from getting any longer, we got them done except for closures.  Robin's snaps were sewn but too small, so as soon as she took a breath, her dress fell off.  My hooks got sewn but not the bars.  I needed a last fitting to resolve the 'magic' center back.  And Costume College was full of great classes leaving neither time nor energy to do fittings.  So the dresses are done, but we have nothing to wear them to.

All sewn up and no place to go....

Gatsby dress
That said, my Gatsby dress was well complimented (mostly on the vibrant fabric) so there's that.

 Here is a snap shot of JUST the hanging part of my Costume College wardrobe.

And an inadequate  picture of the pile of shoe boxes, petticoats, stays and hawaiian shirts piled on my suitcase.

Part of the reason I wanted my Regency dress finished was to wear it to my 'Quick and Easy Regency Turban' class.   It was, in fact, just as quick and easy as billed.  Except the part where I'm not finished.  User error.

I'm still coasting on the CoCo high.  I bought button molds to make thread covered buttons.  I got parchment paper to melt plastic into fabric.  I bought armor scales to knit.  I haven't done any of it.  Except a quick trial run of knitted armor.  I'm looking forward to making it into something, once I get the gauge right.

Tomorrow, probably, maybe, I'll post the other things I did in the last month.  All theatrical, and none of it paid.  And then something for ME.  And a present for an offspring.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fail day - L

I have motored thru a a few things recently.  My 1930's dress is mostly together.  I finished the main knitting in a sweater.  I helped the offspring grade a pattern, cut a muslin and fit it in only 4 hours.  Today, I thought I would finish the 30's dress or finish the sweater.  I did neither.

I did some hand sewing on the dress but not much.  And I did it all crazy.  I did all the bias binding except one armhole.  Why?  I cannot answer.  I hemmed 1/4 of a sleeve and then set it down.  I finished knitting the body of the sweater.  I need to sew up the arm seams and make a 60" I-cord.  I did 1 1/4 sleeve and 1/2 the I-cord.

I'm restless and can't finish one thing.  Instead I'm doing a little of everything.

At least I didn't start the knitting needle cases I bought fabric for.  These are a gift.  I wouldn't mention it but I'm pretty sure she doesn't read the blog.

Tomorrow I need to take a beastly hike.  Then I will be happy to sit and do fiddly things for a few hours.  And no, I didn't take pictures of failure.  This is not a 'learning' failure.  This is an utter lack of discipline failure.

Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Another win for cosplay! And finally a sewing day... - L

I got another third from the awesome Shear Madness judges for Attack on Titan.  This was for making things out of unusual materials.  I thank them for letting the definition of the challenge slide to include 3D maneuver gear.  I'm pretty sure the intent was to make clothing out of something other than fabric.

My offspring are now signed on to making their own stuff.  The boy will learn to sew!  I start everyone on pajama pants because if anything can wrap your head around how a garment gets put together, it's PJ pants.  And this means I can sew for me again!

I have a few things lined up shortly; a 30's tea dress, pattern testing a different 30's dress (pattern has a bust 10 inches too small so should be interesting), a victorian shift, a Regency dress, AND some cropped pants for late fall when Robin and I are off to Burma.  Because we haven't gone adventuring in a while.

I also want to make a men's Regency outfit and a victorian riding habit.  Then a natural form dress.  Also a victorian corset.  No problem.

Here's the result of hours of work to grade up a pattern by 8 to 10 inches.  It is just possible to see all the bits that are taped together in my  tea dress pattern.  When you made a pattern bigger you have to 'grow' it from the inside out.
The pattern is from VPLL and each dress typically comes in only one size.  I love it cause those aren't sleeves.  They are 'capelets' and are sewn on over the shoulder.  I have a bold floral rayon that will either be really pretty or '70's tablecloth meets The Blob'.

Robin got her Regency bodice right.  It's the Simplicity 4055 based on Sense and Sensibility pattern.  S&S patterns just don't fit us right without a little tweaking.  The back was too big in both our muslins but that's an easy and quick fix.

I want the regency dress for Costume College.  And the tea dress if I can swing it.  So yesterday Robin and I had our first sewing day in, well, forever!  We each had Regency muslins to fit, and I had a 30's muslin.  She had a 30's tracing (and a good thing too since it was too small through the shoulders).  We got it all fit including darts and hems.  I'd forgotten how much I missed sewing days. Now to cut fabric.....   This means more pictures and patterns; more blogging!  Also vacuuming and cleaning other cat detritus from the cutting floor.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Attack on Titan/Shingeki no Kyojin - Cosplay Build - L

OK, I admit it.  My last post was a few weeks old.  I forgot to hit 'post'.  Here are details and pics.  Some of this has been discussed in other posts, but I wanted to put it all together.  And show them in action.

Jacket - I used a super easy woman's blouse pattern in a shoulder size that fit each kid.  For my daughter, I left the darts in.  I removed them for my son.  Removing darts was harder than I thought.  I also made the shoulders a bit wider since I wanted to emphasize that narrow hipped anime look.  It took 3 tries to get the collar right.  The collars are somewhat oversized and have a high stand but they are clearly NOT two part collars.  I used the collar that came with the blouse pattern, but I had to change the shape of the entire collar a little, adding more curve, but making the collar points bigger, and longer. I used transfer paper to print the emblem and ironed it onto muslin.  Then, I used heat and bond to attach it to the jacket.  I had to leave the paper on the transfer until I was done with all the ironing and I'm not entirely sure it will hold up to washing.  It took a bit of practice to get the process right.  And even with all that, Annie's collar got flattened under her hoodie.  there may be transfer paper that will iron onto dark fabrics.  I just could find it.

Eren's Shirt - long sleeve t-shirt
I removed the ribbing at the neck and cuffs, and catch-stitched the hems.  I made eyelets for the lacing and used a bit of iron on interfacing to reinforce the lacing opening.  Annie's shirt is a hooded t-shirt.
Pants and belts - pretty self explanatory, I used pleather strips for some of the belting (like around the knees) and tacked it down in a few spots to keep it in place.  I used upholstery weight thread to hold all the belts in place.  It's nearly unbreakable.

I got the real belts at Ross and got two of them REALLY long.  They go over the shoulders, cross, through the waist belt at the back and wrap back around to the front.  I sewed them by punching holes with an awl and tacking them where they meet.  'Annie' got her own pants and belts but used the same process.

Boots - I used an on-line tutorial (Sidney Eileen) for gaiters and added a shoe cover.  They close with velcro in the back.  I also added the high front as a sewn on piece, backed with felt.  I just measured the shoes and estimated the shape for the foot piece.  I made paper models before I cut the pleather.  I cut them a little big at the edges and trimmed what hung over.  A sharp curve over the toe helped hold them in place, along with elastic under the sole. It's important to measure while wearing the pants and shoes you will actually be wearing. They stayed on great and looked like boots.

3D gear -  never again.  I made 2 full sets and it was too much.  We decided early on that we wouldn't actually sheath the swords.  Made the build easier, and we didn't have to worry about wrecking the finish on the swords. When not in use, the swords tucked into the top of the gear and stayed put.  We chose the manga version as it seemed easier to me since there wouldn't be as much bulk in the back.  We deviated from 'accurate' for the little boxes/bits that sit at the hips.  Mostly, we just ran out of time.  And when I say we, I mean me.  
All the parts before construction

Boxes - made from foam rubber covered in heavy silver poster board and using silver washi tape at all the joins.  I put a piece of black felt under openings for blade storage.  It's non-reflective in photos.  I did jam a bit of painted wood into a couple of openings to look like extra blades. The boxes are light weight and look pretty good. If I did it again, I might spray paint after taping.  The vertical lines on the boxes are heavy craft foam cut, sealed and painted.  In the manga version, these vertical pieces go over the canister in the back, and under the canister handles in front.  I used a darker paint on these to increase contrast.

Gas canisters - PVC tubes with half a styrofoam ball on top.  The styrofoam was light but hard to work with and seal.  After lots of work, it's still sorta bumpy.  As I was finishing, I realized that light weight spackle would have been the best choice to smooth the surface.  I was out of time to go over them again.  Live and learn. PVC tubes look awesome but are a bit heavy.  Then again, the weight was useful to keep the gear from flopping a lot while it was worn.  I used craft foam to seal the bottom.  Eventually I got scared that the PVC was too heavy.  I drilled holes and ran heavy nylon picture cord thru them, so I could hang them from the shoulder belts.  I didn't want any dropping pants.  The cord is tied to S hooks (with one end crimped shut) and the other end hooked to split rings run thru the shoulder belts.  Easy off and on.  I shoved doweling into the top of the cans and stuck a piece of 1/2 inch tubing across the dowel for the handle.  Made them black with sharpie.  I also stuck some thin black nylon cord into the cans to look like the tubing.  I used a washer at the top for finishing.  The advantage to the anime version is the the side decoration goes over the canister in two places.  The mange version only goes over the top in one place.  This caused great fear of failure.  The cord/tubing ran from the canisters to the hip bits.  The canisters were painted with 'hammered' finish spray paint.

Swords - 1 1/2 inch pine lathing, spray painted silver and finished with rub n buff.  I cut out a bit at the handle end and made the trigger out of foam core board.  I'm not hugely happy with it, but it will do.  I made the handles out of sculpey and glued the whole mess together.  Then I covered it in pleather.  I also included the same black nylon cord to be the cables.  It was annoying to put in the cord BEFORE I was sure how long it needed to be.  That cord also attached to the hips bits.  I needed complete 3D gear to get the right length.  Made the lines on the blade with sharpie.  Because I can't costume without a sharpie.

Monday, May 26, 2014

I'm not dead yet - L

But I'm close.....
Play is done.  I'll post pictures soon.  Right now I'm going full throttle on 3D maneuver gear for the offspring.   Nearly everything is 'made' and ready to be put together.  Here are most of the parts.  I'm waiting on more silver tape for the boxes.  Back ordered, due the day before the con at latest.  Finally, the offspring will be able to actually help!  We still need to make cloaks and hip wraps too.
I am tired.

Really, really tired.

I got a lovely bottle of wine from the kids in the play.  My son got a Bacon Gumby.  Last night Bacon and I took a short break...

The wine is called 'morning fog'.  Aptly named.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming...


I'm too busy doing other things to do any sewing.  But I can share the S'Octopus attacking the knitted TV.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Shifts and Centaurs - Lisa

I did a lot of things this week.  It feels good.  Robin and I went to the SF Opera sale.  I got all the stuff in the pictures plus some fabric for VERY attractive prices.  It's all wool and velvet and no item was more than $35.  Cloaks, skirts and coats.  (That red coat makes me think FLYING MONKEYS!)

I made my shift for both Regency and for my 18C court dress. Historically, they are NOT the same.  No one sees my underwear.  And I can always make a proper 18C shift later if I have the time (and the will).  I made a lot of mistakes.  And I didn't follow the important rule.  Once you start f-ing up, put it down.  I just kept going, and making mistakes.

I also made kid costume progress.  I made the centaur's hind end.  I made the lollipop foam base.  And I made a list of measurements because....  Someone is coming over to help today!  Cutting out fabric, batting, plastic net support, and gluing!

Here's a picture parade of progress:

 Shift - I used a free online pattern (basic shift).  I used some amazing sheer cotton lawn.  This meant I actually had to flat fell the seams for structural support.  I hand sewed eyelets.  I accidentally cut the neckline too big in the back and had to patch it.

The neckline is just rolled with a cord running thru.  Now I can put on all the 18C underthings so I can cut a petticoat.  Just a simple under-petticoat that goes over the pocket hoops.  And then, gulp, I have to figure out the dress.  I can also finish the Regency stays.

I also made the centaur.  It required patience.  And glue.  Wheels to legs.  Legs to heavy plastic mesh body.  Zip ties.  Foam.  More glue.  More waiting.  Cover in batting.  Wrap and tack fun fur.

Seems so simple when I type it....
Oh, and stuff a janky old wig into the foam buttocks to serve as a tail.  Most of the structure was stuff I found in the group's storage unit.  And the wig.  Hurray for scrounging.  And I even remembered to take pictures.  During the waiting, I cut and glued a big round foam lollipop (yes, another costume).

Today I plan to cut and glue the fabric for the Jar of Mayo, Corndog, Lollipop, Slice of Cake.

These are just fabric backed with a couple layers of batting sandwiching a layer of heavy nylon netting.  Twill tape and plastic tubing are the support.  Light weight and allow these kids to go to the bathroom easily.  Well, fairly easily.

There is another large circle glued over, and a face hole cut at the dot

Except for hooves.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sorry I forgot you blog! - Lisa

Working hard and not taking pictures.  Bad blogger.  Bad.  Yesterday, Robin and I went to the SF Opera costume sale.  We got a lot of stuff, like cloaks and coats and skirts.  They each cost less than the fabric they were made of so major alterations or complete rebuilds are completely logical.  Maybe I can take pictures today.  Also, I've been powering thru costumes for the play and adding bias binding on my 18c stays.  I thought they would be pretty with light pink binding.  Alas, I am lazy and my JoAnnes only had bubble gum pink.  And this is, after all, underwear.  I hand sewed the bias binding.  it is just too difficult to get the curves right when I machine sew.  And now I have met my goal of posting a picture of stays with ridiculously large pocket hoops.  I still need to attach the hoops to the twill tape band.  I think this corset pattern will work nicely for armor.

And then the kids.  I decided to make the easier costumes first.  That means cleaning, repairing and altering existing costumes.  And then I bought/ordered fabric and all the other stuff I knew I'd need that I couldn't scrounge from the costume storage.   Pictures are only half of what I did.

four cats, one with wing markings on her side
Two dogs and a rabbit
a few robes and lab coats
A bunch of kids wanted to wear wizard robes.  Some of them are heros and some are bad guys.  I measured their shoulders and the length, but forgot to measure their arm length.  Had to estimate from internet growth charts.  Same thing with the cats and dogs.  Luckily for me, we had one dog costume already, along with a rabbit, monkey, various lab coats,  safety vests, and a marching band jacket.  Next I need to make food costumes, a centaur, and a dress made from candy wrappers.  The play is called
  "Bacon - The Dumbest Day in San Francisco"
Mad scientists attempt to control ALL the bacon.  There are battles between heros and villains, and giant animals and giant food items.  There is a news crew reporting on the action during the entire play.
I think this means that the audience (parents) may actually know what's going on this year.