Appa (ATLA) inspired Pajama set, Part 3

And here is part three, the final post on this project and right on time as promised. 

If you haven’t been keeping up with this project you should read Part One, and Part Two to get an idea of how I got to this point. I also have a post on making a matching Momo Hoodie for my dog that may interest you as well!

This was well on it’s way to completion in my last post, so this one will be significantly shorter. All I really had to do was make the front pocket and hood, the hood being the most complicated part of this whole project.

My one big desire with the hood was to make it without any stiffening! Even though I wanted ears that stuck up and huge horns I still wanted it to be cuddly and soft. Worrying about wire and boning channels wasn’t very an attractive thought so I did my best to avoid them.

It started out with a sketch. My plan was to make the hood in four pieces, each side would have a “notch” for the horns and then the ears would be sewn into the same seam. Then they could be stuffed and would hopefully stick up…that makes sense, right?

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I made a mock up for this (which is talked about in part 1) and fiddled with it quite a lot before deciding it needed ears. The ears were actually more difficult to draft then the horns!

It required a lot of sketching and then it eventually became a pattern.

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Which looked like so when cut out

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Each piece was sewn together, and then the backing of each piece was fused to a sheet of  medium weight (washable) interfacing.

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They were sewn right sides together and then top stitched, leaving me with cute little ear shaped pocket.

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The side with interfacing was then pleated inward giving them a bit of a rounded shape, and making them more bison-like.

Taking a break from those, I went ahead and cut out the hood! The hood ended up being 6 pieces (not including the ears/horns) the lining was made of two pieces, and the top was four. I borrowed my Merida hood pattern for reference since making these are really quite tricky.

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When it came to assembling the hood, I started by sewing the proper side of each horn on. For lining these up I just set them out the way they should look, then sew it right sides together, as per usual!

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The ears were  sewn on right beneath the horns.

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And then I sewed the adjoining horn piece onto the other side of the hood. Once that was finished both sides of the hood got sewn together

(this is really hard to explain my goodness)

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Then each horn was stuffed with a lot of batting!

The lining was sewn to the front, top stitched down the back and around the neck. Then I stitched around the horns and across the front.

And that was all, really. the horns and ears stuck up just the way I wanted.

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It was missing an arrow, which I drafted up an aligned with the center seam. This was probably the most frustrating/challenging part of the whole project since giant horns were in way and I couldn’t get the foot close enough to the base…

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Aside from finished hems, the only remaining thing to do was the pocket. I sketched out what I wanted and then created it in three different sized to see what I liked. In the end I went with the first one I made, so it was all a bit of a waste…

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I made them the same way I made my arrows, lined with flannel and topstitched on.

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I also hemmed the sleeves and sewed on a 2″ band across the bottom. It looked pretty cute if I do say so myself!

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And lastly, I sewed on the hood, which looks like so!

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The shorts were completed as well, a bit higher waisted then I would have liked, but perfectly wearable!.

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So that finishes up that project! It took about a week and was quite fun. I have a few other projects that are nearing completion, and I can’t wait to share them!

Thank you for reading, I hope to have fancier photos of this posted in the near future.

Momo (ATLA) inspired Hoodie

If you’ve been keeping up with my recent posts, then you’ll know about my current project – an Appa pajama set!

Well this is a side project to that project, which is also a side project…it’s uhm, slightly confusing? To make sense of it all, I would like you to meet Momo! Momo is a companion to the main character in ATLA and joins the entire cast as they go on adventures. Momo is a flying lemur whose main purpose is looking adorable.

When I was designing my hoodie I originally wanted the hoods to be interchangeable, allowing me to switch between sky bison and flying lemur.

This idea was trashed moments later when I realized the markings of lemurs in ATLA are entirely different then the sky bison’s.  I mentioned this to my brother and he made an offhand comment about making a Momo hoodie for my dachshund Guinevere.

It was a silly idea. The type that probably shouldn’t be taken seriously.

But I decided it was brilliant, and that my dog as in desperate need of a hoodie that would match mine.

I used this handy reference sheet created by Nylak on Deviantart for reference, since getting consistent photos is really challenging.

I did a whole bunch of marking sketches and sadly ended up having to drop the wings. I couldn’t figure out a way to make them work without looking silly.

My first mock up was made by cutting apart an abandoned dog sweater we bought four years ago and never used. The mock up was a big failure, far too tight, impossible to get on. Mock up two wasn’t much better – it was too big and there was way too much space between her legs, and the neck gaped like crazy.

I ended up tossing them both away and flat patterning it. I took a whole bunch of measurements and did a lot of guesswork on a sketch.

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Then I got out a ruler, some newsprint, french curves, and a pencil. Which is apparently all it takes.

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Eventually it ended up looking like this.

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Which turned into a relatively successful mock up. Sadly I didn’t photograph any of my mock ups, since they weren’t very exciting.

I made a few hood/ear mock ups, but this was the one I ended up basing my pattern off of.

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Fast forward an hour and I had a perfectly usable pattern for a lovely little Momo hoodie.

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Once cut out it looked like so!

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I started out by creating all the markings. I used the same method that is talked about in part 2 of the appa pajama project. Lot’s of pinning, sewing things right sides together, fliping them right side out and topstitching em’ down.

But it all starts with pinning.

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I took a moment to sew the legs onto the body of my pattern.

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And then the markings got topstitched down.

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The stomach piece was stitched up half way, then a zipper was inserted.

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I sewed on the brown neckpiece, then did a fit test. It came on and off with great ease and Guin didn’t seem *too* bothered by it, so that was good. On the downside it was too loose on the bottom, but I fixed this right afterward by taking in the side seams.

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Then I moved onto the hood. The ears alone have more pieces and are more time consuming to make then the entire body of this costume. It’s quite silly.

The striped bit of the ears are made up of 8 very tiny pieces of fabric.

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Which get sewn together to make stripes in the rough shape the ears need to be~

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Then the ear front gets stitched on. It looks like this in the in-progress stage.

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Then they get sewn right-sides-together onto a smooth backing.

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They are sewn into the hood, and loops of boning were added to make them stick up.

DSC_0989The tips were sealed with fleece so they wouldn’t poke Guin at all.

Once it was sewn on I had an adorable Momo hoodie! It isn’t fully complete in these photos, it’s missing the band around the hem, but that was finished up shortly after.

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A fun project if you have a few hours on hand!

I shall attempt a photoshoot with our coordinating costumes in the near future.

Thanks for reading!

Appa (ATLA) inspired Pajama set, Part 2

Onto the fun post, assembly! I announced this project on tumblr and a lot of people showed interest, so I tried to make this as detailed as possible. That way it could work as a guide, or tutorial for anyone who wants to make one themselves!

I talk about drafting in Part One, so read that if you are curious!

….

I  altered and used a pajama pattern from See&Sew, it’s pattern number is B4326 and it was very easy to figure out.

But If you don’t want to buy a pattern, there are quite a few tutorials on drafting your own online. You could even cut apart a sweatshirt (one you no longer need/want) and trace it to get a pattern.

In the last post I finished off the drafting process by copying arrows onto poster board. This was done so I could trace around them more easily.

You want to trace out all the markings and arrows onto the wrong side of  your backing fabric. I was using flannel, which I’d recommend for this task. I would also highly suggest picking a material color that either matches the color of the markings, or matches the base fabric. (mistakes will blend in better!)

Don’t be an idiot and buy what was on the fabric websites clearance page not like I did that or anything….

Make sure your material is pressed ahead of time. You don’t have to use flannel, but I would suggest material that isn’t slippery (NOT silk, satin, taffeta, peachskin, lining fabric, etc.) or thick (fleece).
Broadcloth would work just fine if you wanted a cheaper alternative. 

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DSC_0801 Make sure leave over a inch of fabric in each direction of your outline.
Then pin your flannel tracings onto the fabric you want to show, in this case i’m using brown minky.

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Once it’s cut pin the proper pieces together, make sure to remember the “right sides together” rule! The outline should be facing upward, and the soft side should be in the middle.

Then, pin, pin, pin! Make sure the material on both sides is flat and smooth,  and try to put the pins in places they won’t need to be removed/interfere with sewing the outline.  If you don’t you’ll run into problems later on.

Once you have carefully pinned the damn things you can sew.

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It’s slippery and annoying with pins, without them it’s hell.

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Then it was time to sew. I used a 2.5 stitch size and put a new needle on my machine to make things go a little smoother. Start at the top and work downward. Make sure to sew slowly and don’t stray from the outline~

 I would suggest starting with the easiest ones first, working towards the most difficult pieces.

DSC_0805Turn at each corned ensure the points are all right on and proper. These look really odd if you mess them up. Also, do not remove pins as you go! Leave them all in until the end.

(this was the first one I did, and I hadn’t discovered the importance of that just yet) 

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Once the arrow has been sewn around it can be cut out. You want the edge to be no more then a half inch, but no less then a quarter inch.

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Like so. You should also clip your corners so they look sharp! I did this, but I didn’t photograph it, for some reason.

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If the corners are being pain in the ass a pair of pliers and a knitting needle can help! I don’t like tweezers, they just went through the fabric and pulled out fluff. Pliers worked much better for me. If you choose to use a needle, be gentle.  

(I’m overenthusiastic and always poke through the material, destroying the corner)

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Then press the backs with an iron and that’s it.

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Then repeat with the more complicated ones

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For this one it had so many close corners I cut it from the back, working off the line I sewed rather then the original outline.

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When flipped, it looked so odd!

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It looked pretty odd rightside out, too, actually.

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For the bigger pieces I ended up making 3 inch slits in the backs, which is where I pulled the arrow heads through. 

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These curvy ones actually didn’t give me any trouble at all, it was a pleasant surprise.

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Once I was finished with the arrows  I cut out my pattern and began pinning the pieces on very carefully. One of the bonuses about working with minky (in addition to it fraying something awful) is that it’s stretchy! So pinning is important.

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For the back piece, I drew a line down the back and used that as a guide. I felt silly later on for cutting this on a fold when I could have just done a seam, it get’s covered either way!

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For the shorts I did things a litte differently, instead of sewing the crotch seam first, I did up the side seams.

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Which gave me something flat to sew the arrows onto, AND I didn’t have to add a seam in the middle of the arrow.

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Once again I started with the easiest arrows first, just to practice on. I did 1/4″ topstitching, but it varies in a few (okay a lot) of spots. I felt like this was a lot more difficult then sewing around the outline, the minky was really slippery and just a pain.

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I had to go quite slow, and every time I messed up I had to stop, rip it out, tie off the thread, and start again.
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Not sure how I completed it without breaking something, but I did.

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After this was taken I did up the front seam of the shorts, and made the waistband. I flipped over 1/2″ at the top, sewed it down, then flipped it down an inch so the raw edge was hidden. I sewed along the edge and then added elastic to the waist.

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I did the final two seams after this was taken, and then did a rolled hem on the bottom cuffs. Similar to the top, they were hemmed a half inch, flipped, and then hemmed an inch.

I moved onto the hoodie right after, sewing the arms onto the back.

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Then I sewed on the front, did up the side seams and I had two wearable garments!

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It still needs a hood, pockets, hemming, and a few other details, but it’s getting there! the next (and final) post should be very short in comparison to this, and it will be up later this week.

Thanks a bunch for reading! x

Appa (ATLA) inspired Pajama set, Part 1

I have started writing myself weekly to-do-lists with hopes they will keep me more productive. Last weeks definitely worked out well, as I took about 120 photos between two projects.

One of my weekly items is to write at least two blog posts a week and I hope to keep to that! 

 …

This project is a little different from anything I’ve ever made before, it isn’t made to be worn to a convention, and it doesn’t even have any ruffles!

The idea came when I was chatting with a friend about avatar hoodies i’d seen on etsy, and how wonderful and creative they were. As much as I liked them, I couldn’t imagine spending that much money on something relatively simple. 

Later that day I was in the basement and came across five yards of ivory, double sided minky material, which I took  as a sign to make my own. A few hours later I had doodled up a design inspired by my favorite creature from Avatar the last Airbender.

ATLA  is a series I really enjoyed, it’s funny and lighthearted and almost every episode makes you smile or laugh. Sadly  my favorite characters are either short, very tan, or male, and I don’t feel like I could do any of them justice. So this is what I decided to do instead….

This is Appa, who is a  Flying Bison. He serves as the main form of transportation in the series and has some comedic value as well.  

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 It originally started as a plain hoodie, but with how soft and lovely the fabric was (and how much of it I had) I decided it was better suited for a pajama set. So I doodled up a pair of shorts to match! 

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As you can I see I have my front/back sketches, and a bit of what the sleeve pattern should look like. 

As luck would have it, I had a pattern that would work perfectly hanging around. I bought it way back on a $1 sale at joann’s, but it actually retails for $2.50, so it’s quite cheap, even without a discount! The pattern was very basic, so much so that I threw out the instructions after taking this picture…

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I also tossed the pocket and hood pattern since I didn’t like either of them. The pants were cut into shorts, and the dress was cut into a top.

Then I pinned the butchered pattern onto some muslin and cut it.

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The pattern was ridiculously easy, assembly took less then five minutes since it is literally six seams to make the top, and five for the shorts.

I ended up finding the top too big, and the shorts too long. Both got taken in several inches until the suited me a little better. The shorts aren’t pictured since I neglected to photograph them.  

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Once it fit I got out a set of french curves, a ruler, and a pencil, which helped me draw out the arrows and iconic Appa markings!

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Once that was complete I traced them onto the other side, did up the sleeve arrows, and took a few pictures.

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I was really happy with it! I ended up running into machine troubles an called it quits. The next day I attempted a hood and horn pattern but it was kind of a fail? The hood needs a lot of work and the horns were pretty laughable. 

The left one is smaller, and I like it much more. I’m actually fond of the shape, it’s just too large. I also feel that the hood needs ears to balance out the harshness of the horns. So I really need to go through and re-draft this bit, hopefully it won’t give me as much trouble the second time around. 

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Instead of re-making the entire pattern from paper, I altered the one I had bought. 

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This basically required ripping apart the mock up, pressing it, and laying each piece atop the corresponding paper pattern piece. Then I just cut of the paper around each piece and it was fine. The alterations were really minimal, just removing a few inches at each seam, and changing hem lengths. 

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Once that was done, each piece of my mock up was cut apart. I cut out each arrow and traced them onto poster board. The reason for this shall become obvious in the next post!

I also remeasured and smoothed out any of the “rough around the edges” and made sure they were symmetrical and all that. 

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And with that complete, I was ready to move onto the next stage.

But you will need to wait a few days for that post!

Thanks for reading. 

A sewing room tour.

A few days ago it was a very rainy, dark, dreary day on long island. Although I enjoy rain, it wasn’t a very “inspiring” day, and I couldn’t find it in me to do anything sewing related….so I decided to clean. 

My sewing room was in desperate need of a clean up, although I try to clean up after every sewing project, my last few projects were mushed together, and the cleaning never happened. Because of this my sewing room was an absolute mess, to the point where it was affecting my ability to sew and work properly. 

Once my clean up was done, I was really satisfied – so much so that I took a few photos and posted them on tumblr. The feedback was really lovely, so I decided to post them here, too! 

This room was originally my family’s guest room, it’s quite small and didn’t start off as a very functional space. Once it was cleared out it was painted the color of my choice, and the desks were built by my father, from wooden doors we bought at home depot! The other pieces of furniture where unused objects that were found in our basement. 

It’s a little crowded, since I have so many things, but I still like the space very much, so here are some photos! 

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I have two corner, mini, bookcases that each hold four four wig heads. On the left side I have a little white unit that holds figures and thread. On the opposite side I have a heater/fan for the winter. Next to that I have a case from pottery barn which holds a few patterns, and more thread. 

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On one side of the room I have a drafting table, and beneath it is my RMT bustle! Next to that I have two buckets filled with scrap cloth and mock up materials. The three, blue lidded bins are filled with fabric and abandoned projects. Atop that are buckets for electronics, mostly camera equipment and chargers. Next to those I have a laptop fan and a tablet. 

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Next to that is my drawing desk that doesn’t get much use these days. The table top is lined with poster board and holds the entirety of my marker collection. Colored pencils, pens, and pencils, sit in cups on the left side. Beneath the desk I have two drawer units, the fancier of the two holds tape, staples, hot glue, and pins in one drawer, patterns in another, and books in the bottom. 

The plastic one has a drawer for interfacing, one for wigs, and another for patterns. Atop it I have sketch pads and papers. 

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Across from that is my ironing board. I have nails where I hang in-progress projects, and beneath it I have boxes filled with cosplay shoes. Off to the side I have materials I’ve bolted, mostly chiffon and things that don’t fold well! 

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Next to that is my baby, my new industrial sewing machine! Above this there is a large mirror, and beneath it (on the left side, where my feet don’t go) I have three hat boxes in various sizes. The largest has my tulle petticoats, and the smaller ones hold fancy brocades and the coordinating trims. 

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The only unexplored area is my closet! 

It was a linen closet so it has shelves in it. One side has my finished costumes (that aren’t too large or poofy!). I have clear drawers beneath them that hold materials for specific projects, and above them I have plastic boxes that hold costume accessories.

On the other side I have large white bins that hold beading supplies, larger costume accessories, knitting material, old clothing I could use for things, and more unspecific fabric. My serger (which I still cannot use) and napoleon hat are up there as well. 

The shorter clear pull-tab buckets hold small things of thread, and the top has all the materials I need for a dress.The flocking buckets have even more fabric in them, and were bought at home goods.

The colorful boxes were purchased at AC Moore for $1.50 a piece. One of them holds lace, two of them have trims, one for chiffon, suiting, and another for horsehair braid. The three drawers have notions, the top being velcro, buttons, snaps, and clips. The middle has boning and the bottom are zippers. 

The three white buckets hold more fabric, one for knit/stretch materials, another for shaunting, and the last one is suiting. 

The bottom buckets are a huge mess. One has spandex, another has halloween costume fabric, another is twill, brocade, glitter organza, paint brushes, and even acrylic paints! 

The plastic pull bin has opened store bought patterns. Above it are tubed watercolors. 

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Usually these doors are closed and my dress form is in front of them. On the left side I have a mirror that is balanced quite precariously atop more hat boxes! One of them holds mock ups, the other has my peachskin material collection.

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 And that is it! I hope you enjoyed, or at least found it interesting ^^

Merida (Brave) Cosplay Photos

I pride myself on doing a (relatively) good job of documenting, and posting about the process of making my costumes…but somehow I always neglect to post photos of the FINISHED product! It’s madness, and it’s time for it to change. I have been updating my DeviantArt over the last few days, and shall do the same here on wordpress. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can get the vast majority of my nicer-cosplay-photos posted.

I figure i’ll work my way backwards, starting with the most recent costume and ending with pictures of Napoleon that were taken almost a year ago…

Which means starting off with Merida pictures! The photos were taken on a trail that runs behind my house, with my father standing in as the photographer. I edited them, posed, made the costume, you know, all that stuff.

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The making of a Glass Angel Costume, Part Three

Here we are with part three, all about the ruffly skirt! Ruffly skirts are the best skirts, I feel passionately about this and had quite a bit of fun creating this one!

I put up a “tutorial” for this on tumblr, with the bare minimum of required information on how to make it. It ended up being surprisingly popular, gathering 5000someodd notes which is a new record for me! If  you would like to see the short, tutorial version of this project click here.

Otherwise I hope you enjoy my rambles and unnecessary photos (it’s my specialty after all)~

To be honest I didn’t start out with a big plan in mind. For the petticoat I decided to go with my usual method – the one that involves making tons of ruffles and then hoping for the best. In total this petticoat has more (yes, more) ruffles then my RMT bustle has! I was slightly shocked by this, especially since this was so easy/fast to make compared to the bustle.

(In total there are over 25yds of ruffles on the underskirt, which required over 150yds of hemming.)

I made the ruffles with my usual string method, which you can find more info on here! I really do not want to explain it again, since it’s very boring stuff. But, in case you had forgotten, it involves a lot of hemming. I began the hemming process on my Singer Heavy Duty 4423, my main machine that I got seven months ago (give or take a bit). Sadly half way through the project it began making a very load squeaking noise, overheating, and having tension troubles.

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The machine was replaced a week later with a Singer Industrial 161D-30, which is a HUGE upgrade. In addition to being larger and sturdier it also sews ten times faster then the baby machine I was using before. Which makes hemming massive amounts of ruffles a much faster, simpler task. Can’t say i’ll miss my three hour hemming marathons.

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Anyway, once the ruffles were made I sewed them onto 4″ rectangles of netting.

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Then the rectangles of netting were gathered and sewn onto a 1/2 circle skirt, which looks like so!  Looking back I wish it was a 3/4 skirt..but eh, that would be a lot more work. This skirt is made out of heavy canvas, if you plan on creating this you’ll want to use a sturdy material that does not stretch.

If you are unaware of how circle skirts are created an awesome tutorial exists here.

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Though I was quite pleased with this, the shape was all wrong – so I created more ruffles and sewed them onto very long panels of netting which were pinned to the waist, giving a cupcake shape.

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I was very unimpressed by the poof factor this created. So I made even MORE ruffles and did a second layer of gathered netting, this time I used 8″ tulle which was sewn four inches above my first layer

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Finally I was pleased with it, but the ruffles were kind of all over the place.

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See how messy they are? This bothered me. DSC_9444

I used a very large needle and loosely sewed through all the layers, just enough to keep all the layers pressed against each other. Sadly this made the skirt a little less poofy, but it looks much better.

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Skipping over a few steps, since I didn’t take pictures of this part, here is the overskirt! It’s made up of 1 1/2 circle skirts which I gathered down by hand and hand sewed into place. Then a ruffle was hand made, and sewn onto the edge. I think it’s all pretty self explanatory.

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Then it came time to add stripes to my wonderfully poofy skirt. These looked like so and eventually had the sides turned over and stitched down.

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Then they were placed onto the skirt.

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When worn it looked like so.

DSC_9647But it was still missing something! And since it was decked out in ruffles that can only mean one thing – it needs sparkles.

I quickly remedied the lack of shine by added little white plastic diamonds on each stripe.

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Which STILL wasn’t enough, so I created a double sided ruffle and glued the diamonds down the center.

My skirt also got a waistband.

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At this point something was still off – it wasn’t poofy enough. So I decided to sew in hoopskirt boning which instantly made it puffier and rufflier!

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Marvelous. 

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I also added a 6″ zipper down the back and two snaps for secure closure. I don’t have photos of that bit, but I DO have pictures of the bodice and skirt together.

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And that’s about everything for now! The end is in sight!

Thank you for reading!

The making of a Glass Angel Costume, Part Two

I swear sometimes this blog writes itself – but on the rare occasion putting together a post can only be compared to pulling teeth!

This post is the latter. 

I’m not sure why, but this costume has been absolutely torturous to work on. I really love the design, and though a few bits were challenging, there isn’t anything very difficult about this costume. Despite all this, I haven’t really enjoyed this project…which is sad. It’s also one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging about it, I haven’t wanted to work on the costume, much less write about it.

But now it’s almost complete – and my deadline is only a week away, which means it’s time to get some progress updates. If all goes according to plan another post about this costume should be up within days, then the final post will follow a week or so later.

Anyway – onwards! The first post about this costume focuses on the pattern and lining, if you missed this post, it can be found here!

So my fabric arrived! This was very exciting, three of the four colors were gorgeous and looked lovely together…sadly the sleeve color didn’t look so good, but I decided it would work (I really, REALLY wanted it to work).

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This should have been a sign that the sleeves were not going to work out so well.

 I decided instead of quilting the sleeves I would make them pintucked, which ended up being very time consuming but was easy enough to do.

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So fast forward a few steps and here is what the “finished” sleeve looked like.

It was really awful. It looked really, flat, tacky, lifeless, and CHEAP! In addition to all that it looked awful with the blue I was using for the bodice. I knew right away it wouldn’t do, so I got working on a new set.

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Well, before I could start on a new set, I ordered more material – this time in a lighter shade of blue. I had high hopes this lighter shade would look better with my other materials.

Sadly the blue was too light and very green toned.

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So I said goodbye to accuracy and decided to make the sleeves match the bodice.

This time I made the pintucked squares smaller, which I figured out make the completed sleeves look “daintier”

Here is how the pintucks looked all marked out.

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For the grey center bits I used a rectangle of fabric which was gathered down at the top, bottom, and middle so it looked poofy.

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I made the sleeve “keyholes” a little smaller. They were also sewn down around the edges so they can’t flare up and show the sleeve base.

DSC_9844This time I was much, MUCH happier with how the sleeves looked! They looked fancy an lovely. But we have to move away from that for a second to focus on the bodice.

There actually isn’t much to this, if you’ve seen the previous post on this you’ll already know the shape and pattern of the top. The only “interesting” part of this was making the front ruffle, which consists of several strips of material.

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The dark blue ones were double hemmed and gathered by setting the stitch length for 5.0 and the tension at 9.

Aren’t they cute little ruffles~

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Those got pinned onto the medium blue center piece

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And then the silver piece got sewn into the center of that.

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That got sewn onto the bodice.

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Some time later I cut the bottom into a point and bound the edges with home made bias tape.

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All this required was some sparkly buttons, which I picked up in a NYC trim shop!

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Perfect. 

The sleeves got hand gathered and sewn into place, which is pretty self explanatory.

I have to add scalloped trim to the collar,  finish sewing on buttons, add a zipper, and maybe add a dart in the shoulder so it fits better; But currently it looks like this!

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There we go. Only two more posts about this costume to write and i’m done. 

Anndd as per usual, thank you for reading! I shall have another post up soon.

The Making of a Merida cosplay – Brave – Part 2

Alas this costume is complete! Unlike my other project (which I shall blog about later) this costume has been a joy to work on. Usually boring simple designs don’t keep me interested, I get tired of them very quickly and my work becomes sloppy and rushed. This happened when I was making Mizore and I was really worried it would happen again with Merida.

Luckily, that was not the case at all. I really enjoyed making this and I actually really like wearing it too! It’s comfy and easy to get on/off, plus it’s actually flattering – quite the rarity in my cosplay closet.

Anyway, On with the post! If you missed the previous post on this costume you should read it here.

There wasn’t a lot left to do on the dress. All it really needed were ruffles and a good hemming. The first of which proved to be a bit more time consuming then I would have liked.

I cut strips of chiffon, folded them in half, and top stitched the fold.

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I used the tension method of gathering, which works really well on lightweight fabrics. All you have to do is set your tension as high as it’ll go, and set the stitch length to the longest length. Then you sew and enjoy the perfect ruffles.

Some of these got sewn onto little strips of wool which got hand sewed into the sleeves.

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The others would later go onto the neckline – but first I had to cut the neckline! I did this by putting on the dress and drawing it out with dressmakers chalk. Then I measured out and cut the “V” I cut a rectangle of muslin which would fit beneath the V. Then that rectangle was covered in chiffon that had been gathered on each edge.

If that doesn’t make sense go back to post #1 – it’s the same method I used on the sleeve poofs!

That got pinned into place…

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And sewn! I later cut off the edges.

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Then ruffles were added to the neck. The bottoms of these were sealed with nailpolish to prevent fraying.

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Once completed it looked like this!

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When it came to the lacing I used some cream colored cording I had laying around, a VERY large needle and pliers. I measured out where each hole should be and worked the needle through each one. This was really annoyingly difficult and I would not recommend it – but I personally think it looks better then grommets so I guess it was worth it.

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There we go.

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Moving onto the cape! I thought this would be really easy, but I struggled with the pattern. Unlike most all cape patterns, I didn’t want mine to have a seam down the center of the hood. I wanted it to be three pieces.

I quickly learned these do not exist and are a pain in the ass to draft. Made more challenging because you have to account for a GIANT hairstyle that needs to fit in said cape.

But I did it! 

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The piece on the far left is my lining. The back seam has a french seam.

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Which looked like this when put into place

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The actually cape part is a half circleish sort of shape that was double hemmed on each side, the top was gathered by hand and sewn to the inside of the hood.

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This cape also doubles as a dog bed so that’s pretty cool.
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And in the end it looked like this! The hood is pretty floppy here because I don’t have a giant head of gingery locks like Merida.

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Speaking of gingery locks…

This pile of hair arrived for me!

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What you see there are four wigs.

This is the base wig – which I dyed to match the other wigs I used. And one of these, and two of these.

Those links will probably be dead in a few weeks so here are pictures. At the time I ordered these they were all on sale and I think in total I spent $65ish.

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So the three long (100cm) wigs were turned inside out and seam ripped apart!

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Each weft was sewn to another weft, making them twice as thick.

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Then I laid them all out on a towel and used alcohol dye to make the roots and certain strands darker. I brushed the dye on with a large paint brush, and after a few days I washed each weft.

My entire bathroom floor was covered in hair.

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The “base” wig has a lacefront which makes it look more natural. Sadly this wig did not come in orange, so it got dyed via the spray bottle method. Each strand was heat sealed before I rinsed it.

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And then I started sewing the long fibers onto the lace front wig. SO MANY PINPRICKS. Dear got it was miserable, but you know what was worse? Curling it. My fingers still hurt. They still burn. 

I honestly wish I had more photos of this process, but it’s tricky to photograph. The curling process especially since it requires both hands and  has to be timed to the second (otherwise the wig melts, yeah, fun.). Also my hands were orange from the dye so it was a big mess trying to wash them! Plus in my bathroom lighting the wig photographed as a big orange blob.

Here we are maybe 1/2 done. With a lovely shot of my bathroom floor (wefts that still had to be sewn in.

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And here we are two nights later! After another five hours of work (and a ‘Say yes to the dress’ marathon) it was almost complete!

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And then the next night the bangs got styled and I could proudly say it was DONE! This beast took longer to make then the costume it’s self did. If I had to guess I would say it took 12-15 hours. Crazy.

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Today I did the very first makeup test, which I actually filmed since people on tumblr were curious. The makeup is pretty boring and straightforward – I kept it natural since a lot of makeup goes against both Merida’s appearance and “spirit”.

Anyway – that can be watched below!

And here is the finished product. I’m quite pleased with everything, next time i’ll use more blush but that’s about it!

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With the cape:

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And of course, a photo of the finished dress. Hopefully I can get pictures of these together later on this week – I would love to have a shoot in the woods before I take this to animenorth and the wig get’s all messed up.

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I do believe that is everything!

As always, thanks for reading!

The Making of a Merida cosplay – Brave – Part 1

I was on the train into NYC the other day, armed with birthday money and desire to buy fabric when I decided to cosplay Merida from Brave. I’ll admit the movie isn’t one of my favorites, since I think the “plot twist” in the middle is a bit silly! But I do love the message and the character, and I think that’s what matters.

Merida has been on my “to-cosplay” list for ages and after watching a show that takes place in the 12th century  (‘Pillars of the Earth’) I was feeling pretty inspired by the simple, but flattering garments from that time period, which made Merida move up on my list.

It still wasn’t a costume I had planned on doing any time soon, but the mood for making it struck me right before a shopping trip, which is how I ended up with all the materials needed for this costume.

The urge to actually sew it hit me 24 hours ago, so I did. And now it’s well on it’s way to being complete, and I’d like to share it with you guys!

What i’m making would be classified as a medieval kirtle (is that a fun word or what?), and if you search around you can find TONS of free patterns for these online. Kirtle’s began as a  loose garment that didn’t have waist seam, later on they became tighter and dressier, and even later then that they became undergarments! They are different from tunics and chemises since kirtles have lace up closures which allow them to fit better.

See basic Kirtle

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I didn’t actually figure out what this garment was called until after drafting my own pattern. But even if I had I probably would have used this method anyway, since it allows me to fit it properly and get the a good idea of the fullness needed.

I took a few measurements, the important ones being shoulder to toe (dress length), bust, hips, and torso length. Then I marked a piece of muslin with the newly taken measurements.

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Then I turned the remaining fabric into side inserts.

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I sewed up the side seams and added a back zipper for fitting purposes.

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It’s flattering, isn’t it?

I used my usual pin-until-it-fits motto, and drew out rough arm whole and neckline placements.

Then I removed the dress and made my lines more even and defined.

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For the side seams the pin line was puckered. This happens a lot, and easy to fix – but it’s also easy to forget about! If you don’t fix it, and mark the line while one side is puckered, you’ll get uneven seams later on which can lead to fit issues.

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If you have that problem, fix it, then mark your line.

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Beautiful. I cut that out, and sewed up the altered seams. Heres a picture of pinned vs. sewn.

Also, here it becomes obvious I have a corset on. It’s a cheap, plastic, ebay one purchased for a whole $9. The waist isn’t tightened at all, I’m actually wearing it to smooth out the pudge above my hip bone so the dress lays nicer. DSC_9663

And here is how the dress looks with two “skirt triangles” I think the technical term for these are ‘flounces’ but don’t quote me on that.

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I was happy with it, so I went ahead and cut it out of my fabric!

Speaking of fabric, I adore the material I got for this. I didn’t have a reference photo with me when I bought the material, so the color is slightly off – it lacks the blueish tone Merida’s dress has, but I love it anyway. It’s very heavyweight wool (suiting?) and it has the most wonderful texture.

One of my major Merida cosplay pet peeves is people using broadcloth or very lightweight, swishy fabrics for Merida’s dress. Or even worse, materials with a sheen and glitter! We are supposed to be in 10th century Scotland, and a horse-riding-archery-master-tom-boy-all-around-awesome-strong-female-character, we would not put up with that shit.

So when I was picking materials I knew I had two options, linen or wool. But linen wrinkles like hell and my previous experience with it was quite disastrous, so I went with wool.

 I also picked up four yards of dark brown for the cape, again, I did not have reference images and for the life of me I couldn’t remember whether her cape was grey or brown. Apparently it changes between green and grey depending on the image or movie scene.

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I didn’t take any pictures of the fabric cutting process, but I think it’s fairly straight forward. Here is a picture of the dress “pattern” I made up in MS paint. As you can see, the bodice is seamless but the skirt has two panel inserts (one on each side) to give it more volume.

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That isn’t to scale at all – in case it isn’t clear, the skirt hem is 36″  before the panels are added, and then it jumps to being 60″, and this image only shows half of it. It’s intended to be cut on a fold which means the entire front panel hem is 120 inches. Hopefully that isn’t too confusing.

Here is what that looked like sewn together.

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At this point I was feeling very accomplished, so obviously I needed to get rid of that by making the sleeves.

I did a few drawings of how they would look and took a whole bunch of really inaccurate measurements.

If you were not aware, it’s really difficult to measure your own arms.

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DSC_9665In real life they ended up looking like this.

DSC_9669And then I cut it apart and turned it into a pattern.

DSC_9670Now I had a pattern – which was great, but I had to make gathered sleeve puffs. My first attempt at these went all wrong, I tried to drape gathered rectangles over sleeve rolls and they looked way too puffy.

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Attempt two went much better, I simply used gathered material and pinned it over a muslin base.

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The shoulder sleeve puffs were made the same way.

DSC_9683Then they were pinned to the sleevy portions of the sleeves.

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And then they got sewn into the dress!

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I have to hem it, add sleeve ruffles, cut the neckline and add lacing, but then it shall be done! I’m proud considering this was only a days work. Usually  it takes me weeks to make a pattern, much less have a wearable garment.

Hopefully part two will be up soon, but you never know with me.