Sunday, December 20, 2015

odds and ends

A lined Star Trek Voyager totebag and a plushie Mass Effect Hanar (I'm not sure why Bioware hasn't made an official Hanar plushie, since they have an Elcor and three different Dragon Age plush, but anyway--). Made as part of a gift for the r/dragonage gift exchange.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Jane Porter - Tarzan

Commission of Jane Porter from Disney's Tarzan, including bustled petticoat. The dress is made from a matte synthetic satin, which mimics the look of silk (while being washable and more cost effective) and is much more wrinkle-resistant than cotton. The ivory and lavender accents are made from crepe weave.

The petticoat is a frankenstyled reproduction Victorian steel boned bustle pattern. The historical version of the dress this petticoat is designed to be worn with would be floor length and a bit more columnar in shape when viewed from the front; I shortened it and added extra ruffling on around the bottom half.

The costume is two pieces, dress and overskirt. The overskirt drape and polonaise are attached to the brown waistband and wrap around. I draped and redraped that overskirt so many times; I generally draft patterns flat and geometrically so getting this how I wanted it to look, length, width, and pleat-wise, took some work. The polonaise/back bustle thing is shaped with batting to create the smooth, Disney-ish shape (though obviously I did pleat it; darts looked weird).

I fussed around with the collar quite a bit and experimented with three piece pattern cut on the bias before going with a six piece pattern, cut on the grain. It was worth the trade off of adding seams to get a much smoother, more accurate shape without bias wrinkling.

The scallop trim is attached to the lining. In a minor miracle, the hem circumference ended up being perfect for my scallop width and they met right at the center back seam. As all scallops are these were a bit obnoxious, but for the first time ever I pressed them using a stiff template (same template I used to trace the seam line). I don't know why this never occurred to me before. It's faster and less tedious than pressing with a point turner.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sakura - Naruto The Last Movie

Commission for tunic top, belt, bag, arm and leg bands, and headband (not shown). Tunic top is made from cotton with 2% lycra for stretch.

Top has a side zipper and closes along the neck/chest opening with hooks and snaps. 

Belt and bag are made from heavy canvas. Belt has a fleece interlining for extra dimension and shaping, bag is made with ultra heavyweight interfacing to keep a nice rectangular shape. The canvas worked well for this, but it is so thick that I had to use pliers to pull the needle through when hand finishing the turning hole on the belt. 

The bag has an interior pocket, but it's probably too short for a larger cellphone. (Fits an iphone, though.) Not sure what it says about me that I look at this design and just think how much snack food you could have at all times while in this costume. So much snack food. So handy for conventions. There are no belt buckles or closures drawn in the art, so all closures are velcro.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dragon Age skirt

I didn't make any costumes for GenCon this year (just too impractical when I spend the most of the con sitting at a table playing RPGs, plus my hotel room was 15 miles away from the convention center) but I did whip up a DA-themed poodle skirt because why not. I'm really artistically disinclined, so my mabari is blatantly ripped off Sanshee's plushie design. (Which is really cute; I have one that lives in my sewing room.) And I have no computer graphics skills whatsoever, so I actually drew it with a sharpie, took a photograph of it, posterized it, and colored it in Paint in order to digitize it into an embroidery file. I guess if it works, it works, but knowing how to make vector images in photoshop would probably make this process easier.

I'm still figuring out stabilizer and hooping, too. I've run some smaller embroidery designs and had good results but on this big design some of the black outline is not properly aligned. It's aligned in the digital file, so this is a hooping/stabilizer error. Since I made it for myself I didn't bother making a new one, but I need to practice this a bit and maybe experiment with different stabilizers.

I also took a crochet class at GenCon (they have an entire line of programming they call "spouse activities," which I find a bit amusing) and I am still pretty bad at crochet. Ribbon embroidery went notably better.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Marie - Skullgirls

Commissioned work of Bloody Marie from the video game Skullgirls. The client is taller than the standard dressform measurements so the vertical proportions on the dressform are a little off. The dress has a lined bodice and skirt, with the pleated ruffle attached to the lining. The dress is made of woven cotton, the apron a cotton twill bottomweight. The outfit is drawn with really pronounced pleats that are not sharply creased and pop up, so I went with a heavier fabric to replicate that. (The heavier fabric also blocks more of the annoying seam allowance show-through you get from putting a light color on top of black.) I steamed the pleats in but didn't permanently press them. The fabric has enough body and stiffness that the pleats stand out on their own.

The apron is fixed waist and closes with buttons and hooks, with the waist tie threaded through the back of the removable bow. The apron portion and tie tails are lined in white cotton, straps are self-lined.

 The skirt is a gathered flare with a hem circumference of about 125". I cut the skirt on the cross grain so it wouldn't have extra seams from gores. The lining was cut in six gores to avoid having the side seams on the bias, where the weight of the ruffle would pull it completely out of shape. When I do skirt linings with attached ruffles like this I put the lining in "backward" (seam allowances facing in toward the legs rather than facing out, with a french seam finishing the seam at the zipper) because the outward-facing side of the lining tends to show a bit with movement.

(There are 525 inches of pleated ruffle in this dress and apron. And since it's box pleated, I couldn't just fork pleat it. I hunkered down at the coffee table with my ruler, pins, and chalk and some Poldark and did some intensive pleating.)

Friday, July 10, 2015

The UPS man brought me new toys! I'd been waffling over whether I wanted to get an embroidery machine for literal years and I finally decided to just go for it. Not knowing how much I'd like it or use it, I couldn't really justify buying a nicer one with a bigger field right out of the gate, but this has a 5x7 field and I think it will be big enough for most of what I'd want to use it for. I played around with the software a bit and digitized the Grey Warden insignia. There's a bit of a learning curve to the software but it doesn't seem too bad. I'm actually a pleasantly surprised the stitch pattern came out pretty decently for a first try, though the embroidery itself would look better if I either added the white portions as stitching and/or used a better stabilizer for this fabric. The fabric I put this design on has 2% spandex and it stretched a bit during embroidery.  (And naturally I'm now gripped with the urge to embroider stuff on everything.)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Simplicity 1419

After dropping 20 lbs in the past few months and sizing myself out of all of my self-drafted and altered patterns (I've just crammed reams of pattern paper into the recycling bin; it was both freeing and kind of depressing), I thought I'd try a commercial pattern as a starting place to build a new bodice block. In a pleasant and near unprecedented turn of events, this fit almost perfectly straight out of the envelope. Other than adding a lining, the only thing I altered was the torso length. 

Initially I'd planned to add patch pockets with fabric bows, but I could find a placement that looked good and didn't accentuate the hips, so I left it plain. As usual with gingham I love the checks but I don't like how the fabric itself looks and hangs. I wish it were possible to get better quality gingham, but I guess for $3.50/yard and a dress that's basically a wearable toile, I'm not going to complain that much. 

(It's probably also time to buy a new dress form. My foam UY that I meticulous fit is too big, and this adjustable one is now also a bit too broad in the upper bust and chest and pulls on the fabric.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Nichijou uniform

Summer uniform from Nichijou. The top is a partial pullover with an invisible zipper.