Another month of 2015 is nearly over! As I write this, North Texas is in the midst of a last-minute winter freak out. There’s almost 3 inches of snow covering my yard and it’s supposed to continue throughout the day. That’s as good of an excuse as any for a craft weekend/binge session of Arrow!
Speaking of crafting, I only focused on one project this month (well, aside from last-minute touch-ups on Captain Marvel): my spin on Belle’s yellow ball gown from Beauty and the Beast. It’s been really nice to just focus on one project this month. I have a lot of commissions scheduled for the next 3-4 months, so being able to take my time on a single costume just for me has been a very pleasant experience. I’m planning to debut this costume at All-Con in two weeks, and I’m currently at about 70% completion. I was hoping to knock out the last bits of her corset this weekend, but I’m currently waiting on steel boning to arrive in order to finish.
Aside from being one of my dream cosplays, this costume has given me an excuse to make a corset, which is something I wanted to practice before tackling Lulu. I’ve put off corset-making for quite a while since it seemed so intimidating and I didn’t feel like my skills were up to par. But honestly, it’s not that bad! Definitely time consuming (I think I’ve put about 8 hours into it so far, and I still need to bone, bind, grommet, and lace it), but now I get why people say that if you can sew a straight line you can sew a corset. I’ll go into more detail on this when I do my costume write-up on Belle.
My hope for this snowy weekend is to add the final details to my corset fashion layer, cut and file the plastic boning, finish the wig, take up the skirt hem another inch or so, and make the shoulder pieces. If time allows, I’d love to also make Lulu’s “fur” stole and do a non-cosplay thing. I’ve sorely neglected my garment and other non-cosplay projects so far this year :(. The rest of my supplies should make their way here next week, so hopefully I can wrap everything up soon!
Happy Friday the 13th/Galentine’s Day/pre-Valentine’s Day!
Today’s post was inspired by a non-cosplay sewing session yesterday. I’ve been eyeing the Oslo pattern from Seamwork since it came out a little while back. I have a mild addiction to cardigans (19 and counting), and I love the idea of having a TNT cardigan pattern that I can whip up in 2 hours or less. I had just enough of a mystery knit from a Golden D’Or sale in my stash, so I thought it’d be a fun and simple project that I could sew in the morning and wear to work later in the day. Awesome. Except… It wasn’t.
After sewing everything up, I just stared at my new cardigan. And stared. I hated it. Not the pattern, mind you. Oversized cardigans are one of my all-time favorite wardrobe pieces and I have at least 2 other cardigans similar to the Oslo in my closet. (Though I do want to tweak it a bit to fit me better. The sleeves are crazy huge).
My distaste was the combination of inappropriate fabric (this pattern definitely needs a mid- to heavy-weight knit instead of the super slinky knit I used), a pattern that still needs to be tweaked to fit me better, less than stellar workmanship (oh god, don’t look at the serging on the front collar or the [lack of] strip matching), and general apathy for the finished product. I left the cardigan alone when I went to work yesterday, but when I looked at it again this morning, I knew with a sinking feeling that I’d never wear it. Or photograph it :P
So my question to all of you is what do you do with your rejected sewing projects? The things you finish, but never quite get around to wearing more than once or twice. Mine are currently hanging in my closet, but I know that it’s time to clear them out and make room for things that I’ll love and actually wear. Do you hang on to them for sentimental reasons? Or are you ruthless with your closet weeding? Let me know!
Hours Spent: About 45 hours spread out over 2 months
Debuted: Dallas Comic Con Fan Days 2015
Why This Costume: I really got into Captain Marvel last year. It started with my Ms. Marvel stashbusting. The more I read about Carol, the more I liked her. I was smitten with Kelley Sue Deconnick’s comic from the first issue I picked up. Since I was late to the game, I barreled through the 2012 run thanks to the digital trades and then jumped straight into the 2014 run. This is one of my favorite comics and always makes it on my pull list.
Awards(!): Best in Show (Fan Days 2015)
How I made it: Let’s start with the first item I made on this costume: the bodysuit. I came up with the pattern for the suit the same way I do all my superhero suits. After blending a raglan sleeve skating pattern with a leggings pattern (in hindsight, I think it would have been easier to use Kwik Sew 3052 and draw in the raglan lines and side seams), I made a mock-up, tweaked the fit, and marked all the stripes on the base suit. I then cut up my mock-up and transferred all my markings to paper, evening up the lines and adding in seam allowance.
There’s really not a lot to say about constructing the suit that I haven’t mentioned in my Spandex 101 series. One of the most difficult things with this suit is matching up the stripes while dealing with the piping (I opted for flat piping, by the way. I liked the look better). I wound up machine basting the piping to one piece, then hand basting the other side, then machine basting again before running it all through my serger. Spandex likes to slide around, and even being off 1/4″ was really obvious. I will not admit how much time I spent seam ripping :P.
The sash was pretty simple. I just made a rectangle out of the same stretch satin I used for my Ms. Marvel and tapered off the edges with my hip curve. The lovely hip ornament was 3D printed for me by Chaks Productions. I attached it with a spin clip.
For the boots, I bought a pair of faux leather tan ones off of eBay, cut off the decorations, and painted them with Angelus leather paint. The paint didn’t take to the zipper, so I had to seam rip the original ones out and stitch new ones in.
The gloves were definitely the most expensive part of this costume. My original plans to make gloves didn’t go so well, so I decided to purchase some. I bought a pair off of eBay that matched my boots quite well, even if they did come from a China-based company. Unfortunately, my dog got into my craft room and destroyed those. I ordered another pair, but they were orange. Gloves number three was the ultimate winner.
I wanted the buttons to match the suit, so I used the DIY fabric covered button kits from Jo-Anns. I picked up several 5/8″ sets and covered them with scrap spandex. Once that was done, I hand sewed them to the collar, the boots, and gloves.
The flame fists were fun to make. I used the lovely BelleChere’s tutorial. Basically, you make a sphere out of masking tape. The “flames” are cones of theatre lighting gel that I melted down with my heat gun. I hot glued the cones to the sphere. They’re remarkably sturdy and survived getting run into by con-goers and people trying to touch them.
The mohawk was also a lot of fun to style! I picked up a Lulu from Arda for this. I was hoping to snag a lace-front, but they were out of the color I needed. To style it, I teased a strip down the center of the wig. Then, I molded extra wefts around the teased base with hair spray and my blow dryer. It’s a very similar to styling anime girl bangs, just in a different direction. It held up surprisingly well, in spite of some nasty wind at the con.
The gorgeous helmet was made by Kevin Dale. If you need any leather pieces, talk to this guy. His work is phenomenal. It has eyelets at the top and I threaded cord through the wig to hold it in place.
I mentioned in a previous post that I have a couple of different looks depending on what cons I wear this costume to. I also have a lace front alternative wig from Epic for days I don’t want to wear the helmet. I also drafted a faux fur collar for my bomber jacket for cold weather cons.
Thoughts on this costume: Overall, I’m really pleased with this costume. It was much harder than I expected, but I’m glad I took my time with it. There are still a few small tweaks I’d like to make, but none of them are major. I can’t wait to set up a proper photo shoot with this costume! Hopefully at one of the air museums near me.
We’re running a bit late in getting up another of our cosplay spotlight features! We’ve been busy working in our sister-site, Ninja Photography , as we push forward with new equipment for cosplay photograpy!
Today, we have the lovely “The Geeky Seamstress” joining us as the next feature in today’s segment.
Be sure and check out our interview and her page!
Happy Friday! I had to jump in with another Fandom Friday post since this week’s topic is all about the Funko Pop! figurines! I’m not much of a collector, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t consider buying one (dozen or so) of these every time I went to a con. The hardest part about this week is only choosing 5! So I kind of cheated a little and chose the top five individual figures I want along with the top 5 collections I’d like.
2. C-3P0: I debated on whether or not to just put the entire Star Wars collection into this list, but some of them are not that cute. C-3P0 is definitely my favorite of the collection!
3. Dancing Groot: Who doesn’t want a dancing Groot? I just love that he’s a bobble head.
4. Belle: Belle is my favorite Disney princess, and now that I’m planning to cosplay her (again), I want all her merch! I definitely want the yellow ballgown version, though that is pretty hard to find. I also want the peasant dress figure and the hipster version!
5. Gizmo: I recently watched Gremlins for the first time and loved it. Gizmo is so cute! I definitely want this figure and a Gizmo plushie.
1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I want so many of these that I’d just rather take the collection. Willow, Oz, Spike and the Gentlemen are definitely my favorite figures.
2. Teen Titans Go!: This was one of my favorite cartoons as a teen, and all of the characters are so well suited for Funko figurines! Starfire and Raven are definitely my favorites.
3. Firefly: I oggle these every time I see them. There’s actually a hard to find “dirty” Kaylee that’s super adorable. There was one on sale at the North Texas Comic Book show and I’m kicking myself for not buying her!
4. Game of Thrones: I just love that such a dark show has such cute figurines. Ghost is my favorite, though I also love Drogon and Dany’s figures.
5. Breaking Bad: Again, I love the fact that a show this dark has such cute figurines. Heisenburg and cook Jessie are my favs!
There were a few other collections that almost made the cut, including the X-Men (no official Rogue. Le sigh) and Kill Bill. Like I said, the hardest part about this week was picking which ones I liked the most! Ultimately, I thought that Breaking Bad in Funko form was cuter than Kill Bill. But I’d totally take both if I could.
Disclaimer: All images are property of of Funko. I make no money from this nonsense (though if they’d like to send me some for review, I will happily accept).
P.S. I’m heading out to Fan Days this weekend and “officially” debuting Captain Marvel! Unfortunately, I won’t have my new contact cards with me, but feel free to say hi and ask for derpy mohwak selfies if you see me!
I feel so old every time I say this, but I feel like 2015 got off with a ridiculous flurry. How did the month go by so fast? Here are a few of my favorite moments from January, as documented by Instagram.
My birthday was on January 4! I was unfortunately too sick to go out and do much of anything fun. But my friend Maven Lee Cosplay still made me this beautiful cross-stitch! It’s currently hanging by my sewing table.
I started my Back to Basics series! I have lots of ideas for this series, and hopefully I’ll be able to pump these out once a month. The next one should be ready for posting next Tuesday!
I finished waaaaaay more commissions than I anticipated this month: 2 bodysuits for Taffeta Darling, a cape for Chaks Productions, and a bustle skirt for a friend’s upcoming steampunk costume. I thought is was funny looking at TD’s bodysuits next to mine, since I’m stupid tall and she’s on the shorter side. There’s like 8″ of difference between the legs of our suits.
My puppy continues to distract me from crafting. He’s not a fan of me isolating myself to work on projects, so most of the time I have to wait for my boyfriend to get home before I can start on stuff. How do you handle craft pets?
ModCloth asked me to participate in their layering challenge. It was super exciting to be contacted by a company that puts out so many cute clothes. The mood board/fashion styling post was kind of a first too! Are you guys interested in seeing more of these posts?
My friend Yogomi contacted me about creating a cosplay documentary series. He’s doing short, 10-ish minute segments on various cosplayers and chatting about what got them into cosplay, their inspiration, how they go about projects, etc. I’m super excited to share this with you guys once it’s up!
I got to do my first promo gig! Red Pegasus put out a call for Marvel cosplayers to help promote The Marvel Experience (Gone Catawampus has a great review of the event if you’re interested in attending!). I donned Captain Marvel for the event. Promo work isn’t something I think I’ll do on a regular basis, but it was fun nonetheless. And I got free tickets to attend The Marvel Experience, so win!
Calliopunk/Callulu Cosplay persuaded me to tackle Belle. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m hoping to have her ready for All-Con in mid-March. Once Fan Days is over, I plan to focus entirely on this costume (and finally make 1 or 2 non-costume things. I need an instant gratification project something fierce). Hopefully I’ll have some time this week to get started on the top layer of her skirt!
I made it out to the North Texas Comic Book Show a few weeks ago. This is always a low-key event, but it’s nice to actually be able to talk to people instead of hastily waving at friends while rushing between panels and events. My favorite photo from the day was me in my moogle hoodie “fighting” Calliopunk in her Captain Hammer.
I’m bringing back the WIP posts this year! I tapered off towards the end of last year since I didn’t have as many projects to share. This year, I’m also going to add my commissions to these posts, since I don’t want to clutter your feed with just skirts and capes and bodysuits. What’s funny about this post is I actually took 2 weeks off of sewing this month thanks to the flu. I didn’t realize I made so much! First up:
Captain Marvel: 90% complete
Gah, I’m so excited for this! I nearly finished Captain Marvel at the end of December for a charity event, then I wound up getting the flu and couldn’t go :( This has definitely been the most intense bodysuit I’ve made to date. The bodysuit alone took close to 20 hours with all the seam matching, flat piping, and satin stitching.
I have a couple of different “looks” planned for Carol depending on weather and what cons I attend. For a more casual look, I altered an old bomber jacket and bought a lacefront alternative wig that matches Carol’s current hairstyle during Epic Cosplay‘s Black Friday sale. I was hoping to style this wig into a faux hawk, but Epic wigs don’t hold intense styling very well.
All that’s left on this costume is finishing the flames, picking up my hip ornament and helmet, styling the wig, and adding buttons to the gloves. If you follow my social media, you already know that my new puppy got into my craft room and destroyed my original gloves. That dog is lucky he’s cute. Fortunately, he’s okay and didn’t do much damage otherwise. I can’t wait to share the final results with you guys!
Belle: 5% complete
My friend Calliopunk over at Gone Catawampus convinced me to tackle Belle’s yellow ballgown. After some thought, I decided to switch up my lineup and tackle her for All-Con in March. Fortunately, I have a bit of a break on commissions this month, so I’m clearing out my calendar and focusing on Belle for the next several weeks.
Taking this project on does mean that my coat project is going on hold, but that actually works out for the best since it’s been in the 60s-70s here for the past few weeks. My fabric will still be there in the fall!
I decided to go with the animated film version with some fabric tweaks to give it more visual interest. Keep an eye out on my Instagram for lots of updates!
Captain Cold and Squirrel Girl bodysuits
These were made for the lovely Taffeta Darling. The grey one is for Squirrel Girl and is made using Kwik Sew 3052 and matte gunmetal moleskin.
The blue and white one is for Captain Cold. It’s made from turquoise milliskin (sadly, no moleskin in the right color) and white stretch vinyl. To make the side panels, I made a mock-up of Kwik Sew 3052 and marked out the sections while my client was wearing it. Then, I just transferred those markings to my paper pattern. I’m pretty pleased with this one, and it was great practice for an upcoming Stephanie Brown Batgirl commission!
This was a quickie day project. Basically, it’s a black and yellow cape for Chaks Productions made of broadcloth. It attaches to his suit with velcro. Yay capes! This photo is pilfered from his page.
Steampunk Alice Bustle Skirt
Ah, the lovely Simplicity 1819. I definitely griped about this skirt a lot in my last post, but it wasn’t too bad of a project!
A few weeks ago, Calliopunk over at Gone Catawampus asked if I could help her friend with a bustle skirt for steampunk Alice in Wonderland. The pattern she had in mind was Simplicity 1819, which was a happy coincidence for me, since I’m thinking about using this pattern for NoFlutter’s Sailor Jupiter.
Did it look like the pattern illustration?: Pretty much, though I think I should have gathered the bustle more.
Make it again?: Probably. I’m still leaning toward the bustle piece this pattern with a few alterations if I make NoFlutter Jupiter.
Other Notes: Okay, so there were a couple of tricky spots on this project which prompted this post. Starting from the beginning of the pattern instructions. Yes, you do have to hem the apron front piece prior to attaching it to anything. The instructions call for a slipstitch, but I’m a lazy mofo and would recommend a blind hem on your machine instead. I’m still not great at this, but it’s much faster than doing it by hand. Plus, with the way the apron drapes, you’re not really going to see the hem anyway.
Next up: the side cascades. I ignored the fold lines here. I initially tried to follow them, but it just didn’t work for me. I was able to eyeball them pretty well without the lines. Also, you might consider hand tacking the edges of the drapes if you want them to retain their shape. Mine wanted to flop around a bit, but the bustle covered the wost of it.
One of the biggest issues I had with this project was the overall thickness. There are a TON of layers, and my machine HATED sewing through all the pleats on the apron. I ultimately wound up using a leather needle, but I still had to hand crank through those damn pleats.
A note about the zipper: It’s covered by the bustle, so I have no clue why they insist on a lapped zipper. You could easily do this with an invisible zipper or even with velcro or snaps.
I had zero desire to repeat the pleat fiasco, so when it came time to attach the bustle, I created a separate piece. I created another waistband piece just for the bustle and added velcro to the back so the two pieces would still line up.
Speaking of the bustle, the instructions are terrible when it comes to draping the skirt. The basic idea is to draw the bustle casing up to the loops with ribbon, much like Roman blinds. The instructions say to leave the ends of the casing free, but to stitch the rest of it down. Dafuq? How is that supposed to work, Simplicity? I ignored that instruction and stitched the edges of the twill tape, but left free gaps to thread my ribbon through.
Final verdict: I would definitely label this pattern intermediate. There’s a lot of tricky bits in it, so I’d hesitate to take it on without at least a few projects under your belt. Still, if you can power through it, the result is gorgeous! I can’t wait to see this client in her full costume.
Have you tried making this pattern? What were your thoughts?
Wow, I totally dropped the ball on blogging this week. The first week of the semester started at my 9-5, and life got a little crazier than expected. I’ll get back to normal posts next week.
Today, I’m sharing a more lighthearted post that’s been on the back burner for a while. While I love sewing, there are definitely things I kinda hate about it. Here are the top 5:
1. Cutting fabric and pattern pieces: UGH, UGH, UGH. Especially anything that has tiny pieces. Switching from cutting fabric with scissors to a rotary cutter makes life much easier, but it still sucks hardcore. I take a ridiculous amount of time to cut, so I normally set aside a whole day to cut as many projects as possible. I swear, if I could pay someone to cut fabric for me, I totally would.
2. Pre-treating fabric: I don’t know about you guys, but the second I get a piece of fabric, I want to take it to my machine and start sewing. With costumes, I can typically get away with not pre-treating most fabrics, especially satin and spandex, since they only get spot cleaned (Febreeze is the best, seriously). But for my normal clothes, I have to wait for that nonsense to wash and dry. Boooo…
3. Threading my serger: Dear lord, I hate threading my serger. After a year of constant use, it takes me closer to 5 minutes to thread it compared to 30 when I first started serging. And if I have to change colors in the middle of a project? Massive suck fest. I use the cheater’s method of changing serger thread as often as I can. And if a thread or needle breaks in the middle of a seam? Flip all the tables.
4. Hand stitching: It’s taken me a long time to appreciate hand stitching. I actually don’t mind it if I’m not in a rush and can chill out with some tea and Netflix for a few hours. Still, I’m not great at it and I always feel like my hand stitches look like a big ol’ bowl of first project home economics crap (looking at you, Captain Marvel gloves). So anytime instructions tell me to hand stitch something, you can bet I’m going to try to make it work with a machine first.
5. Setting sleeves: I swear, I can never get sleeves even. At least, not without a ridiculous amount of easing and seam ripping. Learning about the flat construction method used in RTW clothing blew my mind. I try to incorporate it everywhere I can. Because you suck, round sleeve setting.
Even with the suck of these things, I still love sewing! I’m actually in the middle of a couple of projects right now, so I’ll have more finished projects to share soon!
What are some of the things you love/hate about crafting?
Happy Friday! Con season officially kicks off for me next month with Fan Days, so I thought I’d join today’s Fandom Friday topic and share some of the conventions I’d love to attend. (Also, I promise more sewing posts starting next week!)
1. San Diego Comic Con: I feel like SDCC is nerd mecca. You’ve got to make the pilgrimage at least once. SDCC has been on my con wishlist since I was a teen, and well before I had even heard of cosplay. I visited San Diego many years ago when my brother graduated from boot camp, and loved the location and the weather. While I do prefer slightly smaller cons, I’d love to attend just once to get the experience and hear all the big news in person. And play I spy the celebrity.
2. New York Comic Con: Another con that I feel like most nerds need to visit just once. I’ve heard that it’s a smaller scale version of SDCC, though it seems like that’s not really the case anymore. Again, I’d love to see some of the big name guests and hear all the big news in an amazing locale.
3. Colassalcon: Comic con at a water park. SOLD! I saw so many incredible water themed costume photo shoots from Colassalcon. It looked like so much fun! Plus, there’s a zoo with baby tigers. Yes, please.
4. Anime Expo: Anime Expo is the biggest anime and manga convention in North America and the second longest running anime convention in the country. Anime is a big part of why I got into cosplay, so I’d love to make the trip out there for this amazing convention! There’s always so many amazing costumes. Plus, I’d love to visit Los Angeles!
5. PAX: I’ve never attended a primarily gaming convention before, and this seems like the con to attend! I was hoping to make it to PAX South next weekend, but getting a new puppy put a damper on that plan. The puppy is adorable, though, so it’s totally worth waiting for another one to roll around. Maybe in Seattle :)
Dragon Con: I went back in 2012, and it was AMAZING. So many incredible costumes and lots of fun programming. Plus, all the nerdy parties and gatherings! I’d love to go back, especially if I ever get out of the education field. Labor Day weekend is a difficult weekend for me to take a vacation since the fall semester starts that week. Still, I will make it back one day!