Costume Notes: Deadpool

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Whoooo!!!! 100 posts! Deadpool gives tacos to all of you!!!

Completed: October 2014

Hours Spent: Close to 30 hours

Debuted: Dallas Fan Days 2014

Why This Costume: This costume is actually my second full-fledged commission and first time sewing for a guy. One of my old friends contacted me back in late August saying he was interested in cosplaying at Fan Days. He’d never cosplayed before and wanted to do a more realistic Deadpool. It seemed like an interested challenge (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and a good chance to broaden my costume portfolio, so I agreed to take it on.

Fotor0102293249How I Made It: As I mentioned, my friend was after a more realistic Deadpool. He knew right away that he didn’t want a full spandex bodysuit, so we used the above image as a reference and swapped out the bodysuit for a spandex top and pants.

The pants were my first task. I picked up some poly black and red twill from Golden D’Or and made them using Kwik Sew 4045 as a base. To give the pants more depth, I topstitched the black twill on top of the red. Since I was working with a crap ton of fabric, I ditched the side pockets since it would have been too much bulk, but kept the cargo and back pockets.

Pants before I added the waistband.
Pants before I added the waistband. I am stupid proud of that fly.

When my friend came over for fitting, we realized that this pattern had a metric shit ton of ease built in to the legs. I wound up taking in the legs by almost 4 inches on each side and the butt in by a full 2 inches. Dafuq? Of course, this meant that I had to take in the waist band as well. Le sigh…

The top was a whole other mess of a challenge. I ordered my spandex from my go-to shop, Spandex World, in early September. After waiting a few days, I realized that FedEx lost my order. Two weeks later (and after a lot of phone calls from FedEx asking if I was really, really sure that my package wasn’t delivered), my fabric finally arrived, but it was the wrong color. In a last ditch effort, I attempted to dye the spandex using this tutorial. Lo and behold, it actually worked. Unfortunately, I had to chop up the fabric to get it to fit in the pot, and the dyes came out very different, so I had a limited amount of yardage to work with. On the plus side, I now have a half yard of very pretty burgundy spandex. I might need to make a miniskirt soon…

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Out, out damned spot!

I added the black pieces using the same tutorial I used for Ms. Marvel. The black vinyl was absolutely perfect. To draft the pieces, I made a mock-up out of scrap fabric and drew the lines on while my friend was wearing it. I then cut out those pieces and trued them up on paper to use as a pattern. I didn’t take a picture of this step, but I’ll try to demo it when I get around to my spandex tutorial, promise!

Making the mask proved… difficult. I drafted a basic mask using this tutorial, but my first test mask was way too small and crushed the nose. The final mask was better, but the eyes were too far apart. My fabric was limited at that point, so I  seam ripped the eyes and moved them in closer together. The “lenses” are a slightly stretchy mosquito netting. I got some real funny looks when I asked for 1/8 of a yard at the cutting table. Anywho, I’d like to make some test spandex masks when I have down time just to get a better feel for them. Let’s just say I know now why people charge $50-75 for masks alone on etsy.

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Thoughts on this costume: Overall, I’m pleased with how this turned out and my friend really enjoyed his costume. I definitely learned a lot both technique wise (never knew you could dye spandex) and in regards to handling a commission (always, always, always get detail specifics before cutting into fabric).

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Con shot! Pardon my inability to take photos. Gloves are the worst.

I think now’s a good opportunity to mention that I am planning to open up for a small batch of 2015 costume commissions. I don’t intend to take on more than 10 or so, depending on complexity. You can find more information on details here. I’ve already got a few lined up, so let me know if you’re interested in getting on my list for next year!

Friday Fandom: Characters I’d Love To Dress Up As For Halloween

Ah, a cosplayer’s favorite topic. Actually, many cosplayers (myself included) have difficulty picking characters to wear on Halloween. For me, it’s a combination of a few factors: 1) I don’t want something super involved in case of party fouls; 2) I want a costume people will recognize; 3) It’s one of the few times a year my boyfriend will dress up with me, so I want something to match him; 4) I like something Halloween themed when possible!

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So keeping all that in mind, here area  few characters I’d like to dress up as for Halloween:

1. Blind Mag or Amber Sweet from Repo! The Genetic Opera. I have an absurd love of Repo! I love Blind Mag’s Chromaggia outfit and absolutely everything that Amber Sweet wears. With a little convincing, I could probably prod the beau into being my Repoman. It’s a little complicated for Halloween, but it might happen for a con one of these days!

2. The ballerina from Cabin in the Woods. I <3 Joss Whedon, guys. Cabin in the Woods is one of my all-time favorite horror films. It’s just got Whedon’s thumbprint all over it, especially in the second half. The first time I saw it, I immediately knew I wanted to make a costume from it, and the nightmare ballerina is the one I liked the most (even if she only shows up for like 15 seconds). A tutu, some pointe shoes, lots of blood, and a crazy mask. Yes, please. And if no one recognizes the specific character, it’s still spooky for Halloween parties.

3. A Disney villainess. Though I have no idea which one. I’d probably lean towards Ursula, since I have a ridiculous love of The Little Mermaid. Seems nice and spooky for Halloween. Plus, lots of Halloween costume stores sell Disney knock-offs, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to put this together.

4. Carrie. Can’t get away from this list without a classic, right? Carrie is one of Stephen King’s books that I really enjoy, and I also enjoy the original and 2013 versions of the film. Plus, it’s super easy with just an old spaghetti strap dress and lots of fake blood.

5. Magenta from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. More love for my inner campy girl. I like to make it out to shadowcast showings of Rocky Horror at least once a year, so I’d love to have a costume to wear to one of the local Halloween showings. Magenta would be pretty simple to put together. Plus, I love that giant hair.

Bonus: Zombie Librarian. I love zombies, and I’m a librarian, so it’s perfect.

And here’s a teaser of what the BF and I will be wearing this year.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson indeed.

Just a little reminder: I’m heading to Dallas Comic Con Fan Days this weekend! You can keep up with my shennanigans on Twitter and Instagram. Hope to see some of you there!

What characters do you want to dress up as for Halloween? 

September Challenge: All About That Polka

Dots, that is. As promised, here’s Lady Skater #2! Better late than never, right?

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The Basics: 

Pattern: Lady Skater with cap sleeves

Fabric: 2 yds of B&W polka dot ponte de roma from Girl Charlee

Alterations: Added 1″ length to bodice and 3″ length to skirt.

Notions: Elastic.

Make it again?: Yup. I’ve got a Skater/Renfrew hack next up on my sewing list!

Favorite parts: Same as last time. Comfort, quick finish, twirl-friendly skirt, flattering bodice.

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Other thoughts: As expected, my navy Lady Skater has been a regular since I made it a few weeks ago. This polka dot fabric seemed perfect for LS #2!

Unfortunately, I had a few issues with this one. The main issue I had was that somehow I couldn’t eek out enough fabric to cut the neckband on the fold. At least, not on the stretchy cross-grain, which is what it’s supposed to be cut on. Okay, no big deal, just add a teeny bit extra on the pattern piece, cut 2, and combine. Simple, right? Well, I stretched out the band far too much as I sewed it to the bodice, resulting in the ugliest neckline ever. So I seam-ripped, and repeated. The second neckband was better, but kind of droopy. I think I cut it a bit too long.

Polka dot back

I also had pattern placement issues for the 3/4 length sleeve that I originally wanted, probably because I added length to both the bodice and the skirt. I also had 3 yards of fabric to work with on my navy dress, but only 2 for this one. I don’t actually mind the cap sleeve on this dress, since it gives me something a little different from the navy skater.

My last mistake was totally self-inflicted derpiness. I was about 6″ short on the amount of clear elastic I needed to finish the front bodice, buuuuuut I didn’t realize it until after I attached clear elastic to the back bodice. Derp. I used some leftover regular 3/8″ elastic to stabilize the bodice. Works fine, but the waist is a tiny bit wonky with the different amounts of elasticity.

Sewing up this baby was a breeze, even with seam ripping. I started around 7pm on a Monday evening and finished hemming around 9:30pm. Not bad for a single night!

seated dress

I really like how easy it is to style this dress. I have so many colored cardigans, leggings, and tights in my closet that I can use to add a little something extra, though I really need some more colored belts. I’m thinking a bright red belt is a must.

Next up is my Renfrew/Lady Skater hack. I found some gorgeous magenta ponte de roma from Girl Charlee, so I’m hoping to get to that sometime in the next week or so for October’s Frocktober theme. Probably a cowl neck with full length sleeves.

Have you made a Lady Skater hack? How did it turn out?

Fandom Friday: Geeky Fashion Must-haves + Gateway Fandoms!

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fandom-5-fridayThe Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick put together another fantastic link-up: Fandom Friday! I’ve been looking for an opportunity to share some of my non-sewing interests with you guys, and I love this idea. It’s a great way to share some of the influences on my crafts!

Today, let’s talk about the geeky fashion I need to have in my life.

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Photos courtesy of their respective websites (linked below).

1. Sailor Moon corset from Castle Corsetry. Honestly, I could live in Lauren’s corsets. I’ve talked about my Rogue corset before, and it’s phenomenal. I still really want her geeky print corsets as well as her House Targaryen corset, but this one is definitely going on my birthday wishlist. It’s absolutely gorgeous!

2. Geeky print leggingsI wear a lot of tunics and dresses with leggings, so I’d love to incorporate more geeky print leggings in my wardrobe, like these Disney villains leggings from Black Milk.

3. Rogue t-shirtSome days, spandex isn’t appealing, but I still want to sport my favorite X-lady. I’d love to have one of these for casual con days or just running to the comic book shop!

4. Moogle hoodie. Moogles are adorable. End of story. I’d love a moogle hoodie to run around in on those con days that I just don’t feel like getting in full costume. I’ve only seen moogle hoodies for sale on this site (I so wish CholyKnight still sold these! I want one of hers!), but I think I’d like to make one myself for more customized options. I think that might be my sewing challenge for next month!

5. Comic book shoes. Hnnnn… Love these shoes. There are lots of options to DIY them if you’re on a budget, but I think I might purchase some off of etsy since I can’t stand the idea of destroying my comics :P I want some Captain Marvel ones!

Rogue and Sailor Jupiter photos by Aperture Ashley.
Rogue and Sailor Jupiter photos by Aperture Ashley. Wonder Woman logo from vmitchell85 on DeviantArt.

And just a bonus since I missed last week, my top five gateway fandoms!

1. X-Men: The Animated Series: I watched this show religiously as a kid. Every Saturday morning! This show is what initially drew me into comics and my favorite X-Lady, Rogue!

2. The Harper Hall of Pern: Definitely my favorite fantasy series growing up. I picked up a collected copy of the Harper Hall of Pern from a garage sale that I still have to this day. The spine has completely fallen off, but I love the stories so much that I can’t stand the thought of parting with it!

3. Sailor Moon: Another childhood Saturday morning staple! I watched the original dub on TV when it came to the U.S. I stopped watching anime for a brief period following college (trying to do this whole “grown up” thing), but immediately fell back in when I heard about Sailor Moon Crystal.

4. Star Wars: My nerdiness is in part due to my father, who introduced me to Star Wars at a very young age. It’s tradition around my home to watch all of the original movies each Christmas, and when the new movies came out, my dad even pulled us out of school to go watch them. In hindsight, not the best decision. Still, Star Wars!

5. Final Fantasy X: One of my first video game loves. I played this game for the first time at 16(?) and was obsessed. I logged around 300 hours of game time through multiple plays. I’m currently playing through the remastered version and trying to get all the International content!

Bonus: Wonder Woman. To be perfectly honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the Wonder Woman comics (exception for George Perez’s runs). I haven’t touched her New 52 run, though I need to get over that at some point. For me, Wonder Woman embodies what I aspire to be: strong, courageous, smart, etc. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t love Wonder Woman.

Are you participating in Fandom Friday? Please share if you are!

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Sewing

Earlier this week, I participated in a Twitter chat with some fellow geeky ladies. Several ladies expressed an interest in learning to sew, so I thought today I’d talk about some things I wish I’d known when I started sewing.

One of my very first costumes. Full of puckers, unpressed and unfinished seams, and much sadness. Worn once and still hanging in my closet.
One of my very first costumes: Inara. Full of puckers, unpressed and unfinished seams, and much sadness. Worn once and still hanging in my closet.

1. It’s okay for your first project to suck.

Obvious, but true. My first couple of projects were awful. Awful, awful, awful. Heck, I look at projects I made earlier this year and wonder if I was drunk making them, because holy crap, they’re bad.

Your project can go wrong for lots of reasons: bad fabric selection, technical issues, trying a technique you might not be ready for, etc. But keep at it! There are tons of resources to help you, and practicing is the only way to get better.

Pillows are a really fantastic project to get your feet wet!
Pillows are a really fantastic project to get your feet wet!

2. Start small and practice one new skill at a time.

I am so guilty of not taking my own advice with this one. New skills can be daunting. It took me ages just to sew in a straight line. That said, try to take small steps and build on skills as you progress. There are tons of tools available to help you learn. Here are a few recommendations:

  • If you are a total newb seamstress (seamster?), try making pillow cases. Pillow cases are a great way to work on lots of new skills, from cutting and measuring to sewing a straight line and finishing seams. Plus, it’s a fairly low cost/low risk investment that results in lots of awesome decorative pillows. Here are a few of my favorite tutorials: DIY Envelope Pillow, Sweater Pillow, Reading Pillow (great for practicing piping!), and here’s a list of several others.
  • Once you’ve got the hang of pillow cases, try other simple projects like free purses and clutches. Clutches especially are a great practice project, because they’re essentially squares and rectangles, but now you get to practice sewing in zippers and buttons! Here are a few of my favorite free tutorials and patterns: DIY bow clutch, Phoebe bag, Fold-over Clutch, and the Scrappy Clutch Bag.
  • Craftsy is a fantastic resource for all you visual learners. They have several classes that walk you through various sewing topics, from fitting to pattern drafting. Sticker shock for classes can be daunting, but they have lots of 50%+ sales! They’ve also got some free classes if you want to get your feet wet.
  • If you’re interested in garment sewing, the Colette Sewing Handbook is a great resource. Sarai presents information in chunks through each chapter and then gives you a project to practice those skills. It’s a really handy way to practice and learn! Plus, the book comes with 5 patterns, which is a great perk.
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Playing with patterns can yield all sorts of fun results, like this Captain Marvel dress!

3. Patterns are just a guideline.

Pattern companies, especially the Big 4 (Simplicity, McCall’s, Vogue, and Butterick), make patterns to accommodate the largest number of people possible. Many patterns assume an average height of 5’5″ with a B cup. That means that if  you make a Simplicity pattern straight out of the package and you’re 5’11” with a D cup (me), that pattern will not fit you. At least, not the way that you want. This is where fitting comes into play. Which leads me to…

Successful FBA for the win!
Successful FBA for the win!

4. There’s no “one size fits all” adjustment.

Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Even if someone has your exact same measurements, a piece of clothing might look different on both of you, since our bodies all squish and move in different ways. That’s the beauty of sewing your own garments. You get to make things that work for you! Of course, this can also be frustrating and time consuming when you first get started. It’s something that comes with time and lots of practice. I’m still getting the hang of FBAs!

Here’s a quick list of possible (and quite common) adjustments:

  • For those of you smaller than the assumed B cup, you’ll want to look into small bust adjustments (SBAs). If you’re bigger than a B cup, take a look at how to do full bust adjustments (FBAs). Tutorial for both here.
  • Swayback adjustments are helpful if you find fabric pooling at the base of your back.
  • Wide/narrow shoulder adjustments are helpful if you have particularly wide (me!) or narrow shoulders.

There are tons of other adjustments you can make to get the perfect fit. Don’t be frustrated if your adjustments don’t work out perfectly the first time you do them. It’ll come with lots and lots of practice :)

Having all of your tools easily accessible is also handy.
Having your tools easily accessible is also handy.

5.Quality tools make life much easier.

Sewing can be a pretty costly hobby, especially upfront. You have to buy a machine, all this fabric, thread, etc. While it’s tempting to cut costs anywhere possible, here are a few places that you shouldn’t:

  • Scissors: You don’t have to buy $80 cutting shears when you first get started, but definitely invest in a pair of scissors that are fabric only. Your projects will look nicer and your wrists will thank you.
  • Machine: Again, you don’t need a $1,000 machine to get started. My very first sewing machine was a Singer Simple that I got from Wal-Mart for $90. It lasted me a  year and I fought it the entire time. There’s nothing wrong with going low cost and seeing whether or not you want to stick with sewing, but definitely look for something that has a small bit of heft. I really like my Singer Stylist and it’s going on 2 years.
  • Iron: This is one of your most vital sewing tools. Pressing a seam takes a project from looking “home ec” to something you might buy off the rack. Look for an iron that has multiple heat settings and includes a steam function.

For other sewing 101 must haves, check out this list!

6. Your user manual is your friend.

I know, ew. I barely use my user manual for my phone. Why should I use it for my sewing machine? For starters, most manuals will tell you exactly what needles and thread to use on a variety of projects. Many will also include instructions on how to do various techniques, like how to thread a machine to accommodate a twin needle.

It’s also a great troubleshooting resource. While you can go out to YouTube or Google and *maybe* find something that looks similar to  your machine, your manual is your best resource. For example, when I first got my serger, I had no clue how to thread it. I found lots of videos that were kind of helpful, but my machine is a hand-me-down from the 80s. I finally found a digital copy of the manual for my serger (thank you, librarian skills), and my problem was solved!

One of my most common daily outfits: skater dress with leggings/tights, ballet flats, and a cardigan!
One of my most common daily outfits: skater dress with leggings/tights, ballet flats, and a cardigan!

7. Make things that you’ll actually wear.

This is another bit of advice that I don’t always follow. There are lots of gorgeous patterns out there. Big fluffy dresses, elegant gowns, etc. These can be great if you want something for a special occasion like a wedding or a costume for a con, but if you’re looking for good ol’ daily wear, look at your closet before purchasing a pattern. Are you a t-shirt and jeans guy or gal? Do you wear knit (see: stretchy) dresses more often than not? It’s easy to be swayed by pretty patterns, but when you’re making your own clothes, it’s important to temper the pretty temptation with a healthy dose of realism. After all, do you really want to drop 10 hours on a project that will only hang in your closet?

8. DO NOT buy Big 4 patterns at full price.

Nope, nope, nope. Full price for a pattern is often in the $20 range, and there’s no need to do this. Stores like Jo-Ann’s and Hancock Fabrics have frequent $.99 and $1.99 sales on Big 4 patterns (a bit higher for Vogue and Kwik-Sew, but still around $5). Get on their mailing lists to see when sales are happening. This is a big money saver for all you cosplayers out there!

Indie patterns aren’t often on sale, but there are still ways that you can avoid paying full price if you’re on a budget:

  • Sign up for company mailing lists to get advance notice when sales are happening.
  • Look for PDF patterns. They’re often cheaper than print patterns and have the added benefit of printing at home.
  • Keep an eye out for the Perfect Pattern Parcel. Indie pattern makers will submit their patterns and you get to set your own price! It’s a great program and proceeds go to benefit children’s education programs.
  • Follow blogs! Lots of sewing blogs will post coupon codes for sales as they go up.
One of my favorite knit projects to date: the Lady Skater!
One of my favorite knit projects to date: the Lady Skater!

9. Stretch fabrics aren’t as scary as they seem!

Really, I promise. I’m planning to write more on this topic soon. Stretch fabrics are fantastic, because they don’t have lots of fiddly fit issues. The stretchy nature of the fabric takes care of that for you! To get going with stretch fabrics, you’ll need a stretch needle, a machine with a stretch stitch, and practice. Here’s a great overview from Prudent Baby.

10. Enjoy it!

Take your time, and relish in your work! There are few things as rewarding as rocking a garment or showing off something that you made.

Hope that helps some newbie sewists out there! What do you wish you’d known when you first started sewing?

WIP: Setember Edition

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Gah, we’re already in October. Whaaaa…? I feel like this year has just flown by. Here are a few of the projects I worked on in September along with some things I’m wrapping up for Fan Days!

Commission: Steampunk Dorothy blouse and skirt

tumblr_ncmovfcDkV1sxq29yo1_500Back in August, a local cosplayer contacted me about making the fabric bits for a Steampunk Dorothy at Fan Days, based on this Tonner doll. This wasn’t too difficult of a project, but did require some drafting skills.

For the blouse, I turned to a pattern I used in the past: New Look 6244. I used this dress for my Inara costume a few years ago. My client is a bit larger than me in the waist, but shares my chest and arm measurements, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to get this to fit properly. I hacked the pattern off at the hips to turn it into a blouse, slashed and spread the appropriate pieces, and added sleeves from Simplicity 2813. I wanted to keep this blouse as comfortable as possible (given the layers this client will be wearing), so I cut it on the bias, which means no zippers! The only issue with that was the arm part of the sleeve got twisty, so I hacked it off and made arm bits out of spandex. The rest of the blouse is made of peachskin with netting in the sleeves for a bit more volume.

The skirt is made from a modified Butterick 6196 skirt. I took 3 panels of the skirt, hacked them off at the knee and swapped out the regular waistband for an elastic one (again, comfort). The seams all have 3/8″ elastic in them to create loose gathers, and I created ruffles for the bottom of the skirt on my serger. Gathering on my serger was a new technique, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

My client is coming over for a fit test this weekend, then this project will be wrapped up. Can’t wait to see her with all of her other pieces!

Commission: Deadpool

Pants before I added the waistband.
Pants before I added the waistband.

This commission is also for Fan Days. One of my old high school friends asked if I could make a Deadpool for him, but more grounded in reality. Kind of Christopher Nolan-esque. Our first task was to ditch the spandex bodysuit and swap it out for cargo pants and an Under Armor-style top. I used Kwik Sew 4045 as a base and topstitched black twill on red twill to get the effect he was looking for.

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Stovetop dyeing. Not to be confused with dying.

The spandex for the top was a nightmare. My go-to spandex shop didn’t have what I was looking for, so I turned to my back-up: Spandex World. FedEx wound up losing my order, so I went through a two-week ordeal trying to get a reshipment. Fortunately, Spandex World is awesome and replaced my order as soon as they could, but I only got it in at the end of last week. Turns out, I should have ordered a swatch, because the color was a bright, almost orangey red. In a last ditch effort, I tried dyeing the spandex, and it actually worked! I’m in the process of wrapping up the top and mask, then this project will be done.

Sailor Ariel

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A cosplay friend recently asked me to join her Disney Sailor Scouts group at Fan Days. I was hesitant to create a new costume with just a few weeks until the con, but their Ariel has other costume commitments, so I’m using my Sailor Jupiter to create Ariel! All I have to do is touch-up my shoes, make a trident, make the bows, and style my wig. And maybe buy a Flounder :)

Ms. Marvel

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Photo by Aperture Ashley, who was kind enough to give me some BA Binary powers!

I’m also planning to touch-up my Ms. Marvel for Fan Days and hopefully enter her in the Costume Contest. I’m planning to tweak the sash, raise the leg holes, and make flames to represent her Binary powers. Hopefully that will all be finished by the end of next week!

That’s all I’ve got for this month. Once these projects are complete, I’m planning to tackle my Halloween costumes (see: slightly modify), another commission, and get started on Ikkicon costumes! Not going to lie, I’m so ready to be done with Fan Days so that I can get started on Princess Jupiter. That costume needs to be made!

What’s on your craft table right now?

Costume Notes: Sailor Jupiter

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Bring on the thunder! All photos in this post are by the fabulous Aperture Ashley :D

Completed: August 2014

Hours Spent: No freaking clue. With my previous attempts… Maybe 40 hours?

Debuted: Anime-Fest 2014

Why This Costume: I think every Moonie has that one sailor scout that they identify hardcore with. Jupiter was that senshi for me. I won’t go too in-depth here, because my fangirl love of Jupiter is absolutely absurd and I will start crying big fat ugly non-magical girl tears and no one needs to see that. Instead, have her bad ass intro from the original anime series. Also, this post from the new Sailor Jupiter voice actress expresses my feelings on Jupiter perfectly.

How I made it: It takes a village to make a fuku. Seriously. I wouldn’t have finished this project if it weren’t for a plethora of other sailor senshi cosplayers that took the time and energy to share their knowledge. Also, apologies in advance for the wall of text. I really underestimated the challenge of this project, so hopefully I can save some future senshi a few headaches!

The base of this costume is made using Katherine Zan’s sailor senshi pattern. I originally tried adjusting the Green Pepper Crystal Lake pattern, but it didn’t work out for me. I did have to make a few adjustments to Zan’s pattern, though. The sleeve portion (made with folded over foam from Zan’s store) was far too large for me, so I cut it down two sizes. The pattern is a bit short in the torso as well. I didn’t mind the torso length overall, since I like the 90s high-waist look, but it did bug me in the bloomer department. For future fuku, I’ll add probably 2″ to the bloomers at the hip.

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Speaking of the bloomers, I’ll go back to the folded over elastic method for future fuku. Elastic finishes (which are covered here and briefly in the Cupcake Cosplay tutorial) prevent the leo from riding up the bum. And nothing says NOT A MAGICAL GIRL like leotard wedgies :P. I do like the double layer of fabric Katherine’s pattern calls for since it creates a lining, so I’ll have to play with combining both methods for future fuku. I finished off the crotch with hooks and eyes since I don’t trust snaps for such a high stress area.

I used Zan’s pattern for the collar as well, but instead of sewing it to the leotard, I made it a separate piece and attached it with snaps. I used NyuNyu Cosplay’s tutorial for guidance.

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For the skirt, I combined two full circle skirts together and pleated them, as described in Cupcake Cosplay’s tutorial. Attaching the skirt, bloomers, and hip/waist roll is an ugly, clunky process, so be careful. At various points, you’re sewing through at least 9 layers of fabric and foam. I got a little sloppy at one point and my serger actually ate through a chunk of the roll on the right side. I covered it up as best as I could with my hip chain and con badge.

NyuNyu mentioned somewhere (don’t ask where, because I can’t find it now) that she used upholstery piping for the hip roll. One of my friends tried this approach and her hip roll was fantastic! I’ll take this approach for future fuku. I finished the skirt with a narrow hem.

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For the bows, I used SparklePipsi’s bow tutorial. Perfect magical girl bows! If you’re wondering about sizing, I made no adjustments to the bow size whatsoever and I’m 5’11” with broad shoulders. You may want to adjust for your preference and size. I used 5 snaps on the front bow and three on the back, though I’ll go back and add more snaps to the back since it got droopy as the day went on.

I made my glove toppers using NyuNyu’s tutorial. I had to play with the measurements a bit, but I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out. I hand tacked them to my gloves, which are from We Love Colors.

I absolutely *had* to make Jupiter’s hip chain from the manga. Fortunately, this cosplayer had a great tutorial. Instead of using paper clips, I used straight pins and small split rings to connect the larger rings. If you do this, invest in a set of split ring pliers. It will make life much easier.

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To make Jupiter’s hair tie, I painted two large wooden balls and attached them with a bit of black elastic.

My boots, brooch and tiara are from Catzia’s Collectibles, and I got my earrings from etsy. The boots and tiara are great, but I’d like a larger resin brooch at some point. Arda didn’t have the shade of brown I needed, so I went with my back-up: Epic Cosplay. I actually prefer their ponytail wigs to Arda now. While I love Arda, their ponytail wigs have a ridiculous amount of fiber, which makes wearing the wig really difficult and painful. I still had to sew in two toupee clips to this wig, but it was manageable. Still painful though. I was popping ibuprofen for a while. I styled my bangs using this tutorial and added a clip-in curly ponytail.

For my makeup, I went with a softer look and used this tutorial for inspiration. I went a bit darker than suggested for my photo shoot, used false lashes, and wore pink lipstick.

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Thoughts on this costume: This is one of my favorite costumes to date. I have such a stupid love of Sailor Jupiter and getting to cosplay my favorite senshi is a costume dream come true. I do have a few small tweaks that I’d like to make, but overall, I’m ridiculously happy with how it turned out. I can’t wait to make Princess Jupiter!

The rest of the photos from this set are on Ashley’s flickr and will be up in my Sailor Jupiter album soon!

Who’s your favorite senshi?

She’s Just a Skater Girl, pt. 2

One of my favorite knit projects to date: the Lady Skater!

I can’t help it. Every time I think “skater dress,” this some comes to mind.

I know, I’m terrible. It’s high school coming back to haunt me.

I made McCall’s 6754 a few month’s ago, and I really like it. Well, I like the dress itself for its comfort, but the fabric is just meh. I finally caved and joined the Girl Charlee bandwagon, and oh man, I don’t think I can go back to JoAnn’s knit selection.

skater front

The Basics: 

Pattern: Lady Skater with 3/4 sleeves

Fabric: 2 yds of navy ponte de roma from Girl Charlee

Alterations: Added 2″ length to bodice and 2″ length to skirt.

Notions: Clear elastic.

Make it again?: Absolutely. I already have another one planned and on my cutting table!

Favorite parts: Comfort, quick finish (around 3 hours using my BA serger), twirl-friendly skirt, flattering bodice.

How many shots does it take to get at least one decent twirl photo? At least a half dozen.
How many shots does it take to get at least one decent twirl photo? At least a half dozen.

Other thoughts: I don’t know what I can say about this project that hasn’t been said a million times before. I absolutely love this dress. In fact, this may be one of my favorite projects so far this year. Since making it a week ago, I’ve worn it twice (once over the weekend and once to work), and I’m definitely making it a wardrobe staple.

After the disaster that was my Moneta dress, I definitely felt the need to invest in quality fabric. I absolutely adore this ponte de roma. It feels better than wearing my pajamas! The recovery is fantastic, which is great for this particular pattern.

lady skater back

The pattern is drafted for someone who’s 5’5″, so I automatically added 2″ to the bodice and 2″ to the skirt to accommodate my 5’11” frame. The overall length is perfect for wearing this dress to work. Yay comfy work clothes! However, this adjustment dropped the waist a little low for wearing belts, so in future versions, I’ll only add 1″ to the bodice and 3″ to the skirt. I may need to do a teeny swayback alteration as well, but I’m curious to see if shortening the bodice will remedy the back pooling situation.

I thought that the neckband finish was an interesting touch on this pattern. Unlike the Renfrew (and the Moneta, if I remember correctly), you sew one shoulder, attach the neckline, *then* sew the second shoulder. I rather like this approach. It feels easier and a bit speedier to me.

skater side

When it came to sewing up the side seam, I ignored the directions and took the flat sewing approach used in RTW fashion, assembling the entire front and back (including the cuffs) and then sewing everything at once. It leaves a little bit of loose thread on the edge, but no worse than any of my RTW clothes.

I really like Kitschy Coo’s instructions on adding elastic. This is one of the areas where I got lost with my Moneta, but it feels much sturdier in this dress. Basting it in place with a zig-zag stitch makes so much sense!

To hem my dress, I used my super awesome Wundertape to hold the seam allowance in place and finished it off with my twin needle. Super pretty hem for the win! I also used my twin needle on the neckline for a more RTW look.

One more twirl for good measure.
One more twirl for good measure.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this dress. I’ve got a black and white polka dot ponte de roma (my September challenge to make up for missing the monochromatic theme) on my cutting table for a second take on this dress. Hopefully I’ll get it done this weekend. I still have about a yard of the blue for this fabric leftover, so I’m thinking another Mabel is in order too!

Have you made the Lady Skater? What do you think about it?

My Blogging Confessions

Confessions.of.a.Blogger

Megan over at The Nerdy Girlie took some time to write out blogging confessions last week, and I really enjoyed reading them! She’s started a link-up over at the Female Geek Bloggers community on G+, so I thought I’d take a few minutes today to share my confessions with you. Don’t worry; I have more garments to share with later this week!

1. I am awful at self-promotion. 

Others have said this, so I’m probably just preaching to the choir. Part of the reason I joined The Monthly Stitch as well as the Female Geek Bloggers was an effort to put myself out more. Sometimes I feel like I’m just another drop in the massive sea of the Internet, but that’s part of the beauty of it, isn’t it? Whether you have 5 followers or 5 million, everyone has a chance to participate in the conversation.

As a brief aside, this is why Net Neutrality is so important.

2. Reading sewing blogs is the main reason I decided to create my own wardrobe pieces and participate in the RTW Fasting Challenge. 

I’ve learned more about crafting from fellow bloggers than anywhere else. I enjoyed applying those lessons to my cosplay, but the more I looked at others creating pretty garments for themselves, the more I felt compelled to do the same. Fast forward two years, and barely a day goes by when I don’t do a sewing-related something. I learned about indie patterns through sewing blogs as well!

3. Photos are always my biggest struggle with blog posts. 

I’m not a particularly skilled photographer. Actually, I’m going to take an additional step and admit that my photos are pretty bad. But photos are a big part of my blog posts, so a few months ago, I picked up an inexpensive point and shoot camera and I’ve started playing more with timed shots, lighting, and photo editing. My photos are a lot better than they were a year ago, but I still have a long way to go. Hopefully I’ll have the time to take a photography class soon.

4. Blogging has helped me connect with tons of new friends! 

I have so many connections now that I’ve met through blogging and social media. It’s crazy to think that some of the people I look to for advice on a regular basis are people I didn’t even know before I started this journey. I love it!

5. I try not to blog at my 9-5…

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t read other blogs, make the occasional comment, or start drafting a post when I have down time or go on breaks. I try not to do it too often, but sometimes the thought of reading another piece of professional literature makes my head pulse. That’s when I know it’s time to take a blog break!

Bonus: I’ve had Usher’s Confessions stuck in my head since I read Megan’s original post.

What are some of your blogging confessions? Check out the link-up for more confessions from other bloggers!