Hey girl, whatcha doin’?

Today’s post was brought on in part by introspection, and partly due to the fact that I haven’t taken pictures for ANY of the 5 blog drafts that are in my queue. Oops. I swear, spandex 101 posts are coming! Anyway, I thought I’d take today’s post to let you guys know where I’m at in terms of my sewing/crafting and cosplay life.

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No, one does not. Even if text covers one’s eyeballs.

I recently accepted a few “trial run” commissions to see how I like the process and if I’m willing to take it on in larger quantities next year. It’s been an interesting process so far. I’m about half finished with my first two, with plans of wrapping them up by the end of the month. I’m still a little flabbergasted that people are willing to pay me to make things for them. It’s funny how my nearly 10 years of customer service experience are helping me out, though there is a unique learning curve.

Pants for a Deadpool commission I'm working on. These bad boys are now finished other than the hem.

Pants for a Deadpool commission I’m working on. These bad boys are now finished other than the hem.

This week in particular has made me ask myself, “Can I do this and hold down a full-time job?” many, many times. I work in education, so the first few weeks of the semester are always the most hectic with the most last-minute schedule changes.  I think it is possible, but I need to make a commission work schedule and stick to it! Sewing at 5a.m. before work and then hitting it again after work isn’t exactly my ideal :-/ To compensate for taking on more commissions next year, I’ll have to drastically cut back on my own costumes. I’m planning to limit myself to 6 or so costumes instead of this year’s 11 (so far). If only I could sew at work… Le sigh.

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Yeah… I’ve already started planning out next year’s costumes. Still somewhat tentative, though.

On that topic, I am investigating options to turn The Geeky Seamstress into a business. As of right now, I’m reading up on what I need to do (The Handmade Marketplace has a permanent place in my purse at the moment). Legalities and tax forms make my head swim, but fortunately having a boyfriend with a J.D. and an interest in intellectual property is a wonderful asset. My goal for early next year is to get a table to sell geeky bags and accessories at a smaller local con, possibly All-Con in March. I’ll be tapping you guys for feedback on what I should sell soon! Do any of you have online stores or sell at cons? If so, do you have any tips or resources that I should check out?

All the nerdy bags will be mine!!!

Make all the geeky accessories!

I’m also focusing on more of my garments instead of costumes since my con season is all but over. I have several knit dresses and skirts on my cutting table, along with some trousers and the Anise jacket. My Princess Jupiter materials are still hanging off my closet door, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to make her for a con in November or wait until Ikkicon in January (hello, birthday con!).

Oh Jupiter, you taunt me.

Oh Jupiter, you taunt me.

Otherwise, life is moving along as usual! If we were having coffee together this morning, what would you tell me?

Colette Sorbetto (or, my battle with FBAs)

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Same pattern, different look! I felt really guilty about not making a functional garment in July, so I doubled up with this project.

Early in the summer, I finally caved and admitted that I needed to learn how to do a full-bust adjustment (FBA). For those of you who aren’t aware, most pattern companies (especially the Big 4) draft patterns with a B cup in mind. If you’re larger or smaller, chances are that you’ll need to adjust your pattern to accommodate.

Sorbetto the first, worn to work today with this skirt and a black cardigan.

Floral Sorbetto, worn to work today with this skirt and a black cardigan.

The Basics: 

Pattern: Colette Sorbetto

Fabric: 1 yard of cotton gingham and 1 yard of mystery poly blend

Alterations: FBA

Notions: Bias tape and bias tape maker

Make it again?: Maybe. Not my normal style, but it’s a solid wardrobe staple.

Favorite parts: Aside from the FBA, how easy it is to put together. Seriously, two darts and 4 quick seams. Love.

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Gingham Sorbetto, worn fabric shopping last week. I feel very Dorothy-esque wearing this top. Where’s Toto?

Process: After struggling to create a successful FBA with my Ms. Marvel gown (did you guys know that Kwik-Sew pattern sizes accommodate different cups sizes? Mind blown), I decided to step back and try a FBA on a simpler garment: Colette’s (free!) Sorbetto pattern. The pattern only has two darts, so I figured it’d be a piece of cake. Well, my first three attempts were HORRIBLE. Like, “Go back to sewing pillows you crappy newb,” terrible. The first was basically a tent and the second was so tight I couldn’t wear a bra with it. Sigh. My third was passable (though never blogged), but it’s made of cotton voile and I hate ironing casual clothing. I think it’s been worn twice since I made it? Anyway, I trashed the first two abominations and blocked the travesties out of my memory until after I moved.

Apparently I only know how to pose like a superhero. Ready to take flight!

Apparently I only know how to pose like a superhero. Ready to take flight!

With this round, I attempted things the “correct” way. I printed off an extra copy of the pattern, actually took my measurements *with* my normal undergarments (I tend to wear sports bras the second I get home, which mush the ladies around differently), traced my adjustments, and made an actual muslin. I found this tutorial (as well as this one and this list of FBA tutorials) very helpful when figuring out how much to add. I erred a bit more on the side of caution and added a full inch to my adjustment. The end result is a teeny bit loose in the waist and hips, but not unwearable.

Oh me? I'm just day-dreaming about a time that fall didn't mean face-meltingly-hot weather.

Oh me? I’m just day-dreaming about a time that fall didn’t mean face-meltingly-hot weather.

After doing cartwheels upon realizing that my FBA was actually successful (only kind of kidding), I made two real versions. The first is a cotton gingham with the center pleat and self-made bias tape. The fabric was an impulse purchase during D’or’s last fabric sale. I feel very Dorothy-esque while wearing it, so I’ll probably just wear it on weekends. Very likely out to the state fair in a few weeks. At least the blousiness will conceal fried food bloat!

Making the bias tape was the most time-consuming part of this blouse. Since I’m still not proficient, I took things slow, which added another hour to my overall sewing time (a whopping 3 hours).

flower sorbetto 3

My second Sorbetto is a mystery blend from Jo-Ann’s remnant section with pre-made bias tape. I decided against the center pleat for this one, mostly out of laziness. This one is simple enough for lazy dress work days. I can definitely see myself wearing it with my comfy trousers or another Mabel. Using the pre-made tape made this a super speedy project. I think cutting to finishing the hem took only 1.5 hours.

gingham sorbetto 3

Other thoughts: Overall, this is a good basic blouse, especially for beginners (or beginner pattern modifications). You can keep it super simple by eliminating the center pleat and using pre-made bias tape, or you can be fancy and make your own bias tape, add the pleat, throw in some sleeves, embellish the pleat, etc. In future versions, I’ll definitely add another 2-3+ inches since this hits me a little higher than I typically like.

Have you made this pattern before? What are your thoughts on it?

A-Fest

Probably my favorite selfie from A-fest. Cosplay repair assembly line!

Probably my favorite selfie from A-fest. Cosplay repair assembly line!

A few weeks ago, I attended Anime Fest! Anime Fest is held at the Sheraton Dallas, where A-Kon used to be before changing locations two years ago. I only attended one A-Kon at the Sheraton, so it heading back was a bit of a surreal experience. Honestly, it’s kind of a shame that they moved locations, as I like the old location better.

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Ran into the lovely Dallas Fan Girl!

On Friday, I headed in mid-afternoon (as soon as I could scurry away from work) decked out as a casual Captain Marvel. A-Fest did a brilliant thing this year and offered pre-registered members the opportunity to mail out their badges in advance. I really hope A-Kon gets on board with this idea, because it only took me 10 minutes to pick up my lanyard on Friday. Not having to wait in line absolutely wonderful.

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Panelists left to right: My Geeky Geeky Ways, Samurai Pizza Kitten Cosplay, Mia, and Liz.

The only panel I actually made it to on Friday was the Confidence in Cosplay panel, hosted by my friends over at Superhero-esque. Lots of discussion on body image, how to handle haters, and more! You can check out a video of the panel below.

I kicked off Saturday with a photoshoot with Aperture Ashley! Ashley’s done several shoots at A-Kon before, so she had some great spots picked out for maximum magical girl shots. I can’t wait to show you the final photos!

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I love this hall shot of my Jupiter! Courtesy of Overbeck.

Saturday overall was pretty chill. I wandered around with my friends Mia and Liz, said hi to lots of people, got recorded by Cosplay with Me for his con tour video (I’ll post a link when it’s up!), dropped by a Sailor Moon photoshoot, and just generally hung out and had a good time. I really enjoyed this experience, even if I did miss a lot of the people I hoped to see. Hopefully if time works out, I’ll be back next year! Thank you to everyone who said hi :) You can see more photos from the event on my Facebook page!

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Loved seeing so many Moonies gathered in one spot!

My con season is slowly but surely winding down. I only have two cons left this year: Dallas Fan Days in October and Anime North Texas in November. I may or may not have a new costume for both. We’ll see how time and funds are doing in a few weeks!

Selfie-con! I changed into my Ms. Marvel gown in the evening and hung out with Liz, Samurai Pizza Kitten, and Mia.

Selfie-con! I changed into my Ms. Marvel gown in the evening and hung out with Liz, Samurai Pizza Kitten, and Mia.

Are you still going strong with cons? Or are you winding down and getting ready for next year?

August Challenge: More like Captain Marvel-ous!

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The Basics: 

Pattern: Simplicity 1606 bodice and Sewaholic Cambie skirt, view A

Fabric: 1.5 yds of blue cotton sateen (stash), 1/2 yd red cotton sateen, 1/2 yd gold charmeuse (stash), 1 yd of cotton muslin

Alterations: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Lots.

Notions: Zipper. Cording for piping, harvested from pre-purchased piping in my stash (because I hate myself). 

Make it again?: Not likely. I love it and will definitely make more character-themed dresses, but not this one. Likely. I don’t know. Who wants one? 

Favorite parts: All of it. The bodice came out exactly like I hoped it would, which makes me super, super happy. 

Process: This dress is totally inspired by Contagious Costuming’s beautiful Captain Marvel dress. As soon as I saw it, I wanted it. I thought it was a perfect “frosting” project for this month’s theme, since I’ll probably only wear it out to geeky events. Fortunately, I had a fair amount of fabric in my stash that was perfect for the project. 

It begins...

It begins…

I knew off the bat that I wanted the Cambie skirt. It’s flattering and has pockets! What’s not to love? Figuring out which bodice I wanted was a little more difficult. My initial inclination was to go with Simplicity 1699, and in hindsight, that may have been a better option since the neckline is drafted higher. I opted to go with Simplicity 1606 instead since I had it in my stash and I wanted a little hand holding to perfect the fit of the bodice. For my first muslin (yes, first), I made size 22 since it corresponded to my full bust, but I was swimming in it. Then I went back and made size 16, which corresponds to my high bust. Much better fit, though I still had to adjust for pooling under the bust. This tutorial was a great help in that department. 

Once I had the fit figured out, I drew out the design and used my muslin as a pattern. I didn’t want to destroy my good fabric, so I made up a third muslin to test the fit. I went back and forth on adding the faux raglan sleeves, and ultimately decided to include them. I’m very glad I did, because I really like the look of them. 

After getting muslin #3 made up, I was ready to make the real deal. It honestly came together pretty quickly and easily since I’d already “made” it so many times. I did underestimate how much blue I needed, so I had to cut the length short by 2 inches. I also had to do some clever folding to get the skirt to work out. Oops. 

Piecing it all together.

Piecing it all together.

I assembled everything a little counter-intuitively. In a typical dress,  you’d make the bodice, make the skirt, then attach the two. I took Contagious Costuming’s advice and assembled the full front then the full back. This made satin stitching the star and installing the zipper much easier than if I went the standard way. 

I opted to reuse my first muslin for the lining. I just lined the bodice since I wanted this to be comfy for summer cons. Yay cotton. I attached the lining to the zipper and then finished off the sleeves using this snazzy technique from Colette.

At this point, I thought that I’d just be able to add the collar and be done. HA. No. After drafting and creating a collar that I was oh-so-proud-of, I basted it in place… and felt like my head was swimming in it. Despite being large in stature, I have a tiny head. Much sadness (especially after making my own bias tape and piping. Grrr). So I decided to sacrifice the collar (though my lovely fellow Monthly Stitchers suggested making a jacket, so that’s happening). Still, that left me with the issue of how to finish the neck without seam ripping. I opted to press my seam allowances under and top stitch it down. I also top stitched the edges of the arm holes for matchiness. 

detail front

Other thoughts: Even with all that work, I’m super proud of this dress. It’s hella comfy and I absolutely love how it turned out. I didn’t get finished with it in time for Fan Appreciation Day (I actually bailed since didn’t want the temptation to spend money), but I did wear it to Friday of A-fest and styled my hair after Captain Marvel’s fabulous faux-hawk from the 2012 run. I also nearly died when Kelly Sue complimented my dress. 

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And now for some obligatory dress form pictures. 

dress front

dress back

pocket detail

A fun little detail. I made the inside of my pocket red. Just because. Also: delicious seam matching.

pocket detail 2

Another little detail no one will see. I finished off the edges of my pockets with some yellow bias tape to reinforce the seam and keep in line with the color scheme. I left the bodice lining floating, since it really doesn’t bunch up.

I’d really love to make more geeky character-themed dresses in the future. I always forget how comfortable they are, and they’re just as much fun as cosplay. Rogue and Wonder Woman dresses are definitely in my future! 

DIY Cutting Table

I finally cleaned off my cutting table for you guys! Behold, one of my new favorite things:

cutting table

And the clouds opened up and the angels sang.

You all know how much I love my pegboard organization system. It’s the best. But this cutting table may take the cake.

I knew when I moved that I wanted a HUGE cutting table. I spent many nights shifting around my poor cutting mat on the floor of my old apartment, squeezing into corners so that I wouldn’t miss anything (Seriously, cutting my Ms. Marvel dress was a pain in the butt). This mat takes so much pressure off my back when I’m cutting!

To create a cutting table like mine, you’ll need the following:

While I was researching, I noticed that a lot of people hacked together storage cubes to create desks (If you go that route, I highly recommend taking a look here, here, here, and here)! I already had a set of Target storage cubes that I was using as a dresser in my old apartment, so I built off of that. I decided that I didn’t want an actual table to sit at since I already have my sewing desk, so I bought additional storage cubes and pushed them flush against each other.

Several of the  tutorials I read (this one specifically) suggested making your table the same height as  your navel. I’m 5’11”, so mine sits at a comfortable 36″ without risers. You may have to adjust how you arrange your cubes (mine are stacked 3 vertically) and add risers if you’re shorter.

Once your cubes are flush, you have the option of making them more stable with flat brackets. I ultimately decided against this, since 1) I’m a renter and would like to move everything out eventually), and 2) my tabletop holds everything in place pretty well.

Now that your cubes are situated, grab some sticky Velcro! Place your velcro around the edges of your table and place the corresponding pieces on the bottom of your table top. Between the weight of the table and this Velcro my table is pretty solid (unless you push directly against the side). If you want something sturdier, you can use L-shaped brackets to attach your cubes to the bottom of your tabletop.

velcro

Mmmm… Velcro.

One more tiny step: grab your kitchen drawer roll and place it on top of your table, then set out your cutting mat(s). I already had a small cutting mat, so I waited until Jo-Ann’s had a sale and bought my large one for $20. This means that I now have a cutting area 6′ long! Perfect for making ball gowns.

The kitchen mat I used to hold my cutting mat in place.

The kitchen mat I used to hold my cutting mat in place.

You’re done! Now go fill up those cubes and get to cutting. Here’s a look at how I filled mine:

My main sewing side. The top two rows are fabric and the bottom row is patterns.

My main sewing side. The top two rows are fabric and the bottom row is patterns.

The geeky/fun side. This holds most of my comics, trades, Japanese study materials, and manga!

The geeky/fun side at the end of the table. This holds most of my comics, trades, Japanese study materials, and manga!

Additional craft supplies. I have slots for my sewing books, wig supplies, paints, irons, PDF patterns, and some miscellaneous books.

Additional craft supplies. I have slots for my sewing books, wig supplies, paints, irons, PDF patterns, and some miscellaneous books.

I hope this helps some potential cube hackers out! Do you have a cutting/craft table? If so, please share!

A-fest Lineup

Hey everyone! Just a quick post this week. Time really got away from me while prepping for A-fest. I can’t believe it’s this weekend! Here’s what I’m wearing. 

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Friday: Unfortunately, I have a mandatory work meeting the first part of the day, so I’m going casual(ish). For this month’s Monthly Stitch, I made an “frosting” dress based on Captain Marvel’s new uniform. 

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I wore the wig mostly as a stand-in since my hair was pinned for another wig test, but I really like it. I may or may not have blonde hair tomorrow. I’m hoping to get ready fast enough to make it for the Confidence in Cosplay panel, hosted by my friends Mia and Liz at Superheroesque, My Geeky Geeky Ways, and Samurai Pizza Kitten Cosplay

Saturday: Guys, my labor of love for the last two months is finally complete. I’m going to be my favorite senshi! I have a photoshoot scheduled with Aperture Ashely in the morning and I’m planning to head to the Sailor Moon photoshoot as well. 

jupiter back_Fotor_CollageIf I’m not dead on my feet by the evening, I’m planning to change into my Ms. Marvel gown for the ball. 

Sunday: I’ve wanted to make a Sailor Moon-X-men crossover for a little while now, so I decided A-fest was the perfect opportunity for it. I’m reusing pieces of my Rogue costume and Jupiter to create Sailor Rogue, and she’ll be there as Sailor Jubilee! rogue 1

My brooch is still drying and I’ll also have green tights, but you get the idea. 

I’m super excited for A-fest! If you see me there, feel free to say hi and ask for one of my shiny new contact cards! You can follow my shenanigans on Twitter and Instagram. Hope to see some of  you there!