WIP: January 2016

Ah, nothing like getting a new year started with lots of new makes! Here’s a quick look at what I worked on last month.

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Hannah from Rat Queens: 50% finished

After nearly a year of planning with Callula Cosplay, we’re finally cosplaying from Rat Queens! I’m so excited that we have a full group of our main girls! Let the raucousness commence!

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Prior to adding the cups and altering the bias tape.

 

Okay, enough exclamations (for now). My main focus this month was the hardest part of the costume: Hannah’s bodice/corset… thing. As usual, all of my reference shots varied just a little. I see a lot of cosplayers do this as an underbust cincher coupled with a bra. It’s a perfectly valid choice, but that look didn’t appeal to my aesthetic (see: I have to make life difficult :P). However, I took a queue from Cupcake Cosplay‘s Avery and attached bra cups to my corset for additional support (HIDE THAT BACK FAT, YO!). To create this, I turned to my trusty TV110 and cut out the front right around the bra cups. I hand stitched pink fabric to the cups and then again hand stitched them to the corset. This was a tedious process, filled with lots of swearing and finger pricking.

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I also made mock-ups of my bolero and skirt, and as of this post, those pieces are now complete. Now to finish up the wig and accessories for DCC next week!

Commissions & Non-Cosplay: 

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Most of my commissions this month revolved around alterations for friends. I knocked out some bunny suit modifications for my friend Sabrina and altered my friend Showva’s Jaina Solo tunic. I also helped Space Cadet Cosplay with the fabric bits for her Violet costume.

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The pillow case and scarf are available for sale in my shop! 

I did meet my goal of making a few non-cosplay things, though most of those were catch-up Christmas gifts, items for my Etsy shop, and prizes for my giveaway on Facebook.

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Thor approves of the new arrangement.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really give myself a lot of time to work on non-cosplay things for myself, though I did take the time to reorganize my craft room. I do aim to make non-cosplay sewing a priority this month after DCC, and I think I have the perfect project. Turns out past Mindy cut out pieces for a new Cambie sometime last year, so it’s about time to knock that out!

What are you currently working on? 

WIP: October 2015

Lulu: 50% complete

I also finished up the corset! Couldn't resist trying everything on :)
I also finished up the corset! Couldn’t resist trying everything on 🙂

I’m finally making some decent progress on Lulu! One of my big tasks for this month was knocking out her base skirt and sleeves. I debated on how to do this. There’s some discussion among cosplayers as to what Lulu’s skirt and sleeves are supposed to be: separate pieces or a dress with an extremely low cut back. I opted for multiple pieces for easier cleaning and repairs. These pieces are made with a material that was advertised as cow leather, but definitely does not feel like real leather. Regardless, it’s still a nice fabric with a great drape, weight, and sheen.

I used Kwik-Sew 3400 up to the waist to create a base for the skirt. I blended out the princess seams in the front and back of View B and chopped off the front pieces at my desired length. From there, I used the sewn front and back to create a facing with the knit side facing my stomach for comfort.

To create the sleeves, I took one of my basic sleeve templates and slashed and spread it to create the bell effect, using my French curve to create the drop in the sleeves. It’s held up with elastic backed with silicone, so it’ll (hopefully) grip my arm a little better than straight up elastic casings.

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For both the sleeves and skirt, I opted to finish off the seams with a bound bias finish. Leather and pleather don’t *technically* need a finish since they won’t unravel, but since this is a competition piece, I wanted to have a nice, clean interior for craftsmanship judging. I topstitched the remaining seam allowances down to match the game art.

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My other big project on Lulu was creating ALL THE LACE. I painted all the Venetian lace I purchased over the last few months by hand, which took several weeks of Netflix and evening painting.

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I created several more pieces by using lace embroidery pieces available from emblibrary.com. This is such a cool technique. You “embroider” the lace pieces on water soluble stabilizer, then drop the finished piece in a basin of water. Once the stabilizer has dissolved, you iron the final piece and are left with a gorgeous lace flower. These are intended as coasters and Christmas ornaments, but they work perfectly as filler pieces for Lulu.

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I’m about 2 weeks away from the con, so I’m definitely in crunch mode! My final to-dos are styling the wig, finishing the moogle, gluing all the lace and belts on, and creating a bit of flame magic. Wish me luck!

She-Hulk and Red She-Hulk: 100% complete

Not much to say here that I didn’t say in my She-Hulks post. Body painting was one heck of a learning experience, but I’m glad I went through it! I’m looking forward to brainstorming our next mother-daughter build.

Photo by Mehreen Rizvi Photography.
Photo by Mehreen Rizvi Photography.

What’s on your craft table right now? 

Pattern Review: M7217

12115489_785108354948606_6219879557741383976_nThe Basics: 

Pattern: McCall’s M7127 (a.k.a. the Yaya Han bodysuit pattern)

Total Hours: About 4 hours for the first suit and 6 hours for the 2nd one

Fabric: Approximately 1 yard of 4 way stretch pleather for Red She-Hulk and a half-yard of purple milliskin. Approximately 2 yards of heavy white moleskin for She-Hulk, a half-yard of purple milliskin, and scraps of grey for piping. The purple milliskin on both suits is covered with fabric from men’s basketball shorts.

Alterations: Added 2″ of length at the bodice cut line. In hindsight, I probably should have also added a half inch to the crotch cut line. I also ditched the sleeves and made my suits with an exposed zipper, as detailed in the Cosplay by McCall’s blog.

Notions: Thread, zippers, knit interfacing, clear elastic, 3/8″ elastic, stretch cord (regular She-Hulk)

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Did it look like the pattern illustration?: Pretty much.

Were the instructions easy to follow?: Overall, yes, though some of the directions weren’t really the norm for spandex suits.

Make it again?: Absolutely. Hoping to make a new Rogue with this pattern soon!

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Other thoughts: My main thought when I first saw this pattern was, “How useful is this really going to be for superhero suits?” While this suit is great in a lot of ways, it will still require a lot of alterations for most superheroes, especially any superheroes that have crazy seam lines (looking at you, Carol) or seamlines that don’t match up to this pattern.

That said, if you want a suit that will be a great resource for a tailored fit, this pattern is fantastic. I’ve never had a suit fit me quite this well, especially under the bust. I’m adding that feature on ALL my suits from now on. If I get around to remaking my Batwoman suit, I’m definitely going to use this pattern.

So now that the pre-amble is out of the way, here are a few tips to make your process go a little bit smoother than mine. In order to give this pattern a fair review, I tried to stick with the design as is for the most part.

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So first up: directions. For the most part, these are pretty straight forward. But there are a few steps that made me shake my head a little. My main complaint was that the instructions call for a casing in the leg holes. While you *can* do this, it’s suuuuuuuuuuper annoying. Instead, I sewed the elastic directly to the leg holes, which is far more common for swimsuits and is a staple in Kwik-Sew spandex instructions. While I didn’t include arms on this leotard, I did take a look at the instructions and again shook my head. You’re instructed to set the sleeves here as you would a woven garment. Again, nothing technically *wrong* with this, but I almost ALWAYS take the RTW sleeve setting approach in spandex suits.

Next up: fit. I don’t know about y’all, but this suit had way more ease built in than I was used to, especially compared to Kwik-Sew. I wound up cutting the sides a size smaller than my pattern measurements, and I also took out a full 2″ at the waist of the front princess seams. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, no pattern will fit every body perfectly right out of the envelope, and lots of seam lines means you have flexibility with tailoring. Still, I’m very glad I made a mock-up with my go-to spandex undergarments.

Finally, difficulty. I would honestly hesitate to recommend this pattern to a complete spandex novice. My suits each had 13 pattern pieces (double that on Jen since everything is double-layered), which is a bit overwhelming for a newbie spandex sewer. Kwik-Sew’s basic catsuits by comparison have 5 pieces. Pattern matching is a big deal here as well, especially at all the bust points, and that can be tricky for folks not accustomed to sewing with stretchy fabrics. I highly recommend basting before you commit to  your final stitches.

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Have any of you used this pattern yet? What did you think of it?

WIP: September 2015

Another month has flown by! The end of the year is quickly approaching, which means that my costume list is slowly starting to die down for the year (Don’t worry. I’ve already got big plans for 2016 😉 ). Here’s what’s been on my craft table this month:

Lulu: 25% complete

wipI feel like I actually made some real progress on Lulu this month! My main focus with her was the corset, and I’m about 90% complete. If time works in my favor, I’m hoping to put the final touches on it today. Once again, I turned to my trusty TV110 with a few modifications. For Wonder Woman, I raised the height of the bust for modesty. Lulu doesn’t share that concern, so I dropped it back down to the originally drafted pattern. I also modified the bottom front panels of the corset to accommodate the points.

The fashion fabric layer is a cotton/viscose coutil with a lovely floral motif, and the strength layer of the corset is duck cloth. I constructed these two layers using the welt seam approach, and made a floating liner out of some black cotton in my stash.

To create the silver stripes on Lulu’s corset, I cut some satin blanket binding in half, sewed the wrong sides together, pressed them with quilter’s bars, and then topstitched them over the seams of the corset. I used Wundertape to keep the strips from moving around as I sewed. I intend to wear this costume as a competition piece, so I went all out on the boning. Each seam is double-boned with 1/4″ spiral spring steel, and the back has 1/4″ flat steel on each side of the grommets.

buskThis was my first time inserting a busk on a corset. Actually inserting it wasn’t difficult, but accommodating the silver stripes on the front sure was! I had to take precise measurements and stitch everything down prior to inserting the busk.

laceI also started experimenting with lace dyeing this month. Over the last few months, I’ve purchased lace from several places, and many friends have also donated some lace to my ever-growing stash. Thanks, friends! I’m using this tutorial and Dye-na-flow to create pastel colors for the lace.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with my progress for this month, but I’m also kind of freaking out about the amount of work I have left to do on this project! Once I get through She-Hulk and Red She-Hulk, expect to see a lot more Lulu progress. You can keep up with my Lulu WIP photos on Instagram by searching for the hashtag #geekysewslulu.

Commissions:

CM raceCaptain Marvel Race Outfit: This was such a fun request! A client recently asked if I could turn Captain Marvel’s uniform into a racing outfit, and I was happy to help! For the top, I made a raglan sleeve top using McCall’s 7100 as a base. I modified it to fold on the front, cut the sleeves at T-shirt length, modified the collar, and of course added the stripes. Altelier Heidi’s tutorial on inset points was such a fantastic help with this project. These points look way better than the ones on my Captain Marvel!

The pants are McCall’s 6360, though I totally would have used Sewaholic’s Pacific Leggings instead had they been out at the time. Would have made sewing a hidden pocket in these a heck of a lot easier!

dressRamona/Thor crossover: Another fun request! This client asked if I could make a spandex dress based off of this Ramona/Thor crossover on DeviantArt. To come up with the pattern, I made a mock-up of Kwik-Sew 3154 (with the skirt) and drew in the princess seam stripes. From there, I cut up all the pieces, added seam allowances, and sewed it all back up. The most challenging part of this commission was the yellow band on the bottom front of the dress. All sorts of inset corners to deal with! I can’t wait to see this on my client at Fan Days 🙂

That’s what’s been on my craft table this month. What are all of you currently working on?

WIP: August 2015 + Con Announcement!

Goodbye, summer. Hello, fall! Well, sorta. We’re still in 90+ degree weather, so really fall is more or less wishful thinking right now.

tumblr_ntynoqvWz11sxq29yo1_500Hanie Mohd Wonder Woman: 100% Complete

I sure have taken my sweet time with this costume! Originally, I anticipated it only taking 2 weeks, and had I not worked on other projects in between that probably would have been true. That said, it’s been nice to take a very leisurely approach with this costume. Having time to finish my hems by hand is a luxury I normally don’t have! I’ll share more about this costume after A-fest.

IMG_2823Lulu from FFX: 15% Complete

Whoooo!!!! Real progress! This project has been hanging over my head for months, so over the summer I decided to shuffle my cosplay line-up for the rest of the year and make it my priority for the fall. This month, I decided to go ahead and make one of the big pieces for the costume: the hoop skirt which will act as the base for the belts. You can read more about this project here.

Commissions:

IMG_27751970s Supergirl Blouse

This was one of my first embroidery projects. One of my returning clients asked if I’d make a 1970s Supergirl blouse to go with some hot-pants I altered for her a few months back. The basic shape was pretty simple. I used Simplicity 1779 as a base with a few alterations. Namely altering the front to cut on the fold and slashing and spreading the sleeve to accommodate a larger poof. I finished the neckline with bias tape since the main fabric was pretty thick and I didn’t want her to have to worry about a neckline facing flipping up in photos.

The fun part of this project was learning how to embroider. I definitely have a lot to learn, but I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out!

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I added several projects to my Etsy shop this month! Lots of Whovians asked for Doctor Who themed prints, so I added 4 new clutches along with coin purses. I also made some pillows, but I haven’t photographed them yet. They’ll be up soon! Check everything out here. As always, if you have suggestions for product, feel free to ask!

Con Line-Up: AnimeFest 2015

FotorCreatedFriday: Hanie Mohd Wonder Woman

Saturday: I’ll be Margaret in the morning with my Velvet Room siblings, then I’m switching to Sailor Jupiter! I’m not sure at the moment if I’ll attend the semi-formal ball. If I do, I’ll probably bring my Ms. Marvel gown.

Sunday: Casual Jupiter

Are any of you heading to A-Fest? Feel free to say hi if you see me!

Pattern Review: Truly Victorian #103

IMG_2823After months of hemming and hawing, I finally decided to take the leap and get started on Lulu! The first part I completed was the hoop skirt which will act as the base for her belts.

Lots of Lulu cosplayers have gone with a faux apron approach for the belts and created a separate piece that the skirt snaps on. I took that a step further with this project for a couple of reasons: 1) I’ve always like artwork where Lulu had a fuller skirt in the back, and a hoop skirt is a great way to get that effect, and 2) I wanted something fairly sturdy that wouldn’t kill me after wearing it all day. The shape of this crinoline was popular in the mid- to late- 1860s, and provides an excellent base for several pounds worth of floofy skirts. Fingers crossed that it also works out for my belts!

The Basics: 

Pattern: Truly Victorian 103

Total Hours: Around 20

Fabric: About 2 yards of fabric (I used duck cloth for the front half and a mystery cotton blend from my stash for the back half).

Alterations: Added about 3″ length and reduced the overall circumference of the hoops.

Notions: Thread, grosgrain ribbon, steel boning, boning tips and connectors, duct tape (yes, you read that right), boning channels, belting, thin ribbons.

Did it look like the pattern illustration?: More or less, given that I pretty drastically reduced the overall circumference.

Were the instructions easy to follow?: For the most part.

Make it again?: If I have a need for another hoop skirt, for sure! Otherwise, not a chance. My fingers are still raw from all the hand stitching.

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Other thoughts: The overall construction of this hoop skirt is pretty straight forward. The directions are mostly clear, though there were a few times I had to read over directions a couple of extra times to wrap my head around it since I’ve never made something like this before. If you’re following instructions to the letter, it’s not bad at all, as they provide all the mark lines necessary to give you an even, balanced cage. However, I made quite a number of alterations that definitely added to the overall time for construction.

The one piece I'm still uncertain about. I may go back and reduce the circumference of the middle hoop in the near future.
The one piece I’m still uncertain about. I may go back and reduce the circumference of the middle hoop in the near future.

My big alteration right off the bat was to reduce the circumference of the skirt. That required a fair amount of calculations, and I used this tutorial to determine the circumference for each of my hoops. Ultimately, I decided to go with a 100″ circumference on my bottom hoop, which is almost 30″ smaller than the original pattern.

The base of the skirt is constructed with a bag, which prevents the wearer from walking through the hoops. It’s assembled in 6 pieces. To accommodate my reduced hoops, I removed the back 2 pieces.

Most of the vertical straps are connected in the center back via this crescent piece. Since this pattern is designed for historical costumes, it's intended as a space for bustles. Obviously, I won't be wearing one.
Most of the vertical straps are connected in the center back via this crescent piece. Since this pattern is designed for historical costumes, it’s intended as a space for bustles. Obviously, I won’t be wearing one.

Once the bag is assembled, you add the vertical grosgrain ribbon straps which act as the basic support structure for the skirt. This is where things started getting tricky for me, since I initially added 5″ based on my waist to floor measurement, but then had to reduce that overall length since it proved too long. Figuring out where to place the vertical straps on the bag was also a challenge, since I couldn’t use the original marks on the pattern. My placement changed quite a bit as I started adding the upper hoops.

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Still a little fuzzy, but if you squint, you can see the scrap fabric I used to cover the hoop gaps.

Hoop connectors made forming the lower hoops pretty simple. I struggled with the first couple, but then I started using duct tape to temporarily hold the ends of the hoop together. This was a great fix while I clamped the hoop connectors in place. I had the best luck using my normal pliers to do the initial clamping, then using my jewelry pliers to really get a tight fit. The only drawback to this configuration is that I had a hard time getting my boning casing over the connectors, so I covered them with some scrap fabric. Probably won’t be visible once the belts are on, but why not?

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The ties on the top half hoops are part of what force the crinoline into an elliptical shape.

For the upper loops, I did have a bit of a coordination challenge sliding the U-tips over the ends. I found it easiest to hold the tip down with my finger and clamp the sides with one set of pliers. While holding the pliers, I grabbed a second set of pliers and clamped the tip and around any exposed edges.

Leveling the hoops was one of the biggest challenges of this project. Again, I couldn’t go off the placement lines from the pattern, so it took a lot of eyeballing and readjusting with pins. Once I was finally happy with the placement of all the hoops, I set about hand stitching the top and bottom of each intersection. I initially tried doing this with a zipper foot on my machine, but my pins kept getting knocked out of place. So I just put it on my sad dress form, grabbed a drink, and went after it. It took about 3 sessions of 3-4 hours of sewing at a time. I think I watched 3 seasons of Parks and Rec while doing this 😛

All that said, I’m pretty pleased with how this project turned out. I’m really looking forward to adding the belts and getting started on Lulu’s other pieces!

Thor trying to be a helpful craft pup.
Thor trying to be a helpful craft pup.

WIP June 2015 Edition

Ah, sweet, sweet summer heat. My two biggest cons of the year are over, but I still have several cons and big builds on the horizon!

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Photo by Alan Tijernia.

Margaret: 100% complete

I made this costume for an A-Kon group with friends. The big thing I finished in early June was my grimerie. This is probably the best prop I’ve made to date, and the cards were definitely a crowd pleaser 🙂 A huge thank you to Riddle’s Messy Wardrobe for showing me her Elizabeth book and cards!

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Hannie Mohd Wonder Woman: 25% complete

I got started on my new Wonder Woman during our live stream last week! I’ve wanted to make this costume for almost a year now and have been shopping for a good fabric pretty much since then. After months of only finding patriotic quilting cotton and Elsa fabric, I finally gave up and decided to have the fabric printed on Spoonflower. Callula Cosplay graciously created the file for me, and it only took about a week for the fabric to arrive in my mailbox! I had this printed off on satin. It is shiny, but not overwhelmingly so. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with how painless this process was. I’m planning to debut this costume at Anime Fest over Labor Day Weekend.

Lulu: 6% complete

It’s almost comical at this point documenting Lulu. I bought about 10 yards of lace from Golden D’Or last time I was there, and started cutting out the pieces I want for the trim on my dress. After about 3 hours of cutting, I realized 10 yards was nowhere near enough. Thankfully, Ohheyabear Cosplay donated some lace to my stash, and I’m purchasing 60 yards of lace from cheaptrims.com soon. Yay wholesale prices! Hopefully another 70 yards of lace will do the trick 😛 In July, I’m hoping to cut and paint the remaining lace and get started on the crinoline that will be the base for the belt skirt.

Commissions:

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Shortly after A-Kon, I knocked out a 1966 Adam West style Batman cape (I promise, a cape tutorial is coming soon!). I turned to Williams Studio 2 for tips and drafting information. I thought about buying their pattern, but it calls for 9 yards of fabric, which seemed a little ridiculous to me. This cape has 6 yards of poly satin. There’s twill tape sewn into the lining side for stability, and it closes at the front with a heavy duty snap. Also, I recently realized I’ve been sewing snaps wrong for YEARS. Oops. The more you learn, right?

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I also knocked out a Ghirahim bodysuit commission this month. This has definitely been one of my most challenging bodysuit builds to date! I combined the top and pants (with a few alterations) on Kwik Sew 3029 to create this suit.

Cutouts on spandex can be very particular, so I made a mock-up and drew all the squares on my client while he was wearing it. To make life a little easier for both of us, I underlined the pants with a grey milliskin to match his bodypaint and treated the squares on the white moleskin as reverse appliques. For the top, I underlined it with an extra layer of white moleskin, faced the cut-outs with scraps, and top-stitched it down. The top opening, sleeve, and exposed portion of the waist cut-out are closed with 3/8″ elastic to give it a bit of extra stability. I also added small strips of 3/8″ elastic to the exposed shoulder so my client can use clear straps to hold the suit up if necessary.

All in all, it’s been a pretty busy month. I’m grateful that I have a small break in commissions coming up and that my next two costume builds are simple and they don’t need to be finished for another 2 months. I’m really looking forward to having time for non-cosplay projects and finally getting my Etsy store set up in July!

What costumes are you working on right now?

Suit Up!

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4 suits, 4 bodies, 1 pattern.

Or: An ode to Kwik Sew 3052.

I typically save my commission posts for the end of the month, but since I’ve been working on several Gotham-themed bodysuits lately, I thought I’d share a few extra tips and tricks on working with them (P.S. You can find more spandex tips in my Spandex 101 series!).

My go-to pattern for a basic catsuit is Kwik Sew 3052. View A is a perfect blank slate for pretty much ANY superhero suit you can think of (and yes, with a few tweaks it will work for dudes!). A basic, single-color suit using this pattern exactly as drafted takes me approximately 2 hours from cutting to finishing the last seam. It really is a super simple build and a great introduction to working with catsuits. That said, most superhero suits aren’t a single color and often have all sorts of funky design lines on them. So let’s talk about some of the alterations you can do to this pattern.

My first step with this pattern is typically to move the front zipper to the back. You can do this by subtracting the seam allowance for the zipper from the front seam and adding it to the back seam. Voila! Back zipper.

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Obviously, this isn’t Spoiler, but I took a similar approach when drafting out the pattern for my Captain Marvel. I used the same pattern bodice to figure out the general curve of the side seam for the front and back. Don’t worry if you fudge up a little. The stretchy factor will help conceal it!

One of the issues you might run into with this pattern is fitting. Since you only have a front and back seam to work with, it’s easy to look like a giant garbage bag. Adding side seams is a good way to give yourself more flexibility for alterations. I did this for Spoiler since her suit in the reference images I used had a very prominent side seam. This also makes setting your sleeves much easier!

I turned to Kwik Sew 3154 for guidance on how to draft the side seams, since this Spoiler is much smaller than me. Sadly, this pattern is OOP, but you can still find it on Etsy and eBay!

Your curves doesn’t have to be exact. The big idea here is to give yourself a curve for your bust, waist, and hips. Most of us aren’t straight up and down!

Batgirl! I opted for princess seams on Batgirl instead of the the straight up and down strip of purple she's drawn with. Curves are more flattering to those of us who live in 3D!
Batgirl! I opted for princess seams on Batgirl instead of the the straight up and down strip of purple she’s drawn with. Curves are more flattering to those of us who live in 3D!

Another option for fitting on a basic suit is adding princess seams. Princess seams run over the bust and give you a lot of control over your bust and waist. I opted to add princess seams to my Batwoman and Mia‘s Batgirl suit for a more flattering shape. I used a stretch vinyl for my suit which has a limited degree of stretch, so I needed more seams for tailoring.

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Bathroom selfies are the worst for showing seams, but I promise, they’re there!

To add my princess seams, I tried on one of my old muslins and figured out where my bust apex (i.e., the fullest part of your bewb) was. From there, I just drew in the curve I wanted. Once that was done, I transferred the line over to my pattern piece and added a seam allowance. And that’s it! I mucked up a little on Batwoman since I didn’t wear the bra I intend to wear while drawing on myself. I haven’t decided yet if I care enough to remake it. Always wear your intended undergarments when drafting, kiddos!

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Callula Cosplay modeling her Huntress mock-up. We take ourselves very seriously in the cosplay biz 😛

For more complex superhero designs, I like to make a muslin out of cheap fabric and draw on my designs. For Callula Cosplay‘s Huntress, I did just that. To start, I made a quick mock-up, and once we tweaked the fit, I pulled out a Sharpie and drew all the lines she wanted to add while she was wearing it. After we finished, I labeled and cut all the pieces, added a small seam allowance, and went from there. If your suit is symmetrical (like this one), you only need to mark up one half of the suit.

A note: it is vital that your muslin has a similar degree of stretchiness as your final fabric. Otherwise, this is going to be an exercise in futility.

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The process of building Huntress.

Hope that helps for all you aspiring superheroes! Check out my Spandex 101 series for additional information on working with spandex. I’ll post more tips and tricks for all you wannabe vigilantes as I continue working on Batwoman.

WIP: March 2015

Hello, spring! Weather in my area has finally cleared up into something resembling a season between Hoth-like winter and Tattoine-esque summer.

I debated on putting up a WIP post this month. Aside from Belle, I haven’t done much crafting this month. February and March have been more than a little hectic for me professionally and personally, so I haven’t been able to get as much sewing done as I’d like. Especially non-cosplay stuff. I have a new work Cambie sitting in limbo right now, which is such a bummer. Hopefully I can knock it out when I get back from Portland!

Still, I have been making some slow but steady progress on my summer cosplays. In order of planned appearance:

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All the spandex!

Gotham Girls: I’m working on several catsuits for a Gotham Girls group in May, including a Batwoman for myself. The other suits are a Huntress for Callula Cosplay, a Stephanie Brown Spoiler, a Stephanie Brown Batgirl for Mia, and possibly a Harley Quinn. I finally got all the fabric in, so my plan is to set up shop and knock out the majority of the suits next weekend. We’ll see how it goes!

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My quilted fabric for Margaret and some sample swatches for Lulu.

Margaret from Persona 4: Early this year, I mentioned that I’m joining some friends for a Velvet Room group. I finally found some quilted blue fabric in a good color, and I ordered my wig and contacts. I’ve been talking to other Margaret cosplayers to figure out the front panel of her coat/dress. Some people do it as an entirely separate piece that attaches with snaps, while others actually hand stitched the front panel on. I’m still debating how I want to handle mine since I don’t want it to be too bulky. Either way, I’ll more than likely have to do some *shudder* dyeing. Blargh.

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Baby steps!

Lulu from FFX: It has officially started! I’m still mostly in the materials-gathering phase, but I’m trying to knock out some of the smaller pieces of this costume so that it’s not too overwhelming come summer. After months of searching, I finally found a faux fox fur for Lulu and made the stole last week. It’s lined with poly purple haubuti I snagged from Golden D’Or at their last sale. Since I couldn’t pack my sewing machine for my trip to Portland, I brought my jewelry supplies and started working on her necklaces and earrings. Next up is the moogle and raiding ALL the local thrift stores for belts!

What projects are on your craft table?

WIP: February 2015

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!

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My half-finished wig. Not pictured: the odango-style bun that will replace that poof in the back.

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.

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ALL THE CORSET LAYERS! I wanted this corset to resemble a bodice more than a corset, so I opted for the floating layers approach described in Sidney Eileen’s blog. My fashion layer is made of satin and brocade, the strength layer is duck cloth, and the lining is a fun Disney princess cotton I found at Jo-Ann’s.

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.

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Floofy skirt is floofy. There’s about 20 yards of fabric in this skirt. The base skirt is a self-drafted 6-panel skirt made of satin, and another longer 6-panel skirt made of glitter tulle and organdy. The waistband is elastic, because who’s going to see that nonsense under the corset?

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!

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The modesty panel for the back of the corset. I opted to make it out of the same brocade as the front of the corset since it’s just so pretty. This panel will have loops that the lacing will go through to keep it in place.

What’s on your craft table right now?