Commission Notes: Saitama (One Punch Man)

Completed: August 2018

Hours Spent: 30-ish

Purchased Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

Ahhhh, this was such a fun build! My friend Ash (and one of my favorite photographers) is really into One Punch Man, and a few months ago she asked if any of her cosplay friends could help turn her dad into Saitama. I jumped at the opportunity, especially after I decided to watch the show (much to Koholint‘s delight).

I started with the base bodysuit for this build. It’s fairly straightforward, but because of that, I wanted to make sure all the details were correct and clean. I’ve used Kwik Sew 3029 several times at this point, so I was able to quickly note changes and modifications to the pattern (big shout-out to Victoria Bane for cutting these pieces for me!). The top just required adding a white collar portion and zipper. I chose to do the white portion as inset corners and also sewed in an exposed zipper. The rest was a very quick process. I zig-zag stitched the suit together, hit the seam allowance with my serger (overkill, but I like the final look), and added elastic to the ankles to give the pants more of a “puff” look.

The next piece was the cape. Again, big shout-out to Victoria Bane for cutting this for me! My go-to for any big cape is The Dangerous Ladies’ tutorial (linked above). After letting the pieces hang for a few days (let that bias settle, yo), I cleaned up the cape and stitched the fashion and lining layers together.

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First run at the cape. At least I can still use it for Nana Shimura!

What I failed to realize was that my client’s measurements exceeded the length available on 60″ wide fabric. Thankfully, this wasn’t a lost cause. The shape of this cape will work very well for one of my upcoming cosplays, Nana Shimura from My Hero Academia. I held onto the cape for myself since it was already complete, and ordered 120″ fabric from Online Fabric Store for a new one. I again followed the same process, but this time at the proper length. After the new cape was sewn up, I hand sewed snaps to attach to the base leotard and sewed on the giant grey buttons (made from scraps of my Arsene vest!).

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The boots were fairly straightforward. I ordered a base pair from Funtasma in my client’s size, stripped the varnish, and painted them with about 10 layers of Scarlet and Fire red from Anglus. Once they were fully painted, I hit them with Angelus finisher.

The gloves were a little more challenging. I had this bright idea to get some Captain America gloves and paint them to match the boots. However, the gloves were… garbage quality. They didn’t take the paint at all and basically fell apart the second I looked at them. Instead, I made a pair of glove toppers using vinyl that matched the boots. I also realized that the dye I used for Makoto’s gloves was a good match for the boots and vinyl, so I set out to dye a pair of men’s gloves from We Love Colors. It took about 6 washes to get them fully dye free.

To create the belt, I found a Saitama cosplay belt on Amazon. The buckle was fairly accurate, but the belt itself was okay at best. I purchased the belt, stripped off the buckle, and made a new belt out of black vinyl I had on hand.

Thoughts on this build: 

This was such a fun build! I love how absurd this show is, and I’m glad I got the chance to make something from it. I can’t wait to see Ash’s dad as Saitama!

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Commission Notes: Super Sailor Moon

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Completed: February 2017

Hours Spent: About 40 hours

How I made it: I know, I know. ANOTHER FUKU. I keep promising myself/y’all that I’m going to cool it with these, but apparently they’re becoming one of my staples.

For a long time I told myself I wouldn’t take Super Moon commissions since I definitely prefer the gradient dyeing we did for Cosmic Coterie and lack an airbrush. However, my client was fine with the stripe approach from the 90s anime and I did a few other experiments with this build, which I’ll focus on today.

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Prior to tapering the hip rolls.

Let’s start with that pesky double hip roll again. I’ve made a couple of double hip rolls with upholstery piping, but I honestly am not in love with it. So I went back to upholstery foam and even further back to my Jupiter 1.0 days when I used Zan‘s pattern. I used her hip roll pattern piece for the front, and then tapered it down to almost 1/4 the original size. This gave me a chance to really control the depth of the taper and make it even (this is something that drove me crazy with our original group build). I know that Moon has a brooch that covers up the point of the V, but having messy work drives me batty, so I’m glad I was able to clean this up! The gold hip roll is 3/8″ smaller all around than the white one.

Both of the hip rolls are sewn into the seam. I basted the gold one about a half inch above my normal stitching line on the bodice to accommodate the clunkiness of both rolls. Once both hip rolls were in place, I then hand stitched the entire hip roll with a back stitch for durability, using my basting lines as a guide.

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Pro-tip: Don’t use ribbon or straight grain fabric for the stripes if you’re using the circle skirt approach. It won’t curve around the skirt properly and will lead to bubbles and wrinkles (like this when I hadn’t pressed my seams).

The skirt was a… special challenge. I wracked my head for weeks with this. My initial inclination was to level the skirt then cut off the portions I needed and use them as a template, but that would have required INSANE precision. Eventually I realized I was making it way too complicated and cut super long strips of fabric on the bias. I had originally ruled out continuous bias tape (so apparently this approach has a shit ton of names, because I was chatting with the girls and we realized that we were all talking about different techniques lol) because I didn’t want lots of seam lines showing, but I made sure that my seams were tucked into the folds of the pleats for the most part.

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To create the sleeve petals, I cut a strip of Worbla (1″ wide X 10″ long), layered it on another strip, and heat formed it over my dress form. Once it cooled, I glued each layer of the Mylar/Organza petals one at a time with e6000. I let each layer get to the point that it was dry to touch before I added on a new layer. Once all 3 layers were attached and mostly dry, I glued a strip of Velcro on top and fleece on the bottom to make it slightly more comfortable. There’s a matching piece of Velcro on the lining of the chest armor to keep it in place. Credit for this idea goes to MASK Props. I love how he did the sleeves for PockyPants‘s Chibi Moon

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The last major change I made on this fuku was on the butt bow. I used my trusty Pellon 808 interfacing instead of vinyl and like it a lot better. I hate that the bow isn’t transparent, but it holds its shape much better with interfacing versus vinyl.

That about covers this fuku! You can find more details on my other fukus here, and tutorials on how to make a Cosmic Coterie style fuku here.

What’s your favorite version of Sailor Moon? 

10 Essential Tips for First Time Commissioners

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Peggy Carter commission for Lady Amaraldi.

1. Be brutally honest with yourself:

Before starting commissions, you absolutely need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I willing to do? Are you good with wigs? What about foam? Or resin? Or leather? The idea here is to ask yourself what type of work you excel at and emphasize it. For example, I can do some wig styling, but I don’t consider myself an expert on it, so I don’t offer it in my commission services.
  • Is my work good enough for commissions? I ask myself this ALL THE TIME. The reality is that there’s a certain expectation of quality with commission work, and if you can’t meet that quality, then you don’t need to sell. My commissions are the same if not higher quality work than my personal costumes, because each piece is a representation of me and my brand.
  • Are you good at customer service? Being able to communicate with people is one of the most essential tasks of commissions. Many potential commissionees approach the commission process thinking they can get costumes cheaper than eBay or Amazon, or that different tasks are simple when in reality they’re quite time consuming. Being able to clearly and calmly discuss these issues with potential clients is an absolute necessity.
  • Do I have the time? This is one of my big personal hold-ups with commissions. Working full-time puts a big damper in the number of commissions I’m able to take on at any given time, and it also impacts which costumes I can make for myself. If I have a deadline for a commission coming up around the same time as a con, then I’ll likely have to re-wear a costume, because client work comes first.

2. Pay yourself FAIRLY

Again, this is something I struggle with, but I’ve gotten better at over the years. Due to the rise in fast fashion, many people misinterpret the skill involved in sewing (and any form of custom work, honestly). The reality is that creating a custom piece will ALWAYS cost more than something you can find in an online costume shop.

Much like car or home repair, labor is often one of the largest expenses involved. I used to barely pay myself minimum wage when I first started, and I was miserable. I felt like I sacrificed all my time to creating things for other people, and when all was said and done, I’d barely made enough profit to make it worth my while. Pay yourself an amount that’s commiserate with your experience and skills to prevent this issue. I pay myself $12-15/hour these days, much to the dismay of my friends and SO. I feel like this is a fair price FOR ME since commissions are my extra play money and allow me to get crazy with my personal builds. Keep in mind: this is a low-ball charge compared to some folks who do commissions as their main source of income, so don’t be surprised if you see higher charges as you do research.

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This leotard was one of my first commissions, and a big learning curve in how to handle pricing! Cosplayer is Jade Cosplay. Photo by Tobious Cosplayious

To come up with a quote, I use the following formula: Cost of materials + Labor (Est. Hours x $12-15) = Final Quote charge (normally rounded down in favor of the client). When I get a quote request, my pricing process looks something like this:

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3. Talk to your clients

This is often one of the biggest frustrations I see with potential commissionees. They get everything set up and send off their money, only to never hear back from the commissioner or have minimal contact. Their deadlines roll around, and they’re in a panic, wondering if their costume will arrive in time. I’ve been in this situation before, and it SUCKS.

A quick message or post to let clients know what’s happening is so, so, so useful. Be honest and open about time frames and when you expect to work and ship so that clients have an idea of when to expect their items. For example, if someone’s at the bottom of my commission queue, I’ll let them know that I won’t be in touch/won’t have progress to show for at least so many weeks, or I’ll let clients know that if I have to order materials online, that they shouldn’t expect to get updates until at least a week or two after said materials have arrived.

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Saturn commission that I recently finished. I send clients updates anytime there’s visible progress to keep them up to date on progress. Normally this translates to updates every 1-2 weeks once a project has started.

4. …but don’t let them walk all over you

On the opposite end of the spectrum, clients messaging every single day is only a situation that should occur if the commissioner fails to deliver or ghosts. If a client harasses you for photos/progress, reiterate that you need time to work.

Likewise, stand your ground on your policies and pricing. People will always ask to bend things here or there. Every case is different, but at the end of the day, you have to stand up for yourself in order to make commissions an enjoyable (and profitable) experience.

5. Remember: Your name is attached to EVERYTHING YOU SAY/DO

Social media is both a blessing and a curse for commissions. If you do it well, it’s an easy way to market yourself and gain clients and followers. But at the same time, you have to be conscientious of your online presence. Insulting another cosplayer’s work, shaming (of any kind), or bullying are obviously huge no-nos (and key indicators that you’re a crap human being, let’s be honest). But there’s more to it than avoiding the obvious. You have to evaluate what your brand represents and how much information you’re willing to share. For example, I’m not comfortable sharing much of my personal life online, partially because I feel odd letting the whole world know what’s going on in my day-today, but also I don’t want to impact mine or my fiance’s day job (or future job hunting).

Think about what works for you and for the brand you’re trying to create. Individuals have a bit more flexibility than companies, but branding still requires conscientious curation.

6. Promote yourself

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Shadowcat Cosplay for Taffeta Darling of Fangirls of Dallas.

Again, this is another task I’ve struggled with in the past, but it’s a necessity to generate business. A lot of my promotion work happens at cons. I often wear nerd-inspired outfits on Fridays or Sundays (a.k.a. lazy con days), so any time someone comments on one of my outfits, I try to plug my name and distribute a business card. Most of my friends and family will do the same thing!

In addition to in-person marketing, online marketing is a must! There are lots of Facebook groups that put clients and commissionees in touch with one another in addition to standard social media marketing practices.

Here are a few groups to keep an eye out for:

7. Keep track of EVERYTHING

One of the most challenging components of commission work for me isn’t the creation of costumes. It’s the juggling work of keeping track of commission inquiries, where they’re coming from, and staying up to date with all the orders you need to make (not to mention deadlines). I get commission inquiries through all my social media platforms, as well as through e-mail and in-person chats. To keep myself organized, I keep track of all this information through Google Sheets and Trello.

Likewise, HOLD ON TO YOUR RECEIPTS, both digital and physical. Anytime I purchase anything related to my commissions or business, I put it in a bin just for tax related purposes. I also keep track of money via PayPal and Etsy’s shop setup. I definitely prefer spreadsheets as a way to keep track of money, so I make sure to go through all my receipts as meticulously as possible so that my headache isn’t so severe when tax season rolls around.

My workflow looks something like this:

  • Client reaches out to me for quote, and I make a note of the client, along with where they asked and other relevant information in a Google Sheet.
  • Once the client has agreed to terms, payment, and details, I send them a commission agreement form with fields for measurements and shipping information.
  • After the client has sent me their down payment, I begin ordering materials and starting on their piece.

I use Trello to organize out individual tasks for each commission, since it’s easy to drag and drop checklist items when they’re completed.

8. Even if you’re not organized, GET ORGANIZED

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Sailor Chibi Chibi for Charming Darling. I completely misplaced the original gloves I bought for this commission, so I had to replace them. Derp.

This ties back in with point number 7. Again, I’m awful at this, but commissions have forced me to get better. There’s nothing worse than needing to work on a commission, only to realize that you’ve misplaced supplies. It’s an obnoxious hold-up and can cut into your profits.

I’m in the process of setting up a new storage unit in my craft room that doubles as a quick pressing station. It is only for commissions and business related purposes, so I won’t have to rummage through my other bins and storage units to find what I need. Knowing where everything is supposed to go will save you time and stress!

9. Have fail safes in place

Shit happens. Your sewing machine breaks. The fabric that’s perfect for a commission is out of stock. You (or a loved one) have serious health issues. Having back-ups will help you keep your sanity as you work on projects when shit hits the fan. I build extra time into my commission quotes for this reason so that clients are pleasantly surprised when their items get to them early, rather than infuriated when items are shipped to them months late.

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Negasonic Teenage Warhead bodysuit for Callula Cosplay (logos by her). Photo by Gear Owl Photography. Good grief this costume was an exercise in patience since EVERYTHING WENT WRONG. Thankfully, we got everything worked out and Dana looks awesome as Negasonic!

10. Take time for yourself

Burnout is a real thing with commissions. It’s easy to take commission after commission, and then realize you haven’t made something for yourself in six months. It’s okay to close up shop for a while and take time to work on things for you. In fact, you should do this every now and then to recharge your creative batteries. Your work will be better for it!

Have you commissioned costume pieces before? What was your experience like? 

Costume Notes: Negasonic Teenage Warhead

Today I’m featuring another recent(ish) commission I completed. This one was for Callula Cosplay!

The Basics: 

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3052

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Photo by 10th Muse / Gear Owl Photography

Fabric: Stretch pleather from Yaya Han’s new Cosplay Fabrics line (available at Jo-Ann’s), yellow moleskin from Spandex World, and stretch netting from Golden D’Or.

Notions: Invisible zipper, stretch elastic cording, fabric stabilizer

Make it again?: Already have! I made a second one for 10th Muse of Cosmic Coterie a little while back!

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Photo by Ash Snap ‘Em Photography

How I Made it: As with most of my spandex bodysuits, this one involved a mock-up out scrap fabric and using a Sharpie to draw in the seam lines. Once the seam lines were drawn in, we cut the pieces apart and used the mock-up as a new pattern.

Callula’s learning how to work with spandex, so we’ve been working off of a version of this pattern that’s altered to her measurements. Each time we make something we tweak the fit a little more. Eventually it’ll be perfect!

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Photo by 10th Muse / Gear Owl Photography

 

For the most part, this suit came together quite well. I did encounter some trickiness with the netting wanting to shift as I was stitching. In hindsight, I should have done more underlining with the yellow fabrics. I did that for 10th Muse’s Negasonic and it was much easier to handle.

There’s also a lot of inset corners with this suit, especially around the shoulders. Atelier Heidi’s tutorial is a great overview on how to get these points perfect. I also used topstitching to secure the edges.

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Photo by Cosplay Illustrated

For the piping, I cut 1″ wide strips of the yellow moleskin and filled them with elastic cording. I used my zipper foot to install them on one side of the fabric before stitching pieces together. Twinklebat has a great mini-tutorial on this process!

By far the trickiest part of this costume is the front belt-looking piece. I’ve seen cosplayers handle it a couple of different ways, but I opted to embed it into the fabric. This required quite a bit of finangling, as there’s lots of inset corners to work around, and it’s a highly visible part of the costume. For Callula’s, I had to go back and hand stitch most of this section down since I flubbed a few places.

Callula made the awesome patches for this costume!

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Photo by 10th Muse

Thoughts: All in all, this was a fun build that came together pretty quick. I can’t wait to knock out Angel Dust so we can beat each other up for photos and troll all the Deadpools!

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: 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?

Newbie Adventures in Embroidery

I mentioned a while back that I finally indulged in a sewing machine with embroidery capabilities. This was mostly for Lulu and her insane lace trim, but I thought it’d be fun to learn how to do other things like making patches and such. Almost six months later, I finally got around to turning on my machine for the first time!

To break in my machine, I did a couple test runs of a Superman logo for a 1970s hotpants Supergirl commission. I purchased the logo off of Etsy, and it was pretty simple to transfer to my machine. Once I unzipped the file, I dragged it to the desktop on my Mac. After plugging my laptop to my machine, it was pretty simple to drag it to the machine’s drive and transfer the file. The machine came pre-installed with a bobbin of white embroidery thread, so all I had to do was put my embroidery thread in for the needle and let it go to work!

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I did 2 initial test runs of this project on scrap fabric before moving on to the real thing. With my initial run, I mixed up the order of the thread, but it wound up working out anyway since I didn’t like the 2″ size.

For my second run, I went with a 3.5″ logo. This time, I got the colors in the correct order and was overall pretty pleased with how it turned out. No problems whatsoever!

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It was only when I got started with my commission that things started going awry. As soon as it started, the white bobbin thread was the only thing showing. Okay, no big deal. I threaded the bobbin incorrectly. Easy fix.

Then the bobbin not only ran out of thread, but it created a huge knot on the wrong side of the project. Okay, deep breaths. Snip away all the extra threads, re-thread the bobbin, and install everything correctly this time.

At this point, my stabilizer was perforated and wonky, but I was also concerned about re-hooping my fabric and hitting the wrong place. So I snapped the hoop back in place and hoped for the best. While the final product turned out fine, it’s not quite as awesome as my second test run.

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So here are my main take-aways from this first dive into machine embroidery:

  • While I wouldn’t call the embroidery interface intuitive, it’s pretty easy to use once you figure out where all the buttons are and what all the symbols mean. I had to stop in the middle of my final project, but once I figured out how to jump to different steps in the embroidery process, I was able to finish pretty quickly. Thanks, user manual!
  • Stabilizers are your friend! This fabric is a medium weight twill with a touch of stretch to it. I used a cut-away Sulky stabilizer that I had on hand for this project. I do need to pick up a can of basting spray ASAP though. I think that would have helped with my final logo.
  • When in trouble, double check threading. Most of my final issues were due to user error.

And here are a couple of resources I found super helpful:

  • BurleySew: Lots of video tutorials on working specifically with the Brother SE400.
  • Embroidery Library: Some great tips and tricks on embroidery, including information on which stabilizers to use with different types of fabric! They’ve also recently released several video tutorials.

Have you done any machine embroidery before? How did you like it?

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?

WIP: January 2015

I’m bringing back the WIP posts this year! I tapered off towards the end of last year since I didn’t have as many projects to share. This year, I’m also going to add my commissions to these posts, since I don’t want to clutter your feed with just skirts and capes and bodysuits. What’s funny about this post is I actually took 2 weeks off of sewing this month thanks to the flu. I didn’t realize I made so much! First up:

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This photo blew up my tumblr feed. Uh, okay then.

Captain Marvel: 90% complete

Gah, I’m so excited for this! I nearly finished Captain Marvel at the end of December for a charity event, then I wound up getting the flu and couldn’t go 😦 This has definitely been the most intense bodysuit I’ve made to date. The bodysuit alone took close to 20 hours with all the seam matching, flat piping, and satin stitching.

tumblr_ninpgp4mBv1sxq29yo1_500I have a couple of different “looks” planned for Carol depending on weather and what cons I attend. For a more casual look, I altered an old bomber jacket and bought a lacefront alternative wig that matches Carol’s current hairstyle during Epic Cosplay‘s Black Friday sale. I was hoping to style this wig into a faux hawk, but Epic wigs don’t hold intense styling very well.

For the cons I that I want to go all out, I have a helmet in the works and flame fists (made using BelleChere’s fabulous tutorial!). I just got a Lulu from Arda that I’ll style into her mohawk with the helmet.

tumblr_nioq93XmPv1sxq29yo1_500All that’s left on this costume is finishing the flames, picking up my hip ornament and helmet, styling the wig, and adding buttons to the gloves. If you follow my social media, you already know that my new puppy got into my craft room and destroyed my original gloves. That dog is lucky he’s cute. Fortunately, he’s okay and didn’t do much damage otherwise. I can’t wait to share the final results with you guys!

tumblr_nirghf8DYO1sxq29yo1_500Belle: 5% complete

My friend Calliopunk over at Gone Catawampus convinced me to tackle Belle’s yellow ballgown. After some thought, I decided to switch up my lineup and tackle her for All-Con in March. Fortunately, I have a bit of a break on commissions this month, so I’m clearing out my calendar and focusing on Belle for the next several weeks.

Taking this project on does mean that my coat project is going on hold, but that actually works out for the best since it’s been in the 60s-70s here for the past few weeks. My fabric will still be there in the fall!

I decided to go with the animated film version with some fabric tweaks to give it more visual interest. Keep an eye out on my Instagram for lots of updates!

Commissions

IMG_1473Captain Cold and Squirrel Girl bodysuits

These were made for the lovely Taffeta Darling. The grey one is for Squirrel Girl and is made using Kwik Sew 3052 and matte gunmetal moleskin.

The blue and white one is for Captain Cold. It’s made from turquoise milliskin (sadly, no moleskin in the right color) and white stretch vinyl. To make the side panels, I made a mock-up of Kwik Sew 3052 and marked out the sections while my client was wearing it. Then, I just transferred those markings to my paper pattern. I’m pretty pleased with this one, and it was great practice for an upcoming Stephanie Brown Batgirl commission!

10897002_915144441830239_2740613933801006070_nRobin Cape

This was a quickie day project. Basically, it’s a black and yellow cape for Chaks Productions made of broadcloth. It attaches to his suit with velcro. Yay capes! This photo is pilfered from his page.

bustle frontSteampunk Alice Bustle Skirt

Ah, the lovely Simplicity 1819. I definitely griped about this skirt a lot in my last post, but it wasn’t too bad of a project!

What’s on your craft table right now?

WIP Wednesday: November Edition

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I’m pretty excited for Thanksgiving this year, despite out-of-state travel plans happening last minute. I actually don’t have a lot to share this month since my con season is over for 2014, but here are the projects on my craft table right now:

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Stanley Tweedle: 90% complete

You might remember me mentioning this costume back in October. I’ve spent the last few weeks researching and working on this costume. Overall, it hasn’t been a difficult project, but I have picked up a few new skills. The flap pocket is fairly time consuming, but it is so, so pretty. I really want to incorporate this into my tailored jacket. As of this posting, all I need to do in order to finish this commission is finish the pillbox hat (I’m embroidering this sucker during our drive to visit family) and finish a small bit of detail work. Can’t wait to see the final costume on its new owner!

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Captain Cold and Squirrel Girl bodysuits: Research/Gathering Materials

One of my good cos-friends recently asked me to make some spandex bodysuits for her. I love working with spandex, so I was more than happy to oblige. As of right now, I’m gathering the materials for these projects and planning out patterns.

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Captain Marvel: Research/Gathering Materials

Are you guys and gals as psyched about Marvel Phase 3 as I am? I did some hardcore shrieking when I saw that Carol’s getting her own movie. I’m really feeling the Carol love right now, so I’m bumping up my plans to make Captain Marvel. I’ve got all my fabric and other supplies on order and will hopefully debut this costume either at Ikkicon in January (birthday con!) or Fan Days in February.

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Tailored Jacket: Gathering Materials and Muslin Making

I haven’t been able to make much progress on my tailored jacket this month with Princess Jupiter and Stanley Tweedle. However, I did finally decide to make my jacket using Butterick 5685 (pattern on the left). I thought about going with a basic peacoat pattern, but I already have one of those (even though it’s in purple and has way more belts than necessary). Hopefully I’ll have progress to share soon!

What are you working on right now?