Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crow Soldier - Cape & Cowl

Hey all! This is the sewing post for the Crow Soldier! (And the final in-depth look at this costume) I don't take all the credit for this particular piece, as my mum was called in to assist me after I fell behind and encountered many problems with the beak. : / Not to say that I couldn't have done it at all, simply that I couldn't have done it while doing the extra work I had to do to fix the beak. It just wouldn't have been done in time.

This was by far the easiest, if a bit confusing item to make. I had no pattern and had to call in the mothership to remember to how do mathematics. If you can understand this diagram, congratulations! I had to before I was permitted to cut anything. XD

Basically the pattern calls for 6 of the same piece, cut out of black fabric and sewn together to form a poncho. (And then 6 more to make the lining) The idea here is that each side of the poncho is 270 degrees of a circle. That way, when I raise my arms, the poncho will not lift up in the middle.

 We drew out our main pattern piece on craft paper and cut it out. We made sure it was extra long, so I would have no problems after I cut it out. That bit at the top was originally intended to form the cowl neck as part of the poncho, but it didn't work out. Neither of us having made ponchos before, we were flying blind on this one...

 I sewed all 6 pieces of the top layer together and then did the exact same for the lining.

As you can see, it doesn't really look like anything other than a lump of fabric... 

I pinned the two ponchos together with right side facing each other and sewed the entire bottom together. This seam was merely to get the two pieces of fabric to behave so I could work with it in the next steps without having the fabric wrinkle (It would be cut off with the excess fabric later). It also ensured that all 6 seams of the lining would line up with the outer layer, which is important. Time consuming, but totally worth the pain.

I laid out the poncho (because that is essentially what it is--even if that doesn't sound at all sinister) on my table and was displeased to find that it was too big to lay out flat. So I had to extend the table with cardboard. 

 I cut out 5 basic feather shapes for the bottom that could be arranged to create different patterns for the bottom of the cloak. Much easier to trace these than to draw at random.

After pinning where I wanted the length to be while wearing it, I made sure it was an equal length all the way around (except for the back, which was longer to create a 'tail' of sorts) so it would resemble a circle. I marked how far down my arms I wanted the fabric to be for the sleeves also. The sleeves are built into the cloak by simply pinching the fabric together under the wrists, and modifying the shape of the edge to swoop up and into a rectangle.
Using my templates. Easy as pie. >:D 

After I drew out the entire outline, I set upon the lengthy task of sewing along my guidelines. I could draw on the fabric here, because when I turn it inside out, the pencil marks will be on the inside. :D And yes, I did make some errors despite saying it was easy.

Once that was done, I clipped off the excess fabric along the edges. And then tried it on. Pretty good right? Yeah, I know you can't see it, imagine how I felt working in such poor lighting!

The tights and shoes were picked up downtown. I figured since all the characters are ballet dancers, and are drawn to have ballet slippers, I should wear real ballet slippers as opposed to cheap black flats. I figured they would be more comfortable and flexible to wear. (And also I couldn't find cheap plain black flats anywhere!)

At this point, I had to call in the mothership to help me. Not that I couldn't do this task, but the beak was having the foam coat problem at this point and required my attention. I had my mum do the stress clipping at the corners so it would turn inside out nicely. Not hard just time consuming and tedious, but I still thank her imensely for her help. 

And look how nice it looks. <3 Thanks mum! :D 

Oh hey, where the heck did that cowl come from? Yeah, I didn't help at all with that part. Stupid foam coat... But I will tell you what she did:

Basically, we looked up pictures of cowl necks online (Look for the monks from 'The Name of the Rose', and you will get an idea) Basically we determined that a cowl neck was a large tube of fabric that would just slump down around your neck and form these great looking rumples. :D So mum made a tube that was rounded on both sides of the bottom so it would scoop down in the front and back, and then lined it. Super!
While she did that, I worked on adding the cuffs to the sleeves and then sewing on the dome fasteners that would hold it together.

Mum finished the neck on the poncho and then I sewed on the dome fasteners to hold the cowl in place. It wasn't my plan to make the cowl a separate piece, but I think it turned out a lot better than I had originally thought.

It's also very comfortable. :D I love this costume, and you will be seeing me wear it again at other cons. I want to go back and fix a few things, and I'd really like to make the sword that goes with this costume, but that might not be until next year, after I've had more experience with power tools at school.

I entered this costume in the Masquerade, but the competition was tough and I didn't win! More on that in later posts!

1 comment:

  1. I am now a ship? Ha ha! The costume turned out great!