Thursday, October 16, 2014

Marimekko Tablecloth

Hey guys! Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

For Thanksgiving this year we also took a trip up to our farm to have a bbq. Last bbq of the season, because it's gotten really cold all of a sudden. It's pretty much become a family tradition to do a bbq Thanksgiving weekend.

As a commission for my dad, I made a nice tablecloth for our round table at the farm. The fabric I used is a Marimekko print, with a black quilting cotton for the edges. This was a really easy sewing project, as it is a square of fabric that I put a wide border on.

Dad picked this large print from Marimekko. He wanted a blue-grey to match the giant spool we use as a table. 
First I cut a square out of my main fabric. The table itself is 4' in diameter, so I wanted to make sure it would overhang a bit, otherwise it would look a bit silly. I decided to just base my measurements off of the width of the fabric itself.
Next I cut the strips of fabric that would be the border pieces. These were all cut to measure 3" longer than the length of my square + 1/2" seam allowance on each end. The width of these strips was 7"--this would make a 3" border with 1/2" seam allowance when folded in half lengthwise.

I sewed my first strip onto the tablecloth, right sides together. Then I ironed the seam flat, pressing the seam allowance towards the outer edge.
The next one was sewn similarly to the first, the overlap now being sewn to the border instead of hanging. I repeated the process until all of the sides were attached.
I carefully marked 3" from the seam line, folded and pressed the border. I folded the seam allowance to the inside and pinned it in place, making sure that it still overlapped the seam line. I ironed the whole piece, then I ditch stitched the border.

Lastly I closed up the open edges with a neat slip stitch. Presto!

Overlapped corners are much easier than mitered corners. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sakura - Sailor Suit - CardCaptor Sakura

First let's take a look at my more casual Sakura outfit: her school uniform (spring/summer version). I've been cosplaying for over 10 years and this is my first school uniform/sailorsuit outfit I've ever made! Crazy huh? This cosplay was especially picked for Otakon because it packs into a suitcase really easily, I already had the wig, and it has very few layers which makes it great for insanely hot weather.

I got a couple cute pics with EleventhPhotograph at Otakon this summer! Many thanks! Also thanks to my sister Alex for lending me her adorable Kero plushie while she is away in Japan!

One thing I made sure of when I bought my fabrics for this costume was that none of my fabrics were shiny. I've seen many school uniform costumes done with shiny fabrics and I always think it looks cheap... Lets be honest, I've never seen a real school uniform that is shiny/satiny. It's also not coloured to look shiny in the show either.
To start I patterned a basic block for the shirt, ignoring the usual front and back darts in favour of only having a small dart come in from the armhole at the bust. I curved in the sides a bit at the waist, but did not make the shirt tight fitting. This was to ensure that a) I could slip it on over my head even though it is not made of stretch fabrics, and b) so I looked younger. Sakura is supposed to be a between grades 4-6, meaning she is a child, so I wanted to make sure that I didn't look too old for the character. In spite of the fact that I am not particularly well-endowed, a fitted blouse would still reveal curves that a child would not have, so hence a more loose fitting shirt was in order.

I patterned the neckline and sailor collar by creating a mockup of the shirt and then draping the collar on Molly (my Judy) with muslin. This way I was able to easily figure out the proportions.

Once that was done I laid out my fabric and cut out my pieces.

The collar was first sewn right sides together, excess fabric clipped and then flipped right way out and ironed.

I then top-stitched on 1/4" black twill tape to make the edge detail. I made sure my bobbin thread was white (as opposed to black to match my top thread) so my stitching would be virtually unnoticeable from the other side.

Then I sketched out the crest for the back detail.
Next step was the appliqué and embroidery of the crest on the back. Using yellow fabric leftover from Kero, I blocked out the areas for the 'wing' part of the crest. This saved me from having to fill that area with an embroidery stitch. Instead I merely sewed around the edges. Next I did the red shield-shaped piece in the center.
After finishing all the seams inside the shirt,  I made some puffy sleeves. I made sure they weren't too puffy, so they were only slightly larger than the armhole. I used a basting stitch along the sleeve cap and bottom and cinched them to the right diameters before sewing them to the armhole and cuffs respectively. The cuffs are just rectangles sewn into a loop and folded in half lengthwise that I have sewn another stripe of black twill tape on.

I hemmed the bottom of the shirt with a simple rollover, but went back and changed the side seams to have a 2" slit up each side.

Then I attached the collar to the outside ans zigzagged the raw edge. I flipped it to the inside, pressed it, then top stitched it down. I took extra care to reinforce the point of the v-neckline.
The last step for the shirt was to create a little triangle  to sit under the v-shaped neckline. It was secured with dome fasteners so it could be removed so I could take the shirt on and off. 

Now lets talk about the skirt. Creating a pleated garment is all about math, unfortunately. The garment has 10 pleats. In order to make it fit snugly at both waistband an over hips I had to take 2 measurements, one at waist, and on 4" down from waist. Then I divided those numbers into 10 equal parts and carefully drew out a pattern piece. Left you can see one of my side panels. The thin trapezoids are the parts that would be visible, the wide ones would be hidden in the folds. 

The hardest part of patterning this was making it so the side seams would be inside a pleat and therefore virtually invisible. 

The size of the skirt at the bottom was arbitrarily decided, but I knew I wanted it to be pretty full, because it's CardCaptor Sakura guys.
Each of my three skirt pieces I sewed the center pleats into before sewing the pieces together. I sewed the center back together and added in the zipper before finishing the pleats directly beside it.
I ironed the pleats centered, rather than off to one side (because that's how it looks in all the reference photos). I didn't press the pleats all the way to the hem either, because I wanted them to still have that soft, rounded look. For your own reference look at my Long Pleated Skirt to see what pleats look like when pressed to one side, all the way to the hem. Very different, right?

Once the pleating and waistband were finished I hemmed the skirt.
The saddest part is I couldn't figure out how to work pockets into the skirt, so this costume has no pockets. Oh well.

Above you can also see my mockup for the hat. Surprisingly this is the item I was most excited to make. I've always loved the hats that Clamp designs, particularly these adorable sailor hats. I love that they magically perch on the back of the head.

When making hat, always take the band measurement while wearing the wig you will be wearing under it, otherwise you run the risk of making it too small!

Below you can see the pattern pieces for this--the pieces on the right are both folded in half.

First I assembled the band, with is a long rectangle, sewn into a loop and then folded in half lengthwise. For the cap first I sewed the c-shaped piece into a circle, then sewed it right sides together with the top of the cap.
I finished the inner seams, then pressed it right way out. Next I attached the band, leaving a gap at center back to attach the black tails. The tails were sewn right sides together, clipped, flipped and pressed. These were then inserted into the gap at the back, splayed at a slight angle, and stitched in place. I then finished the inner seams of the hat.
Last piece to make was the under skirt. Above you can see the pattern, which is completely different from the pleated over skirt which is made of rectangles. This is because a) pleating is time consuming, b) all you see is the edge and c) I didn't want all that bulk under the already considerable bulk of those pleats.

Using the 2 measurements I took earlier to create my pleats, I made the top piece of the underskirt. Then I made a circle skirt piece to attach to that (of which I cut 3, making the bottom 1.5 circles). This ensured that all the flare of the underskirt would be below the stitch line of the pleats, reducing bulk.

I attached a lace trim to the bottom edge as an extra cute detail.
At the center back at the waist of the underskirt, it was finished to remain open. The underskirt was attached to the overskirt by buttons (holes on the underskirt, buttons on the inside of the overskirt). This way it was removable and could be washed separately.

Lastly I made a tie. I mocked it up with leftover muslin scraps, and then made a nice one out of red twill.

Each of the individual pieces were stitched right sides together then flipped right way out and pressed. I top stitched more black twill tape along the bottom of the tie edge. before hand stitching the pieces together. The last thing I did was make a velcro closure at the back.  Because I have no idea how to tie a real sailor tie.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

October Update

edit: Technical issues with photobucket have been fixed!

Greetings folks! It's October, which means I am so swamped with school right now. Regretting how little time I have to work on my own projects, but having a blast working on so many shows at school. The 2 shows I have been working on for the past month have just opened this past week, so I will be getting a short reprieve before diving back into the fray.

Fortunately, this past month I finally finished repainting my Clow Wand, so we have many posts on both Sakura costumes coming up in the near future. Believe me when I say getting this done was a struggle, as I have had so little time at home coinciding with any form of decent weather for spray painting... It's been unseasonably terrible out. Now I just need to find a window of decent weather to do a photoshoot... Toph is coming along too, with any luck I will be photoshoot ready by reading week...

Still haven't decided what I should wear for Halloween, it always depends on the weather. But perhaps I can take out one of my costumes that glows to hand out candy. (Thinking either Crow Soldier or Nickel...) Provided it isn't raining. Because getting electrocuted would kind of ruin my evening.
Finished my first set design model for one of my classes. Yes, it is a marionette hand busting through a wall. Not for a specific play, but designed instead to represent an abstract notion. The word I chose was Power, but I think it also works for Danger. I will probably do a full post on my set designs at the end of term when I finish my second model.

Still haven't fixed the image rotation issues on the old posts... I'll get around to it. Eventually.

Buckling down for a busy term!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mushroom Print Messenger Bag

This was a fun project creating a new messenger bag for myself. I wanted to incorporate this small piece of mushroom print fabric my sister picked up for me on her trip to Japan last winter.

The accent fabrics I used are all leftover from my Forest Guardian costume.

I measured out the dimensions I wanted and cut out the pattern pieces from the fabrics I wanted.

I used a non-fusible heavy interfacing fabric. I cut a long rectangle that would be the front, back and bottom sides of the bag. It had an extra rectangle sewn to it to just add extra thickness to the bottom side.
I wanted to ensure that the front pockets had a bit more room in them than a flat pocket. So I made them 1" wider than the finished pocket and sewed a dart into the bottom 2 corners at a 45 degree angle.

I designed and embroidered on the little figures by hand. The faces are all buttons.
These fun buttons my sister picked up for me quite a while back, but I hadn't found a project I wanted to incorporate them into. I decided to create some cute little people to put into the mushroom forest scene.

She bought them online, but the online seller no longer makes them.
These were all embroidered on in matching accent colours. This one is Charlie Chaplin! XD

I rolled over and stitched the upper and lower edges of the inner pocket, then stitched that to the inner bag lining. I also basted the interfacing piece to the out bag piece. It is a bit shorter than the outer and inner bag pieces so it didn't have the extra bulk in the roll over finish at the bag opening later.

I basted the inner pieces and interfacing to the bag side pieces as well.  I finished the top edge of the pockets with a rollover hem, then I zig-zagged the edges. Then I folded under the edges and top stitched the pockets onto the outside piece.

Then I basted the inner bag lining to the outer bag lining.

Once I had finished embroidering the flap, I sewed it right sides together with it's backing, then turned it right way out and pressed it flat.
I sewed the bag pieces together--the sides to the main piece. Then I finished the raw edges with a bias tape.
I ironed the side seams, and then I finished the top of the bag with a rollover hem.

I sewed the flap piece to the back.

Then I top-stitched the strap on and added a zipper closure to the opening.

Presto! One unique messenger bag!