Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sakura - Wings - CardCaptor Sakura

Part 2 of my Sakura (1st Opening outfit) posts: lets talk about wings! If you want to see how I made the outfit, go here!

Once again thanks to EleventhPhotograph for the photoshoot. I really love the above shot! It reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

This was an exercise in perfecting the foam wing style I had used for the Kero and Suppi gijinka costumes. Since I already knew what I was doing, this time around involved a lot less trial and error.

I like making foam wings this way because they are sturdy, and they aren't likely to get too damaged in crowded convention spaces. They are also fairly light and not horribly uncomfortable. I like the cartoon-y style of them as well. 

I traced out 4 wing shapes on the foam--2 for each wing. I cut these out with a pair of scissors.

Pairing them up I cut off the corners so they would be more rounded along the edges. This will help them fit into the cases better.

Using the same pattern as the wings I cut out my four pieces of white fabric. I made these about 1/4" bigger all around (+ seam allowance) to account for the depth of the foam.

I sewed the wing cases right sides together, trimmed the excess seam allowance and then flipped them right way out. I left a large gap along the base that extended up along the top edge--this is so I could get the foam wing inside the casing. Because of the friction, the foam really doesn't like to go into the case easily, so it takes a lot of patience and just a touch of brute force.

Using a heavy gauge wire, I created a wire base for each. You can see each wing has a wire base that is made of one continuous piece. The two "antennas" support the wing, the u-shape at the bottom is where the wing is attached to the base. Note how I bent the cut ends of the wire into little loops--this is so it wouldn't stab through the foam or fabric.

After taking some measurements and figuring out the spacing I began to pattern the harness. This was a bit tricky, because it had to fit under the pink dress, but sit high enough on the back so that the wings would sit above the dress' neckline. It also had to be tight fitting so that the wings wouldn't be droopy (a problem I encountered with Kero).

I cut a base plate out of styrene plastic. It was simply a rectangle with rounded corners--again so it wouldn't stab through the fabric cover later. The wires were attached to the base plate with copious amounts of hot glue. The nice thing about styrene is that hot glue bonds really well to it.

On the fabric covering I carefully measured and marked where the holes needed to be for the wires. Before sewing anything together I used the buttonhole function on my sewing machine to create small openings with finished edges for the wires to stick through. Then I sewed the styrene base plate into the fabric covering.

Once the back plate was finished I added a waistband and shoulder straps. I fit it on her so the shoulder straps would be tight, and allow the back plate to sit at the proper height. The straps were made to be a fixed length. The closure was a set of bra hooks on the front of the waistband, so it is easy to remove the wings for important daily tasks--like sitting.

We tested the wings with the dress. You can see here they are really droopy. Once I was satisfied with the fit I used hot glue to attach the foam wings to the wires on the inside.

Once the wings were actually attached to the base I could adjust the height that the wings sat by bending the wire at the base. Because the wings have weight that is sticking out from the body, even though they are really light science & gravity mean that they will be heavier the further distance the weight is from the base. As such, when you put them on, gravity causes them to pull and tilt the base plate slightly, which makes them look droopy and sad. You can see in the picture on the right how the base plate is pulling away from the back ever so slightly, but it is more than enough to make the wings droop.

While this problem is partially solved by making a tight fitting harness (minimizing the amount the base plate will tilt), to counteract this you simply have to overcompensate and position the wings pointing extra up to counteract the downward pull of gravity. This is so that when they fall to the position they want to sit at, it will be the position you want. Note the difference between the pictures above and below--in the second picture I have glued them internally and positioned the wings to point extra up. Now they don't look so sad.
The reason why I love making wings like this is because they are adjustable. You can bend the wires to suit your needs--whether that means you want to make the wings more open or closed, up or down.

My friend Alli (who helped me on my Asuna costume the previous year) helped to finish them off by neatly hand stitching the casings closed.

And then they were done! >:D

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