Posts tagged Fabric
by, Laura Ulak
My nephew Dexter is a Jedi. Born this year on May the 4th, he kind of became one by default. (May the fourth be with you….)
Consequently, when it came time for Halloween, his moms decided he had to be DRESSED as a Jedi. And of course this meant he had to be as screen accurate as possible while still maintaining comfort because, after all, he is a baby. And I am the insane one with control issues, not him.
NOTE: The photos here are not the greatest. Mainly because I either A)shot them with my phone or B)shot them of a baby. Or both. Because babies tend to wiggle.
SO. I set out to find a lightsaber first, because the whole outfit is really about the lightsaber. I wanted one small enough to fit his body size, and also something he could chew on. I found one at Build-a-Bear workshop, where they had a plush lightsaber in red, which produced excellent sound effects when you pressed the end of it. More importantly, it could be chewed on. Not exactly screen accurate, but it works.
Then I went to Maggie’s excellent site and realized something – my Jedi Youngling had no hair. I rectified that by knitting him a hair cap using soft brown yarn mixed with fun fur and finishing it off with a tiny little rattail braid. You can find my Ravelry info on the hat here.
Then I went looking for photos of Jedi Younglings from the movies. I had originally thought of doing Obi Wan Kenobi’s (how awesome is it that Obi Wan is in spell check?) costume from Episode 1, but quickly realized that white/taupe/beige pants and babies do not really mix. So I found a photo of a bunch of Younglings in class, and focused on a young man in a dark brown undershirt and pants, a beige colored overshirt and the ever present dark colored cloak and boots that looked like it would be suitable for translating into baby size.
I went to Joann Fabrics to look for fabrics. I know from reading Maggie’s site that the original outershirt was an Indian Homespun called Khadi, and that the inner shirt looked rather knit-like, and that the pants were regular looking pants tucked into a modified version of East German Army boots. The cloak is also typically made of wool.
This is roughly when I made the decision to have the costume look as good as possible while using whatever was least expensive and soft for Dexter. Consequently I was able to shop completely in the remnant section for his outfit, with the exception of the leather items. I found a yard of a knit fleece that was smooth on the inside and knit on the outside for his cloak. I got a yard of soft mottled beige linen for the outershirt and tabards. Next I got a yard of brown silky poly for his innershirt and pants.
For the belt I decided to try to match it to Obi Wan’s belt from Episode 1 and 2 while not going crazy with the accuracy. I bought a half-yard of faux brown leather from Joann Fabrics that I was also able to use for his booties.
For the knee-high booties, I used McCall’s pattern 6342 and copied the western boot pattern. I modified it so it was straight across in front, but kept the dip in the back to make it easier to put on and take off. They were so easy to make that I might make him a bunch more in other fabrics.
The undershirt and pants were modifications of Simplicity 4434. The mere idea of sewing actual pants with pockets and a button fly for a baby seemed to be the height of insanity, so I made his pants pull on PJ pants with an elastic waist. I also made them extra long so he can wear them for a bit longer. I made the shirt a wrap shirt and sewed a ribbed grosgrain ribbon along the neckline to give the illusion of the pleated look on the innershirt worn by the kid in the movie. The whole thing is very comfortable and he doesn’t seem to mind wearing them.
The outershirt was made of the linen. I used the same pattern as the one for the undershirt, but widened the sleeves and made them a bit longer (we rolled them for now), and I bound the edges with the same fabric along the neckline. I made the tabards to be the width of his shoulders, and they do come together in a V in the back as in the photos I have seen. However, they are not “quite” long enough in front, as I ran out of linen.
For the belt I used the last few scraps of linen I had to make the “obi” type piece underneath. I sewed the sides down on a strip of the faux leather, and stitched it to the linen piece in the very center of the belt. This is mostly hidden by the buckle. I took a thinner strip of the faux leather and sewed it to a belt buckle I found at Joann Fabrics that was as close as I could find to Obi Wan’s. I stitched the leather loops on either side of it, and then top stitched them down on top of the leather and linen. Then I took the rivets I had left over from Katherine Parr’s costume from Project Tudor (back in 2009) and riveted through the little belt, the bigger belt and the obi, trying to put the rivets in the correct places as the movie belt, while scaling it down for an 18.5 inch tummy. (Excellent part about babies – they are mostly cylindrical, so not a lot of measurement changes.)
For the food capsules (which are apparently pen caps with buttons glued to the bottom!) I bought some pens that had caps the same width as the leather belt so the scale would be right. I didn’t have time to glue anything to the bottom of them, but they look fine. I chose them for their size and color in matching to the belt an the movie belt. They had holes in the top, so I ran a length of gold wire through each, twisted it shut, and then slid them onto the narrow belt on top of the larger belt. There are then rivets set behind them that hold them in place. They are on there tightly enough that they cannot be removed, but can move back and forth.
A Covertec clip for the lightsaber would have been ridiculously huge on a baby, and there wasn’t a lot more available, so I made a simple leather loop and attached it to the belt so the lightsaber would just slide inside and be easy to be removed. I also chose to go with pouches made of the faux leather, as I knew he might grab at them or sit/lie on them, so they needed to be soft. They are basic pouches with velcro closures to make it easy to get to Cheerios or a pacifier. The back closes with more velcro to adjust as he grows.
Dexter seemed to be okay with the amount of clothing put on him thus far.
For the cloak I used a pattern I found on Maggie’s site here. I drew the pattern freehand using his measurements. I didn’t have quite enough fabric to make the sleeves as long as I would like, but it looks ok. I did not do a seam down the back as I really needed to conserve the fabric. I serged the inside seams and made small hems on the front edges and bottom of the cloak. I rolled the edges of the sleeves (because of the lack of additional fabric there) and also rolled the hem on the front of the hood. I did put the pleat at the back of the neck in the cloak, and made the hood using a rectangle sewn along one seam. I put together the cloak late at night and mistakenly put the seam along the top of his head instead of the back of his head. Ah well. The proportions of the cloak worked well for Dexter’s size. Not having to line something, and having a fabric that didn’t shed was also nice.
I was really happy with how the entire outfit turned out. Dexter’s moms love it, and it is comfy and will be nice to wear on a 45 degree Halloween evening. Also, Dexter seems to like it. I need to make one for my other small nephew, Kou, but I think my almost 17 year old nephew Evan probably doesn’t want one at this point, lol.
I think there will be a lot more Star Wars costuming in my (and Dexter’s) future.
by Deborah Lundberg
Have you ever had a costume idea in your head but there were no patterns that matched it? This always happens to me. I don’t have time to create an entirely new pattern just to fit my next brilliant idea. So what I do is find a pattern that’s close and prison break it!
Yes, that’s right. I don’t follow the rules; I break them!
I’ve had a Steampunk inspired outfit in my head for two years now (yes…things tend to simmer for a while up there). I’ve collected trim and fabric for a year, looking for the perfect items for my vision. One of the things I wanted was an overskirt with lots of angles and ruffles. But nothing out there fit what was in my head until I found the Truly Victorian 1898 Flared Skirt pattern. It was perfect….well not perfect, it was too long, it didn’t have enough ruffles and not nearly enough angles. But it was a good start on my idea.
These are my basic steps to prison breaking a pattern:
Step one: Read the pattern directions! You need to know what the rules are before you can break them. What I wanted was a shorter skirt and most patterns have an area where you can lengthen/shorten. So I did that first. It wasn’t enough but it got me closer to where I wanted to be.
Step Two: Cut out a muslin pattern. Eventually, this will become your new pattern or it will end up in the garbage due to an error and a new one will be cut out. This is why I buy muslin by the bolt when it’s on sale. I can usually get it for $1 a yard. Put all markings of the pattern on this piece. Use a sharpie! It’s okay! We want it to be permanent!
Step Three: Draping. Pin all the pieces together as if you’ve sewn them. Then put them on your Dummy. (It’s nearly impossible to refit a pattern on yourself. I recommend a Duct Tape Dummy. Grab a friend, a lot of duct tape and directions off the Internet. This is an amazing tool! I’ve had mine for about 7 years now and it’s improved my fitting abilities.)
Step Four: Go crazy! Grab some chalk, pins, measuring tool, and scissors. What I like to do is see how the fabric is laying, then use the chalk to remark the length or make any other changes. Generally you will only need to mark up one side of the pattern. Which is good, because if you don’t like what you did, you can do it differently on the other side.
For my skirt, I marked the top half shorter, with a more severe angle, cut it, then attached the bottom piece of the skirt. Then I re-drew the hem in an opposite angle as the mid seam. Then when I liked the result, I cut that off the extra fabric. It’s important to do more then just draw on the patterns. By cutting the fabric, you will see how it falls. Which is an important for the end result. If it lays funny, redo it.
Keep re-doing it until you like the final product.
Step five: Mark your patterns with a sharpie. Make sure to mark your pattern with any changes you created, and add lines (similar to what they do with triangles on patterns) so you can match up the pieces once you take it apart. Mark each piece with a signature name and what each piece is; so in the future you know what the pattern is for and how to remake it.
Now you have a new pattern, that no one else has!
I finished my overskirt by adding a ruffle in the mid seam so that angle is more pronounced and an off to the side trim going horizontally down the front. Which will eventually have buttons added. Now all I need to do is prison break the under skirt and jacket.
Go out there and have fun breaking the rules!
by, Erin Schneider
Back in May, your out-going MNSoC President (Laura Ulak) and your incoming MNSoC President (Me) attended the International Costumer’s Guild (ICG) Costume Convention in Tempe, Arizona.
What the heck is Costume Con, and why does it matter to you? Well, for starters, the ICG is the guild of which MNSoC is a chapter. And Costume Con is the ICG’s yearly bash, put on by a different chapter each year. (Yes, this means we, the members of MNSoC, could host Costume Con some year. Preferably AFTER I’m done being President…) In other words, it’s an event dedicated to you and your fellow costuming peeps.
What will you find at a typical Costume Con? Well, no Con is typical. But what I’ve found at the last two Cons I’ve attended (Milwaukee in 2010, Tempe in 2012) are as follows:
1. An awesome vendor’s room, where you can shop for costuming goodness – like patterns and hats and fabric and trims and so forth.
2. Classes, demonstrations, and panel discussions about your favorite costuming topics. This year, Laura and I attended a discussion on how to grow your guild. Since MNSoC is the LARGEST CHAPTER OF THE GUILD, WOOT! we thought we should attend.
3. Not one, but TWO Masquarades – one for Sci Fi/Fantasty, one for Historical. Laura and I, plus fellow MNSoC’er Laura Vetter, plus a bunch of out-of-state costuming buddies, entered the Sci Fi/Fantasy Masq. We won Judges’ Choice:
But the very best part of attending Costume Con is meeting likeminded, friendly costumers and seeing ALL THE PRETTY. Behold the costuming GLORY:
So the next time you ask yourself, “Self? Is it worth my while to attend Costume Con?” the answer should be a resounding YES. The people are fantastic, and you get to plan at least 5 wardrobe changes. WEAR ALL THE COSTUMES! Plus, you get a sense of the larger costuming community you belong to as a member of the ICG.
Wanna go to Con next year in Denver? Here are the deets! http://cc31denver.com/
by Erin Schneider
Fabric. Cutting fabric. Just to be clear.
Some folks like planning out costumes. Others like buy the materials. I know people who groove on beading, adding trims, hand-sewing, and even just sewing Flap A to Slot B with a sewing machine. But rarely do I encounter anyone who enjoys cutting out a costume from the raw materials.
I guess that makes me strange (well, that, and a slew of other reasons), because my favorite part of sewing is pinning down a pattern and cutting it out. In fact, I like doing it so much, and have gotten so proficient at it, I can barter my mad cutting skillz for other sewing services. Like, you know, sewing. Which, oddly enough, I don’t enjoy as much.
If you’d like to improve your own mad cutting skillz, here are a few helpful tips and tricks:
A. If you are using a commercial pattern, cut out the pieces you need first, before pinning them to your fabric – especially if you’re trying to line up the design on the fabric.
B. Use decent pins. I like longer, flat head pins that lay, well, FLAT against the pattern and the fabric. If your pins start to function poorly – you can’t jab them through anything – invest in a new box.
C. If you are making a pattern, use the proper material. Some people like tissue paper or plastic sheeting. I say a pox on these inferior materials! Tissue tears and plastic shifts (as well as wears out your pins faster. And buckles so you don’t get a smooth, accurate cut. And can stretch out. In short, plastic is dead to me.). I prefer a medium weight pattern paper, unlined, like the stuff they sell at the cutting counter at JoAnn Fabrics.
D. Make sure your pattern pieces AND the fabric are smooth before you pin. Iron them both (yes, you can iron paper) if necessary.
E. Pin perpendicular to the edge of pattern, not parallel. It will hold the pattern to the fabric better.
F. Don’t pull the fabric while you’re pinning it, or you won’t get an accurate cut.
G. I recommend investing in a cutting mat and rotary cutter. I also like to have a pair of tiny sharp scissors to cut in the corners.
H. If you are cutting leather or delicate materials, use weights, not pins to hold down the pattern and work SLOWLY. Move around the table, and don’t shift the fabric to reach it.
Share with the group – what do YOU like best about sewing?