Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Behind the Seams

So I have been doing the online course Blog Love, which I am very much enjoying. It has allowed me to come up with some things I would like to do on this blog and Behind the Seams is one of them.

Today I thought I would share some fun facts about myself and the silly things I do.

1. I constantly wear boxers as regular clothing. Tonight is a prime example. I was wearing a very lovely skirt and as the day wore on and it hit about 8 pm, instead of switching to pjs, I replaced my skirt with boxers. This outfit still seems completely normal to me and I would wear it out of the house without a second thought.

change out the boxers for a skirt and this was my outfit all day.
I think the reason I don't find wearing boxers as regular clothes/shorts weird is from my time in dance and colorguard (the marching band colorguard not the military one). It is also probably the reason I love wearing things over tights.

2. I have two laptops. A Mac I use all the time and a PC I got for school but now has one very specific purpose; Photoshop! This leads to silly desk maneuvering so I can work on both at the same time.

Why I don't close one while using the other is beyond me.
3. When my ironing board is up (aka all the time) it no longer is useable for ironing as it has become a desk in it's own right. Also, my bookshelf it sits in front of does much more then just hold books.

It has become a serious problem.
4. Even with all the space issues, I still keep silly things on my desk just to make me smile.

The Baron. A mink from my steampunk Mink Hunter costume.

Yes, that is a monocle and top hat he is wearing.

I have had this stuffed animal on my desks for five or so years now.
She has travel to many desks in that time.
5. I have all my pins and convention badges hanging right over my desk. It makes me smile everythime I look at them.

Most come from Harry Potter conventions.
6. I have a habit of keeping food containers to use as storage. Things such as pasta sauce glass containers and most recently, large soup cans.

This can that held lentil soup now holds the supplies for my dad's Christmas gift.
These are just a few silly things I thought I would share. Enjoy!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Wig Washing (mini tutorial)

So there is a character in Star Command named Red Mary. She is a pirate with red hair. As the costume designer (and now actress for Red Mary) I need to give her red hair. The nice part of this situation is that I already own a red wig. The downside is that the condition it was in was not one you want to see in HD video.
The wig pre washing. You can't really see all the tangles in the picture.

Thankfully all that was needed to restore this lovely wig is a bit of wig shampoo, de-tangler and a comb.

Supplies and wig
The night before I hit up Sally's for some wig shampoo, which would be the Revlon bottle in the above picture. Since this is my first time washing a wig with shampoo I read and reread the directions on teh bottle about 12 times.

Step one is to fill a basin (aka pot) with cool water and add a small amount of shampoo to the water. 

Step two is to submerge the wig into the water. This was kind of weirdly nerve wrecking as I would hate to accidently ruin such a nice wig. My nerves were misplaced and I knew it.

Step three is to leave the wig to soak for a few minutes and agitate gently. Considering it's winter and the water is cold, my hand was not impressed with this step.

Step four was to rinse the wig in cool water.

It looked like a drowned rat when I hung it up to dry.
Step five is to hang the wig up to dry. You don't want to put it on a wig head to dry as that will keep the base/scalp/net of the wig from drying fully or quickly. Also, I don't own a wig head. :P

While it was still very wet I did a small bit of combing just to get the big chunks separated so they could dry easier. As it dried I continued to come back and comb parts out. As well as to spray the de-tangler onto the wig.

Step six is to comb it out with the de-tangler when dry. As mentioned above I spread this step out. The bottom where the worst of the tangling ended up drying very quickly so i tackled that part first and then left the rest to dry before combing it out.

Finished product clean and combed and ready for wearing.
Front of wig on once it's dry and combed.
The back all combed out.
I have to say I am very pleased with the finished result and can't wait to get more use out of such a nice wig. And after all that not so hard but tome consuming work, I had to put it on and take some fun/funny photos.

Who's pulling on my hair?

Mermaid hair pose. This is how I always imagine mermaid hair when they're out of the water.
Hair mustache!

In non wig related news, I am kicking butt on getting my Christmas presents done and packaged. I have a stack on my ironing board ready to go to the post office. I also got some supplies I ordered for some bags. I'm hoping they turn out not to be a pain in the ass to make. I'll keep you all posted.

After this weekend I will have some more on set costume pictures for you all.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tutorial: Needle Book

So my sewing box is full of things that I have to have with me but are in packages that are hard to store or take up much more space then it needs to. So I am on a constant mission to keep my sewing box clean, neat and organized.

One item that I have a few of and knew I could condense down was hand needles. I have 3 or 4 packages of them in my sewing box which is kind of ridiculous. So I decided to fix this problem by creating a Needle Book and figured I would bring you along for the ride. So let's hop to!

Needle Book Tutorial


- scrap of fabric
- felt
-ruler & marking tool
-Needle and thread or sewing machine

1. Cut a rectangle from the fabric and felt 6.5" x 5". I like to create patterns so I created the rectangle out of dot fabric before cutting the rectangle from the fabric. You can skip that step and just use the ruler and marking tool (such a chalk) to mark out the rectangle.

2. Cut a 3.5" x 3" rectangle out of the fabric on the fold.

3. Pin the fabric and felt right sides together.

4. Sew the felt and fabric together leaving a gap a little bigger then 3.5" for turning and attaching the flap. Clip corners before turning.

5. After you flip it right side out, poke corners out and iron it flat.

6. Do the same steps for the flap then slip it into the part you left open in the body of the book. Pin the flap down and then top stitch all the way around the body.

(My camera battery died at this point so sorry for the jump in pics and new wood background.)

7. Create a button hole in the flap and sew the button on the opposite part of the rectangle where the button hole lands.

8. Close up the needle book and iron it down so that it stays folded nicely. Don't iron on the button though.

9. Slip all your needles into the needle book. 

You're done!

Now you have all your needles in one place that's very small, light and compact. Plus it adds a bit of style to your sewing box or is a lovely gift for the sewer in your life.



Monday, December 6, 2010

New pattern

I got the dress pattern I ordered in the mail today. Butterick 5209 is now mine and I can't wait to make it!

I'm going to be making view B (aka the one with sleeves) in red for a pulp detective novel cover costume with my friend Mike. It's sure to me lots of fun. We're going to base our poses off of the different covers.

Aren't they great?! The costume is sure to be a good time.

In other sewing news, I have a few commissions that I have taken on. I will be doing a coat for my cousin as well as two Hogwarts robes for a friend and his sister. I'm excited to work on them. My cousin will be mailing me the fabric for her coat and I can't wait to see what she picks out. 

Till then, I will start working on my Christmas gifts. I already have half my cards made which is really half the battle.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jackets, coats and short stays...oh my!

I have lots of pictures for y'all of completed projects. So let's get to it!

First is the short stay that I made for Jessie. The short stay is made using Sense & Sensibility Pattern's Regency Underthings pattern.

Front. This is pattern size 20 with D-cup bust gussets

Front/Side detail. The boning in this is plastic.


Closure detail
Next we have Admiral Stewart's dress uniform jacket for Star Command.

Front on hanger

Braiding detail and epaulet 
The braids and tassels were done by hand. I spent a few hours in the green room braiding yarn. Each finished braid is made up of 3 smaller braids, coloured hemp cord and jewelry chain. The tassels are just yarn.

I had forgotten how fun tassels can be to make. I hadn't made any since I was about 10. Making tassels is a skill I bet my Grandma would never think I would be using for costuming when she taught me how to years ago.

Closure to get in and out of braids

Front on Kay (the actor who plays Admiral Stewart)

Left side

Right side

The jacket turned out amazingly. It's exactly like my sketch. I'm still a bit in shock by how nice it came out.

Since her jacket is done, I have started in on the boy's dress uniform coats. I am using McCall's Civil War mens jacket pattern (M4745) but with a few alterations. I have attached the top and bottom pattern pieces so that they are now one long piece and I have removed all back pleats. This in turn has made the pattern much less complicated and quick to put together. It is still a costume pattern and has it's problems with fit.

 I have Jason's done minus epaulets and just got Ben's to the point where I need to do a first fitting.

Front of Jason's during his last fitting
Jason's fit almost perfectly from the start. I have a good inch of overlap for buttons, the collar was able to be stitched down as is and still had the small gap I wanted. The sleeves only took a narrow hem. The only issues I had was that the back side seams needed to be brought in about 2" and the shoulder seam is not actually on the shoulder. I should be able to fix the shoulder seam on Ben's before putting in the sleeves so his doesn't have the same issue.

Front right before buttons were added.
Jason's jacket accidently got one too many sleeve stripes so today I had him come in and help me by seam ripping the extra stripe off. It was his punishment for giving me faulty information.

I had a productive sewing day outside of Star Command today. I made myself a dice bag and finally got to work on the Vogue coat (V8307) I have had sitting around half cut for over a month.

Dice bag made from a scrap and ribbon

Front detail of coat (V8307)

Front of V8307 finished

Back of V8307 finished
The outer fabric gave me a few headaches while I was working with it. It is a loose weave so it was fraying like mad as well as stretching oddly. I was working at the barn and didn't have my serger with me so I zig zaged all seams after I stitched the pieces together to help keep it from fraying too horribly. The lining should also help keep wear on the seams down. 

I ended up top stitching the collar as well as the front fold of the coat to keep the seams flat. I finished the sleeves and bottom by using bias tape on the outer fabric, folding that under and over the lining then stitching it down. This should help with the fraying as well as allowing for a nice, finished edge. The only real change I made to the pattern is to use 4 buttons instead of 3 and to actually make button holes instead of having loops of cording.

It fits really nicely. The only thing that bothers me is that the collar does not quite hit where it should but I think that's due to the weird nature of the outer fabric. It still looks good though. It's nice to have it done and no longer sitting around half cut and taking up much needed table space.

Tomorrow brings another day of working on Star Command jackets. We'll be having a work day at the studio. This should allow me to get Ben's finished since I will have him captive, in one place for a few hours. That means I won't have to chase him down too hard when it's fitting time.

I can't wait!