And, you can see, we did the same pieces made up in non-bridal fabrics, because they work so well like this, too!
I will be writing several blogs about sewing the hats. They are fun and not too hard.
And, you can see, we did the same pieces made up in non-bridal fabrics, because they work so well like this, too!
I can Cosplay, too!
As I said in an earlier blog, 2016 was very busy for me and I really stopped writing any new blogs for a long time. I was scheduled to teach and judge at a couple "Cons" ... Costume Con which was in Madison, WI this year and Anime St. Louis which is always in ... you guessed it, St. Louis.
I needed a new costume and it was time to get into the Cosplay spirit. Since people still think of Renaissance costumes when they think of me AND I've been doing a lot of license Comic Book costumes, this seemed like the logical mashup!
These are the two patterns I used. Both still available.
I started collecting supplies.
Dug out a printed copy of my Tudor pattern so I could get the pattern in my size. The original pattern I have at home is a size 10 and I am not a size 10.
Found the bodice pieces. This pattern can be worn without a corset because it is heavily boned. This isn't a REAL Tudor gown. I don't need to wear all the proper under pinnings.
Then traced it out in my size and made a couple alterations, basic I needed to make the waist a larger. The bust needs to be very tight for these boned straight front bodices. The bust should be pressed flat and UP.
Lucky I still had all the official artwork from Marvel. I needed to to a little measuring and math to adapt all the elements to a different style garment.
Then I drew where I wanted the color breaks on the bodice. After this, I made separate pattern pieces for each color with seam allowances for the outer layer. For the interfacings and linings I used the whole front and back pieces.
A super hero shouldn't have a skirt to the floor. How could she possible chase bad guys. So I decided on a mid calf length. The better to show off my high heel boots!
Every costume, or any garment for that matter, looks better if the undergarments are integrated into the ensemble. I purchased red and white petticoats, but they were too long and badly shaped.
To fix this problem I shortened the yokes and used twill tape drawstrings I could tie tightly at my waist. I HATE elastic waists on heavy skirts. The skirts tend to slide down.
Heat'n'Bond lite is my friend for appliqués. It holds the piece in place but the adhesive can be machine stitched through.
I did a satin stitch around all the pieces.
Front assembled ...
and back with grommets ready for lacing up.
This was a LOT of fun ... hope to wear it again soon!
I got to write an article for THREADS. It is in the current issue, click here to buy it!
It is basically about being frugal. My mother taught me how to make garments using much less fabric than the pattern calls for. It is a fun challenge and is something I do all the time. I HATE to have tons of left over fabric ... so wasteful.
The funny thing is ... to write this article and to be able to make all the "in progress" samples needed I had to buy LOTS of extra fabric ... sigh.
This is how I planned out my pattern layouts.
This is how I presented the layouts I used to the editors at THREADS.
I don't know how other people do it, but the only way I can get a perfectly matched plaid seam is to use LOTS and LOTS of pins.
I poke the pins exactly where the machine needle is going to go and don't pull the pin out until the needle is on i's way into the fabric. Yes you do have to sew carefully and have extra machine needles on hand.
I hope my article gives people ideas how to manage with less fabric and figure out a way to "make it work" ... as Tim Gunn would say.
Let me know if you read the article. I am open to any and all comments and criticism ... always trying to improve
So ... let me tell you all how 2016 was for me ...
I spent January, February and March in Santa Barbara living and working. Which I LOVED, but also knocked me off course. Coming back home, teaching at several expos and conventions, and writing for Threads totally got in the way of writing this blog.
I'm going to use this time here to get back in the blog writing habit!
That said ... I love Santa Barbara ... the place, but even more the people. So, I am back for a couple weeks and will be teaching a Pattern Fitting class that will take the mystery out of making a garment that will fit anyone.
We will all learn to choose the correct size, measure and modify the pattern to fit any body, sew a test garment in muslin for fit and tweak that.
The class is 2 weekends from now, February 25 - 26, first half on Saturday morning and part 2 on Sunday afternoon. AND there is still room.
Here is the information for the store below.
For more go to their website via this link.
I was told they haven't been able to update the site for a while and are working on fixing it, so you won't see any info on my class, but it is happening so please call the store directly.
I'll try to get more info up tomorrow.
OK ... admit it ... this is pretty cute! right?
Cuter, still, modeled by an actual baby.
This was a licensed costume I really enjoyed working on.
Even though I am copying official characters, I have to come up with a design and plan that will work for the situation. In this case very small babies.
So, I simplified things. You can read some of the choices I made to make these costumes work but not be to complicated in the upper right corner for this sketch.
My sketches had to be sent to DC comics for approval before I could start actually making them. Which I will talk about in my next blog post.
Here are the photos I took before sending these costumes in. You can see how the boots are sewn to the tights and see the snap open crotch for diaper changes better in these photos than the one on the envelope.
Same for Super Girl.
And we decided to make Bat Girl really girly ... all pink and pink.
There are two hats there because I made it up in two sizes to ensure a good fit on whatever baby model was used.
Next time some sewing pictures.
Just out! Lady Space Warriors ... wink! wink!
This is a pattern of elements, which I hope will be useful for all sorts of imaginative creations.
First piece is a midriff top that leaves the chest open ... TO BE WORN WITH A CORSET!
You can see the under bust elastic band. This will hold the top smooth and in place.
The collar opens in the front, too, so it is easy to put on. But the closure is off to the side so it is less noticeable.
Then there are the robotic over sleeves, that took quite a while to work out.
The shoulder dart and curve of the whole shoulder being the main headache.
But, getting the hinging correct took several iterations.
They are a bit long for me, but I have short arms for average. And it is always easier to shorten something than lengthen it.
Don't forget the pouches ... I seem to be specializing in these recently and will blog about them in the very near future.
This pattern uses craft foam for some of the embellishments. I always use the official Foam Glue. It works best for sticking the foam to fabric and to itself. But, I wanted to use some acrylic gem stones as well, so I need to run some tests.
Here are the four glues I tried. All four worked well as glue. Those stones adhered securely to the craft foam. But the Barge Cement and the Quick Glue dissolved the metallic back of the stones and they didn't look clear and pretty any more.
So, since I was using Foam Glue anyway, I stuck with it ... ha ha.
And I was surprised to see the cape and midriff top sewn in red on the pattern. This is what it looked like when I was finished with it.
This fabric is very nasty to sew ...
This one is not. AND they are both vinyl.
When sewing with vinyl always use a long machine stitch. And if the vinyl is sticky use a Teflon foot or tissues paper over the sticky fabric. Tear it away when done.
To keep the interfacing and the outer fabric together when sewing the long shoulder dart on the separate outer sleeve or any dart for that matter. Baste from the apex of the dart down the middle ... remember LONG STITCH.
Then when the whole unit is folded for sewing, the fabrics stay together down to the apex of the dart ... that red dot.
I have constructed things to avoid hand sewing as much as possible, but there are a few places where it is just needed. Hand sewing vinyl is tricky ... use LONG STITCHES.
The final seam for each arm section is saved for last.
This is the easiest construction. The raw seam is exposed inside the sleeve, but it is super easy to fit the sleeve tighter, if wanted.
Although there is some icky sticky turning right side out to do.
And remember to press ... carefully with a pressing cloth. See the difference between the pressed and unpressed section.
But this really nice looking fabric is a dream to sew on. It is quite thin though, so I lined it all with felt for body.
Joann's carries it. I love this fabric for all sorts of things, even doll clothes because it is so thin.
To avoid too much pinning, this is vinyl after all, I hold down and trace the pattern pieces for cutting.
I do use pins at the every edges to hold a few layers together to speed up cutting.
The felt came out really uneven after cutting it stacked in several layers. So, I am lining up all the pouch pieces and drawing on stitching lines to make sure they all come exactly out the same.
Velcro is applied first.
And the first seam is joining the layers at the rounded flap.
They require "V" clips so the edge turns smoothly.
I want these pouches to have very crisp edges so I first stitch through both layers where all the folds will be.
Then press those folds and ...
and do the final, very easy, assembly.
They need to be fill up, but instead of just stuffing them with fiberfill or paper I want the filling to have square edges. Half inch foam will work perfectly.
I supposed a single 1" piece would work, too. But, 1/2" is cheaper and easier to cut.
Done ... YAY!
Here is the plaid view for my new corset pattern. If you read my previous blog about this pattern you will know that I originally planned for the front to have angled seams, but then changed the design so all the seams are straight and the curves balanced. This makes matching the plaid easier and fitting easier.
So, today I am going to show you how I put together a corset. This is just the sewing bits, not fitting. But, fitting an under bust corset usually isn't too tricky. Especially if you get a friend to help.
Even though when the corset is finished all the seams will end up being 1/4", the pattern has 5/8" to start off. This is for fitting. Think about it. This corset has 11 seams. If each 5/8" seam is let out so it is only 1/4" (the desired finished seam allowance) that gives you about 8 extra inches to work with ... not bad.
After you have sewn the seams for the last time (assuming you changed them once or twice), they should be trimmed down to 1/4". I think a rotary cutter and ruler is the easiest and most accurate way to do this.
It was hard to see the stitching line through the ruler with this black fabric and black stitching, so I drew over the stitches with a white pencil to make the stitching visible.
Next, press the seams open.
And then the bone tape is to be sewn over the seam allowance. Proper bone tape, that can be obtained from any on line corset supplier, is exactly the correct width to just cover an 1/4" seam and a tiny bit more.
For this denim corset, the topstitching is very important and visible, so I want to do all the stitching on the denim (outside) of the corset. It HAS to be perfectly centered.
So I use pins exactly through the seam line ...
through to the center of the bone tape.
Then I can stitch from the outside and be sure to catch both sides of the bone tape inside.
To really look like jeans, I used gold colored thick topstitching thread.
But for the other corsets I stitched the bone tape on from the inside. I carefully pinned it in place so it will be well centered, too. But, if it is a tiny bit off, it won't be noticeable with the printed fabric used on the other corsets.
The open edges of the corset (the back for all but the leopard print on) need to be finished according to the pattern. Then the binding can be applied.
This pattern calls for packaged binding, but it would be super nice to cut your own ... maybe from the same fabric as the corset is made of.
Anyway, I apply the bias tape, opened up with a 1/4" seam allowance to one side first. I will hand finish it later.
This way I can wait as long as possible before sliding the boning into the bone casings. It's just easier to work on a corset the longer you wait for the bones.
And, very important ...
Before applying the bias to the other edge, make very sure the two open ends, the ones that will get grommets and be laced up, are exactly the same length. I always put the two sides next to each other and if one is longer, trim it to be the same.
Finished the back sides of the binding with a hand slipstitch.
And now it's time for the grommets!!!
If you can get your hands on a really good grommet setter ... DO. Go in with some friends to buy and share one ... totally worth it.
It will give you so much better results, not to mention you can use "00" sized grommets which are a tad smaller than the ones available in most fabric store ... a nicer size.
AND, the setter has a nifty and very good hole punch. You can see I save my old beat up rotary mats for a cutting surface.
The grommets are two sided. Make sure you get the right side on the right side, if you get my drift.
Then hammer away. A plastic or rubber mallet is recommended, but I used a regular hammer for quite a while ... don't tell.
Please let me know if you make this and it IS your first corset. That would be lovely to know. And PLEASE write in with any questions.
These are the everyday sewing adventures of a designer and commercial pattern maker.
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