Wigging Out

 

Allow me to start by apologising for the postage drought, I was moving house.  I’ve got such a backlog to blog about though.  I’ll start with the exciting thing, so loo breaks now guys, this is a long one.

My Satsuki cosplay wig arrived in the mail! I was pretty concerned when I was vacillating between options on Aliexpress, not sure which shops were treasure troves of soft, silky, Pantene ad hairflick-worthiness and which were quagmires of manky plastic head-tumbleweeds, but fortunately the gamble paid off and the one I picked belonged to the former category. They all appear to use the same stock photos. It truly is a gamble.

I will now reveal the way that I was taught to put on a wig properly at my very first professional operatic engagement. I presume most cosplayers do it similarly.

You’ll need bobby pins, those wide V-shaped pins, and a stocking cap (basically get a pair of stockings you don’t like and cut the legs off.). Though a hair net would probably do, a stocking cap is better because, unlike hairnets, stockings spend a lot of their time holding people’s stomachs in for them so they can definitely handle holding your hair flat to your head and securely out of the way for a three hour opera (or a convention).

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My hair and its mortal enemy prepare to face off in an epic battle…

So first you’re going to flatten your hair out of the way. My hair has grown a lot since 2013 and I’m light on bobby pins right now, so instead of dividing it into sections and pin curling it flat like I was taught, I braided it into pigtails and pinned them flat in loops at the back of my head. Like a pretzel.  Or Princess Leia on a lazy day.

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If you have the pins, do pin curls though.  Seriously.  It’ll look better than this.

Next you’ll get your stocking cap and put it around your neck. drag it up around your hairline, making sure you tuck in all the fly-aways.

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Then you’ll fold the ends of the cap in nice and tight and pin them in place with those wide pins.

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TRIUMPH!

Now get your wig and carefully pop it on over the top. Zhoozh it out a bit and then if it’s a heavy wig you can even use more of those wide pins to secure it in place under the top layers of hair. Pin through the stocking cap and into the pin curls/braids and that thing will not move.

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Seeing this is the first time I’ve cut a wig, I looked up a heap of tutorials.  It appeared to be a 50-50 between people who prefer to cut while the wig is on a styrofoam head and people who prefer to wear the wig while they cut.  I chose the latter, as I figured it’d be easier to get the length and shape right around my own face, and with the stocking cap on firmly it’d be pretty hard to accidentally cut my own hair.  The downside to doing it this way is that occasionally you will flick little ends of cut hair into your eyes, which is a billion times worse than getting real hair in your eye.

Most of the tutorials advocated holding the scissors vertically, which I did for all but one step (getting rid of super excess length).  One of them also suggested that for doing the fringe it helped to split it in half and do half a at a time.  Given this was what the fringe looked like beforehand, I heartily endorse this strategy:

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Cousin It Senpai

So I popped a plastic bag in the sink, split the fringe in half and cut away the bulk of that side to just below eye level with the scissors horizontal.  Then I turned the scissors vertically and started to neaten it up a bit, curving it up towards the temple.  Satsuki’s fringe is longer in the middle and curves up at the sides.  I clipped the rest of the hair back to avoid accidentally getting any.

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Once one side was done, I did the other to match, using a bit of hairspray to keep everything in place.  Then I separated out the two shorter locks which come over her shoulders and cut them off at chest height.  I’ll go back in there once more to round off the pointiness of the front, but it’s pretty much done.

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I’m super pleased with the colour though, and with how long and silky it is. But the sink looked like I’d shaved Cookie Monster in it.

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For shame.

The costume is still mostly but not completely finished.  I finally sewed the boards down, but have yet to stick a hook and eye in the front of the collar or fix up the scarf ties.  I haven’t made a sword or hair clips yet either.  And I need to do some serious work on the boots to stop them falling down so much.  But apart from that, behold!

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The wig is super long too:

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And once I had the wig and my face on, I couldn’t help taking dumb selfies, as one does.

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Ryuko, I am shocked.

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Naaaahhhhhh!!!!

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My tea is cold!

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What evil plot…?

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Srsly Ryuko one more word

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Resting Bitch Face.

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Notice me senpai!

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Blue Steel.

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The Ultra-Frown

Naughty (Thigh High Boots) and Nice (Sproglet-Approved Dragon Plushie)

Naughty first because it’s just a triumphant update:  I FINISHED THE SATSUKI COSPLAY BOOTS!!!  They’re a bit baggy, but they’re my first real proper try (the Attack on Titan ones were just boot covers so they don’t count).  Glued to a pair of high heels and everything.  I’m moving this week though, so I’ll post about them properly later, and for now you can have a photo:

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Now for nice.  I promised I’d post about the new dragon plushie dragon I made for my friend’s child, especially seeing I never posted about the first one.  It was small and green and made of felt, which was a nightmare to turn right-side out.

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Damn cute though.

This time I thought I would be clever and make it out of green polyester taffeta with spots on, which would be easier to turn.  On second thoughts I decided to make it twice the size of the previous plushie as well.  Was it any easier?  …Eh?… Kind of?  My advice is not to do this the day before you want to give the plushie to the kid.  Or you’ll be up till *@#$ o’clock in the morning (even though that didn’t matter so much when I saw his happy little face).

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Should you wish to make one of your own, you will require:

-A couple of big sheets of paper (A3 would work well) to draw out your pattern.

-Some measuring tools, ie a tape and a ruler.  If you want to get fancy and get a compass too, by all means do, but I didn’t and I survived.

-About 50-75cm of fabric in the dragon’s main hide shade and about 25cm for the belly, feet, inside the ears and under the chin.  I used polyester taffeta and satin to make for easier lunch-stain-removal.  If you’re giving this plushie to a kid, it’s inevitable that at some point it’ll encounter tomato sauce or hummus or chocolate or all of the above.

-Some offcuts of a stiff fabric like cotton twill or felt (recommended, would have been easier) for the various features like horns, spines, a forked tongue or claws.  Go nuts.  If you want to do button eyes instead of appliqué eyes, you’ll need some of those too.

-Some felt to underline the belly to make it hold its shape better (not compulsory).

Step 1) Nut out a pattern

I broke the dragon down into the following parts:

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  • The back, including the neck and tail (two identical halves).  Once it’s drawn, add a small dart to the place where the neck meets the back in order to round it out more.  Making the neck curve like so at the edge where you set in the head (which for clarity’s sake I will refer to as n) will give the head a charming downward tilt.
  • The belly (one part, cut on the fold).  Make this a half-football shape.  Measure the curved edge and make sure it isn’t too long for the lower edge of the back.  You don’t want it going too far into the tail.
  • The foot base.  This is a circle.  It will be the base of all the feet.  Measure the radius and work out the circumference (2πr thankyou highschool maths).  We’ll call this c.
  • The front leg (cut in two identical halves).  Start by getting your measuring tape, marking half c on it, then bending it slightly to get a shallow curve.  Trace this curve.  This is the bottom of the leg where you will set in the foot base.  After that, you can draw whatever leg shape you like above it.  Trace that base line on another piece of paper though so you’ve got a matching one to build the back leg off.
  • The back leg.  Start with the tracing of the front leg base and then draw another leg shape.  I made mine fatter and with a slight bend for the dragon’s knee.
  • The top of the head (which is cut on the fold).  This is where it gets kind of tricky.  What you want to do first is measure with your measuring tape.  This is what you have to work with re: the edges of the head that attach to the neck.  The top of the head is most important.  Allocate about 2/5 of n for it.  We’ll call that edge h. Draw as a straight line (because that’s easier).  Then measure about 5mm above h and draw a straight line for the fold edge from there.  You’ll end up with this:  Then what you want to do is decide how long your dragon’s head should be and add in some curves to complete the shape.  That 5mm from before will come out as a dart to differentiate the forehead from the neck a bit more and give you a guide for where the eyes go.  Now measure the bottom edge of the pattern piece and write it down.  I’ll call that edge b
  • The chin (cut in two identical halves).  I learned the hard way that it’ll be better to have  some kind of centre seam in the head somewhere, and the chin works.  It can be a straight seam.  Allocate about 1/3 of n for the neck-edge of the chin (let’s call it c).  Make c a straight line, then remember that measurement that you took before?  That is how long the top edge of the chin piece will be.  We will call it b2, using all the powers of our imaginations.
  • The cheek (for extra head-shaping) also has an edge that is whatever is left over of n.  We’ll call that edge k.  It doesn’t matter how long the cheek is so long as it’s the same length on both sides and so long as it’s shorter than b.  We’ll call the upper and lower sides of the cheek e.  They’re the same so I figure they’re interchangeable.
  • The eye, if you want to appliqué, however big you want
  • The wing, as you like.
  • The ear, in a vaguely star-trek logo shape is nice, but really you can do it however you like.
  • Misc other features like spines, toes, tongues etc can be up to you.

Still with me?  Have a picture of the bottom of the dragon.

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Step 2) Cut out your fabric

I chose to do the body, top of the head, cheek, legs and upper wings and ears in green, the belly, chin and under wings, feet and inner ears in yellow and the spines in black.  You do you though.

Step 3) Start your engines  (I’m so sorry I didn’t take any photos…)

I started with the details so I wouldn’t forget any.  I sewed the wings right-side to right-side around the edges, clipped the corners, turned them the right way out and sewed veins onto them in a zig-zag stitch.  Then I decorated the spines, belly and tongue with a zig-zag stitch in green.  I also sewed the dart in the back of the body pieces.

Then you can get down to business.

Pin the body pieces together along the spine with any spine details and wings sandwiched between.  Sew that seam down to the end of the tail and a little way back along the other side of the tail.  Clip the end of the tail and turn it the right way out.

Sew each leg together right-to-right leaving about an inch gap along the top back.  Very carefully baste the foot base pieces in to the ends and sew them in.  If you’re adding toes, do this in the same seam.  It’s fiddly.  Then clip the seam allowances and turn the legs the right way out.  Stuff them firmly (I used cut-up fabric scraps, but you could use commercial stuffing or lentils or whatever), then slip-stitch the gap at the top firmly closed.

Get the head-pieces ready to go on the body.  Sew k to right-to-right with the wide end of the cheek piece level with on both sides of the top head piece.  Then add on each side of the chin, with the edge of the cheek pieces level with c.  Then you can add eyes to the dragon however you wish.  I just appliquéd mine on with a zig-zag stitch.  I also added a forked tongue.

Now sew up the ears (if you want them) and more spines (if you want them) and baste them to the top of n on the body pieces.  Baste or pin the complete head on over the top, right-to-right, ensuring that the centre chin edges are level with the bottom of the neck.  Too long is better than too short, and if the head edges are too long you can just pleat the cheeks a little to bring them level and it’ll give the dragon a slightly chipmunky appearance.  Sew this seam, then turn it all the right way out and check that you’ve caught all the bottoms of the ears and spines.

Turn the whole thing inside out.  Carefully fold the wings up and baste them so they won’t get caught when you sew the belly seam.  Starting at the chin, sew straight down the centre seam of the dragon, attaching the belly to the other side of the body, and then stop at the end of the belly.  From the other side, sew the bottom tail seam up, leaving about a two inch gap so you can turn the whole thing the right way out.

Turn it the right way out (it will be frustrating).  Check that everything’s ok and you haven’t sewn the wings into the belly, and then you can stuff the whole body and slip-stitch the gap closed.  Then I added the legs.  A curved needle would have been useful here, but I didn’t have one and I managed.

Step 4) Give it to a kid

This is the fun part.  The kid will hopefully hug the crap out of it and then start explaining to you that it’s actually a water dragon and it likes to cook with chocolate even though it can’t eat chocolate because dragons eat meat.  (This is legitimately what happened).

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The kid hopefully won’t care that the spine’s wonky.

See you after I move!  I need to post about some exciting things like SHORTS.  YES, I MADE SHORTS.  I’M SO PROUD I’M ONLY TALKING IN CAPITALS FROM NOW ON!  Stay (vaguely) tuned!

 

 

Opera and Cosplay Duke it Out

When I last posted I had this vision that a heap of things were going to be done by now.  I was going to be finished the Junketsu and I was going to have worn it triumphantly at PAX.  I was going to be churning out shirts and skirts and things for summer.  I was going to have finished all the performance dresses that I stupidly started right before comps and concerts.  Hell, at one point I even thought I would make a gown.

Haha, NOPE.  It’s a crazy story.

So I entered the New Zealand Aria the night before entries closed.  Then I realised that it was on at the same time as PAX so there was no point finishing the Junketsu (wrong, but we’ll get to that in a minute).  Then I cut out two Man Repeller-inspired ruffled shirts for My Wardrobe S/S 16, but sewing the pleather for my Attack on Titan cosplay had killed the tension wheel on my Janome and it went off to be serviced.  Two weeks of waiting for it to come back and consoling myself with fan art later…

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I tend to only ship characters with musical instruments.

…I should have done all the finishing on the fuchsia performance dress then, but stupidly I chose to binge on Noragami instead.  Then I did an audition for Opera Australia in Sydney.  Then I got a callback, so I had to cancel on New Zealand SO THE MORAL OF THAT STORY IS IF I’D JUST FINISHED THE DAMN JUNKETSU I COULD HAVE GONE TO PAX ANYWAY.  I was sad and happy and confused so then I entered the Diamond Valley Eisteddfod (again the night before the damn thing.  Noticing a pattern?). I hand-hemmed the fuchsia dress at the venue on the day, and then I won the aria section.  Then I found out I had the job with OA.  Then I didn’t sleep for about 48 hours.  Now I’m doing weird random procrastinatey sewing things instead of finishing the summer clothes that I know I’ll need up north.

Like how I suddenly decided that the arm and pocket badges on my AoT jacket look wrong and need to be fixed.  The method I’m  using now (just appliqueing on a big general wing-shaped cut-out and then zig-zagging the lines on over the top) is a lot quicker and easier than the first method I used, and I think it reads better too.

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Way better, right?

I’ve started on one of the summer shirts, but I’m currently baulking at the buttonholes because my machine is still a bit hit-and-miss with buttonholes.  It’s just the frumpster shirt pattern with the sleeves cut in further, and a ruffle on a strip of bias binding added over the top.

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If it looks like it’s spent the week scrunched up in a corner, that’s because it has.

The Junketsu has now been hemmed.  Behold it in its shortness if you dare, along with my best attempt at a faux-fringe (which really just ended up looking kind of vintage.  Oh well.  Satsuki’s kind of a pin-up anyway).  I ordered a wig online yesterday, taking my chances with a random cosplay wig shop on AliExpress.  The shipping times are so variable that I just put in the address as my parent’s place in case it takes a month and I’ve moved out of the sharehouse, so Mum, if you get a very long blue wig in the post please don’t get a shock.

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As if getting a wig in the post could be any more shocking than the length of that skirt.

I have decided I’ll attach the sailor collar with snaps, but the ones I have in my stash are tiny, so I’ll zip out to somewhere and get bigger ones.  I’ve glued  I-don’t-know-what-you-call-thems on the boards.  They’re the bits that you pass epaulettes through to button the boards on.

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They don’t look very nice because I glued them on and used Fray-Block to finish the edges.

I will add epaulettes to the Junketsu and then the boards can button or snap on.  I was worried that the boards were too big, but even just pinned on they look really good.  The scarf tie things are another story though.  I’ll take them off and make them smaller and pointier.

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With both boards in dynamic pre-transformation pose

I’ve also ordered the white stretch-PVC for the boots, and I’ll put them together on my friend’s serger, because I really don’t want to be servicing my poor old machine twice in as many months, and comparing my sewing machine to Sergei the serger is like comparing an elderly lady who’s still ok walking the dog with some kind of super hardcore Russian SAS person with muscles on their muscles.  Then I’ll get a pair of op-shop heels and glue them over the top.  The PVC was a bit expensive, but there’s really only one place in Australia that had it and I only need a metre for my scrawny pins so it’s not that bad.

Then the only thing will be the sword, Bankuze.  It’s basically a big white katana with a fancy cross-bar (no idea what you call that part on a katana, and behold my apparent inability to google it).  The internet has many which are expensive, not super great-looking and of dubious customs-passability.  I’m contemplating how hard it would be to make a passable Bankuze-like-object out of cardboard or papier mache or plastic or something.  Satsuki doesn’t even usually bother to unsheathe it unless she’s fighting Ryuko anyhow.

 

Kill la Time

I knew that if I started cosplaying it would open a can of worms.  There is sooooo much I need to post about.  I think I remember last time I promised I’d do a post on the Junketsu skirt, and now I’ve got the epaulettes to add to that, and I’ve also started an Attack on Titan costume which desperately needs a post because I levelled up and made a fully-lined jacket.  Every button buttons, every pocket, er, pocketses, and there was a grand total of zero cheating involved anywhere.

How has all this been accomplished around work and singing practice?  Well Victorian noise restrictions prohibit musical instruments after 10pm on weeknights, but seeing I’m technically not an instrument and I’m louder than most power tools (not even kidding a tiny bit there, I cruise at 95-100db and max out just over 110db), and the regulations on those say 8pm, I try my darndest not to sing after 8:30.  That’s when the sewing machine goes on instead.

It also might seem overwhelming because I’ve got a hell of a lot faster.  Partly because I’m actually doing things more efficiently.  Adding seam allowances to pattern pieces, for example.   I think not having to design is helping too.  I just look at someone else’s picture and work out how to make it.  As much as I love designing, from a sewing perspective this really helps because when I know I need 2.5m of caramel cotton duck/twill/light wool because based on the pictures that’s what a Survey Corps jacket requires, I can just get it and leave and then I’m not wandering around the Fabric Store for three hours patting things and dribbling and making no decisions.

So that Junketsu progress!  I’ll save the Attack on Titan jacket for another post.

With the skirt, remember how I said I was adding the side panels in last so that I could retain the clean line through the front pleats?  Well that was… interesting.

 

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I went with my traditional by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants/visual-measuring method with pleating, after I wasted an hour measuring them out only to find they looked dorky.  It also gave me a chance to line up the edges as perfectly as I could and fernangle them in at the back and front where they attach to the existing pleats that had been cut in one with the bodice panels.  I can’t remember for the life of me how I did it now, but it resulted in a small extra pleat that pops out of the back pleats like so:

 

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I lapped and topstitched it because I’m lazy and didn’t want to rearrange it once I’d got my pleats just so, and also to avoid any nasty puckery surprises that method may have thrown my way.  The topstitching also looks purdy and helps keep the seam allowances flat and out of the way.

 

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Well, except where the princess seam is, but bear in mind that this photo is of a tiny tiny area, and this may or may not have been the light level I was working in (shut up.  I know it’s bad for my eyes, I swear I don’t do it deliberately, it just happens.)

 

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In short, it was a frustrating process but the results were pretty good.  It even left me with lovely convenient little pockets to stick the ends of the gold bias binding in.  You may recall me saying I just pinned it all on there and went for it:

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Behold the evidence.   Pro tip though, use small pins.  Preferably not the kind that are mysteriously blunt when confronted with more than one layer of fabric, but like freaking mini-scalpels when you accidentally get yourself.  Inevitable when you have that many pins in a heavy, bulky, curvaceous garment that you need to turn around six million different ways under the needle. The ends of my fingers look like Deadpool’s face right now.

And lastly the epaulettes.  I used a pair of my dad’s old boards that I had lying around (I think he gave them to me for a costume party in highschool), as a template and then rounded them out a heap at the ends.  I cut a heavy cardboard layer, and for the first one I sewed fabric covers on (the second one I got lazy and bought glue), and then painted them gold.  Then I got cheap piping cord and glued that on, also painting it gold so everything would match.  Buttons from a nasty old cardigan were added and painted too.

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Then I hauled my butt out to Spotlight (it’s only like a twenty minute drive, I shouldn’t whinge), and got gold fringe (and now I’m wishing that I’d bought a roller foot for my machine at the same time, because I’m doing this right now instead of going to Spotlight.  Also because there are gas works going on in my street today and I’m not even sure I can get the car out).  Fortunately I’ve got a good colour memory so the colours are a perfect match.  Is colour memory like pitch memory, do you think?  I don’t need a tuning fork.  I am the tuning fork.  Can produce A 440 on demand so long as the demander is polite.  Anyway. I used a double layer of fringe on each one because one layer seemed kind of stingy and a double layer looked thick and luxuriant. I got a metre all up and had only 5cm left over, so it worked out well.  Neither am I regretting going to town on the length of the fringe.  I had my doubts in the fluorescent-light-bathed aisles of the Maribyrnong Spotlight, but if there is one thing that Kill la Kill cosplay should not be, it is underwhelming.

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Then more glue and a mug-plus-gaffa-tape contrivance to allow it to dry.  And I’ve got to add, I have an ancient tube of this stuff called ‘Fray-Block’ which claims to ‘secure serged threads’.  I have no idea from whence it came, but it is magical stuff and it works a treat on say, cut edges of fringe and cord without resorting to the unsightly bulk of a big ol’ glob of glue.

DSC_1143Full credit to my lovely baroque flute friend for the epic tea-cozy.  She doesn’t just flute, she knits and sews and shoots arrows like a boss too (not even kidding, she shoots actual arrows).   And here is the Junketsu in its current state, just waiting for some finishing touches and an enormous pair of boots.  (You thought I was going to say something different there, admit it.)

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Oh look!  You can even see a tiny bit of a certain jacket in the corner… I wonder what that could be for…  *sticks hands in pockets and walks away whistling in a manner both knowing and irritating*

 

 

 

 

Ask Not the Sparrow How the Eagle… er… Sews.

The Junketsu is nearly done!

DSC_1135Even though, come to notice it, his ties (moustaches?) are a bit big.

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Hells yeah for the stripe matching!

I’ll upload some closer shots of the different bits in a post or two to show how I did them, but at this stage the only real differences from my last post are:

1) The skirt and sleeves are on.  So are the cuffs. They’re a little shallow for total accuracy, but behold the proverbial barren field where I grow the craps I could give.  The skirt was an… interesting step, and I think the order I thought to do things in wasn’t optimal, but it still worked out in the end. It pretty much needs a post to itself.

2) Bias tape.  I bought the blue bias tape because I hate making bias tape with the kind of instinctive disgust that snails reserve for salt (except without the frothing and dying part).  That said, all the gold stripes are bias tape that I made from a fabric that bears an uncanny resemblance to the faux silk that my alma mater uses for Environments degree hoods.  I think it’s literally the same stuff.  (Hannah and Thom does this look like ‘manila folder’ colour to you? Cause it does to me.)  The advantage of using bias tape for the stripes though is that it can be fernangled around corners and curves with relative ease, thus negating the requirement for patterning of any kind.  I just stuck the dress on the dress form and pinned it all on.  Then I sewed it all on, which was harder because of the bulk of the garment and also because that stupidly slippy synthetic satin (are you feeling alliterated yet?) squiggled around a bit while I was trying to sew it.  It probably didn’t help that I was watching Attack on Titan OVAs at the same time, but I have no regrets.

3) The zip is in.  I was terrified that it was going to be too narrow across the back and I was going to bust the zip, but it’s stood up to an experimental trip to the kitchen for tea with my favourite housemate, so I remain hopeful.  The zip is a sturdy thing that I salvaged from a fugly dress from a theatre garage sale.  (Translation: I don’t care that it’s not a white invisible zipper because frugality for the win!)

4) The armband, which sucks and I want to redo.

5) The epaulettes are coming along.  They’re a bit big, so I might shave some off the back ends, but I think I’ll see about that once the fringe is on.  Which will happen when I actually get some fringe.  Which might happen when I get paid.  Maybe.  The gold cord is cheap white piping cord which I’m painting, because it was 60 cents a metre and I already had gold paint lying around, and actual gold cord was like, $5.00 a metre.  No brainer.

6) It has been hemmed.  It’s now short enough that it would not pass muster at any school with a dress code.

The stuff that’s left to do stands thusly: work out how to attach and fasten the floating collar, trim the epaulettes, work out how to attach them (I’m thinking the trad way because that’s how I roll), make the boots (eep!) and hairclips, buy a wig, and buy a katana.  Because it looks silly with an umbrella:

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Subjugation is liberation… from precipitation?

Back in the (Shirt/Cosplay) Game

I think I’m finally getting the hang of this whole sewing by machine thing (I know, it’s taken me long enough, right?). In all seriousness though, the past month and a bit has seen me get the hang of shirts.  Shirts!  That staple of my wardrobe that I never thought I’d master.  Now I see shirts in shop windows/on the internet/on actual people and, given I have the right fabric, buttons to hand and about 5 hours, I can make them mine for half or a third of the price.  It’s scarily addictive.

It’s also fun toying with the pattern I’m using (which is pretty frumpy), to see what different results I can get and what makes a shirt look fresh.

Stage one of the pattern-fernangling produced this:

DSC_1093Ignore the wrinkles.

Ie: a navy cotton voile shirt (leftovers from the Bombshells dresses) with contrast cuffs and under collar.  I followed the pattern pretty closely.  I just removed the waist darts and shaved an edge off the cuffs so they weren’t all pointy.  All in all it’s not bad, but I still feel vaguely like a basic soccer mum when I wear it, which isn’t how I want to feel.  In retrospect the recommended distance between the buttons is too far, the collar shape’s still a bit off, curved side seams are stupid and the cuff slits shouldn’t be faced in a heavy fabric.  I’ve learned my lesson.

DSC_1094Not that you can really tell.  But I know.

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Business on top, party underneath.

Using a heavier fabric for the undercollar and outer collar stand was a good plan though, because screw interfacing.

The next experiment was conducted in leftovers from the zodiac dress (which btw I never wear).  I added a 4cm box pleat to the back for added squareness, shaved a bit of the pointiness off the collar, and put the buttons closer together.  I didn’t have enough fabric for full sleeves, so I did half sleeves, rejoicing at how it also meant that I didn’t have to wrangle cuff slits again.

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The angle of the collar is slightly wider and less ’70s.

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Shell buttons are what I had.  Forgive the wrinkles, I wore it yesterday.

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Trust me the sleeves look slim-cut on.

I couldn’t be bothered putting it on to take a photo, it’s freezing here.

Emboldened, I have embarked upon the foolish venture of cosplay once again.  Not 18th Century this time though.  because when do I ever do the same thing twice? I had to go to the completely opposite end of the spectrum:

satsuki

The only character with resting bitch face better than mine and eyebrows better than Cara Delevigne, Satsuki Kiryuin from the decadently OTT anime Kill la Kill.  I really love the design of Junketsu, her uniform.  It’s got a great balance of elements and influences, and just enough patterning challenges without requiring too much engineering or working with awful stretch fabrics (which as I have mentioned before are the spawn of Bealzebub).  Because it’s got a very stiff military aesthetic, I got a mid weight cotton twill, which has got a similar hand to the fabric used in naval dress uniforms, even though it’s a little thicker.  I didn’t want to fiddle around too much with lining, so it had to be thick enough that it’s opaque.

Pattern wise I started off with a plain ol’ princess bodice and worked from there.  Behold my illegible plan:

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Most of the vertical seams will be hidden by the gold detailing, which is important because this fabric shows its seams no matter how crisp it’s pressed.  Bearing this in mind, I wanted to keep that really smooth effect at the front where it appears as though there isn’t a waist seam and the pleats flow directly out of the front panel.  Solution: godets.  Only, I pressed mine into pleats.

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I think we should call them pizza-pleats.

The little square pieces added at the sides are because I overestimated my bodice length.  Of course I didn’t test it with a toile, this is seat-of-the-pants stuff as usual.  Then I added on the side and back panels.  (The skirt side panels will be pleated and pieced in separately, so yeah they’ll have a waist seam. Shh.)    Fitting it, I’ve realised that I need to take it in a bit under the arms and cut the armscyes out more at the back because I have what Natalie Bray refers to in Dress Pattern Designing as ‘especially erect posture’, as well as square, prominent shoulders. The sleeves will be from my shirt pattern, because they work and have enough ease for the elbow-crinkle she’s got going on, and the collar will be a separate piece and I’ll snap it on or something.  This is the stage it’s at now:

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Excuse the pyjamas.

Should have mentioned as well, an extra bra with some socks in it is lending me some aid.  Satsuki-sama (like the rest of woman-kind, let’s face it) is a couple of sizes up from me.

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I think I keep up in the resting bitch face department though.

Dang, you can see the wrinkles that my posture causes though.  Should have twigged ages ago when the pattern book said its recommended armscye shaping was for the ‘slightly rounded posture of today’ (by which they mean, like, the ’60s).  My back’s more like a board.

Next step, skirt side-panel wrangling, sleeves, collars and cuffs.  And then I can get to do the detailing, order an enormous wig and a fake katana, and work out how the hell I’m going to do those boots.  Other cosplayers before me have used stretch PVC over a boot or shoe, and held the resulting boot-stocking/leg-glove up with Hollywood tape.  The thought of my cantankerous Janome encountering stretch PVC makes me shudder.  It’s bound to be exciting.