Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Take that Life: Sucker Punching Life one Draft at a Time!

HAHA!  Take that life!  I clawed my way out of cosplay hell into a cosplay purgatory last night by drafting Babydoll's top in about two hours and *gasp* actually enjoying it!  I didn't get as far with the top as I had hoped.  I wanted to sew a muslin mock-up to test the pattern and the fit but, I'm still recovering from 3 back to back 12 hour work days, that piggy backed on the a week of finals that left me with 5 or less hours of sleep every night for a week...so yeah, here at the late hour of 8p.m. I'm exhausted.  The plan is to curl up in bed with a piece of pizza and watch some more episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  Yes I am 26 years old and in times of extreme vulnerability I enjoy watching kids cartoons.  Besides, I'm old enough to remember the original cartoon and toys, so if I want to indulge in a little throw back I will.

And yes...I will be cosplaying one of them soon, because I can.  **In the spirit of full disclosure I just stopped writing this for about 42 minutes and went and gathered my little pony picture wondering which one of them I should do.**  ANYHOW....

I took a few pictures of what I was working with but, wasn't sure if it was worth explaining what I did or not because if you already know how to work with slopers then you'll already know what I did, and if you don't know how to work with slopers what I'm saying won't mean anything anyway.  I will note though that I only worked with the size 8 sloper from my classes because I have not had time to create blocks for myself with which to create slopers.  It's on my things to do list for this summer tho, along with many a cosplay costume.  Following the photos found in the website I mentioned in the  Babydoll reference thead, the only real modifications I did to my existing sloper was to use the slash and spread method to move my darts around to match the original outfit, cut my front and back to 4 inches past the bust point, add an all in one placket for the buttons and drafts cuffs for the sleeve and the bodice.

 Inspiration and work space.

My weapons of choice, mechanical pencil, tape, scissors, hip curve, drafting ruler, and that rounded spiked thing whose name I cannot remember but, is useful for marking folded darts and protecting yourself in dark shadowy alleys.

  Finished bodice front pattern piece.

Tomorrow's post should be far more interesting as I plan to draft the sailor collar, make a muslin mock up, check fit and if everything is good, I plan to sew together the whole top in jeans.  So, if everything goes right (which given my history and the fact that I'm kind of a Negative Nancy, I probably will at least get a mock up done and make corrections....maybe.  I also may play a bit with the sculpey...we shall see.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Wigs, Pointe Shoes, and Craft Clay - OH MY!

It's been a pretty eventful weekend - and it hasn't been easy on the pocket book by any means!  Princess Tutu is turning out to be quite the cash drain, good thing I love her outfit so much!

So I finally got around to order some of the more important items for the princess including her toe shoes and wig and I just couldn't be more excited.  I purchased my toe shoes from Discount Dance online.  Thank goodness the princess's shoes are pink because I would just hate to have to change the color.  My roommate who is doing Princess Kraehe will have to cover her beautiful shoes in black shoe polish...how sad.  We've been slowly breaking them in.  Neither of us has done pointe although we both danced, she has far more experience under her belt but, given that the primary function of breaking these in is just so we can walk in them for hours and at least balance on pointe (both feet firmly on the ground thank you very much, I'm a walking disaster) for photos, I don't think our dance background is really relevant here.  Honestly, even this far out, I'm not sure to what to expect in terms of "breaking in". 

The hot pink on the inside is my gels...they work...mostly.

For those that care, they are Bloch Aspirations, in a 6.5 (three sizes smaller than my street size as advised by the website).  I chose these particular ones because I have an Greek foot meaning that my second toe is longer than my big toe.  In point it means I have issues with something and other and many websites suggest that I get a shoe with a wider base.  I'm glad I did, because a wider base means more width for the walking disaster to balance on.   To break them in we warm up the block, put them on and do about 10-15 minutes of basic dance exercises and about 5 minutes of balance practice.  Most of our practice happens in the first, second and fourth positions.  We do basic plie and releve in all three positions 8 times, ending with an 8 second hold in a releve at the end of each set, twice.  Since Kitty has had several years of dance, ballet included but, primarily ballroom she has a certain grace that is having to be beaten into me.  Ah, the play of the cosplay.  She also got to purchase very pretty toe shoes with a narrow box because she has a wondeful arch and great balance, not to mention the cute Egyptian foot.  Whatever.

For my wig, I went back and forth A LOT in terms of color and style.  I knew I wanted something short to build the feather hair piece around but I wasn't completely sure on the cut.  In the end it was the color that decided it for me.  It really depended on where and what I was looking at, but her hair looks like it could be anything from milkshake pink to a really dark coppery orange.  In the end I settled for something in the middle.  I purchased my wig from the Cosplay.com wig store.  I chose the wisp wig as I think it will be the easiest to build on.  I'm also excited that I will not have to do much in the way of cutting.  This will be my first attempt at a wig and I wanted to try and do the least amount of work possible so I don't scare myself from ever trying it again.  Besides I already have to build the feathered headress, which will most likely be permanently attached to the wig and that will probably have A LOT of hand sewing involved.  Don't worry my fellow cosplayers, I am not afraid of work - just afraid of work in small spaces of time.

Wisp Wig in Classic Orange

Finally, I purchased some super sculpey and some translucent sculpey to try and make the princess's necklace.  This is the part I am most nervous about.  I suspect this will be the item that makes me collapse in a defeated heap in a pool of my own tears and vomit.  If that happens I will make sure someone documents it and posts it for your good humor. Enjoy it, with only a few weeks to go and school finals looming ahead, I suspect that it will happen far more often than it should.

Well that's all for today.  There wasn't much time for much work to be done, but I am trying to keep good track of where I'm getting my supplies from in case anyone cares. Happy crafting!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sucker Punch Continued: Babydoll's Skirt

So here we are at the first fitting stages.  The skirt was fairly simple - it's essentially just a big rectangle.  Instead of doing actual math and drafting to determine how long the rectangle needed to be, I made a rectangle far bigger than I thought it had to be and decided to drape it by pleating it on my dress form at home and then trying it on it on.  I cut it to the appropriate width, including a 1/2" seam allowance (which is my preferred width) at the waist and side seams and 1-1/4" at the bottom so I can do a nice hem..  The waistband is in 4 pieces to emulate the seaming found on the original.  It is slightly shaped with the help of a hip curve ruler.

The shirt....I don't even want to talk about it.  That was just a hot mess, however I promised you the truth and I already told you that some times the truth ain't pretty.  I think the first thing that needs to happen is that I need to quit being so G.D. lazy and create my own sloper/block. A sloper or a block is essentially a close fitting pattern piece generally of a close fitting bodice and a narrow A-line skirt that is made to a clients exact measurements.  The idea is that using the principles of pattern drafting you can turn the basic block into just about anything.  There are of course other types of basic blocks and slopers, like pants, blouses, etc but these are the most basic.  I of course that it would be easy to use my basic sloper from class which is a size 8.  I am just about a size 8 and I thought it would create a roomy top.  Unfortunately, I am finding that me and the Alva dress form have different cup sizes, waist shapes, and torso lengths.  I am also a little bit bigger than her in the shoulders (*sigh* my linebacker shoulders are a constant thorn in my side).   So we are for sure going back to the drawing board with the shirt.  This time I will try to take some pictures as I'm working so you can see what goes into drafting a pattern (if you don't already know).

I was over drafting, so for the time being, I moved on to the skirt.  I was once again lazy and didn't bother to transfer my drape to paper so that is going to back fire on me in the long run since I still have a second skirt to do in whatever fabric I decide to use for the second baby doll costume.  *sigh* It's been a long quarter.  I promise to not be so lazy in the near future, and do things appropriately so you can see what's going on.

Anyhow a little photo feed of how the skirt went together...

After cutting my ridiculously long denim rectangle, I made a super long bias strip out of the white denim fabric.  I can't tell you how much my fingers hurt after prepping the bias strip with the iron to be sewn down.  *tears*  I think too my poor burned fingers and spent the next 20 minutes pinning it down.  I used a ruler every step of the way to ensure that it didn't go on crooked...nothing is worse than when you look across the con-hall to a great costume only to find on closure inspection that something went on lopsided and they couldn't be bothered to fix it...or worse they didn't even notice!  I decided to sew on the bias strips one at a time instead of pinning them both down, I think that was the right choice.

I took a break from working at this point and went SOMEWHERE and continued.  It's been a little bit of time and the whirlwind of the quarter renders my mind useless.  I cannot for the life of me remember where I took this picture!  All L.A. apartment carpeting and doors look the same.  XD  Anyhow, I spent some more time with the iron and the ruler  (could it have been Kat's house - no she definitely had cement floors...) and created my pleats.  I'm going to stop here and say, that if I were you, I would not create my pleats in this same manner when using a medium weight denim - it doesn't lay quite right. As you can see below, there is very little movement in the skirt when changing positions - that doesn't seem right at all.  I'm going to ignore this fact for a little while and commence with my distressing which does include washing it a bunch of times and see if, when the fabric softens, it will drape better, if not, I'll have to seam rip the waistband and reset the pleats.

From this angle the skirt looks a smidge to long, but I assure you, if it were any shorter - well, I'd probably get a lot more pictures taken that's for sure.

More updates soon!  Give me about a week or so, it's finals and I'm exhausted.  After that, stay tuned often as I make the mad dash for Anime Expo 2012 - 3 costumes to go and only 1/2 of one done!