Summer is coming

Time to get some summer sewing done, right?  Well, I actually made these a few months ago, but she finally wore them this week when we were hit with a warm spell.

She told me that she couldn’t wear jean shorts to school anymore.  The hell?

I looked up the online dress code and it says no tank tops, but nothing about jean shorts.  It just says your clothes can’t show the undergarments (duh!), so pretty much any booty shorts, irrespective of jeans, can fit that description.

These shorts are NOT booty shorts, nor would I make her any that didn’t have to do with sports (in volleyball or gymnastics they do wear those short, tight shorts, but I made my daughter’s shorts a bit longer than what I could buy).

Photos turned out a bit over-exposed.  Quick before school photos do not always turn out well!

20160418_6596This was the second set I made for her.  First is here.  The cami is from SLPCO, and is another fabric I designed.

20160124-DSC_0027 20160124-DSC_0019I made the shorts to match, which are a shortened Emilya’s Bermuda short.  The shorts just have fabric paint on the edges, and I tried to mix the paint to match the fabric.  I should have made it a little lighter, I think.  Overall it is a cute outfit, though.

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Freezer paper stencils are really easy to do with fabric paint, and since I didn’t have any purple iron-on vinyl, this was a good option.

I just drew the design on freezer paper, cut it out with a scissors and exacto knife, ironed it on and painted it.  The hem isn’t even on these, since I must not have shortened it the same on each side.  I trued it up before hemming.

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Since she can’t wear a plain tank top to school, she needed a cover.  Luckily, I had already had this circle top made up from a few years ago.  It all matched very well, so she was all ready to meet that rare 80 degree day in April.

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Bomber jacket by WBM

Even though I have way too many things on my plate (like usual), I thought this pattern was very cute.  I volunteered to test it, and it did turn out very cute!

Wardrobe by Me Amelia Bomber Jacket

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Outfit details: Jeggings made by me, top – CAbi, boots – American Eagle

I used some Nanette Lepore fabric I found at SR Harris.  I love how they occasionally have some designer fabrics.  They usually have some Ralph Lauren and Tahari fabrics.  This was a nice cotton-viscose blend.

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The lining is a satin that has some lycra in it.  It was a nice weight for the lining, meaning it had some weight.  The outer is pretty lightweight.

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My binding was a bit too lightweight and stretchy.  I had to take 7″ off the band to make it bring in the body.  Otherwise it was very wide at the base.  If you make it, keep that in mind if your binding is very easy to stretch.  It will need to be shortened.

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I cut a straight 10 on this, and I fit more in the 12 bust, 8 hip sizing.  I can zip it up and it isn’t too tight at the top, so this fits fine to go down a size in the bust.  I think it is a little wide at the hip still, so I would grade it down on the next one.

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Okay, so this is not a beginner pattern.  She has it marked as an experienced pattern.  You have to bag the lining, and attaching the band at the bottom corners is a little confusing, as well.  That was the hardest part for everyone, in getting the corners on the rib to look nice.  She was very good at walking people through this part.  She has tried to clear up the confusion in the instructions.  I think she needed some more illustrations on the bottom band, though I think it would be hard to illustrate.  You just need to pin really well and watch where you are sewing.  Definitely clip the corner, too.

I got a bit frustrated at the bottom band, like most everyone else.  In the end, I just did some seam ripping and topstitched it to make sure it laid flat.  I think that the best way to get it to have nice corners is to attach the rib separately to the lining and outer shell first, instead of all at once.  Then, go and sew them all together.

Overall it is a cute pattern, but not a quick sew.  You need to take your time.  I would recommend it with the caveat that the bottom band can be frustrating, so be prepared!

Keyhole overlay top – pattern hack

A few years ago, I pinned this picture on my Things To Make board on Pinterest.  I love the look of this top, and figured I could just hack a t-shirt pattern or something to make it.

As part of my wardrobe capsule, I wanted to make that top…finally.  After having sewn up the Sneha tunic, I decided to hack it for the top. It has a long hemline, scooping neckline and cap sleeves, so it worked well for it.  I cut it to have the asymmetrical hemline.

In case you notice it, let me be the first to say that…Yes, I know the bottom of my v-neckline is a little off center.  I was having some issues and finally said, “screw it…good enough!”

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I just basically did an overlay and then bound the necklines.

To draft it, I took the front pattern piece and redrew it.  I think I lowered the scoop a little, too.  I laid that over some paper, and drew out where I wanted the keyhole to be.  You have to take into account the binding that would go around the necklines.  I made sure the armsyce matched and then went down about 2.0″ inches into the body.

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Note that the inner shoulder is narrower.  We’ll get to the “why” later.

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There is about a 2.5″ difference for the keyhole.

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In making it:

  • I bound the underneath neckline and the bottom hem of the overlay.
  • I serged all the pieces together at the shoulder seam.
  • I bound the neckline.  The underneath neckline at the shoulder is narrower than the top piece and the back so that it doesn’t get caught in binding the neckline.
  • Lastly, you add the arms, do the side seams and hem the bottom and sleeves.

There you go.  A fairly easy pattern hack and a cute top!  I know I will make more…just need some more sewing time!

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Cosplay Corset DIY

In many female cosplay costumes, a corset is a integral part of the costume.  There are a lot of “period” (however fictitious the period may be) costumes, where corsets are the norm for the female characters.  Ciri’s corset is more of a protection.  It is made of leather.  From the pictures, it doesn’t appear to have lacing at the back, so it is fitted to her measurements.

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I decided to not do lacing in the back, so instead I fit it exactly and put a zipper in the front.

Measurements and drafting:

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Continue reading Cosplay Corset DIY

Wardrobe Capsule – A misshapen dress

Upon (mostly) perfecting the pattern for the misshapen top, I decided to try to make it into a dress.  This top part drapes to the side, so it needs to be wider than you would think.  If you take your normal top pattern that has some generous room at the waist, add about 10″.   It drapes across your body, so it needs extra room.  Unless you want a tight top, then just use a normal top pattern for the width.

The dress looks like this, as a line drawing:

mis-shapen dress measurements

The measurements above fit my body (39B, 32W, 39H at 5’7″ and 145 lbs).

There are six pattern pieces:

  • Top cut on the fold (1)
  • Bands at the arms (2)
  • Waistband – interior and exterior (2)
  • Skirt cut on the fold (1)

mis-shapen dress line drawing

I drafted it to have a doubled-up waistband to try to give a little more tummy control in that area.

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To sew this pattern.

  1.  Sew the waistband ends together and the skirt back seam.
  2. Sandwich the skirt top the the waist band seams in between, right sides together.  Serge or zigzag stitch.
  3. Hem the skirt and iron the waistband seam.  You can topstitch here if you want it flat.
  4. Serge the edge of the top seam – don’t serge the seams together.   Mark 15″ from the edge of the fold.  This is your neck opening.  Sew from the edge up to the mark.
  5. Fold under the neck opening seam allowance and topstitch the hem.
  6. Serge the side seam up to the small piece that juts out.  Serge the bottom/side seam.
  7. Take your bands and serge the side seams.  Fold together and attach to the ends of the arms.  If you don’t want bands, just fold under and hem.
  8. Serge the bottom waist hem to the waistband.
  9. All done!

Another version of this pattern, would be to just draw a line from the waist of the top down to make it into a one piece dress.  You need to figure out where it would hit at your hip and have negative ease in that area.  My hip is 39″, so I would want it to be around 35″.  The pattern piece would be 17.5″, as it is cut on the fold.

Let me know if you have any questions on the drafting of this dress.  I suggest sturdy knits.  A ponte like this one would work great for this dress.  I used a heavy poly lycra knit from The Worth Collection that I found at SR Harris in MN.

I would also suggest making a top first, and then going into making the dress.  Once you have the right measurements for the top, you can work on drafting the dress part, which is fairly easy.

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Spur straps for my sister

I decided I wanted to try tooling some leather, so I started following a Facebook group for leather crafters.  They impart some great tips and show their work.  I was inspired to start creating something after a few months, so I got a basic tool kit from Tandy Leather, some vegetable tanned leather, and got to work.

The first attempt at using my tools was eye opening.  This is not as easy as it looks.  You pull the tool along while tapping it with a mallet.  If you don’t pull it smoothly or tap with consistent depth the marks are different.

After I kind of got it figured out, I attempted the green pair.  First, you cut out the leather, then you get it wet (like submersed in water), allow it dry enough so the water is absorbed and then you start tooling.  The leather needs to be moist while you are tooling.  Once done tooling, then you allow to dry and add your paints and dyes.

For the green one, I first made the loom beaded pieces, so I would know the size of space to cut out.  I cut out the space exactly, and used the cut out piece to glue the beads onto using E6000 glue.  In order for it to be as flat as I could make it, I need to shave down the pieces of leather that had been cut out.  I only sliced myself with the exacto knife twice. 😉  Once the glue is dried, then you put the puzzle pieces together and glue them in place again.

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 This was definitely a learning process.  The beaded pieces were put on after the leather was dyed and painted.  Then the thinner green lambskin was glued onto the back.  I tried to machine stitch them together, but the tension was really off.  I pull off those threads and hand stitched the straps.

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The feather one was much easier.  I drew out the design, which you can find here if you want it.  I just outlined it and then put in marks for a feather.  I had a really small background tool, so the tool marks are easy to see, unfortunately.  No one should be looking at her feet that close, though.

I dyed the feather part first, and then tackled the background.  You have to use a really small brush to get the detail work and in the little nooks and crannies.  I think these turned out pretty nice, too, though the buckle on this one is harder to do since it is thinner.

After it was all dried, I stitched it on the machine.  The machine stitching still wasn’t great, but better than the thicker one above.  The stitching helps keep the leather from stretching out too much.

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I put the buckles on with this screw.  I didn’t have enough room for stitching and this was the easiest I could find.  Next time, I will have to make the end piece longer.  It wasn’t quite long enough here to make putting on a buckle easy.

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So there you have it.

I gave these to my sister for her birthday, along with one of the beaded leather bracelets I made.  I would like to delve into more tooling, but this is definitely not easy.  If you see a nicely tooled piece of leather, know that a craftsman did that, and it took many, many hours to get it to look so nice.

Let the cosplay costuming commence!

Well, it’s that time of year.  That time, when I pull my hair out and try to figure out how the heck I am going to finish these costumes in time!

The kids are going to be Geralt and Ciri from The Witcher 3.

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So, to start I am going to detail what I have to make for each character.

Let’s begin, shall we?

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Ciri:

  • Leather corset
  • Leather pants with studs
  • Cream top with a satin ribbon
  • Leather arm cuffs
  • Leather gloves
  • Belt made out of clay and glass
  • Leather belt
  • 2 Leather pouches on the belt
  • Leather strap for her sword
  • Sword and scabbard
  • Cat medallion
  • Boots (She has a pair that she can use that are good enough)

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Geralt:

  • Chainmail and leather corset
  • Leather chestplate
  • Quilted shirt
  • Quilted Leather pants
  • Gauntlets
  • Chainmail and leather pauldrons
  • Leather belt with trophy hook
  • 2!! Swords with leather sheaths
  • Cross bow?  Might be passing on this.
  • Leather boot coverings (he has some boots I can use to cover)
  • Wolf medallion

I have less than two months to get them done.  No big deal, right??

I have a lot of the fabrics and most of the leather/faux leather I need.  I will make the swords out of wood and paint them to look sword-like (in theory).

Her “metal” belt is going to be a huge pain.  I am thinking of making it in clay, but I want to make a mold for the pattern.  I need to go get something to carve for that.  I have the clay and the glass centers, so I am partway there.

For the chainmail, at first I was going to attempt to make it, but in the end I decided to purchase this from a seller on Etsy.  It will work good enough.

I know I still need to get up the details on my wardrobe capsule, and I will.  I also have a few other things to post.

It will give me a break from this insanity.

Wardrobe Capsule – Jeggings

I have had the hardest time making jeggings.  I made a few pairs a few years ago and didn’t wear them.  They ended up in the charity pile.

I thought I would tackle this project again with my wardrobe capsule.  I decided to use this dark denim that has a brown underlying dye to it, and some stretch (not a lot).  It is hard to photograph, but the fabric does have a brown tone to the dark denim.

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The pockets are a faux leather that I cut on my Silhouette Cameo.  The faux leather is backed with Heat N Bond prior to cutting.  You need to iron it on with a press cloth, so the faux leather doesn’t melt.  Cut setting should be Speed at 2, Knife at 10 and Thickness at 25, with a double cut.

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The design is one that I drew.  I made it into a JPG file and then imported into the cameo design software.  From there, I traced it.  I will have to do a tutorial on how I do that some day, but I am sure there is something on YouTube that shows the process, too.

Here is the file if you are interested in using it.  Just be warned.  It is a PITA to sew around on the pockets.  Once you have the file cut, you need to iron it to the pockets and then do a straight stitch around it.  Generally, the less elements the better.

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To place the pockets, I compared them to a pair of jeans I already owned.

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The jeggings pattern is a widened leggings pattern that I drafted.  I should have added more room to it, though.  I did a double layered waist, and then a side invisible zipper.

I finished the waist, and it was 100% wrong in so many ways.  I tore it off and recut the waistband, but should have done some different adjustments.  On the front I stitched down some elastic to keep it from getting stretched out and floppy.

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I think a side zip was the wrong way to go with these and a back seam zipper would have been better.  Or hey…a front fly!  Next time.  I have a hard time zipping up the zipper, so these are a bit of a challenge to get on.  This is exacerbated by the fact that the front and back should have been cut differently.  I cut the back and thought, ugh..that looks too small, so I cut the front a little wider.  Yeah, that turned out well.  The side seam is pulled to the back.

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With some wear, they will hopefully stretch out a little bit, but they are still wearable.  As you can see there is definitely some stretching going on in the front with the pull lines.

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If I can manage to move the scale in a downward direction that would be great, too.  It has proved rather stagnant lately, so I need to work a bit more diligently on my eating and exercise.  Half measures no longer work when you get older.

Here’s a few more close up pictures:

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I love how my belt turned out, too.  It wasn’t too hard to put together.  A little hand stitching and some rivets.

Booty shot.  I like where the pockets ended up.  I also hope that belt stops shedding soon, too.

All in all, this was a good wearable muslin.  Definitely not perfect, but now I can make some adjustments and go from there!

A long awaited dance costume

There is a little girl, who I have known since birth, that requested a dance costume from me.  You see, last year when she chose her individual costume for her dance performance, she got it from a catalog.

*shocked gasp*

An entire team had also chosen that dance outfit for their performance, so needless to say, she was a bit chagrined upon seeing so many others wearing her special costume.

She wondered if her “Aunt” Stacy would make her a costume for next season?  Well, of course, she would!  We sat down and looked at different types of dance costumes (since I know nothing about them), and she really liked this one.

Well, then, I made one that was fairly similar to it.

I got her measured up, and then it was time to wait until just before the performance to actually sew it up (procrastination is my super power).

To start out we needed some fabrics, which in my defense, I did buy back in December.

The lime green is football spandex and the electric dark green/lime green with sparkles is a lighter weight spandex.

The jacket needed a heavier weight spandex, so that is why I did the football pants spandex.  It worked great and had a nice body to it.

20160229-DSC_0011The dress is made out of the lighter spandex, and I lined the top with the football spandex to give it some weight.

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The bottom circle skirt is lined with the electric fabric, so when she spins you will only see that fabric and not the wrong side of the fabric.

20160229-DSC_0006 The vest was a huge pain to make.  It was not the easiest fabric to work with in putting in zippers and getting it to lay flat.  I drafted the vest piece like this, and I think I should have maybe done just a straight (and wider) neckline piece.

20160229-DSC_0014I also didn’t cut the moto off center zipper piece in the right spot, as it should have been over more to give her a tighter fit.  The seam ripper was used quite a bit here on the jacket.  But…it’s done and cute.

20160229-DSC_0010I am not sure how well the belt is going to stay in place, so I will be recommending a pin to keep it in place.  The fabric is just so slippery that I think it will slide out of the buckle with just a little stretch on it.

20160229-DSC_0012The little booty shorts was a pattern I had made for my daugther a few years ago, since this girl is pretty petite.

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I also made a scrunchie, so she can finish her look!

20160229-DSC_0009So, in the end it turned out to be a pretty cute outfit.  Hope she wins!  (I hear they also give out awards for costumes that did not come from a catalog.)

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Wardrobe Capsule – Finished!

When I was thinking about my wardrobe capsule, I wanted to use what I had in my fabric stash.  This was not hard, as I have a lot.

I have been drawn to lighter colors these days, so I took out my creamy neutrals and started planning the individual pieces I was going to make.  The biggest impetus was that I needed TOPS.  This is something lacking in my spring and summer wardrobe.

I still wanted them to have a little edginess to them, so I also added in some leather and faux leather that I have in my fabric stash.  All these different elements pull together into a fairly cohesive mix and match grouping.

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Here it is…the finished Wardrobe in a “Week” capsule.  I may or may not have watched some project runway before embarking on my sewing.  I think you will notice that not all of these were easy projects.

I was able to complete the wardrobe capsule in about a week and a half.  I changed things up as I started cutting, and noting just what I wanted and needed to make.  I sewed pretty much all weekend for the first weekend, and then made the rest at night after the kids hit the hay.  I was burning the midnight oil, and so happy to be done with this wardrobe.

Here was my original soduko.

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I decided to make some changes, so I added two dresses, and then I couldn’t figure out how to make the soduko work.  Well, then I needed to redo some parts and so, yes…it totally changed, and ended up being more than just the original 9 pieces.

Here is my completed capsule, but I also have an add on capsule that includes  dresses.

separates soduko

What I made in summary:

  • Cream rayon dress, modified Ravenna pattern
  • Cream poly knit dress, self drafted
  • Stone maxi skirt, self drafted
  • Animal print and cream pencil skirt (bottom-weight woven with lycra), self drafted
  • Green silk handkerchief hem skirt, self drafted
  • Dark denim jeggings, self-drafted
  • Green yoked knit top, self-drafted
  • Brown yoked knit top with a faux leather exterior yoke piece, self-drafted
  • Cream poly knit and rayon top, self drafted
  • Stone keyhole top, modified Sneha pattern
  • Cream knit and pigskin vest, self drafted
  • Brown and cream double knit cardigan, self drafted

And I also made this belt:

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I love it.

Here they are worn (click to see them bigger).  In the next week I will start posting on how each pieces was made, relevant patterns or tutorials, and any issues I encountered.  I have to fix the cream vest I made, since it appears to be too large.  The green skirt will need to be taken in a bit, too.  I will get to eventually, and then get some better pictures of those pieces.

The accessories finished off the looks.  I have no shortage of accessories.

I have a feeling that once Me Made May hits…I will be all set!

I had been wanting to get these pieces made for quite awhile, so I am really glad that this challenge came up to push me into getting them completed.  I know that I won’t have much time to sew once summer hits, so some of these posts might be months in the making by the time I get them done.  I sewed up a lot of pieces and most of them were self-drafted.  I am going to try to explain my process in how I went about designing and drafting them.

If you can call it a “process”.

Now that these are done…I have a dance costume that I have been procrastinating making.  There’s a sweet little girl and expects to be rocking lime green in a few weeks, and I need to get that made!

If you want to see the posts on the capsule when I get them made, just look over to the left and subscribe by e-mail.  Once they post, you will get them in your e-mail box.  You can unsubscribe at any time if you find me annoying. 😉