Palazzo pants

I started writing this post in July.  Yep, last July.  Just a little behind. 😉

I worked on drafting these pants, and went through three different versions.  Some were drafting fails, though still wearable.

Stuff happens. *shrug*

These pants were a drafting work-in-process.

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The first brown pair…the side seams were off kilter.  Totally my fault for not lining up the pattern pieces to make sure they were hitting at the right spot.  I still made it work, but yeah…they are wonky.

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This pattern has a doubled up waistband and then the rest is unlined.  I use this method for my skirt pattern.  It is a similar concept to a yoga waist without the bulk.  It helps to hold in the tum tum.  Of course, these are a little loose, so not a whole lot of holding in.  I wanted a looser fit, relaxed pant, so not a lot of negative ease in this pattern.

They are slip on, made out of knits or a woven with lycra.  The first brown knit pair is a really heavy, almost ponte knit.  I don’t think it was a ponte, though.

This second pair has the side seams drafted correctly.  Yay!  It all went together super great until I put on the waistband on the wrong side.  I only had enough fabric for the outside of the waistband, so of course the lining ended up on the outside.  I love seam ripping serged seams…*said no one EVER*.

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The third pair was the real winner.  The fabric is a heavy bottom-weight with some lycra.  It has a great drape, and is still stretchy enough to pull up and over my hips.  The length was perfect, which happens when you try them on with the shoes you want to wear before hemming them.  They look a little long in the grass, but on a flat surface they were just right.

After wearing them since last July, the fabric does tend to droop a bit at the waist.  I need to figure out just how tight to make the waistband, and possibly adding some elastic to keep it up.  I think elastic might be the ticket.  I need to make a few more pairs of these, since my office is pretty much just me these days.  I need some work appropriate comfy pants, and these fit the bill.

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I wrote up a post on the tube top here.

Me Made May…so far

I have been participating in Me Made May this year, for the most part. I have had a few days where I haven’t worn my me mades, but for the most part, I have been successful at it. I haven’t gotten pictures for everything, but here are the ones I have done so far.

And I still have plenty of Me Mades that I can wear.  Yep, got plenty of clothes in my closet!  I need to go through it, though, and get rid of stuff I am not wearing, or at least not wearing right now.  Some things are too small for me, which is a bummer.  I don’t want to get rid of them, yet, as you know…I PLAN to get active again.  Hard to do it, though, when the kids have us constantly on the run.

More to come in the next week and change.  Eleven more days!

Ciri cosplay – Top and Pants

Another spring…another cosplay.  Today I am showing the pants and top for the Ciri cosplay.

This is Ciri from The Witcher 3.  She is a warrior.  She wears a lot of leather.

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To start I made her pants out of a faux leather apparel fabric.  They are supposed to be leather and are cut in pieces, so I am try to keep to that aesthetic.  It also has little rivets in it.

The pleather was in a remnant pile at the fabric store.  I decided to use a basic leggings pattern that fits her, but added some ease to it. This fabric doesn’t have a ton of stretch, so I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be to tight for her.  It was a little too tight around the ankles.  I think I will definitely be having to make her another pair for the fall.

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I cut the front in three pieces and added a generous seam allowance (1″).

20160310_6188 20160319_6184The theory was that the rivets would go within the seam allowance, doubling up the surface and giving it a bit more heft to hold the rivets.  I missed the seam allowance on the one side, and the rivets are loose.  The other side is much better.

20160319_6185I got the rivets from Pacific Trimmings, since they have some shallow ones.  They are 4mm, so still a little tall for this thin pleather, but better than the 10mm you will usually find.  They were a huge pain to put in.  I hole punched one side and then noticed the holes stretched a little, so some are bordering on falling out.  The other side, I just punched a hole with my exacto knife, and they held better.   I figured she would need to be a little careful with wearing these pants, and yep…some fell out.

So, yes.  I will need to make another pair for the fall.

Now on the shirt, the front is open because you must show cleavage on all women video game characters (that’s sarcasm, by the way).  I obviously wasn’t doing this for my daughters shirt.

Using a loose fitting shirt pattern, I cut the front in two pieces and made a closed placket.

20160325_6183The neck was cut a little wider than normal, then I measured the opening and drafted a curved piece for the collar.  The shorter curved edge attaches to the shirt and the wider edge gives it that outward appearance.  The collar is interfaced so it will stand up.

20160507_6682I added the ribbon on after sewing up the shirt.  It is an open channel, so I turned over the edges at the end of the placket and heat sealed the ends so it wouldn’t fray.  I used a parachute cording that I purchased at Michael’s and silver beads for the ends.

20160325_6180This is a stretch shirting, so probably part poly, part cotton.  I tea dyed it so it has less of a clean, pristine appearance.  It was pretty simple.  I just soaked it in some water that I had some tea bags in for a few hours.

There you go!  I probably won’t get pictures until I have the rest of the costume finished, which will probably be in the fall.  I will need to make some kind of cloak for my daughter, since the Renaissance Festival can be chilly.  That will be in a few months, though.  Have summer to work on now.

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Ciri cosplay – the accessories

I knew that my daughter wanted to be Ciri for many, many months, but I was stumped on how to make a few of the items.  The metal belt that Ciri wears is one of them.

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I wasn’t sure how I would make it so that all of the pieces were the same.  I knew I had to make a template, but wasn’t sure what to use.  I first tried to make one out of wax, and that was a failure.  Next, I decided to make it out of clay, and that worked.

20160504_6760 20160504_6758 20160504_6759First, I drew out the template in pencil and then rubbed it onto the flattened clay.  Next, I cut out the pieces and then baked it.

20160504_6754 20160504_6755 20160504_6756Once it was baked, I let it cool and then used the pieces to push into the clay.

20160504_6761Using a straight edge, I cut the sides and angled the corners.

20160504_6762 20160504_6763The glass bead is something I found at Michael’s in their flower section.  You need to press it into the center so that it has a place to sit.

20160504_6764 20160504_6765To attach these to a belt, you need to have some holes in them.  I decided to attach them underneath the bead, so I made three holes.  Once done, I baked them.  For the two side pieces, I draped them over cannolli tubes so that they curved.  When they were cool, I sprayed them with silver spray paint.

I cut a piece of leather, and spaced out the tiles.  I attached them to the belt with wax thread.  Once that was done, I glued the glass beads over the top with E6000 glue.

20160504_6766 20160505_6742The other clay piece I did was the cat’s head.  I looked at pictures of it and then carved it with my clay tools.  Once done, I baked it and spray painted it.  I added the back ring with E6000 glue.  Not perfect, but good enough!

20160507_6737Next belt was the leather belt.  I bought a belt blank from Tandy Leather and then the cross stamp.  I used the swivel cutter for the rest of the cuts.

20160505_6747Next was dying it with leather dye, and then adding the hardware.

Other leather pieces I did were the arm straps and the pouches.

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Lastly was the knife and sheath.  I didn’t get any pictures of making it since it was last night, and I was running out of time!  The handle is a cut up wooden candle holder, the knife part is a small piece of wood, and the circles in the middle and the cap are made of clay.  The handle is wrapped in leather.

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I think she turned out pretty close.  I am just missing her gloves and sword, which I will work on before the Renaissance here in the fall.  Plus, I have to get my son’s costume done, too.  I just ran out of time.  Story of my life!

ciri collageBetter pictures will come, too.  She rocked it at the con, though.  And she loved the scars (little wierdo).

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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.