Category: sewing

Vest Project – side buttons

The title describes all there really is to the post this week, guys and gals. There may be more next week but I’m digging into a plot thread for my Green Book so writing is currently sparse. Instead, I have a few photos of a vest I made and a little text about it.

Illustrations of my characters are rather fun and sometimes, when I am feeling particularly inspired, I end up drawing a piece of clothing that I would love to wear myself. However as I did not have much proficiency with a sewing machine before I lacked the obvious ability to make said items when I could not find them in shops. Now, however, I feel relatively comfortable altering items, copying patterns of clothes I already own, and making up a few easy patterns of my own. The vest below fits into the later category.

The front piece is left over from a cosplay I used the previous year. All I did was shorten the front and add the back panel resulting in the halter-neck vest I now wear over button down shirts. I’ve always loved the way this style looked and after fiddling with the front from last year I decided what the heck, if I can’t find it in a store I’ll just make the bloody thing.

Click on the picture to go the post of it on my deviantArt site where there are links in the description!

There are loops on the left side under the front panel that hook over the buttons. I wish I had a better detailed shot of the buttons because they have an inner design to them. It’s a little rumpled in the second picture but for the most part it’s a smooth fit and it feels comfortable.

It’s not form-fitting exactly and it doesn’t exactly curve with every bit if you but I may try a few different styles in the future. For now I’ll just try to recreate this one and try to sell a few in the future.

Until next week, happy trails!

2012 Resolutions in Review

First off I hope the message you took from my previous post was that you shouldn’t be afraid and also always try new things in life. I apologize if it caused you to have any kind of panic attack. That said I think one of my new year resolutions will be to try not to do something like that ever again. I admit I’m rather embarrassed by it. I had intended to touch on the topic of the end of the world theories but not as much as I did.

This week’s post is, as promised, about completing past new years resolutions. It’s out early due to more computer problems. Anyways, here is the post I made earlier this year when I officially kicked off the blog: Planned Year Projects. Along with those a few of my 2012 new years resolutions were as follows:

  1. Do more dancing (practice what I know and learn more)
  2. Swing poi more often and learn more weaves
  3. Start learning another language (more French; perhaps Mandarin and Korean)
  4. Swim to exercise
  5. Finish a book
  6. Volunteer with horses
  7. Publish short stories on Amazon
  8. Loose pudge (as in unwanted areas of body fat/tone muscles)
  9. Capoeira (go over the basics I was taught and do a cartwheel – maybe a flip)

Now, before I go through that status of these resolutions in lieu of the coming new year, remember that no matter what you plan for there’s always something that’s going to slap you in the face with a boar hair brush and paint you surprised. So gather up your past year resolutions and before you go through them, think of one good thing and one not so good thing that happened to you this year that you didn’t plan for.

Something good that happened:  I got a comfy new bed this year!

Something not so good: Car accident. At some point in 2013 I may do a post about this experience but right now I do not really want to talk about it.

Alright so, let’s go through our respective lists. To encourage yourself try writing or describing privately to what extent you completed the resolution.

  1. Fill up a notebook with The Green Book story – Literally halfway complete and it’s coming along nicely. I’ve been telling you about it as I go!
  2. Break in the new sketchbook – I am breaking it in! It’s got plenty of illustrations of characters, scenes, clothing, and creatures from The Green Book, as well as for several commissions.
  3. Finish She Flies Without Wings: How Horses Touch A Woman’s Soul by Mary D. Midkiff – This is still in progress. Unfortunately I’m only one page away from where I was near the start of this year.
  4. Start on Drawing Words & Writing Pictures by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden – I haven’t started this at all so it’ll probably be a roll over to next year.
  5. Do more dancing – indeed I have done this. Most notably I started learning line dancing this month. The place where I go to learn is a country club and there are lessons early on in the night. Now, granted I catch on to dancing pretty quickly but it’s a lot of fun and a great cardio work out.
  6. Swing poi more often – Also completed! I’ve even learned a few more weaves and improved swinging with my left hand.
  7. Learn another language  – I sometimes watch movies with French audio to keep reviewing what I learned in high school and college. Also, I’ve kept a notebook of Korean and Mandarin terms in an attempt to teach myself. I haven’t kept up with this for a few months now but I’ve found I can decipher certain simple phrases and key words without any guides and subtitles. Yay!
  8. Swim to exercise – Yes! For most of the year I’ve gone swimming at least twice a week until about October.
  9. Finish a book – Ah, I’m actually not sure if this means I wanted to finish writing a book or finish reading a few.
  10. Volunteer with horses – This was definitely done!
  11. Publish short stories on Amazon – I am very proud to say this was done! Unfortunately the single short I published isn’t up on Amazon kindle any longer because of some issues with pricing. Currently I am publishing short stories on Smashwords, one of which is free! Follow the link to see the stories! I publish a short about every 2 months. They’re meant to be single shorts for when you want to read a quick something before bed or on a lunch break but don’t have much time and do not want to become too tied up. Maybe I’ll gather them in a collection one day.
  12. Loose pudge – I’m actually really not sure of this. I don’t have a scale to weight myself on. So far what has happened is that I identified the root of why I was so negative about my own body and then started to change the way I look at myself.
  13. Capoeira – Only once have I gone out to a field of grass and done some capoeira. Early in the year I attempted to do a cartwheel and half-succeeded. Ah well.

So, how did you do? What’s your ratio of completion? Will you continue the resolutions into the new year?

Next week’s post I’ll put up some of my new resolutions at the start and then I’ll have something else for the main post. Happy 2013 in advance!

Stay safe and happy trails~

Private Bubble of Art

This week was rather stressful for me for reasons I will not go into. Those are rather personal and I want to sort through them in the peace and quiet of my own head. Sometimes when I have trouble or an issue or problem I like to talk to friends and I do not always do it for advice. Sometimes I just want someone to listen and give me a hug or do something fun with me. Other times I would appreciate advice. There are also times when I prefer to search the internet and after doing so take a while to let the thoughts or options or what have you broil slowly in my head until I can write it out or come to a resolution on my own because the voices of my friends and family are much too loud. It’s like standing under a barrage of arrows, crouching in the shade with the Spartans, when you need at least the cloud-shielded earth if not sunlight to just be able to breathe. In the end I picture myself in space and produce a bubble that acts as a shield. While everything else bangs constantly to permeate the membrane I make myself like a cell nucleus and regulate the one to three items allowed in at a time. It’s that or fixate an image of the things that calms me down the most in my mind.

So, after leaving you with a rather ambiguous opening I will show you a picture.

The pillow for my friend is done! Also, they are not paying me to advertise by showing and telling about this pillow. It was very fun to complete this gift for a long time friend of mine. Also I’ve been just sketching to practice a few things. Take a look, and enjoy until next week!

  

Mac Embroidery

I mentioned that I dabble in many areas of art. This week in particular I am finishing off a pillow gift for a friend. I sew two different colors together years ago and now I’m getting to embroider each side before stuffing it. I have not done embroidery in a few years so I am constantly nervous that I will mess something up.

One side of the pillow has a happy mac image and the other side has the sad mac counterpart. Apple started using these in 1984 but retired them as a standard start up image around 2002. They’re really cute! I remember seeing them on the screens when I was younger and to be honest I kind of miss them.

Anyways, here is how I mapped out the design on the pillow:

 

I sketched the icon on a pice of paper, folded the edges of said paper, and then traced around it for the border. I averaged the inner lines but if you would like an exact placement I’d recommend the ruler or a stencil. For this fabric I used a pencil for the lighter side and a white colored pencil for the darker side. If the material you’re using is as stretchy as mine go slowly and try not to get frustrated and make your line too dark. It will wash out but in the case that you make a wrong dark mark you may not want to chance it. Next:

I started at one corner and used a simple back stitch. If you use a really really long thread like me be careful not to let it get tangled and knotted when pilling it through the hole. The thread my twist and knot on its own so I suggest holding part of the threat you’re pulling through away from the hole and let it slip through your fingers, neutralizing any potential knots, while you pull it through the hole with your other hand. In the end:

The finished embroidery looks like this. This is just one side of the pillow.

I recommend a size 1-5 embroidery needle for small projects. I used white embroidery floss, which is six threads thick so I only used two threads at a time. The whole project took me only about one packet of eight yard embroidery floss.

Now go out and try something new!

 

Metrocon 2012 Costume

This year marks the third time I’ve attended Metrocon in Tampa, Florida. I enjoy the geekdom that forms in the convention center for three days (it’s rumored that the convention will be extended to four days next year) and this time, for the first time, I went in full costume. I did not make the entire costume, just the torso pieces and the haori. I also made pieces for friends’ costume’s which you will be able to see in my deviantArt gallery.

The character I cosplayed as is Yoruichi Shihōin from the manga/anime series Bleach. The sites and instructions I used are all linked at the bottom of this post. I mostly improvised and went with my gut on the pattern. All I bought were the materials that went directly into making the costume, which I will point out as I go.

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First I sketched out pattern ideas and the way the different panels of the costume would have to be joined in a sketchbook. I hear the best material to use for the white of the haori is twill or double layer cotton. Below the sketchbook you can see the white twill I used for the haori and the white corset-type top for the torso of Yoruichi’s costume, as well as the orange polyester for the inside of the haori. I had a straight ruler, two heavy duty scissors, metallic sharpies for the back of the black twill to mark patterns, and pencil for the white twill.

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For the panels of the haori you want measure from the middle of your trapezius muscle down to the length you want the coat to be, plus an inch or an inch and a half on each end for joining and hemming. There should be four panels to the body of your haori to allow for the slit at the back of the garment (back front, back right, front left, front right) and then there should be your sleeve panels.

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Measuring sleeves depend on what kind you want. There are several ways to attach sleeves and the way you do so is up to you. You can either sew the top panels and then attach the rectangle sleeve (measure from the side of the twill at your shoulder to your wrist or however long you want your sleeve with an inch for trim and hem) or you can attach a pentagon shaped sleeve (measure from the base of your neck on one side to how far down your arm you want the end of your sleeve to fall. As you can see above I chose the later option.

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Next measure the orange pieces the same you you measured the white for the haori with the same amount of give on the ends.

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Before you sew anything always pin it together and test out the fit. This will prevent too many mishaps and wasting too much fabric. Here I pinned the sleeves and sides. There’s a lot of excess on the sleeves right now because I didn’t know exactly which pattern I wanted to use at first but there was a bit of extra to allow me to experiment.

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Ignore my messy old room.

You definitely want to try on the pinned panels before sewing them. You can see if you’ve made a mismatch and how much room of give you have for a mistake stitch.

Tip: The thicker your fabric the longer your stitch setting on a machine should be. If the stitches are too short your needle will become stressed easily and build more potential to break. The pinned panels of twill I have here are two sheets per panel, so it turned out rather hefty, but not heavy. At least I knew it was not going to flap like a fickle flag in the wind.

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TIp 2: when you sew, beginners, sew on the wrong side of the garment, the side that will face inwards. What I did to sew the seams was a regular wrong side straight stitch, I left about half an inch of spare and then folded them over to one side to stitch. This also has instructions on how to hem the split at the back of the haori. Don’t forget to leave a slit open in the orange panels that will join there!

If you can’t see the above diagram let me know and I’ll put up a larger picture of it.

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You can see the pentagon shape of my sleeves here. There’s also a slit in the back of the haori that you can’t see too well. The long sides of the back panels are sewn together except for that slit and the back is joined to the sleeve top end which is joined by the top end of the two front panels – but the front panels are not joined at all and neither are the bottom of the sleeves or the sides of the haori. Give yourself at least a month in advance to play with the pattern if you’re not used to making costumes. Here I made sure the orange panels fit on the inside of the haori and then joined them with a simple stitch. The edges that are sewn together are facing each other in this picture so the nice smooth side of the white twill is on the outside and the smooth side of the orange polyester will be touching my skin.

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The top half of this shows how the orange panels were joined. The bottom half shows with small arrows where I attached the orange to the white. Before attaching the edges I recommend folding the orange polyester under and making sure the top thread matches the color you are sewing onto (orange on top white on bottom or vice versa depending on which is more comfortable for you).

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Now, at first I bought a patch for the Gotei 13’s Second Division but it was too small in proportion to the rest of my haori so I used leftover scraps of black and white twill to make a patch of my own. Round edges are hard and I’m not that great at them personally. After this I made the black diamonds and circles that go on the bottom edge of the haori. The circles were a pain in the butt. In the end the amount of times I was asked for a picture at the convention was worth it.

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Tada! This year’s costume all put together. Yoruichi had black footwear when she was a captain so I used regular white socks and comfy black thong flip flops. At this point I’m just glad the costume was finished.

My most important pieces of advice is to are: look up lots of references, take your time, and have fun!

Links to instructions that I took from:

  1. Cosplay.com – provides links to tutorials for different pieces of anime costumes
  2. Cosplay.com – different from #1; shows specific pieces for costumes from Bleach
  3. Usako’s Sewing Studio – Has lots of picture diagrams and a wide variety of costumes
  4. The Sewing Room – has sewing techniques with easy to follow animated tutorials.
  5. Sarcasm-hime’s Cosplay – has some tips on how to pack thick and long hair under a wig, how to put together a costume, and various tips for beginner and advanced cosplayers.
  6. Threads linings – this page has help with lining garments
  7. eHow Hems – help with hemming!

costume update

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The haori is finished but this is a picture of it spread out. The sides are not sewn together, nor are the sleeves. The convention I am attending is this weekend. As I said previously I’ll be posting pictures of the full costume in one or two weeks.

In the mean time I am still developing a short stories series to put out on Kindle. I do no want to say much about it yet though. It’s speaking for itself and it has a good reception from my editors. You’ll have to wait to see it then. Since the first story is free it will be available elsewhere on the internet. I will provide a link.

costume sneak peak

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Here’s a sneak peak at a costume project I worked on over the course of May. I progressed slowly by choice as this is the first time I made these costume pieces without a pattern. It’s done now but I’m waiting until I can take better pictures of it finished and in use before I post more photos. If you can see the partially covered diamond patch at the top corner and you are familiar with the manga-anime Bleach, you can deduct that this is a Division Two Haori that the shinigami captains wear. If not, if you do an image search for “Bleach captains” you’ll be able to find what the finished product should look like. The sharpie markers are metallics used for marking the black material on the undersides before I cut. I’ll post the whole process up here in about two weeks.

Until then, remember to try new things!