Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Prince Diamond stuff...

So, in my previous post I mentioned that my fabric swatches got lost in the mail. I had originally ordered two colors of the same fabric.  White taffeta with White velvet flocking and Silver taffeta with White flocking... well, I never got those swatches... and when I contacted the company, they said they were out of the silver/white... I asked if there were going to get anymore of the silver/white, but they didn't answer... I also told them to go ahead and send me the white/white so I could at least see if that's what I wanted.

By the way, the company is Big Z Fabrics or bigzfabric.com.  

 Well, today, I got the white/white... and here's some pictures. The first two are with flash... the last two without... and I photoed from different angles so you could see how it plays with the light.

The fabric is nice, but kind of thin, so that's why there's a piece of paper behind it... otherwise it takes on a blue-gray tint from Gemmima.  I'll definitely have to line the jacket.

Also, I don't know how much I really like this company.  While they didn't charge me for the second swatch... I'm still kind of concerned that the first one never got to me at all.  I'd hate to order 50 bucks of fabric and it get lost in the mail or whatever.

And really, all I've done since my last post is worked on my wig... which I'm debating on cutting it shorter... 

Then with the magic of photoshop I did some "cutting" on a few of the pics... mostly the center row... just to see how it would look.  I REALLY like the center pic and the center right pic.

And then finally, here's a few of the digital cut pic side by side with their artwork counterparts.  The really tricky thing about Prince D's hair is that the drawings aren't consistent.  I think that's a BIG problem with ALL anime.  

So once I figure out to cut or not to cut, I'll either cut or not cut.

Last on the list is just a few pics of the coat pattern all cut out and read to go.

All I've done is added the sleeve... I may take a little more length off of the bottom hem, but I'm not sure yet.  But I tried it on and it fits well.  So, yeah, I just need to decide on fabric and get that ordered and then I'll be ready move forward. 

Fabric and Finishes


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hair and Makeup and other stuff.

So I've been hacking... I mean cutting on my wig for Prince Diamond... and it needs a little more work but it's starting to get there.

This is really only my second wig that I've done... My first was my original wig for Uranus... but I didn't really like how that turned out and have since replaced that one.

The key to wig cutting, I've learned, is cut little by little and try the wig on A WHOLE LOT.  Because even though I pin my wig to a male wig head, it still looks COMPLETELY different on me than it does on the mannequin.  

But I worked on it just a little more since I took those pics and now I'm really liking it.  

For those of you who are afraid to take on wigs... first off, read World of Wigcraft by Katie Bair.   It is AMAZING.  And once you get your mind to accept that there are very few mistakes that can't be fixed in wigcraft, you'll feel a lot more confident.  

Say, for instance, that you cut the wig to short... is the wig ruined?  Did you just waste $50?  No, you can snag some extra extensions or wig fiber and sew that into the wig to add the length back in.  

So don't be afraid of messing up because you won't get better at wigs until you start working with them. You can do it!  I have faith in you!!!

In other Prince Diamond news, I found the missing pattern pieces for the jacket so I can finish drafting my pattern.  Oh, and I'm STILL waiting on my fabric swatches.  Supposedly they were sent, but I never received them.  I'm guessing the got lost in the mail.  But I contacted the company and they're going to send me more.  SO, when I get those, maybe I can FINALLY order fabric... cause seriously, I need it soon.  I've got a TON of embroidery to get started on.

Oh, and going back to Sailor Uranus... I found this BEAUTIFUL makeup tutorial on L'Oreal's website.

This is SOOO pretty.  I'm going to try to recreate this look for Uranus.  I think the gold shadow will look really nice against the navy in the costume... Also the accent color in the costume is gold, so there's that tie-in.  

Diamonds and Gold Forever!!!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Sally Deconstructed

I made a lot of costumes before I started this blog, so I really have nothing about the processes I went through other than a few pictures I took.  So I've decided that I'd like to revisit some of my pre-blog works and talk a little more in depth about them... 

And I wanted to start with Sally the Ragdoll because I was really pleased with how this one turned out.  

When I approached this costume, I knew immediately that I DIDN'T want to do this.

It's the Sally Sack Dress!!!  If you've ever seen the movie, you'd know that Sally has curves.  

See?  There's a waist and hips and even boobs.  The costume above doesn't flatter at all.  And even when I've seen other Sallys?... Sallies?...  Salllai?... that were hand made, a lot of girls make a straight shift or a straight a-line dress and those don't really flatter their bodies, either.

So... first I needed to find a flattering dress pattern

BAM!  Simplicity 5189.  Look at View D -- the first rendering in the second row.  It's PERFECT.  V-neckline.  Knee length.  Cute flounce sleeves.  And princess seams that will show off a womanly figure and give this dress -- and the wearer -- a shape.

The dress is a 6 panel dress.  1 Center front panel,  2 Side Front panels, 1 center back panel and 2 side back panels.

View B in the bottom right corner would also been good.  You'd just need to shorten the length.

The dress DOES feature a little tie-back thing, that I omitted.  But that's such an easy omission.

Here's where the crazy came in.

Me and Michelle (the wearer and one of the awesomest Sally's ever) spent several hours pinning scraps and remnants of fabric from my stash onto my mannequin -- trying to figure out the best composition.  We wanted to make sure all of the fabrics looked good next to each other... fit into the overall look of the dress... and still managed to keep the dress looking like the reference photos...

P.S.  EVERY SINGLE REFERENCE PICTURE WAS DIFFERENT!!!  Colors, patterns, etc. varied from drawing to drawing and figure to figure. (I relied heavily on figures and statuettes for this project.)

I also sketched out the layout and different sections and, I guess, patchwork, of the dress so I had one solid reference to work from.  I had to take artistic license on some parts. 

So once fabrics were decided, I took several pictures so I'd remember where they all went.  I think I even cut out swatches and glued them to the sketch I drew.

Then I a made the dress as per the pattern from muslin.

Once I had a life size dress to work with, I transferred the patches onto the the muslin.

Looking pretty good, huh?

Well here's where all hell breaks loose. 

I took the dress apart--now each of the 6 panels had the patches drawn on them. So then I had to painstakingly cut each section out of all of the different fabrics for each panel.  

If you look at the pic above you can see that the center front panel is divided into 8 sections -- each of those sections is a different fabric. 

So I had to cut out and sew each section of fabric to make each panel...THEN I could sew the panels together...

Here I have all of the fabric sections pinned together... I did this mostly to make sure it still looked good together and all of the fabrics still worked together.

The other tricky part was when a fabric crossed panels. I had to make sure that the fabrics lined up perfectly so that the two bits of fabric still looked like one.

THE HARDEST PART was the dark blue light blue stripe that wraps around the entire dress--that's all 6 panels.  AND it starts out really wide and narrows to a point as it wraps around from the bottom of the front hem to the back waist.  Oh, AND the stripe was 2 different fabrics that had to be pieced together to look like 1.  It was definitely a challenge.

The rest of it was pretty easy...  just slashing up the bottom hem to look more tattered... And then going in and sewing the giant "stitches" which were done with yarn. 

So, yeah, this was a REALLY cool project. The coolest thing is that I paid nothing to make this dress.  It was all made from fabric in my stash.  If you look closely, there's even a little bit of the fabric I used for Jack on this dress.  

See the final dress HERE.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pokemon: Pikachu

Completed 2008

Items Made: Ears, Tail. 

The tail is made from soft faux fur and measures approx. 30 inches long.  It was made to hang although the fur is probably sturdy enough that the tail could be hooked to the wearer's back and it would remain upright.  The ears are are made from the same fur and filled with poly-fill.  They're really lightweight and attached to a no-slide headband.

Oklahoma: Saloon Girls

Saloon Girls
Created March 2004

Items Made: One-piece bodysuit with detachable skirt.

These costumes were built for my college's production of Oklahoma. Each girl is basically in a onesie made from red crushed velvet and purple glittered velvet.  Over that there is a very large circle skirt with lots and lots of of purple satin ruffles.

I did not build the purple dress in the picture below.

Busy Busy Busy.

So, I've had the past couple of days off and I've been pretty productive.  

First off, I cleaned, organized and rearranged my sewing corner...

Here's the old layout.  I used to have the end of the den...

I separated the area with some sheer curtains hung from the ceiling -- which kind of made a wall.  In front of the curtain wall was a dresser with my machines.  Next to that was a portable clothing rack... on the wall opposite the dresser was my work table... and then opposite the clothes rack and next to my table was a shelf of supplies...

But I've been downsized and had to give up half of my end of the den...

So here's the new layout.

Not much changed now that I look at it...  I just shifted the dresser to the opposite side and moved my table... I also took the rolling rack apart and put it away... Also my dress form is in another room.

Did I mention my sewing area was really messy and that moving all this first required thorough cleaning?  Maybe that's why it seems like a lot more work went into this... haha!!!

I also went through EVERYTHING and organized ALL of it.  

Look at my patterns -- All sorted by garment and category.... fancy.  Below is the first video I ever made so your patterns can look like mine!!!

I also spent a little time working on P. Diamond... haha! That sound's like a rapper name... maybe I should call him P. Dimmy... nnn... maybe not.

Here's pictures!!!

 I traced out my pattern pieces onto plastic painters tarp (my FAVORITE pattern transfer technique) and then I pinned it together and Gemmima is modeling it.  Remember that Gemmima is bigger than me... and has boobs.. so it doesn't quite fit her properly.  

Oh, and get this.  My pattern is MISSING a piece... I don't know if I've lost it or if it just didn't include it... it has no under sleeve piece... so I had to grab the sleeves from another pattern. 

I got tired of tracing so I didn't finish tracing my linings or under sleeve... although, the original pattern only calls for a partial lining and I'm gonna go with a full lining, so I guess I don't have to trace the linings cause they'll be the same as the rest of the jacket... more or less..  

Anyway, off I go to get ready for work tomorrow... even though it feels like I worked today too.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hello, my name is Jason and I'm a t-shirt junkie...

Yes, it's true... and would you believe I have more tees than this?  There's a box of Hard Rock tees and another box or two of other tees kicking around somewhere in my house.  

Oh, and all of them have some kind of nostalgia or video game or anime or tv show on them...

I also have about 12 pairs of jeans... all in various conditions from new-ish... to REALLY worn in.

So yes, I'm a t-shirt junkie... and I'm also addicted to jeans...

But it's okay, I'm going through my 12 step program... except it's maybe not 12... I'm not sure how many it will be...

Step 1:  Admitting you have a problem.  check.

Step 2: Deciding to take a course of action.  check.

Step 3:  

Actually, I'm going to drop this 12 step analogy.  haha!

But I've decided to go through all of my jeans and t-shirts and inspect them... if the t-shirts are getting to worn, or getting holes or whatever, they're going into the t-shirt quilt pile...

I figured this would be a great way to keep my t-shirts... just not wear them... (actually the Hard Rock tees are already in a box slated for quiltage.)

As for the jean... well... I think it's just time to let them go... but first I'll troll the googlewebz for any useful things to do with them... 

There's also a web site called Stylitics


It's kind of a cross between Facebook and a virtual closet.

Anyway, you take pictures or find pictures of all your clothes and you can put them into a database... then you can plan out your outfits, or check out other people's closets.  There's all kinds of informative features like how often you wear stuff.  Or you can track how much you spend on clothes.  Or see what kind of things you tend to buy... (in my case it would be graphic tees and jeans) 

I have an account set up, but I haven't really entered anything into the closet yet.  

T-Shirts and Jeans forever,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


So you know how I've been racking my brain trying to figure out a pattern for Diamond... Look what I had in my pattern library.  I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

Butterick 6844.  It's a clergy robe, but with a little tailoring and a few modifications, I can make it look more like this...

Here's what I have in mind so far...

  • Probably gonna go with view A and possibly keep the button down front.  
  • Extend the collar so it closes at center front.
  • Omit the cuffs on the sleeves.
  • On the back there are 3 pleats, which I'd draft out. 
  • Remove the side pockets
  • Shorten just below the low hip
  • Add in side seam slits like in the second picture
  • I also might add just a tiny bit of a sleeve cap, like in the pic above
  • Add in a full lining since the pattern only has a partial lining.

That sounds like a lot, but actually all of those things are pretty simple modifications.

I also took advantage of EpicCosplay.com's Black Friday Sale and picked up this.

It's much longer than I need but that will give my room to play around with possible styles.  This is the Theia wig in Ice Purple.

The manga art books show Diamond's hair as white while the anime shows it as light blue... which is odd because his clothes are purple and white and all of the other villains in that group have hair that matches their clothes/name.  

So I opted for a light cool purple shade.  

I also ordered fabric swatches so I can pick out a jacket fabric... 

I've mentioned this before but this is a flocked taffeta.  They had two colors that were options... White/White and Silver/White so I ordered swatches of both... If I'm not mistaken, the pic below looks to be made out of a similar fabric and it's awesome.

So, that's where I am on this... While I wait for fabrics and wigs to come in, I'll start drafting the patterns.

Till Next Time


Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Nightmare Before Christmas: Sally the Ragdoll

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Sally the Ragdoll
 Created March 2011
Items Made: Dress

The silhouette of the dress is simple... just an a-line dress with flounce sleeves.  Most Sally costumes are straight a-lines which neglect her curvy figure so I chose a pattern with princess seams to not do that.

What's really cool about this dress is that it was made entirely from scraps and remnants I had in my fabric stash.

The rest of the dress was tricky.  I spent about 2 hours playing with fabrics on the mannequin to get the placements of each fabric to look good with each of the surrounding fabrics.

Then each panel of the dress had to be assembled from the designated fabrics... Finally the panels were sewn together like normal.... it was kind of like making a quilt.  Although the chunk of Dark Blue/Light Blue stripe was really hard because it was two different fabrics that had to be pieced together and it wrapped around several of the panels. 

But I absolutely love the final product.  It turned out beautiful and I'm very proud of it. 

(P.S. My friend Michelle originally had long black hair with red chunks... which suited Sally fine.  Then she cut off her hair and went blonde, so she had to get a wig to wear which you see in the first pic.  Also, the stitches on her skin in the last pic were drawn in Photoshop because the makeup was fading off.)

3rd place. Animation Category. All-Con Dallas Costume Competition. 2011

 4th place. Nightmare Before Christmas Party. The Elysium. Austin, TX. 2011 -- but there was no prize awarded so I don't know if it counts.


The Nightmare Before Christmas: Jack Skellington

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Jack Skellington
Created October 2009

Items Made: Jacket, Trousers, Tie.

A LOT went into the costume.  It was one that I've wanted to make forever but I could never find a fabric that I thought suitable... and I really didn't want to hand paint all of those pinstripes onto every piece of fabric. 

Luckily I came across this awesome uneven pinstripe in Dark Charcoal from an online fabric store.  It was on clearance and I bought all they had... 11 yards.

The base of the pattern came from a Burda pattern for a women's suit/tuxedo.  It took a lot of altering to change the shape from a normal woman's figure to a man trying to emulate that of a disproportionate skeleton puppet.  I also had to change the collar from a shawl collar to notched collar.  Also the tails took a bit of work to make look tattered but tailored all at the same time. 

The tie uses stiff felt for the wings and the bat head brooch is made from Sculpty which has been painted.

The glove and mask were purchased from a Halloween store.  After a few events, I decided I hate the mask.  It's vinyl and it's hard to breathe while wearing it.  Also the vision is extremely limited.  And it's never been round.  It's always been kind of lumpy.  I've even tried to heat the vinyl and reshape it to no avail.

 The black part of the mask where the eye sockets are was actually solid vinyl painted black.  There were small holes cut for a wearer to see through and there was some thin black fabric that basically disappeared anytime someone used a flash and you could see my eyes.  Eventually, I cut out the entire eye socket and covered the larger holes with 2 layers of black chiffon... I have more range of visibility, but when the light is dim it's still hard to see. 

I'm currently working on building my own mask.  And I'm planning on making new hands and a new tie.

Still... It is THE BEST costume ever. IMO.


3rd place. Animation Category. All-Con Dallas Costume Competition 2011
2nd place. Nightmare Before Christmas Party at the Elysium. Austin, TX 2011

New Mask WIP

Naruto: Sexy Jutsuu Naruto

Sexy no Jutsuu Version
Created November 2007

Items Made: Jacket, Trousers.

This costume is a modified version of Naruto's traditional outfit. Since we were doing Naruto's female persona, the cosplayer wanted to make the design ultra feminine. So we went with a more modern, feminine cut trouser and loose cropped jacket.

Both the trousers and the jacket are made from stretch corduroy in slightly muted/darker colors. The stretch allows the costume to be ultra comfy while the corduroy gives it a nice softness.

 The collar was knitted on a knitting machine then sewn into the jacket.  The patches were painted with glitter fabric paint -- again adding a touch of femininity to the costume.  Lastly, I added a couple of decorative frog buttons on the trousers for a bit of whimsy -- plus the also tie in to Naruto's summoning ability.