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'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.

A Man For All Seasons: Norfolk

A Man For All Seasons
Created March 2005
Items Made: Doublet, Pantaloons, Cloak.

This was made for a college theatre production set in Europe during the reign of Henry VIII. So I got to make a doublet and some pumpkin pants.  It's all made from great upholstery fabrics and the cloak is lined in gold faux silk.  I wish I remembered all the pattern numbers that I used but I think they're out of print.
Actually, this costume is was never finished. The costume crew that semester was very small (3-4 people) so we ran out of time and the show opened before any of the costumes could be finished out with trims and such.  
It's still a lovely costume... just kind of plain.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tutorial: Prince Diamond Brooch

Alright, so now that I’ve successfully finished 2 of these lovelies, I can share the step by step process with you.  I made sure to take lots of pictures and write down everything I did as I made the first brooch, so that when I started making the second, it would look exactly the same.  So here we go.

First the supplies... In no particular order... (by the way, this is the stuff I used, feel free to modify it as needed)

A. Acrylic crystal teardrop beads (you can use real crystal also, I just couldn’t find them)
B. Round glass seed beads in Gold
C. Scissors or Wire Cutters.
D. 2 3/4” Diamond -- This is a glass paperweight, but there are also acrylic versions used for wedding tablescapes.
E. 28 Gauge jewelry wire in gold -- This isn’t real gold wire because that’d kind of be a waste of money as the wire isn’t seen.
F. Pliers -- I just used needle nose pliers because I don’t have the kind for making jewelry.

First measure out a length of wire just a little smaller than the face of your stone.  You're making a circle and want it to be small enough to prevent the diamond from passing through it... aka... falling out.  Also add a few inches of wire to either end to make the next few steps easier.

Start adding your beads until you have enough to make your circle.  For me it was 86 beads.

Next, thread one of your loose ends of wire through 5 or 6 of the beads on the opposite end of the wire. Pull the wires until almost all of the empty space is gone... you want to leave a tiny bit though -- about the space of 3 beads.   Check your circle to your diamond once more to make sure it doesn't fall through.

Now coil the ends of the wire around the circle a few times and trim of the excess.  

When it's done, the coiled wire blends right into the beads and you can't tell it's there.  I've drawn arrows to point out the wire ends.

Here's my ring sitting on the face of my diamond.  It's JUST small enough to keep the diamond in place but still shows as much of the face as possible.

Now cut 8 lengths of wire about 7"-8" long and fold them in half.  You can use your pliers to get a good bend at the fold but don't crimp it closed.  

Next you're going to link those wires around your ring -- spacing them evenly.  Work the folded wires in between the beads of the ring.  It'll look like a spider or the spokes of a wheel.

Then add a single bead over each set of wires.  Both wires should be threaded through the bead.

 Next, starting anywhere, take 1 wire from two adjacent wires and add 7 beads to each.

 Then thread both wires through a single bead.

Slide the single bead all the way down.  ( You can also pull on the wires and bend them to keep the beads tight. )  Next, take one of the free wires from the section you just worked and one wire from the spoke next to it and repeat the process.

Continue working your way around.

When you're done, you'll  have what looks like a little flower, or a little crown.

 Now you're ready for row 2.  This time we're going to use 6 beads on each wire and then join the two.

Continue working your way around.

You'll also need to be careful to keep you left side wires on the left and the rights on the right.  This will help when you're trying to tighten up the beads.

Now you'll need to set your diamond in and start your 3rd cycle.  This one is 3 beads on each wire then join the wires.

Finally, your last cycle is 2 beads then join.  

Once you've done that gather all of your wires and twist them together.  You can use you're pliers to tighten the twist but be careful not to go crazy -- you might break the wire or the beads.

After it's all twisted together, I used the wire cutters on my pliers to trim off most of the excess wire. 

 Coil around and shape what's left to where it wasn't sharp or scratchy or pokey -- you may need to trim off more of the twisted wires.

Lastly, grab a length of wire and thread it through your drop crystal.  

 I folded the wire and thread it through a few more beads.  

 Then just wrap the wire around one of the "spokes"  a few times and trim away the excess. 

There you have it.  Really cool brooches made with crazy big diamonds and lots of pretty beads.  To attach these I'm planning to sew these on to the garment itself.  I believe the wire will be strong enough to hold the diamond in place.  It'll also give me something to sew the thread around.