Monday, 29 October 2018

A pygmy puff from Harry Potter

As an accesory for my Harry Potter costumes I decided to make a pygmy puff. The pygmy puff is an animal that's basically just there to be cute and fluffy.

Official HP pygmy puff toys
When I saw a Christmas ornament in a store, for less than $2 I decided that I could probably make it into my own pygmy puff. The ornament was quite small compared to the official toys, so I'm guessing that my pygmy puff counts as a miniature pygmy puff. But it was really pink and fluffy.

I first cut out a circle in fosshape.

I made some gathering stitches in the fosshape and tightened them to make a rounded shape, I then heated the fosshape with a heatgun to harden it. The fosshape shrinks a bit when heated so you need to take that into account.

I used the same method to make a smaller rounded shape. This one was heated and stuck to the bigger shape as a snout, only using the glue that's in the fosshape itself. The ears were small wedges that were sewed on to the fosshape before heating it and the snout to make the whole face hard.

I cut out some small pieces to act as paws and painted it all in pinkish brown. I then sewed the face and the paws on to the main body. This was possible since the ornament was also soft. The thread that I used for sewing is hiddend among all the fluff.

Finally I glued a pair of eyes on to the face, where I had put the stitches that I used to attached the face. So the stitches are hiddend under the eyes. I used hotglue for that, since the surface of the face is quite uneven and I wanted a glue that smoothed that out.

I've kept the ribbon that the ornament hangs on. That way I can keep the ribbon as a strap and hold the pygmy puff in the hand and shake it as i it's moving, without throwing it away.

I've named it "Rosie the pygmy puff". Since "rosa" is the Swedish word for pink.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

I heart Star Wars dress

This summer I picked up a piece of Star Wars knit fabric in the fabric store in Mora. It wasn't enough to make a whole dress, so I also picked up some solid navy knit fabric to go with it. This week I felt it was time to make something out of them.

The boring thing with making clothes is to cut out the pattern and then the fabric. By now though I have a standard pattern that I can then tweak to make different dresses. My standard pattern was picked up many years ago from the sewing magazine Ottobre. It is made for a woven fabric, but if I make it in a knit fabric I only need to eliminate the zipper in the back. What I really like with this pattern is that the bust is shaped with to big darts, and that makes it very flattering for my figure.

I made the bodice out of the Star Wars fabric and the skirt out of the navy knit. I sew on a regular sewing machine, using the overlock stitch that is both a zigzag and straight stitch. For the  darts and hems I use a regular straight stitch. It is necessary to stabilize the edges of the knit fabric with the overlock stitch, or go over them with a zigzag afterwards, or seam allowances will just roll up and look like sausages.

All my dresses end up in this stage. I have made the bodice and decided on the neckline. The original pattern has a much deeper neckline, but I just filled it in. This skirt is a long piece of fabric that has been gathered and attached to the skirt. Variations on the skirt is how much fabric I use, the original pattern is a quite tight skirt with just two pleats in front and back for shaping, and if I gather or pleat it to the bodice. I had planned on an even wider skirt, but felt that it would be too heavy and pull to much on the bodice. If it had been a woven bodice I could have had more fun with a big, twirly skirt.

Since I had changed the neckline compared to the original pattern I couldn't use its neck facing. I have learnt through the years that the neck opening really needs a facing, otherwise it will look wonky.

To make a new facing I simply put the facing fabric on top of the bodice and traces the neck opening. It's an easy way to make sure that you always get a perfect facing.

The sleeves are another way of making a lot of variations to the dress. The sleeve pattern I'm using is a standard sleeve that I know fit my big upper arms, and by sheer luck t fits perfectly with this bodice pattern. Sometimes I make the sleeve even wider, and I vary the length quite a lot. For this dress I made elbow length sleeves, simply because that was how much fabric I had left. After cutting out the bodice and the sleeves I just had scraps of fabric left. I wanted to add something more to the skirt though.

What I did was to find my biggest heartshaped cookie cutters and use them as a pattern to cut out a bunch of hearts with motifs from the Star Wars fabric to use as applications. I sewed them on to the skirt using a small and tight zigzag stitch.

The finished dress.

I wore the dress yesterday to a Lord of the Rings-concert and I got quite a few compliments from random people in the crowd.

All in all I can make a dress like this in the afternoon, the most time consuming thing was to sew on the hearts. It would take longer to make it in a woven fabric, but I like working with knit fabrics just because it's easy and they are forgiving when it comes to fitting.

Friday, 12 October 2018

HSM challenge 10 - my smocked apron

The HSM challenge for October is fabric manipulation - "Take fabric to the next level with any kind of historical embellishment or manipulation: smocking, shirring, embroidering, beading, pinking, ruching, printing, painting, dyeing etc." This was one of the challenges I was sure what I would do, already when I saw the challenges for the year. A very common accessory during the late Middle Ages and early 16th century was the smocked apron.

Of course I wanted a smocked apron for my 1520's outfit, and it would work for the whole 15th century as well. 

I used a length of unbleached linen. I started with hemming the sides, and then I smocked the top. I didn't mar out where I wanted the pleats to be, but instead I free-handed them, making sure that the gathering stitches were quite even by eye. I used 8 rows of gathering stitches.

I smocked the top with honeycomb smocking. To be honest I would have liked the pattern to be larger, this is perfect for a shift, apparently that's what my eye is calibrated to.

This is the back of the top.

When I had finished the smocking I made a long strip of double folded linen fabric and sewed the apron to it. I ended with hemming the bottom of the apron. That was a good thing. The smocking had also affected the length of the fabric. I had first planned to make a quite large hem, but I ended up with just double folding the fabric and do a similar hem to the sides.

It's a nice lightweight apron, and I am very happy with how the smocking turned out, even if it is a bit small. One thing I have done differently from the aprons that I have seen is that I have made the ribbons to tie it with so long that I can tie them on the front. I did it because my stiff shoulder makes it hard for me to work behind my back, now I can tie it a lot easier compared to my other apron with shorter ribbons.

The Challenge: 10 - fabric manipulation
Material: 1,5 m of unbleached linen
Pattern:  My own, after historical images
Year: 15th-16th century
Notions: waxed linen thread
How historically accurate is it? It's based on historical images and totally handsewn with appropriate materials, but the smocking pattern is a bit too large and I don't have any evidence for the long ribbons. I would say 75%
Hours to complete: 10 hours
First worn: I brought it to work on an SCA event first weekend of October and I had planned to wear it to the evening feast, but I didn't finish it due to the extra long ribbons, so I haven't worn it yet.
Total cost: Everything was from my stash, but bought new it would have cost around $15.

Monday, 8 October 2018

Introducing Enfys Nest for Star Wars Celebration

It is time to reveal my main project for Star Wars Celebration. This will be a big and expensive project, but I'm hoping to have it all done for Celebration in April.

So who is Enfys Nest? It's a character from the new Solo film, that was released in May. And she's really cool.

This is definitely not my usual kind of costume project, but it will be fun to make something different.

Thankfully by the time I saw the film a lot of people had already researched the costume for months, so there is a lot of information out there, and a lot of files if you want to 3D-print the things needed.

Here is my breakdown, but for a more detailed description I recommend visiting the Rebel Legion forums, or the Enfys Nest facebook group.

Shoes - Demobaza Moon Rovers with added greeblies. The Moon Rovers are expensive (€413 last I checked) so I will start off with modifying a cheaper hight top sneaker. Greeblies can be 3D-printed.

Jumpsuit - brown waxed cotton with inserts of black fabric. There are a lot of complicated seams on the jumpsuit. I will use my standard jumpsuit pattern and modify it, I have ordered the waxed cotton.

Knee pads -

Leg flaps - a long strip of canvas with painted markings, rolled around a dowel.

Belt - with leather with topstitching and some accents in other colours.

Chest piece - the box and "beads" can be 3D-printed, the "beads" are also available as resin casts on Etsy. I will need to make the teeth and bone details.

Cape - a wool cape with a orange-red lining, and some strips of other colours in the lining. The fur is a bison hide, but I will look for suitble fake furs.

Arm shields - also available as 3D files, but they don't look too complicated to cut out from plastic sheets.

Gloves - tac 2 gloves, modified.

Helmet - I have preordered a resin cast of the helmet.

Staff - available as 3D-files.

That's the breakdown. This is going to be an expensive costume, since there are so many parts that I can't do mysef, so I will try and take it slowly and add piece by piece and hopefully I can bring it with me for Celebration, otherwise she will have to wait for NärCon 2019.