Tuesday, 29 October 2019

AvestaCon 2019 report

I managed to hardly take any photos at AvestaCon, but I got the chance to do some photoshoots with red island media and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you later on.

Anyway me and Tom set off to Avesta on Friday and arrived there by lunch. Tom has been working really hard all year with AvestaCon, since we had decided that the Cosplay Dalarna network should be in charge of all cosplay related things. We had decided that instead of having a crafting corner we should have an actual exhibit to show off the variety of cosplay projects in our group.

AvestaCon is held in Verket, an old iron foundry and the main area is divided into several smaller rooms. Cosplay Dalarna had one of the rooms, and in one of the corners Wolfdog Cosplay also set up a 3d printer to show off what you can do with that.

I had brought my Melisandre costume for display, but managed to forget the necklace. That's when we came up with the idea of printing photos of us in our costumes to show what they look like when worn.

On Saturday I wore my x-wing pilot, so then my Ravenclaw outfit was on display. I wore the pilot because we did an actual troop with the Nordic Legions. It was me, two stormtroopers from Västerås, Alexandra as Leia and Ann-Sofie as Tintin. AvestaCon is the most local con so it was also fun meeting up with friends who usually don't see me in costume.

Photo from my friend Niklas and his son. Brita (Brutus Cosplay) in the background as Fiddlesticks from League of Legends
On Saturday Cosplay Dalarna also organised the Dalecarlia Championships in Cosplay.

Top 3 in the Cosplay Competition
After the cosplay competition there wasn't much going on, but the convention was still open, so we rigged up some PlayStation SingStar and I might have been the most enthusiastic about singing a lot of old pop songs.

On Sunday I wore my Ravenclaw outfit, first as a regular student and later as Luna Lovegood, so the X-wing costume went on display.

It was nice sitting and chilling in our sofa the sofa in the cosplay exhibit.

Niclas did some workshops with helping children make magic wands of chopsticks and worbla, so I made one of myself, so I don't have to always use Luna's wand. I just need to prime and paint it.

The con ended on Sunday with a scrapheap cosplay contest, where teams of up to four people could raid a load of trash and ten had 30 minutes to create a cosplay. Me and Tom hosted and judged it, together with Ann-Sofie.

The entries in the scrapheap cosplay contest, photo by woodsling

This was so much fun to watch, but really hard to judge. I think everyone taking part, or watching the contest had a great time. Then it was time to pack up everything and get home. It was an exhausting weekend, like it is when you are helping out with organizing stuff. AvestaCon is still a new con and still needs to solve some things, but overall it was a success compared to the previous year and there were more visitors as well. It still has a lot of potential to grow though.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

A fun dress for work

This spring a friend of mine who is in a bunch of sewing FB groups told me about a limited sale of a special printed fabric, and when I saw the fabric I knew that I to be in on it. It took me a while, but this is the finished dress that I made from the fabric.

I fell love in the fabric because of the symbols and the colour. While most people see this symbol as a female sign

it's also the old chemical sign for copper. There is a connection since it was originally a symbol for the love godess Afrodite or Venus, and according to Greek/Roman mythology she was connected to the island of Cyprus, and on Cyprus there were a lot of copper mines. Afrodite/Venus was early on connected with copper, in fact the word copper comes from latin "cuprum" meaning metall from Cyprus. The male sign is likewise also the sign for the war good Ares/Mars and iron.

I work at Falu Gruva - an historical copper mine, even if there are a lot of other stuff there as well, and a UNESCO world heritage site. The mine has used the symbol since at least the 17th century and it can also be found in the Falun coat of arms. This is the current logo for the Falun mine.

The orange and navy colours were also a reason why I liked the fabric. We use a lot of orange in our graphic profile, and the combination of orange and blue is also used in the traditional folk costume of Falun (Stora Kopparberg). As a feminist I also think it's fun to play around with the symbol, and I'm definitely aware that for most people it doesn't mean copper.

Anyway it took me a while to come up with a pattern for the dress. I had a limited amount of fabric and I was also a bit bored with my standard jersey dress pattern. In the end I found the pattern company Simple Sew patterns and decided to order some patterns from them. For this dress I chose the Lena wrap dress, which is actually a faux wrap dress and not a full wrap dress.

When I had cut out the patterns I realized that I didn't have enough fabric for it, but I found a scrap piece of blue jersey from my "I heart SW-dress" and a really thin piece of jersey from my fandom fashion Enfys that I could use for a lining. I used the blue fabric for the waist band and I had to cut the sleeves in half, with one part of the printed fabric and one in the blue, to get a full sleeve. I think that gave it a fun detail though. I also chose to skip the bottom of the skirt and instead I simply cut out the skirt and the bottom as one piece. The skirt is quite big though and takes up a lot of fabric, but if you have enough fabric you get a nice swirly skirt.

The pattern was a real joy to work with. It says that the skill level is adventurous beginner, and I thought it was a very easy pattern to use. One should note that the lining pieces are exactly the same as the outer fabric pieces so I chose not to cut them out and instead just used the outer fabric pattern pieces for the lining as well. All the markings are clearly marked, and there are not a lot of them either. The instructions are well illustrated, the one thing that's not in the pattern itself is the setting of the sleeves, but there it says that if you are unsure about setting sleeves you should go to their video instructions online. I also like that you had all the sizes in one pattern envelope, you don't have to wonder if you should buy the plus size or regular pattern.

The pattern ended up a bit big in the bust for me, but that's not uncommon for wrap dresses. My bust simply is proportionally a bit too small for my size. When I wear the dress for work I will have to put a safety pin or some tacking stitches or else it might be too revealing

This is a pattern that  can definitely recommend and I look forward to trying out more patterns from Simply Sew.

The dress with flash

Thursday, 10 October 2019

HSM19 Challenge 10 - details, another smocked apron

It's funny I think I made my first smocked apron for the October HSM18 challenge, and now it's time again. I think a big reason is that I enjoy sitting in front of the TV on a dark evening and a smocked apron is just the right size to work with in the sofa. October is also a bit of a calm month after the summer costume season, but before any Christmas stress or other things pick up, perfect for some smocking.

This time I didn't do an apron for myself though. This is for a friend, who due to physical issues can't handsew. She's going to help me with some other things, so it will be an exchange of services. It also means that I had to keep proper track of how much money I spent and how much time it took.

For the fabric I used a linen from Handelsgillet.se which is unbleached and has the feel of being handwoven. I have bought more of it to make a shift for a working woman for myself out of it. For the apron I bought one meter, and then I cut out strips off the sides to create the waistband, but otherwise I use the full width of the fabric.

I started the project on a really cozy crafting evening at a friend's place. Where there were four of us sitting in a wooden loft and made 16th century stuff.

I started with hemming the bottom and the side of the apron, and then it was time to make the gathering stitches. I use a regular sewing thread in a visible colour for the gathering stitches. You actually don't need to be too fuzzy about the exact measurments for the stitches, but they need to be equal.

I prefer to make the rows of gathering stitches fairly tight horizontally, because then I can use the gathering threads as guidelines when working the smocking stitches. I usually do six rows, and I tie the gathering threads together in pairs, since that makes it easier to pull them later on.

Here is the fabric with the gathering threads pulled together.

Now it's time for the smocking itself. I start at the top gathering thread, hold folds 1 and 2 together and do two to three backstitches to sew them together. Then I go to gathering thread number 3 and 5 and do the same thing. It usually looks a bit wonky at the start, but it will look better with more rows done. 

On the way back up you hold fold 2 and 3 and make stitches at the 6, 4 and 2 gathering threads. The aim is to get rows of altrnating stitches that will make up the honeycome pattern.

Once you have gone the full width of the fabric remove the gathering threads and decided how wide you want the apron to be. The honeycome smocking is quite elastic so it's easy to adjust the size. 

 The last thing to th finished apron is to add a waistband. It's a simple folded band, from strips of the same fabric. I like making the waistband extra long so that I can tie it in the front, which is a lesson I learnt when I had my shoulder problem and lost a lot of my mobility and simply couldn't tie anything behind my back.

As for details, the theme of the challenge. Since this apron wasn't for my personal use I really took the time to be careful with the stitches. I'm happy with the smocking, but I'm even more satisfied with what you can't see. I managed to make the hems invisible from the right side, and the waistband is sewn together with tiny slip stitches.

Invisible hem

The slipstitched waistband

What the item is: a smocked apron
How it fits the challenge: All the tiny seams that are totally invisible, until you get really, really close
Material: 1 m of unbleached linen
Pattern: My own
Year: smocked aprons were used in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.
Notions: unbleached linen thread and wax for the thread
How historically accurate is it? As far as my knowledge this is as close as you can get the materials and patterns of the time, but since I'm not sure I put it at 85%
Hours to complete: 15
First worn: Not yet
Total cost: $22