Sleepless: Weekend

I really shouldn’t tell untruths about my sacred crafting time.

I really only spent one day out of a four-day weekend working on our Sleepless costumes, but progress was made. Since we’ll be heading out a ren faire this weekend, and the kiddos have outgrown all of their acceptable garb, I’ve put my Lady Pyppenia on hold again.

Much to his dismay, he’s not getting the sword.

Last week’s sewing hours were used on my [not a] baby’s guard ensemble–tunic, pants, and hat. The slouchy pants were traced from a pair of sweggings (slim fit sweatpants, masquerading as jeans), and are made from some sort of jersey that I grabbed at Jomar years ago. They’re thin and super soft, and he loves them already. The hat is purple satin with an interfaced lavender cotton band–nothing exciting, but it looks adorable with his curls. The lavender tunic is the last of some broadcloth that I’d originally used for Her Little Highness’ Tudor-ish Rapunzel gown. The basic shape was traced from a football jersey, then length and width were added to the bottom. I rough cut an old dance skirt into bias strips for the trim, and used a remnant of goldenrod cotton for the Sleepless applique.

I love little costumes!

One day, I’ll firm up my process for appliques, but today is not that day. I had planned to use Silhouette’s Trace functionality on a photo of the guard logo, but it turns out that this art style, while gorgeous, is absolutely not conducive to copying. Good to know. In the end, I just stacked a bunch of preset shapes together to make the outline. I ironed Silhouette brand fabric stabilizer to the cotton, sent it to the cutting machine, realized that I was supposed to add the EZ-Steam, painstakingly cut out the EZ-Steam against the fabric, then ironed the piece onto the tunic. I used a 2.5” stitch to secure the applique to the tunic, then did a little free-arm embroidery to add the details.

I, too, feel like I’m being stabbed through the eye while I’m up late sewing, rather than sleeping.
Stupid applique…

Because he’s four years old and will not accept “no” in any form, the Princeling has requested ears and a tail, like Bini, to go with his outfit. In an effort to avoid spending a stupid amount of money on a small amount of faux fur, I plan to sacrifice a stuffed toy. I’m hunting an unknown prey through our house, and I feel completely justified. After I skin the sacrifice, I’ll stitch it’s soft hide into fox-like ears and a tail, and use magnets to attach them so that I don’t have to ruin my [hours and hours of mostly slapdash handi-] work by adding buttonholes or other attachment points. The tail will also be attached to his belt. The ear magnets will probably need a headband, hidden under the hat. Ugh. This is why I don’t work with kids…for them, sure, but not with them.

Comic Bini is regal and loyal, I see why the Princeling wants to be like him.
My commandeered Bini prop will not be harmed in this culling.

The shining gem of the last few days was the Sleepless brooch for the Husband. Same as the applique, I merged a bunch of shapes in 123D Design and ran a test print. I don’t know why I’m surprised when my 3D prints work. I really should have more faith in my ability to learn from YouTube. The only change it needed was to enlarge the slots for the pins on the back. I’m waiting for a few printer upgrades to run the piece in gold colored filament, but they should be done in the next month.

Stackin’ shapes
Pullin’ shapes
Printin’ shapes

Tonight, I’m going on a resource hunt through the house for the fur and some kid-sized undershirts, then I’ll start on HLH’s gown. As I’m sure you can imagine, their room is a wonderland of toys and cast-off costumes. Hopefully, I’ll emerge with the quest items so that I can avoid another Prime & Pray con-crunch over the next four days.



Repairs and Commissions

I’ve taken a week to help out a friend with some unfortunate costume mishaps–poorly sized purchases, through no direct fault of his own. My custom costume experience is limited to a corset that I ordered years ago from a trusted vendor, with recommendations and an appropriate price tag. It was beautiful and I still wear it as often as possible. While this post isn’t going to harp on commission horror stories, it will make note of the projects that took me away from my precious green beauty.

Due to most commissions being super secret upon pain of death by sewing needles, here’s a pic of my custom corset from MayFaire Moon instead.

Last weekend, I traveled a bit to do some repairs for a cosplay buddy. I did a little tailoring, fastener replacement, stitching up holes–that sort of thing. In the course of my work, he mentioned some fitting difficulty with internationally sourced anime costumes that he’d purchased. My buddy is a big dude. The jumpsuits that he ordered were short enough to fit me perfectly. I’m not quite 5’2″. I offered to work a little magic to get the pieces into fitting shape, and gladly accepted a bit of monetary compensation in exchange.

Non-sponsored break:

I like to say that I don’t do commission work. I can count on one hand the number of appropriately paid custom jobs I’ve done. Costuming is a hobby for me, and I intend to keep it that way until life circumstances persuade me to change my mind. I prefer to make costumes for myself and my cute little family. My sewing time is limited and precious, and I don’t even like making curtains, so accepting a commission takes a fair amount of thought on my part.

That said…

The man needed fitting pants. Upon further inspection, I realized that letting out the shoulders and adding a little fabric in the seams wasn’t gonna work. I resolved to throw together some replacements, and we went to the fabric store for supplies.

At home, I do my shopping in my own fabric stash, but Gaffney Fabrics was a glorious alternative.

I learned from making costumes for my babies that tracing an existing garment is the easiest way to create a quick piece…especially during my late night sewing sessions. I turned the jumpsuits inside out with one leg inside of the other. Using a properly fitted costume of his, I marked the shoulders, crotch, and hem on the new fabric. Then, I put the “bad” jumpsuits on the new fabric and did a rough trace of the front and back pieces in chalk, moving the pieces to align with the new shoulder, crotch, and hem lines. I cut the sections out and stitched them up. As any good sewist should, I cannibalized the originals for notions–zippers and elastic.

This is only a fraction of the disaster that is my work space. You can see some of the super secret supplies on the table. And no, that is not my regular iron–it’s strictly for non-fabric heat jobs.

The new items took me longer than I’d originally allotted because I didn’t want to deliver a garment with unfinished edges and seams. I took the time to serge, add facings, and top-stitch as necessary because I want to be proud of every item that goes out of my studio door. Most importantly, I didn’t fuck up the zipper installation and I’m really bloody impressed with myself. I fucking hate zippers.

This is the midsection of a male suit form that a designer friend gave me. What’s that he’s wearing? It looks like a [thing I can’t talk about because of the NDA]!
This weekend, I’ll get back to our Sleepless costumes–the kids have agreed to take on the roles of lady-in-waiting and squire, so I’ll be jumping around in the next few posts. Thanks for reading!