A friend said she wanted to look more like Morgana, and took the original photo of herself at the Festival of Legends in Chapel Hill. I tweaked it for her, to look more like a specific character photo.
Meeting new people and running into current friends at like-minded festivals is always fun, but sometimes not as much fun as finding the photos later. I’ve known Paul Cory through con circles and other people, and I always love his work. He’s taken a few shots of me that I adore, so I’m a little biased. He’s always around North Carolina sci-fi and fantasy conventions, and sells sessions for reasonable fees.
I also wanted to show off the suede cloak.
About 2 weeks ago, that cloak started out as six pieces of soft pigskin suede. I used every single bit of it, with only tiny scraps left over. The cloak is patterned roughly after a fleece version that a company in UK sells. Their cloaks look hand-serged, and nice and full and flowy. My friend wanted one that was real leather suede, and through fortunate timing, we found a pile of it on sale at our local Tandy Leather store. We inspected and unrolled around 10 pieces and chose six that were closest matched in tone and color. I gleefully took them home, petted them, then hung them vertically to let the skins stretch naturally for a few days. I knew the cloak was going to be heavy, and it would stretch on its’ own and possibly pull any seams I had done if I didn’t let them hang first and pre-stretch.
I made one mockup of muslin following a simplicity pattern. We weren’t totally happy with the results, so I cut off the sleeves and skirt, and made a new bodice using McCall’s ‘snow white’ pattern. The sleeve holes were better fitted for movement, and I used the bodice pattern pieces 1-4 and the upper arm, cut in half along the upper curve, then cut the pieces so the top curved in and removed the need for any sleeve ease. You really don’t ever want to try to ease a leather sleeve. This bodice fit better under the arms and in front, and I was able to fit a hood to it and the existing bell sleeves and skirt with no problem.
The biggest change ended up being the fullness of the coat. The cloth mock-up had 8 panels, but we reduced it to 6, because a leather coat didn’t have to be as full as the dress pattern, and we would have had to buy another hide to fill it out.
The suede sewed together like a dream. I really didn’t expect it to just zip through my machine so well, even using my non-digital ‘heavy duty’ machine (I also own a digital machine and 2 sergers, and an embroidery machine). It was thick, but easy to work with, no worse than any other dense, slightly stretchy fabric. My machine does worse with vinyl and breaks more needles.
I learned something important while stitching embroidery on real leather suede. The sewing needle gets hot, very fast. I could only embroider around 6 inches at a time, and that was pressing my luck. I had to clean the needle regularly with nail polish remover. When it overheats, it melts the suede and the needle becomes sticky with seared animal proteins. The thread broke often, but not in ways that hurt the leather, and the Coats embroidery thread is working well so far. The leather is backed with non-fusible interfacing, then the extra was cut away after stitching. It took me 8 hours of sewing to embroider the middle back, sleeve back and shoulders. It will probably take me another 12 to do the bottom edges and front. Fortunately, I found that I can prop open my laptop and have re-runs of Buffy running on Amazon Prime. I have to stop often to clean and let the needle cool off every five minutes anyway, so it was a nice distraction.
I’ve only used about 3-4 leather needles so far, which is pretty good, considering. I have more embroidering to do on the cloak, but I got as much done as I promised I could within a 2 week period. My customer is thrilled with her product.
A few months ago, a friend got me into an online game called “Pony Island”. One of the things you can do with ponies is ‘tattoo’ them with your own images, either with a solid background or even with an alpha, but only in certain boxes. All the ponies have just one template per male/female/breed, so the image areas are a little limited. Each pony gets 3 ‘slots’ or tiny boxes that run together where images can be added to the skin.
I went a little crazy and made a bunch of Tat’s for my own ponies and sold other ones. These are my favorites. The top three I won a contest with the designs for “Seasons”
The ponies display pretty small, only around 250×250, and the tattoo area is only on the body in the middle of that square. I’ve had fun harkening back to my low-poly 3D days with small textures sizes. Some ponies get even less area than others because their wings take up so much space of the display area.
All were done in Photoshop. All pony tattoos were made from scratch and saved as .png’s – game rules prevent any photos or photo derivatives from being used, so everything must be painted by hand. Image references are allowed, but nothing can be directly copied.
I’m calling this ‘done’. There may be a few other things I could do, but I’m pretty happy with it.
Saturday photo from Animazement of myself as Imp Midna and my good friend Mary as Wolf Link. This weekend was amazing and I love seeing my friends and hanging out with them in and out of epic costume time. The reactions I got were beyond wonderful and much photo mobbing was had.
The glow on my suit is more reflective tape. I haven’t seen any other Midna’s do it, and I’m looking forward to a real photoshoot (SOON) with my puppy in more convincing surroundings. The hair is a giant fleece ponytail that I gradient dyed. I really love the effect and am just completely thrilled with how it came out. I may replace it with a (lot of) real wigs bundled together but I kinda like it just the way it is.
I’m sorting out my schedule leading up to Animazement 2013, but I have a number of costume commissions to finish, including at least one of my own projects. Some time at the end of June, I’ll be starting on my Twilight Princess Zelda.
I feel like I’m spending all my free time sewing, but I’m really enjoying it. It gets me away from computers. If it paid well enough, I’d just sew all day instead. One commission is done, with 3 more to finish, and one stuffed animal before June 10th.
In snatches of free time, I’m playing the new Tomb Raider on PS3. It’s really quite fun, and satisfies my urge to Explore All The Things. I’m happy there appear to be no zombies in the game. I never finished the first uncharted due to unexpected super fast monster zombies. And the fact the area I’m in you have to start over from the beginning of a ten minute run when you die. I could jack it down to ‘easy’ I suppose and try to finish it that way.
I forgot I made these a few months ago!
I’m working on a couple of new commissions, so that’s exciting. I’ll have new photos to add to my cosplay section, including a Snowtrooper, Jinora from Avatar: Legend of Korra, and 2 Mara Jades. Oh, and Luke Skywalker.
I have a busy busy schedule, but I feel like I’m getting faster every time I make something. Panicy moments aside, and the time I stall to get started on. oh.. ANYTHING, I’m getting better. Having a serger really helps a lot too.
I’m looking into possibly getting a Cricut machine. If nothing else, it’d be really freaking useful for cutting out stencils. I could potentially add my Journey costume as an option for commissions – as of right now, there’s just no way. I’d have to charge $700 for it, as I made mine, and I seriously doubt anyone would pay that. Additionally, that means I’d have to make it again. Which I am SO not ready to do anytime soon. I’m going to replace the tights, since my attempt at tight-making more or less failed. I popped a number of stitches on photoshoot day, but was able to arrange myself so none of them show up in the final shots.
There’s a future potential of doing a Tangled/Rapunzel dress, which the cricut machine would basically make manageable. Otherwise, I don’t think she’ll be happy with the quote that I have in my mind.
I need to order more skin paint too.
I’m working on an idea for Mara Jade’s lightsaber, as a hilt prop only. I haven’t gotten around to really attempting to work with metal yet, but I am managing plastic pretty well. I picked up some PVC pipe and am looking into making something that can eventually be shipped off and chromed, then adding final details. I also picked up screw covers for the rivets, and a handful of fittings to try out. I may get a blank blade from ultra sabers, and try rigging an LED blade myself. The basic one will be just a hanging hilt though. If it turns out satisfactory, I might be able to add custom PVC sabers to my shop, which would be pretty cool.
Rainbow Dash plushie I made as a gift for Christmas 2012. Currently up for sale as an open commission on etsy.
I plan on making a few more plushies. I made 5 others in total for the holidays.
Tumblr is easier to update on a regular basis, so here it is!
I’m up to 63, I think.