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Making a Night Fury / Toothless Pajama Set, Part Two

I managed to figure out how to make the hood for this thing, which means it’s time for the second post about making my Toothless PJs! Part one is posted here, and shows how I made the shorts and top. This post is about making the hood for my PJs…and that little dachshund sized Night Fury hoodie I mentioned last week.

I decided to use the pattern I drafted for my Appa hoodie as a base. But I made it larger in both length and width because I wanted the hood to be deeper. I also drafted a stripe that would go down the back and serve as a base for little spikes.

 Speaking of spikes I drafted a dozen of those as well. And I drew out all the “ears” Toothless has – I think these should be referred to as spines or spikes, but they move and react to his emotions the way an animals ears would, which is why I think of them that way.

These were tricky to draft, since they react and change depending on Toothless’ mood. There isn’t reference photo that shows how they are supposed to look since they look different in every photo. I basically guessed on the shape and kept holding them up to my head to see if they looked right.

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Guin’s hoodie was based off the pattern I drafted for her Momo hoodie a few years back, with only a few alterations. I also drafted a tail, rectrices, wings, ears, and a few mini spikes to decorate the base pattern.

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Step one was tracing all the spines and spikes onto flannel and cotton. For the small spikes I used cotton, since it’s easier to get clean lines with lighter weight fabric. For the larger ones I used two layers of flannel.

I backed the minky for the six largest spines with fusible interfacing to help them keep their shape.

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I showed this process in part one, so I won’t go into too much detail about it this time. I placed two layers of minky between the layers of flannel (or cotton) and sewed around the guidelines.

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Then the spikes were turned the right way out and the lower edges were turned over by a quarter inch. This way all the visible edges are finished nicely. These spikes were eventually stuffed with batting.

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The pieces that make up the spines (or ears) are relatively flat so they don’t need stuffing. I thought they would need wire or something to give them shape but the interfacing did a surprisingly good job, so I didn’t think that was necessary. Because they were so stiff all the pieces (except for the ones on the left) can be sewn directly into seams and don’t need to be whip stitched on.

But to give them a bit more stiffness I sewed a quarter inch away from the edges of each piece, all the way around. The stitching holds the layers together and makes them feel a lot heavier.

The ones on the left are supposed to be pretty perky, in the movies they even stick straight up at times. So I’m going to create a stiff base that slides into them before they are sewn on, which will hopefully keep them upright.

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Before attaching any of those I needed to make the actual hood. Below you can see the hood lining and the two pieces that make up the top layer of the hood. The back portion is made from the cuddle fleece (so it the lining) and the front piece is made from minky stone.

The front portion eventually got backed with interfacing to add a bit of volume to the hood.

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Now I ran into a little problem with the spines. Ideally these would be sewn into the seam between the front and back part of the hood, but I was having a hard time visualizing where they should go and I couldn’t get it to look right.

While I was trying to figure that out I did up the back seam of the hood and the lining. I also made the stripe for the back of the hood and sewed that on.

I knew roughly where I wanted the spines to go but I still couldn’t get them to look right. So I sewed the seam most of the way up, but left five inch openings for the spines on either side. This way I could add them a little later on when I had a better idea of how the hood would look.

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After doing that the hood was still really floppy, which prevented the spines from sitting the way I wanted.  To fix that I sewed in the lining, then I stitched a half inch away from the front edge to create a channel, which I inserted a piece of quarter inch plastic boning into. Now the hood actually kept its shape when it was up!

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So the spines could finally be sewn on and the opening in the seam got sewn shut. I also got all the spikes stuffed and sewed them down the center of the hood with a whip stitch. There are seven mounted on the stripe down the back, and three smaller ones at the very front.

I made sure the whip stitches that secure the spikes on went through the lining as well. This tacks the lining to the top layer of the hood, which prevents it from looking baggy on the inside.

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Unfortunately I wasn’t really happy with the largest, most expressive spines. I thought they looked too much like massive elf ears because they were so pointy. Luckily the fix was easy, I just turned the tip over and whip stitched it down so the top looked more like a square than a triangle!

When I was happy with that I made little buckram cones which fit inside the spines and keep them upright.

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The buckram was inserted and the bottom edge of the spines got turned over. Then I whip stitched them onto the hood.

The final step was attaching two larger horns on either side of the stripe that goes down the back. Once that was done the hood was finished!

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I made sure the top layer of the hood and the lining were secured together, then sewed it onto the body of the hoodie.

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And it’s done! I have mixed feelings about this. I really love everything except for the hood. I’m just not happy with the shape and placement of all the spines on the hood, which is a bummer since that’s one of the most important parts. But I like everything else! I think it’s cute and it’s really comfortable to wear. So I’m considering it a success and i’m happy I decided to make it.

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Worn photos of it will be at the end, I just want to go through the process of making Guin’s hoodie really quickly!

The first thing I made were her little wings. I used one layer of flannel and one layer of minky for this and inserted wire into them so they would stick up. I used grey embroidery floss to stitch the joint pattern into them but I don’t have a photo of that process.

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I made all the rectrices next (not sure if that is the right word for these) and used a similar embroidery process. My stitching on both these and the wings is really bad, I’m a bit ashamed. I was using five strands of floss and a very big needle which made it really difficult to get even lines and stitching.

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Then I cut out the body of the hoodie, along with the hood and tail piece.

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Here is her little hood and the spines – the construction process for this was really similar to mine!

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Here is the placement of the spines on her hood! It was much easier to figure things on on this small scale…

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The front part of the hood got sewn on and I stitched the lining in.

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Then I assembled the bottom half of the hoodie. These two pieces zip together which makes it really easy to get on and off.

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I made a little tale using the same process I used on the spikes for my hoodie. The lower half was stuffed and rest was top stitched onto the hoodie.

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Then I added a zipper and did up the side seams.

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The hood got sewn on and it was finished! I wish I had added more stiffening to the spines, because they are floppier than they should be. But I think it’s pretty cute.

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I don’t think Guin liked her hoodie very much. The hood didn’t fit the way had hoped, since it was too small in the chest to zip up all the way. If I use this pattern for another dachshund hoodie I’ll have to let it out a bit.

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Now for pictures of my PJs! I need to take more photos against this wall. I love the color of it.
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That’s it! As I said, I like how this turned out a lot. I would just do things differently with the hood if I made it again.

Thanks for reading!

 
12 Comments

Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Cosplay, The Making Of

 

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Making a Night Fury / Toothless Pajama Set, Part One

That title probably seems really weird if you aren’t familiar with the “How to Train Your Dragon” books, films, and franchise. I won’t get into the details about the series but it centers around vikings and their relationships with dragons. Specifically between the main character Hiccup and his Night Fury who is named Toothless.

The movies are animated and really well balanced when it comes to humor, drama, and adorable dragons. The first one is my favorite movie ever and the second one is definitely in my top five. If you haven’t seen them, I’d highly recommend them regardless of your age or usual movie interests.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may be familiar with the Appa inspired pajama set I made a couple years ago, which is based off the Sky Bison design in Avatar the Last Airbender. After making that I immediately wanted to do something similar with the character Toothless. I bought materials for it a week later and started sketching design ideas around that time, but I never began work on it.

I recently came across those sketches and thought this would be the perfect time of year to make something based off of my favorite character from my favorite film. So that’s what i’ll be talking about today!

I don’t have any pictures of my sketches, since I didn’t end up following them very closely. I’d originally played around with the idea of fake paws, wings, and a tail that would velcro onto the hoodie, which were all illustrated in my sketches. But I decided that those ideas really overcomplicated things and weren’t necessary to the design, so I went with something simpler instead.

But here is a picture of my materials! I have some normal black minky, some black double sided fuzzy fabric, and more double sized fuzzy fabric in red. I also used scraps of the brown and ivory fabrics from my Appa hoodie. And for lining the horns I bought black flannel.

The fabric in the middle is something called minky stone. I think this is supposed to look like pebbles, but the texture reminded me of scales, which I thought was perfect for a dragon!

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I used the See & Sew B4329 pattern as a base for the shorts, sleeves, and top. This is the same pattern I used for my Appa PJ’s, which turned out well, so I figured I might as well use it again. The top will be a hoodie, but I drafted the hood pattern myself and that will be the focus of the second post about this project.

Here the pieces are all cut out – I added a couple inches to the length of things since they turned out a little short last time. All these pieces were cut from the double sided black fabric except for the back left side of the shorts. That side was cut from red fabric and will be embellished with a viking skull, just as the left side of Toothless’ tail is.

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Here are the patterns I drafted to imitate the Night Fury markings and scale patterns.  There is a strip that goes down the back, cuffs, and a pocket for the front.

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There are also a ton of little spikes that I drew and copied onto bristol board. There are six on the back of the top, and three on each sleeve.

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Lastly I drafted the skull for the back of the shorts. Like all the other patterns I drew this out by eye and fiddled with it until it looked okay. I think it looks more like a goblin with big ears than a skull wearing a viking helmet, but I guess it could look worse!

I fused interfacing onto the back of my ivory cuddle fabric, then traced the skull pattern onto the back and cut it out with sharp scissors.

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I blanket stitched it onto the left side of the shorts by hand and that part was done! Still think it looks like a goblin, but i’m pretty happy with it.

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I traced all the other pattern pieces onto flannel with chalk, then roughly cut around them.

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Then I pinned them to pieces of minky that were cut to the same size. Once I sew around the chalk likes, trim the edges, and turn them the right way out i’ll have pieces with pretty finished edges!

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Here is the pocket for the front that I created with that method. The main part of the pocket is minky stone, but there is a one inch border around the top made from regular brown minky. I did this to represent the harness that Toothless wears so he can transport Hiccup.

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Here the pocket is with all the brown borders sewn on. It’s pinned onto the front panel of the top.

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I stitched across the top and bottom edges to secure it to the front panel….but I did a really bad job. My topstitching looked terrible.

It isn’t unreasonable to assume that the edges of the leather harness were bound with some type of cord, and I thought I could imitate that with embroidery floss. I used four gold strands twisted together and sewed across the edges to try and hide my stitching. Unfortunately they disappeared into the shag of the fabric so you can’t even see them!

So I couldn’t hide my stitching. But I could make the thing look a little fancier – I went ahead and added a button to each side of the top edge, to imitate studs that would secure pieces of heavy fabric together.

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That pretty much finished the front side of the hoodie, so I began work on the backside. This piece of minky stone runs down the centerback and will be the base for all the spikes down down Toothless’ spine.

I marked where the spikes would be by sewing around guidelines drawn on the back of the fabric with pink thread, but much like my embroidery floss, the stitching kind of disappears into the fabric.

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Here it is sewn onto the back panel – if you look really hard you can see some of the pink stitch lines!

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Before moving forward I had to make the spikes. I did this by tracing the spike patterns onto flannel with chalk.

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Then pieces of minky were folded in half and sandwiched between two flannel layers.

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I sewed around the guideline.

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Then sewed a quarter inch away from the bottom edge. The fabric gets folded inward at this line and stitched down by hand, so the bottom edge is finished.

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After doing that and stuffing all the spikes, they looked like this!

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I whip stitched them onto the back and tah-dah! Aren’t they cute?

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The next step was cutting the hems of the sleeves so they had a more rounded shape. Then I pinned the minky cuffs on.

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And here they are with the cuffs sewn down!  I went with the rounded hem because I think it hints at the shape of paws, but is obviously a lot more toned back than making fake paws.

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Since the front and back of the top were done I could go ahead and sew it all together. After taking this picture I stitched up the side seam and hemmed the lower edge.

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Now lets take a break from the top half and focus on the shorts for a minute – and only a minute, because these shorts are crazy easy to put together. Once the skull was sewn on I did up the crotch seam on the front and back.

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After that the back looked like this – which I think looks pretty awesome! The contrast between these fabrics is so striking.

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After the side seams were stitched up I used a basting stitch to turn over the top edge and the hem of the shorts.

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Then I turned the hem of the shorts over by one inch to create a rolled hem. I sewed this down by hand because I didn’t have a red bobbin on hand and didn’t want the stitches to show.

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I turned the top edge over by two inches, then sewed that down by machine with the normal running stitch. I left a one inch opening at the back so I could thread my elastic through. I’m using some really soft, stretchy, sheer elastic that I got in NYC. I’ve never seen this type in Joanns or online, which sucks because I really like it!

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I cut the elastic  to be few inches smaller than my waist measurement, then threaded it through the channel with a safety pin. Once I had an end sticking out through both sides of the opening I made the elastic got stitched together. Then the opening was sewn shut and the shorts were finished!

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Probably would have looked better if I used a thinner elastic, but these are high waisted so it won’t be visible when they are worn.

Front:

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Back:

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Now I could finally try everything on and see how it looked! It’s really unflattering, but it’s also really cute and comfortable so I can’t complain too much.

Also, I wouldn’t recommend this design for people who sleep on their back…

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Here is the back of the top when it’s laid flat – I really like how these fabrics look together!

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Now it was time to add the sleeve spikes. I marked where they should go with pins.

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Then whip stitched them on! My little Toothless figure is watching over my progress…

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And the top is done! Except for the hood, which at this point I hadn’t even drafted. The hood is the most complicated part so it gets a post all of its own.

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Though that post might also talk about making a little mini Night Fury hoodie that would fit a dachshund…

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading!

 
13 Comments

Posted by on October 23, 2015 in Cosplay, The Making Of

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part Two

We are onto the final blog post about Cinderella! And more exciting than that, once I finish writing this I don’t have to see the dress ever again!

Can you tell i’m still a bit annoyed about how frustrating this project has been? I was so looking forward to having a fun/sparkly/easy side project. I expected it to take two weeks, if that, and here we are two months later and it’s only just been finished. Sometimes projects don’t go as planned, and this one definitely didn’t.

But it’s done! And it actually came out pretty cute.

I made the skirt from two rectangles and a lot of gored panels (which were just rectangles cut in half diagonally). The fabric wasn’t wide enough to cut it as a partial circle skirt, otherwise I would have done that.

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All the pieces were sewn together with the wrong sides together, then the edges were trimmed and sewn into french seams.

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Since the skirt was made from rectangles and triangles the hem was pretty blocky and uneven. I cut one half to the shape I wanted, then used that side as a guide for cutting the other half.

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After being ironed, this is what it looked like!

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It was really sheer, so I decided to use chiffon as lining. I used the skirt as a guide to cut the chiffon down to be the same size….or at least close to the same size. I did a sloppy job on this part!

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I sewed up the back edge of the chiffon with a french seam. Then the lamé layer was pinned to the chiffon, with the right sides facing each other.

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I sewed a half inch away from the hem.

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Then I turned it the right way out and stitched a quarter inch away from the hem.

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And I also sewed across the waistline to prevent the chiffon from drooping down and being visible.

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I knife pleated the top of the skirt down to twenty five inches.

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And sewed across the top.

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I cut a slit up the back to help me get the skirt on and off. I used bias tape to finish the raw edges, but I didn’t take photos of that part.

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I made the last minute decision to add a ruffle. I felt like the hem was missing something and when in doubt always add ruffles.

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For the skirt overlay I gathered a five yard block of tulle down to the same waist measurement, then sewed it to the top of the skirt. I like the effect this gives, but I really needed more tulle. If I did things again I would probably use ten or fifteen yards of tulle, and have two separate layers. That would create way more volume and give the skirt a nicer silhouette. It would also hide the seams in the lamé a bit better.

I think the way it looks now you can kind of tell it needs more tulle. It just doesn’t look right to me.

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But I carried on! I trimmed the hem of the tulle to match the hem of the skirt.

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And the final step was attaching a waistband. I made mine from more lamé which was fused to interfacing to add the necessary stiffness.

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The waistband got pinned on, then sewn. I also sewed a snap onto the centerback to keep it closed. I opted to keep the skirt separate from the bodice just to make it easier to get into and store. But I can always sew them together later on if I feel like it.

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Now, with the skirt finished, it’s time to complete the bodice. In my last post I had the bodice mostly finished, it was just missing the collar and sleeves. So those are the things i’ll be talking about today.

The gown in the film doesn’t have sleeves, but puff sleeves flatter my arms nicely and I think they work well with the dress design. The pre-transformation dress had puff sleeves, so who says the transformed ball gown shouldn’t?

I made the sleeves similar to the ones on 19th century ball gowns. Which means they are short, sheer, with boning in the cuff. I started by cutting two three yard lengths of tulle.

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Then I gathered the sleeves at one end, about an inch away from the edge. This edge will be the cuff and this gathering creates a cute one inch ruffle.

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I pinned the tulle onto my sleeve pattern.

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Then sewed around the top so they would hold that shape. I decided my sleeves were a bit long so I sewed one inch away from that line. I also sewed ribbon across the gathering at the cuff. This ribbon was supposed to be a boning channel but the boning kept getting caught on the tulle. If I forced it, it would tear.

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So I sewed tiny strips of lamé overtop the ribbon, then inserted the boning into that, which totally worked! I also trimmed the sleeves down to the line I sewed across the top.

I pinned the sides to make sure they fit (they did) then sewed them up.

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Pretty little finished sleeves~

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Those got sewn onto the bodice with a whip stitch.

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I made the collar from two rectangles of lamé and two of tulle. I think these were about ten inches wide and twenty something inches long. The tulle was cut to be fifteen inches longer since I had planned on tying the ends into a bow at the front.

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I pinned the right sides together and sewed the rectangles into tubes. This is what they looked like when turned the right way out.

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I gathered one end of each tube down to about an inch. This will be the center point of the collar and attach to the center front of the bodice neckline.

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It was at this point that I started pinning the collar on. I tried the bodice on with the collar and hated it. The proportions were really off and it didn’t look the way I wanted at all. I decided the only way to fix it was by lowering the neckline. So I used a sharpie to draw a “V” in the center and chopped off three inches. The edges got finished with ribbon so it won’t fray.

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Then I pinned the collar on again. I was much happier with it this time!

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I decided against the bow – it looked silly on the bodice. So I ended up cutting most of the tulle off and wrapping the few remaining inches around the gathered parts of the collar. This hid the stitching.

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I finished the bodice off with little fabric flowers which I got from Joanns. I pinned three onto the cuff of each sleeve and three to the center point of the collar.

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With those sewn on it was finished!

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I paired the costume with a home made headband. I sewed iridescent beads and more ribbon flowers to a dyed strip of organza. This adds a little sparkle to the wig without destroying it with E6000 and rhinestones.

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Here is a closeup of the bodice. I liked the webcam photos of this a lot more than the ones taken with my nice camera (the lighting makes them a bit weird looking) but i’ll post those below as well!

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Considering all the struggles I had with the first half of this project, I’m pretty happy with the end result. I think the bodice especially ended up really cute. If I were to do it again I would add several more tulle overlays to the skirt. I would also use a different lining fabric for the bodice. One of my favorite things about the live action dress were the different textures in it (the skirt, collar, and bodice were all completely different). But my dress only has one texture – and even though it’s a pretty texture,  it’s all the same all over so it lacks visual interest.

I’d also set the eyelets properly the first time and make the bodice a little differently. If I had done that the first time I would have enjoyed this project way more!

Thank you for sticking with me – hopefully my next project will go a little better!

 
21 Comments

Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Cosplay, Disney, The Making Of

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part One

If the title sounds familiar it’s because i’ve used it before! This is the second dress in my Cinderella dress series, and part one about making it. The posts about making my previous Cinderella dress and the petticoat that goes with it can be found here. This dress is based off of the ball gown from the live action film, with a few major changes – like the length, and the fact that i’m adding short sleeves.

I’ve run into a few problems (okay, a lot of problems) throughout making this costume and to be honest, it hasn’t been fun. So if that frustration seeps through into this post then I apologize! If you would like to see the process of me making it, without the complaining, I’ve made a video of the process – it’s posted here!

Step one was draping the bodice. I draped it as two pieces, but planned on the bodice being five pieces in total.

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I traced the draped muslin onto paper, which gave me a pattern. I added seam allowances between the pieces, but not around the neckline and waistline. This was because i’m too lazy to fold the edges over on my mock ups (they get thrown out anyway! I just can’t be bothered…)

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Here is the mock up. I altered the neckline a bit, but I was pretty pleased with it! I’m basing the shape more off of ball gowns from the 1860s, instead of the dress from the film. So it stops at the natural waist instead of curving over the hips.

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I made a new pattern, this time with all the proper seam allowances and boning channels. I also took the pattern it a little, since I am adding boning and wanted a bit of waist reduction.

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Then I cut out the first layer of fabric. This bodice has three main layers – the top layer (the one you’ll see, made from pretty fabric), the base layer (from a heavier fabric that supports the boning channels), and the lining.

This is the top layer. It’s made from chiffon which I fused interfacing onto so it isn’t floppy.

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Obviously the color and texture isn’t a great match, which is why I placed a layer of iridescent lamé overtop. I basted this layer down by machine.

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I still wasn’t super happy with the texture, so I added another overlay. This time it consisted of two layers of matte tulle, which diffused the lamé nicely. Below you can see one piece with tulle (left) and one without (right).

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I basted this on by hand since my machine doesn’t like tulle very much, and it often stretches or warps it, which isn’t good!

Here are all the panels covered with both overlays.

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Then it got sewn together! Unfortunately my iron wasn’t working very well at this point (my laptop was at a higher resting temperature than it, which was a bad sign…) so these seams didn’t get pressed as flat as they should.

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Then I switched to focusing on the base layer. I used a medium weight starched cotton for this. After cutting out the pattern I trimmed all the edges by a half inch, this will remove bulk from the edges later on.

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I used a colored pencil to mark out all the boning channels.

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And turned the edges of one inch wide strips of fabric over to create boning channels. These got pinned between the lines I marked earlier.

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Then the channels were sewn down and the pieces were stitched together!

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I cut out all my boning and tipped the ends with tape.

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All the boning got inserted and the base layer was complete! The only thing left to add were lacing panels. The bodice will zip closed up the back, but to get the reduction I wanted I really needed a hidden lacing panel.

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I made the lacing panels out of more of the same fabric, with a layer of quilted fabric inside to add structure.

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With the grommets added.

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And after being attached to the base layer!

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I wrapped the edges of the top layer around the base and sewed them down.

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I cut out and assembled the lining from a lightweight cotton.

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The edges got folded over and pinned in place.

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Then whip stitched down.

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Here is what the front looked like.

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I had a bodice, it was great! Sure the seams aren’t pressed as well as they should be, but that isn’t a huge deal.

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It was less great when I tried it on because THIS happened…

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Okay, this sucked. I know how to put grommets in, I don’t need advice on that. I should have used an awl to make the holes, not a punch, and braced both sides with boning instead of just one. But i’ve had issues with metal grommets in the past and I figured this was some type of karma for being to lazy to hand sew them (what I usually do). So I remade the lacing panels and spent four hours sewing pretty little eyelets.

Tried the bodice on, and you’ll never guess what happened…

 I think the major issue was the fabric, it was a medium weight cotton which was strong in theory but pretty prone to tearing (which I didn’t realize at the time, otherwise I wouldn’t have used it). I know I could have done a better job supporting the eyelets but honestly i’ve never had this happen. My flower dresses have embroidered eyelets up the back which are set into organza and chiffon, the most delicate tear prone fabrics ever and they are fine!

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The third time around I embroidered the eyelets again but used two interfaced layers of cotton sateen with a quilted canvas strip running through it. So these things better not budge. Luckily they stuck, but the problems didn’t end here.

When I finally got it laced up I realized zipping it closed would be a problem. I can lace it tighter than what you see below, and get the fabric panels to touch, but it isn’t a pretty site. It involves a lot of spilling out at the armholes and an ugly crease of back fat. It also creates a conical silhouette which I wasn’t going for.

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So I made a modesty panel, addition, thing. Which gives me one inch of room at the waist and three inches at the upper back. I inserted the zipper into this and though it isn’t pretty, it’s prettier than heaps of back cleavage.

(Not to say there is anything wrong with that, it just wasn’t something I wanted to have while wearing this dress)

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Here it is sewn onto the bodice. That back it such a mess, ugh…

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And the front is rippled too, which is frustrating. I honestly wish I could remake it but at this point i’ve had so many troubles that I just want to get it done and never see it again…which isn’t a very nice mindset to be in when trying to make something!

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Part two will be about the skirt, collar, and sleeves – and hopefully it will be a bit more positive!

Thank you for reading!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2015 in Cosplay, Disney, The Making Of

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part Two

DSC_4281RESIZEThis is part two about making my Cinderella inspired dress! It feels a bit weird to be blogging about this now, because I actually finished this several weeks ago. I need to up my blogging game, I’m so behind!

Anyway! This is part two and will focus on making the skirt. Part one can be read here, and it shows the process of making the bodice.

I’m actually using a piece of an old costume as the skirt for this one. Last year I made a medieval inspired suit based off of one worn in the show “Game of Thrones” I love the design of this piece but while making it pretty much everything that could go wrong went wrong.

The end result was too small at the shoulder, way too narrow in the sleeves, and landed a couple inches above my waistline. It looks okay on a dress form but is completely unwearable. You can see a picture of that here.

I decided to disassemble it and use the skirt as a base for this dress. Luckily the sleeves had enough fabric in them to make the bodice and matching headband!

Though I never posted the “Making of” post about this project, I do have a few progress photos of how I did it. These photos are less than a year old which seems so crazy, my progress photo quality has increased so much. Vacuuming regularly and seeking out natural lighting has done wonders for them.

The skirt is a basic circle skirt. I cut this pattern out on the fold, twice, so I had a full circle skirt.

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The skirt was hemmed with two inch wide horsehair braid, which was turned over and hand stitched into place. The seams were sewn normally, but bound with blue quilters cotton.

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And that was pretty much it! There was a six inch slash down the back to allow me to take it on and off…and I don’t have anything else to say about it!

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It was sewn onto the bodice of that costume, so I had to use a seam ripper to detach it for this project. Then I draped it over my petticoat (which I talk about making here) and the results weren’t so great. It was too long in the front and too short in the back, which was bad.

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To fix it I opened up the back seam and lowered the back half by a couple inches. I added a panel to the waist so it would sit this way permanently. I lifted the front by an inch and a half, then sewed a gored panel into the center back.

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It wasn’t too pretty at the top but the hem rested evenly!

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That meant I could move onto making the overlay. I bought a glitter organza with this in mind. Unfortunately it wasn’t the right fabric for an overlay, despite the sheerness. The organza had so much volume, it wanted to stick straight out like a tutu instead of draping over the skirt. I tried steaming it but that didn’t help at all.

I decided to stitch the organza to the underside of the circle skirt hem. It wasn’t the look I wanted, but it’s better than a tutu!

The overlay pattern is really basic, it’s made up of several rectangles.

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Those got french seamed together because this fabric frays horribly. It also sheds a lot, I tried hairspraying it at several stages and it didn’t help at all. You can’t touch it without being covered in glitter and when I walk around in the finished dress there is a little “Fairy Trail” of glitter that gets left behind.

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I pinned the lower edge of organza to the underside of the circle skirts hem.

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I used something resembling a whip stitch to hold it down. In this photo you can see how fancily I finished the circle skirts hem! I remember this taking me ages at the time, because it was one of my first cross stitch hem attempts. I think I watched like two seasons of American Pickers during the process haha.

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The top of the organza got gathered down to twenty seven ish inches. Then it was sewn onto the waistline of the circle skirt.

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I cut a slit down the back of the skirt to allow me to get in and out of it. Then I basted the layer of organza around it.

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I stitched bias tape around the edges, and turned it under.

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I had cut my overlay a little long, to correct this I gathered it over an inch away from the edge. Once it was attached to the skirt I decided to trim it down.

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And I had a functional, really pretty skirt!

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Even though this glitter pattern is a pain in the ass it’s so pretty.

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Now it was time to make the panniers! I used the same method for making these as I used with my Halloween Inspired dress which means they are made from rectangles.

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One of the longer edges gets hemmed, then the other three edges are gathered down. Mine were gathered down to twelve inches, and the end result looks like this!

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I sewed these onto a piece of ribbon, to keep them separated by the correct amount.

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The ribbon got pinned onto the skirt, then sewn. I tacked the panniers down in a few spots to make them lay nicely, and that was it! The skirt is complete! I love how it looks.

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But I wasn’t done yet. The skirt got sewn onto the bodice, then a zipper was added up the back. Both of these things went well, it was the whole trying it on part that went badly. By that I mean, I couldn’t really get it on. I decided to take out the zipper and do a lace up back. No problem!

Okay there was a little problem. I measured wrong. My eyelets were marked incorrectly and this fabric did not take eyelets well. I couldn’t heat my iron to a high enough temperature to attach interfacing (thicker fabric = easier to make smooth eyelets) without burning through the organza. So I was either going to have uneven, ugly, eyelets, or a bodice that didn’t fit.

Then my dad jokingly said “You should cover it with lace” which was brilliant. 

I let the dress out by and inch with folded strips of fabric.

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Then zipper got sewn in again. I tried on the bodice and it fit! So I covered up the failed attempts at eyelets with silver lace.

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It looks a little odd. Not ideal at all, but it totally worked.

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I stitched the lining in, which covered the raw edges of the skirt waist and the raw edges from letting the bodice out.

And with that my dress was done!

Back:

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Front:

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And here is how it looks worn! The headband is a plastic one I got from walmart. I covered it with two layers of quilt batting, then stitched the satin backed metallic fabric over it. The underside was pretty ugly so I lined it with more of that fabric.

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I have some final thoughts about this project which I would like to share. This may sound a bit negative, but I think it’s important to mention.

I wish I had stuck to my original plan. In the first blog post about this project I shared a sketch of what I had planned for this dress. I wanted to make a dress using the colors of the animated gown, and was going to style it to look like Cinderella (the headband and silver shoes). It would have a very full skirt and “Princessy” qualities, but the similarities would end there.

Somewhere along the way I changed my mind and ended up with something that is more than a Cinderella inspired dress, it’s really just a shorter version of the dress in the film but with more sparkle.  I LIKE the dress and I love the fabrics, but I wish I had committed to my original design – which was a lot more original and way more flattering.

Anyway! That’s all I wanted to say about that. There is a video about making this skirt too, which can be watched here if you are interested!

Thanks for reading!

 
29 Comments

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in Cosplay, Disney, The Making Of

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Dress, Part One

It has taken me a while, but here is the first post about making my Cinderella inspired dress!

I was originally going to make a dress inspired by the live action ball gown (and I still intend to) but got distracted during fabric shopping by this lovely light blue and silver glitter organza. This fabric really doesn’t suit the dress from the live action film, which is why I decided to also make a version inspired by the dress in the animated film. Which is what this blog post is about!

I purchased the glitter organza from Joanns and have paired it with a satin backed metallic grey fabric, which I bought ages ago at a shop in the NYC garment district. I’m also using a metallic fashion mesh (also from Joanns) and grey polyester organza (from onlinefabricstore.net).

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I had planned on reusing the pattern I made for my Halloween Inspired dress to make this one. After taking another look at pictures of Cinderella I decided against it, but I didn’t change my sketch to reflect that. The sketch below was my original plan, which just so happens to look nothing like the finished dress.

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Once I figured out what the dress was actually going to look like, I draped the pattern. I did a horribly sloppy job of this, but I have an excuse! I was paranoid about accidentally snipping the petticoats so I didn’t trim excess fabric. Plus I chose really ugly scraps of material, it was practically doomed to look from the start!

I draped this the way I always do – pieces of cotton get pinned over the form and pulled tightly. Then seam lines are marked and the process is repeated!

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This is what it looked like after removing it from the form and trimming away excess material.

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That got transferred onto paper and seam allowances were marked. I also labeled the center front and center back. And that was it! I had a pattern!

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I used that to create the mockup, which also features really ugly fabric! The mock up was too big so I took it in quite a bit. I also lowered the neckline and extended the basque waist.

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This is the new and improved pattern!

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I used that as a guide for cutting out the bodice pieces from the satin backed metallic fabric. Once they were cut out, I laid the pieces underneath the glitter organza. I pinned the pieces to the organza and cut around them.

With the pins still in I basted the layers together. I did this by machine because I was feeling a bit lazy that day. The point of this is to keep the two layers together during assembly, and it’s easier to sew the layers together than to deal with random pins sticking out everywhere.

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All the pieces got sewn together, and I had something resembling a bodice! When it was assembled I pressed the seams open, then used my sewing machine to stitch 3/4″ away from each edge. This will be used as a guide for hemming the edges.

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Speaking of hemming, the next step is doing just that! All the edges got turned inward by three quarters of an inch and sewn down.

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Then it was time to work on the lining! The lining pieces were cut out and assembled. I’m using polyester shantung for this, since i’ve had it in my stash for ages and wanted to use it for something.

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On the interior of the lining, after being assembled, the seam allowance between the center front panel and side panels got turned under and pinned down. I’ve always called this a flat felled seam but I know that isn’t the right term. It’s like a mock felled seam. But with the other edge pressed flat. Yeah.

Regardless of what it’s called, once the folded edge is sewn down it will create a channel for boning!

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I also stitched around each edge, 3/4″ away from the edge. Like I said before this is for marking the hem allowance.

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With that done, I cut plastic boning to the right length and inserted it into the channels. Then I turned all the edges inward and sewed them down by hand.

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And it was finally time to attach the lining to the bodice! I pinned the layers together, starting from the centermost points and working my way out. I left the center back edges open (the lining will be sewn to hide the zipper, after the zipper is attached).

I also left the bottom edge open, well, kind of. I used large basting stitches to keep it in place, but it won’t be sewn down properly until after the skirt is attached.

For all the other edges (the neckline and arm holes) I attached the lining with tight whip stitches.

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Now it’s time for the sleeves! I spent so long trying to figure these out, and even contemplated scrapping them entirely. But after a few hours I figured out a shape I really liked – and a very simple way to achieve it.

Each sleeve is made from two rectangles of organza. The rectangle gets pinned in half, and the pinned edge gets sewn shut.

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Then each end is folded into three 1/2″ knife pleats, which point towards the folded edge.

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Then one end (this end will be at the front of the bodice) is folded into another knife pleat, this time facing the raw edge. That gets sewn securely so the pins can be removed.

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Lastly I tacked one of the pleats down, by hand, on the underside of each sleeve. This prevents them from losing their shape and flaring out into full rectangles.

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Each sleeve was pinned in place, with the folded edge facing outward and the raw edge being hidden by the interior of the garment. Well, that was my original plan, and that’s what is shown below, but I ended up changing it to make it more flattering. I felt this made my shoulders look very broad, which I didn’t like.

What I ended up doing was having the sleeves extend over the strap, with the raw edges tucked into the neckline.

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The sleeves were whip stitched on and the bodice was complete! It looks pretty puckery in the picture below,  but those disappear once the bodice is worn and tension holds the edges taut.

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So that’s it! I also have a video showing this process, it’s posted here if you are interested in watching!

Thank you for reading!

 
11 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2015 in Cosplay, Disney, The Making Of

 

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Making a Cinderella Inspired Petticoat

I thought this post would be fast to write. I was wrong. Somehow I ended up with fifty photos and two thousand words written about this project. Oops…

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Speaking of this project, it’s a new one! I saw the live action Cinderella film a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it, especially the costume design. It was stunning. Have I mentioned that I want to be Sandy Powell when I grow up? Because I do, she is really great.

I loved everything about the blue ball gown in the film. The shape, the color, the size, it’s gorgeous! But if I was going to put that amount of time (hundreds of hours) and money (hundreds of dollars) into a project, I would want to do something more original or something inspired by my favorite paintings.

So instead I decided to make a short party dress inspired by the gown in the film. This will fill my need to make something blue, sparkly and ruffly, while not eating up months of time.

 And because I fell in love with a silvery fabric (it was on a really good sale – irresistible!) I’ve decided to make a dress inspired by the ball gown from the original animated film as well. So that’s TWO Cinderella inspired dresses. And of course they require an obnoxious ruffly petticoat to go underneath them, which is what this blog post is about!

This was my fabric haul. I also had some glittery organza bought many years ago, and ordered a yard of silver lamé online. In total, seventy dollars of raw materials for two dresses and a matching petticoat – not too bad! That includes notions and beads as well, but i’ll share those in another post since they weren’t used for this petticoat.

My materials for the petticoat included: ten yards of blue netting, two yards of opalescent lamé, three yards of glitter organza, one yard of silver lamé, a yard of polyester shantung, a WHOLE spool of thread, and two yards of hooping wire.

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When the fabrics were figured out it was time to decide on the layers and do some petticoat math. I’m making a petticoat with has six layers, and each layer has three tiers.

The first tier is a piece of netting that gathers at the waist and gets longer towards the back. The second is a strip of netting which gets gathered at the top and sewn to the first tier. And the final tier is made from fabric strips, with a rolled hem and gathered top.

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The normal “petticoat math” is that each tier should be two or three times wider than the last. So if tier one is three yards wide,  tier two should be at least six yards wide, and tier three should be at least twelve yards wide (before gathering).

Unfortunately I ran low on fabric and had to make some sacrifices which resulted in some of my strips being shorter than they should have been.  I have a few very non-ruffly ruffles on certain layers 😦

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There are six layers (labeled 0-5 because I made a mistake and was too lazy to rewrite things haha) worn over a hoop base. Each layer gets longer and wider as they go. A few layers are the same length but most are a half inch to an inch longer than the last to account for the volume the layers beneath it provide.

I wrote all my petticoat math out before. And I had a list of everything that needed to be cut and from what fabrics.

Before cutting the the fabric for the layers I decided to make the hoop base. This is just to enforce the elliptical shape of the skirt and also prevents the skirt from getting tangled in my legs. This isn’t a big problem with shorter skirts, but I figured it couldn’t hurt either.

I made a pattern very similar to pannier patterns, with a flat front and large back. But instead of the flat side facing my hips, it would be at the front.

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I rolled the bottom edge over by a half inch, then over by one inch. This creates a channel to feed hooping wire through.

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I did up the front seams and added the hooping wire. Now you can really see the shape!

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The top got properly gathered and I had a functional base!

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On a whim I made a four inch ruffle from netting and sewed that onto the bases hem. This will give me the correct length to start building off of.

I could have made the fabric part of the base longer, but then it would show if I decided to spin in the skirt. And the whole point of this petticoat is to have majorly wonderful spin factor, with most of the volume coming from ruffles.

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I should also mention that the petticoat base has a eight inch slash down the back which will be how I get the petticoat on and off.

This is it with the netting ruffle sewn on!

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Now it was time for cutting the netting! As I mentioned above I wrote out everything I needed to cut ahead of time so I could do it in one go. When each piece of netting was cut it was put in a pile, then pinned to a label. I think I’ve said this several times before but it’s still true,  organization is VERY important in petticoat making.

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I also cut out all the strips for the soon-to-be-ruffles. For these I used a sharpie to mark all the lines, then zoomed through them with good scissors. I’m still scared of rotary cutters, which is unfortunate, they would have made this process a bit faster!

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When the fabric strips were cut they also got labeled right away!

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After all the cutting was done it was time to begin sewing! Actually that is a lie, before sewing anything I made ten bobbins of thread. Which didn’t end up being enough, I think I went through eighteen before this project was finished.

When it was time to sew the first thing I did was sew all the netting strips together with french seams. Then they got pinned back to their labels. I repeated this process with all the fabric strips because it’s way easier to get that out of the way at the beginning.

And then it was time for hemming. A lot of hemming…

I did a one quarter inch rolled hem, by eye, for all of the fabric strips. I don’t have a hemming foot for this, so I do it manually by running the fabric through the machine twice.

First the edge gets turned over by a quarter inch and sewed down.

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Then it gets turned over again and stitched down as close to the edge as possible.

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And this gets repeated for about a hundred yards of fabric! I’m not even exaggerating with that number. These are the lowest tires for layer one and two (the shortest layers) fully hemmed.

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Once those are hemmed it’s time for gathering! There are lots of ways to make ruffles, but I do mine by pushing the fabric underneath the presser foot as I go. These don’t make the most visually pleasing ruffles, but it’s relatively fast and gives me a lot of control over how dense the gathers are.

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And that gets repeated until sixty yards of fabric strips are turned into pretty little ruffles.

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Then the ruffles are sewn onto the strips of netting.

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Ideally the tops of these would be finished with bias tape or a serger. But because this petticoat is for personal use and I don’t need it to be super durable, i’m just top stitching the ruffle to the netting.

Except for layer two and four, because lamé is is so prone to fraying. Those layers have organza ribbon topstitched over the raw edge.

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And that gets repeated until all the ruffles are attached to netting layers!

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This process took me a few days and I didn’t have enough desk or drawer space to store my piles of ruffles. So they got pinned onto my then unfinished, uniquely you dress form and I had this bizarre looking ruffly statement piece in my sewing room!

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The tops of the netting strips were gathered down and sewn to the top layer of each tier.

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And lastly, the tops of each layer get gathered down to twenty five inches. Now you can see some real progress as these get built up over the form!

This is layer 0 with a glitter organza ruffle.

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This is Layer 1, also from glitter organza. You can tell that it’s longer than the last layer, which was intentional.

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Layer 2! This layers ruffle is made from silver lamé.

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Layer 3, the last layer of glitter organza ruffles.

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Layer 4 is made from the opalescent lamé which I love. It’s so pretty. At this point I realized a little problem, the back of the dress actually had less volume than the front! Which is the opposite of what I wanted.

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So I decided to make my petticoat be two separate pieces. The second piece would be attached like a backwards apron, with the tulle being heavily gathered in the back instead of all the way around.

Which meant I could finish off the waist of this skirt! Some of my measurements were a little off on the tiers which resulted in me having to lower the center front and back to get a smooth hemline. This meant I couldn’t do a traditional rectangular waistband, instead I had to make something curvy with a pointed back and front.

But that’s okay. Curvy waistbands are pretty fancy and I think it ended up looking intentional.

I draped a mock up waistband over the petticoat, then copied it to paper and added seam allowances.

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I cut it out from polyester shantung and backed it with fusible interfacing.

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I used my machine to stitch a guideline a half inch away from each edge, then turned those edges inward.

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The edges got stitched down and my waistband was complete!

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I stitched it onto the petticoat and it was almost done! It wasn’t close to being done.

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Once I declared it finished I realized it was very flat near the waist. This is bad. I wanted a lot of volume near the waist. Not only does added volume near the waist give a more accurate silhouette, it also makes your waist look smaller by comparison. And I wanted a really small looking waist.

So I cut strips of leftover netting and stitched them together. Then I hemmed them with half inch wide horsehair braid and gathered the tops down to ten inches. I made two of these, one for each side of the skirt.

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 I hoisted up the top three petticoat layers and pinned them out of the way. I find this picture so amusing, it looks like a petticoat disaster gone wrong.

Am I doing it right? 

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 I pinned the horsehair additions to each side and sewed them down. These added soo much volume, I love it!

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And now the skirt had a much different, less A-line shape, which was perfect!

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That was before adding the second petticoat, which i’ll talk about making in a second.

 This is WITH the second petti overtop, it adds a lot of volume to the back!

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Now it came to making the second petticoat…or petticoat fluffer…or reverse apron, whatever you call it! All I did was cut a large rectangle of netting which the lower two tiers got attached to (these tiers were originally assembled for layer five). Then the top was gathered down to around twelve inches.

I made the waistband from a strip from a rectangle of shantung.  It was folded like double fold bias tape, but cut on straight grain.

Here are the folded strips. The top one is actually the lining for the first petticoats waistband.

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Then eyelets were stitched on both sides.

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Because of how it was folded there was a pocket between the layers. The raw edge of netting was inserted into that pocket, then it was sewn shut. And it was done!

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And because I didn’t show it earlier, here is the first petticoat with the lining pinned in place. It got sewn on shortly after, then eyelets were stitched in as a closure.

I was originally going to have it button closet, but i’m wearing this over a corset, so there is some size fluctuation depending on how tightly i’m willing to lace, which wouldn’t pair well with buttons.

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And the question i’m sure is on everyones mind, does it pass the twirl test? I think it does but i’ll let you decide for yourself, because I have a short clip of it in action posted here.

Final Notes: After draping the skirt to go over this, I don’t think the back has enough volume. Eventually i’ll make another horsehair/netting ruffle and sew it onto the “reverse apron” which will fix this. I would have done it before posting this, but i’m out of white horsehair and pink would look out of place!

Also the method covered here can be used for a full length version of Cinderella’s petti. Though I would highly suggest using a small hoop as a base, which I did with my Christmas Angel Petticoat. Otherwise the petti will tangle between your legs really easily. You should also use petticoat netting or organza for construction, they are both stiffer and provide a lot more volume than the crappy netting I got from Joanns. They can be bought in bulk here.

I think that’s it! Thank you for reading!

 
19 Comments

Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Cosplay, Disney, Foundation Garments

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Elsa The Snow Queen – Photos

I’m absolutely blown away at the amount of feedback I’ve gotten on this costume – though I make costumes because I enjoy it, It always thrills me to know that other people like my work.

Today I had planned to post the first installment in a new project, but since there seems to be so much interest surrounding Elsa, I will post these instead!

I had been rushing the final bits of this costume with hopes of photographing it in the snow….which didn’t really work out. All the snow ended up melting, but a week later Long Island got yet another snowstorm, which provided excellent Frozen photoshoot conditions!

Though the snow was beautiful, and reminded me very much of scenes from “Frozen” it didn’t end up being the best for taking photos in. Since it was a storm, it was very overcast, and without sunlight there was nothing to reflect light onto the hundred thousand rhinestones. The details I worked so hard on are almost invisible.

I did take photos the next day, this time with sunlight, that show the details off a little better. Those are still unedited, but should be posted in a week or two. I posted a little preview on DA here.

Although these don’t show my hard work, I think these are really gorgeous photos, and I wanted to share them.

For detail shots of this costume I would suggest checking out my forth the making of post here.

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Posted by on February 11, 2014 in Completed Costumes, Cosplay, Disney

 

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The Making of Elsa – Frozen – Part Five

I’m currently babying my dog who just had her teeth cleaned – she looks so pathetic I can’t bear to leave her, so instead of being productive I’m going to write the final post this series with her on my lap.

This post will cover making the mesh top, the wig, and talk a bit about my corset and makeup. If you are curious about any other part of the costume I would suggest you check out the other four posts I have on this costume, which can all be found here!

Weirdly enough, this was one of the first things I made for this costume, and it’s the last i’m blogging about. This was honestly one of the easiest costume pieces I have ever drafted, it took ten minutes and the alterations were super easy.

I started by putting the mock up of the corset onto my dress form.

(please ignore the episode of say yes to the dress in the background, ha!)

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Then I used yarn and a line of pins to mark the neckline and the arm holes.

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 I draped mesh overtop of that and cut it to the right size, I had to be careful not to stretch it as I went. Which was the most difficult part, since this material really wants to stretch.

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I did a real quick draft for the sleeves and made a mock up, which ended up being successful.

I turned my mock up into a paper pattern, but instead of using regular paper I used poster board. Then I drew out the design I wanted onto the poster board and covered it with wax paper.

Much like with the snowflakes on the cape, I could lay material on top of this and use the drawing as a guide.

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Then I put rhinestones on top of that…

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I did the same thing with the bodice

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I sewed all the pieces together and it was finished!

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At this point I wasn’t super happy with the corset (honestly i’m still not) so I decided to repaint it with iridescent paints. Then I slathered the thing in glitter glue…and you can’t tell at all. It still photographs very matte, which I find upsetting. If I were to wear this costume somewhere important, I would remake the corset entirely.

I embellished it with lot’s of little rhinestones and declared it done…at least for now.

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Moving on from that, and onto the wig! I ended up purchasing two “lace front” wigs on ebay with plans to sew them together. But when they arrived there were two problems – I was only sent one wig, and it did not have a lace front.

So I spent several frantic hours trying to find something usable, and eventually stumbled upon a nawomi wig on amazon in the right color, and it had a lace front. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on a wig before, but I think it was worth it!

Styling this scared me since i’m not very good with wigs – I can curl them and detangle them, but I suck at everything else. I ended up decided to jump in and hope for the best, other wise I knew I would stress about it for weeks and never actually style it.

I started by separating out the bangs from the braid.

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Then I sectioned off all the spiky bangs and cut them as I went. I teased the roots for volume, and used an eyebrow razor to thin out the points. I set them in place with got2be glued hairspray and used pins to hold them in place while the dried.

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I braided it and it was mostly done! Later on I used a small hot roller to tighten up the front curl, and trimmed the sideburns.

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Then I tried everything on together! I noticed some changes I had to make, but overall I was pretty pleased.

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The last thing to do was figure out makeup. I think makeup is important regardless of who you are cosplaying since it will make you look nicer in photographs, and overall more put together. But with Elsa it’s especially important, since she is very clearly wearing makeup, and it’s very specific in shape and color

I’m not someone who wears bright colors on a regular basis, so this was slightly tricky for me. I ended up making use of a freebie from clinique, some cheap fake lashes from ebay, and eye glitter from ulta.

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And that was it! Elsa is finished, and i’m looking forward to sharing the photos of the complete project. I thought I would feel disappointed or relieved or sad or something when I finished this, but i’m sort of indifferent. I enjoyed this project, but was completely ready for it to be over, and i’m looking forward to working on other things!

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Thank you for joining me throughout the making of this project! I hope you will stick around for the next one.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Cosplay, Disney, The Making Of

 

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The Making of Elsa – Frozen – Part Four

This has been the a very difficult and unusual post to write. Usually I pick costumes that are challenging, but relatively quick once I figure out how to make them. This was the opposite – It was a easy, but very, very time consuming. It’s also not a very interesting process, so I’ve padded the post with a lot of photos.

If this if your first time visiting my blog I would suggest checking out my previous posts about this project, they can be read here, here, and here!

Immediately after seeing the movie I knew what I wanted to use as embellishments. From prior experience with rhinestones, I knew that they shine in a way that almost looks like freshly fallen snow, producing a much prettier and sparklier look then anything else.

They can be used closely together to create designs, farther apart to create a gradient, or applied individually. This meant that I could use them to create the sparkles on the cape, sleeves and bodice, and since they would all share the same embellishments, it would made the entire outfit look more cohesive.

I have decided that I won’t bore you all too much with explaining the types of rhinestones, glues and applicators that are available.If I did, this post would be around five thousand words long. But if that sort of thing does interest you, you are in luck! I have created a separate post on my tumblr that can be read HERE. It answers a lot of the questions I’ve gotten, and has information and tips on everything related to rhinestones.

Moving onto talking about the costume! I originally purchased seventy thousand rhinestones, which didn’t end up being enough, so I made another order several weeks later. In total I used a little over a hundred thousand rhinestones on the entire costume, ninety thousand were 3mm stones, and ten thousand were 2mm stones. Seventy percent of them were clear (silver/white) stones, and the rest were a light aqua color.

This picture shows around half the stones I ended up using.

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I also bought six tubes of E6000 glue from amazon, a set of syringes (glue applicators), cotton swabs (rhinestone applicators), and a bit of fabric glue. Once I had all my supplies I was ready to get started!

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In my last post I talked about drafting the patterns for the designs. Once I finished drafting the designs, I did something very important – I taped wax paper over top of them. The glue I used for the majority of this costume is E6000, and the chemicals in it make both sharpie and printer inks run, which can leave permanent stains on the fabric. Like this…

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If that doesn’t happen, you will still be screwed since there is no good way to get paper off of dried industrial strength glue. The wax paper creates a barrier between the paper and fabric which fixes both of these problems. When I ran out of wax paper, I used plastic wrap and found it worked well, but was tricky to perfectly smooth.

This is what my set up looked like when I was working on the large designs. The whole thing laid out flat as I could get it with the space I had available, with the edges weighted down by mugs and jars.

Thanks to a wonderful christmas gift, I had the ability to watch netflix while doing this.

(though I ended up running out of shows I was interested in, oops)

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As I said earlier, the process is very easy, it’s just slow. You have to spread the glue over a small space, usually a square that’s no more then two inches by two inches (any larger and the glue will dry before you can get to it) or a line that is less then ten inches long.

Then use a wet Q-tip to pick up rhinestones and deposit them where they need to go.

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I estimate that this back bit of snowflake ended up taking forty hours of work.

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And though this seems pretty minuscule, just the sections pictured below is around 10~ hours of work.20131224_161742

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Eventually, I had enough of this finished that I could take it off of the paper.

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It didn’t look like a whole lot at this point. But I was happy because this meant I could move on to adding the snowflakes. In my last post I talked about resizing them to fit properly, and that process continued on and on until I had enough snowflakes for every panel.

This is the front panel – this photo shows how easy it was to see the pattern through the fabric.

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And the (tentative) layout for the side panels.

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In total I embellished fifty snowflakes, and here they all are (well, half of them, since the cape is symmetrical)

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The process of embellishing snowflakes was very similar to the main design, but instead of spreading the glue with a brush I used syringes, which allow for very precise dots and lines.

Not long after I started I ran into the issue of fabric not staying in place properly. It tended to wrinkle or move while I was trying to apply stones, and it became very frustrating. So I taped two pieces of foam board together and covered it in wax paper. Since it was foam, I could pin through it, and pin my fabric in place so it stayed taught.

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Back panels (almost) done!

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The front panel almost finished.

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The side panels…

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And then I was (almost) finished with all the snowflakes!

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So I got back to focusing on the main design. We happened to get a snow day, which meant my view got way prettier and more inspiring then usual.

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It also distracted me. Some much so that I ended up dragging my dress form into the snow for some fancy WIP photos.

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Though it looks relatively close to being done, I had to put twenty more hours into it before it was actually finished. At this point I was so tired of the project that I stopped taking photos. (oops)

And though I don’t have photos of it completely finished just yet, here it is at 99.9% done. In total I spend around 170 hours on the cape, 168 of which were spend embellishing.

It was super time consuming, but in the end I’m happy I did it this way. It’s always been a dream of mine to make something really sparkly and wonderful, and i’m happy to say that it’s come true!

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Upcoming posts: Making 17th century bodies, Making a Grey dress, and the final post in The making of Elsa!

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Cosplay, Disney, The Making Of

 

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