Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sourcing Fabrics

Sourcing the right materials for any project is always a bit harrowing for me. Is it the right color? The right type? The right price? I never knew how good I had it in the US until I moved to Dublin.

One of the big issues I've been having with this Korra costume is fabrics. Naturally, I can't settle on just plain old cotton. No, that would be too simple for me.

I managed to find an old leather skirt in a secondhand shop last fall that will be perfect for her waist drape, and one dreary day I stumbled across the perfect blue stretchy material for the tank top. I bought a new felt-vicose blend to try out for her jacket, and found some fabulous faux white fur to round things off. When I was in the US I picked up some lining material and jersey on the cheap, but that leaves me where I am now- without pants.

At least, without fabric for pants. The problem is Dublin is terribly shoddy at fabric selection. There aren't huge stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, or Joanns. It just doesn't exist over here. Everywhere is small, which always means the selection is small.

This does mean that I get to be creative in my fabric sources. All of the selections above have come from different places. Outside of the stop in the US, every last piece has been bought in a different shop.

I definitely miss the big chain stores. As much as they get a bad wrap, and have dreadful service at the fabric cutting table usually, having one available to you is a luxury I envy.

I do think some of my procrastination is that I don't feel like I'm "ready" to make her- by which I mean I'm missing some vital stuff. I keep telling myself if I could just source that one last thing that all of it would fall together and I'd be able to sit down with a machine and go to town. I may be deluding myself on that one. The panic of not being able to find it certainly has kicked in.

If you happen to pass a good blue wool section in the next few days in Dublin, drop me a line.

On the plus side, my orchid bloomed.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Worms and Body Blocks

My pattern-drafting skills haven't rusted quite as much as I'd feared, or else my trusty book's fabulous instructions made up for my lack in skill. 

Truth is, I wasn't perfect first time round. This is why I made the body block in the first place. My first attempt was at least a success in all ways on the drafting side of things. 
No, my failure was in forgetting that I should really breathe in when taking the chest measurement. Its been a long time since I've taken measurements, and so its probably unsurprising that I got at least one of them wrong first time round.

I probably could have gone with my original block, but I expect I'll be using this guide for some time, so would rather make one that is more accurate. I know, I really should try to be less perfectionist, but if I get it right now, I may not ever have to make one of these again, although I might actually be quite sad if that were true.

So I went back, re-measured my bust, made another, and promptly scrapped it after failing to follow the perfectly easy to follow guidelines. After a night to sleep on my mistakes and a number of curses, I now have a proper and true representation of myself in paper and cotton.
I rather like making body blocks. The straight, clean lines. The step by step laid out for you. The sharp, ordered lines are so different from the rough and tumble of ragged edges and flexible fabric. It is an entirely different process from the creation of a costume, and I love it.

Now I get to start looking at real fabrics.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Twitters & New Pages

As we all know, my procrastination knows no bounds. This time it has worked in my crafting favour as what I really wanted to procrastinate working on was the thing with an actual due date. Naturally.

This meant a rather un-necessary time spent reworking the website. Its been undergoing various shifts over the past few months, but I finally got around to sorting out a few things on my To Do list- namely, I've added a slideshow of the Flickr page and set up a Twitter account for the blog.

You can catch updates and actually tell me how much you hate my blog on @withoutastitch which sadly ran into the Twitter handle word count and is therefore missing the crucial 'on'.

The RSS feed has been updated, and is newly configured to hopefully make subscribing easier, and there's a handy link for my fellow Feedly users.

The Photography page now has a slideshow of the Flickr page, which should naturally update with any new shots. There's a bunch there that have never been on the blog, some of which are better quality than others. You'll see the cosplay shots I took at various conventions, as well as some nicer shots that have nothing to do with the blog- like the one above. This may eventually become a larger section, but not without a lot more effort than I can currently devote.

Enjoy the new features!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pattern Drafting

It has been over 10 years since I last drafted a pattern. My memories of pattern drafting were of lots of math and rulers and frustration.

So I did what any self-respecting seamstress would do and sought help.

Tea for fortification, and a book with all the answers. It is a combo that has seen me through many a problem.

My go-to helper on this type of work is this book- The Costume Technician's Handbook. I got it in college for costume design, and it has yet to fail me. A lot of patterning books move on from there to give you a lot of ideas and other options, but for the basics, this is just so super-easy to follow along that I love it.

Actually, the pattern drafting was surprisingly easy. I'd say I whipped out my block in about 45 minutes, excluding the time I stared longingly at Damon Salvatore.

I haven't yet created my block to see how badly I've done, but I'm fairly confident that if my measurements are good, then this should work. Reasonably delighted with myself on this.