|Awards :||Judge's Award for Immaculate Stitching- Amecon 2012, Hall Costume Award - Loncon 3|
|I will hold my hands up here and say I'm doing this purely on the basis that I fell in love with the design instantly - I know barely anything about the novels and I'm not even 100% sure on the character's name as they've never been translated into English and it's nearly impossible to dig up any information on the series without being able to speak Japanese :(|
It's a THORES Shibamoto illustration to a series of novels by Hideyuki Kikuchi, best known here as the author of Vampire Hunter D. The story is apparently about a bionic soldier battling against a group who are determined to bring about the Antichrist. It sounds great and I'd love to read it, but it's unlikely to ever make it to the West.
But that design! Look at it!
My big project for 2012. I have never done ruffles before. Guess I'll learn...
|Black satin (lining)||£10.00||Bought|
|So much thread ;____;||£17.42||Bought|
|Honey-coloured circle lenses||£23.76||Bought|
|Good grief, more beads and thread||£11.98||Bought|
|Thread, beads & embroidery floss||£8.13||Bought|
|Black cotton velvet||£29.75||Bought|
|ALL THE BUTTONS||£13.98||Bought|
|Shoes (also for regular wear!)||£80.00||Bought|
Hm... (Posted 10th August 2012)
Essentially finished, though there are improvements that I could make. I'm really not happy with the hand sections of the gloves at all, and I'm iffy about the collar of the shirt, but there isn't time to fix that right now.
Also bought a ton of new makeup as I discovered the lipstick I had planned to use has become very hard and cakey - it's years old so should probably be chucked anyway!
... (Posted 7th August 2012)
The outfit is pretty much together now and I'm starting to hate everything about it ;_____;
Tried to put in the lining, discovered I'd cut it wrong. Make new lining, put it in, it hangs wrong. UNPICK LINING, HANG IT ON MANNEQUIN, SPEND HOURS TACKING IT ON, STILL HANGS SKEWY FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF
But it hangs OK when the ruffle shirt is under it, which I guess is what matters. Got to redo the bias on that and then the cutouts.
I also very nearly irreparably screwed up one of the gloves. It's salvaged. I hope.
Hate the shirt collar, going to tweak it again.
Coat makes me look fat.
Not sure I have the requisite ribbon for the side and arm lacing.
... I like the trousers? What's the betting that my thighs have levelled up too much for them to fit...
To do: decorate & sew fingers, sew gloves, sew fingers to gloves
bleh (Posted 3rd August 2012)
Sleeves are in, done as much beading as I can stand (everything visible on the design is done, and have done some on the back to make sure it's in keeping), now it's lining time.
I tried the "invisible stitching" method but it was just too difficult to do it with such slippery satin. Instead I am going for the tiniest, evenest slipstitching I can manage. It's unnoticeable enough to satisfy me.
The finish line is in sight (Posted 2nd August 2012)
So it turns out I didn't need to order that extra thread >_< but I did need the beads. If I add up the stuff I bought but haven't used, like overbuying the satin (closer inspection showed black lining, so I have spare bronze), bondaweb and thread, it makes the costume about £30 cheaper, but I still spent that money... guess the stuff will get used elsewhere though!
I was fretting about the applique on the lapels. It's on the lining/facing, and since I'm putting in the lining by using the bias binding, and the applique is ON TOP of the bias binding, it was going to be incredibly awkward to attempt to applique that part-way through adding the lining. It's already been hard enough trying to applique stuff on to the coat because there's so much fabric involved.
But! I had a stroke of inspiration yesterday. Instead of trying all that faff, I decided to applique the circles onto a scrap of black satin, ironed bondaweb to the scrap, and carefully cut out the circles. I can then iron these on top of the lining/bias, with some hand-stitching to keep it fully in place. Hopefully it will be convincing, and it allowed me to get much neater applique this way too.
Final beading today and tomorrow, plus putting in the sleeves, then it's lining (+ buttons), fasteners, lacing, jabot, gloves and shoes. All handwork except the sleeves.
Keep on keepin' on... (Posted 30th July 2012)
Still plenty to do, but it's the home straight now! Need to finish the beading (for which I have to wait for more beads to be delivered as the local shop was out), finish off the applique - the last bits of which are going to be REALLY AWKWARD as they're on the lining (I may have thought of a way to cheat on this though) - and the buttons, put in the sleeves, put in the lining, do the lacing sections, sort out the fastenings and then do the shoes and gloves. And make another costume, ho ho ho.
Kind of love my sleeves... they're very Blackadder.
Ruffles, ruffles everywhere (Posted 23rd July 2012)
Have finished the shirt, for now. I'm not 100% happy with the collar yet so if there's time I may rework that. I've put wire into it so that it stands better but I'm a bit iffy about the front.
Weighed the shirt again. 3.5kg. If I am grumpy when wearing this costume it's because it weighs a bloody ton!
I'm a bit behind, I meant to get the coat sleeves done this weekend but had to go out on Saturday. Will have to work extra hard during the week, particularly since I spotted a couple of bits of applique I'd missed on the coat.
Better start weight training... (Posted 18th July 2012)
I weighed the shirt last night after pinning on the 4th ruffle layer. It weighs 2 kilograms. That's before the final layer, the collar and cuffs.
And that's just the SHIRT.
Ugh (Posted 16th July 2012)
Used half a can of spray starch on the collar and it's had virtually no effect. I'm not impressed :(
The collar of the coat will hold up the shirt collar to a certain extent, but it still looks a touch floppy for my taste, so I'm probably going to put some concealed wire in there. Not ideal, but hey.
THORES you giant troll (Posted 16th July 2012)
I was working on the sleeves last night and... the design doesn't physically make sense without bizarre curves and holes and... just no. Basically, the dude's arms bend and twist in ways that human beings don't, even hypermobile human beings like me (trust me, I spent about half an hour doing crazy things with my elbow that would make most people wince, and it just didn't work).
So I am sacrificing some small points of accuracy in order to make the design actually make sense on a human body.
Completed the applique on the coat, needs beads, buttons and embroidery now. You can see bits of sleeve in the background too. I've actually put toy stuffing in the puff sleeves to make them stand out, now they are fun and squidgy XD
My poor debit card ;________; (Posted 11th July 2012)
This costume is eating thread like there's no tomorrow, and the thread I'm using for the coat only comes on 100m rolls. I just had to order 10 of them...
I can't be trusted with hot things (Posted 11th July 2012)
Spent about 4 hours making bias binding yesterday. Burned myself with the iron again. FML
I have discovered that I may actually have enough of the bronze satin to line the coat; I thought I'd use up a lot more of it for the bias than I did. So that might knock the final cost down - I'll use the black stuff for other projects :3 I always wanted to line it in bronze but I ended up buying the shop completely out of the bronze satin and they can't get any more in that shade. Hopefully there's enough!
The imprecision of ruffling mathematics (Posted 10th July 2012)
As it turns out, my calculations for the strips to ruffle were far too generous and have left me with strips double the length. On the downside, it means I wasted time on some of the hemming. On the upside, it means I don't have to bother with ruffling the final strip as I easily have enough with what I've already done! And I'll have a few ruffles kicking about spare if I fancy putting them on an original design somewhere :3
Now on to sewing the ruffle strips onto the shirt. I'm doing this by hand due to the thicknesses of fabric involved, so it's a lunchbreak job!
Let's ruffling (Posted 9th July 2012)
Rolled all my hems, now I'm ruffling them. Due to LFCC this past weekend (going one day, being wiped out from it the next, yay M.E.) I haven't managed to ruffle all the strips as planned, but I've done 3 of the 5 and ironed out the 4th. Because the ruffles are double-layered I'm doing it by folding the fabric in half, but this means pressing the whole strip in half so it's a) neat and b) obvious where the centre is so I can feed it into the ruffler foot properly.
That said, I am SO pleased with how the ruffles are coming out. Using vast quantities of fabric was the right way to go, even if it did cost a fortune and take an age to hem. It will mean that it's probably the heaviest single item of clothing I've ever worn, that much fabric weighs quite a bit...
The collar and cuff ruffles are also done. I still need to work out how to make the collar stand up best. I've ordered spray starch to try that and I'm really hoping it will work nicely.
Oh hell (Posted 3rd July 2012)
How did this costume get so freaking expensive?! OK, I guess a fair chunk of it was on the shoes, but still ;_________;
Bought more crepe for ruffles, black satin to line. I'm really hoping that's the last of the expenses now save probably some more thread.
I'm still rolling those hems. It seems to take about an hour to do one strip of fabric, have done three so far out of the total five (and a half, counting collars and cuffs). Honestly though, the most annoying part has been folding and cutting the fabric to get strips that length and reasonably even. Ugh!
I don't like maths. (Posted 2nd July 2012)
Spent a fair amount of time yesterday doing maths to work out exactly how much fabric I needed to cut to make the appropriate amount of ruffles. Maths is far from my favourite thing to do :( Especially when it means ending up having to cut 13m strips of fabric.
On a related note, everyone mocked me for buying 20m of fabric for the ruffles, saying it was excessive. Well ya know what? IT ISN'T ENOUGH. I'm double layering the ruffles, and putting them on both the front and back of the shirt, for fullness, and I only had enough fabric to cut the strips for 3 layers when I need 5. That's me going to buy another 15m of fabric then. This costume is more expensive than Laughing Octopus!
I also wish to note that rolling the hems on 13m strips of fabric is beyond tedious, as is cutting 13m strips of fabric for that matter. I'm starting to miss applique - good job there's a load more of that to do. And cutting and ironing bias.
Why did I pick this costume again? Oh yeah, because it's so damn pretty...
Shirt 'n' shizz (Posted 30th June 2012)
Done a couple of things today, firstly spray-painting the buttons so they're a closer match to the satin, and secondly making up the base shirt for the ruffles.
The shirt is constructed from the same pattern as the coat, using the white crepe, but rather than the tailcoat shape I cut the coat into I've left the pattern the same except for cutting the front panels to waist length. This leaves me with a half/three-quarter "skirt" onto which I'll sew the ruffles.
The shirt is all sewn up save for the cuffs and collar, which will be ruffled, the ruffles on the skirt section, and the front fastening. I'm not sure what kind of fastening to use on the front yet. As it won't be visible I can use pretty much anything, but I want something that's both comfortable and will lie quite flat. Poppers seem a sensible choice so I may go with those.
I also measured the length of the fabric before and after ruffling, so I can cut the strips to the right length.
Aw damn (Posted 25th June 2012)
Broke £250. Oh well.
I used up an entire 1000m roll of thread on the applique for the trousers alone, so I was forced to buy more thread. It's not a 100% match, though it's very close, and Cosplex has offered to send me her roll which is a match. I had sewn up the trousers before realising I'd forgotten 2 lines of satin stitching (d'oh) so was forced to take them apart and redo it, with the new thread - however once I get the thread from Lex I am likely to redo those lines once again just so it's a perfect match all over.
Trousers need the waistband facing stitching in and hemming, which I plan to do with bias binding once I've made it all, then are pretty much complete save a few buttons & beads.
Grabbed some seed beads and embroidery floss along with the thread, which will be added somewhere for a touch of extra bling.
Coat base cut and sewn up, still the sleeves to finish patterning and make.
Buttons & beads (Posted 19th June 2012)
Making use of my lunchbreaks at work again to do some hand-sewing. At the moment I'm sewing the beads onto the completed trouser leg, but have encountered a snag with the buttons - they're just too disparate in colour from the trim. If I hadn't done so much applique already I'd consider buying more fabric in a less red-toned bronze and more of an old gold colour, but it's too late for that now - will be spray-painting the buttons to a more bronze colour instead.
Trousers (Posted 18th June 2012)
I've completed the applique on one trouser leg and made a start on the second. Stupidly I ironed all the pieces onto the second leg before remembering that I'd done some parts in layers on the first... *facepalm* it's not an insurmountable problem, it just requires a lot more care on those sections as I attempt to retain the illusion of layering.
Trying to get things symmetrical has been the hardest part, mostly with regard to the natural taper of the leg but also because of seam placement. I can't applique onto the fully sewn-up trouser because when it's sewn up it's impossible to put through the machine correctly, so as a compromise I've half-sewn the legs and will have a seam on the inside. Trying to make sure everything lines up for this seam has been nightmarish.
The large band across the thigh is also removing all stretch from that area, so I need to make sure my thighs don't get any bigger >_<
Applying Applique (Posted 11th June 2012)
I decided to pause on patterning the coat for a bit because I have some new ideas about length and style at the back. Instead I've been working on the trousers as if I can get them finished fairly soon I'll have a complete piece of the costume, which is always a good inspiration to get cracking on the rest.
There is SO MUCH applique on this costume it's mad. I did a test piece to check what stitch settings I wanted for the satin stitching, tweaked them until I was happy, and then began...
Whilst I've done applique before, it was generally either simpler or somewhat rushed. As this is a competition entry I wanted to take my time and get it nice and neat. Unfortunately I chose a costume that involves a lot of small circle designs D: These take ages to get tidy and there's at least 40 to do. However, I am quite pleased with how it's come out.
Of course, some of the straight lines, which should be easy, have come out less well... but I can redo those if necessary.
About 50% done on one trouser leg, depending on how I design the back.
Every day I'm rufflin' (Posted 7th May 2012)
Decided to stick up a few updates in slightly less formal language than the articles :3
The instructions that came with the ruffler foot were not exactly comprehensive (missing out one fairly vital instruction in particular), and this was compounded by the fact that they were written in mild Engrish and made reference to "the blue part" when nothing on the foot is blue. Helpful.
However, via trial, error, and a lot of sitting at the sewing machine going "HOW DOES IT WOOOOOOOOOORK" I eventually managed to figure it out. I made ruffles! This is just a test shot of the arcane torture instrument and its results. Yay ruffles. I think I'm probably going to have to have several single layers of ruffles in each row to get really good fullness, so it's going to see a lot of work.
I also mocked up the coat and trousers. When I did the trousers I was moaning about the lack of movement they allowed - cigarette pants are not known for their mobility - but when I started cutting the velvet I realised I'd inadvertently (or possibly by design... my memory is that bad that I can't remember) bought velvet with a 2-way stretch. Gets! I'll be able to bend my knees more than a 120 degree angle!
Updates (Posted 10th April 2012)
For anyone who's keeping an eye on this costume and hoping for updates - I may not be using the journal function as I'm hopefully going to be tracking my progress via a series of articles available elsewhere. I might do a few, and do a series of backdated entries when the costume is finished.
MOAR FABRIC (Posted 6th January 2012)
26m of fabric was insufficient. Now that I have the patterns (they shipped from America so took a while) I realise that I didn't have nearly enough velvet, and I also reconsidered the quantity of bronze satin I'd need since I am making my own bias tape for this costume as well as the other details.
At some point soonish I will need to attempt to sketch out the costume as I plan to make it - since this is the only reference image that exists I need to decide on a number of the details as well as draw out a plan for the back of the costume. Leaving it plain would look ridiculous in comparison to the detail on the front but it needs to fit with the rest of the design. It's also a chance to possibly employ some techniques like embroidery.
The more I look at it, the more it seems like the ruffles are actually part of a kind of long-backed shirt worn beneath the coat :/ that would mean lining the coat as well as making the shirt... lots of layers. Still, it's an excuse to finally get around to doing a set of properly lined cuffs.
The shoes should also be arriving today. Those who follow me on Twitter will know I ummed and aahed about these. I found them on eBay and they match the style of the costume perfectly, are the right style and shape to give me a bit of extra leg length/slimness, and are just generally fabulous. However, they were a little expensive (even more so with the customs charge ;_;) and this is a competition costume, so really I want details to be stuff that I've done. But on looking further for another suitable pair, I just couldn't find anything I liked, so I decided to get them and will make some modifications to make them match exactly.
Supplies (Posted 18th November 2011)
I have been sourcing all of the supplies I need to make this costume. I decided as soon as I chose to make it that it was going to end up being expensive because it's so lush, but I've actually managed to find a couple of bargains that have dropped the price a little.
First of all, the fabrics. I bought no less than 26m of fabric. This has shocked many, but there's reasoning behind it!
The image is of the buttons I've ordered. I did a quick count up and from the buttons that are visible, as well as having enough to detail the back so it doesn't look plain in comparison, I'll need quite a lot, so I've bought 250. They're pretty so any spares can be used on other projects.
I've also bought some bronze-coloured freshwater pearls that will end up somewhere on the costume, because I love me some beads and they will add to the lushness and beauty of the costume.
I'm not including the costs of the bias makers in the total as they'll be used for many other projects.
The next step will be to sketch out exactly how I think it all goes together. I'm currently pondering whether to attach the ruffles directly to the coat or to have them on a kind of half-skirted dress worn beneath the coat.