Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Building a Suit for SDCC: Slacks

In previous posts on this topic, I've already mentioned that I had already made this particular pattern for a different cosplay outfit, but the base can be used for this cosplay as well. After all, pants are pants are pants, right?

I took out my previous two mockups --- I had made the slim and average fit of this pair of pants. I consulted my notes written on the pattern, which told me the slim fit was a bit more tailored to fit me than the average fit. (My current self is pleased with my past self on all the copious notes that she took.)

I tried on the slim fit mockups again to be sure, and they still fit me well. It was then a matter of cutting out the fabric and creating them per the instructions.

However, this time around, I also wanted to line my pants to give it a better flow and to provide reinforcement. Also, if you've never worn linen before, I will tell you that linen ITCHES until it softens enough through a multitude of washing. I didn't have time to wash the linen a few dozen times (not to mention the wasted water), so I opted to line these pants.

I watched a few YouTube Video on lining pants to better understand how to do it. It was relatively easy and will help the longevity of said pants.(And act as a barrier for that aforementioned itchiness)

While I was making these pants, I was very much reminded that my grandfather wore black linen pants much like what I'm making currently. It was a surprisingly nostalgic moment.

I'm happy with how it turned out  and I'm pleased with the fit.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Building Suit for SDCC: Waistcoat

In planning this costume out, I thought that the smallest piece of the suit --- the waistcoat --- would be the most straightforward to sew first. After all, I've made myself several different waistcoats and they all follow the same patterning. It was just a matter of tailoring it to my measurements.

For this character, I needed to make a waistcoat with lapels. I decided to use a pattern I've used before, except I had made the versions without lapels.

Previously, I had already copied the main pattern pieces out to brown butcher paper and needed to copy the patterns for the lapels and collar.

I decided to make a mockup so I could better understand the collar and lapel structure. I played around with different lapel sizes to find a size preference.

In the course of following the pattern instructions, I realized that the pockets in the front of the pattern were FAKE! I was severely disappointed by this fact and decided to turn the faux-pockets into real welt pockets.

Once the fashion shell of the front half of the jacket was completed, I cut out a suitable pocket lining and drew the welt lines on it. Basted down the welt flap to the fashion shell.

Added a suitable pocket lining and redrew the lines. 

Sewed along the drawn lines and then CUT in between.

Pushed everything through hole I cut and then sewed the edges of the welt along the side. I was left with a 3.5" deep pocket. (On the inside, I sewed the edges and bottoms of my pocket fabric)

If you want to learn how to make a welt pocket, check out this tutorial. Mine is slightly different, but the concepts are the same.

Here's the final waistcoat. I still have to add buttons for it, but I want the buttons on the jacket and waistcoat to match so I'm going to wait until the jacket is also completed so I can just do a production run of buttons.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Building a Suit for SDCC

It's nearly time for San Diego ComiCon, and I've been working diligently on my latest cosplay outfit for the Masquerade. Much like previous years, it's a SOOPER SEEKREET project, but I can give you details without giving away the surprise.

This costume is going to be a change for me, because unlike previous cosplay outfits, I will be able to wear this outfit on a regular basis, even for work. Additionally, I don't have to do a lot of extra custom work because I've already made parts of this outfit for other costumes, which means no unnecessary mockups and I just need to follow the pattern instructions and my own notes.

FIRST, the costume: The "costume" be a three-piece suit, which won't be quite matching in style, but I'll be using similar and matching fabric. Photos of the character seem to indicate this is the case.

SECOND, the patterns: As mentioned previously, I've already made much of this suit for other purposes, so I don't have to actually do much in terms of mockups, custom alterations, etc.  I will have to sew 1.5 items that I haven't created before, so there will be some work to do.

For the waistcoat, I've previously made the non-collared version of the pattern, but for this new one, I'll be adding the lapels. The only pattern I haven't yet made is a button-down shirt. I'm using this McCalls pattern for it.

LAST: the fabric! For this particular outfit, I'm going with a linen blend, because photos of said outfit appear to be linen. However, I chose a linen blend because I hate ironing linen --- it wrinkles if you look at it wrong.  Also, I'm choosing two different types of black linen because photos of said character show a slightly different texture/light reflection between the coat and pants.

For the jacket, I've chosen a black hopsack linen (55% linen / 45% rayon). Hopsack is a type of weave that looks like basket weave, and is not as "formal" as a plain weave. It's used for more "informal" blazers and jackets especially light summer blazers.

The next fabric is for the pants and waistcoat, which is a 53% linen / 47 % rayon, which I'll be using for the waistcoat and matching pants.

The last bit of fabric that I'm going to be using is for the shirt:

I've already washed it twice in hot water and it's turning into a very soft fabric and will make a lovely shirt.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Completed Katarina

Within the course of a week, I finished two projects! It feels so good to get things completed and to have two in one week feels doubly good.

This time around, I finished Katarina by CocoKnits out of Cascade Greenland, which is a discontinued yarn, but of which I have at least 3 sweater's worth in my Stash. I love Julie Weisenberger's aesthetic, and this sweater is no exception.

There's a seamless version of this sweater, but I chose to knit the seamed version. I don't mind seaming and I knit this in pieces as a substitute for my sock knitting at work. Because I did it piecemeal, it  meant that I could finish it a bit faster as it was always accompanying me to different places. (I also prefer having a bit more structure to my knitted garments that seaming affords).

While the body of the sweater took very little time, the garter stitch shawl collar took forever to finish and was fairly boring to knit. I also did some short-rows along the collar because I wanted the collar to have more substance and to stand a bit taller.

Consequently, I ended up working on the Viajante instead or reserved the Katarina for mindless t.v. knitting whenever we binge watched on Netflix or Hulu. However, I'm very pleased with how the collar turned out.

Here's the final sweater on me. It fits perfectly.

And the Greenland softened up considerably after washing it. I didn't quite block the sweater, but rather threw it into the dryer. It handled the dryer very well and didn't lose any of its shape.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Completed Viajante!

It's been a long time since I finished a project that wasn't sock related. I took on two big knitting projects and have been somewhat faithful to just knitting on them (except for my ever-present sock projects).

So, I'm glad to announce that I finally, finally finished the behemoth that is the Viajante that I started back in March, and I love this "shawl". Okay, let's be honest here....the Viajante really isn't a shawl but more of a fancy poncho. And I've discovered that I really like ponchos, especially in the frigid climate that is my work office.

As a recap, I used Miss Babs Katahdin, which is 1750 yards / 397 grams of wool. I used nearly all of it. I think I might have 40-50 grams left.

I also discovered that I like to add beads to things, despite it adds a multitude of time to finish a project! Because this was my first time beading a project, I didn't know what size beads to use. Consequently, I ended up using two sizes of beads: 2/0 clear-esque beads for the stockinette portion of the beading and 6/0 for the lace. For the larger 6/0 beads, I found some that perfectly matched the yarn.

The beads & lace look great, and I even bound off with beads.

Despite beading bits of this poncho, the vast majority of this project is a lot of stockinette. This poncho is huge and served as a 'blanket' while I was working on it. The neck opening is about 13" wide and the "tip" of the poncho/shawl is very long.

When worn as a poncho, it reaches down to the floor.

It can also be worn as an actual shawl when you double over the fabric, which makes it warm and toasty

I love this thing. This project definitely fell under the "project knitting" aspect versus the "process knitting". I really wanted the Viajante for use in the office, travel, and I think it's elegant enough to wear for evenings out, etc.

I'm actually contemplating on making another, but out of sport weight yarn just to cut down on the amount of time that it'll take to complete. And the next one will be out of a more solid or kettle dyed yarn.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Taking a Break with Legos

This weekend was super extra busy, but not in a fun way. My Boys somehow got fleas (either it being piggybacked on us or a friends who have visited), and it was time to wash and treat the house accordingly. I'm pretty sure we caught it early enough. (Un)Fortunately, my little Dean has a fairly sensitive flea allergy so ANY flea bit will cause him discomfort whereas the other two could care less.

(Dean unhappy at being at the vet)

However, one morning, I decided that I very much needed to take a break from all of the de-flea-ing of our house and break into a Lego pack that I had been given. It was Wonder Woman and given that the new movie is coming out very soon, how could I resist?!?

Unfortunately, I didn't realize that because this a Dimensions set, all of the instructions for assembly were online as part of the Lego game, which I don't own. There were a lot of little pieces...mostly clear...for the invisible jet.

Fortunately for me, I've been playing with Legos a very log time, so I used the photo from the box to put together WW's invisible jet!
Sufficed to say, it was nice being to take a break and have a little bit of fun during an otherwise super busy weekend.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Four Shirts: 3 T-shirt modifications.

Recently, I got 4 crew-neck t-shirts to wear as part of the staff shooter team at Pacifica Archery. I don't like crew-necks, so I decided that some t-shirt modifications were in order, especially since they were all essentially the same exact t-shirt. I wanted a bit more variety.

I decided to keep one crew-neck shirt, as is, but wanted to modify the other three. I wanted to make 2 v-necks and one tank top. There are countless instructions on how to modify t-shirts.

For the first shirt, I wanted a simple V-neck that reused the ribbing. The V cannot be greater than 2 inches or else this technique won't work; the ribbing won't have enough "stretch". The summary of the technique is as follows:
  1. Using a seam ripper, undo the ribbing from the shoulders to the front of the t-shirt.
  2. Measure out less than 2 inches from the middle of the shirt. In the photo below, I measured out 1.5 inches and drew an approximate V from the shoulder to the new spot.
  3. Pin the ribbing back down, careful to ease it into place.
  4. Sew the ribbing into place.

Here are the two shirts -- the original crew neck and the v-neck shirt.

For the second shirt, I wanted a tank-top, so I took one favorite tank tops and laid it over the t-shirt.  I took chalk and drew out lines for the front & back neck as well as the front and back sleeves. These are not symmetrical, so there are four drawing marks.

BEFORE I cut, I also added a 1/2 seam allowance, because I wanted to sew down these edges so it wouldn't unravel.

I pinned my 1/2 inch seam allowance and sewed down the edges.

Here's the finished tank top to wear for those really hot days when doing field archery.

The last shirt is probably the simplest one to make. I wanted a softer neckline. I kept the sleeves as-is.

Using a seam ripper, I removed all of the ribbing, cut a V-neckline (like above), and then sewed it down with a 1/2" seam allowance. This gave me a softer V-neckline than the one with the ribbing.

So, there you shirt, three t-shirt modifications. Now, I'm ready for a summery of archery!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Silicon Valley ComiCon 2017

Silicon Valley ComiCon was in April this year, and we had a chance to go for all three days.

If you recall from my previous blog post on SVCC, there were some issues that SVCC had to contend with last year, and I think they did an outstanding job in fixing many of their issues from last year:
  • Crowd management --- they did a lot better in terms of crowd management. The lines for getting tickets / registration seemed to be better managed. Personally, we got our "badges" ahead of time (so much better than last year), and friends reported that getting their badges went without a hitch.
  • Signage was a lot better this year and with the added functionality of their SVCC app for your mobile, it was easier to find things!
  • Food options were now plentiful. SVCC reserved the local nearby park, closed it off, and had a plethora of food trucks available. This was good for the SVCC crowd, the Science March crowd, and any locals in the area. 
  • Panels -- there were lots and lots of panels this year, and they were easily accessible. The app made them a lot easier to find.
  • Badging in & out --- For whatever reason, SVCC is still enamored with the concept of "badging" in and out of the convention center. (Nearly all tech companies require employees to use a badge to get into their buildings, so I suppose they are emulating that.)
    • They also did a bag check before you could badge into the convention (which I don't remember from last year). At the main entrance, this caused a back-up when trying to enter (with the additional badge check).
    • Badging in/out (especially in the main entrance while trying to leave). Sometimes the scanner/tablet didn't read the badge correctly, which caused further delays. 
    • LUCKILY, there were other small entrances (if you knew where they were) so you could get in/out without the crowd, but by Sunday, you were only able to badge out of those locations.
There were some pretty cool things they did this year.

They had a big tie into the Science March -- they had keynote speakers, provided the aforementioned food trucks, and reserved areas. Not only did them have a lot of STEM/STEAM panels, they had lots of interactive science exhibits for kids to do. They had hands-on exhibits from the SJ Children's Discovery Museum & Libraries, NASA ,and the SJ Computer Museum
The SJ Computer museum was particularly fun because they had a lot of "old school" computers from old Atari 2800s to Apple IIes, projectors, and the first mobile phones 

For all ages, there was an entire area of free arcade games (e.g. Pacman, DigDug, Qbert, Joust, etc) for anyone to play. They also had old school console games -- older SNES, Ataris, and PC games.
And a lending library for a variety of board games!

Of course, there was a slew of panels to attend, ranging from specific STEM/STEAM related d panels (hosted by NASA scientists, the SETI institute) to cosplay to comic book related topics to Star Trek/Star Wars and other media panels. It was all sorts of awesome. There were definitely a few panels that I wanted to attend that were conflicted by others I wanted to see!
The Over 30 Cosplay Panel

Key note panels...boy, were there key note panels. Buzz Aldrin, the whole cast of Star Trek: the Next Generation, SETI institute, Adam Savage, and Tori /Kary from Mythbusters & White Rabbit.

TESTED filmed some of their episodes with a few of their hosts. It was neat to see them work, as well as many of the props they've built.

Overall, it was a vast improvement over last year; we were very happy with how things changed. Of course, there are small things here and there that can be improved upon, but that's true for any convention. We had a blast and are looking forward to next year!