Thursday, September 25, 2014

Han Solo Costume: Crafting the Blaster Holster

Once the blaster was done, my Viking had to make the new hostler.  This first image is the existing holster. It looks big enough, but it's made for a gun that has a much smaller overall width. This section documents how he created the holster. Unfortunately, there aren't photos of each step, but I hope that it's is enough to show the overall steps of what he did.

So, using paper, he created a pattern using some reference photos that we took during the Star Wars exhibit.
Afterwards, it was a matter of cutting out the leather and crafting it appropriately.
  1. Cutting the leather to the pattern.
  2. Getting the leather wet and molding it around to the appropriate shape. A lot of binder clips and spring clamps were used to help keep it in shape.
  3. Once the leather dried to the correct shape, it was stitched together and conditioned.
  4. The pieces were individually dyed and then put together.

He dye'd the leather match the existing belt color. It looks red in this photo, but it's really a dark dark brown.

Here's the final blaster holster as well as the leg attachment.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Han Solo Costume: Modifying the Blaster

As it gets closer to Convolution 2014, the last finishing touches of my outfit are coming together -- the blaster and holster. Both are done, but I have yet to finish taking photos, so I will break it into different blog posts.

My Viking wanted to do the modifications on the toy blaster that I got from He loves modifying guns, and I was able to concentrate on other things. The gun, while not completely screen accurate, is very passable AND it makes "authentic" pew pew noises from the movie. It was also about $10.00 USD with shipping, so overall a reasonable price for a prop.

We went over to our local craft store and picked up the necessary paints (spray paints and touch up paints) needed to transform the orange & white toy to look like a passable version of the DL-44 blaster).

First, he pried off the muzzle barrel and gave everything a black matte primer, then spray painted it a glossier black.

After he was happy with how it looked, he put the finishing touches, including painting the "wooden" grip (with aging) and the muzzle barrel silver.

It took several days to finish the gun, which mostly involved waiting for paint to dry. However the finished product looks pretty good and should be fine for on-stage usage.

However, the toy gun was BIGGER than the holster that went the gun belt I was going to use, so that necessitated making a gun holster that fit this prop that would fit on the gun belt. So, that will be the subject of my nearly last blog post on the making of this costume

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Learning How to Leather Carve

I've always been impressed by many artists who have done some amazing leather tooling (i.e. leather carving). I've done some basic leatherworking over time, but I have never done any leather tooling, so I thought I might rectify that oversight.

The Internet is an amazing resource to look up nearly everything that you want to do. There are a ton of tutorials and videos on leather carving. I spent a little bit of time watching some Youtube videos and reading up on leather carving about some of the basics, basic tools, etc., that I would need.

The Tandy leather store was having a September sale, so I picked up a few things that I didn't have just so I could play with leather carving:
After I got everything in place, I just started practicing with some simple basic designs. Here are two examples:

    Here are a couple of the resources I looked at on the web. There are a lot, so I suggest doing a Google search on leather carving.

    Sample resources:

    Monday, September 8, 2014

    Han Solo Costume: Making the Vest (2)

    Once I finished the mock-up, I started working with the fashion fabric. It was very easy to start piecing everything together, especially after making the mock-up as it gave me a template to follow.

    However, I had forgotten that I had wanted to add magnetic closures to the pockets so that they wouldn't flap open. They are slightly more expensive than other closure types (such as snaps), but the ease of use of the magnets, especially when you're in full costume, outweighs the cost.

    When I drafted out the pockets initially I hadn't taken into consideration adding the one inch closure into the pocket and pocket flap. Consequently, I had to increasing the size of the flap and the pocket slightly to allow for the size of the closure.  It was a minor, but annoying modification.

    I made each panel (front left, front right, and back) and added each pocket to each panel. (It was much easier to sew the pockets onto each panel individually.) First, I marked out all of the seam allowances, then using my mock-up as a guide, I pinned all of the pockets into place.

    Once I pinned all of the pockets into place, I eyeballed the two panels together to make that all of the pockets lined up horizontally. I used a lot of pins. Then I did the same for the backpiece.

    After I put together the fashion fabric together, I made the lining using a black cotton/polyester blend, then seamed the whole thing together.

    As a side note, black denim attracts lint & fur like a magnet, and my kittens love to sit on it! By the time I was done, it looks like a Wookie had shed all over the vest. (I must remember to bring a lint roller to the convention!)

    Once the whole thing was together, I did a bit more finishing work, including top-stitching the neckline, armholes, and bottom. Then there was minor tailor stitching for all of the pocket flaps to ensure that they won't stick out .

    Here's the semi-final costume, sans the holster. We're still working on the blaster.

    (Vest with shirt and pants)

    Back of the vest.

    Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the vest turned out. There were some fiddly bits (primarily pockets and their placement), but it was an easy pattern to draft out. 

    With this completion of the vest, it's just a matter of the rest of the accouterments.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2014

    Han Solo Costume: Making the Vest (1)

    After I finished the pants, I started working on the Han Solo vest. But, with my schedule, I couldn't work on it for a few days. So, over the holiday weekend, I finished up the mockup that was languishing on my dress dummy.

    Many cosplayers have made this item. Some are using the Falcon jacket pattern and it looks like you can purchase one from Magnoli for a not-cheap sum. However, as I had made a 'cargo' vest previously (my Melinda May vest), I just decided to use this pattern as base (as the two vests are "close enough").

    There are some differences -- the Han Solo vest has a yoke for the front & back and no collar. (Actually, the Melinda May vest also has a back yoke -- I saw screencaps of the back AFTER I made the vest...go figure.)

    So, I redrafted the vest to include the yokes and appropriate seam allowances. Then I took a pencil to sketch out where all of the pockets should be located (vs. actual Han Solo's vest) along with the appropriate proportions for MY body.  It took me several attempts to get the right size pocket for each section, as they are ALL different sizes!!! Then I took a black sharpie marker once I was happy with the look.

    Here's the back with a the loops and back pocket sketched out along with the comparison photo.

    Once I had the outlines I wanted, I took the measuring tape and took the relative dimensions for each pocket loops. Each of the pockets are "accordion pockets", which means that they expand outwards. (In some screenshots from "A New Hope", you see that some of the pockets are slightly expanded, due to either the way Han Solo is standing or he has something in the pocket.)

    Also, Aimee Major was kind enough to create a zip file with photos of the Han Solo vest with a write-up from an archived thread of the Rebel Legion forums. It was extremely helpful while making my vest, and I referred to it constantly. 

    I started experimenting with different pocket "depths" for the accordion pocket to see what would work best for me in different places. Unlike Harrison Ford, I have boobs and a very deep accordion pocket wouldn't work for the topmost pockets.

    For the top pockets, I used a 1/2" (1.587 cm) depth, but for the bottom and back pocket, I opted for a 3/4 inch (1.9cm) deep pocket. (Here's a decent tutorial on how to make accordion pockets.)

    Here's the pockets with various sized pockets
    so I could get a feel for what would be a good depth.

    Using a similar technique for the loops, I played around with different depths for how "deep" I wanted the loops.

    I'm fairly happy with how the mockup looks, so I can start working with the black twill fashion fabric. Also, with this new "base" pattern, I'll probably re-work the Melinda May vest to be more fitted after I finish up Han Solo using THIS as the base pattern. :-)