Thursday, May 12, 2016

Shego Costume: Making Gloves (Part 4)

This costume has required me to learn a few new things that I've never had to make before, including: working with spandex, making gloves, and making attached costume boots.

Making Shego Links

For this post, I'll talk about making Shego's gloves.

So, just like before, I did some research before making the gloves. My Viking has a couple of books on making leather gloves, but that seemed overly complicated, so I went onto the vast knowledge of cosplayers on the intranet to find something a little easier.

Of course, after looking at a few tutorials, my reaction was "It cannot be this easy!" However, it was that easy, and probably only works on 4-way stretch spandex, because spandex is super stretchy. I would not use this technique on a tightly woven material, such as cotton or leather, and would probably default to our reference books.

Most of the techniques I found use freezer paper to stabilize the spandex. I didn't have any freezer paper so I just did what worked for me.

1) Trace out your hand. Make sure that your forearm is aligned with your index finger.  (I also marked out the location of my forearm, because the Shego gloves only go up that mid forearm.) I made two templates -- one right and left because my right hand is slightly larger than my left.

I flared out my fingers for a better fit. 
Shego's gloves flare out a little bit, I did the same for my template.

2) I added about 3/8ths" of extra seam alloance to the template and cut out my fabric (right sides together).
If I did this again, I would cut out a large rectangular piece of fabric instead and trace out the pattern onto it instead so that it would be easier to manipulate on the sewing machine.

4) Using my regular sewing machine, I stitched along the drawn line. Between each finger, I went a lot slower and made sure to make a "U" instead of a "V".
5) I tried on the glove to make sure it fit well, made slight adjustments.
6) I cut off any extra fabric. I made sure to cut as close to the stitches when cutting in between the fingers.
7) Turn right side out and hem the edges as needed.

Resources that I found helpful:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Shego Costume: Making a Bodysuit (Part 3)

Putting together a harlequin type costume is a jigsaw puzzle of sorts. I took a long look at a lot of screenshots of Shego and drew out how her costume for the front AND back. I also made some notes on the order of how each piece should be put together.

Yes, I did pull out my crayons to help color in sections.

I taped up the a master template of the outfit, along with all of the color coding, so I could look up and make sure I was using the correct piece. Having this template up (along with the drawings) helped quite a bit.

There were quite a few pieces that needed to be stitched in order. (And in some cases, I forgot to refer to my initial notes and sewed pieces out of order :-(  )

There was the occasional need to rip out a seam that I just made to line up all of the pieces, but for the most part, all of the preparatory work I had done made putting together the outfit quite easy.

I was pleased that everything "seemed" to still come out looking pretty darn good!

Having the extra space from having the utility cart helped. I could lay out all of the pieces in order before sewing them all together.

Overall, the finished body of the suit looks pretty good. It was a right pain-in-the-arse to have to line up all of the asymmetrical pieces, but it worked out.  And because I used a "pattern" that fit me, the suit fits perfectly.

I still have to make the gloves and boots for Shego, and maybe a few final finishing touches, and I should be done!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Shego Costume: Making a Bodysuit (Part 2)

When I'm unsure of how to do something, my first initial reaction is to hit my reference books or the internet for information. My books had a lot of information on knits and stretchy fabric, which was applicable, but I wanted a bit more specifically on spandex. I learned a few things:

Cutting spandex:
  • Lay out your fabric on the table so that there is very little stretch on the fabric.
  • Use fabric weights not pins when laying out your pattern.
  • Use a rotary cutter instead of scissors. It cuts spandex a lot smoother. You can always use a sharp pair of scissors to nip the areas where the rotary cutter didn't quite cut through.

Sewing Spandex:
I found a blog entry at McCall patterns that was extremely useful, as it detailed how to sew spandex with either a serger or a regular sewing machine. I have a serger so that's what I used.

Some (but not all) things to consider:
  • Needles -- Use new needles, either a ballpoint needle or stretch needles.
  • Thread -- Use a polyester thread. If you have a serger, a wooly nylon thread works too.
  • Pins - Pin inside the seam allowance to prevent holes, which means you'll have to sew a teensy bit slower.
Test Swatches:
After I cut out all of my pattern pieces, I went about making test swatches using various settings on my machine. The purpose of this exercise was to see what was the best set of settings that worked with this type of fabric. Overall, I made 15 test swatches, which might seem like a really burdensome task, but I assure you that it's worth your time to do.

In some cases, the overlocking threads were too loose, so I played with tension.
Here's one particular swatch where I was having issues with ripples, so I adjusted my differential feed.

It took me about two hours to set up my machine, make test swatches, etc. Eventually, I got to a point, where I was happy with how the stitches looked and that they provided enough stretch to work well, but all the stitches were of a good tension.

Finally, I was at a point I could actually start sewing the costume! I started with a very small piece of the costume as a first run, and it looked great.

However, it was a weekday, so it had already gotten a bit late. But, I had gotten everything I wanted accomplished, so I put everything away so I could just start sewing the next evening. :-)