28 January 2013

Pair of Elizabeth Vernon Effigy Bodies

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Among my holiday gifts this year was a very amazing book called The Tudor Tailor.  I've looked forward to owning this book because of its repute as a sort of bible for tudor-era clothing (I'm using the word "tudor" loosely here because the styles span a very large section of time).

Friday night my friend Andrea was hanging out in my room and I became randomly inspired to make something out of scraps of beautiful green fabric left over from my Seth Nightroad cosplay.


I don't work a lot with boning because it's hard to cut, expensive, and causes me some trouble when I try to finish off the garment with crisp seams and hems.  But it was Friday night and I was game.

Patterns were scaled up from those provided in The Tudor Tailor.  It was a streamlined process, then I just needed to mark out where the boning channels would be sewn and where my seam allowance began.

Boning is still expensive and my photo is still crooked, but I decided to use cable ties (or zip ties, duct fasteners, etc., etc., there seem to be a myriad of names for them).  Historically whale bone would have been used as stiffening.  Fortunately for the poor whales, such a material is less commonplace nowadays.  In fact, you can't really get your hands on it at all.  I got my hands on some thick 24 inch cable ties with about the same flexibility as whale bones, and possibly more durability.

66 individually sewn boning channels had to be filled with about twenty yards of cable tie boning.  Scissors weren't sharp enough, so...wire cutters!  The only casualty at this stage was one of my fingers, which I cut a pretty good gash into with my scissors when I tried to smooth out the end of a cable tie :x

Boning is all in!  66 pieces in all.  Phew!

The tab skirt gets sewn on.

Eyelet time!  I tore the fabric a little with my fabric shears, then shoved a knitting needle through to enlarge the hole enough that I could stick a sewing needle through without catching any bits of frayed fabric.

Buttonhole stitches all the way around the eyelet hole created in the last step reinforce the hole and keep it open so the lacing can pass through easily.

This project used up most of the rest of the corset lacing I had on hand, unfortunately.  I also almost set myself on fire trying to put the shoelace tips onto the lacing...oops.  Better to do that with a lighter than with matches.

Aaaaand we're done!

Projects like this are good because they require me to use skills I wouldn't normally use in modern clothing.  We don't wear boning much anymore, nor eyelets or corset lacing.

I'm surprised at how comfortable the completed garment is.  I wore it for a few hours last night and aside from the slightly restrictive nature of the boning it provided a lot of support and moved easily.  With so much boning for support, you don't have to use as many muscles in your back.

Next time I think I'll save some boning by not putting as much in the side back and back of the garment.  I put in the extra boning because the original garment this pattern comes from had it, but it's really unnecessary.  Perhaps also adding a bone between the eyelets and the edge of the fabric would reinforce the fabric better.

Overall, not bad for a first try!  I'd like to make more of these in the future.

22 January 2013

Luminara Hood and Cloak Patterning

My first post of 2013 comes a little late.  I am sorry!

I spent this last weekend at Arisia 2013.  I competed in the masquerade and won Best Journeyman and Best Journeyman Workmanship awards for my Seth Nightroad cosplay!

Now I'm back in New York with my sewing machine and kit.  Time to get back to Luminara and numerous other projects that demand my attention.

Tonight's project was the hood for Luminara's cloak.

It's a little pointless because of the headdress, but she's a Jedi so whatever.  It's a really large hood.

All cut!  Now time for the little black designs on Luminara's cloak.  On the screen-used fabric, the black patterns are actually "burned out" areas.  I couldn't locate any fabric like this, so I will be using screen printing ink to print some linen with the same texture as the original fabric.  I will note that the reference photo I provided for Luminara does not show the cloak's true colour, which is more of a reddish brown than a black.  Just sayin' before anyone throws rotten tomatoes at me.

The test piece turned out really well.  I got really crisp edges.  I hoped for that.  The method worked.  on to the final piece...

I'm sticking pieces of contact paper I've cut into curvy shapes to produce the pattern.

Getting there.  The pattern did not come out as crisp as I had hoped originally.  I don't think that's a bad thing.  I like that the contrast is less stark between the black ink and the original fabric colour.

There ya have it!  The hood piece is done.  The pattern is a little inconsistent.  Again, I think that's not a bad thing.  It also took me about two hours to pattern the entire thing.  I can say that I am NOT looking forward to all the time and effort it will take the pattern the main body of the cloak, which is basically a five-yard length of sixty inch wide fabric!  So much surface area 0_o

Onwards, I suppose, but only after I give my back a rest.