17 September 2013

Rosethorn 's Interminable Embroidery

You know how sometimes you randomly wake up just really, really tired and you can't really figure out why because you went to bed semi-early *cough* and got to sleep in a little bit too and just overall thought you did the right things to take care of yourself?  Yeah, that's what today's been like.  It was also wonderful that our central heating came on (with clanging pipes and all!) at like 4:30 AM and that's about when I realized that I had a bunch of flammable objects just chillin' against the heating register.

Mmyeah.  Since I'm already not really starting off on-subject, I might as well get everything out of my system before I start on cosplay stuff.

So New York Comic Con's in only a month, yesyes!  Unfortunately I just had to purchase an online access code for one of my texbooks so I'm counting my pennies to make sure I'll be able to pay for the hotel T_T
But...CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS IS GONNA BE A GUEST, HOW AWESOME IS THAT.  Maybe if I'm really lucky I'll have enough dinero to get an autograph and maybe *squee* a photo?  That would make my life.  Just a few minutes with the most beautiful man on earth...yeah, it's not really worth it, but OH MY he is beautiful T_T

Also I am stuck getting creamed over and over again by Hades in Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories...you'd think a guy with stupid blue flamey hair would be easier to defeat, but he's not!

Umm, so since my camera batteries just ran out I don't have as many photos as usual for this post.  But I'll share what I have, 'cuz I'm epically excited to get this cosplay done!  Just be warned about photos of questionable quality because I used my phone instead...

The first thing is that I redid my costume design because I got a fancy new hardcover sketchbook and, quite honestly, my original drawing kinda sucked.  So here's what we have:

Things DID change as I made the costume.  There are no tattered edges on the final, mostly because I decided I really liked the fully finished and embroidered hems instead.  I also left out shoes because I have a couple different ideas and I probably won't choose a pair until the entire thing is done.

All the patterns I used for the doublet bodice are from The Tudor Tailor by Ninya Mikhaila and Jane Malcolm-Davies, and I was lucky that everything went together pretty well.  I suspect they are missing pattern pieces for the tab skirt, because the patterns that I ended up using didn't lay quite right.  It's okay, just kinda odd.    I also used one of their patterns for the sleeves, just reshaped so they are bell-shaped rather than straight.

Sleeve cut out in off-white muslin.

At this point I also began making thread-covered buttons for the front of the garment.  These particular ones are cheap glass pearls (because for some reason they were less expensive than wooden beads) covered with green embroidery floss.

Because the buttons themselves are spherical, it is necessary to have a lacing strip to bear the brunt of the effort of keeping the garment closed.  Spherical buttons don't like to stay in their button holes.  Too much stress and they pop right out.

By necessity the bodice is fully boned to keep its shape.  Since whalebone isn't readily available these days, I opted for a cheaper alternative: cable ties.  In all the garment has ten bones, five on each side.

All the boning prior to installation

Here's the garment after I've installed the lacing strips, but before I've installed the buttons:

All the eyelets are hand-worked using thick, strong button thread.  Strips are interlined with buckram for extra strength.  For the moment I am out of corset lacing, so until then a shoelace will have to suffice!  You can't see it anyway once the garment is buttoned--it's not a big deal.

Now with all the buttons and buttonholes complete!

I made thirteen buttons in all, and each buttonhole is hand-stitched using matching green embroidery floss.  I was worried about puckering, but luckily there isn't any once the garment is laced up!

At this point the only casualty, if you can call it that, is the collar...which I *think* I sewed on upside-down.  There were no notations on the pattern to say which side was to be sewn to the garment.  It was an honest mistake that fortunately I was able to fix with some carefully-placed darts.

My cloak is very similar in style to my Luminara Unduli cloak.  The corners are rounded off using a measuring tape tacked to the floor as such:

Then a corner of fabric is sort of "gathered" from the hem and tacked to the shoulder.  I'm sorry, it's really hard to explain in words!

Here's what it looks like so far:

Everything's sewn except for the hood, which is just pinned on.  I'm not sure yet how I want that attached, so I'm leaving it alone for now.

All of the hems are embroidered, not only to finish them but also for decoration and detail.  I've never done so much embroidery in my life.  For the most part it's done using just two stitches: feather stitch and herringbone stitch.  I varied the applications of those stitches to achieve the desired effect.

Fully embroidered doublet bodice

Detail of tab embroidery on doublet bodice

(BTW: the garment underneath the doublet is one of my formal dresses...I just needed a background so you wouldn't see into my messy closet)

Sleeve embroidery done using feather stitch
Embroidery on both the doublet bodice and cloak (sorry for the bad quality photos...I know it sucks)

The embroidery has taken hours and hours of time...or perhaps it should be measured in the number of episodes of Heroes and Doctor Who that I have watched?  I believe I've watched about four seasons total between the two series while I was working on this...and I've still got the skirt to complete!

What I realized about halfway through is that Rosethorn's habit has a BLACK border, not some other colour...I can't even imagine what I was thinking.  I had it written in my notes.  Guess I'm just a space cadet.  So what happened was that I didn't have any black embroidery thread.  But I did have white thread and black fabric dye.  You wanna know what liquid fabric dye looks like after sitting in a hot storage locker all summer?

This shit is thicker than yogurt.  Yucko.  But at least it did the job.

Ta-dah!  Black embroidery floss.  You can see the results a couple photos back!  I actually think it looks really nice with the light green embroidery.

Right now I'm working on the skirt.  I had to pick a bunch of hems that I'd made for the fabric's previous incarnation, but I hope to start embroidering tonight.  The skirt has some beautiful draping that I can't wait to see all put together.

I did decide to go with a wig for this cosplay.  Arda was unfortunately out of the Magnum in dark copper red, so I got it in Spanish brown instead.

Photo from Arda Wigs
Depending on the colour when it arrives I may try to make it a little redder.  This wig also has to work for my Kira Nerys cosplay because I'm cheap like that.

That's where we are for now.  I'm currently taking a little break from my Kira Nerys cosplay until I've had some good success on my other projects.  Puck needs to be done by January and I have a Victorian dress to complete by December...those get precedence for the time being.

More later!

Edit: My apologies for a couple formatting errors and a random white box...seriously they don't want to be gotten rid of.