Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Stock up on your knit fabrics for summer projects!

Those who sew (particularly for themselves) - go check out fabric.comtoday! They have a large selection of apparel fabric (mostly knits) at 50% off their already great prices! Their selection for apparel knits are WAY better than JoAnn's. I got 11 yards for $35.05 - just five cents more than needed for free shipping. Whahoo!!! (and yes, it IS possible to sew professional looking knit projects on a regular machine, you just have to learn how to use the twin needle).
(I love, what you see is what you get with them. Just read all the descriptions thoroughly - they tell you everything you need to know.)

Here's a sneak peek at part of my order:

Friday, April 10, 2015

Steampunk Renaissance Pirate Costume - Part 5

This post is part of a series. Start reading here!

There are so many pieces to this costume, that I decided that the final post would detail the process of 'getting dressed' in it.

First layer, the shift. Easy, it just goes over the head.

Second layer, the skirt, which laces up at the back.

Second layer viewed from the front.

The third piece is the bodice, which attaches to the skirt via a series of four hook-and-eye sets along the waistband.

Here's what it looks like so far.

The shoulder straps are then attached, via ribbons coming up from the bodice and looped through eyelets in the corner of the straps (both front and back).

The lacing hidden under each side of the front bodice panel is then tightened to the desired fit.

Next, the purple upper arm cuffs are slid on and the lacing tightened. This eyelet tape is the same I used on the bodice. The eyelets are very close together, and it's not suitable for all projects, but it certainly made parts of this costume come together MUCH faster. Also, the purple cuffs came out a bit on the narrow side, so the added eyelet strip brings some additional width.

The lower arm pleather vambraces go on next, and these are a bit easier as the eyelets were set directly into the pleather and there are fewer of them.

Next, on goes the belt which laces up at the back. All of this lacing makes the costume more time consuming to put on (like real historical clothes!) but also makes it very forgiving to wear!

Here you can see the strap for the gun, unsnapped. (I'm a little wary that the snap might not prove strong enough in the long run, so we'll have to see what my customer reports and whether I need to come up with any further solutions here).

Here it is! The completely finished and assembled costume! (Minus the hat, which is a tricorn hat we purchased and I embellished - view it on my instagram!)

Remember, this is what we started with...

...and this is the final product!

(I only have one fake arm, hence the lack of arm cuffs on the right arm. They exist, I promise!)

The pouches make me so happy!

It took me 3 months, 40 hours of labor and $270 worth of materials to create this costume, and it is SO satisfying to see the end result turn out so well! If I get permission to share any photos from my client, be sure that I will do so!

Do you want to commission your own costume? Learn how here!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Steampunk Renaissance Pirate Costume - Part 4

(This blog post is part of a series. Start with Part 1 here!)

Of course an essential part of creating a steampunk costume is adding lots and lots of leather bits. We went with pleather rather than real leather for economy reasons, but it was pretty stretchy, so larger pieces needed to be stabilized with some regular cotton broadcloth. I used a double sided fusible to attach the two before sewing them.

For the belt, I bound the edges with some brown bias tape.

The bias tape I had on hand was a bit wider than the seam allowance I wanted to show on the other side, so I used more of the double sided fusible to secure the loose edges.

Invisible edge finishing!

Then I did topstitch near the edges, using topstiching thread and a leather needle.

One detail I was really excited about was incorporating a mini compass into one of the vambraces. I achieved this by taking a strip of leather, gathering it into a circle, and drawing that circle tight around the compass.

I then flipped it over and slathered the back with tacky glue to keep it all very secure.

Next I stitched down the outer edges to a small circle backing.

I then sewed along that same seam again to secure it to the vambrace.

The other vambrace is constructed the same way, but instead of a compass it has little golden gears for embellishment.

I constructed two pouches for the belt.

We've got some lovely fake antique coins here for a pirate-y flair.

I arranged the extra bias tape strips on the outside of the second pouch in an interesting weave pattern and topstitched them down.

This pouch was stabilized, and then the edges finished with pleather bias tape

To finish the belt, I stitched both pouches in place, and added a strip that secures with a snap to hold the gun in place. I got my husband to put in the back lacing eyelets for me, since my hands are so not up to that kind of work right now.

Up next: see how it all comes together!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Steampunk Renaissance Pirate Costume - Part 3

This is part of a series! Start reading here.

I wanted to make this costume as flattering as possible for my client, so for the skirt, made a waistband of two layers of thin lining that extended down several inches before the thick purple linen was attached. I also cut the skirt pieces in a sharp A-Line shape, to minimize waist bulk while maximizing hemline. (It was a full circle hem, LOTS of pinning!)

My husband actually had to assist me to get everything done on time, since I've been struggling with muscle/joint pain. One thing he did was sew all of the vertical skirt seams.

The red overskirt is simply a skirt, gathered up along the seamlines.

The gathering was then hidden by the trim.

I set the red waist seam halfway down the black, between the top black edge and where the purple sewn in, to keep the bulk gradiated away from the waist.

As you can see, the bodice covered the rest of the black waistband, but the black didn't add any bulk under the bodice.

Time to make the shoulder caps! these were really simple triangles with rounded corners (self lined).

I used the very last of the trim to edge these!

I then finished the seams with some pleather, the same way I did the bodice, with bias strips. Above you can see the backside/underside, which I am finishing off with some fray check. Not entirely needed, as pleather doesn't fray, but I wanted to keep things as sturdy as possible.

Time for the upper arm cuffs! I wanted them to look as though they were the result of some pirate raids.

One side is red, the other is purple. They can be worn interchangably. The beads are selvaged from a necklace I decided to recycle rather than donate. Fun stuff - and free!

I stitched the embellishments down with some metallic thread.

Everything is just pinned on here, but in the next few posts you'll see how I inserted eyelet tape for lacing! Click to continue reading!