Monday, 11 December 2017

TLJ Leia hair

I have managed to style a wig good enough to be happy with it, and this is really the first time that has happened.

This is the wig that I started off with, brown lace front wig. I would actually say that I think it's a bit too long, I think it would be easier to work with a shorter wig and add hairpieces to it. And the stand for my dressform works great to put a wig on as well.

It was quite layered and uneven in the back, so I simply cut off the longest layers.

Then I should have taken progress photos, but I didn't. Basically I put the wig on my own head and added a foam roll to the back. I combed the front hair over the foam roll and took twisted a piece of the hair from the back and rolled it around the foam roll. I did this while wearing the wig. When I was happy with the front I took it of and put it on my wig block and worked the back. For the back I divided the hair into four loops, and held them in place with elastic. I saved some strands of hair so that I could twist them and hide the elastics under them. 

Here is the finished wig.

And here is me wearing the wig, but without trying to hide the wigline.

Now I need to construct a wig box so that I can transport the wig when I leave for Stockholm tomorrow. 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

TLJ Leia dress

This is the grey dress Leia wears under the coat.

The dress is made of a poly micro satin, but I used the wrong side out so it's less shiny. It's a great fabric in that it doesn't wrinkle, but it's also dreadful to try and press since it almost refuses to stay pressed.

I wanted the dress to be just big enough to be able to pull it on and off, so I wouldn't need a zipper. For that I used a fairly fitted back, and had the extra material in the front. The dress is based on my standard dress pattern, but I made the skirt an A-line skirt instead of the pencil skirt it is.

I decided to go with a t-shirt sleeve, also to make it easier to pull over the head. The dress is lined in the bodice with the crepe de chine that I failed to dye grey. The lining is attached at the neck opening, but hangs loose as a slip under the dress. The sleeves are unlined.

The belt is a loose belt, with elastic in the back, to keep it tight. It fastens with a hook and bar.

It's threaded through two buttonholes at the side, and then inbetween the lining and main fabric in the back.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

TLJ Leia jewellery

I'm at that time in the costume process where I'm too stressed to take photos of my progress. Yesterday I struggle and struggled with the wig until too late, and now I'm too tired to actually get things done. So I took a step back and decided to take photos of the jewellery that I have made.

Worbla is a cosplayers best friend.

The bracelet is a piece of worbla that has also been reinforced with strips of worbla on the back. The strips made it strong enought to hold the shape, but flexible enough to be able to easily take it on and off. I covered the worbla with coppercoloured string, that was attached with wood glue. Then it was painted with acrylic brass paint.

The earrings are semiovals of worbla that I heated and bent into shape. I'm really happy with one of them, but I couldn't get the other one as good. I will probably redo these, or at least one of them. They are attached with a stud that's been glued on and also painted with the same acrylic brass paint.

The ring with two blue stones was bought on etsy from a Canadian 3d printer, there are also metallic copies from China on ebay. For the other ring I didn't have a clear reference until last weekend when someone posted a photo, I couldn't find the reference again though so had to make it from memory. The size might be off, but until there are more available reference photos it will have to do. It's made with fimo clay, similar to sculpy, and painted with acrylic paint in blue and brass.

Overall I am really happy with the jewellery and the brass paint turned out to be really good. I'm surprised that it actually is so shiny and metallic looking even if it's just paint.

Finally I couldn't help myself, so after having struggled to get the wig into a reasonable shape I wanted to do a full costume test. So ignore my bleary face, and the frizzy wig, but I am getting there.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

TLJ Leia coat is finished (almost)

Over the weekend I finished the coat, except for hemming it. I started on Saturday, but then I was thwarted by the fact that I realized that I wouldn't be happy with the fabric I had for a lining, it was both too light grey and to flimsy. I needed another fabric. There are no fabric stores in my town and the one in the closest neighbouring town is closed on Saturdays. I wouldn't let that stop me though. I searched the two op-shops for anything that could work, but my hope of finding black taffeta curtains were squashed in a sea of red. There were just Christmas stuff everywhere. In the end I found two sets of 100% cotton satin bedsheets in white, and even if they were expensive at least they were marked down for Black Friday. Then it was off to the paint store, where they have a small sortiment of textile dyes, and I got all the black dye packages they had (4) for dyeing by hand and not in a machine. I spent the afternoon cutting up the sheets and putting them in a dye bath, I normally just put all the fabric in the dye bath, but I suspected that I had too much fabric and not enough dye so I wanted to just put enough fabric in the dye bath. I ended up with a dark grey fabric with a slight sheen to it, so I was pretty satisfied. I was also really behind my original time plan.

I used my coat pattern, and in the end the coat did go together really well. It's a simple design, with basically just four pieces. Wool and cottons are such easy fabrics to work with as well, you can make them do almost anything you want just with some steam and pressure. I did find the main fabric through etsy. Ever since I started thinking about doing this costume I have searched really wide on both etsy and ebay. This fabric showed up when I searched for grey wool. It's a black or very dark navy wool, with a chainmail pattern in grey yarns over it. The pattern and texture is great, but the fabric is a bit too soft and not shiny enough to be perfect. I am very satisfied with it though.

I sewed the lining the same way. In order to help the stand up collar I added fusible interfacing to the collar part, and down to the bust, on the inside of the lining. I then sewed the lining and outer fabric together at the neck and front by hand.

The lining photographs quite brown, but it is grey. This is the part with the interfacing.

On Sunday I continued with the sleeves. In order to make them more structured I also added fusible interfacing to the straight seams of the sleeves.

If you wonder why I have added the interfacing even out in the seam allowance it's because I don't trust it to stay fused to the fabric, so I wanted to sew it in place as well. I baglined the sleeves and gave them a good press before sewing them to the coat. I sewed the sleeves to both the coat fabric and lining, and then used the lining of the sleeve to cover the seam.

With that the coat is done. I need to hem it, and I want to wait with that until I have finished the underdress. All in all I really love this coat already. Since it's based on a mid 16th century loose gown
I definitely need to make one of those for myself. I guess with the older Leia I finally have a character that I can cosplay, with a body similar to my own. Both with this one, and the general Leia costume from TFA, it's obvious that the costumes are made to accomodate a fairly short and curvy person. The proportions and where the pieces emphasize some parts and hides some part of the body simply makes me feel that they flatter me and that isn't something I'm used to when it comes to cosplay costumes.

Now I need to start on the underdress, and I'm actually more worried about that. I have more fabric to make mistakes, but the fabric that I have will make every mistake clearly visible, and I don't have that much fabric.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

The Last Jedi Leia coat pattern

I finished the pattern for the Leia coat, and even if I didn't take a lot of photos of the process I will share what I did. It also shows how I usually work when I make my patterns.

I cut up my first mock-up. I cut it off at the hips, since it's not fitted below the hips it felt a waste of fabric to work on a full-length version, when I only needed to fit it on the upper body. I also cut the back piece in half, since I had discovered that there was a center back seam.

On this photo the left side looks smoother and better fitted than the right. That is because I start working on both sides, by pinning and repinning the pieces to each other. Once I feel that one side is starting to look better than the other I concentrate on that side and don't work on both sides. I don't take it off though, since I still need the other side so I can hang the mock up on my dress form and on myself.

This stage is a lot of testing. Once I'm happy with what it looks like on the dress form I make sure to test it on myself. The dress form is a great help, but it also has an idealized shape, while I have lumps and bumps and soft flesh that makes me less than ideal.

Most of the shaping was done on the back seam, I also cut the shoulder seam shorter, which make the armscye larger than the first version.

Then it was on to the sleeves. The sleeves were made through trial and error. I simply started with two large square pieces of fabric that I sewed together to create what looked like an oversized pillow cover, with two open sides. Then I folded more and more fabric away, and cut off the excess until it had a shape that I liked.

The last thing I did was to sew the sleeve to the bodice to make sure it all fit together.

back of the mock up

Front of the mock up
The fabric that I'm using is a little bit too flimsy to hold the shape of the sleeve. I will try to make the sleeve with just the main fabric, but I am prepared to do some kind of reinforcing to make it stiffer. I won't know until I have started working on the actual fabric though.

While the mock up is still on the dress form I make sure to write all notes I will need. The most important is of course which piece it is, and how much seam allowance I have used. I also make marks where the pattern pieces should join up.

After I have made all the markings I need on the mock up I cut it up, I do that by simply cutting the seams. During the work I have usually changed the seam allowances while adjusting the fit, by cutting at the seamline I know it will all go together and I can then add my own seam allowance when cutting the main fabric.

These are my final pattern pieces. Top left - back piece, top right - front piece, bottom left - back sleeve, bottom right - front sleeve.

Here is also a close up of the sleeve pieces. They should be joined at the bottom and where they face each other.

Friday, 24 November 2017

The Last Jedi Leia choice of seams

Now when I'm working on the mockup for my TLJ Leia I just want to post about my observations on the grey coat, and why I've chosen to put seams where I have them.

 In my last post about the Project I was unsure on whether there was a back seam or not. After looking at some more photos, especially from the trailer I'm now sure that there is a back seam.

This photo has been adjusted and it's quite small, but there are better versions of this particular shot out there, still the seam is visible. This of course made me happy since it's much easier to make a well fitting back piece with a seam in place.

At the shoulders there are a couple of visible seams.

There is the shoulder seam and a seam connectinc the sleeve to the armscye. There is also a visible seam on the sleeve itself.

In this close up it's possible to follow the seam from the neck and down the sleeve, meaning that the fitting of the sleeves need to be really good to make sure that there is no break in the seam.

This last photo give some more information. One is that the sleeves are not connected all the way around the armscye, less fitting there yay!.

When it comes to the lower part of the coat the red lines do not indicate seams, it's rather to show how the front and back piece falls in different directions. The front piece is more or less straight, while the back piece has more of an angle.

Well that's it, now I'm on to more work on the mock up.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Some fun finds in Uppsala

Last Saturday I was in Uppsala, both to visit my aunt and to have a wonderful reunion/nostalgic dinner with almost the full original Star Wars-group that were together in the days of the prequels. Nowadays only two of us are active in the Star Wars fandom, but we still enjoy talking Star Wars and singing Star Wars karaoke drinking songs, so it was a great night.

Anyway while in Uppsala I snagged up some fun costuming stuff. I keep mentioning that I don't have any fabric stores around, but in Uppsala they have and I got myself 5 m of gunmetal grey poly micro satin that I will use for TLJ Leia. I'm not a fan of polyester, but the colour and drape of the fabric was lovely.

The gunmetal satin is in the front, in the back is a silver grey silk, that I Think is too light, and in the back is the silk I failed to dye grey.

I had also found out through my historical costuming friends that there would be a Time Traveller's bazar (Tidsresenärens basar), and of course I had to pass by it, both to say hi to my friends and to see if I could find something. Of course I found stuff.

One beautiful fan

A pair of simple pearl earrings. I'm thinking that this will work for most historical periods up until the 19th Century.

A pair of viking tortoise brooches. I don't have any solid plans for viking clothes, but I have met a lot of nice viking reenactors so I figured I can start with the brooches instead of having to look or them if I want to make a full costume. These are based on an original from Tröndelag, Norway and made out of tin. Now tin is softer so not as durable, but the price was a lot lower than what I've seen on other places, where they sell replicas in silver and bronze.

All in all it was a nice visit in Uppsala, now it's time to get serious with TLJ Leia.