Saturday, 21 October 2017

Misadventures in Dyeland

I Think it's quite fun to dye fabric. The process of changing a fabric, by quite a long process and you can't be quite sure what it will look like until it's all dry. The frustrating part with dyeing is when you are after a specific colour, or hue, and the end result ends up something really different. That happened to me this week when I tried to dye my fabric for the undergown of TLJ Leia.

First I want to go through the process I use when dyeing fabric, since I don't have a giant pot that I can put on the stove or my own washing machine.

 When I'm not actively dyeing I keep all my dye stuff in a plastic box up on the attic. In the box I keep the dyes, one large steel pot, a plastic bowl, a plastic whisk and a plastic coat hanger. I make sure to keep my dye utensils clearly separate from other kitchen utensils, since we are talking about chemicals and I don't want to the risk of them getting into any pots or bowls that I might use for cooking. In the box I also have a bottle of white vinegar, since that's used for setting the dye when working with silk.

When dyeing fabric you need  a big pot of hot water. I simply use the same plastic box that I pack the dye things in. The problem is of course to get the hot water into it, since I can't place it on the stove. I simply need to heat up water in other pots and pour it into the box. How fast this goes depends on the cooking stove. When I used my old electrical stove it could easily take up to an hour to just fill the box with enough water, now when I have and induction stove it goes a lot faster. I use two 5L pots and my 1,7L kettle to heat the water.

Here I am in the process of filling the box. I do the dyeing in my bathroom, since I have a new kitchen floor and I don't want to risk it getting stained. I put a big towel under the box, both to protect the bathroom floor from the heat and from stains.

When I have enough hot water in the box I used my dye pot to dissolve the dye and pour it into the box with hot water. Then I add the pre-wetted fabric and stir, for as long as the instructions tell me. The large amount of hot water keeps the heat well enough, so I don't need to add any more hot water once I start the process. 

I try to book time in my house washing basement though so that I can take the dyed fabric and wash it properly in a mashine, and not just rinse it in water.

Now that's all fine and dandy, but as I mentioned as the start even if I dyed the fabric I didn't end up with the wished for result.

The fabric I tried to dye was 5 m of cream coloured silk crepe de chine. I wanted it to be a nice grey colour so I used iDye in silver grey.

My first mistake was to not do it as described above but use my mother's front loaded washing machine. I don't know if I hadn't dissolved the dye well enough, or if the fabric was still too folded when I put it into the washer. When I was done with the washing the fabric had ugly brown stays in regular intervals where the dye must have attached extra to the fabric. I also felt that the fabric that had dyed grey was too light. If you look up in the photo of my dye set up yo can see the fabric lying in the zink, it's wet so it's a bit darker than it was when it had dried.

My second mistake was to think that I could use the two packets of dye that I had left and overdye the fabric, hoping to both hide the stains and to make the fabric darker. Now I would do it by hand and not by machine though, so that I had more control over the process. As soon as I put the fabric in the box with dye it was obvious that I wouldn't get the desired colour though. Apparently the dye contains quite a lot of brown pigment, and it was obvious that with this stronger dye mixture it was the brown pigment that dominated.

Still I went through with the process, hoping against hope that something would magically happen with the fabric when it dryed. It didn't.

This is the end result. Now in some lights it defintiely looks grey, but in other lights it's clearly brown, and especially if you hold up the fabric against true grey fabrics. So now I have 5 m of silk in a light dirt brown colour, if it had at least been dark I could have used it to make a new underdress for Mon Mothma, now I don't know what I'm going to do with it. The quality of the fabric is Lovely though.

On a more positive note I could pick up the fabric that I have ordered for the TLJ Leia coat. It's not perfect, but with a price of $15/m instead of $130/yard it definitely looks good enough for a first version.

Next step is that I need to order more silk crepe de chine, and more dye. I'm thinking of either using Dylon's grey or use the iDye gun metal grey instead of the silver.

Friday, 13 October 2017

A little Greedo dress

A couple of weeks ago I went through my stash, something I do once a year or so. It's a good opportunity to refresh the memory when it comes to which fabrics I have. I also try to get rid of those fabrics that I don't think I will ever use. This year I got rid of the last of my polyester satin stash.

One of the fabrics that I found was a thin navy jersey. Looking at the price tag I must have bought it as a remnant 12 years ago, for the comfortable price of $4. I also realized that I had bigger scraps left from my Greedo fabric than I thought. I decided to combine the two fabrics into a neat everyday dress.

This is where it's good to have a standard pattern that I feel comfortable with. I reused the same pattern that I've three or four times by now. It's la bit complicated when sewn in a woven fabric, with zipper and all, but in stretch fabric I can put the dress together in a couple of hours. When I use the pattern for jersey dresses I also simplify it and don't sew darts below the waist, but just pleat the fabric to the waist seam.

There was almost too Little of the navy fabric, I had to make the skirt a bit shorter than I would feel comfortable, and I could not find a piece of fabric that was big enough for the neck facing. I managed to get a band from the Greedo fabric though so I could lengthen the skirt, and make a neck facing. I didn't want to hide the Greedo print so I turned the facing outweards instead of inwards and sewed it down as a decoration.

The end result is a very comfortable jersey dress that is great for work. And even if nobody has ever said anything about me wearing the full Greedo dress to work, this one is a lot more discrete. Now I can save the big Greedo dress for Conventions and the like, so I don't wear it out, and use this for everyday wear.

I feel like I've really accomplished something when I've both gotten rid of fabric from my stash, and made something that's wearable outside of conventions and other events.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Luna (and Leia update)

Things are happening for Luna Lovegood and TLJ Leia.

For Leia I have ordered fabrics, and also material for her jewellery. I must be honest and say that I don't like the fact that she's now earing rings, bracelets and earrings. To me all the accessories scream more earth than  a galaxy far, far away. Still she wears them, so I need to replicate them. I have also ordered fabric for the coat and the undergown, as well as dye for the undergown.

This is my Luna progress

I've bought a wand and a tie off ebay. Remember to not buy the official HP tie, since it has a large house crest on the bottom, which isn't accurate. The dark fabric is a gorgeous wool that I will turn into the skirt. Yesterday I beaded the necklace out of 2 mm seed beads, I just need to add the butterbeer cork to it.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

A sudden Luna Lovegood costume

Most times a costume project involves a long planning process and careful thinking. My latest costume came up as a sudden idea on Sunday, and now I'm planning to debut it at Avesta Con last weekend in October.

I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but I  enjoy bith 5he films and the books. Still I've never felt like doing a costume from them. On Sunday Artyanna posted a line about doing a Hufflepuff costume and I started thinking...

I am a proud Ravenclaw and three years ago when I visited the Harry Potter studio tour I almost bought the official cardigan. Not because of me being a HP fan but because it looked good and I was on the hunt for a nice grey cardigan. I didn't buy it but spent two years regretting it. Last year my sister and nieces went to the studio tour and they bought the cardigan for me. So I own the right cardigan, I then looked around and found my favorite wool skirt and a white shirt after my father and I realized that I already have most components of a Hogwarts uniform. I also have a blonde wig from my Elsa UFO.

When I put all these things on I realized that I should have done Luna Lovegood years ago, and she's such a great character to cosplay.

So now I have
1 ordered a Ravenclaw tie
2 ordered Luna's wand
3 ordered 2 m dark grey wool fabric for a proper Hogwarts uniform skirt
4 asked my sister to help me make her braded dirigible plum earrings.

I also need to find a pair of flat Mary Janes and learn how to tie a tie properly but I hopw that's not too hard.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Bellossom photos

At Comic-Con I did get some photos taken of my superhero Bellossom, I guess I should call her super-Bellossom or something. All photos are from Tom Larsson, or at least his camera.

The costume consists of one green longsleeved dance leotard. This is a good proof that you get what you pay for. I first bought a really cheap one from ebay, and it had a strange green colour and everything about it was cheap and low quality. I then bought this version from an actual dancewear shop, and it was so good. It's really tight, but holds everything in place while still being comfortable. I actually wore it under my Mon Mothma most of the weekend to make it easy to switch between costumes. Thanks to this leotard this is probably one of my most comfortable costumes.

I did wear a pair of green tights under it all as well, since the skirt turned out a lot shortern than I had planned at first.

The skirt and gloves are made from lycra. The skirt turned out so short because when I made it I happened to get a stain on it at around knee level, so I cut it shorter, but didn't first realise just how much shorter I had cut it. A good thing with lycra is that it doesn't fray so I didn't have to he anything. The gloves as you can see had a tendency to slide down on the arms though.

The cape and belt are also made from lycra. The belt was a really ugly leather belt, pink and embossed with flowers, that I found at an op shop and simply covered with the lycra. I kept the buckle, but it's in the back so you can't see it because of the cape. The cape is just lightly handstitched to the leotard at the front.

The boots are a pair of red gogo-boots, and I think I'm going to make a separate post about them.

I had originally planned to use my hairflowers that I made for the the other Bellossom costume, but they were too big and heavy. These ones are made from transparent worbla, with a small piece of yellow lycra as the centre. They are attached with magnets to a headband that I'm wearing under the wig. The throw-flower is also made from transparent worbla. The shield is a plastic viking shild I found at a toystore and repainted. I couldn't get it quite as smooth and shiny as I wanted, so instead I made sure to give it a lot of battle damage.

Finally the eyemask is made of fosshape and held on by an elastic under the wig.

Me and Tom as the dynamic pokémon duo of Captain Carp and Bellossom-girl.

And finally some of the people from Cosplay Dalarna that were at Comic Con Stockholm.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

ComicCon without a camera

Last weekend it was Stockholm ComicCon. I managed to go there and not take a single photo during the whole con (Fri-Sun). The main reason was simply that none of my costumes had any pockets, and unlike for example NärCon I didn't just walk around with a friend and talk to people. I was mostly just in the Nordic Legions stand, the cosplay parade or posing with Tom from Cosplay Dalarna in our Superhero project.

That project is also a big reason why I haven't posted much lately. It's been the only cosplay that I've worked on, but I've also felt very uncomfortable about it and I really wasn't sure how I felt about actually wearing it. The superhero project is such a good example of the fun ideas you can come up with when you just hang around with the right people. During one of our regular Tuesday meetings we started talking about doing Pokémon costumes, for some reason we came up with the idea of "what if we did a mashup of superheros and pokémons?".  Then it just spiraled from there...

I was already set on doing my Bellossom cosplay, so of course I wanted to do a superhero Bellossom as well. In the end I didn't use any elements from my first costume for this superhero costume though. Dressing up as superhero was a challenge though. I am plussized, and on the BMI charts I probably count as obese, and now I decided to go for a classic 1960's spandex style superhero. It didn't get better when I managed to cut my skirt a bit shorter than planned, so it almost didn't cover my bum. In the end I had a lot of fun though, and it was a really comfy costume. I don't think anyone that saw me without my Magikarp partner understood that I was a pokemon though.

Some photos were taken of the costume, but I haven't gotten them yet. Until then I can show you this photo by Hamza Mazni
And this video from the cosplay walk-on parade, we are on 5 minutes in

The only SW costume I brought with me was Mon Mothma, but I used my other wig for it. I really liked this wig for the style and fit, it really looked naturally, but the colour is a bit too Brown. I would love to have the same style, but the colour of the other Mon Mothma wig.

This is one of the official Nordic Legions photos
I really liked having the Mandalorians fully integrated within the Nordic Legions. On Sunday we also did a small Bounty hunt, when they were searching for me throughout the Convention. It's easier to find a jedi with a lightsabre than a short woman in brown hair, so I almost had to give myself up for them to find me though.

Me and Jenny also got interviewed by the Swedish tabloid Expressen about our costumes and what the Nordic Legions do.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Glove tutorial

For my next project I needed a pair of gloves in the exact same colour as my skirt. Since the skirt is made in lycra I decided that it couldn't be too hard to make my own gloves, and to be honest it was really simple.

One important thing is that this only works if you are using a fourway-stretch, like lycra or spandex. For anything else you need to create a pattern with a piece called a "flechette" and is the extra fabric that goes between the fingers in order to make the glove big enough and also make it possible to move the fingers.

I started with simply tracing my own hand and wrist on paper.

As you can see I made sure to really spread my fingers. I then added seam allowance, and some extra at the bottom, since the arm is more threedimensional than my fingers.

I cut out two pieces and pinned them together. I sewed Everything together with a fairly tight zigzag stitch. It would probably be even better to use an overlock stitch, but I don't have yellow thread for my serger and something is wrong with my regular machine so I can't choose any of the "b"-side seams.

I then tried the glove on, and could see that I had made some of the fingers and the bottom part too big, so I simply adjusted them with new seams inside the old one. Then I turned the glove so I got the right side out.

Tada, a finished, shiny glove.