Saturday, October 29, 2011

Karen's Skunk Costume - Kwik Sew 2722

Two years ago, in 2009, I made Karen this lion jumpsuit and fur boots.  This year, she wanted to be a skunk, and she had some great ideas for the design.  I love working with creative people!
I used Kwik Sew 2722 as the basis for the jumpsuit.  I filled in the hole in the back, sewed in a zipper, and added some length to the legs and the torso.
 For the long sleeves, I traced the armscye and used the sleeve pattern from New Look 6160.
 Here's where it gets fun.  Karen wanted some kind of a white stripe on her back so she would look like a skunk.  I googled pictures of skunks, and started designing.
This is what I came up with.  I love how it turned out!  This was surprisingly easy.  I basically traced the curved lines onto the back pattern piece, and I added 1/4" seam allowances on each side of each line.  I simply traced out each piece, and they sewed together very easily.  I added 2 or 3 notches to each line, and I sewed them together on my serger.
 I sewed the center back seam to prepare for zipper insertion, and I was very careful to line up the peak at the bottom.  
 I sewed up the body of the jumpsuit, and then I tried it on to check the fit.  Karen is 5'9", but she has a longer torso than me.  I'm also approximately 4" bigger than she is.  Still, I could tell that it would be too big on her, so I took it in by about 2 1/2" at the bust, 4" at the waist, and 2 1/2" at the hips, taking it in all the way down the legs, since they were a bit loose.  This stretch velvet has a lot more give than the stuff we used for the lion jumpsuit, plus Karen has lost weight since then.  When she came for her fitting, I was pleased that it fit her perfectly.  I pinned the sleeves on to check them.  Lookin' good so far!
 I finished off the jumpsuit, and made the fur boots with a white stripe down the back.  They look so good!  I think they look like skunks just by themselves!
 Here's a close-up of the texture of the fur.  The black is fairly short, but it still works.  The white is quite long, which is great, since it is the focal point anyways.  I had my vacuum cleaner out when I was cutting the fur.  There was hair everywhere!  I even vacuumed the edges of each piece after they were cut, to reduce shedding.  Worked like a charm.  The fur was really easy to sew.
 After the boots, I designed and made the tail.  I forgot to take a picture, but you'll see it soon anyways.  I made a similar design to the back of the jumpsuit, and I lined the underside with black fur.

Final fitting time!  This is awesome.  I love how it's totally black on the front.
Then she turns around, and bam!  So cool!!!  To reinforce the tail, I sewed a triangle of denim underneath, attaching it to the bottom of the zipper for stability.
 I love it!  Have I mentioned how much I love making costumes?
 Karen is so much fun to sew for.  She's creative, easy-going, and flexible.  I wish all my clients were like her!  My last 2 days of Halloween sewing were such a breeze!

Scott & Jedi's Black Robes in Action - Halloween 2011

These guys were so excited to wear their costumes, they partied all weekend, starting on Friday night.  We finally get to see what Jedi's awesome makeup job looks like under that black hood.
Scott went for red, yellow, and white.  Ugh!  I'm getting scared already!
Holy mother of pearl.  Look at those eyes!  Unfreakingbelievable!!!
I can only imagine that these 2 were the talk of the party.  Creepy!  And again with those eyes!
How totally epic is this picture?!  I'm so unbelievably proud to have helped create this madness!
And last but not least, Scott won the costume prize at the bar and gets a trip to Vegas!  I'm so excited for him!  You guys both look amazing.  I love costumes so much.  :D

Scott's Costume Halloween 2011

Scott wanted to wear his black robe and stilts again, but he wanted to add some drama to it.  Here is the inspiration photo.  This is a warlock action figure from World of Warcraft.  Specifically, he wanted the sword and orb that hangs down from the belt, and he wanted to add some shape to his shoulders.

I suggested we make the shoulder armour like I made for Matthew's Jedi Costume earlier this year.  
Since he would be 8' tall, he wanted to make sure he balanced out his proportions, so he measured his 'suspender' length and the belt ended up sitting around his hips.  I cut the interfacing layer out of the heaviest denim I have in my stash.  This stuff is so thick, I don't think I would even attempt jeans with it, even with my industrial sewing machine.  At Thanksgiving dinner, I fitted the pieces on him.  Isn't that hood just the coolest thing?!
When he wore the robe in 2008, he had the hood down, because it kept falling down over his face.  This year, he tried to figure out a way to keep it up, and you'll be surprised that the simplest thing ended up being a solution.  A ball cap.  Genius.  Problem solved.
Look how much bigger it makes him look!  Holy shoulder armour, Batman!
After I finished the shoulder armour and belt, Scott came to the upholstery shop and helped me design the sword and orb.  I made them with leftover upholstery vinyl.  To attach it to the belt, I sewed it around the sides and bottom of the orb piece, securing everything nicely.  Scott put the studs in the middle of each square.
 I made him get dressed and undressed several times.  That's what you do at a fitting!  In this picture, I think he's standing on a milk crate, which was all we had in the shop that he could stand on.
I sewed velcro to the shoulder armour to keep it from falling down, which it did a lot before it got stuck properly.  There's a 5" strip of 1" velcro, and it goes from just in front of the shoulder seam to down by his shoulder blades.
Finally, I got him dressed one last time, and it's show-off time!  Woo hoo!
 Oooh, creepy.  I love it.
Mom had her camera going, too.  He was like, "I wanna see! Whoa!"
 More epic-ness to be unveiled in a later post!

Jedi's Robe - Halloween 2011 - Simplicity 9887

 Before I begin the saga of Halloween Sewing 2011, let me introduce you to the inspiration for this year's costumes.  Three years ago, in 2008, I made a black robe and tunic for my brother.
Scott is 6'8".  He was inspired to be a dark wizard, but not just any dark wizard.  He wanted to be 8' tall.  So, he bought some painter's stilts and added 15" to his already incredible height.
I sewed him a robe and tunic with a lot of extra length.
This is what he looked like when it was all done.
Fast forward to 2011.  This is Scott's friend, Lorin, aka: Jedi.  He wanted a black robe just like Scott's, and he would also be wearing stilts.  This is the makeup he wore with his costume.  
I busted out Simplicity 9887 from my pattern stash and cut out a robe and tunic.  Jedi is 6'1" and wears an approximate size Large, so I chose to make the Medium, and I used my husband to check the length, as he is also 6'1".

I had already added extra length to the pattern, so I just cut it 7" shorter than the length I used for Scott. 
Jedi informed me that his stilts were 12-14", so I dug around to find something for Tyler to stand on, and I ended up using a cooler, which was 14".  Tyler was pretty shocked that he was so close to the ceiling.  

This is what the tunic looks like.  The front and back are identical, and the neckline and armholes are finished with facings.  I added slits to the sides starting at around mid-calf.  If a person was not wearing stilts, the slit would probably be more useful if it was closer to the knee. 
Then I put the robe on him and marked all the hems.  If you look at the bottom of the sleeve, you can see that it's turned up an inch to check the length.
I love the hood, which is basically a square, very simple, and I love the topstitched seams on the front and back.
The sleeves are so dramatic!
Stay tuned!  I'll show off Jedi's finished ensemble in a later post.

Lightning Bolts in Action!

Last week, I finallly got a chance to see White Lightning perform.  And I was so stoked that they wore their ties!!!
 During one of their songs, they asked for a volunteer to come up and play the cowbell.  I jumped on that like white on rice!  This isn't my cowbell picture, but it's pretty close.  Steve gave me an awesome shout out and told everyone I made their awesome ties.  :D  Then I got to help finish off the song.  I was in the middle of the stage, banging that thing like crazy.  He told me I had to break my drumstick, so when the song was over, I stomped on it and snapped it in half.  Yeah!!!  So much fun!
 After the show, I got my long-awaited photo with the guys.  They love their ties!  They thanked me I don't know how many times.  I can't tell you how good it feels to be appreciated.  This is a very proud moment for me.  :)
You guys put on an awesome show, as usual.  One of the funnest nights of my life.  :D

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adventures in Upholstery - Re-styled 50's Chair

It isn't too often we get a customer who's brave enough to let us completely modernize their beloved heirloom furniture.  This is a rare gem.  Check out this plain, old, and kinda ugly chair from the 50's.  The customer picked a modern, funky fabric, and we discussed design changes with her, and she let us totally go to town.
As always, I got to take it apart.  I quite enjoy pulling staples.  It's a mindless job, and it's quite physical, so I get a workout.  But I always wear gloves, otherwise my hands would be scratched and dinged up.
I did all the cutting, with Dad's guidance on a few key design features we were changing.  Most of this chair is comprised of plain rectangles, but there are shaped pieces at the front of the arms and the top sides of the backrest.

Dad did all the stapling.  We work as a team so as to function at top efficiency.  We always have at least half a dozen projects going on at the same time.  
We ordered new wooden feet for this chair to finish off the new modern look.
And here she is without the cushion.  This picture shows the truest colours.
And now she's done!  We did a simple cushion called a "bull-nose".  It's basically a plain rectangle that wraps around from top to bottom with 2 sides and a back zipper band.  Nice and clean.  Isn't it cute?
We were thrilled with this one, so we had to pose with it.  :)
Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE MY JOB?!!!