I made some leggings a while back, and posted about them on reddit’s sewing subreddit. Someone asked about tips, and I wrote a long post outlining my tips to make the whole process easier/more successful. So I’m adapting/recreating it here; hopefully someone finds it to be useful! (The post took longer to write than the leggings did to make. Talk about an instant gratification project!)
Two posts in a week? When it rains, it pours. And guess what? It’s another super wordy post! I love seeing myself type, I guess. As always, for the straight tutorial, skip down until you start seeing bold.
I made a swords-and-sorcery-inspired costume. For some reason, I enjoy the late ’70s and ’80s fantasy comic-book/video game aesthetic. It’s just so gloriously over the top. It’s not gritty or dark. It’s colorful and shamelessly self-indulgent. I wanted a costume for a party that would be utterly ridiculous, colorful and silly. Like something out of Elf, maybe, or early Thor comics. Or even Everquest, come to think of it.
Man, long absences all over the place. Well, my excuse this time is that I got married (I know I still need to do more posts about that…) and went to Burning Man and thought that we were moving, but we haven’t yet. Which means another Halloween with my friends! Yay. It’s not that long until Halloween, at least in the complicated costume-making realm, but a friend of mine said she was going to be pajama Link from Wind Waker. I jokingly said I’d be Zelda, when another friend piped up that she wanted to be Tingle. Yep. Tingle. Then we got a Ganon, and were good to go.
By the way, this is a long post. If you just want to look at the pictures… I try to caption them so they get the info across and you don’t have to slog through my incredibly wordy prose. So read on, skim on, however you choose to experience it.
I made this. No, there’s not really a tutorial, sorry, just wanted to share. Mostly I made a basic hoodie with extended, widened arm-gloves. Oh, and little ‘spikes’ inserted into the hood and arm seams. The rest of the ‘spikes’ are small triangles of fabric sewn together, stuffed, and attached by hand. The tail is quilted, and the scales are leather scraps glued and stitched down for extra security. That took freaking forever.
Obviously, my inspiration was Calgary Cosplay’s dragon hoodie. Well, mostly just the arms and scales. The head is constructed much differently because I wanted a different look. Also there’s no front zipper, mostly because I didn’t want to buy one.
I wanted to make my own so that it would fit me better than the Calgary ones, seeing as I have my own measurements. Also, it was a whole lot of fun to puzzle out and make. I really like the over-sized forearms!
Confession: This wasn’t meant to be a tutorial at first. Originally, the belt was supposed to be over a sheer paneled floaty skirt; the idea was that I’d make it, photograph it, and maybe try and sell it if it turned out especially amazing. But I just started hating that idea, until I decided to leave it as a belt. Then it just seemed a little too simple to keep to myself; it’s time consuming, but by no means a work of artistic genius. Finally, I kept changing my concept as I worked, which led to some severe uneven-ness in the beading, and some crazy wonky grommets.
So instead, how’s about a tutorial so you can make your own? I might still offer a 2.0 version in an Etsy shop or something in the future, since they are super time consuming for such a small accessory, but it’s nice to share how to make things.
I love using up trash in my projects, for a few reasons. Number 1: It’s good for the planet. Number 2: I’m not quite as worried about testing my limits and screwing up; if I can’t salvage a project, at least it was trash already. Number 3: I’m simultaneously lazy and extremely frenetic. When a project occurs to me, I need to get started on it NOW, nothing silly like going to the store.
So, when I decided I wanted an elaborate hat for cool festival nights, I wanted to get started NOW, and I didn’t want to spend any actual money. I cheated a little; I’m a habitual crafter, so I already have things like wire and spray paint sealant. But the horns themselves are a wire coat hanger armature covered in strips of cardboard and tape, old brown paper bags, and paper mache paste from flour and water. (Side note, I’m recently learning about the raw awesomeness that is paper mache.) The crown is braided copper wire salvaged from an old lamp/headlight. Originally I was going to make a dreadlock wig out of leftover tulle scraps and wool roving, which I may still do, but I was a little bit burnt out after the paper mache (it took so long!) and just wanted a finished project.
This isn’t a tutorial, exactly. I have a couple of photos so that anyone who is so inclined can have an idea of how I did mine, but you should do yours however works best for you.
Whenever I’m working on a costume, I think “this is super cheap. I should share it.” And then it doesn’t quite fit into the tutorial, or it’s a weird tributary of eddying thoughts that strays far away from the main flow of the post. So here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up about obtaining materials on the cheap, that hopefully go beyond your standard “go to the thrift store. Thrift. Good job.”
Quick and easy tutorial today, guys. It’s almost like cheating. But hey, not every project has to be crazy complicated, right? I wanted some bracers for a costume I’m making, and I had this piece of crazy beaded fabric lying around. It came from the waist band of a child’s skirt that I bought forever ago and ripped up for its plain black cotton. (Every time I use something years later, it enables the hoarder in me. Alas.)
-Strip of heavily embellished fabric that will go around your wrist ~2 times, at least 2 inches wide. Wide ribbon is a good choice. Alternatively, use this as your chance to practice beading/embroidery/smocking/whatever crazy techniques you want, since it’s such a small piece of fabric.
-Equal amount of lining fabric. I used a silk scrap that I had lying around, for extra luxury and to help diminish forearm sweatiness.
-Grommet tape or grommets. I used grommets because my bracers are tiny and I needed them close together.
-Short amount of shoelace, ribbon, string, I-cord, what-have-you. Something to lace it with.
-Heavy interfacing. (Optional, but essential if you want them to look like armor.)
I got this jacket from the Male Compatriot’s mom. It’s a beautiful color, very soft suede, (for more information on why I sometimes use secondhand leather even after converting to vegetarianism, click here) and overall really nice. But the double shawl collar and the waist skirt made it really fussy.
First, I removed the waist skirt, button plackets, and collar. This left it very nice, but incredibly simple. I tried adding back in one of the collars, but it suddenly looked like something a politician in her 50s would wear — polished and upscale, but not what I want right now. It was also much more formal without those button plackets! I thought about just overlapping the front with a button loop, but that created a couple of minor fit issues, and looked even more political.
Instead, I decided to add a silver zipper. Unfortunately, JoAnne’s didn’t have silver separating zippers in exactly the length I needed, so I used gold instead. It worked out well, but I did want silver for the southwestern feel. I chose to hand-pick the zipper because a. I don’t have thread that matches exactly, and I don’t sew with this color enough to justify getting a whole spool, and b. the bottom of the jacket is slightly curved, and I needed the control that hand sewing gave me to make sure things lined up. I considered adding a lace “yoke” at the back and cutting away the leather underneath it for a cutout, but decided it would be too kitschy Southwesty and overdone.
Unfortunately, you can see the white of the zipper. If I were really committed to this refashion, I’d have dyed the zipper before inserting it. But I didn’t.
It’s a simple refashion, but it makes a huge difference! I’m not 100% sold on the jacket when it’s zipped up, though; there’s a couple of pull lines (probably because a full 2 inches was removed with the button plackets), and it kind of eliminates my waist. I love it unzipped, though, so I’m calling it a success.
Today, the Compatriot gave me a slightly too-big t-shirt. “I don’t like it, but it looks cute on you,” he said. So I put some elastic through the hem to keep it under my butt, and added tights. Then I realized I was basically a storm cloud, so I added silly fluffy white boots (which also kind of pull in the paw print on the shirt). And to complete everything, a rainbow bag — clouds gotta have rainbows.
And then the only picture that really came out was in soft focus. But you get the idea, right? Right? It’s a cute take on a short jersey dress, that floats over curves instead of hugging them and takes away some of the hyper-sexuality of a really short skirt. Plus it’s just damn comfy.