12.06.2005

Rikku costume update!

I realize I haven’t written in here for a while, but it’s not for lack of progress. I’ve just been working on so much sewing stuff, I got overwhelmed. I’m still working on the Rikku costume, of course, and to add extra stress and fun to my holiday season, I’m making several presents for people this year. One of which is another dog bed, this one for my parents’ pug, Ginny. It’s almost finished, and I should have pictures very soon.

As for the Rikku costume, I have several progress pictures to share. As you might remember, here is the original costume drawing. And in one of my last entries, I talked about working on the top. Well, the top is finished except for the black strap and the front cord. I have supplies for these, but haven’t crafted them yet.

BUT! I do have pictures of me wearing the top with some stand-in straps and front cord. They’re blurry and quite silly, but they give a good idea of what the top will look like. I debated posting these pictures publicly, but then I realized that I’m going to be wearing this in public anyway. And if I can’t feel comfortable posting blurry pictures of me wearing a skimpy bikini top and “Toadily Cool” frog shorts, well, then what kind of cosplayer am I?

So here you go. These pictures contain BOOBS, such as they are. Fear my A-cups!

Jeanne poses goofily in the mirror. Sexy!
Maybe they’ll look bigger if I post a close-up shot…

As for detailed shots of the costume thus far sans my chest, here they are:
The main part of the scarf is complete!
Bikini front detail
Bikini back detail

Now, anyone can throw some trim on a yellow underwire bra and call it a Rikku top, but as you can see, my goal is to create something that looks — and holds together — like the actual top. I made some mistakes here and there, and had to make some necessary changes because of the way I constructed it (such as the location of the eyelets), but I think it’s overall successful. If I made another one, I know what I would do differently, and that’s the important part of the learning process, right?

Another thing that is important to me as I work on getting out of this pesky novice category is to make the wrong side of the costume pieces look as good as the right side. It would have been a million times easier to construct that top without making the binding look good on both sides, or by leaving the buckle strap unfinished, but I wanted it to look like…well, if the straight males in the audience will excuse me, I wanted it to look like it would if Rikku took off her top. Meaning, of course, that it is an actual finished garment. I’m sure this at least doubled the time it took me to make that particular piece.

I still have a long way to go on the costume and my sewing/costuming skills in general, but I’m feeling pretty good about this one so far.

10.13.2005

New URL!

I am testing the new URL — http://sewing.jeannerubbo.com. I have plenty of new content coming soon!

9.25.2005

Whew. Okay. I finished the pumpkin placemats shortly after my last post. They were a lot easier than the napkins because the shapes were bigger so the curves weren’t as tight. The placemat fabric, despite its thickness, wasn’t difficult to sew at all. I had pretty much no problems with it.

Here are some finished pictures:
Entire placemat
Close-up on applique

I have my sewing salon tomorrow at Treadle Yard Goods. The purpose is to get help with sewing without it being an actual class with the cost and numerous dates that entails. It seems that sewing classes never fit into my schedule, because I always have some sort of conflict. So this kind of thing works out better for me.

I’m bringing my Rikku bikini top along, seeing as how that’s my current project. I’ve been way too busy to even think about stepping in the sewing room in the last week, unfortunately. So I set aside a bunch of time today to prepare. I actually cut into the yellow fabric. I’m such a chicken about cutting my actual fabric, so this was a big step for me. ;) Related note: I took a trip to SR Harris again on Friday and learned that my yellow fabric is poly/lycra. There isn’t any info on this in my Fabric Savvy book, but I’m sewing it like nylon/lycra. I did learn (from an online link I found) that poly/lycra has a ribbed side and a wrong side. That was probably too subtle for me to catch on my own, so I’m glad I found that.

I started keeping a sewing journal to record my observations, how I solved certain problems and why I did it that way, and certain settings that I used to sew stuff. I’ll probably pick and choose some stuff to put in here. Needless to say, I learned a lot today about cutting, sewing, binding, and putting eyelets into knits. Hopefully I’ll have more success stories tomorrow.

9.15.2005

Here’s my obligatory “I’m not dead!” post for the month.

I took about a month long break from sewing stuff in preparation for my Arizona trip — I spent pretty much all my time studying. Now that I’m back and have gone to an anime convention, which always inspires me, I’m back in business.

Before I started my sewing break, I started working on the main parts of my Rikku costume. For those of you unfamiliar with the costume, here’s a picture. Yeah. Stop laughing.

So I started work on the top. Here are some of the challenges for a novice such as myself:

1) Making it the right shape to match the costume. (Bonus difficulty: it looks different in every drawing/rendering.)
2) Making a bikini top in the first place — I’ve never made one before!
3) Getting the right amount of support.
4) Making it look good on a small-chested person such as myself.
5) Getting that edge binding to look right.

I bought some awesome material for both the top/bottom and their binding at SR Harris. Of course I didn’t bother to check what kind of lycra it is, so when I opened up my Fabric Savvy book, I found out that the sewing/prewashing is slightly different for cotton lycra versus nylon lycra. Great. And of course, the difference is that nylon is shiny while cotton is matte. Except that I can’t tell which one the base yellow fabric is — I’m pretty sure the binding is nylon. So yay for me. I found a very similar fabric on one of the shirts in my closet that says it’s nylon, so I’m going with that.

For the top, I started with a base pattern and modified the hell out of it. In fact, I did a lot more modifying than I thought I knew how to do — John was impressed. Now that I have the fabric and it’s stretchier than the knits I was using to test, I took some material off the edges of the pattern. We’ll see if that works.

And of course I’m hoping to finish the pumpkin placemats soon — I spent this evening tracing and cutting out the applique. Tomorrow I sew!

7.12.2005

The napkins are done! I still have to do the six placemats, though. That’ll be more of a challenge because of the weird fabric.

Here are some pictures. Of course, I didn’t realize until I was editing the images that I picked up the very first napkin I did, so it’s probably my worst one. Way to go, Jeanne!

Napkin
Closer view
Close-up of pumpkin applique

And just for fun, I snapped a picture of the lovely unraveling threads on the back of the placemat that I mentioned in my last entry.

Awesome work, Jeanne!

I went to JoAnn’s today and spent the rest of my gift cards. I picked up a buttload of new bobbins (I ran out) as well as some pattern interfacing and this extremely cool hand embroidery book. I figured that since I’m not going to have an embroidery machine for a while, I may as well learn to embroider by hand. Creative people always find a way around their limitations, right?

With this pattern interfacing, I can start working on pattern alterations. I’m still working my way through the fitting books.

7.11.2005

I’m reading up on some pattern alteration stuff before diving into my next garment project. In the meantime, I’m working on a simple pumpkin applique, once again from Clotilde’s Sewing Savvy. What can I say, I’m into making cute stuff lately.

Of course, I’ve already learned something important. Something that is probably quite obvious to everyone else in the world: check the washing instructions before chucking the fabric into the washing machine. See, I got these placemats and napkins for the project, and washed them according to what kind of fabric they were (cotton) without noticing that the little tag said “hand wash only.” Derp. So there are some…problems on the back of the placemats. Namely, some of the weave threads broke and unraveled. It hasn’t made its way to the front of the mats, so I may be okay.

I’m still learning to applique corners, but by the time I finish the six placemats and six napkins, I’ll probably be a pro.

7.07.2005

Hi there! I’m still alive and still sewing. I’ve been so busy with my regular website and school in the last year, but now that I’m unemployed, I have time to sew. It’s actually a blessing.

Right now, I’m working on finishing up the projects I either started or for which I bought supplies. First on the list was the bunny bib mentioned in the last entry. I finished it up today. Here are some pictures:

Bunny bib front
Bunny bib back
Bunny bib front bias tape detail
Bunny bib back bias tape detail

I could only get so close with the dinky camera. :) Here are some notes from the project:

The Good
*This time around I had no trouble with the applique feed. I used 0.3 for the stitch width and didn’t experience any of the issues I discussed before.

*Thanks to a little bit of coaching in a presser foot class (that I took sometime within the last year or so), I was able to go around curves more successfully with the applique. Also, my start and end points matched up better than before.

*The bias tape was a LOT, LOT better this time around. While I haven’t been sewing, I’ve been doing more reading, and I decided to try some of what I read for the bias tape application. I took a lot more time with shaping the curves with the iron, and I hand-stitched the back after machine sewing the front. It’s not perfect, but it’s such an improvement over the last attempt. And the hand-stitching may be more time consuming but a) I don’t have a bias tape application foot, and b) it gave me a lot more control than trying to catch both sides with the machine at once.

The Bad
*I appliqued the center piece first, and quickly learned that it’s best to do the outside pieces first. No biggie, but just a thought for next time.

*I haven’t yet mastered appliqueing corners — I have some excess stitching in the yellow. I’ll have to figure that one out.

*One of the alignment marks is slightly visible through the bunny. Note to self: material isn’t 100% opaque.

*I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but the instructions call for sewing the rick-rack on with invisible nylon thread. For the life of me, I could not get this to work last time — I tried different types of thread in the bobbin, even. So like last time, I just used a regular kind-of-matching thread to sew it on. Plus, even if I wanted to try the nylon again, the top broke off the thread spool. Odd, that.

In all, I would consider this one a success!

I’ve been working on my scarf as well, and I’m just over six inches to completion. I’ll post pictures when it’s finished.

4.02.2004

I just finished making a bib for my cousin’s baby:

I got the project idea out of Clotilde’s Sewing Savvy. I learned some new techniques, which I kind of suck at so far. I did my first satin stitch applique on a project. It turned out pretty well, except for the starting/ending points which are really obvious. I also attached bias tape around the edges, which did not go well. The fold wouldn’t stay on the edge of the fabric, and it just did not want to go around curves well. So I’m not extremely pleased with it, but it was my first time with bias tape.

I also need to find some kind of fabric marker that can be removed. I was using a quilting pencil, which would not come off with the eraser or with water. The chalk liner that was recommended to me had the same problem. I’m not sure if this is because I was using white fabric or what. I scrubbed the fabric too hard, but my scrub lines were covered up by the rickrack.

But overall, it was a quick, easy project that helped me learn some new stuff. Hopefully the second one I make (with a bunny applique) will be better.

3.26.2004

Why do I always wait so long between posts? I guess because I hadn’t been doing too much sewing stuff, instead focusing on VGR and some video games.

On Saturday, I went to “Sewing Adventures 2004″ put on by Husqvarna-Viking. I ended up learning a lot and spending an assload of money on new sewing machine feet and other accessories. I bought the heirloom kit despite not having a sewing machine that can do heirloom type stitches. I will someday, though.

Last night, I went to a sewing machine foot class and ended up buying an open toe foot for my machine. I went home and practiced satin stitch applique. For some reason the fabric doesn’t like to feed through my machine when I do 0.2 length stitches, and is a little iffy in certain spots on the 0.3 length stitches. I don’t know if the presser foot is slipping on the stabilizer or what.

I’ve also been working a lot on my scarf:

The thing is, the actual scarf I’m basing it on has a color change gradient rather than bands. But I didn’t want to knit a 9 foot single-colored scarf (my first scarf, by the way) and then potentially screw it up in the dye process. So yeah, it won’t look exactly like Rikku’s scarf, so hopefully other cosplayers won’t scoff at it. :P

The other night, when I tried satin stitch applique for the first time, I was a total klutz. I managed to try satin stitching with the wrong stitch (the buttonhole stitch), I ironed the wrong side of the fusible stabilizer, and when I examined the resulting cruddiness on the iron, I managed to spill water everywhere. I don’t think I’m cut out for this!

1.25.2004

I know I haven’t posted in a while. I just had surgery, so I’ve been recovering and all that fun stuff. But I started reading my Readers Digest sewing book again. I’m halfway through!

I picked up a couple of other books at the half price bookstore. One is on fitting, and the other one is about fixing sewing screwups.

Oh, and I’ve been doing a lot of research on the hobbit costumes. Frame-by-frame DVD screenshots. Fun! I know there’s a lot of stuff on alleycatscratch.com, but I like doing my own research, too. I don’t just want to copy work that other people did!