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Project Spotlight: Wanda Maximoff Civil War Green Coat

UPDATE! Scroll to the bottom to see the finished jacket on it’s owner!

Project Spotlight

Seamsgeeky_scarletwitchJacket

This jacket, besides being awesome, is very special to me. I was commissioned for this jacket earlier this year to be worn as SDCC. And, of course, was commissioned before Civil War had come out, so there was a lot of research to do be done on my end with some very fuzzy photographs.

movie stills
But what makes this jacket so special is that this was the first pattern I drafted digitally using Adobe Illustrator. I managed to spend a good amount of time earlier this year teaching myself the fundamentals of flat-patterning, vs my usual “winging it,” and it was really nice to be able to put that knowledge into action. I’m sure at one point I’ll go into my adventures of flat patterning. Also, I was amazed how much easier this garment went together. I think it’s because I spent a lot more thinking about it’s construction as I was designing it and concentrating on the details.

Of course I mocked up a quick muslin just to make sure it fit like I wanted.

SW_muslin

Alright, the important deets (and some larger jacket images):

seamsGeeky-Scarlet-Witch-green_01 seamsGeeky-Scarlet-Witch-green_03 seamsGeeky-Scarlet-Witch-green_05For some reason those pictures turned out way green. The colors below are way more accurate. C’est la Vie.

  • Jacket is unlined and made with cotton twill which was custom dyed with Procion dyes from Dharma Trading Co. I hemmed it with a blind hem stitch and dyed rayon hem binding (aka, the SHIZZ! This is my favorite way to hem).

Seam Geeky Scarlet witch color
I used a mix of Muir Green, Sage, Wasabi, and Olive. I love the way the different toned fabrics work together. I’d give a specific mixture I used for the different colors, but there was a lot of mixing and layering of colors until I was happy with it. And then when it was done, I gave it a quick all over dye bath with a very watered down olive to unify the colors a bit. This also helped bring out some the areas that I distressed.

I cut out and dyed all the pieces specifically for their color which also did a great job of making the jacket look a bit weathered, plus I did a bit of distressing at the end.

  • The jacket has a bunch of mismatched buttons like the one in the movie, and I did my best to try and match the patterns and tones. Most of the buttons are vintage metal buttons (I bought a 1 lb bag on etsy) with the exception of a few I picked up while in Dallas When we went to see Hatsune Miku! Squee!seams_geeky hatsune_miku

When I got the lot in, I dug through all of them looking for buttons I liked, then refined for the same size, then cleaned those, then organized them so my client could pick the ones she wanted if she liked. She opted for me to pick out which ones to use.

seamsgeeky_scarletwitch_buttons

  • I used 1/2 in brass grommets on the back of the jacket. Originally I purchased some 1 inch antique copper grommets from china, but as I studied the photos more, I realized these were actually brass, and the 1 inch seemed too large in the end.
    seams Geeky scarlet witch sleeve

The sleeves have these metal rivet looking pieces. I ended up using one half of a heavy duty snap. Let me tell you, a heavy duty antique copper snap with just the right looking “male part” was ridiculously hard. I ended up finding some on eBay. Bless eBay.

• Lots and LOTS of topstitching.

• This jacket is deceptively asymmetrical. Both sleeves are similar but assembled differently with different detailing. The same went for the back And the front areas by the pockets.
I really think it turned out beautifully, and kind of wish it was my size so I could have kept it.

UPDATE!
Here’s some pictures of the jacket in it’s natural habitat! I always love when I get photos of commissions in action!
SG_maximoff Jacket SG_maximoff jacket 2

Posted on Categories articles, Cosplay, Series, TutorialsTags , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Cosplay Starter Kit: Planning your costume (Part 1 )

starterkit_1It’s love at first sight. You see it, you need it, you want to make and be inside that wonderful outfit. You love the character, you love everything about their costume and you’re ready to to get elbow deep in fabric, silicone, latex, Worbla whatever to make sure this beautiful vision you see becomes a reality. You stare at photos online, dreaming of what it would be like to put on those wings and show your love to the world.

It’s so easy to get excited and get lost in the process that things don’t turn out quite as you planned. Maybe the fabric isn’t right or it doesn’t fit how you wanted. You are convinced evenly distributed spray paint is a thing of myth. You’ve cried more times over something going wrong, and you have 2 days before you leave for the con, and you just cut two left sleeves out of your last bit of fabric. Or your clear coat won’t dry, or accidentally bleach half of your perfectly dyed fabric cleaning the washing machine…

I get it. I mean, I reeeallllyyy get it! Through trial and error, and working in a deadline focused industry, I’ve learned over the years how to properly plan a large project, and no project is larger than a cosplay (not true, but it feels that way).

Planning a costume is the most fun! I plan more costumes than I could manage to possibly make. It’s a process full of possibilities and excitement! And if you’re anything like me, you love finding out everything you can about the character, costumes, materials needed and reverse engineering how something might go together. But I’m no fool, It can also be really daunting if you’ve never done it before. Here at Seams Geeky we try to take as much confusion out of the process as possible. That means lots and lots of research and planning, including calendars and budget sheets.

Ok, first things first. You bought your con tickets and hotel a year in advance, and now you just need to figure out what to wear!

Figuring out what costume(s) you want to make 
Dig through your files (or pinterest boards), meditate, search your soul and determine what costume or costumes you want to make. Gather them all! Then start sorting through all of them and narrow it down.

First: Evaluate skill level.
This isn’t the end-all-be-all but you need to start with what you are comfortable with. Making a costume is great because you learn SO much each time you make something. What skills do you already posses? What skills are you confident in? What fabrics are you comfortable using?

Next: What skills do you want to learn?
Want to work with Worbla but never had before? Great! Never made a petticoat and want to learn? Fantastic! The best part of running into battle (and I consider every costume a battle) is it’s a trial by fire.

But you have to have time to learn. You’re probably not going to get it right the first time, so onto part 3:

What is your time line?
Do you have a whole year to make one costume? Do you have 2 months? Do you feel confident that you can learn what you need to in time, or will you be slapping it together at the end?

Now this one is optional: Think about your body image.
It’s a tough subject to talk about, especially with cosplay, so I want to be clear that I’m not saying throw out costumes because you’re worried you don’t have the same proportions. Screw that nonsense, wear what you want! What I’m saying is: If you think you need to lose 20 pounds before you can wear the cosplay, you should lose the 20 pounds (or be well on the way to losing it) before starting construction.

Tip sparkle rightI try to emphasize this with any custom garment I make:
A body can change a lot, by building muscle, by losing fat, so once you start making your costume, try to stay the same weight. The last thing you want is to have to take in 2 inches because now it doesn’t fit right. That’s a lot of last minute stress you don’t need.

I was talking to a client the other night about a costume, and she mentioned she wanted to lose some weight and I had to let her know that her costume would take about 2 months to make, so come July, she has to stop losing weight and stay the same size, otherwise she’ll risk the costume not fitting.

And finally, what is your most favorite that you HAVE to make right now? Because it’d be nice if the world was all puppies and rainbows and we did everything by the books, but sometimes passion completely wins out!

*Drum roll please*
My 2015 Cosplay list I put together the end of last year with a focus of getting several complete for DragonCon. Here’s why I chose each one per my narrowing parameters:

I’ve done a decent amount of comic cosplays in the past, and I was trying to diversify a bit this year. I originally wanted to do 1 Comic Character, 1 anime character, and 1 Video Game character. Cover my trifecta of geekiness. Somehow, though It ended up being very anime heavy. I don’t mind this, because anime is my FAVORITE, and it’s how the cards of fate fell.

Nova Prime

gotg-bus-shelter-nova-prime-v1-lg-3c7d7

Why is that? I NEED TO MAKE IT. The second I saw Glenn Close walk on screen in the uniform, I knew it was destiny. That’s a #5. But I also know I can accomplish it. There’s going to be some pattern drafting, a little bit of molding and casting (enough to learn from, but not too much to feel overwhelmed. And if need be, I can do some last minute foam pieces), and I have a friend who’s going to style the wig. DONE!

Meryl and Milly:
trigun_mm0013

I’m REALLY excited about this because I get to cosplay with my bestie! The outfits are mostly sewn, so that’s in my wheelhouse. Plus, we are totally Meryl and Milly. It’s going to be great. I do have some apprehensions with the guns, but if the big stun gun doesn’t get made, it won’t kill the costume and there’s some derringer Air Softs out there in a crunch.

Kuranosuke from Princess Jellyfish:
Kuragehime - 11 - Large 23

If you haven’t caught on by now: Princess Jellyfish Forever (PJF). Also, I want that dress, and it’ll be fun to make without being too stressful. And I love Kuranosuke. I also think it’s funny to be  girl dressing as a boy dressing like a girl…

I had two optionals, but they needed to get set aside for another day. But then this came along:

http://gibsoncomics.com/

That’s a combination of all things I love, genderbend, Aquaman, and a dream casting of Charlize Theron AS Aquaman. Plus, Jordan Gibson dress me the full body costume for costume reference because he’s awesome. I’ll also get to play with Worbla, which has been on my list a long time.

So I had to say goddbye to Kuranosuke. For now.

tumblr_static_cybj3308j1w8ocw4k08o0wcwc

Coming up in part 2: getting into the nitty gritty of costume specifics, plus a freebie for everyone!

What are your cosplay plans for the year? Do you have any apprenstions? I’d love to see what you plan on working on!

 

Posted on Categories articles, Cosplay, FashionTags , , , , , , Leave a comment

The Power of Practice

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Oh man, just the idea of practicing things gives me cold sweats. I remember as a kid taking piano lessons and procrastinating on practicing and then I’d go into my next lesson embarrassed because I still sucked at playing Frère Jacques. I think there’s two parts to that equation: 1) I had no desire to play Frère Jacques (rock and roll, please) and 2) practicing is scary because you screw up. A lot. And that can take a toll on your self esteem.

I mean, this is true of everything we have to practice. It’s not like I understood the quadratic equation the first time I tried it, but because my homework sheet had 20 problems I had to answer using it, I
eventually figured it out. But when it comes to hobbies or extracurriculars, it’s up to us to tell ourselves its something we want to learn. And that’s hard. For one thing, it’s really sucks not understanding it the first time. I think we all have grand dreams of being perfect the first time around. We are just SO awesome, and that can’t be THAT hard. We’re bound to be prodigies. And for some people, they are. And for the rest of us, well we have to work for it. Which means you have to motivate yourself to get there. And we can all get there with one simple attribute:

Blind stubbornness.

Seriously.

You have to pump yourself up, play “Eye of the Tiger” or “Don’t Stop Believing,” or “I Believe I Can Fly.” Whatever your poison (Hey, if “Talk Dirty to Me” is your thing, go for it!). If you need to pin up a piece of paper entering your crafting space and jump through it, do it! I do this:

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And then you tackle your project. And screw up, rip it out, re-cut it, re-glue it, and probably cry a few time along the way. But you can’t give up, because you are gonna own it (literally and figuratively) when you’re done!

You all know I’m a huge fan of sewing. It’s my favorite. I’m comfortable with it, I’ve been doing it for years, and I’m always trying to get better by trying new things. Once you learn the basics, you have to try new things. It gets really boring if you don’t.

My one word of advice here, take baby steps. Don’t try and make a ball gown your first time out if you haven’t sewn before.

That nonsense is tricky. There’s usually a lot of technique that goes into a fancy gown. I mean you can do it, but it’s real easy to get frustrated and drop everything. Lots of tears, anger, “I sucks” and a crushed crafting self esteem. And that’s no fun. This stuff should be fun!

 

Tip sparkle leftNow in respect to cosplay, man, we are swimming in some uncharted waters (unless you went to school for it). So I’m gonna drop some SeamsGeeky™ Wisdom on you: practice on something smaller first.

 

Shocking, I know. But that’s a hard pill to swallow sometimes. I mean, we want that sweet, sweet movie accurate Black Widow catsuit NOW! But from experience, cosplay isn’t cheap and the last thing you want to mess something up half way with your $25 (or more!) a yard fabric because you jumped into the deep end before you knew how to kick.

Sewing breaks down into levels of techniques and skills which add up to the knowledge of making something. You kinda have to build up your own mental toolbox before taking on something crazy.

• Sewing a straight seam
• Knowing what are the best tools for the job
• Understanding how patterns look and how they go together
• Pattern alterations
• Understanding textiles and textile best practices
• Fabric grain
• When to machine stitch, when to hand stitch
• The right interfacing for the job
• Fit (this is the hardest, I think)
• Tailoring
• Draping

I could go on for days. And there is, like, a billion variations on themes. It seems overwhelming, I know.

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So when I want to learn something, I break down what exactly I want to learn. I HATE learning with “samples.” I don’t want to insert a zipper into a square of fabric, I want something usable at the end, not just a zipper randomly floating around my sewing room. I don’t have the time or space for that. So I figure out a project where I can use a new skill and try it hands-on then complete that project. And I try not to make it too hard on myself.

Need to learn how to put in a zipper? Sew up a simple, unlined skirt (from a  sewing pattern. Online sewing tutorials when your learning can suck, and having an instruction sheet really helps) out of a basic cotton. Seriously. You get something usable you can be proud of (Self Esteem Booster!) And you’ll have learned how to put in a zipper, and gotten better at cutting out patterns, understanding pattern shapes, sewing a straight seam, seam finishing, probably interfacing, hemming, and most importantly, putting in that zipper. (the cotton helps you hide those holes if you have to rip it out and redo it).

Rinse. Repeat. You’re going to get better and better every time. I had an art teacher who told me, “Draw it 3 times, and you’ll be amazed how much better the last one looks. Then do it 3 more.” But drawing an apple 6 times is boring. 3 skirts and 3 dresses to add to my closet? Plus with all the amazing licensed fabric there is now, you can fill out your geek wardrobe and have much more fun.

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Anytime I try something new, I try to do it in a small scale on a wearable project first. And I’m probably going to repeat this over and over. In every post. From here to eternity. The main reason I like doing things this way is because it boosts your self esteem, which is hard to keep up sometimes. That way when you’re ready tackle that costume, you feel armed with the skills to figure it out! Scared to work with spandex? Make some leggings or a swimsuit. Unsure of leather? Make a bag, or add some leather accents to a jacket. When you spend 3 months on a costume, you want to be proud of it, so you need that firm foundation. I mean, every costume is it’s own adventure, and it can feel like you are running full steam in one direction, and hoping that it’s the right way.

We are all students in the classroom of life (<——cheesy, but I don’t care). And new things always seem scary, but you have to face it sometimes. You might need to amp yourself to start, but you don’t have to run if you just learned to crawl.

You totally have this under control. You got this! You can do anything!

And I’ll collectively help as much as I can!