AN Recap Episode

On the weekend, it was Anime North. In some ways, it seemed to be governed by Murphy's Law. On Friday morning, I was still sewing cosplay and things. I finished my machine sewing with three hours to spare, so I put together 3 Sailor Moon masks since I only had one already. My ride arrived approximately on time, but I was not finished, so I kept plugging away at the masks. Of course, this is about the time my machine starts crapping out. It suddenly decided that it did not like sewing over the elastic for the sleep masks.

Soon I finished and ran around my apartment trying to get all of the things I needed packed and we ended up leaving an hour late, which meant more traffic and the inability to make up lost time. I had left all of my handsewing to do in the car/in line/while sitting at a table in the dealer room, so during the drive I stitched down the binding on my corset. It was around 5 by the time we got to the convention and got checked into the hotel. We then proceeded to get into a two-and-a-half-hour lineup for pre-bought tickets. I hope they fix that for next year.

By the time we got our passes, it was almost 8 o'clock and we still had to get to the Crafter's Corner to sign in, get our spot, and go back to the hotel to grab the boxes of merchandise. I had mistakenly thought that tables would be assigned so I didn't think being 3 hours later than I intended would be that big a deal, but when I got there, they told me to 'take whatever's left', which was 3 tables at the very end facing the wall, which I figured wasn't terribly bad, because others would come later on our the next morning and fill the remaining tables. We left a note on one table saying that we were going to set up there and would be right back and headed to the hotel to pick up my merchandise.

By the time we were set up at the table, there were only 40 minutes left in the sales day. I sat back to work on my remaining handsewing while we spoke to a few people who came by the table. We ended up selling one bag around the time the building closed.

Because of our location, we didn't have very much traffic throughout the convention. (The two other free tables remained occupant-less for the remainder of the con. I was surprised at how much of the attention my merchandise had was for the Sailor Moon masks. They were really the least clever/funny of the things that I had. I didn't end up selling nearly as much as I expected to. I sold a bit over a third of what I had. I expected the Hylian Shield backpacks to be the most popular item, yet I only sold one. I was pretty disappointed with how the convention went, partially because of our terrible spot and otherwise because I ended up bored at a table when I could have been enjoying Anime North. If I do this again, I don't think it well be at a con I like so much.

This past week I've taken somewhat of a break from making things. I haven't really even cleaned up much from before. I've been slowly working on making my new Etsy shop ready for sales (sewtivation.etsy.com) and pondering the fact that I seem to have inadvertently started a business, although it was not truly my intention. I'm not a particularly ambitious person. I also applied for a Fan Expo booth with a friend, and seem to have gotten waitlisted.


One Day Remains

I've been working away at cosplay for the past few days. I decided to put an double layer of the pink self fabric on the outside of the corset because I could see a tiny difference in colour because of the black underlining. On Tuesday I put the corset all together and figured out the straps. Logan cut my spiral steel boning for me with the limited tools that I have and I put it all in its proper channeling.

Yesterday, I ended up off work again, which was very much appreciated. I took my in-progress corset to Leathertown to have the grommets installed and picked up a few things I still needed: pink cording, bias tape, straight steel boning. I ended up having to go to Neveren's for the boning, which I don't like to do unless i absolutely have to. They charged me $4.50/yd, so I didn't feel bad asking them to cut all the proper bone lengths I needed. Less work for me later on.

The puff sleeves took me basically the rest of the day to do. I've been really lazy about pattern drafting when I make things for myself lately. I never feel like doing anything properly, so I end up taking a roundabout way of  figuring out what I need to do. All of my patterns are messy and I need to fudge everything to make it work. In the end, it takes me way longer to make whatever it is that I need to do. I spent the morning on a few failed attempts at sleeves, and then when I came back from Queen St. W. in the afternoon I started a different approach. I used one of the sleeve grades I still have laying around from third year and slashing and spreading, top-stitching the stripes on, adding a facing, created the puff you see below. I'm pretty happy with how it looks, but it severely restricts my range of motion. 

Today, when I got home I started on the t-shirt underneath. I traced a v-neck I already have and modified the neckline and length. Then I added the elastic lace trim and that is done.

What do I have left? I haven't done anything with the skirt save for draft the front. Hopefully it pulls together without a hitch. Then the rest is handsewing, which I'm not too worried about, as I have a busy day of waiting in lines and sitting at a table tomorrow. Luckily Rapunzel doesn't wear many accessories.


Corsets and Cointreau

So prewashing didn't work out the way I had intended. I got everything together to bring it down to the laundry room on Friday night and when I got there, there was a fantastic sign telling me that the laundry room in my building is closed until further notice. It being the Friday of a holiday weekend, I knew that that meant it would not be open until at least Tuesday. Luckily, Logan was going to visit his parents on Sunday afternoon so he took my fabric and got it washed there. Now it is finally back and I can do cosplay.

In the meantime, I did some drafting. I used the pattern from the corset I made in Corsetry class and modified it to be the shape of Rapunzel's. I then cut out two layers of twill to be the base of the corset since I don't want boning channels to show on the outside anyways. I sewed the double twill pieces down the seam lines and sewed the channeling for the bones and put all the extra stitching in the side panel (I don't remember what to call it right now but, as you can see, my martini glass is empty so I get to forget something.)

Here are all my corset panels, and a pile of self fabric ready to be attached. Don't drink and draft.

I also mostly drafted the skirt today.


Project Runway Michelle: Anime North Edition

In one week, I will be at Anime North. This is what my costume currently looks like:

I'm going to pre-wash it all this evening. Then I can get started somewhat soon and be Rapunzel from the Disney Tangled movie.

...But after she gets her hair cut off. I hate wearing wigs. If I do, I always get a migraine and have to take a break from the convention to take drugs and a nap and that is no fun, so I need to find people to cosplay with hairstyles I can create with my current hair length.

I was thinking about doing this for last Hallowe'en and then ended up working a bunch of overtime and not having time to sew anything for myself. I really enjoyed Tangled, a lot more than I expected to. And I really like Mandy Moore from before when she was a popstar and stuff.

For Anime North, I originally wanted to do Assassin's Creed, but I'm not built right, so Logan would have to be Ezio and I was going to be either Rosa or Cristina. Then I procrastinated. When I make Ezio I want to do it really, really well, and he's got a lot of accessories, so I am choosing something simpler for now.

So I bought all the fabric a week and a half ago. Looking at some of the detail shots, Rapunzel has embroidery down the front of her skirt, and I really don't have time to do that, so I looked at the options I had so I could still have the texture. I found the pink I got as well as another brocade that was closer to the right colour, with a pattern that was really wrong for the dress. I was also considering getting a solid fabric in a better colour and an embroidered lace/netting overlay and doing the texture like that.  I decided the pink was closer to the feel I wanted to achieve, so I got that. It was also a lot cheaper than my other options at $12.50/yd.

So I've got a week to go and I've drafted nothing, and I've still got plenty to do for my table too. Luckily, I've got the next 3 days off work to do just that. So here goes; wish me luck. ;)


Working away like a busy bee!

Tuesday night I started the painting process again. I just finished up a few minutes ago, painting 3 shields took roughly six and a half hours total. My back hurts and my hand is cramped up from holding the paintbrush for so long. Those are the last ones I will do before Anime North, so at least I won't have to put myself through any more pain for that particular item. I've still got to put the five of them together though, for a total of 8.
I've also been working on a few other items over the weekend. I made an improved version of the Kokiri shield purse and the tuxedo mask slumber mask, each several times. I'm really itching to get some Cosplay started, or else I won't get any done and I would be sad.


Eye apologize for the puns

I've been working on some slumber masks lately as a smaller, quicker-to-make novelty item to have at my table at Anime North (partially because it takes so long to paint the Hylian shield design). The designs are made with a combination of applique and machine embroidery done with my domestic machine in varying widths and colours of zigzag stitches. It is a great use for all of the random scraps of fabric I have laying around. I really want to use a bunch of material up so I can have a little more space.

Without further ado, here are the different styles I have made:

Here we have Ciel Phantomheyeve, Sailor Myeuxn, and Tuxeyedo Slumber Mask.

And we can't forget Visageta.

I currently have four of the Ciel ones finished, and I'm working on a less redundant version of Tuxedo Mask. I've made a new pattern for the Kokiri shield purse and got some better strapping to use for it, but I've still to sew up the first of this incarnation.

I'm feeling a little nervous about the small amount of stuff I have made so far. I have about six hours now to work on things before I go to bed. Hopefully I can use it to its full potential. Okay, go!


The Fruits of Yesterday's Labours

Last night I finished my first prototype of this Kokiri Shield purse. At first I didn't really like it, but after not staring it for a few hours I think it's kind of cute. I especially like that it takes a lot shorter to make than the Hylian backpack. That one takes ages to paint. It might be a little small, and I'd like to devise a better method of attaching the strap. This way is a little awkward and it is difficult to attach the strap to the zipper. It is fully lined though, with an inner zipper pocket.

This is an assortment of applique eyes I've started on. Can you tell whose they will be?

An expression of stress

I have the tendency to go straight from feeling no motivation whatsoever to being incredibly stressed out. It's very bad for creativity and productivity.

When I'm in a situation where I feel I've got a lot to do, as now, it makes it incredibly difficult to do anything at all. I feel stressed out and if I don't particularly feel like working on what I should be working on then I feel too guilty to do anything else including things that will help me relax. I end up eating copious amounts of time focusing on this inner struggle when I know it would truly be more effective if I took a legitimate break and went for a walk, played a game, or did some other unwinding.

I am historically bad at taking breaks. In my first of year university, I felt I had so much to do (on top of my commute) that I rationalized that I didn't have time to eat, sleep, or even drink water. I ended up dropping 15 pounds (which is a lot for someone my size), and becoming painfully constipated. When I worked at the mall, they didn't enforce breaks too closely so I would often forego my fifteen minute break because it would be a more effective use of my time to keep working, and time would feel like it went faster. Even now, I don't drink as much water as I should partially because I hate having to take frequent bathroom breaks wherever I am and whatever I am doing.

Lately, I'm not going into work terribly a lot. Across my two jobs I've been working on average 33 hours a week or so. The trouble comes when I get home or it's my day off and I've got all this Anime North stuff looming over my head. I hardly get a  moment of peace to myself. I keep telling myself that in June I will have time to take a break and have a social life, but for now, I'll be sewing all day at work and then sewing all evening when I get home.


Birthday Costume (so I'm not caught in my "Birthday Suit")

It was my birthday last weekend, and I really like costume parties. I find it's easiest to get more people to participate in a theme if it is something broad enough that they can combine pieces that they have in their closet with an accessory or two from the dollar store into a costume. Partially because I've been watching Once Upon a Time lately, I decided to make the theme Fairy Tales, so everyone could be pretty princesses or whatever they wanted. I thought it would be easy enough for anyone without much time and resources to pick out a fancy dress from their closet and a Dollarama tiara, but for anyone who wanted to put the effort in, there was a lot more they could do.

I decided that I would be a genie. I ended up getting to Queen St. W. in the middle of the week and got some  georgette to make a pair of sheer harem pants. They didn't have any other nice colours so I went with black, which is a little boring but at least is easier to style. I made them in two pieces so one leg was one piece and one leg was another, cut at the same time, with a seam up the inside of each leg and a crotch seam connecting them. There would be elastics in casings at the waist and the bottom of each leg. I drafted them straight onto the folded fabric so I didn't have to fiddle with patterns or anything.

The photo is not very good so you can't tell how sheer the pants are. You can tell somewhat that I am wearing coloured fishnets underneath them so the texture would show through. Then I was wearing black bike shorts for decency, and a top I bought in high school at Promenade Mall. I also wore the outfit to Hallowe'en Usergroup last night and still didn't get any good photos.


Hylian Prototype

Over the past week I've been working on a few things. I finished my first prototype of the Hylian Shield backpack I am going to sell at Anime North.

There were a few of problems I had in the construction. I realized as I was sewing the side panel of the bag onto the back face that I had somehow drafted the zipper panel too short. In itself, that isn't too big of a deal as the zipper is still long enough to give the bag a large opening, but the fact that I already bought the zippers at the shorter length means that I have to account for the mistake somewhere else. Since I had already cut out the bottom panels in the canvas and interfacing and I had them mostly constructed, I decided to cut out the extra length I would need out of the brown canvas and attach it between the zipper panel and the bottom panel at both ends sans interfacing. The structural integrity of the bag is still alright though. I extended the bottom pattern piece for the rest of the bags I make.

I also found that the original straps I drafted are too short. They are an alright length for someone my size to wear but don't allow for much adjustment and would probably not be comfortable on someone with substantial shoulders. I've made the pattern piece 3 inches longer now.

I didn't like how the zipper pocket in the inside turned out in the prototype. The zippers I bought are too thin to make the zipper look nice on the right side without any extra bits added. I bought some brown bias tape so that I could just add some seam allowance but then I decided it would be nicer just to make a welt that covers the zipper. Overall I'm pretty happy with what I came up with. Now I just have to make it like 15 times, and make some other items I can sell too.