mellymell: (Default)
Since I've sworn off costuming and jewelry work until after the turn of the year (no matter how much I'm itching to fidget with the Angel gown on the dress form), I'm likely not going to finish anything else before December 31st. I don't think I made a public list of what I wanted to accomplish this year at last year's end and I'd probably only be embarrassed by the overly ambitious goals I'm sure I set for myself anyway. So, I'll just start this tradition now, since I actually managed to finish some costumes for once.

2008 Accomplishments )

2009 Wishlist )
mellymell: (council velvet)
So, like always, I'm thinking of the last thing I should be thinking about. . . mantles/cloaks. They do need to get done, because it will be cold. But, what good are mantles/cloaks to unfinished costumes? Anyhoo, can't help but plague my mind with it, so I might as well work it out.

My mantle is practically done. I've cut where I need to cut (I rounded the bottom corners using the curve on the lower sleeve pattern, I like the way it drapes better that way than with the corner hanging at the bottom), just need to hem and put the trim on when it gets here. Oh yeah and a "cheater tie" to keep it on my shoulders, heh. I'm considering a clasp for the front too. It is full enough to close in the front and I kind of like the way that looks. I'll see how it looks with the trim on it though. It might not be as flexible then.

I'm puzzled as to what to do for Chris though. I have 4 yards of velvet to work with, in two, 2 yard pieces, 45" wide (the stuff I tried to dye grey and it turned out taupish-lavender). I've got 3 yards of trim on the way for it. I've been looking at the ranger cloak that Aragorn wears before he gets the spiffy elven one, getting ideas (mostly of making Chris a Strider costume, D'OH!). It doesn't need to be something that's floor length, in fact, I'd rather it not be (maybe about knee or calf length, possibly even shorter). A hood is completely optional, I don't care if it has one or not. I'd almost rather it not, but it doesn't matter. I've got a couple of cloak patterns, I haven't pulled them out yet to look at the pieces to see if any of them will work. I guess what I could do is a mantle similar to mine, but a little longer and it would have a center back seam to it. That would probably be easiest. K, I've talked myself into it. Now to just get the velvet darker. Think I'll dump several bottles of black Rit in with it and try to at least get either a super dark color that almost looks black or a true black.

See, all this was a mess in my head, but getting it out, I managed to make some sense of it and even come to a resolution. Even if I'm the only one to which it makes sense. ;]
mellymell: (titania)
Yesterday, well, I spent a bunch of money. Ebay sellers are loving me right now, I bet. Won a trim that I'm going to use for a mantle for Chris from Heritage Trading (thought it had a Gondorian look to it). Have another trim being watched that I'm going to use for my mantle (ends in two days). Got some stone setting and soldering tools for the moonstone buttons (among other future projects) from Fire Mountain. Got my fabric pens from Dharma. Got a swatch of charcoal grey silk velvet from Distinctive Fabrics (if it's what I want, even remotely close, I'm getting it, even though it's $17/yd). Bought trusty old McCall's 4491 ($4 on ebay) because I think it's mandatory to have this one in your stash. Bought the navy habotai I found on ebay to remake the undergown. And I think that's it. I looked at khussa on ebay, but I think I'm just going to go with a pair of navy velvet "kung-fu" flats. I've got a pair that I need to dig out and see if they're the ones that got chewed up or not (thank you, puppies). If not, I'll clean them up and use them. If so, I know where I can go in town to get a new pair for about $8 (I love Mark's Imports, but I HATE the mall, it's worth braving it for this though). Still think I'm going to skip the ear tips. I just don't want to mess with them.

I think I'll work on boot wraps tonight. That'll be easy enough (I hope).
mellymell: (muderous trolls)
Bad things happen when you have deadlines. I'm just going to have to force myself to work without a concrete date to be done by (usually my motivation is a deadline to work towards, but that's just got to change).

I'm still without suede for boot wraps and the diamond patterned rayon fabric for the undertunic.

But of course, the glitter knit I got from ebay several days after ordering either of the above fabrics arrived today. *sigh*

The good news is, I managed to get tomorrow off work, so I can stay home and work on costumes. If the stuff I need isn't here by tomorrow afternoon, I'm going shopping.

And now, to lighten the mood, one of my all time favorite Simpsons dialogs:

Marge: Have you noticed any change in Bart?
Homer: New glasses?
Marge: No...he looks like something might be disturbing him.
Homer: Probably misses his old glasses.
Marge: I guess we could get more involved in Bart's activities but then I'd be afraid of smothering him.
Homer: Yeah, and then we'd get the chair.
Marge: That's not what I meant.
Homer: It was, Marge, admit it.
mellymell: (br gown)
Chris reluctantly handed over his credit card last night for me to go ahead and get the silk velvet and fabric etching stuff. No, I haven't finished the mockups for everything yet, but I've got a pretty good idea of how much yardage I'll need, judging from the patterns I'm modifying. He's convinced he'll have to pay it off, even though I fully plan to, as in, it will be paid off by the end of November. I would have put it on my card except. . . I don't have one. ;] He says he doesn't mind paying it off, but I'd feel bad if he did. It is my hobby after all.

All that's left to buy is the fabric for his undertunic now. I ordered the suede for his boot wraps yesterday from Fashion Fabrics Club.

I got the belt in from the ebay seller yesterday. I thought I was going to have to soften it, but no way! It's awesome! I think when I go to spruce up Chris' costume for accuracy, I'll use this belt, but make a new buckle for it (or have one made). He has yet to have tried on the pants. Need to make sure he does that tonight.

I started prepping the brocade last night with stop flow/anti-fussant/whatever you want to call it. It basically acts like a starch you apply to a canvas before painting to keep the paints from bleeding all over the canvas. Allows you to freehand paint silk without using a gutta/resist. It makes the fabric stiff as a board, but is water soluble and they say the fabric will return to it's original hand once it's rinsed out. Worst case, I run it through another load of Milsoft. Next time I do this though, I'm definitely building a stretcher and an easel. Dharma sells stretchers, but they're expensive, and look to be easy to build. Shoot, if we can build a brew stand, we can build a canvas/fabric stretcher. I've got about a quarter of the yard+ prepped with stop flow (started about 15 minutes before going to bed). I want to finish that tonight. I was wrong, doesn't say you have to wait 24 hours, just that it has to be completely dry before you start painting.

Still to go. . .
Finish mockup for the undertunic
Mockup the surcoat
Mockup the boot wraps (never done any before)
Dyeing the midnight blue habotai
Overdyeing the fuchsia habotai to see if I can turn it red
Painting the brocade with gold and black accents
Working out the design for the etching on the surcoat yoke
Ordering the fabric for the undertunic
Constructing everything (this is the big one)

Lot of work left. I'm still determined though. Will be working long hours this weekend. Getting home late the past two nights is really cutting into my costuming time.
mellymell: (council velvet)
I had to run to Wal-de-Mort (I love it, J-9! the name, not the store), last night to get a few things and I had looked over their men's section for some straight-legged knit pants, kind of like yoga pants, in black. All they had were plaid flannel pajama pants (the cut would have worked perfectly, but they had no solid colors) and sweat pants (and I wasn't sure how the elastic at the bottoms would make them bunch, if at all). But as I walked past the clothing section, headed toward the register, I noticed a pair of misplaced women's black leisure pants in with the men's athletic pants. That particular pair wasn't the right size, so I wandered to the women's section and grabbed a pair that I thought would fit Chris. They're only $9!! He hasn't tried them on yet, but if they fit, those are going to be his pants for his costume (until I get the chance to make some more accurate ones and since the suede vs wool thing is still being sorted out. . .). I'll just conveniently forget to tell him they're women's pants (not like it matters, but he's even being silly about me using a women's pattern for the undertunic).

Got the swatches from Fabric Yard in Dallas yesterday. One of them will work if I just can't find anything else. It looks pretty much like the same pattern as the black and white stuff I found at Vogue Fabrics in Chicago, but it's heavier (upholstery fabric), and the diamonds are more of a goldish color (looks accurate for the Rivendell color grading). The drape and texture of it would be all wrong, but it would work if it comes down to it. I'm hoping the swatch from Vogue will get here before the end of the week so I can make a decision and get it all ordered.

I think I'll go ahead and order the velvet tonight. I know enough to be able to estimate pretty close I think. Chris' eyes got huge when I said that it was $10/yd. and I knew I needed at least 4 yards for my sleeves and about another 4-5 yards for my overgown. He said, "how much are you spending on this stuff?!?!" It's best not to elaborate, I've found. ;]
mellymell: (council velvet)
The mockup for the petal wrap sleeve on the Council Velvet is done after three attempts. I've cut out the rest of the pattern pieces for the undertunic, will fit them, then make alterations to make it knee length. Then on to the surcoat.

Got the frog closures yesterday and I'm going to mix up some of the charcoal grey dye I have and paint them to age them and tone down the silver a bit. Way too shiny and sparkly. Why does metallic silver never come across right on a monitor? They're a great size though! And I'm glad I've thought to use snaps to actually close the thing and the frogs as mostly decoration. I wouldn't trust them to hold all that great (holes too large, knots too small).

Also got some suede swatches from syfabrics for the boot wraps. Still not what I'm looking for. The color is right, but the upholstery stuff is way too stiff. I guess I could wash it and see what it does, but I really don't like the backing on it. I want something like what I bought for a gypsy corset last year, but in brown, not red. I've checked Hancock's and Hobby Lobby locally, and they've got nothing. Guess I need to go up to Surs this weekend before I give up and order something.

I may have found an alternative and really cheap fabric for the undertunic. Someone mentioned a fabric store in Chicago that I had never heard of, so I looked them up to see if they had a site. Sure enough, they do, so I started browsing. They have a 100% rayon fabric that is small white diamonds with circles in them on a black background. If it's too white, I can overdye it with some of the grey dye I have. And it's only $7/yd! I've got a swatch on the way to be sure. If I even think I can get by with it, I'm jumping on it.

Took a deep breath, meditated, prayed to a miscellany of gods, held a small ceremony and sacrificed a blonde, blue-eyed virgin, to overdye my expensive paisley last night (disclaimer: only the deep breath part is true). It came out well. The gold threads really took up the dye, turning them to a muted burgundy (VERY muted, they look very aged). The red threads, well, they pretty much look the same, which gives me two shades of red in it (adds to depth, makes it look old, I like it). With the gold all but gone, it no longer has the orange tint to it from a distance (you could see those threads even through the red that was on top in most places). I think it will be a nice middle ground between the trim and the deep rose velvet.

the process )

Tonight, dyeing the midnight blue habotai and finish the undertunic mockup. This means I have to take my undergown mockup apart (half done already) and figure out how much yardage I'll need dyed. I've decided I'm definitely lining at least the top of the undergown (maybe to about waist), I'll see how two layers look, might wind up with three, I'm not sure yet.

Saturday, unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to work on anything. I spent 2 hours in Dillards trying to find something I'd consider wearing to a cocktail party for less than $100. I came home growling that "I'm making all my clothes from now on," but fortunately found something. Sunday, I spent pretty much all day working out the petal wrap sleeve pattern. I have pics of everything but I haven't pulled them off the camera yet, let alone uploaded them.

Oh, and I got 109 on the movie meme. :]

Edit: Forgot to put what dyes I was using and how much of them. Added that to the process notes. Trying to keep better tabs on things to be able to replicate processes later if need be.

Edit again: Added a remembered note to the dye process, as explained in the comment to Jess.
mellymell: (council velvet)
The 12x10mm moonstone cabochons are the right size for the buttons on Aragorn's Council Velvet surcoat. Anything smaller is too small. Anything larger, might work on a larger person. I just got them in. Only problem is, yet again, I forgot to order a bezel roller to set them. *sigh* Guess I'm not going to be able to set them on Sunday like I had planned. maybe at least get the jump rings soldered onto the backs, and maybe even glued in place. But I'll go ahead and order the bezel roller so it will be here early next week.

I just DON'T feel like working on stuff tonight. So, I think I'm going to take a break. I really shouldn't, but I reworked my schedule, and even with the slipping I've already done, I still have 4 days to spare.
mellymell: (br gown)
Well, about all I got done on yesterday's list was the shopping. My back's been sore, but not where the injury occurred. The muscles on either side of my spine, right between my shoulder blades are constantly tense now. I think it is related to my muscle strain a few weeks ago, though (change in posture/overcompensating for the injury). I'm still going to the chiropractor at least a couple of times a week. I go back today, in fact. I think it's worth mentioning to him.

I did at least get the front panel of the jumper mockup cut to length, and started chalking out the neckline. But I went to bed at like 8:30 and was asleep probably by 9:30 (didn't quite make it through the second Futurama I put on). So, I'm slightly behind now, but not by much. The habotai and dyes are still not in either. I guess I should have expected an extra day or two since there was no post on Monday.

I also won a black leather belt on ebay for the Council Velvet (not going to worry about tooling the design and weathering too much or total accuracy just yet) and got new, larger moonstone cabs for the buttons and bezel cups to set them in (still debating whether to return the smaller ones or just keep them and use them on something else, I'm leaning towards the latter). I also ran by Wal-Mart on my way home from work and picked up a couple of invisible zippers, some metallic gold DMC floss (that I think I'm not going to use on this, looked fine under store lighting, but too sparkly under my home lighting), and the biggest embroidery hoop I could find (for the silk painting), and some other miscellaneous notions I knew I needed off hand. Still a few things to get, but I've crossed a lot off my list.

I'm doing some last minute searches for a black and silver brocade that would work for Chris' undertunic. There are a couple of extra possibilities (one at eQuilter and another on ebay), but still, I think the one that "reads" the best (without seeing a swatch of any of them) is the one at Hancock's. I need to go check out their suedecloth and see if it's on sale here like it is in Galveston (thanks Sarah!), so I might check to see if they have the fabric I'm eying in the store, or any other possibilities for that matter. I think I'll do that after work today.

I need to call Steff and see how she's doing on her pattern. I made sure she knew she should read through all the directions before cutting it and told her to call me if there was anything she didn't fully understand. I know how I felt the first time I read a pattern with pretty much no sewing experience and no one around to help me (lots of google searches ensued).
mellymell: (council velvet)
Just ordered 4 8x6mm moonstone cabs and plain sterling silver bezel cups. Also ordered thick gauge, 2mm dia. sterling jump rings to solder to the backs to make buttons for the Council Velvet. Hope I got the right size cabs. Spent the $25 gift certificate I got with the Rio Grande catalogs (that's handy).

It's strange to see who's more expensive on what. FMG had more expensive jump rings and tools, but RG had MUCH more expensive cabs and settings. So I got the cabs and bezel cups at FMG, and the jump rings and some neat headpins that I think will make cool elven looking jewelry at RG with the gift certificate. I just realized I'm going to need a burnisher and bezel roller too and I forgot to order them. FMG is more expensive on those, too. Looks like another order at RG.

Gonna go pick up some Chinese food for lunch and come back and start on the BR mockup.

Edit: As far as other jewelry for the Council Velvet, I think I've decided to just purchase the pieces from Noble Collection. 1) I don't really have the time to make a PMC Ring of Barahir and a PMC Evenstar. 2) I'm not sure I'd be able to make intricate pieces like that just yet. 3) I can fix the thing that bugs me about the NC Evenstar by mounting clear Swarovski crystals in place of the blue ones it comes with. I'm told they fall out easily anyway (or at least one person had this problem and I think someone else backed it up with a similar experience).

So, that leaves me with the butterfly cloak clasp (I plan to make a cloak to match the BR since I'll be wearing it in October and November) and I think I'll do a Fellowship cloak clasp to go with a charcoal or black velvet cloak for Chris. I can handle two pieces of relatively simple jewelry, not 4 where two are intricate and detailed. I even already have the wire frame for the butterfly clasp done, just needs soldering (still, has for months).
mellymell: (council velvet)
not perfect, but in my price range and good enough for me!

I'm looking into making the belt. Though I'd like to get the Blades by Brown one, I don't need the extra stuff and it's all rather expensive. Matt on the LR_Cos group said he'd buy the other stuff from me, but I really don't know what a fair price would be (I couldn't imagine more than $50, and the remainder for the belt is still too much for me to spend on a belt). Yeah, making it is sounding better and better. I've been looking into epoxies or apoxies, how ever you want to market it. Seems like the best way to go. PMC is too weak for a belt buckle I'd think and I'm really not set up for casting metals (yet! *sheepish grin*). I know I can do the tooling on the leather.
mellymell: (moonfairy)
K, so after just leaving it sitting for weeks and weeks, I finally worked on the dream gown again this weekend. All I have left is to finish getting the invisible zipper in and hem. Really trying to get it done before we leave on Friday. I want a clean project plate when I get back so I can get started on the Blood Red gown and Chris' Council Velvet.

Speaking of, I finished sketches on the Council Velvet this weekend and submitted for the fiance's approval. The more I look at them, the more I want to make something similar for the wedding for him.

Figured out about what size buttons to use on the surcoat and how many I need (4). I think I'm going to buy 4 moonstone cabs (about 10x6 mm) and set them in an oval bezel setting, then solder a sterling jump ring on the back (a really small, like 1-2mm one). I looked at only a couple of sites, but all they had in the way of glass or translucent buttons either had flowers on them or weren't the right color or shape. You would think oval clear/translucent buttons wouldn't be that hard to find. The buttons are going to cost me about $15. But, I thought, moonstone, being the "traveler's stone" would be an excellent choice for a Ranger's nice garb.

I've been avoiding studying the yoke decoration on it. I know it's going to take long hours of squinting and sketching to get it and even then, it'll probably not be accurate.

Still on the search for a strider belt and boots. I emailed the guy (Matt) who had the incredible Strider costume to find out where he got his and if he has suggestions on them. I'm not opposed to making the belt, but I don't want to mess with boot wraps or anything like that.
mellymell: (entwined)
I've been home sick today. I feel very strange. Like I have a sore throat in my lungs and a lot of congestion in my chest. I've felt kind of drained and not feeling like sewing today. So I just sat in front of my computer and did costuming research, specifically on Aragorn's Council Velvet. There's just not a lot of information on this outfit already. But I've got a good collection of pictures and watched the Council and Dream scenes a few times. I think I've got a good handle on it.

Here's what I've got so far )

I've got a sketch of the under tunic so far and will do the surcoat tomorrow and work on more details (like those frog closures, buttons and the yoke etching/embroidery pattern). Other than that, I think I've got it down for the most part.

Question, comments, suggestions?


mellymell: (Default)

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