Friday, September 30, 2011

A Pattern-Free Hood for a Fantasy Cloak

Whether you are making a Jedi robe, Hobbit cloak, Mistcloak, Handmaiden robe, or a hooded cowl worthy of Death Himself, you need to make an epic hood. There's nothing more pathetic than a cloak with a dinky little hood that looks like it came off a hoodie. Am I right?
my Jedi Barriss Offee costume from Star Wars
Well the good news is, it is SUPER EASY to make a really cool hood. You don't even need a pattern!
Here's what you need:
- Cloak fabric (a piece about 45" x 45") - suedecloth works great for cloaks
- Interfacing (sew-in, thick stuff like for lapels and collars) - a strip about 3" x 12"
- Measuring instruments (a cardboard grid mat works great, or use a square edge and ruler)
- Chalk
- Needle and thread/sewing machine

Step 1: Make a Square!
Cut a big 45" x 45" square out of your fabric
This hood will use the fabric as the lining as well. If you want lining, cut two rectangles, then sew them together to make a 45" x 45" square. If it's a 40" x 40" it should be fine. I like to start big because it is very easy to trim it down if your hood ends up too big, but the original version of this pattern used 50" x 50" and I found that to be ridiculously large. For a kiddie cloak you just need to start with a smaller square, or do a lot of trimming!

Step 2: Origami!
Fold your fabric square in half, keeping the good side of your fabric on the inside. With chalk, draw a X on the top piece of fabric (on the wrong side of the fabric) - this side is your "lining".
If you used a different lining fabric, your first fold should be on the sewn line separating the two fabrics. Lay the fabric with the lining on top and fabric on bottom with the right sides of both fabrics inside.
Now fold the rectangle of fabric in half again, creating a square. Now your "lining" will be on the outside and your "fabric" will be on the inside.
Step 3: Orient yourself and make a curve.
Look at your fabric square. One edge will have one fold - this is the "top" of the hood. Orient your square so the side with one fold is farthest from where you are sitting (or standing).
One edge will have two folds - this is the "front" of the hood. This edge should be on your left-hand side (you may need to flip the square over from right to left to re-orient it, keeping the "top" of the hood as the farthest side away from you.)
The other two edges of your square will be the selvages or raw edges of the fabric. The side closest to you - opposite the "top" of the hood - is the bottom edge which will eventually be attached to your cloak. You can clip small notches on this side if it helps you orient yourself.
The side on your right is the "back" of the hood. This is the side that we need to sew.

Using chalk, draw a rounded curve to indicate your sewing line, starting in the top center, curving the upper right corner (upper back) of the hood, and continuing straight down an inch from the right side to leave a 1-inch seam allowance. Trim the excess fabric and add a notch in the middle of the curve to help when you need to pin prior to sewing.

Open out the hood; the shape should now look like this (if it doesn't, you clipped the wrong curve!):

4. Interface the front
I like to add interfacing into the front of the hood in order to give it a stiffer curve over my face. This step is optional. Make sure you add the piece of interfacing to the lining so your stitches do not show. The interfacing piece should be placed in the center of the fabric on the lining side below the center fold line.

5. Sew the curve
Fold the fabric in half down the middle (fabric to fabric, lining to lining). Pin the layers together and sew both curves. Remember to start in the top center - do no sew the entire top edge, but you WILL sew the entire back edge.

6. Flip out
Press your seams open after sewing, then flip the hood right-side-out. Press the front edge of your hood, then try it on! Now is the time to resize it if it is too big. Just sew a new curve inside the curve you already created.

7. Attach to cloak
Now you can attach your hood to your cloak! If the bottom edge of the hood is longer than the top neckline of your cloak, simply add symmetrical pleats on both sides of the hood (I usually keep the pleats along the back).

the back of my finished Mistcloak.
If your cloak does not have lining, you can create a wide piece of biase tape from the remnants of your cloak fabric, double-fold it and use it to cover the rough edge of the seam between your hood and cloak neckline, otherwise it will show when your hood is down.

my Handmaiden costume from Star Wars
I have used this hood-making method for my Barriss Offee Jedi cloak, my Mistcloak and Handmaiden cloak. This is a proven method that totally works! Go try it!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Plush Dim Sum

I couldn't sleep one night so I pulled out a project that I bought stuff for but never started. 

The dimsum stuffing I used circles of fleece to create a shape and stuffed more cotton in just as I would for a dumpling.  Than I covered it with a large pink circle and sewed in the pleates. 

I used some orange glass seed beads I had and "sprinkled" on the egg roe. 
Ok I really sewed them on.

Whoops the picture is side ways

Look you can pick it up with chopsticks.

The dimsum basket I actually got at a Japanese Two Dollar store in Vancouver BC.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tokidoki Bag has a friend

My friend decided to join me on my cosplay fun so I had to make her a TokiDoki backpack to pair up with.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tokidoki Backpack

So previously I was thinking of doing a Tokidoki cosplay, but it's too much work for a costume that won't be so impressive.

But I still made the sick kick, cause it was too cute to pass up, and I made him into a backpack so I can use it all the time instead of a mismatching purse.

So maybe it won't be matching of my cosplay but it will be so cute that people might want a photo of it anyways.

Look it even has a zipper so it reallllllly works for storage.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Repurposing Oatmeal Containers

I eat a lot of oatmeal, and the containers just seem too potentially useful to just throw away! They have lids and could be excellent storage containers for craft supplies, but they look like trash, right? Well, then... I just need to make them look cute!
- Oatmeal canisters (empty, clean)
- Shelf liner/contact paper with a pretty pattern (Option B: use decorative paper and double-stick tape)
- Scissors, pencil, ruler

1. Do a little test to see what the finished product will look like by wrapping a scrap of the contact paper around the canister. I had this shelf liner paper leftover from lining the drawers of a refinished nightstand. You could use any sort of decorative paper, but this particular type has a sticky back to it so you don't need glue or double-stick tape.

Does it look good? Does it fit under the lid? Yes? Okay let's continue.

2. Measure the height of the canister, then add 1/4 to 1/2 an inch so the paper will overlap the bottom. This is the WIDTH of the piece of contact paper you will need to cut out.

3. Wrap the paper around the canister and use a pencil to mark the circumference, then allow for 1/4 to 1/2 inch of overlap. This is the LENGTH of the piece of contact paper you will need.

4. Use a ruler and pencil to mark the lines on the back of the contact paper, then cut out the rectangle.

5. Wrap the paper around the canister to get a good fit, you may need to make an extra cut if your canister is tapered at all. Then peel off half of the backing and start applying the paper to the canister. Match up the edge with the top of the canister, leaving the overlap at the bottom. Use your thumb to smoothe out the air bubbles as you go.

6. Use your thumbnail to press the edge of the paper in at the top lip.

7. Press the overlapping edge down around the bottom of the canister.

8. Put the lid on it. All done! Now do all the rest of your oatmeal containers to make a matching set...

9. The best part: figure out what to put in them!

I discovered that they make excellent paintbrush holders.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cosplay Progress - Final Fantasy XIII-2 Serah Farron, Base of the Dress 0.1

I've always had problems with zippers, and being a self taught sewer, how else can I get a form fitting outfit without being resourceful.  Use DanceWear fabric.  It's stretchy and thick (less of that see through crap). 

Making a double layer tub top is done in less than 20 minutes.  As for the Pink dress, I'm going to leave it separate from the tube top and have it held up with pant elastics which I will dye the crimson colour. 

It's not very clear in the design of how the pink works into the bottom of the dress but I chose to make it one piece instead of two hanging segments.  This way I am sure that when the fabric shifts due to movement it doesn't start flapping around and will always stay centered.

I know this picture looks a little weird, but dont all projects at the beginning?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cosplay Progress - Final Fantasy XIII-2 Serah Farron Research 0.0

I saw this at PAX and couldn't move.  Serah's one of the primary characters of Final Fantasy XIII-2.  I've done Lighting from both XIII and XIII-2, and I've done Serah from XIII, so it's only fitting that I rought it off by doing her from XIII-2.  And her cross bow it AWESOME.

At this moment I dont know if I can do her crossbow, it might to a little too far advanced for me.  Also watching the PAX Prime trailer and apparently the Moogle turns into a crossbow.  I have plans on making a Moogle (but i can't give away all my secret plans yet), so if I fail at making the crossbow or just dont have the time for it than the Moogle will be fine.  Besides wouldn't the Moogle just not make sense if I am also carrying the cross bow?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Convention Report: Pax Prime 2011

No longer called just Pax, but Pax Prime to separate that it is the origins of Pax and not to be mistaken with the east coast version called Pax East.  Pax in the Penny Arcade Expo which is all about video games. 

Jerry and Mike, the Penny Arcade authors in their Making the Strip Comic panel.  It's a Q&A panel while the audience gets to watch their process of making the next comic strip that is released.  It gets quite humours.

Once Mike is done with his Comic strip but the panel isn't over he goes on to amuzing the audience with some very   . . . unusual drawings.  I wont post any more cause it gets to a naughty level.

How could me and Ava be at a convention without of course.  COSPLAY!  I'm cowarding here because my little wand can't compare to her giant staff.

Welcome to the Exhibition Hall of PAX, where game publishers show off their lastest work, most of them yet to be released.  It is a gamers paradise

Game Companies try to get to you to come to their station using the WOW factor.  cause we all want to touch the shiney mechas.

Outside of exhibition hall sits a display to the FireFall game.  But it's better than what you see, it moves! and mists! 

Me and Ava aren't the only cosplayers there.  I caught a Yoshi playing the FireFall game.  Awwww, he should eat the monitor

FireFly even had advertisments in the bathroom, that while you are washing your hands you can see what you would look like if you had the body of one of the main characters.   .. . . I had a hard time with this one becuase I was too short.

So all the fun isn't just inside.  Recognize these guys?  From Plants VS Zombies game.  They were outside for 10 minutes getting their groove on dancing to that funky music of the 70s.

At the Castle Crashers booth they had the Japanese Gashapon Capsule Machinese that sold little Castle Crasher toys.  But had to buy the three tokens (for $5) to use the machines.  When I got the tokens I realized . . . they gave me three Japanese Yen.  They sold me money????

We bumped into a Swag Monster.  Basically he wants your swag, if you have something you dont mind giving away you can pin another free t-shirt to him, he had at least 15 covering his body.  He walked around like the swamp monster

Back to the show floor. is a site that sells retro games, and their booth babes were 3 old grannies baking cookies and knitting.  It was so out of place but it brought in the curious crowds.

I can't believe I figured this out because I recognized it to be Steve from Blues Clues.
So is this
1) cool, dont have to be a video to cosplay to video game convention
2) Everything has a video game now (even counting the LeapFrog devices) . . . . why isn't there Leap Frog representated at Pax?

Video games aren't just about the games, but can also be about the machines that play the games.  This is the most rad PC ever!

This was by far the best cosplay I saw the entire day.  The plastic parts also made him walk like Buzz!

Halo Fest.  A floor dedicated to Halo, it was basically a giant museum.  Me and Ava needed another funny picture to match up to our D&D picture of last year. 

Halo Fest also had a charity auction to support the non profit organization Child's Play

Being PAX let's end our time looking at the Deck Building Penny Arcade game.  So colourful, both the art and the characters.