Cosplay project with Steph @stitchitmama

Jester Lavorre Cosplay Bodice

 

I’ve always loved the idea of cosplay and I’ve admired many cosplayers for their amazing creations and attention to detail. But when you’re a bit bigger than the ‘ideal’ size for most characters it tends to feel very much like something you can only look at and not participate in.

Enter Critical Role –  a weekly Twitch and YouTube stream of a group of friends playing Dungeons And Dragons who just happen to be popular voice actors. The CR fandom has produced some incredible cosplay pieces, including one of my absolute favourite characters – Jester Lavorre. The loveable ‘little blue tiefling’ cleric is played by Laura Bailey, and she has inspired a wide range of people to replicate her – even down to her love of pastries and her ‘Spiritual Weapon’ in the form of a gigantic lollypop!

Official Jester artwork by Ari @ornerine

The great thing about the Critical Role characters is that, although there are official character portraits, there is a degree of interpretation and artistic license in how they are portrayed. The CR fan base is well known for being diverse and supportive, so I figured it was a good place for me to dip my toe in the cosplay waters!

Jester’s outfit has many layers and elements, but for this Design Team Project, I decided to focus on her leather bodice. I used a metre of brown leatherette and decided to line it with brown polycotton to ensure it wasn’t too thick and heavy. I used pinking shears to clip all the seams to reduce as much bulk as possible.

I couldn’t actually find a pattern I liked, so I used a fairly unconventional approach I had seen several cosplayers recommend – cling film! I wrapped my torso in several layers making sure it sat properly on my curves, then drew the shape and seam lines onto the cling film with a marker. Once I was happy I cut the pieces out and laid them flat to create my pattern pieces, which were the perfect shape for my body. The great thing about the leatherette is that it has some stretch to it so it is much more forgiving than you’d think and very comfortable to wear! It was a lot easier to sew than I was expecting, though topstitching was a bit more tricky as it kept sticking to the presser foot. To remedy this I put a layer of plain white tissue paper on top of the leatherette and set the sewing machine to a slower speed so I could ensure I was keeping my lines as neat as possible. If you’re going to do this have some tweezers to hand – when you rip off the tissue paper little bits can remain in the stitches and it can take a good few minutes to remove them all!

For the finishing touches, I added brass jeans rivets to the straps and front panel. This was another element that was a lot simpler than I had previously thought – I assumed you needed a special tool to attach the rivets but all I needed was a hammer!

When I began this project I was concerned I had bitten off more than I could chew, but working with the leatherette and the hardware was no problem at all, and I am proud that I have begun my first cosplay piece on a good foot.

See you next time!

Steph

Lisa @lisa_loynes sews Posh PJs!

Hi lovely sewing peeps…

 

I am so pleased to be on the Sew Crafty Design Team along with a great bunch of talented sewists some of whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in real life too!

Sammy asked us to put together a wishlist of fabric and haberdashery and a plan of what we would make.  I quickly got to work browsing the online shop. It was a gorgeous sunny morning and I was sat having coffee dreaming of sitting outside on a balcony somewhere hot whilst drinking it in luxury pyjamas.  Then it hit me….I would make said pyjamas for my first project! I chose to make the Nina Lee London Piccadilly Pjs in a gorgeously soft white cotton dobby. Now….anyone who knows me will know that white and I are a definite no-no!  I’m way too clumsy for coffee in white pyjamas however it was in my head so I went with it and I’m sooo glad I did! I trimmed them with mint green bias binding which I added a fancy lace edge stitch from my machine in a slightly deeper turquoise embroidery thread and little bow-shaped mint green buttons.

I had previously made these and they were a little on the large side so decided to size down with this pair.  Other than sizing down the only other change I made was to use the pocket piece from the Closet Case Carolyn Pyjamas.

I tested a little of the bias with the lace edge to see if would work.  I gotta admit, I’m not one to make things easy for myself, I decided to go ahead with my plan.  After all, they were gonna be pure luxury right? I hadn’t anticipated how long it would take as I had to wash out the stabiliser and leave it to dry before I could do anything with it.   I set to work and cut all the pieces of bias for each pattern piece, placed the water-soluble stabiliser under it as the machine basically stitches onto the stabiliser then when it’s washed out leaves your lacy edge.  Voila!!

As I’d changed the pocket pieces I had a bit more room to play with so decided to use the embroidery machine to do some fancy motifs on the pockets to match the buttons.  I’ve never embroidered onto dobby fabric before but it worked out just perfectly.

Construction was pretty straight forward and once I got started they progressed relatively quickly.  I made sure to use plenty of pins around the sleeve head and arm. I didn’t want any mishaps at this late stage!

Now, it was time to put the buttonholes in and buttons on.  I hear lots of people saying they have issues with their machine “not liking” buttonholes but I’ve never had any issues whatsoever with any of my Pfaff machines.  I always use the buttonhole gauge to get the placement of my buttons precise. This pattern calls for 6 buttons but I only had 5 so decided to rework them to fit.  I ended up only using 4. I started by finding the buttonhole that would sit where the full bust is as I wanted to make sure that there was no gaping and put a pin in it.

Once all the buttonholes were in place I put on Fray Check.  I use this on all my makes as I feel the buttonholes look neater if this is used.  Once this had dried I used my buttonhole chisel (another invaluable item in my sewing room after a disaster using my un-picker for opening buttonholes!!)

I decided at this point that a fully elastic waistband would be adequate as so skipped the tie waist as per the pattern.  I made the waistband pieces as the pattern but attached the waistband, folded it over then stitched around leaving a gap to thread the elastic through using a safety pin.  This worked out just fine and I was glad I’d done this. All that was left was to attach the label so that I put them on the right way round! I always attach a post-it note to the front or back until I’ve attached a garment label as sometimes it can get a bit confusing which way round they go.

All that remained to do was sit in my chair with a glass of something bubbly in the sunshine to take piccies for my blogpost.  

I am super happy with how they turned out and my fabric choice.  The cotton dobby washed, ironed and sewed like an absolute dream and it is so perfectly white.   These really did turn out to be my luxury pyjamas. If you fancy making yourself some, Sew Crafty has this dobby in a few different colourways on their website.  

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading.

See you next month!

Lisa

@lisa__loynes

Kathrine @paws_prints_and_patterns shows us her Sew Different Longline jacket…

The Sew Different Long Line Jacket

 

Back on a cold Monday morning in March, I had a lovely surprise when I found out that I’d won a Sew Different pattern in the So Visible Challenge run by @Sewover50 …

I browsed the Sew Different website and chose the lovely Long Line Jacket pattern. 

This wasn’t a pattern label I was previously familiar with and so it was great to find out that Laura is a fellow Yorkshire girl. The pattern arrived a few days later, beautifully presented, and I started to make plans.

Originally I imagined the jacket in dark indigo denim with contrasting pocket linings. However, when I found some gorgeous turquoise denim in the Sew Crafty shop, I could immediately see it with contrast in mustard yellow. The Figo lucky charms wishbone print was perfect.

I had my colours analysed years ago and turquoise was one of the colours I should apparently wear next to my face – so I expect lots of compliments when wearing my jacket!

My fabrics and threads arrived a few days later all beautifully packaged. I was ready to start…

The make…

The pattern itself is great to make. It has clear instructions, it is well-drafted and it comes together very nicely.

I would say that someone fairly new to sewing could manage this pattern as long as they follow the instructions carefully.

There are some interesting shapes and details which give the jacket a lovely finish. I especially love how the mitred corners look on the inside.

One of the corners gave me an issue (isn’t there always one?) but I think that was due to the slight stretch in the denim which meant that my cutting hadn’t been quite accurate enough. Perhaps my rotary cutter would’ve been better however I’m just healing a cut on my finger from a rotary accident so the cutter has been put away in shame for a while. Ouch.

I decided to use a Hong Kong finish on my inside seams. Hidden details please me and I think its nice when you hang a jacket over a chair if the inside also looks pretty.

I struggled to get the collar neat on the inside but after several attempts and quite a lot of unpicking, I’m happy with it. I also decided to add a facing to finish the bottom of the sleeves using the mustard contrast. This is just a little flash of hidden colour and provides a nice neat edge to the cuffs.

The photos were modelled in my garden just wearing the jeans and sandals I was already in but I’ve now worn the jacket on several both smart and casual occasions.

What’s next…

I’m all ready now planning further versions of the jacket, including a longer length one for the winter.

A lining would be easy but then I wouldn’t be able to have my pretty seams!

Can’t wait to get stuck into my next project!

Kathrine

Maria @apinchofsewing makes a beautiful summer blouse

Today Maria from @apinchfsewing

talks us through her choice of garment for the Sew Crafty Design Team project

Statement sleeves are definitely trendy and I really like the way they add a lovely detail to a garment!

I’ve had the Roho blouse by Coffee and Thread since it was released, but didn’t managed to make it until now! Even though the pattern offers a short sleeve option, more adequate to the warm weather that will hopefully soon arrive! My favourite is the long sleeve. There is also an option with the elasticised front but, as I wanted to showcase the beautiful fabric I opted for the non-elastic front. I think you’ll agree it was a good decision!

I made a size 2 according to my bust measurements. As the blouse is loosely fitted at the hips, I haven’t worried about that measurement, otherwise, I would have to grade a little.

The raglan sleeves have a shoulder pleat and elastic wrist that help shape and achieve this lovely effect. I also like that the neckline has facings, which I think looks neater than with bias, especially with this kind of fabric.

I chose to use the Pink and Lemon Blossom Print Viscose from Sew Crafty Online and it’s absolutely beautiful. The print, the colours and… the drape is dreamy.

I do adore a fabric with a lovely drape, even if that means that extra pins have to be used or that I have to be more careful sewing as it was the case with this fabric but, it was worth it. On the bright side of working with this fabric, it irons really well and hemming or making the elastic case wasn’t difficult.

The fabric, matching thread and elastic used in this project were provided by Sew Crafty Online but the opinion is my own and I can tell you that I am genuinely pleased with all the supplies. But you can see for yourself how gorgeous the fabric is and how perfect it is for projects that require fabric with some drape.

Thank you Sew Crafty Online for the supplies and you for reading.

Happy sewing,

Maria x

Carol’s @chatterstitch Kalle shirt with our Sevenberry Cotton

Hi there, I’ve got a little blog post to share with you
all about this gorgeous yarn-dyed cotton!

I saw this Sevenberry cotton on the Sew Crafty website and fell in love! It’s the perfect classic denim shirt colour, and when it arrived I was so not disappointed. The fabric has a lovely weight and structure and it’s perfect for so many on-trend garments right now.

I always pre-wash my fabric before cutting into it. I once neglected this stage and my gorgeous dress shrank the first time, I laundered it. So as soon as I received this, I popped it in my washing machine at 40 °C and then line dried. I absolutely love the nature of pure cotton, the way it washes and irons. So crisp and clean.  I couldn’t wait to get started and chose to make a Kalle Shirtdress from Closet case patterns.

There are three options with this pattern, a long shirtdress which falls at the knee a cropped version which is high-low with the front is at waist height. But as I’m a bit rounder in the middle than I’d like to be, I chose to make the mid-length. This gives sufficient coverage to allow the wearer to be unselfconscious, as it disguises the midriff! There is actually an exact double of my denim Kalle on the Closet case website, so I knew the look what I was aiming for.

If you’ve never made a shirt or shirt dress, I can strongly recommend the Kalle. Or even if you don’t like the pattern, you should still check out the Kalle sew along anyway as it’s so informative! Their simple collar tutorial is brilliant.

Although I’ve made collars before their manner of achieving a super crisp point is without rival!

As you sew up one of the short sides of the collar you insert a thread just before you turn, then turn and wrap the thread around the needle at the point of the collar (so you catch one stitch) Once you have stitched right round you can then use that thread to pull the collar point out!

The sew-along also gives a step by step Burrito yolk!

This is some kind of sorcery!

I’m really in love with my new Kalle shirtdress as I’m sure you can see! And the yarn-dyed cotton was the perfect fabric to make it in! The fabric is super, just gorgeous weight and quality, and it comes in five delicious colours!

As well as crisp shirts it would also be lovely made into a summer skirt or dress, I think it would make fabulous box pleats as the cotton holds creases so beautifully! Or, even lightweight Lander pants!

But as for my Kalle, I’m certainly going to get loads of wear from this throughout the summer, and as its natural fabric, it will keep me cool and fresh. Then once the seasons start to change, I’m planning on wearing a long-sleeved tee underneath.

What will you make?? ☺

Carol

Ten Steps To Becoming a Macrame Master

Macrame is so hot right now and we’re totally addicted. There are some fantastic macrame kits out there, but to get started why not grab any yarn, string, embroidery thread or twine you have lying around to get you started. Perfect for beginners, or your next macrame party! This is a thing. Is this a thing? I might make this a thing.

1. Simply Braided

Let’s start at the beginning. Here are the basic Macrame knots. Once mastered can be the base for thousands of designs and patterns.

2. The Next Step

This looks tricky but is actually a lot simpler than it looks, I think it actually looks super impressive! Its literally just knotting 2 threads next to each other, together, 2 at a time. See, super simple. The creativity comes in the colours you choose, and the pattern. Click the image for the Pin I found this on, which shows the step by step images.

Here is a more detailed explanation on honestlywtf.com

3. Up Your Game

Working with this principle, and these rainbow colours because, what could be better, why not try this slightly more detailed pattern by the dolls at Macrame School. Again, its a lot simpler than it looks! And so fun!

Macrame School Youtube

4. Go Glam

This super glamorous and dainty design is the natural next step. You’ll have made 100 bracelets for yourself, so now you’ll want to start making some as gifts, or maybe to sell at a craft fair? Learning different patterns like this is a great tool to your belt. Picking softer colours and neater thread for something like this works wonders. Also by Macrame School.

6. Master the Tension

There are a million ways to create the tension needed to make nice tight bracelets. But using a clipboard and craft foam is our favourite.

7. Put your heart on your sleeve (wrist)

Its time to add embellishments! Start with this simple heart then the world is your oyster! This shouldn’t be hard now you’ve mastered the basics. You’ll be sticking these hearts on everything! Click here for the tutorial.

8. Graduate Up

Time to try a necklace? Use your skills to create a “chain” with your favourite macrame style, then add a gorgeous precious stone, rock or memorable trinket to the bottom by learning how to make a quick bespoke net. The beauty of this is you don’t have to dig out perfect beads with holes in them, you can literally turn anything, OK maybe not the cat, but close to anything, into a necklace pendant! Click the image for the tutorial from Quiet Lion Creations.

You could also try wrapping the pieces with this tutorial from Ecocrafts.

Or go back to bracelets and pop a net in one of them instead with this tutorial from True Blue Me and You.

9. Have a Hoot!

Confident? Why not make your OWN charm? I am so in love with this owl design. Its gorgeous. Who wouldn’t love receiving this for their birthday? Wear this out and you’ll get tons of comments and questions. Check out this video from Macrame School – they really are the best.

Macrame Owl Video

10. Get Creative!

Look on Pinterest for inspiration, and use your new skills to make something incredible and unique! Maybe something like these incredible creations by the amazing Lesh Loom. I’m in love!

Have fun guys! If you delve into macrame, especially if you use any of our bits, then let us know in the comments or on social at @samanthaclaridgstudio

Check out our Pinterest board on Macrame to see some more wonderful ideas, knots to learn and video tutorials from some of our favourite makers.

Sammy x