Saturday, 30 March 2013

Mokona Modoki Gijinka

I love Clamp and I love their character Mokona, who appears in many of their different anime. I wanted to do something that would give me a little bit more design freedom so I decided to do a Mokona gijinka cosplay, with a little Lolita thrown in there. I came up with a few designs before I finally settled on one.


Dress:  I had a simple dress pattern that I had bought a while ago from McCall's (M6504 View A) that I used as the base dress. I added some lace edging along the collar, the shoulders and the hem. The dress was quite difficult to make despite the pattern being marked as easy. I had the most difficult time trying to iron out my seams without messing up the rest of the dress. I was able to get the zipper in (my first time whoot whoot!) but when I finally was able to wear it I realized that the back of the dress was much too wide for my shoulders. I also realized that my arm holes are too snug. I had to take in the waist quite a bit as well. Alas, it is an ill-fitting dress but I can learn a lot from the mistakes I made while making this dress. I probably won't remake it as I would rather put more effort into making different cosplays.

I added lace edging along the hem of the dress as well as the neckline and the shoulders.  Originally I wanted to have the lace edging turn away from the neckline but it looked better with the lace turned in towards the dress.  I had a difficult time working the the sleeves as I had never sewn anything sleeveless before.  I made many mistakes trying to fit them together.  I learned to hard way that fitting something on oneself is nearly impossible to do.  Looks like I need to get myself a dress form!
Adding lace
Ears: I drafted my own ear pattern. I made them a little too thin for my liking so the next time I will make any sort of ears in that shape I will make them wider. Making the ears was not hard.  My first iteration I decided the attach them to a white headband. Sewing them to the headband was a little strange. They were not actually fixed to the headband so they can slip all the way around. This made them easy to adjust when they are on my head.  When I tried these ears with the bow however I realized that there was too much going on.  I tore apart all my work and sewed the ears onto little individual combs instead.

First iteration of the ears
Gloves: After many failed attempts at drafting my own glove pattern I finally made one that I deemed acceptable!  Believe it or not readers, glove patterns are really hard to draft!  They typically include three pieces, the thumb, the trank (the main part of the glove) and the fourchettes, which are little pieces of fabric that go in between the fingers and allow for better movement.  I followed a couple of different methods that can be found here and here.  I used the latter tutorial as the pattern that I came up with was the better one for me.  I had to do some serious editing though.  The thumb and the thumb piece hole where the first things to be perfected.  After that I got the right width for the pattern to go around the hand, the points where the web of my fingers began relative to the thumb and the right index finger.  After that I started measuring my other fingers.  It took me a few mock ups after each design to see how I was doing it wrong.  I made six versions of the pattern before I felt it was good enough to use.

Finished gloves
I now have a pair of awesome gloves!  The gloves are made with the same material as the dress along with the same lace edging for the cuff and an elastic wrist.  Once I figure out how to go about it, I will post a glove making tutorial :)

Underthings: I used plain white tights that I had lying around to make my legs white. I bought a pink and white crinoline to put under the dress. At first I was going to make the dress shorter but I decided that with the crinoline at my hips the length would be fine.

Shoes: I bought my white shoes for really cheap at Value Village. Second hand shops are great for buying costume accessories ;)

Bow: I wondered how I was going to attach the jewel to my head.  Originally I thought I was going to make it out of clay which is heavy.  I then decided to make a stiffened bow that would support the clay.  I changed my mind about the clay jewel however when I went into Dollarama and found the perfect little red jewels!  I bought them and attached one to the bow using super glue.

Basic bow
The bow is made of the same fabric as the dress and gloves.  It is stiffened on both pieces and reinforced with a wire inside.  I attached a long white ribbon to the back so that I could attach it to a high ponytail or something like that.

Later on I decided that I wanted to have to red jewel on my forehead as the jewel wasn't seen claerly on the bow.  I took it off the bow and tested it on my forehead using spirit gum.  Spirit gum did the trick!

I wore part of this costume to a final exam this past summer because that was the night that Otakuthon started.  I basically rushed over to the convention center and completely forgot about my gloves!  Everyone at the exam thought that I was so cute in my dress.  Someone even asked if I was eloping lol!  It was really a lot of fun wearing this costume.  Mokona is such a cute and fun character and I had lots of fun playing him.  It is also quite comfortable once I get used to the smaller than normal armholes.  The only pain about this dress is that it wrinkles so easily!  Next time I use fabric like this I won't chose a pattern that has crazy fitting to it!

Completed Mokona Cosplay

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Princess Jasmine Shoe Tutorial

When I decided that I was going to actually make Jasmine's shoes I researched and looked online for any sort of tutorial that I could follow.  I didn't find anything so I decided to come up with my own design.  I started out by sketching out how I thought the pattern for the shoe should look like.  I decided that I would make a shoe cover as I wanted something sturdy to walk in and I already had a pair of slipper style shoes that would do the job.  The basic idea behind the shoe cover was that it would be made of a light blue material that would be sewn onto the shoe with the toe stuffed to keep its form.

Drafting the Shoe Cover Pattern:

Step 1:

I started out by putting on one of the shoes and measuring the following:

BC = Back curve of the shoe
LF = Length of the foot (along the sole)
LO = Length of the shoe opening
X = Distance from back of the shoe to point x

Point x is the lowest point on the inside of the shoe relative to the height of the back of the shoe.  It sounds a bit complicated but the diagram should help the reader see where to take the measurement.

SC = Side curve of the shoe, taken at point x

Step 2:
Next I took my measurements from step 1 and added my seam allowance as shown below,

A = LF +  2 cm
B = BC + 2 cm
C = LO + 2 cm
D = X + 1 cm
E = SC + 2 cm

and I drew them onto a long piece of newspaper as shown in the diagram above.

Step 3:
Once those lines were drawn in I drew in a curve from the back of the shoe to the front of the shoe opening, ensuring that the lowest part of the curve hit the vertical dashed line (the drawing is not completely accurate). I then decided how high I wanted my curved toe to stand.  I drew in another dashed line from the front of the opening of the shoe to the desired height H.  Once this line was drawn in I drew in different curves for the toe and chose one that I though suited the shoe best.  Take into consideration that this curve has to go out enough so that it doesn't come up short on the actual shoe.

Step 4:

Once all my lines were drawn and I had chosen my shoe curve, I darkened the lines I wanted and cut out my pattern.  Pattern Drafting complete!

Note: I figured out that this pattern works for both your left foot and right foot as well as the inside and the outside of your shoe

Putting The Shoe Together:

Step 1:

Cut out your material, putting the pattern on the wrong side of the material.  Make sure that your fabric is folded together (right sides together) so that you only have to cut out the pattern twice.  Each cutout will give you two pieces of fabric which will be sewn together to create the shoe covers for each shoe.

Step 2:

Take one pair of fabric cut outs and pin them together, right sides together.  You will sew two seams, one along the back of the shoe (the straight, vertical edge) and one along the front toe curve (the one that extends from the bottom of the shoe to the top of the curve and then about a quarter of the way down the curve that extends to the top of the shoe. (Sorry I don't have an image for this, I will upload one as soon as possible to help readers visualize it).

Step 3:

Turn the shoe cover so that the right side of the fabric is facing outwards.  Place the shoe cover over the shoe and carefully pin in the fabric near the sole of the foot.  Keep in mind that it's best the turn in your raw edge so that it's won't fray after you've sewn them and worn them a few times.

Step 4:

This is where it get's very tricky (and frustrating and aggravating and somewhat painful if you aren't careful).  You are going to have to HAND SEW the bottom of the shoe cover very close to the sole of the shoe.  This should be done with a thimble and very careful fingers.  Depending on the shoe material it can be very difficult to push the needle through.  I had a really hard time because my shoe had an elastic opening and I couldn't see where my pins were in the toe of the shoe.  Needless to say I pricked my fingers many, many times.  I would advise you to start sewing at the point where the shoe is widest and work your way towards the back of the shoe.  This way by the time you get to the narrowest part of the shoe (aka the toe) you won't have as many pins holding the shoe cover to the shoe.  In the end this is what the shoe will look like once the bottom is sewn.

If you look closely you can see my stitching.

Step 5:

The next step is to pin down the top part of the shoe cover so that the top can be sewn.  Stuff the toe with scrap fabric or batting before you pin the toe curve together.  Again, try and turn in the raw edge all along the way so that you can avoid fraying along the seams.

Step 6:

Now you can sew the top part of the cover to the shoe (again, hand sewing)!  Sewing the top part of the shoe was much easier though I still recommend caution.  Using a thimble will also help when you have to work near exposed pins.  Once this is done you finished one shoe!  Then you can work on the next one!

Step 7:

I sprayed my shoes to protect them because I didn't want all my hard work to be ruined from simply walking in downtown Montreal.  I used the Payless Rain and Stain Guard spray on them.  Note that it only works on synthetic fibers (which worked out for my shoes).

And Voila!  You have made yourself some awesome Princess Jasmine Shoes!

If you have any questions about the procedure or if anything is really unclear, comment and I will try and explain it in a different way.