Cosplay (with Remnants!)

They sat in a drawer for years, those fabric remnants. Bet they never guessed they’d find a life as a pre-teen’s animé idol cosplay get-up!

I was led to the source of the costume via Netflix: one Black Butler episode. And then, I was given a detailed description of what was needed: a brown vest, a red-and-white striped neck tie, and a red long-sleeved jacket with tails, trimmed in black.

This is the pattern we chose and modified.

jacket pattern

pattern for both vest and jacket

I had a few remnants of brown fabric. The one that was ultimately chosen was a crepe-backed satin, but she wanted the matte side, not the shiny side, to show. The shawl collar on the vest was of a brown ultra suede, but she wanted the dark brown shiny reverse side to show. I altered the pattern to fit her slender frame, and cut out the back except for the collar and facing, and about 6 or so inches around the waist in back. The character wears a red and white striped sash tied around the neck in a loose bow. The would-be cosplayer speedily found such a remnant in the stash, and we made the tie in no time.

IMG_2198

And to complete the outfit, she has a white oxford shirt, she has ordered shoes and a kool-aid-colored red wig, she will find red spectacles, and she will wear the jacket as does the character, off the shoulders with the collar bunched-up around the elbows.

jacket

jacket

Hello, Manga! Netflix has a veritable vault full of animé episodes…

A Size 18 Tee from Sightly Less Than .9 Yard

Yes. Well, now I know I can do it, but it’s not the best top I’ve ever made for myself!

tee shirt

Remnant tee top

First: the SIZE issue. A mature woman with a size 40 bust measurement can have a number of designated sizes. In ready-to-wear, lately a 14 does it for me. But when you make the jump from young, lean and lithe in figure to…ahem…mature, weighty, gravity-affected, your bulk may not be located in the same area as others who fall into the same measurement slots. I have relatively wide shoulders, and not a voluptuous cup size. My waist measurement is never what the patterns say it’s supposed to be compared to my bust measurement. And I’m shorter than the average woman, too. So according to sewing patterns such as Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity, I should be a size 18-20. My Jalie pattern size would possibly be a Y. Burda size: 23 Petite (best case scenario) or a 46 (adjusted for height). For this tee top, I used Emma Seabrooke’s SewkeysE Claire pattern in a size A: her size 10 shoulders with CD cup size.

remnant tag

remnant info tag: end price was 50% off this

Next: the FABRIC. To make a top with set-in sleeves out of less than a yard of fabric, the remnant has to be pretty wide: this one is 57 inches. And the sleeves are very short. The last top I made with this pattern was from a knit remnant that had some lycra in it, so it looks and fits differently than this one and is stretchier. This fabric, a Nipk Caviar Glitter Tie-Dye in shades of yellow, orange and peach, is 100% polyester and the label says it must be hand-washed. That’s because it has thousands of little glued-on metal dots and hearts cascading over the fabric, that glitter in rainbow colors when the light hits them. Really pretty, but once I tried it on, I didn’t so much like the color on me. It’s also more see-through-ie than I thought it would be. 😦 I feel good in peach and orange, but yellow does not flatter me. See what you think from the picture.

tee shirt

Claire Tee in remnant Caviar Glitter Tie-Dye Knit

BTW, this is my 200th post on this blog! I think a celebration may be in order!

Short and Sweet, with Remnants (& Twisted Straps)

Where have the past few days gone? I’ve been languishing in a Mucinex and/or Nyquil-induced stupor. Worst cough; broken ribs? Ugh.
I haven’t even left the house since Sunday and it’s already Thursday night.

Since I was fairly incapacitated I tried to do some remnant projects. And I didn’t totally screw them up. I got in some good practice projects, using up lycra spandex remnants.

Jalie leotards

Jalie leotard pattern 3354

The orange and blue leotard with the twisted 😈 asymmetrical shoulder straps is going to be used as a swim suit. This week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge theme is Twist. For more Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted, look here.
As they say, “filthy with meaning!”

I discovered a very compelling detail about my remnant stretch-knit-fabric stash. Of all the different lycra-spandex remnant rolls I’ve got racked up, each one has a different percentage of lycra or spandex, meaning that some fabrics are much more stretchy than others. When you look at a pattern envelope under the fabric suggestions, it will tell you that you need fabric for this project that has, say, 50% stretch in both length and width. Or, 70% stretch. But when you look at the label on the fabric bolt, it won’t say “this fabric has 50% stretch.” You have to measure a length of the fabric between your fingers and thumbs, line it up to the graph on the pattern envelope where it says “this much fabric must stretch to………..here.” I thought my DH could come up with formula for that. Some fabrics have 13% lycra, some 7% lycra, some 18% lycra. How stretchy does that make them? I still don’t know. But it would be helpful to know if you need to use a larger size pattern for less-stretchy fabric, and how much larger?

I love the Jalie patterns. I had a question about one of the patterns, and emailed the company to ask it. I got a friendly, personal, valuable response about my prospective sewing project the next morning!

I bought a pattern from Jalie that was a downloadable pdf. I found that it was very easy to use that way, although I prefer buying the paper pattern and having it posted to me. For the same price, I got a download and had to use my own paper and printer ink, but it came to me immediately, whereas I had to wait a few days for the paper one to be shipped from Canada.

Jalie patterns

Jalie 3022

Jalie pattern 3022 is for yoga pants or shorts. We went to watch a granddaughter at gymnastics practice, and there were leotards and matching shorts sets for sale on the premises: $45 for a leotard and $25 for shorts, or $65 if you bought a matching set. Wow! That is the retail cost of a gymnastics outfit. If you could learn to make them yourself, using a cute little Jalie pattern that costs about $15, some knitted elastic, and a yard or less of lycra-spandex remnants that are 50% off the regular price, you could have a cute outfit to exercise in. I wanted to see how long it took me to make a pair of yoga shorts from start to finish.

First I had to trace the pattern on to Pattern-Ease (Jalie patterns come in 20 or more sizes). Tracing the pattern, cutting out the material, sewing it up–this pair of shorts took me just under 2 hours to make.

tracing pattern

tracing the pattern

I did hurry and as a result it looks rather unprofessional: seams a little uneven, and I didn’t use a serger to coverstitch the hems as the instructions said. Next pair will be better. I like the contrasting colored waistband and the seam down the back of the pants legs. I should mention that I use designated “Stretch” needles for working with these knits. I used Jeanne Binet’s technique for sewing stretchy knits without a serger. You can find some You-tube videos that show you exactly how to do it, and what great results!

leotard and shorts

Jalie leotard and matching shorts

Tweaking a Travel Bag with Remnants

Sometimes I like to take off at the spur of the moment and pack a few clothes, not a whole big suitcase full.

travel bag

my old travel bag; it’s seen better days

This is my old travel bag. The side zipper is busted, and I’ve been pinning it together with big safety pins. I held it by the hangers that stick out the hole in the top: not too easy on the hands. But it did fold up triple and it could be bunched up and carried in a bundle.

Butterick pattern for travel bags

The pattern I (loosely) used to make a new one

I searched to find a pattern for a new bag, and I found this one right in my own pattern stash.

The outcome of any of my projects depends greatly on the fabric I have on hand. I would never, ever, consider making a travel bag like one in this pattern, and go out and buy brand new pre-quilted fabric at full cost. I had three rolls of pre-quilted fabric remnants in the stash, however, they were three different colors: brown, beige, and off-white. After letting the idea swirl around in my head for a long time, I figured I’d make a tri-toned travel bag.

Funnily enough, both of the largest-size remnants, the brown and the beige, were the exact same length, and it wasn’t the full length called for in the pattern. I saw two options: 1) make the bag shorter or 2) add a piece to the length of both pieces. The bag in the pattern had 3 large zippered pockets on the outside of the front piece. The back piece had a 48-inch zipper down the center of it.

I chose to add the two smaller pockets to the inside of the bag, and the larger pocket that stretched across the width of the front piece, to the front. That kept me from exercising option #2, because I didn’t have enough of the brown fabric to add to the length after I made the wide pocket. I also chose to make the front pocket after I started embroidering a motif on the front and realized I was putting it on upside-down. I stopped the embroidery and re-did it on the pocket, right-side up, then sewed the pocket to the front.

The bag in the pattern had side pieces that were 5 inches wide. I chose to add 3-inch sides to my bag because I didn’t want a big hefty cumbersome boxy bag, and I also didn’t have enough fabric to make it that thickness.

loop

turning the loop

I needed to make a loop for hanging the bag from a hook. This involved sewing a tube and turning it, which you may know is the utter worst thing I ever do in my entire sewing repertoire. To avoid making and turning more long tubes for the handles, I used a length of brown woven strap for the handles.

bag in progress

WIP

The pattern called for making a bias binding for the edges of the bag. I had 3 packages of blue denim bias binding that I got on a clearance sale; I hoped that would be enough. I darn sure didn’t want to make my own bias tape.

bias tape

Clearance bias tape

bias tape edging

binding the edges with double fold bias tape

Because I knew I wanted to use denim blue bias tape on a brown and beige bag, I wanted to find an embroidery motif that had some blue and beige in it to sort-of pull all the colors together (I hoped!)

tree embroidery motif

World Tree Embroidery Motif

When I saw this embroidered tree motif in green, it just looked like a tree. But when I used light blue for the leaves and beige for the branches and trunk, I realized the leaves of the tree make up a world map. Appropriate for a world traveller, huh?

back of bag

zip side

front of bag

front side, with pocket

folded travel bag

Finished and ready to go

Spending Memorial Day weekend watching war movies. Our prior generations saw it, lived it, we don’t want to forget it!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring, as in Handspring!

Gymnastics, the collegiate sport version, ended in late April, with three Gator girls in the NCAA finals. We’ve been able to go see some Gator Gymnastics in the past few years, having a couple of granddaughters who love everything about tumbling, balance beam, uneven bars, the works! But we’ve been crazy busy this year, and the season just sort of passed us by…

I did get a remnant project going: girls’ tumbling leotards from remnants!

Jalie leotards

Jalie Choix de Léotards

I love this Jalie 2792 pattern, because … it’s cute, versatile (22 sizes in one pattern, 3 necklines and 3 sleeve options), the directions are very clear and understandable, and it gives a method for sewing stretchy knits without a serger (which I tried and I think I like it even better than if I used the serger). The sizing is a little different than what I normally expect. But if you use the subject’s measurements, you are all set up to make an item that will fit. I hope anyway. The seam allowances are supposed to be 1/4″; if I sewed them larger than that, I might have a problem…Anyway, I will let my little models try on a prototype before I make them a second leotard. Another plus is that super-stretchy remnants always seem to be found in the remnant bin at JoAnn’s. You can make a girl’s leotard from a rather small length of spandex-infused fabric. And with these great patterns that have contrasting color yokes, you can use up lots of smallish pieces of remnants with very cool results! I bought some glitter elastic to sew on as an embellishment, on top of where the white yoke connects with the gold body of the suit. I could have bought some stretchy sequin trim as is shown in the pattern view B sleeveless, but it is recommended to be removed before laundering, and I didn’t want the girls or their moms to have to fuss with that.

I copied the pattern view I wanted in the size I wanted to make, onto Pellon Easy Pattern. I had some 3/8″ elastic, which is called for on the arm and leg openings. I had clear elastic and white braided elastic. I decided to use the clear elastic, until it snapped in two without much pull, then I realized why I had a lot of that around: because it’s not worth using. The package says “good for infant wear”–ah yes, because the infant will outgrow the item before it’s even worn two times. I would not advise using the clear elastic for anything that gets stretched, and why would you put elastic in something unless it was to be stretched? 💡 Regular elastic, good stuff!

is this the costume of a future Gator Gymnast?

is this the costume of a future Gator Gymnast?

gator gymnastics

Go Gators!

SHHHH! a remnant Quiet Book!

Fabric remnants: what do you do with all of them?

I made some Quiet Books for three of the youngest grandkids.

cloth books

Quiet Books

I did happen to find a pattern in the pattern stash.

Rather generic-lookin', isn't it?

Rather generic-lookin’, isn’t it?

I decided to change mine up from the one in the pattern. I made the pages out of a big length of muslin I had on hand. I used some of the ideas, changed some of them, and added some completely off-beat ones. [Hi Bob! 🐱 ]

cloth book

Tying and buttoning

cloth book

Pages from a book

cloth book

Zip up the corn

cloth book

One finished

cloth book

Walk the dog

cloth books

(Velcro bird sitting on candy eggs)

Hmmm, Cadbury eggs and it can be sort of an Easter treat…

Using up remnants, not just of fabric but remnants of notions, too: ribbon, zippers, buttons, fibers. They look a little bit goofy, but I had fun. I hope the little ones have some fun with them!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Three

This week’s photo challenge theme is all about Three. First, my take on the Three-fer:

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Grayzie and his catnip toys. Lately Grayzie has been found to have a thyroid condition, so we have to give him meds for that and it sometimes makes him gallop around the house and treat the other cats like he’s the villain in a spaghetti western.

Meanwhile, I did finish a remnant project so I haven’t been completely worthless. This is my 4th nappy mat, and first girly one.

nap mat

pink purrfect precious nappy mat

rolled and ready nappy mat

rolled and ready nappy mat

The mat isn’t for the cat. It’s for a cute little toddler girl. I would be deathly afraid to even show it to the cats. Bob got sick a few months ago with pancreatitis, then we found out he has diabetes. And ring-worm. So we’ve (that is, DH) been administering insulin, oral fungicide, antibiotics, milk thistle extract, and for a considerable amount of time, pain meds. Bob did like the pain med. He would saunter up to DH and meow plaintively when he thought it was time for another dose. And then he got extreme constipation. As a result of that, he got a couple of hernias from trying to poop, and the vet said his colon was the size of two softballs. I thought about drawing you a sketch of what his colon might look like, but there are obscenity laws….So when he came home from staying at the vet’s and getting a whole regime of enemas, he started pooping in the living room over by the piano instead of in his cat box. Needless to say the room that has the piano in it is now blocked off to ALL the cats, sorry, they must all suffer for the sins of the one. And Bob is the Alpha cat here so we can’t give him an inch. I am not making this up…so no, I don’t let Bob see cute little toddler nappy mats right now.

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