Sep 20, 2015

Rey Costume Analysis

The other day I completed Alice (pictures and making of posts to come soon) which means it's time to get started on my next costume, Rey from The Force Awakens. When the trailer for The Force Awakens came out (and after I watched it about 100 times) I knew I had to make Reys costume for the premier. She's already my favorite character. :)

There's several different variation's of this costume, some with more parts to it. I'm planning on doing the basic costume without the headwrap/helmet or backpack. The picture below is what I'm planning on doing.

Overall it's a pretty simple design - cap sleeve shirt with a keyhole neckline, short harem type pants,  long tabbards, arm wraps, boots, leather wristband and belt, and staff. And of course that fabulous hair! Which to be honest, I have no idea how to do. I'm hoping my hair is long enough for it.

I found this awesome photo from Celebration VII of Rey's costume with a list of fabrics! YES!

I've typed up the materials to make it easier to read:

Wrap dress - viscose
Head wrap - cotton
Top - hemp and cotton jersey
Trousers - silk
Backpack - leather
Wrist cuff and belt - leather
Pouch - canvas
Arm wraps - cotton
Gloves - leather
Boots - wool and leather
Staff - 3D Print

And here's a fully body shot of her full costume, also from Celebration VII.

Let's talk patterns...

For the shirt I'm gonna start with trying to draft it myself (I don't think it's going to be too hard).

The pant's are going to be a little harder. I realized the other day that I never made a pattern for my harem pants from my Marion costume, so that leaves me with drafting a new pair. I may just take my wide leg trouser pattern and modify that or I'll just have to draft something new up.

The tabbards are easy. I'll get some rough measurements and after I get my fabric I'll figure out exactly how wide they need to be. My biggest concern with these is how I'm going to attach them to the costume so they don't move at the shoulders.

Arm wraps. These are going to be interesting to make since they go over the elbow. I found a great tutorial HERE for making arm wraps, but they end just below the elbow. I have a couple of ideas on how to make them bendable. When I figure it out I will definitely make a tutorial!

Belt and arm band. My favorite place to buy leather is online from Montana Leather. They have the best prices I've seen and I've bought from them before. I think I'll get 1 1/2 inch wide blanks for the waist and dye them. I already have some wider leather that I may use for the wrist.

The Staff. I don't really have much prop building experience, but I'm hoping my dad will be able to help me make it. I'll be leaving this part for last since the first time I wear this will be at a theater and I'd leave it home anyways. And I will probably make a tutorial for this when I make it as well.

Sep 17, 2015

The Making of the Jellyfish {AKA The Graduation Dress} | Part 2 The Bodice

I'm back guys! My new computer is fantastic and makes editing so much easier and faster! As promised, here is part 2 of The Making of the Jellyfish {AKA The Graduation Dress}, which is about the making of the bodice.

This is my bodice mock up with the completed skirt. I drafted the bodice myself without any patterns and was able to get the mock up completed in a few hours.

All my bodice pieces cut out. I cut the pieces out of my satin and then out of a pink broadcloth to flat line the bodice. Flat lining, for anyone who doesn't know, is just cutting the same bodice pieces out of another fabric then basting them onto the fashion fabric pieces. It helps strengthen the fabric and reduces unwanted wrinkles.

Next I zig zagged the edges of my satin and broadcloth pieces. After that I basted the flat ling onto the satin pieces.

I had a bit of a "duh!" moment after I finished this. I realized that I could have just zig zagged the lining and satin pieces together instead of doing them separately and then basting them together.

Next I stitched all of the bodice pieces together.

Then I stay stitched around all of the round corners - which were the arm holes and the neckline. Stay stitching is just basting around curved edges. It keeps the fabric from stretching out of shape while you're still working on it.

One of my favorite tricks, which saves time and money, is to use bias tape for boning channels. I just used 1/2" double fold bias tape and stitched it onto my seam allowance on all the seams of my bodice. It works great and you can get it for cheap at any sewing store!

 The completed boning channels.

At this point I cut out all of my boning. I use thick zip ties for boning. They're cheap and I haven't had any problems with them. The pieces are roughly 1/2"-1" shorter than the boning channels plus seam allowance.

After debating on how to finish the edges I finally decided on this method. I traced the top 2 inches and bottom 2 inches of every pattern piece, cut them, zig zagged the edges, then sewed them together like I did my normal bodice pieces.

I ironed the seams flat then stitched the bottom pieces, right sides together, then folded it over to the inside and hand stitched it down with a whip stitch.

I did the same thing with the top, but first I had to add the elastic straps. I needed flesh colored elastic, but wasn't able to find any in the stores that was the right size (it was either way to wide or way to small). After doing some research I learned that a lot of dancers tea dye their elastic. I did a couple of tests with tea's that I had on hand and some extra elastic.

I tried several different types of tea, but the one that worked the quickest and got the best color was Tazo Organic Chai tea. I think I let the elastic "steep" for a couple of hours before it was a good color.

 After the elastic was done I put the boning into the bodice and then pinned the elastic onto the bodice underneath the finishing strip (I'm not sure what this would be called...) and stitched it just like the bottom. I decided this time that I needed to under stitch the top to keep the edge nice and flat. I ended up doing this by hand because the elastic wouldn't allow my machine to sew along the arm hole. At least not very easily. After that was done I tacked it down like on the bottom. It ended up making a big difference!

The finished under stitching. Not very pretty but it worked!

After that was done I stitched my zipper onto the back. I had to use a separating zipper for the bodice, and it ended up looking pretty good but because they didn't have any in pink and I had to get white it's a little more obvious that I would like. Plus it's a pretty big zipper!

Here's some shots of the nearly completed bodice...

 I  contemplated a lot on what to do for the arms. I wanted some type of sleeve or sleeve type thing. I ended up using the shoulder sleeve thing from Anna's dress from Simplicity 1215. After I made it up I hand stitched it o the inside of the bodice.

The pieces, zig zagged, stitched, and clipped...

Ironing makes a huge difference! Especially in something like this. The bottom piece is ironed while the other one is not.

My hand stitching. I did two rows just to make sure it was secure. Probably overkill but I don't hand sew that often so I wanted to make sure it was secure.

Lastly, I had to sew the skirt to the bodice. I did this by hand, with the tiniest stitches I could manage. I wanted to make sure it was secure since the skirt was fairly heavy. When I was finished it was very secure and I didn't have any problems with it.

And that's about it! I had wanted to embellish the bodice and add jewels or something to the skirt, but I decided not to because I was running out of time and didn't want to stress over it.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I made this dress and hope you learned something! Please feel free to ask any questions.