Costume and Graphic Design

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Wraith Queen: The Bodice – Step Two

So, once I had my paper version drafted out, it was time to work with fabric. I used some stuff I had kicking around from the bins my Mom gave to me once upon a time. I cut all the pieces out, adding my seam allowance of course!

After cutting out all the pieces, I copied my marks from the paper to the fabric, getting both pieces.
This is important. The pieces need to line up, and you can’t trust the edges to line up perfectly. You have seen the little triangles on most commercial patterns, and how they have corresponding triangles on the matching edge on the other piece? This is my version. I marked the waist, and my “position” line. And numbered them, and put my arrow so I know which way is up. Trust me, it gets confusing, and it can be very easy to stitch a piece into place upside down or backward, and that screws up the whole line of it. I’ve done it, and it sucks. I actually just started all over again from the beginning of a project, because it was easier than undoing the mistake.
Anyways, so once all the pieces are marked, I ran them through the sewing machine, and voila, my draft-bodice was done!

I tacked it up to the dummy, to test the fit, and I must say, it fit fairly well. Just to make sure though, I wrapped it around my waist too, and checked it out in the mirror. It fit pretty well the way I wanted it to. I sat down in it to make sure that it wasn’t going to dig into my legs or get sat on. Sometimes, something that looks super cool is really uncomfortable. I don’t want this to be one of those! Is it a sign that I am getting old when I start making comfort a part of my decision making in drafting patterns? Hmm…

So, the next step is to cut the vinyl and begin sewing that together. I will be working on that this weekend. Stay tuned for Step 3!


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Wraith Queen: The bodice – Step One

Step One: Drafting the pattern. This I am doing from scratch also. I have a couple of articles I had made before that I thought of using as a base, but then thought, what the heck! I’m pretty much making every other part of this from scratch! Why not this too! Besides, I have never had to make something so close fitting before without the use of a store bought pattern. This will be a learning experience!

Having made corsets before, I am already familiar with how they are constructed. This is going to be a little less formal and structured, but the principle is the same. It is close fitting, and needs to have lines that make sense. This is more of an underbust style. I started off with the front centre section, making that shape the way I want. It is probably the flattest piece of the garment, so it makes sense to start there. And the most visible, so you want it to be perfect.

To start, I cut a piece of paper that was bigger than the piece I was going to make, but not too much bigger. I drew a centre line, and matched up the top with where I wanted it to sit on by belly. Just under the bra line. Pinning that to the form, I measured and drew out the rough shape I wanted, cinching in at the waist to enhance the curves, and flaring out at the bottom. Pulling the piece off the form, and placing it on a flat surface, I measured and straightened/refined the lines, until I was happy. I then cut it out, except for the bottom, which I left loose.

You can see in the picture what I mean. I left the bottom line until the very end, so I could shape the bottom in one sweep. This keeps the line consistent between all the pieces. Each piece followed the same steps, pinning tissue larger than what I wanted, drew the lines, refined, cut, pinned back on, and moved to the next one, all the way around. I drafted the final back piece the same way as the front, with a centre line drawn to keep it even.

Once I had all the pieces done, I went back to the bottom line and drew the even curving line I wanted.

Happy with the shape of the line, I cut the dangling pieces off.

Then I numbered all the pieces, marked the waist line, and drew a arrows pointing up on each piece, so when I am cutting my material and putting it all back together, I know which is the bottom and top of the pattern! That is important. When sewing something where all the pieces look very similar, you need to know which end is up. I learned that when sewing my first corset! One piece upside down and it won’t fit anymore!!

There we have it. One hour later, I have my first draft of the pattern for my bodice. My next step is to cut it out of scrap fabric, baste it together, and try it on. If the fit isn’t quite right, you can keep refining it, testing it, refining it, until you have it right. I have lots of scrap fabric to test this on, and I would rather waste a couple of dollars of cheep remnant bin stuff than my expensive vinyl!!

My sewing room foreman watched from her office chair…

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Wraith Queen: Shoulders Done!

With calloused fingers, I present the finished shoulder piece!

This was all sewn by hand, like the head piece. I went this route because I imagine everything about the wraith is very organic. Their ships are grown not built, and much of their technology seems to be some structural organism, like growing a tree with a hollow for you to live in. At one point, I considered that their clothing might also be grown. I have gone with all organic looking materials, like the lizard skin, inspired by the costumes on the show. To machine stitch something like this would be tacky, I think. Another reason is, I wanted the stitches to be almost invisible, and a machine sewing vinyl just doesn’t do that well! I am very happy with how it has worked out! The only thing that I might revisit is some upper arm plates. I originally planned on doing them, but because of time I am skipping them for now. They are not essential to the costume, but I think they are a nice touch. This weekend, I will draft the pattern for my belt, and begin sewing that. For the most part, that too, will be sewn by hand. The parts where stitching will be seen, anyway!