Cosplay A to Z: Choosing a Commercial Pattern

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One of the things I think many beginner sewers have difficulty with is choosing patterns to sew with. For today’s article, I’m going to assume you’re working primarily with fabric for your costume.

Choosing a pattern can make your life easier or not, so today we’re going to talk about my 4 S’s of pattern selection.

Size
It goes without saying that size is important. Pattern sizing is not the same as fashion sizing, and so at a basic level, you need to ensure you are using the correct size. If your pattern size is the same as what you bought in a store, you’re probably going to have problems.

But in a more abstract manner, size is important in different ways. Maybe you don’t want perfectly fitting clothing. Maybe you want oversized clothing.

Is your character a cartoon with blocky features? If so, maybe you want to ensure that your pattern is going to be oversized to give that less human, more pixelated look. Some designs may be created that are made to hang large on a frame. Looking at the fit of the design on the model can help you get an idea about whether it will really bring your character to life in the way you want to.

 

Shape
Shape goes to the basic shape of a pattern. If you were to represent your costume in 2 dimensions, what shapes would it take?

If you’re looking for a skirt, the first question to ask is does this give the right kind of skirt? Is it a-line? Is it mermaid? Does it go in where you want it to go out? For instance, a short school uniform-type of skirt has a very different shape than a pencil skirt worn by the school principle.

If you’re wondering whether a pattern would give similar shapes, you can easily try drawing them out to compare.

 

Silhouette
Silhouette takes shape to a step above. It is about the lines on the edge of the body and the curves or straight lines they make that that point. You want to check that the pattern you choose gives you the same silhouette as a character.

For retro and historical patterns, you may find that the correct silhouette is not achievable without proper undergarments. For instance, the 1890’s saw the use of spoon-busked corsets. These are very distinct silhouette and corsets that use any other type of busk will not give the S-curve of the 1890’s corsets. Further, any clothing not designed for a spoon-busk may need alterations to accommodate a different style of corset.

The Victorian silhouette

The Victorian silhouette

I think silhouette is best explained by Jessica Rabbit. Any pink sparkly dress with a red wig will evoke the comically drawn Jessica, but only a specialised corset and dress will depict her incredibly tight waist and buxom features for an accurate silhouette.

 

Seam Lines

The last, but certainly not least, consideration is where to the seam lines lie on the pattern?
You can save yourself a lot of effort if you can find a pattern that has similar seam lines. It will be more easily alterable to gain the silhouette you want, as well as looking more like what the character uses.

I will caution that seam lines are not always a requirement for many costumes, but for some, they can make or break a costume. In some instances, seam lines can be the difference between a screen accurate costume and not.

For instance, while any black bodysuit could be used to represent Mara Jade, she is always depicted in the comics with very specific patterns. I had to adapt a bodysuit pattern to add these seams in and take extra seams out in order to get an accurate costume.

All four of these things may not exist in a single pattern. However, if you can find a pattern that has 3 of them, you’re going to have a lot less work to do to make it fit and look accurate than if you just pick the first jacket pattern you find in your size. You could choose the first jacket pattern you buy, but take some time, and you may find one that is not only 1940’s styled, but has princess seams.

There are thousands of patterns in existence, and combing through them can be time consuming. However, taking that time at the beginning of the process can significantly make the construction process later on easier.

~ eliste


DIY Bathtub Tray

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December, the month of holidays, starts tomorrow, and I’m back with another DIY gift idea for your loved ones. This week it’s a DIY Bathtub Tray from the folks at Lil’ Luna that requires no power tools and could probably be done in an afternoon if you’re determined.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • 1’×10′ pine board cut to width of tub (so make sure you measure before you go get your wood, but most hardware store will cut it for free; also make sure it’s a thick board like 1″)
  • sandpaper
  • stain or paint (their formula for a warm gray stain is here)
  • sealant (gloss or matt; can also get a stain with a sealant included)
  • 2 cabinet pulls with screws
  • self-adhesive grippers

I would also recommend not just one, but two levels of sandpaper be used. A harder grit (around 80) to sand the edges down of any jagged parts, and then follow it up with a finer one (160 or so) to get it primed for staining. Don’t be afraid to sand and restain again after the first round if the board feels too rough. This is fairly common and nothing that another round of the finer sand paper and then staining again won’t fix. Once the stain is done and dry, simply apply the self adhesive grippers (which will keep it steady on a slippery tub) and then install the cabinet pulls. It’s just that simple. 🙂 You can find a fully documented step by step guide with pictures right here at lil Luna though if you need it. 🙂


DIY Holiday Essential Oil Blends

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There’s nothing quite like the smell of the holidays. Weather you prefer baked goods, fresh pine, or maybe peppermint, the holidays likely have a special smell in your memory. So today I’ve brought together a list of custom essential oils blends made by Healthy Happy Momma that you can make to help achieve that perfect holiday smell. 🙂 These blends will work in and essential oil diffuser (like this one from doTERRA or  Amazon) but if you don’t have one handy you can also use a pot of hot boiling water on the stove that you add the oil scent to. More water will need to be added as it evaporates, but it’s a cheap and easy solution if you don’t have or care to buy a diffuser.

I recommend looking at what oils are required for a scent style that you like before rushing out to buy one to help save you money, but many of these can be found online, and I tried to pick ones that weren’t special blends so you weren’t limited to a brand line. You could also look at getting an empty glass vial so that you can mix up half an ounce to keep on hand all season long, or maybe give away as a custom gift. 🙂

Cozy by the Fire
2 drops White Fir +  2 drops Cinnamon Bark + 1 drop  Clove + 1 drop Cedarwood

Christmas Energy
4 drops Peppermint + 4 drops Wild Orange

Christmas Cheer
3 drops Lime + 3 drops Wild Orange + 2 drops Cinnamon + 2 drops White Fir + 2 drops Cypress +  2 drops Bergamot + 1 drop Eucalyptus

Winter Wonderland
4 drops Peppermint + 3 drops Bergamot + 2 drops Cypress

Gingerbread
3 drops Ginger + 2 drops Cinnamon Bark + 2 drops Clove + 1 drop Nutmeg

Oh Christmas Tree
3 drops Douglas Fir + 2 drops Cedarwood + 1 drop Juniper Berry

 


Recycling for the Season

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Hello Sunday readers!

Now that all of the turkeys have been eaten here in the US, it’s time to start gearing up for the next round of holidays. This means it’s time for some decorating! But instead of just going out and buying a whole bunch of things, what about recycling some items you may have lying around the house? Maybe you’d like to start small because it really isn’t even December yet, so how about some recycled ornaments?

First, I don’t know about you but I get a ton of holiday cards around this time of year and quite frankly, I don’t know what to do with them. I mean, I know most people don’t expect us to keep them but it seems like such a waste to throw them away. In this lovely tutorial, we are presented with an alternative to that waste that creates a lovely keepsake ornament in the process:

Festive, artsy, and responsible!

Festive, artsy, and responsible!

If you want to bump up the wow and interactive factor a bit, might I suggest this recycled card “shadow box” ornament:

A little bit of snow and 3D thrown in for more fun.

A little bit of snow and 3D thrown in for more fun.

Now I’m not one to dismantle books because of my great love for them. But if I were to “rescue” some that were bound for the bin, this Swedish-style star ornament would be the best way to keep those pages in the house:

The folds are a lot less complicated than they seem.

The folds are a lot less complicated than they seem.

Finally, I used to love puzzles as a kid but inevitably at some point, pieces would go missing. What do you do with a puzzle with missing pieces? Recycle them into ornaments, of course:

I'm sure snow or gingerbread people could also be accomplished using pieces.

I’m sure snow or gingerbread people could also be accomplished using pieces.

These were just a small fraction of recycled ornament ideas I came across in a quick search. There are plenty more, I assure you! I plan on featuring a few more recycled holiday ideas in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Quilt a Long – NES Sampler

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This is it!  The last month for  the NES Sampler Quilt a Long!  This month you get the assembly instructions.

To remind you, this is what the entire NES Sampler Quilt will look like.

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The NES Sampler quilt will have a finished size of 51″ by 67″.

This quilt can be made by experienced quilters, or those new to quilting.  You only need to know how to use a sewing machine and a rotary cutter.  New quilting tips will be highlighted so experienced quilters can skip over them.

You can find the finishing instructions here. Page 1 Page 2

Please let us know if there is anything in the patterns that are confusing or need to be explained further.

Here is how my quilt turned out.

nes-quilt

Happy Quilting!

-Toni


Black Friday specials!

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It’s Black Friday, one of my favorite days of the year!  I scoured the internet to find savings on crafty stores and supplies.

Akonye Kenya is having a great deal on their House of Embroidery threads until Monday.  

friday1

 

FanBoy Glass is offering 10% off all orders using the code HOLIDAY10.

GeekParade is offering 30% off using coupon code STOCKINGSTUFFER.

Red Fish Rue Fish is offering a free Glow Hard 1.5 button with every order of $5 or more.

Dollphinwing is offering 20% off all sewing patterns using the code BLKFRI through November 30th.

Chompworks is offering 15% 3D goodies using the code PAINTITBLACK.

The evergreen burrow is having a 20% off sale.

Jellibunn Creations is having a 30% sale of $15 or more.

Finally I am having a Black Friday special as well through Monday.  You can receive 15% off Quilt Patterns using the code SAVINGS!

Happy Shopping!

-Toni

 

 


Advent Calendar A la Toilet Paper Roll.

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Hello there Thursday readers!

You know. When I was young, we always had an Advent Calendar. For those of you who don’t know what it is, or have never done one before, it’s basically a little calendar that had a little door for you to open each day through December up to Christmas day, and each door would reveal a chocolate.  Where cheap chocolate is okay, a DIY Advent calendar can allow you to customize your calendar. A romantic partner might like a love note or a usb drive filled with their favourite songs, a child might like some school supplies, little baked treats, or any other small thing that you know will brighten their day.

I’m going to give you this DIY from Morning Creativity, but there’s a lot of variations and different ways you can spruce up this particular DIY, but I love the idea of being able to make an advent calendar out of toilet paper rolls. You can put whatever you want inside, it’s cheap and easy to make, and with a little paint and sparkly adornments, you can make it as fancy or rustic as you like.

Your supplies are simple: 24 toilet paper rolls, cleaned of any dangling paper, of course. cardboard, multi purpose glue or a glue gun, a glue stick and twine. You can do your numbers by hand, or you can print them out on the computer, and use those. Choose the amount of work/creativity you’d like to use.  Your first step, is to use your gluestick to glue the numbers (cut out to fit directly on top of the roll without any hangover). Keep in mind, that since glue sticks don’t glue securely, this will allow you to reuse your tree next year, once it’s built.  Keep in mind if you would like to paint/wrap any of your toilet paper rolls to decorate them, now is the time.

After your numbers are glued on top, you will want to glue your rolls together. for this you should use a glue gun, if you have one, as it will be stronger than craft glue and allow you to put small gifts inside that are a little heavier (like a hot wheels car, just saying). Just a strip of hot glue on each side where you will be attaching another roll will do the trick, and give it all a little time to dry. These are arranged as a square. You can arrange them however you like!

Next you will need a piece of cardboard the size of your paper roll square structure. If you would like to decorate around the rolls, leave your cardboard rectangle just a little bit bigger than the rolls (leave a border) so you can glue sparkly decorations or other accents. Otherwise, you can cut it just large enough to fit the rolls, but make sure that the backs are fully covered. Before you glue your toilet paper rolls to the flat cardboard, fill them with treats, as this will seal them all inside.

Your next step is to make your roof, and again, you can be as creative as you’d like. To make the roof, glue two equal, rectangular pieces of cardboard together, and a small triangular piece to cover the hole that will be left between the toilet paper rolls and the roof. Measure them to be as wide as the toilet paper rolls, though keep them a little longer as you can trim them to whatever length you like, or even cut a design into the edge. Again, you can spray paint these, you can glue decorations, and you could even cover the roof with paper and make icicles by cutting the paper a little longer than the roof, folding over the edge, and cutting icicle shapes. If you have an extra toilet paper roll, cut it in half on the diagonal to glue on as your chimney, an either cotton or white tissue paper can be glued inside for smoke. Use your twine (glue it or you can punch a hole through the roof) to make a hanging string, and you’re done!

Remember, light gifts only, and to get at the gifts, just punch a small hole through your paper, and you’re in! If you like this idea but maybe the look isn’t quite what your’e looking for….

…Check out these toilet paper advent calendars, (yes, there’s more), for a few different ideas (like the one above).

Happy Crafting!

~Megan


Crochet Block Stitch Tutorial

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It’s getting chilly in the Northern Hemisphere so it’s time to bust out your yarn and start making cool winter clothes. 😀 If a sweater or a scarf is on your to do list, I’ve got a really neat looking stitch to showcase today from the people at Dream A Little Bigger.

Once you get it set up, this stitch is super simple to do, and gives a nice visual texture to your piece; almost making it look like it’s two layers. Even if you’re not making anything this Holiday season, it’s still a fun and different stitch to learn by working up a practice square on. 🙂 The full tutorial can be found here at Dream A Little Bigger, and I’d be surprised if even a beginner crocheter couldn’t get in down in just an hour.

 


DIY Make Up Brush Box

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So with the holidays fast approaching, the stress of finding gifts and not going broke is a reality for many people. Fear not though, as we here at Craft Hackers are all about the DIY and will be highlighting some nice ad unique DIY items that you can make as gifts that won’t break the bank. 🙂 Today I have a super lovely (and super simple) make-up brush holder.

Kelly from the Smart School House has created this lovely and simple DIY that will likely thrill any make-up lover. This stand is made from a wood base that you can find at most craft stores, like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and simply requires glue, vinyl, paint and rice.

The rice in the base allows the brushes to stand up straight and not end up mixing or getting bent out of shape. I would suggest maybe pouring the rice into a separate bag, then place the bag inside the box when giving it as a gift; just to keep messes from happening when it gets unwrapped. 🙂

 


Giving Thanks

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Hello Sunday readers!

This coming week includes one of my favorite US holidays, Thanksgiving! I’m quite food motivated so cooking and then eating a whole bunch of it with friends/family is just my style. Since I’m a pretty good cook as well, most folks are thankful when I bring a dish along. This got me to thinking about how to transport my tasty additions so that they would still be warm (oven space is limited at our destination) and not burn anyone’s lap in the car. Behold! The casserole carrier is a quick and easy DIY that may also make great holiday gifts in the coming month:

The best part is using fabric from the stash!

The best part is using fabric from the stash! My Legend of Zelda casserole carrier is going to rock!

I cruised a bunch of sites looking for this pattern because the others I’ve seen use dowels or the actual wooden spoons in the handle. As clumsy as I can be, I sure don’t want to wear the food if I don’t insert those just right. Cloth handles with reinforcement seem like the safest options. Now once we DO get to the cousin’s house, I want to make sure that we can get it out of the carrier without burns so how about some coordinating oven mitts, too:

I am going to have so many geeky patterned kitchen accessories!

I am going to have so many geeky patterned kitchen accessories! Should I use more LoZ fabric or the Doctor Who fabric?

I really liked that pattern because the grips or “thumbs” were on the bottom and not to the side. The link leads to a Danish site but I assure you that the pattern is in English! I would suggest using some sort of insulated lining fabric instead of regular batting (like Insul-Bright) to keep those hands safe. So since we are good guests and like to bring a host/hostess gift, what else would be quick and easy? Maybe a table runner in fun fall fabrics:

Or depending on your host/hostess we could add in some fun video game patterns, too.

Or depending on your host/hostess you could add in some fun video game patterns, too.

That one seems so simple, others may also be getting stash fabric table runners for gifts as well. Or if they are really special to you and they also like to cook a good apron is worth it’s weight in gold:

Again, the fabric possibilities are endless!

Again, the fabric possibilities are endless!

Ok so we’ve got the carrier, the mitts, and a gift but what about the most important thing about holiday meals? I’m talking LEFTOVERS. There are always leftovers and, as stated, I am a bit of a klutz so bobbling the big bowl of turkey and trimmings out of the microwave is one of my worst nightmares. What could possibly be done about this? I’m glad you asked! Behold! From the same site as the lovely carrier, a guest post containing a pattern for microwavable bowl holders:

Give the creator of these a medal, for they are my hero!

Give the creator of these a medal, for they are my hero!

What brilliance and insight! I shall be making a good dozen of these out of stash fabric in the near future.

On a last note, I would like to get a little mushy on you, folks. I must say that I am thankful for many things, not the least of which was our fearless leader taking a chance on me so that I could write about fun crafty things once a week. I’m thankful that I have money enough to own a stash of fabric. I’m thankful I have a family to fight for leftovers with. Most of all, I am thankful for the great crafting and convention communities I’ve been introduced to over the last couple of years. Without them, my life would be pretty sad and a lot less fun. So thank you to whoever may actually be reading our posts, we appreciate you!

Stay crafty!

~Laura