The masquerade was a great success! I still have at least one more post to write about the costume (mostly about making the helmet- my favorite part) but I'm a little sick of it right now so I'm going to hold off for a little bit :P
On an entirely different note, I've been growing romaine on our patio for a couple weeks and love snagging a few leaves for a side salad at dinner (romaine, avocado, heirloom tomato, romano croutons and some Caesar dressing- it's not the healthiest salad, but it's so good).
Unfortunately, the local aphid population thinks the romaine is pretty tasty too. They actually think everything is delicious- lettuce and tomatoes, basil and sage, shrubs and flowers. Doesn't matter. They're everywhere. I held them back in the Spring with an occasional mist of soapy water, but it's starting to get ridiculous.
I usually see them sold at hardware stores or nurseries, but I haven't had any luck this summer. Fortunately, the internet provides. I have 4,500 ladybugs heading my way. Yes, four and a half thousand bugs for a tiny side yard. 4,500 bugs cost the same as 750 bugs after shipping, so I went with the larger amount. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I have no idea what I'm going to do with that many. Our aphid problem is bad, but not 200-ladybugs-per-plant bad. I can already hear the aphids quaking in their tiny, aphid boots.
Oh, the pictures I put on the internet. Hopefully this doesn't come back to haunt me some day :3
Here's the costume! No time for step by step instructions yet. That will come later when I actually have some time to write them. In the meanwhile, here are the previous bits I've posted about if you've missed them- Part 1, Part II, and Part III. (Edit: Helmet construction)
All the armor is made out of Wonderflex. The helmet visor can be pushed up or lowered further- it's my "mask" for the masquerade. The dress is a modified Vogue pattern V1227. The boots are a pair I've owned for years (also used with the Steampunk costume) with faux fur scraps paper-clipped around the top. Dress fabric was bought at a local Joann and the faux fur was bought here.
LoJ is this weekend (!!!) and I still have some last details to finish for the costume. It's a good thing I'm almost done because tonight is my last chance to really work on it before I leave for LA tomorrow evening. Yikes. I definitely won't have time to make full posts on each piece before the weekend, but I promise to snap a quick photo of the whole costume before I leave and write up proper posts in the coming weeks. If there's any interest, I'll scan my home-made pattern pieces and put them up as well.
In other news, I've started work on an entirely different type of project. I'm not sure how much I can talk about it (yet) but it involves some fun tech and boardgames.
Lastly, I made a Facebook fan page! I'm using it to keep friends up to date on new posts, and have found it handy for quick updates here and there that don't make the cut for full blog posts. Check it out :)
Ready for a long post? I'm here to tell you the the next chapter of this ridiculousproject. Evidently this is what I do with my spare time. I make things that take weeks to complete (or months) and will be used once. Maybe twice. Still not sure why I thought this was going to be a good idea. Anyway, it's story time!
After more or less finishing the dress I jumped into "armor" making. Using my original drawing as a guide, I sketched pattern pieces on newspaper with a sharpie and pinned them to the dress form to get the right fit.
The dress form was really the most
helpful tool I had. It would have been much more difficult if I had to tape bits of newspaper to myself. As for making the actual pattern, I don't really know how to explain this step beyond "redraw pieces until it works." It really helped to have a dress pattern to reference.
I cut out all the pieces out of Wonderflex and started sticking them together like a
puzzle. I used a hairdryer for heat (various sites recommend a paint stripper,
but I don't have one. Edit: I broke my hairdryer. Not recommended :( ) and a tennis ball to smooth out round parts
against a wooden table. Disclaimer: The stuff can get a little sticky when heated and may harm some surfaces. Use your judgement.
The plastic is pretty stiff and doesn't need much help
keeping its shape when worn. Clasps at the top will attach the armor to a cloak
and wide elastic bands will keep it snug around my waist. I think that's
all I'll need to keep it in place.
For the elastic, Q brilliantly recommended I pick up a cheap belt from a local clothing
store and cut off the decorative parts. It's the perfect solution since
the belt has snap closures already built in and saves me a lot of
trouble. I cut off the decorative part of the belt and glued the leftover elastic to the Wonderflex with strong glue (called E6000 perhaps?) and clamps.
Back to the Wonderflex- One thing to keep an eye on is the placement of your
seams. As you can see in most of my photos, they're pretty visible. I've
heard of people using another plastic called Friendly Plastic to smooth
out seams and edges, but I don't have any so I haven't tried it. Fortunately, I
like the placement of my seams and used them as the base for my armor
decorated the armor with thin strips of Wonderflex that I folded in half. I planned to
use hot glue but changed my mind once I felt how flexible the plastic was when heated. Designs were first drawn out roughly on
paper and taped to the armor to see how they looked together and then
sketched right on the armor with a pencil.
The designs are very loosely based on parts of Thor's Hammer and Sweden's national symbol, the Three Crowns. I tried to bring the two styles together by framing the crowns in a symmetrical curl like the hammer's top.
Painting almost finished- just need to tone down those crowns.
After all that melting and molding I painted and completely forgot to take steps of this part. I offer you this less-than-stellar-step-by-step guide to what I did. I used acrylic paint.
Overall, Wonderflex was really pleasant to work with and the end result is fairly sturdy and light. I
have zero experience and was able to make a decent breastplate over a weekend. That said, making a helmet was considerably harder. More on that later :)