Friday, July 18

Making a DragonCon Costume: Sweatshop

Previous Project Littlefinger Posts:
Sew Very Doomed
Another Adventure
Test Case
Idea Collision

Earlier in the week, The Countess prepared one side of the Littlefinger costume on our dining room table. The table was now tucked in the bay window to grab all the sunlight needed to work with dark cloth. She transferred onto it the measurements from the pattern she made over the weekend and gave herself a half-inch, um, ... I forgot the phrase for it, but in print it's called a bleed, the buffer zone between the material you definitely need, and what you can cut away.

The cloth is more black than this picture depicts

The cloth was folded on itself to form two layers. She pinned the layers together along their outer edges, except where the cloth was folded. That fold makes the exterior edge. Pinned together, the shapes created a deflated tube. She made a short instruction list for my half of the work, and I tackled that when I got back from work yesterday.

Following her original blue pencil outline, I cut outside the pins, creating two blocks of double-layered cloth. The table was too short for me to cut confidentially, and I moved everything to the floor. I was then instructed to duplicate her original length of fabric. I laid the cut blocks end to end on the floor and unspooled (unbolted?) a similar length of material.. I folded that cloth inside out, as hers was, and placed her blocks atop it.

Her blocks under my length of material
I traced their outlines on my material and pinned the layers together.


Tracing around her blocks
Because my outlines were based on her untrimmed blocks, my bleed areas are much bigger. I had more room for error. After pinning the layers, I cut out the blocks, creating slightly larger duplicates of hers. By now I had worked up a sweat, either from anxiety or the physical movement. The kneeling and bending and double-checking and pinching and pinning and squinting and tracing is work. A surprising amount of work. Before each step, I asked her to eyeball what I was doing, to verify my interpretation of her instructions.

Cutting and kneeling and sweating a little

Now we had four flat tubes; two forming the torso section of the tabard/Celtic poncho, and the other two for the legs.
The four blocks, still inside out

While I had Deputy duty for bath and bed, she turned the fabric right-side out and pinned quick pleats onto the fabric to play with widths and weight. We draped it on me to check the angles of the cloth and the length of the cloth; it will end right above my shoes.

The early pleats.
Tomorrow, The Countess will borrow a sewing machine and sew the pleats in place. The plan is to use iron tape to hold them in place, and while that might be enough, we both feel better with stitches as redundant support. The cloth we picked is lighter than the original costume and darker. The robe I got is black, steering us away from Littlefinger's shades of brown. We ended the night shopping online for wigs for her costume.

I cut a small length of fabric to play with fabric paints. Once the pleats are done, and the sections joined, I'll add dots onto the edges of the pleats. And that means the costume is 80% done. We'll have the tabard, the  robe (the collar will be supported with an interior clasp), the silver pin, and the cloth layers under the robe. That leaves the shoes and belt and maybe out-turned cuffs on the sleeves.


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