Friday, September 07, 2007

Recent Emails & Old Untold Site News

Argh! I'm afraid I have neglected this blog for far too long! (My only excuse is that I'm really busy this semester... *sigh*)

Some people have contacted me via email with some very good questions, and I think the answers to these should be made available to any others who may just be asking the same. So, I'll provide a little background information (consider this a long overdue "Site News" update), and then a sort of FAQ. :-)

Hence Forth:
I almost made it to to the San Diego Comic-Con this past summer.... It went down something like this: after two months of hard-core non-stop costume-making, two weeks before the event, it was decided that we couldn't afford the trip. However, plans were made to go next year, 2008. And since, by then I hope my official site & business, Clipboard Studio, will be up and functioning, I may even rent a table, myself, and sell my art and costumes for all to enjoy. Plans are also in motion to do something similar at our local Renaissance Festival, which is in March, and much, much closer.

More importantly, or most importantly, part of what's keeping me so busy this semester is my new sewing class. I'm taking the first sewing class of my life at our local community collage; it's roughly 5h a week, but self-paced, and better yet, (I don't really understand why yet), I basically get to work on WHATEVER I WANT for a grade! =D (My first project will be this, to wear at the Renaissance Festival. For Halloween, I've got a WICKED-AWESOME original costume idea for the Angel of Death; if the mechanized wings work, I'll self-publish a book on Lulu.Com about how to make them. It will basically be the exact same thing as this blog and it's photo-tutorial. Same goes for how to make anime-accurate "ribbon wigs", as soon as I make a few more of them, and perfect my techniques.)

Ok, back to talking about my sewing class... My teacher was really impressed with this trenchcoat, (I showed it to her), and she accepted it as the "proficiency test" needed to let me skip to the second level. She liked that I make my own patterns and highly recommends that I take Pattern Making next spring. .....And that leads me to the FAQ. (I recognize that the questions asked were not asked in this order, but this order makes for smoother transition of thought, me thinks) :-)

I may have been allowed to skip to Clothing Construction II, but I still do not know how to take measurements of the body. (I think most people in our class don't.) My teacher gave us each a photo-copied chart and took several students' measurements, mine included. I asked her if we would learn how to measure like that in this class, or if it was a Pattern Making thing, and she said it was a Pattern Making thing. I created the pattern given here by finding a shirt with a bodice I liked (mostly for its hight under the arms and strait, narrow but loose-fitting torso------and it was actually a pretty purple flowered pajama shirt), and did a whole bunch of very basic geometry on it until it looked like the KH trenchcoat. Then, from there, I just put it on myself and did my best to tailor it to my body shape. The tailored and untailored versions are both available on this site; the difference is the choice of two read and black lines on the backs of pattern pieces "BR" and "BL"; that's the only difference. In the notes I left, I believe I stress multiple times that you should probably go for the untailored version, and then tailor it to fit yourself/whomever you're making it for. NOTE: As I had feared it might, the tailored version creates a "duck-tail". You can remedy this (as-is) by just cutting most of it off and rounding the rest out, but I now know what I should have done from the beginning, and that involves completely redoing the most crucial geometry in the entire coat: the flared waist. (if you want to try it yourself, before I get around to fixing it, here's the equation:

Sorry! Quick insert! This is the same exact process that I followed before, but the error was made when I did this before tailoring it. To fix that error, tailor the bodice first, because that will change the distance around the bottom of it, and then follow the following steps!)

  • CircleA is a negative shape in the center of CircleB.
  • 1/4 the circumference of CircleA = the whole circumference of the raw bottom edge of the bodice.
  • The radius of CircleB = the radius of CircleA + the distance from the raw bottom edge of the bodice to your ankles/the floor/wherever you want the coat to end + hem.

  • Use the radius of CircleB to draw a large quorter-circle on a HUGE piece of paper, or news/tissue paper that has been taped together to form an extra large sheet. (check to be sure that the two flat sides intersect at 90-degrees)

  • Use (the radius of CircleA - seam allowance) to draw a second, smaller quorter-circle inside of the first, so that they share the same point as their would-be center. (Yes, I did say MINUS seam allowance)

  • Cut. This is your pettern piece for the flared waist.

  • (to connect it to the bodice without adding a seam around the waist, begin in paper: tape the bottom corners of the four bodice pattern pieces to the inside edge of - CircleA in this order: front left, back left, back right, front right. Don't worry if the bodice pieces overlap, they will, but it doesn't matter as long as the corners don't. And Don't worry if the flat edges of the bottom of the bodice don't match up with the round edge of - CircleA; that's ok, too, but you may prefer to hike the bodice down a bit until the center of each of its four pieces touches the paper----aka, the circumference of - CircleA. From there, cut strait lines from the corners of the bodice pieces down to the edge of CircleB, thus separating the pieces of the bodice once again, and the darn thing is finished!) yey. 8-B

I've made other patterns based on circular geometry, and I'm tell'n ya, it's the MAGIC SHAPE for creating flare. The sleeves of this coat were not made this way, however, (because I wasn't that good back then), so I'm going to re-do them completely, as well. (They're not bad, but they're not quite perfect yet, either, and of course, we can't have that! lol) Definitely look forward to a second, spiffed-up & corrected version of this coat; how soon depends entirely on how fast I finish my Ren dress, my Halloween costume, and where I live in a few months.......don't ask. 0_o

Ok, for the SECOND time, back to my sewing class! 0_o

My teacher took my measurements, so here they are:

  • Height: 5'6''

  • Back Neck to Waist: 151/4

  • High Chest or Bust: 36

  • Full Chest or Bust: 371/4

  • Waistline: 30

  • Full Hip: 403/4

  • Waist to Hip: 18''

As I explained, sorta, I didn't really use math to make my trenchcoat fit; to assemble initially, yes, but not to make it fit. However, these numbers here were in existence then and not much different from where they are now (the original coat I made still fits), even though I did not know them, and so the coat was inadvertently/ignorantly made to these specifications. (FYI: I'm a girl, but the coat also fits my 14y-old brother, who is the exact same hight as me, just fine) NOTE: Also, the shoulders are a bit snug on both of us, so head's up. (no big math tricks needed to fix that yourself as long as you don't change the size of the armholes; estimation works fine......or so I believe.)

Dang this is a lot of reading. Sorry! ^_^;

Questions were also asked about the zipper... I never did find the perfect zipper, (as you can see in some of the pictures I've posted, I even tried to make one!), but HERE is the next place I'm going to look. Somebody else was cosplaying Blind Riku and mentioned it, and I thought it looked promising. I will post that site up there on the right under this blog's links. ...If you can get a custom-length zipper, that would definitely be best, because, as you can see, it runs the whole length of the coat, and the length of the coat is going to change for different people. (aside from drastically altering the pattern, just hemming differently will change its length!)

As for how much fabric you should buy, (for that was also asked), ummmm, let me go check. ^_^;

And as for the type of fabric, I think most people will want to try leather, "pleather", or just something that looks like leather. (Rain-proof stuff, because of "Deep Dive" and "Another Side, Another Story".) Personally, my favorite fabric is some mystery cloth I found on a remnant-bolt... I only have a little bit left, no more than four yards, but I'm hoping it will be enough to make the final draft of this coat that I will keep and treasure forever and ever. It's not shiny like leather at all, more cotton-like, but still silky soft, very, very black, more black than usual fabrics, medium-heavy thickness, but weight-wise heavier even than that. I'm sure this all sound like gibberish, but the good news is that my Sewing teacher thinks she can identify it by content, if not by name, if I bring in a piece. =) I advise you to buy a fabric that breaths, big time, but basically, just whatever strikes your fancy.

And now for something completely different... I was also contacted by someone who was having trouble opening up the zipfile... (I believe that was the problem?) Normally, I use a program called "Winzip", but we have to be careful not to update it or else they'll start charging us for it... *cough* 0_o ...However, if you find yourself unable to open the zipfile, here's a site where you can download a FREE program that will open those types of files for you. Hope that helps!!!

Oh yes, and I'm having trouble again finding where I stashed all those pictures that I still need to post on "Operation: Make One!"... *scowl* ...This is very frustrating, but I'm still very sorry for the long delay. There are HUNDREDS of pictures, all in a single folder, and even when I find them it's time-consuming, and a little overwhelming, trying to sort them all out and pick the best ones to post... And still the biggest obstacle, after finding them, is my little brother who likes to hog the computer day and night, night and day... (another reason I haven't updated in so long) But, luckily, here it all finally is, everything I've been dying to say for an entire season, and then some! ...yikes. (in case you were wondering, because of the length of this post, yes, I am in the process of writing a novel.....many, many novels.....not about this trenchcoat, no, but still scifi, definitely!) ^__~ *mysterious, knowing smile* :-B

Song: "Another Side"
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