Niche-y

I have a new place in the art world, and it’s an interesting one. Thanks to my new interest in embroidery, I have become the maker of belt ends.

Let me explain:

My husband weaves belts and trim, and he’s made a few now for “foreign” royalty. One thing he wanted was a way to end the belts that would look nice and be functional. Our solution? Tiny, 1.5-2″ embroidered coats of arms sewn into little sleeves, into which I slide the end of the belt, and then it gets sewn shut. Ta-da! Belt doesn’t unwind, and it’s personalized for the recipient.

I guess it’s been done before, but from what I understand it’s not done often…at least not that I’ve seen. And so far, the people who have received the belts have loved them–especially the embroidery.

It’s kinda cool, but a little painstaking at times. The designs I’ve done so far haven’t been too complicated to shrink down and stitch, but I wonder what I’ll do when we get a commission for a more complicated coat of arms. I want to get recognition for the work I do, but I don’t want to get to where people expect more than I can do.

I’m finally done with the commission embroidery for the meantime, though, so I can focus on A&S. I’ll be reading and embroidering and measuring and cutting and sewing and typing and…yeah. A lot of work ahead, but it’s work that should be fun. Interesting, at least.

There won’t be any progress pics here, though, because that’s part of the research paper; you have to include pictures of the process of whatever you’re doing. Once it’s all done I’ll post stuff… but that’s a few months away.

Sword arm

Finally! After weeks of waiting and rescheduling and poor timing, my sword tattoo is done! The tattoo artist’s name is Amanda Jiminez at Battleship Tattoo (to give credit where credit’s due) and here’s the outcome:

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I’m ecstatic! I love it and can’t wait to show it off at Estrella War next week.

This has taken a majority of my mind off of the continuing drama, but I know it’s just a proverbial band-aid on a bullet wound. If that’s a proverb….if not, it should be. Can we coin that phrase? Let’s coin that.

I still have a few things to make/stitch, but the majority of it is done. A tunic to finish (though most of it is cut out and much of it is sewn) and some trim to stitch onto another tunic…that’s about it that I can think of right now. Oh, and some little piddly stuff to do, but that stuff is minor and less time-consuming than the above-mentioned stuff. These things also can help take my mind off of the drama things, though only temporarily, and mostly only when I have to get out the seam ripper. Gods, I hate seam ripping.

Book 1 is still in the editor’s hands, but I’m waiting patiently because I know she’s been quite sick recently. I totally understand that and have no ill feelings on it (ha! pun!). I’d like to get back to writing, but….maybe after Estrella. Right now, my time is pulled in other directions.

Two more work days until we leave for war.

Let the games begin.

Places, people!

Well, the original location where I wanted my sword tattoo probably won’t work according to the artist, so I have to think of where I have room left for one that size. The calf is the most likely place I will go, but I could do somewhere on one of my thighs or maybe–maybe–my torso (between the belly button & sternum). Not sure how my husband would feel about that one though, or how I would feel about it. I’m working hard to keep my weight stable-to-decreasing, but with all the meds I’m on it’s difficult, and I don’t want to end up with a warped sword just because I was looking for a place that had a lot of room for it. So calf it may be.

I guess since I’ve taken up so much space I have to put more thought and planning into the locations of any future tattoos. Will X spot work for the shape and design of said tattoo? How about Y spot? Does Z spot even have room for what I want? Not that I really regret any of my 40+ tattoos; I’m just running out of room.

My legs are relatively roomy when it comes to blank canvas, as is my torso below the chest and above the belly button. There are a few places on my arms, but because any tattoo of a decent size is going to kind of wrap around the arm I have to take that into consideration.

Regardless of where the sword ends up, I am excited to get it done. It’s been entirely too long since my last tattoo lol

A sword deferred

I had so been looking forward to getting my next tattoo yesterday…unfortunately, the artist I scheduled with had a change in plans, so I have to wait until next Friday. 😦

I’m still getting the tattoo, but the wait is a bit annoying. What tattoo am I getting? Why, I’m glad you asked. Let me show you my Photoshop masterpiece:

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You have no idea how difficult it was to get the sword and wings straight and even when the images I used were at angles that just would’t have worked. I spliced two different images, a geometric sword tattoo I found on Pinterest and a a geometric bird I found on Google.

Yay for Photoshop! Sword is no longer nearly as crooked, and the bird wings are nice and even.

Now, if the final image looks familiar, there’s a reason: in a few lazy Google searches, I found several winged images that said they were traditionally symbols of Valkyries. Here’s an example:

b608b0a5d71c9a6f8624d06452fddc0e--bat-tattoos-wing-tattoos Some of the images I found had a sword in place of the downward lines. Those weren’t necessarily actually related to Valkyries, but since I swordfight in the SCA and since my SCA persona is a Viking, well….yeah. A sword. With wings. The geometry isn’t too SCA-period-y, but I liked the style.

Next Friday. Perma-sword time. 🙂

Resolve

It’s that time of year again: the New Year’s resolutions that will get largely ignored by the end of January.

Well, not this coming year. Carrie Fisher’s untimely passing has opened my eyes. I need to take care of myself. As, er, big as I am, I’m at greater risk for heart disease…as well as diabetes and a whole host of physical illnesses (in addition to the mental illness that still lurks in the background, under control but never gone).

I’m going to finish and publish Book 1. It may not get “professionally” published, but I plan on at least self-publishing it…and pushing the marketing more than I did for Whispers of Death. I can’t waste time thinking I’m not in the mood to write or I don’t have time. I have to get it done.

I also hope to get the first draft for Book 2 done. Gotta keep that momentum going, because I hope for at least a trilogy, possibly a series out of this. There is a whole host of characters that need their stories told.

More cosplay. I need to create. I need to expand my mind and use it for things I’m still not 100% comfortable with, including sewing and construction.

Art. Art is so important to quality of life, and I need to get back to it. More paintings, clay crafting, foam crafts.

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I want to get a Jedi Order symbol tattoo. Cheesy, I know, but I wanted it before Carrie’s heart attack. This just cements it in my mind. I want the symbol of the Order with a quote from the new movie (even though Fisher isn’t truly in it): “I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.” Okay, so it’s a fictional religion–the point is, it’s a good point. Whether you call it God or the Goddess or the Universe, the Force is prevalent in everything. You change “the Force” to “God” or “the Universe,” etc, it is still a great mantra to have.

I’m going to make changes in my life. I’m going to make more time to create. I’m going to exercise more and eat less (or at least eat better). I’m going to make my life one I’m proud to live.

I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.

I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.

I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.

Boob Pockets! A Tutorial

Did the title grab you? If you’re a cosplayer (or anyone really) who, like me, is lacking in the boobage department, you may get frustrated by some overbust corset patterns that are totally cute but totally too big. Where’s the cleave? Not here…

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Nothing. It’s a damn shame, because I worked hard on that corset. Pleather is a bitch to work with. And, seeing as how I don’t know how to alter corset patterns (yet), I thought I was stuck with it.

Not so! I came up with an idea that has turned out great, and I decided to make a pictorial to show how I “fixed” the corset to fit and look great…in time for Dragon Con, no less 🙂

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So this is the corset top. Pretty er, flat when laid flat, but still obviously not flat enough to push the girls up the way I want. My solution? Those little silicone cutlet things you can buy to go inside your bra. Buuuuut….how do I prevent a fashion faux pas and keep the buggers from falling out in the middle of the con? Of course! Boob pockets!

Thus my boob pockets were conceived. Now, this would be difficult and damn near impossible with a corset that has fused layers instead of sewn layers, so I have no advice on fused fabric corsets. I may be a noob on sewing, but I can sew through one or two layers without sewing through the top layer. So that helped a lot. It takes some practice, so maybe playing around with some scrap fabric first will help get the technique down. I’ll show you how I do it later on here. I also recommend sewing the corset first and getting the boning channels and bones in, because you certainly don’t want to accidentally sew either your boning channel or your boob pocket shut!

As you can see from the above photos, I made it so the cutlet would be removable for ease of washing…and for reuse of the cutlet with other bras and such. It took me forever to get the placement right and pick out the right kind of fabric for it. I mean, anything too rigid and the cutlet’s not going to fit right unless I sew it just right…and I’m not skilled enough to guarantee that. I decided on something stretchy, but not too stretchy. I had a pair of stretch leggings that never fit, so they were sacrificed to the fashion gods. This is how I got started:

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I placed a self-adhesive bra cup on the leggings and cut around it with the fabric folded so I got two even pieces (you can also just set the cutlet directly down on the fabric). I cut a little wider than the actual cup because A: 3 dimensions–don’t forget this in your design; and B: I wanted to give myself room to sew my basic pocket into shape before I placed it on the corset…that way I could position it easier without having to fight with an unruly cutlet.

So as you can see, I made sure the cutlet would “fit,” then I pinned around it with it between the two pieces of fabric. I left room for the cutlet to be taken out (don’t forget this!) and then removed it with the pins still intact. Now I knew that it could be stuffed in and taken out with the seam where it was, and I was ready to sew my pocket halves together, once again leaving a space open for the cutlet to be inserted and removed. Once that was done (I serged the seam, but you can zig-zag or maybe baste? I haven’t worked with stretch fabrics for very long…maybe a couple of weeks…so I’m no expert on which stitch is the best for this), I put on my corset, put the cutlet in the pocket, and started adjusting and pinning until I had the placement down. Adjust and pin carefully! You don’t want to puncture yourself, and you don’t want to puncture the top layer of corset fabric if you can avoid it.

I tried to get it roughly even with the first pocket. Since these pockets will be on the inside, they don’t have to be perfect. Besides, once you get the first one sewn, it’ll be easier to sew the other one in place evenly. Again, leave a space open for inserting and removing the cutlet. I’d put that in bold again, but I think you get the point. Next we get sewing.

So here comes the one-layer pinning and sewing. As you can see, if you’re careful, you can get the pins and needles/thread through the inner layer(s) without puncturing the top layer. On the pleather that I was using, that was particularly important because, again, the stuff is a bitch to work with. Once a hole’s there, it’s pretty much there.

You can sew it with the cutlet in or out, I guess. I sewed it with the cutlet in because I wanted to make sure it stretched tight and held the cutlet in place well. I didn’t want saggy cutlets, after all!

When you take the cutlet out, as you can see the pocket will pucker and look wonky. That’s okay. You want it like that, because that means it’ll stretch to fit the cutlet firmly. This is why stretchy fabric is so nice for this; you can accidentally sew it too tight and not have to worry about it, because it’ll stretch and you won’t have to seam rip any of your hard work.

In the bottom picture above, you can see that I also sewed the corset side of the opening down. I don’t know that this is a really necessary step, but I figured it would reduce the chance of the pocket ripping off and secure it better. Be careful not to sew the opening shut if you plan on removing the cutlet at any time.

Okay, you’ve gotten your pockets cut, pinned, sewn, placed, pinned again, and sewn onto the corset. Next, let’s see how it turned out…..

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Omg, look at that cleave! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Ready for Dragon Con, without risk of a rogue cutlet escaping 🙂

I hope this tutorial is helpful to someone. It’s my first time doing one of these, so I tried not to forget any steps.

May the Fourth Be with You

Yes, it’s that day again: the day when the nerds come out of the woodwork to proclaim their love for Star Wars.

I’m one of those nerds. I love the movies (well, most of them), and if I wasn’t a bigger Doctor Who fan I would probably have been getting a Jedi Order tattoo yesterday instead of a TARDIS.

I guess I’ll let my Star Wars/Doctor Who mashup cosplay make up for it. I have less than a month to lose enough weight to comfortably squeeze into it, though I can still fit it. I’d just like the corset a little less…tight. Like, really tight. I mean, I know corsets are supposed to be tight, but this one is homemade, not professionally made. So I’m hoping there aren’t any wardrobe malfunctions at Phoenix Comicon.

Anywho, happy Star Wars Day to all, and May the Fourth be with you!