Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Time Management and Dr. Zed Part 2 - Flask Pocket and Shoulder Armour

As I'm typing this, (between deaths in a Gears of War 3 multiplayer match) I'm reminded of how much it sucked not being allowed to play video games while I was working on these costumes.  I started planning well enough in advance, started making purchases and getting stuff together in about February, but as for actually getting to work, well.... Let's say it was a little delayed.  I made the spats in March, but didn't get back to work until April 21st if my camera's date stamp is to be believed - I just kept having excuses not to! Needing this thread or that thread, friends visiting, having to go visit family, you name it.  

With our selected day for hitting Comiccon being May 11th, I had 20 days to make two costumes pretty well from the ground up... In addition to having to continue working my full time job and two part time jobs. It was about that point where I decided that I needed to initiate a full gaming ban. Instead of coming home after a 12h shift and picking up my controller, I had to come home and hit the sewing machine.... As much as I enjoy sewing and creating... I enjoy gaming too! And having a time crunch always makes things less enjoyable. The only time I was even allowed to turn on my XBOX was to fill in the blanks in my reference pictures - that was it, and it was horrible!  I watched movies in the background, but it's just not as relaxing as gaming.


Shoulder armour and flask pocket!
"If you ain't dead, I'll keep you that way!"
I digress, the moral of the story is - don't wait until the last minute to get to work on your cosplays! Not only does gaming again feel sooooo goooood, but I purchased the first few things for my next pair of cosplays TODAY! Now to see how long I take to actually get to work ;)

So with the smock together, it was time to worry about the details.  I ordered all the buckles and whatnot off etsy through Everything Ribbons, but while I was waiting for them, I figured I'd get to work on everything else! In this case, the pockets and the armour piece for the shoulder.

Materials necessary:
-The same material and bias tape used in the rest of the smock
-A small piece of thick material to thicken the armour (I used polar fleece)
-A flask
Dr. Zed's flask pocket reference
Two angles for bonus understanding!
The flask pocket, complete with mini pocket on the front, I did pretty well from instinct.  I grabbed the flask that the hubby would be using for the costume, and laid it out to make a pattern.  The important things to note are - The angle at which the pocket comes down from the smock to the front of the pocket, the proportion of the smaller pocket to the larger pocket, and the angles on the smaller pocket's flap. I came up with the pieces below:
Flask pocket and mini-pocket
Be warned, this was a little while ago, I should have taken more pictures, and my descriptions might not make sense to anyone but me.... I think I ended up separating the flap from the small pocket "front" so the pocket would be functional, but it would be entirely possible to leave it as one piece.  From there, I made very small seams (like, 2mm) around the edges of the small pocket flap and the top of the small pocket front. I think I sewed the flap on to the large pocket first (just have it in "flipped up" position and sew along the bottom edge) then placed the pocket front just under the flap, folded the excess fabric underneath, and sewed around the sides and bottom.  A zap of steam from the iron holds the flap in the "flipped down" position, and the front pocket is complete!  On to the big pocket!

Flask pocket complete!
Zoom'd for effect
Next, I hemmed the top of the big pocket, though the angles make it a wee bit awkward. Because there's a seam in the pocket itself (from the corners on top, around the bottom of the small pocket) I went ahead and did the same by folding the fabric outward (outer side folded together) along the line I wanted to create, and sewed the fold in place as close to the edge as possible (stitching on the inside of the pocket).  If you don't feel like going that crazy, you can always just draw it on, as I ended up cell shading it later anyway.  Finally, place the pocket where you want it on the smock, fold the excess under, and sew it down! Voila, a pocket success! To make the flask sit as high in the pocket as Zed's, I just shoved some scrap fabric in the bottom, easy peasy.


Shoulder armour, front and back
What up, re-used pic?
The armour piece came next!  I call it that because it looks thick and possibly tough, just like armour. I REALLY didn't take any pics of this step... Oops.  I started by measuring my model, both for the length and approximate width of the piece, over his shoulder (41cm), across his shoulder (18cm), etc.  Then I sketched out the shape based on the measurements on a piece of fabric. Once I had a satisfactory looking shape and size, I cut it out, went back to Julian, stuck him back in the smock and draped the piece it over his shoulder to see if the proportions were correct - it appeared to be perfect!  So I traced it on the fabric to get an opposite, and cut a third piece out of my polar fleece to use as the "thickening" interfacing, then layered them with the two beige pieces on the outside and the polar fleece piece on the inside.  I stitched quickly around the outside to keep the three pieces together, then sealed the edge in with bias tape. The bias tape may act funny due to the thickness of the piece, but just make sure it looks right on the "up" side.
Dr. Zed's shoulder armour pattern
It looked a little something like this! With measurements and all! (Sorry for the metric stuff... Canadian)
Next came the "stripe" that goes on top of the piece.  I approximated the width and length based on the width and length of the armour piece (30cm x 4cm), adding a little bit for seam allowance. Then I grabbed some of my thinnest pre-made bias tape,  folded in the edges of the beige strip, and pinned the bias tape to the back (allowing just a little to peek out) to hold the fold and attach the bias tape.  A quick zip around the outside on the sewing machine, and I was ready to attach the strip to the armour piece!

Now, here's the voice of experience coming out on upsides and down sides.  You can never
Dr. Zed's smock, all together!
Another re-use, but yay! All done!
check too many times to make sure you have it right, and ensure that you're not falling prey to "mirror syndrome," ie. thinking that something is on the opposite side because that's what you would see in a mirror.  I was so sure I had the strip on the correct side (judged by where the round edge vs the square edge sit on the back of the armour piece) but sure enough, I sewed it on the wrong darn side.  I could have left it that way, surely no one would have run up and said "The curve should be pointing inward, OMG LOLOLOL!" but I just couldn't leave it, so I got to work un-picking all my darn stitches just to sew it back on the other darn side... and wrote BAD in big, capital letters on the wrong side before I had the stripe off to ensure I wouldn't make the same mistake twice. Sew the stripe directly along the same seam that was used to stitch the bias tape to the beige fabric to avoid extra seams, and you'll have your very own shoulder armour piece!


Et voila! Your smock is as ready as it can be before the buckles come into play!  I think I made Julian try it on like, 20 times over the course of its construction, but damned if it doesn't fit him like a glove.  I LOVE how well it came together, and even more when the rest of the details were added! But since I was stuck waiting for  my buckle-mail, I finally got back to my costume - as such, next time, Moxxi part 2 - Beginning the Jacket!

Just in case you missed it.... Dr. Zed part 1 - The Smock!

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