Friday, 7 June 2013

Moxxi Part 2 - Fabric Shopping and Starting the Jacket

With Julian's costume mostly together, it was time to get to work on the hard part - my Moxxi jacket. Right from the start it was fraught with difficulties, from issues with the pattern, to not finding satisfactory fabric, there was just nothing going for me.

I picked up the pattern ages before, I think it was the first thing I bought for the whole project.  Keeping in mind the last time I worked with a pattern was over 13 years ago, and that one was supplied by my school, you can say I was a little out of practice.  What I didn't pay attention to, is the fact that the sizing is way out of line with the messed up vanity sizing available in stores - I wear a size 8/9, so I grabbed the size 6-14 pattern... So problem #1, according to the pattern, I should be a size 16.  In the end it wasn't a huge deal, I added a little more seam allowance all around, and ended up taking it back in again, but I didn't want it to go the other way, so I would say it was worth it.  The second issue was with the pattern itself - while all the little pictures on the package looked like little dresses (one whole piece), in fact they were spaghetti strap dresses with a little bolero jacket that goes over top!
The pattern I modified for Moxxi's Jacket
How perfect is th....  Aww, sneaky buggers!
Moxxi's fabric up close
Hibiscus... Or.. Floral, anyway?
For fabric, I went with a very specific picture in mind - Moxxi's jacket is made with a purple hibiscus flower patterened fabric which looks somewhat shiny, and has darker purple stripes.  Obviously, I wasn't going to find EXACTLY that... but I wanted to be somewhat close. I searched every fabric store I could find, including going through the million little sample books at Rockland Textiles (which turned out to be futile because I only needed 2 m, and the minimum order was 10 m - I was NOT ordering $300 worth of fabric for the 2 m I need), nothing doing.

The fabric I used for Moxxi's jacket
Close enough!
My standards dropped bit by bit, but after hours of searching, no luck - so I went to the internets! Many searches on many sites later, I finally found two different fabrics, both floral patterned satin brocades, which would work - one which was a little too red, and the other a little too blue.  So I went in game to the only place you see Moxxi NOT under red fluorescents (when you rescue her from Pyro Pete) and she's indeed closer to the blue end of the spectrum than the red, and I went with 2 m of this lovely purple satin brocade from PsychadelicPinup on Etsy, which ran me $25 US with the shipping.

With pattern and fabric finally in place, it was time to get to work!

Materials needed:
-Purple (or red) fabric, in hibiscus pattern, if that even exists ;)
-Pink (or yellow) lining fabric
-Purple thread

First things first, I decided from the start that I wasn't going to bother with a liner, because I didn't want the extra work.  For the record, I am an idiot. A liner is pretty much a must, especially when working with a fabric like satin brocade which frays out like it's nobodys business.  It makes the garment smoother looking, feel better, and seals the insides inside.  If you're going to make a liner (DO IT), do it right at the beginning, cut it out at the same time as you cut out the rest, don't shortcut, it makes your life harder later. Now that we have that established, we'll cover what I did.
Pattern Modifications
Give or take, the lower potion of the jacket.
The shell of the jacket
Not perfect, but close enough!
As mentioned earlier, instead of being one piece, the pattern I selected had a dress with spaghetti straps and a bubble skirt with a bolero jacket.  Instead, I started by making the jacket as directed, but leaving out the facing, liner, and collar.  Next I made the midsection of the dress, extending each of the 7 panels (2x back, front middle, 2x front side, 2x back side) approximately in accordance with the pattern above to make the front flap (about 60 cm to start, trimmed later to about 50 cm) and rear tails (about 75cm to start, trimmed later to about 68 cm), and an extra front middle so both halves of the bosom have something to attach to. It is REALLY important to note that the left side of Moxxi's jacket (when you're wearing it) is cut lower than the right - hence why you can only see her panties on the right. Also, I made everything a little longer/wider than it needed to be, so I could trim to need once the jacket was together - remember, it's easier to trim down than add on! With everything cut out, I sewed the lower section of the jacket together leaving it open where necessary, then sewed the bolero directly to the lower section - and voila! The shell of a jacket!

While cutting out everything above, an intelligent person would make duplicates of each piece in the liner material to ensure that both have the same shape and size, but again, I am an idiot. Instead, I decided I needed this after the fact, and had to approximate the pieces from the completed jacket outer. Put it all together in the same manner as with the jacket above, and voila! A jacket liner!
The jacket liner
So many pins... So many fingers pricked.
At this point, you're going to need either some assistance, or a dressform identical to your body.  I opted for the assistance route, and had my friend Fatima over to help tailor and shape the jacket. She was actually priceless over the final few days of work, acting as a second set of hands to complete all the straight forward tasks like pinning bias tape and sewing on buttons while I worked on all the painting and detailing stuff - Love you Fatima!

Shaping was a bit of a process as jacket is very form fitting and needs to sit at specific spots. As I was planning on wearing shapewear and a specific bra, I made sure I was wearing them at this point so the jacket was made to fit with what I was actually planning to wear. The bust line needed to be cut down quite a bit to make the necessary cleavage, and the tails, hips and front panel all needed to be trimmed to form. In the end, I think I STILL hadn't trimmed the hips high enough or the front panel short enough, but I was still happy with the look.

That's the basics of the jacket! With the outer and liner both together and fitting correctly, it's time to PAINT! Next time, we'll talk about the magic formula for painting stripes!

In case you missed it... Moxxi Part 1 - Spats!

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