Sunday, January 24, 2016

Costume Report: Rey the scavenger

So a few months before The Force Awakens, I finally decided that Rey just seemed like too awesome a character for me to not dive in and make the costume. And I quickly discovered that it was really as easy as it looked... Simple shirt, simple pants, simple tabbard style wrap... The most difficult part for me was the shoes, but as it turns out, the actual shoes she wears are available online (though they are pricey... which is why I haven't bought them yet...)

The clothing pieces were the easiest for me because I have a custom "sloper" (or dress block) pattern. I would highly recommend either having one commissioned or making one if you plan to do much costume making, once you have the sloper it can be modified to make just about anything.

Aside from the shoes, I also didn't make the belt, I enlisted help of a friend who's amazing with leather who used a pattern found online. Same with the wristcuff, I did make it, but used a simple tutorial from the same site. Also gotta give credit to the internet for the staff, I modified a very popular tutorial that uses simple hardware store parts, and used a textured spray paint instead of matte. 

For the under shirt, I decided on a raglan sleeved tunic, cut short at the waist and low at the top so I wouldn't have to worry about extra bulk. I used a sample fabric that I had test dyed for the outer shirt, which is why it's so uneven. It's a pretty standard shirt-weight cotton fabric, and feels great against my skin. I believe the actual undershirt has a few seams across the sleeve that mine lacks, but that would be a pretty simple addition by adding width to the shoulder/sleeve pieces and creating the seams before attaching to the bodice.

As for the main shirt, I decided on a lighter weight cotton. I cut the shoulders in toward the neck quite a bit, and although I don't think the original has a shoulder seam, I went ahead and created mine with a shoulder seam because it's easier and is hidden under the wrap anyway. I used a single-wide bias tape to face the neckline, and hand stitched it down on the outside of the tunic. I did this rather than creating a separate facing  and then adding bias tape on top of that because I really like the lightweight look having just the tape gives. An actual facing would have added bulk.

The pants are simple harem pants that I gathered and cuffed just below the knee. The fabric is an amazing poly/rayon blend I found on clearance at Hancock Fabrics, I am using the 'back' side, it has a shiny metallic thread that runs through the 'front'... I self lined the pants to give them a little more structure, and chose to go without a waistband, instead they have a side zipper like a dress slack. And like all my actual dress slacks, yes, I know I need to iron these =P but I figure the wrinkles give it character!

On the cuff of each pant leg, I left the side seam open and attached bias strips made from the same fabric for the leg wraps. I made the strips long enough to wrap about 3 times around each leg. In most of the film she wears the wraps around the cuff, but I can also wrap it down around my legs like she does in a few scenes. Without tacking down the strips though it's not practical to wear the wraps this way as they slip down easily thanks to the slippery polyester fabric.

I wanted this costume to be as simple to wear as possible, so I decided to create arm wraps that would not come un-wrapped. I created a regular sleeve (of the same fabric as my inner shirt, but obviously this can be any fabric, since it will be covered) and then wrapped strips of cotton gauze fabric around it. I measured 3" strips from a section of gauze fabric and then 'snip and ripped' to create a nice raw edge that will not fray much. I hand tacked the strips down once I liked the wrap, leaving the last few inches un-tacked so that I can tighten it to my wrist. I left enough extra so that once it is wrapped, I just tuck the extra under and it stays nicely.

The last fabric piece is the tunic/tabbards/dress... It's just a simple rectangle, gathered at the shoulders on each arm. I also added small snaps at each of the shoulders so that everything stays put. I used a semi sheer polyester blend, the weight is great and it slows really well. I cut the width (60")  down the middle to give the final width, leaving the non-selvage edges raw. The length is made from these two pieces and has a french seam at the middle (to prevent fraying).

After everything was completed, I weathered the whole thing with a variety of different materials. Mostly dye, shoe polish and makeup. I wanted the stains and weathering to withstand washing, and also to be sanitary so I can take it to places like Children's Hospitals without any worries. After seeing the movie a few times, I think I'll be making more stains and darkening the weathering, but for now I'm pretty happy with how it turned out! And, of course, Rey is such an incredible character to play, and having a comfortable costume certainly helps! 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Welcome 2015!

2014 has been quite a wonderful year for me and my muscle man! Lots of scuba diving, travel, and of course photography =)
But moving into 2015, I've been offered some great opportunities for side work in photography, and I couldn't be more excited! I absolutely love studio photography, but don't get the chance to do as much as I'd like. But this year has started off to an excellent start with a commission for an 18 month doggie calendar!  I'm hoping to do both studio and location shots for the dogs, and some of them even know fun tricks I'm very excited to see!

Our dog trainer (what a Godsend!) has ventured out on her own and was looking for a photographer, and I was so thrilled to help with some shots for her website, and even more excited when she came to me with the idea for a calendar! Photographing my shiba inu pup has taught me several really good tricks for working with 4 legged models, it's even more fun than working with human subjects haha!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Halloween Fox Hunt

It never fails when we take our little shiba inu out that someone will comment that she "looks like a fox", so we figured why fight it for halloween? I found the cutest little onesie and ran with it! We got her ears painted black at Petsmart(with pet safe spray chalk), but I was worried she would try to lick off the paint if we did her legs so I created some textured sleeves for her instead. And then I decided she needed a skirt to look more girly, of course!! =D 

And of course, it wouldn't be Halloween if the humans didn't dress up, so my muscle man and I played a couple of fox hunters out for a little walk.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Year 6 done, and Lucky 7's Just Begun

Wow... 6 years of taking a self-portrait every day. I don't think I could ever have thought that this project would evolve this way when I began it, but it has turned into the most challenging and rewarding journey, and has truly become a part of me. But this year as I looked through my photos, I came to a bit of a realization.

This journey is no longer just mine. My favorite images as I looked through all 365 were the ones that my muscle man was also included in. And since this project was originally intended to be more about learning photography, I notice that I do enjoy composing shots for the two of us much more than just taking a simple "selfie". Then there is the obvious perk of having all these wonderful shots of us to look back on, something not many couples can say, outside of the aforementioned selfies =P

So for this year, my 7th of taking a daily portrait, I think it's definitely time for a bit of a change! Although it was a bit of a challenge to get my muscle man to agree to it, he's reluctantly agreed to join in! I've decided that to make it easier on myself, diptychs are totally acceptable, and I may even let my muscle man take over the camera for some of my shots! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Florida Keys (part 3- All the other Fun)

I guess it's rather appropriate that a trip to an island cluster would be filled with so many water activities, especially since my uncle lives on a boat! My muscle man and I spent the whole week just soaking it up and enjoying everything we could!

While we were planning our trip, I was kinda disappointed that I just couldn't make our schedule work to go on a kayak trip around the everglades. But we got the next best thing, rental kayaks and a perfectly placed boat launch (an unexpected perk of staying on a boat in a marina haha!) So off we went armed with plenty of sunscreen and snacks for a great little paddle around the gulf side of the island. It was so peaceful, just me and my muscle man, paddling around wherever our arms could take us. There were lots of great little coral islands covered in mangroves, and we pulled into this little grassy lagoon that was home to loads of upside down jellyfish! We also saw a pufferfish chilling out around one of the islands, and of course there were so many neat birds to look at above land as well.

Naturally, the scuba diving in the keys is great, and the area is very well known for its shallow coral reefs, but leave it to my muscle man to want more! He has been hounding me to dive a wreck pretty much since he got certified, but as they are usually reserved for more advanced divers since they are usually deep and tend to be more dangerous, I've been easily able to avoid the issue. But there happens to be a great dive outfitter in Marathon, and after a talk with the head dive-mistress, she decided that we met standards (and I think needed more people to join a trip they already had planned!) and we were on our way to the Thunderbolt wreck. Though it was a little deeper than I prefer (100+ feet) it was still a great dive!

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