My Shameful Lack of Sewing in 2016

Halloween is in two days, and I’m not dressing up. Usually my excuse is “I’m a cosplayer, I do enough with costumes the rest of the year!” but this year that’s not true. I’m just lazy.

I made one costume earlier this year (Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which I just realized I haven’t added to my cosplay page at ACP yet) and wore one other (Athena Cykes from Ace Attorney, which I made in 2014—it’s remarkable I still can squeeze into it). I didn’t end up going to San Diego Comic-Con this year, which cut my cosplaying opportunities in half. Hopefully I’ll do better next year. We’ve got some things in the early planning stages…

Besides that one costume, my sewing adventurers this year have been mainly in the field of fixing holes and shortening pants. But I do still enjoy sewing! Even though we delayed the group by a year, Madoka’s costume took a lot out of me. And it’s not at 100% completion yet! There are wings and more gewgaws to add. Assuming I ever get it done, it’ll be completely ridiculous. And quite possibly impossible to wear and/or move around in.


[image: two homemade potholders]
[image: two homemade potholders]

Today’s craft project was potholders! I made one of these a few years back, just to see if it worked, and not only did it work, it lasted way longer than I expected! However, last night it got rather singed and the bias tape on it started cracking, so I decided to make a couple more today. Behold their majesty, before they inevitably get stained.

These are smaller than a lot of commercially-made potholders. I find those unwieldy to use. Also, they’re not quite as heat-safe. I’ve seen tutorials that recommend a special kind of insulated batting, but I’m just using leftovers here. I use a layer of thick quilt batting and whatever cotton fabric and bias tape are hanging around. (Basically everything is cosplay scraps. Batting is from Katamari, the turquoise bias tape was from Tsubasa, and the fabric… actually I think that was just old sheets that I kept around to do mock-ups.)

I cut out 5.5-inch squares of the batting and two pieces a big bigger of the cotton. I sewed around the edges to make what looked like a tiny pillow at this point. Then I sewed some lines in the center, like quilting, except I’ve never actually done that so I don’t know if that’s really what I was doing (but I tried to make one of the designs kind of interesting?). If there was any batting sticking out, I trimmed it off, then trimmed the cotton edges down to about 3/8-inch.

Then I put the bias tape on. You’ll notice in the photo I attempted to do one of them with nice mitered corners and stitch in the ditch or whatever, and then in the second one I just cut pieces and topstitched down. Both methods done imperfectly—they’re functional, not necessarily beautiful.) Squash them down a bit with an iron, and they’re done!

Just to reiterate: these are not super-heat resistant, so don’t use them with, like, cast iron. But they’ll work well enough for taking cookie sheets out of the oven, or taking from the microwave a piping hot bowl with soup in it that is hopefully also piping hot (but is often deceptively tepid).

New Old Trousers

[image: old flared trouser leg (left) and new straight trouser leg (right)]
[image: old flared trouser leg (left) and new straight trouser leg (right)]

I bought these black trousers for a costume back in 2006. They fit me well enough and looked appropriate for our Ouran High School Host Club cosplay group. I adopted them into my regular wardrobe after that. What’s been bothering me the last few years has been that the flare is not really my style (also, they’re a skosh short on me, as you can see in the comparison up top). I decided to do something about it.

Basically what I did was take out large triangles on each side of the leg. You can see the lines I made on the sides in the left photo. I’ve read some tutorials (which I didn’t really follow) about people trying to do this and the legs “rotating” or something, and I don’t think I quite managed to avoid that. In the right image, you can see the outside seams sort of migrating around to the front. But it could just be due to the fact that there’s a whole bunch of extra material still inside the legs, since I hadn’t cut & pinked the seams yet.

[image: the triangles of fabric I removed]
[image: the triangles of fabric I removed]

Now that I’ve got those out, I just need to hem the pants! Thankfully I had a lot of hem to work with—about three inches. Annoyingly, I haven’t quite been able to press out the original crease. It’ll probably always be there. But honestly, who is looking at your cuffs? I’m not going to be in judgement in front of Tom + Lorenzo any time soon.


[Image: the pattern envelope for McCall 4960. On the left, a photo of a woman wearing a tan turtleneck and some truly hideous brown jodhpurs. In the middle, a drawing of a women wearing a white turtleneck and sweater with some amazingly terrible pleated jodhpurs in a plaid pattern. On the right, a drawing of a woman in a white button-down shirt and really awful off-white pleated jodhpurs.]

Look what I got in the mail today! A couple years ago, I sort of half-assed my way through a pair of jodhpurs for a costume of Asami Sato from The Legend of Korra. Basically I just ballooned some pants above the knee and put in an elastic waistband. I’m not going to lie, they’re pretty terrible. The crotch is quite unflattering. As well as the butt. (You’ll notice I did not link to a photo of me standing.) This year, I want to remake those pants so I’m less ashamed of them.

It’ll be difficult to believe, but I could not find a pattern for jodhpurs anywhere (and by “anywhere,” I mean from any of the McCall companies). So I took to eBay to see if there were any old patterns. This one’s from 1990.

As you may be able to tell from the photo caption, I don’t have a high opinion of jodhpurs. They’re just the worst. But I love that the B and C variations on the pattern add pleats, because nothing adds pizzazz to trousers like pleats! And pleats in two different kinds! Just in case you have those days where you have to debate between two giant pleats or six smaller ones.

Sewing FAIL

I must have the world’s pointiest knees. That is, I assume, the only reason I wreck sheets within a year of purchase. Of course, since I am also a packrat, I keep said ruined sheets. Yesterday I took one out to use as scrap fabric to attempt to make a pattern for an upcoming costume. Afterward, I started looking at the sheet and came to the conclusion that it would make good pajama pants. The elastic in one of my pairs has been failing lately, and I like having extra comfy pants.

The last time I made comfy pants, I used a harem pant pattern and simply didn’t add elastic to the ankles. These pants are HUGE. This time I decided to use a slightly more fitted pattern with a two-piece leg. I French seam them because they’ll be going in the wash a lot, and I wanted them to hold up as well as possible. So I cut and press and sew and press and sew and press. Then I put the one leg inside the other so I can sew the crotch. And… fail. I’ve sewn two left legs.

This would not have happened if I had just used a one-piece leg pattern! Argh. So now I’m faced with a couple choices. Do I rip out the seams (all four of them) and resew? Or do I make two right legs and end up with two pairs of comfy pants? I’m leaning towards the second option. However, I don’t have enough material left to make the right legs. What I do have is another sheet I ripped a hole into. I think I may end up making what are basically the world’s dullest Harlequin pants. Cream and taupe.

I’ll take another look at them when I get home and make a decision. I hate when I screw up simple things like this. Frustrating.