Thursday, June 25, 2015

Delphinium belt - from scratch (with some vague instructions)

More costume making. I did this from scratch without a pattern, based on a rough idea of an obi belt, and a couple of 'corset' belts I found on Pinterest.
The idea for this character is very much a wandering priest; she's an Orc, so rough clothes are the by-word. I wanted a wide belt to draw the rest of the kit together, and to have something with extra pockets in, and something to hang stuff off.

This was made from some faux suede that I'd bought about a year ago from Calico Laine, because I wanted to see what type of material it was. I used some fleece as internal padding.
I still need to sew some rings onto it so I can tie pouches on to it.

(please excuse the bathroom selfie, there's nowhere else in the house with a mirror)



I started out with a rough idea, and some paper. I wanted to work out how I should do the ties and the holes, so I made a scruffy paper mock up at lunchtime on my juice bottle.


Then there was fabric. I had a metre of dark brown faux suede; the back is shiny, which made some of the stitching a bit of an arse.
I cut 2 strips of the suede from one selvedge to another, about 12 inches deep. These were long enough to wrap around my waist about one and a half times.
Then I cut some kind of padding; for this, I used some fleece that was leftover from making the original squid. It had just enough loft to make it a bit padded, but not so much that it was going to be really squishy. I just laid the suede on top of the fleece and cut round; not very scientific or accurate, but it did the job.
In future I'd probably use some kind of iron on fleece, as sewing the fleece to the suede was a pain in the backside, even with lots of pinning. My machine had it sliding all over the place, and it was wonky as all hell by the time I'd sewn the bits of fabric together.

I knew I wanted pockets. Pockets are everything to me, and for LARP, they're super important because I'm forever picking up bits of stuff, and I need somewhere to keep money and props. I also didn't want to be carrying a bag around with this character; it doesn't really fit her style.
So very accurately, I drew a rectangle around my hand, added an inch, and then drew a narrower rectangle to make a little flap.
I edged them so they'd be neat, and then sewed them into the inner layer. I did this so I wouldn't be able to see the stitching when the whole thing was assembled.



 I'd run out of matching thread by this point, so I was using dark grey. It's not brilliant, but it's good enough.
I used zigzag stitch as it seemed a bit more secure.
I positioned them by wrapping the fabric round my waist and shoving my hands where I thought pockets would be comfortable.
I ended up actually only putting a flap on one of them.

The ties are 6 inches wide, and again cut selvedge to selvedge. I folded them in half, and then into quarters, and stitched them up both sides. It was at this point that I discovered that you could iron this stuff, carefully.
These were long and annoying to sew, and my machine really didn't like the faux suede.

 

 I then basted one of the ties to the centre of one of the short edges of the belt, then pinned that and the two long edges together, so the fleece was on the outside.

 

Then I stitched the three sides together, very carefully, and wished desperately for a walking foot for my machine (which may or may not exist, the internet doesn't seem to know). I managed to do this without distorting the fabric, and managed to get it done, with the bobbin running  out just as I pulled it out of the machine. I count that as the sewing gods being on my side.
I then carefully trimmed all the extra fabric that was left round the edges, and turned it all right side out.
And rejoiced that I had managed to stitch the tie in the correct way round!

It's like some kind of weird blue sand worm!
Then I stitched the second tie in place, and carefully sewed the open end shut. I could have done this by hand and made it look neat, but I chose to machine stitch it for simplicity and speed's sake.
I did consider then doing some top stitching around the other 3 edges to make it look deliberately like there was some edging, but given how much trouble I'd had stitching all the layers together, I didn't want to risk more distortion, so I gave it a miss.

I then wrapped the belt round me, and marked where the tie needed to poke through. Annoyingly, this turned out to be in the middle of one of the pockets, but I just moved the hole to one side of the pocket, and there have been no issues.

I marked this with pencil, and then with a couple of pins, and then found some scrap fabric to test how best to reinforce the hole.



I think if I'd had a thinner tie, I could have got away with using the button hole function of my machine, but I needed the hole to be slightly wider, and so went with zigzag stitch and straight stitching at the top and bottom.


Button hole function
Zigzag and straight stitch



Carefully sewing the hole in the in the belt, I then took out my trusty seam ripper and cut a slit in it and then used my tiny embroidery scissors to cut out the hole. I may well reinforce it with more stitching, but I want to see how it goes (because I'm lazy)





I did then ponder doing some top stitching to make it look like it was boned like a corset, but decided against that as that wasn't going to fit the character.

I also plan to sew a load of key fob rings to the belt so that I can tie stuff to it.


Worn inside out so you can see the pockets!

I've paired this with a grubby old chiton that I made for Odyssey LARP but which I never ended up using because it looked weird, and I made a robe out of hessian using this pattern from eqos on DevArt which I've used before.
I added in seam pockets made from calico to the robe, and narrowed the body pieces slightly (possibly slightly too much, as it's a little tight across the shoulders now). I also took about 10 inches off the sleeves, and will be taking about the same off the bottom of the robe, as I don't want it dragging along the floor.
Annoyingly I've not got any photos of the whole kit together yet :(






















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