Monday, April 16, 2012

pirate waistcoat pattern...

I'm working on upgrading my pirate/renfaire costume, this step is making a waistcoat (vest). I'm not as concerned with historic accuracy as I am with ease of construction and how it works, so I drafted out a pattern based on a long vest that I got for my steampunk outfit (it's a style of vest commonly worn in India and Pakistan).

The pattern is about as simple as possible, and I left plenty of allowance on the sides to fit it properly. I'll do a mockup in some surplus fabric once I find a nice liner material and see how it looks with my puffy sleeved renfaire shirt.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Planet Comicon in KC

This past weekend I made a brief trip through Planet Comicon, a comicbook convention in Kansas City. I went on Sunday which was much more sparsely attended, but still had a few costumed attendees that were worth photographing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

First experience with leather mask making

This weekend I played shop assistant to a friend, and learned a bit about mask making. You can learn more about shaping leather on a Google search, but here is a picture of the sort of thing you can do.

The basics include cutting out the mask, getting it wet, shaping it on your face, and drying it in an oven on low for a few minutes at a time until it's mostly dry. Acrylic paints did well on the leather. I'll post more when I experiment with it myself.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Did up two quilt squares this morning, don't know what I'll do for the rest of the quilt but so far it's not too complicated. Only sewed a couple things wrong and had to rip it out for restitching.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quest for a Beetlejuice Suit...

Starting in the late 1990's, I wanted a Beetlejuice suit. Around 2000 a friend found for me a PVC Beetlejuice suit that had been made for the fashion show at a gothic convention, and I wore it at a couple of sci-fi cons (was a big hit at the room parties).

The life expectancy of PVC coated fabric is about 10 years. I know this because 10 years later I pulled it out of a closet and saw that the PVC coating was split and badly peeling from the fabric backing. I'd expanded beyond the waistband of the pants anyway, so it was time to search out a new Beetlejuice suit.

A commercial Beetlejuice costume has been available for several years. By suit standards it isn't good, but by costume standards it is great. Unlined, simply sewn, and comfortably fit. For around $50 retail it works well. I got it for Halloween in 2010, and wore it at the 2011 Lawrence Zombie Walk (I'm the organizer, figured it would make me easy to find).

The only changes I made to the suit was to hem the pants about 4" shorter, and swap out the bib shirt and tie for a real shirt and tie. I also added a couple of belt loops so I'd have something to hang my phone holster, watch and keys from (wallet went into the shirt pocket).

I was amazed at the reaction to the costume. I was stopped every 20 feet for a picture during the walk, and people loved interacting with the character. I figured there was no reason to change a good thing, so from now on I'll be Beetlejuice at the zombie walk (like I said, it also makes it easy to find me in a crowd of nearly 1000 people dressed as zombies).

The lack of pockets, generic fit and cheap fabric of the suit bothered me enough that I went to work getting a custom suit made. I'm a decent costumer, but sewing a suit jacket is past my experience level. I found the fabric online (white cotton with black stripes printed on it, $7.50/yd)  and got plenty of yardage. I am having an experienced seamstress do up the pants and jacket, I figure paying her saves me a fortune on the yardage I'd have to order to redo what I messed up.

In December I met with the seamstress to discuss the project specifications, drop off the fabric and a suit jacket that was the right fit for reference. I think she liked my modest expectations since it's not a fitted suit, and I don't care if the pockets are patch pockets (saves her time, which saves me money since she charges by the hour). The pants will also be elastic along the back, in case I go up a few pounds.

In January I did another visit for measurements and a trip to Joannes Fabrics for notions (zipper, buttons, and lining). The whole suit will be lined, which works considering the zombie walk is in October. On Monday I'll be going for my first fitting, so the project is actually coming to life.

Why take so long to get the suit made? I don't need it until August, which means the seamstress can do it in stages, and I have plenty of time to make payments based on the number of hours she works on the suit. There is an old saying about if you want cheap, fast and quality, you can only pick two. I'm picking quality and a reasonable price.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Welcome to My Life

Who is Harold? I'm a hobby baker, a stay at home dad, a costumer, a zombie walk organizer, the parent of kids with special needs, a hobby photographer, a gardener, and all around nice guy.

I'm focusing on many projects at the moment, including but not limited to several costume projects, running the yearly zombie walk (expect over 1000 participants this year), writing a bagel eCookBook, and getting more organized in general.

Sit back and enjoy the ride.