Easiest trousers ever

Easiest trousers ever

Need to make a pair of trousers for an upcoming larp? Here is the easiest description of how to do so. Following the instructions you will get a pair of poofy and comfortable trousers.

Materials and measurements

Materials

Materials

  • Fabric (the length of your trousers + the poof + SM)
  • Matching thread
  • Measuring tape
  • Pins + 2 safety pins
  • Chalk/marker
  • Scissors
  • Drawstring or elastic

The amount of fabric required depends on your measurements and how much poof you want the trousers to have. I use 140cm wide fabric which I deem to give enough poof for my taste (my widest part at the hips being just under 100cm). If the fabric is not wide enough you will need to use two leg lengths worth of fabric.

The length of the leg (and fabric) is your desired length for the trousers, plus the amount of poof they should have at the bottom. You should add 10 cm seam allowance (SM) to this. I calculated mine as: 100cm + 10cm +10cm. The 10cm SM is required to make the gathering channels at the top (5cm) and bottom (5cm) of the trousers.

You also need to measure from your waist at the centre back (CB), between your legs and to the centre front (CF) at your waist. A tip is to wear a belt while measuring so that you find the waist a little easier. Trust me, you do not want this to be too tight. This will give you the measurement for the crotch. Divide by half and add the top 5cm SM to this.

How to make them

1. Lay out your fabric, right sides together and folded in half lengthwise. Mark the crotch line on each side. I marked mine as 45 cm long, slightly longer than need be to give more comfort.

markings

2. Pin along the lines and along the folded edge to keep the fabric in place while cutting. Make sure you won’t cut the pins by mistake. Cut out the two pieces on the side and cut open the folded edge. You now have two pieces, two legs. Remove the pins.

cutouts

3. Now take your two safety pins. You will use these to mark the right side of the fabric and CF of both pieces. At the top edge, before moving the pieces, fold over one corner and pin to the right side of the fabric and do the same to the other piece. When you fold it back the safety pins should lay against each other. Now you will always know which side is the right side and where the CF is.

safetypins

4. Take one piece and fold it lengthwise and right sides together. Pin the long open edge and sew this line. Zig zag or overlock any raw edges to keep them from unravelling. Repeat with the other leg piece.

pinnedup

firstseam

5. Now it is time to hem the bottom of the legs. Fold the edge over 1cm and then 2cm and pin in place. Make sure you fold toward the wrong side. Sew as close as possible to the folded up edge but leave a small gap so you can insert drawstring or elastic later.

hemming

The red pins mark the position of the small opening.

6. To join the legs at the crotch turn one of the legs so that the right side is out and place it inside the one that still has the wrong side out. This way the legs will be right side to right side. Match the seams and pin the layers together. The two safety pins that we put in earlier should be facing each other. Sew the crotch seam and again zig zag or overlock to keep edged from fraying. Tip: Reinforce the joining seam in the middle by sewing back and forth a couple of times.

crotchseam1

The finished crotch seam

The finished crotch seam

7. Turn the pants right side out. At this point you can try them on to check the fit. Don’t worry about the overlong legs. I made a little adjustment to the waistline of my trousers: I cut away a little of the fabric from the front because otherwise the trousers would have been too hight there. But the original length was okay in the back.

Adjustment to the waistline

Adjustment to the waistline

Starts to look like trousers!

Starts to look like trousers!

8. Almost there! Take out the safety pins and turn over the top edge 1cm and then again 2cm to create a channel for your drawstring or elastic. Leave a small opening at the front for inserting it.

9. Now you can insert drawstring or elastic into the leg hems and the waist and your trousers are ready to wear.

Ready to wear. Yay!

Ready to wear. Yay!

You could opt to leave out the drawstring at the hem of the trouser legs. That would give you very wide straight trousers, but you would need to adjust the length to be a bit shorter so you don’t trip.

These are the finished trousers. They are made from a slightly sturdier cotton. The fabric was a true bargain, and only cost me 3,60€. With elastic and thread I estimate the total cost of these trousers at around 4€ and they took me about an hour to make. Not bad.

How to sleep comfortably at larps

This upcoming weekend I am going to a medival fantasy larp in Vörå. I will spend two nights in the forest with my fellow larpers. Sleeping at larps has always been kind of an issue for me because I get cold very easily. And for some reason it has taken me a long time to understand how to sleep in the forest without freezing.

So this post will be dedicated to sleeping gear at larps, exempting tents, tarps or the like. I will focus on the blankets etc. that you might be wanting to use. Of course, what you bring with you to sleep in will be dependent on where/how you will sleep.

When I started larping I used too few blankets, had wet feet, got harassed by mosquitoes, had too few blankets again. In the beginning I didn’t have too much money to spend on medieval(ish) camping gear, but over the years I have accumulated some very useful items. My sleeping gear consists of:

  • A camping mattress to isolate from the cold if there will be no other material available. this is easy to disguise with fabric. Sew a bag that fits the mattress. Make it so that you can remove the fabric afterward and wash it.
  • Two sheep skins. These isolate warmth very well and are a wonder to sleep on. But they are a hassle if they get wet and they take up quite a lot of space.
  • Two thick blankets. One is an old army blanket and it is wonderfully warm. The second one is an old blanket I found at our summer cabin. It has been mended many times.
  • For real cold nights I bring a modern sleeping bag that I just cover with my blankets.
  • I also use my cloak as a blanket when I sleep.

Other things to think about when sleeping outdoors:

  • Wear something on your head when you sleep. A lot of body heat escapes through your head some keeping it in is always good. I usually use a long, cotton wrap that I can wrap around my head and neck. It also protects wonderfully against mosquitoes.
  • Dry, warm feet are a true blessing. Keep an extra set of dry socks with you and a pair (or two) of woolen socks to sleep in.
  • Dry clothes to sleep in are a must if there is a chance for rain at the larp.
  • Bring an extra woolen shirt to wear while sleeping on cold weather.
  • It is a good idea to wear many thin layers. Many thin layers give you the opportunity to dress down if you get too hot and preserve warmth better than few thick layers.

Think about where you will sleep: Under bare sky, in a tent or in some kind of building. Some larps require your sleeping gear to look authentic. However, I feel that no matter how historically correct your sleeping gear is required to be it should not hinder you from sleeping comfortably. There are many ways you can sleep more comfortably and only you will know exactly how well you manage in those specific circumstances. Finding out what works for you is a process of trial and error.

Remember: A cold, tired larper is a bad larper. If you can’t sleep because you are cold your day is going to be ruined. So take care when packing for your night(s) out in the forest.

Take care and sleep tight!

//Jo

 

The cost of costumes

So let’s face it: larping is a hobby that can be quite costly. A larp might have a fee or it might be free of charge, but even if there is no fee for attending that larp it will still cost money. There is travel costs, food and of course the clothes and props we choose to wear and bring with us. And larp costumes can become very expensive.

I usually make the clothes I will need for specific larps, but over time I’ve built a wardrobe of some basics and some specifics. Some time ago I had to get rid of some things because they were too small (the things I wore as a teen don’t fit a woman’s body), or too used up. I also got rid of things I had not used in a while and that I deemed I would not be using. As I moved to a smaller apartment I didn’t have room to store everything. Some things I have swapped and some I have donated. I’m not going into detail about what should be in a basic larp wardrobe as that depends so much on the types of larps one frequents. I might make a post about my basic larp wardrobe at some point.

What I am going to talk about is how to get costumes for larps and how to do it as cost-efficiently as possible. Some items you can get for nothing, some items will inevitably cost more. Making a whole new set of larp clothes plus props will always be more expensive than building a well stocked wardrobe over time. Here are some tips for keeping costs down:

  1. Borrow from friends and other larpers. If you need a certain piece of clothing or a certain prop you might be able to borrow it from someone.
  2. Renting might be an option for things you will only use once and that are too expensive or time consuming to make yourself.
  3. Swapping is a good option if you have something you don’t need anymore or that you feel it is time to pass on to someone else. Why not host a swapping party?
  4. Thrift stores and flee markets are great places to find little odds and ends that might be useful to you. The best things I’ve found so far include an old military rucksack and a wooden hat bag. Shoes, cups and containers are other things I usually find often, as well as jewelry and other things that can be taken apart to be used as materials.
  5. Reuse and repurpose things that you already own, or mod them to suit the larp you are going to. There are tons of options for this and only your imagination sets the limit.
  6. Make things instead of buying them ready made. If you have the skill for this or are willing to learn then making things yourself will always be cheaper (albeit more time consuming) than readily made merchandise. This will also assure you have a unique object.
  7. If you need to order items online, check with friends if you could place a shared order. That will keep the shipping a bit cheaper.
  8. Plan your costume in as much detail as possible before buying anything. This will help you to buy only what you need and not end up with a dozen items you won’t use.
  9. Keep an inventory of your larp items, or go through them from time to time to check what you might want to get rid of and what might need maintenance.
  10. Take good care of your clothes and props. Needless to say, they will last longer if you show them a little love.

So that’s it for today. The list can also be found under the page “Wardrobe” and that is also where I’ll update it if/when I come up with something new or one of you readers has any ideas that should be added.

 

/Jo

Concept: Courtesan

These past few days I’ve been fiddling with a possible outfit for a character I might (that is if I get the specific week off of work) play at a Swedish larp this summer. The character is still very much on the drawing desk at the moment but one aspect of her would be the courtesan/companion. I’ve managed to conjure up a dream image of something resembling a belly dancers outfit and tried my best to draw it. Here you go:

Courtesan

I imagine this would be a lovely dark midnight blue silk and chiffon creation with lots of flowing layers. The shawl might be an other color. I didn’t care about adding a lot of jewelry to the drawing since there is already a lot going on in the picture, but it will of course be included in the finished outfit. I’m playing with the thought of wearing some kind of showy headdress to accompany the ensemble. Footwear is something I have not yet thought of, but I imagine some kind of sandals with lacing going up the legs might work.

For cooler nights I would probably wear a warmer skirt over this and a warmer shawl and cloak. I’ll keep working on the design ideas and get back with more detail later. Right now I estimate that the shawl would require 2 meters of chiffon and the rest of the outfit 3-4 meters. I have a piece of silk fabric in my storage that I will probably use as well (unless I decide to go for leather). As for a pattern I think I will end up making most of this outfit without one, simply draping the fabric as I go along. If I manage to take any pictures of the process I’ll make sure to post them along the way.

 

Ta, ta!

/Jo

Upcoming larp and clothing concept

This summer will mark my tenth year as a larper. My first years of larping consisted of going to one larp a year. Then I moved away from home and also started writing my own larps. I’ve lost count of exactly how many larps I’ve been to, some have been bigger and longer than others. A big larp in my association, Eloria, is usually a weekend-larp with 30+ larpers. Eloria is a small association and perhaps a bit isolated. It is the only Swedish-speaking larp association in Finland. Each year about 6-7 larps are played, usually with at least on bigger larp in the summer. This July will see the larp Loc Sacru and will be different from earlier larps in the way thet the venue is in Pukkisaari in Helsinki. Usually Eloria larps have been somewhere in Ostrabothnia where most of the members also live.

I am still not entirely sure exactly what kind of character I’ll be playing, but I’m probably going to be in charge of making the food. This early on I can’t make any definite plans about my clothing but most likely I will sew new clothes. That is because most of my larp clothing consists of dark garments, leather armor or nobility clothing. The things I could use I have probably outgrown. So it’s time to think of something new.

conceptLocSacru

This was a quick concept drawing of what I might make. I was thinking of a simple dress of linen of cotton, and a short-sleeved knee-length tunic to wear over it. I’m going to need to get some new shoes (or learn to make them, which would be an interesting project). I’m also going to need a new belt and some shawl to wrap around my head. I might reuse an old knee-length half circle cloak that I have, but somehow I feel like adding something green or brown to my wardrobe so I might also make a new cloak.

Seems like my project list is growing fast (which only makes me happy). I’ll try to post tutorials and patterns as I make these clothes, but first I should decide on the final design of the outfit.

Mask it!

Here’s a simple project for those of you who need your larp characters to wear masks but want to be able to hide your faces without being too obvious about putting on impractical masks. This is also a great idea for keeping your breath warm during cold weather larping. You can use left over fabric for this project since it doesn’t use more than about 60×20 cm of fabric.

I came up with the pattern after having made a tabard and while cleaning away the remaining scrap pieces of fabric this one piece just struck me to have the right shape for this kind of mask. So after a bit of experimenting this is the tutorial I am presenting you with. You can click the images to enlarge them.

 

halvmask12

 

So let’s get started. Here is what you will need:

halvmask1

Measuring tape, scissors, tailor’s chalk, about 15-20 cm of sturdy fabric (I’m using wool), snap fasteners or string, needle and thread, a sewing machine (or you could sew everything by hand). If you are using a flimsier fabric you might use a sturdier interfacing. You might also opt to line the mask with a thin fabric (wool can be a bit itchy against you skin).

Measure around from the tip of your nose to you neck and back while keeping your head straight. Add 4 cm to that measurement (overlap in back and seam allowance). I got 48+4=52 cm. Then measure from the between your eyes to just under you chin. Here you don’t have to add seam allowance, but if you choose to do so, add 1,5 cm. I got 11 cm and added seam allowance, so 12,5 cm.

Now let’s move on to drawing the pattern:

halvmask2

We are going to draw the pattern directly onto the fabric. If you want to try it with a paper pattern first then go ahead and do so to assure perfect fit.

1. Start by folding your fabric in half.

2. If you have uneven bottom edges or selvage, mark a straight line on the fabric that is half of the first measurement you took (for me 52cm/2= 26 cm). That is the bottom most line in the above picture.

3. Along the folded edge, which will be our CF (center front), mark the second measurement (the height of the mask, for me 12,5 cm).

4. At the end of the bottom line, draw a vertical line, about 3 cm long.

5. Connect the marking from step 3 with the top of the line from step 4.

6. To make the mask fit nicely over the lower part of your face, draw a line to make a V-shape at the folded edge (see the picture). Start about 1/3 (here 4,2 cm) from the bottom line and draw at about a 30 degree angle, slightly curving the line.

7. Pin everything together and cut out the piece. This is what it should look like when you fold it open:

halvmask3

Now we start sewing. I used a wool fabric which is slightly darker on the wrong side, so you can more easily see what I’m doing.

halvmask4

8. Remember that V-shape we cut out at the CF? Fold the fabric, right sides together. Put some pins in the cut edge of the V and sew the cut edges together with about 0,5 cm seam allowance. Open and lightly press the seam open. Then topstitch the seams flat to make them stay in place. It should look like this from the wrong side and right side:

halvmask5 halvmask6

That seam line is the bottom part of the mask, and the third of CF which you did not sew is the top part which sits over your nose.

Now we move on to turning the edges.

9. Start by clipping the corners if you are using a very thick fabric like I am. This will make turning the seams at the corners easier and the result will be smoother.

halvmask7

10. Pin the edges to the wrong side and take spacial care at the corners. Use about 3/4 cm seam allowance or slightly smaller and top stitch all the way around.

halvmask8 halvmask9

halvmask10

Now that’s done all you have to do is sew on the snap fasteners (or which ever other method you choose to use for fastening).

11. One of the snap fasteners will go on the right side of the mask, and the other one will go on the wrong side. Hand sew in place.

halvmask11

Now your mask is done. Hope you enjoy it and find good use for it. Please leave me a comment.

I will probably try to make a similar mask out of leather at some point. When I do I will make a separate post.