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.

No Man’s Land: Pirates

So yesterday we published info on the clothing styles of the pirates of Gokra, on of the player groups at the upcoming larp No Man’s Land. The post can be read in Swedish here. I just wanted to share the consept art for the Gokran clothing.

Gokran pirates

Gokran pirates

 

And that is all for today. On Sunday (24.4.2016) we will publish the concepts for the third and last culture of the larp and I will link you to that post as well. After that I will start working on patterns and instructions for making clothes for that specific larp. The patterns will also work for other larps so I will work on translating everything to English and publishing them here also.

Concept art for No Man’s Land

The work on the lart No Man’s Land (Ingenmansland) is progressing. We held the first workshop for the larp at the beginning of April with great success. Today the first concept pictures for the larp were published. They depict a Delanjan Alchemist, a nobleman and an assassin. The purpose of them is to showcase different styles of clothing worn by different people. The inspiration for the clothing style is a mix of Renaissance and Victorian fashion.

 

The Alchemist

The academic work is very important in Delanja, the search of knowledge seen as something sacred. Academics usually wear long robes as a status symbol for not having to do manual work. This Alchemist wears a yellow ochra dress, a green doublet and a purple robe. The higher her rank the more decorated or richer the fabric would be, probably a heavy brocade. The book is her manual of alchemical formulas and in her left hand she holds a bottle of luminescent liquid.

Delanjan Alchemist

Delanjan Alchemist

 

The Nobleman

The nobleman is dressed in knee long pants and a long-hemmed doublet over a ruffled shirt. He wears a leather chest piece and a short cape. On his chest is a Delanjan crest, and he wields a rapier: Probably in the middle of instructing younger noblemen and -women in the art of fencing.

Delanjan Nobleman

Delanjan Nobleman

 

The Assassin

Spies and assassins in Delanja work at the command of the Queen, but have a lot of leeway. Practical clothing is of key essence, but as usual in Delanja, everything has to be stylish.

Delanjan Assassin

Delanjan Assassin

 

The first two pictures are inked and then coloured on the scetching program on my phone (I decided to try something new). The picture of the assassin is a pencil drawing with some added textures (using GIMP). So a lot of first tries to me.

I will be drawing more concept art for Delanja during the spring as well as other concept art for No Man’s Land. Mor info about Delanjan clothing can be found here (in Swedish).

~Jo

First post in ages… and announcements

Hello crafty larpers!

I have not blogged in a very long time. So sorry about that. But I have exciting news:

Ingenmansland (No-mans land)
This is an upcoming larp for August 2016 that I will be co-writing with two friends. The genre is steampunk-inspired high fantasy and The larp will take place in Ostrabothnia in Finland. I will post more information as the webpage launches. We will also have a blog in Swedish but I will try to repost some of our posts here in English.

The planned series on making latex weapons had to be put on hold because of lack of materials, time and the loss of the workspace. Also. I noticed that the foam I was using was not optimal for the project. I will try to redo the series again at some point, maybe in the summer.

With hopes that you have had a relaxing and bright holiday season, and hopefully will have a happy new year!

/Jo

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

 

Building a foam weapon: Part 1

First of all: This is going to be a tutorial on how to build a foam weapon. It will not be very in depth, but rather a step by step. I will at some point write an article that goes into more detail and finer points of foam weapon building for techniques and tips and tricks. I am not an expert on building foam weapons, only an inspired hobbyist. Also, this is only the way I have learned to build foam weapons, and as I learn and progress my techniques might change. Also, if you build your own foam weapons for larps, make sure to check with the organizer what kind of safety criteria they have for their larp. Moving on:

So today as I got home from work I decided to start building a new foam weapon. I have been wanting a messer for quite some time and thought I would give it ago. After all I already had all the material sitting around (except for latex which I will be ordering soon). I live in an apartment building but I’m lucky to have a hobby room in the basement so that’s where I work when I do any crafting including woodworking and other messy things.

This first part is going to be about designing your weapon, cutting out the core and foam, and gluing everything together. Part two will be on cutting out the shape of the weapon, and part three will deal with applying latex. As I don’t have latex at this point, it will probably be a month or so until I can post that part of the tutorial as I’ll have to order from abroad (unless I manage to get my hands on some by accident).

Boffer1

Here are the things you will need:

  • Pencil and paper to draw your design
  • Some reference pictures of sketches of what you are going for
  • Ruler, preferably a long, sturdy one
  • Scissors
  • Fabric (e.g. cotton twill)
  • Core (I am using a glass fiber core)
  • A saw for cutting the core to the right length
  • Gloves to protect your hands (you do not want glass fiber splinters in your hands, seriously)
  • Foam
  • Utility knives and extra blades (trust me, you’ll need them)
  • Glue (somthing durable which makes a soft seam)
  • Something to apply your glue with (I used a cheap synthetic brush that I threw away after using it)
  • Protection for you work surface

1. Start by deciding on a design for your weapon. I did a Google search for messer and made a quick minisketch of what I wanted to make. I then decided the finished length of the weapon which for me will be around 75 cm. Draw your weapon to be onto paper ( I combined 3 A4 printer papers) in the size it will be once it’s finished. Mark out the placement of the core, the crossguard, handle, pommel etc. Remember to leave enough space at both ends of the core to make the weapon safe (you don’t want that core to ruin your weapon by leaving too little space for it). I always leave a minimum of 10 cm between the tip of the weapon and the core. On my drawing I also marked where the sharpened edges of the weapon will be, as well as where I would place fabric strips to secure the stability of the blade.

Boffer2

2. Cut some 10*10 cm or bigger pieces of fabric, the size can always be trimmed down later on. I use a sturdy cotton twill, the same kind I use for corsets. These pieces will be glued onto your core to ensure stability of the blade, and to make both ends of the weapon safe so the core does not ruin your weapon or end up hurting someone.

Boffer3

3. Also cut rectangular pieces out of your foam. Cut them slightly wider and longer than your actual blade will be. Also cut pieces for you crossguard and pommel. For this messer I will be using 3 layers of foam for the blade and crossguard, and f layers for the pommel (just to give me a bit more room for sculpting). How many layers you will need depends a lot on what kind of foam you use and how thick it is.

Boffer4

4. Now apply glue to you fabric pieces and to the parts of the core where they will go. Wait until the glue is dry to the touch and press the pieces into their places. Make sure they stick securely. Once the glue is dry you can trim them carefully, but make sure to leave a couple of centimeters around the core.

Boffer5

5. Mark out the placement of the core on one of your rectangular blade pieces and cut it out. Do the same with one of the pommel and crossguard pieces.

Boffer6

6. Apply glue to one side of the middle foam piece,the core and one side of the fabric strips. Make sure to get glue on the inside of the cutout you just made. Wait until dry to the touch and attach and press. Repeat with the center pommel piece. Here is what you’ll get:

Boffer7

7. Keep gluing one piece at a time. Don’t use too much glue. I used a bit too much because I had trouble applying it evenly as can bee seen in the picture. For future project I will switch to spray on glue. It’s a bit more expensive but gives a better finish.

Once you have all three layers in place for the blade you can start with the crossguard.

Boffer8

8. As I (fool as I am to try something curved) wanted to make a curved design to the crossguard I cut my crossguard foam rectangles into a bit more shape to make the cutting out that comes later on easier. Then just repeat the process of gluing everything in place and you will get this:

Boffer9

9. Yay, all done! Just kidding. At this stage this doesn’t look like much. But before we can start cutting out the shape of the weapon we need to press it and let the glue dry completely. You can use clamps and a board to press of just a board and some weights.

Boffer10

All in all this took me about 2 hours to make. I could probably have worked faster, but the waiting for the glue to dry ate a lot of time. I suggest you stack up some snacks, something to drink and some nice music to listen to while you work. Or why not work on two projects at once and use all the waiting time to apply glue to the other weapon?

Anyway. that’s it for this tutorial. Stay tuned for part two where we give our foam weapon some shape.

If you want to share your methods for making foam weapons or if you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Ta ta for now!

/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