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

Bow tie experiment

I have a few different projects that I’m working on at the moment. One of them is learning to make bow ties. I have a few Whovian friends and thought it would make a nice gift for them. So this is my first attempt at a sewing one and I must admit that it turned out rather nicely (especially since I have never tied a bow tie before). I will be trying this in more materials and I’ll probably try a few different patterns. I have one Edwardian bow tie pattern, but thought I’d start with something more modern (and probably easier to tie and shape).

So here is the result:

Bowtie1

Never mind the ruddy hair. ;p

There are lots of patterns and instructions out on the net so I won’t repeat anything anyone else has already said. I used the pattern from this page (but pretty much ignored the instructions). I would say that choosing the correct size is the part that requires the most attention. I cut the fabric on the bias so as to make the bow tie behave better than if it were cut on the grain. The material I used is taffeta, with a cotton-backed fusible interfacing.

I’ll probably get back with some variations, and maybe even my own pattern (or at least tips and tricks for choosing fabrics, laying out pattern pieces, cutting and sewing).

 

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.