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.

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

 

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.