Jun 29 2015

Fast and Easy Men’s Medieval Costume

Published by under Miscellaneous

A maiden and a castle

Last weekend my husband and I went to a medieval midsummer’s fair at a winery that is a castle. Medieval attire was “recommended” which meant we were definitely wearing costumes because I love medieval stuff and especially medieval costumes and I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to wear medieval costumes at a CASTLE.

I, of course, had a medieval costume (see above). I have to admit: I did not make it. My mom bought it for me at a renaissance faire when I was in high school. I loved it. I still love it. It makes me feel beautiful whenever I wear it. And yes, I can still fully lace up the corset. Win! 😀

Medieval Men's Costume

Anyhow, my husband did not have a costume. Well, that would not do. I wasn’t going to be in costume and have him not in costume, especially after he actually agreed to wear a costume. So on the Thursday before, I ran to JoAnn’s and I picked up fabric and a pattern. I had planned out several other patterns, but unfortunately, JoAnn’s only had McCall’s on sale and I have issues paying more than $1.99 for any of the big 3 patterns (because why pay more if you know they’re going to go on sale in a week or two). Anyhow, none of the McCall’s costume patterns were very good. I needed something authentic but simple. Guess I was gonna have to wing it.

McCalls 5992

I ended up going with McCall’s 5992 which is actually a pattern for pajamas. I picked it because the top and pants were pretty simple and I was pretty sure I could make it work. Also fortunate was that I was taking a serger class this week. As a result, I was feeling pretty confident on my serger which ended making the costume look significantly more professional and more comfortable and allowed me to make pants in about an hour. More on that latter.

The top

I made the XL but probably should have made the L. I don’t have a lot of in-progress photos because I was kinda in a rush to make this thing. But I cut it out as planned. Unfortunately, the pattern calls for 60” fabric (because it’s intended to be made with fleece) and the stuff I wanted was kona solids. I bought 3 instead of 2 yards.

It wasn’t enough. 😛 

Medieval Men's Costume

So I had to piece together the bottom half to make it long enough (you can see the seam above). Fortunately, the belt that he wore fell at about where the seam was so it wasn’t that noticeable.

Medieval Men's Costume back neck facing

I stitched all the seams with tan thread that I had picked up and then serged them with white. I also serged the edges of the neck facing so they would lay flat and be clean.

Medieval Men's Costume front neck facing

I made a facing from the front and back patterns, just cutting out the area around the neck, making the front facing extra long so I could do a V cut. Then, rather than stitching on neck binding, I just sewed the facing to the neckline. When I got to the center front, I sewed in a deep V. Trimmed the seam allowances. Flipped it inside out and there you go.

Medieval Men's Costume neck tie

I added grommets using on of these tools and laced it with some leather lace I had picked up at JoAnn’s.

Medieval Men's Costume shirt trim

Finally I trimmed the sleeves and bottom with some pretty trim that coordinated with my costume. I did this by folding the edges up to the outside and then laying the trim over it so the edge of the trim lined up with the fold. This did double duty of finishing the edge and sealing off the raw edge. On the bottom of the shirt, I cheated a little. I didn’t flip the edge up up because I had made the selvedge the bottom edge of the shirt so I just lined it up with that. No folding needed.

Medieval Men's Costume arm cuff

The leftover trim I tied around his waist as a belt. Voila!

Medieval Men's Costume  shirt

The neck opening was a little big for him (it is a pajama pattern after all) so we found him a reasonable white shirt to wear underneath as you can see in the top photo. I’ll make him a better shirt to go under it eventually.

The pants

After I finished the top, hubby was happy with it, but didn’t have any pants that looked good. We tried jeans, cargo, but they were way too modern. I said I would figure something out.

So the next day before we left for the trip, I ran home and made him some pants in an hour. Yes, it took me just under an hour from cutting the fabric to finishing the hem. The only thing I didn’t get to finish was the elastic which I threaded through in the car.

Medieval Men's Costume wasit band

I had bought the fabric the day before expecting to have time to make it on Thursday but obviously I didn’t. I cut out the large since the XL had been big on him. This ended up fitting pretty well. I wanted to add pockets, but I opted for speed rather than convenience. Besides, I would give him a little pouch.

The pants were pretty straight forward. I serged all the seams — fast and clean — and plus I had all these cool new tricks from serger class for how to nicely finish off edges.

Medieval Men's Costume cuff

But basically: stitch the inside seams. Stitch the crotch seam. Stitch the outside seams. Serge the leg openings. Serge the waist top. Press the waist down. Press the leg hems up. Stitch hems and waist with a conventional machine leaving an opening for elastic. Ta da!

The pouch

Hand sewn purse closed

Since I had neglected to put in pockets into the pants, we needed something to carry phone and wallet in (because my costume certainly did not have any where to put anything — someday I’ll make an overskirt that has pockets). We had a long drive, so I hand sewed (SO AUTHENTIC) a pouch that could be slipped on the belt. Pretty simple, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It really does look reasonably period (if you ignore the elastic and plastic button) and worked great.

Hand sewn purse

Hand sewn purse back and belt attachment

So that was how I modified a men’s pajama pattern into a men’s medieval pattern in only 4 hours (not counting the purse).

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Jun 25 2015

A zipper bag for workshops

Published by under Sewing

Zipper bag

This is just a fun project I decided to share. I needed a little zipper bag to organize some of my dance stuff (ballet shoes, knee pads, snacks, etc) that I use less frequently in my dance bag so they weren’t floating around making it hard to find the things I do use frequently.

I had these two coordinating fat quarters lying around so I made one of my Doo Wa Ditty Bags but a bit bigger. Essentially each side is just a fat quarter cut in half so it’s a bit longer than the ones in the tutorial.

Inside of zipper bag

So far it’s doing its job nicely!

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Jun 17 2015

A flower quilt for my grandmother

Published by under Quilting

Grandma Flower Quilt Closeup

Remember I told you I’d show you what I made out of the extra apron fabric? Well, here it is — a quilt for my grandmother.

Grandma Flower Quilt

Look at my mom’s cute little toes sticking out as she models this for me :)

Grandma Flower Quilt Closeup

This probably the scrappiest quilt that I’ve made to date. Everything is scraps from the apron that I made my mom except for the yellow (which is also the backing fabric and the green sashing).


I designed it myself based on how much fabric I had left over and used almost every little bit. The original design is above. Obviously it ended up turning out slightly different based on how much of each fabric I had (I didn’t have enough of the pink flowers to do the sashing with it). And most of the squares actually ended up being pieced together.

Grandma Flower Quilt Closeup

But all in all, I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Grandma Flower Quilt Ruffle Closeup

Oh, the other part which I ended up buying was the fabric for the ruffle. When I got to the end and was ready to bind it off, I felt it needed it something more. Thanks to the internet and eBay I was able to find a stripe fabric from the original (and now out of print) Ginger Blossom fabric line. I love using stripes for ruffles and edging. I really think this was the icing on the cake for this quilt and I love how it turned out.

Grandma Flower Quilt Ruffle Closeup

I longarm quilted it at the first place I was doing longarm quilting before they stopped offering rentals. It was my first successful “real” quilt (as opposed to a baby or practice quilt). It’s mostly just meandering but in the squares I also did flowers and some words that related to my grandmother and things we share like “dance” and “love.”

Grandma Flower Quilt Closeup

Needless to say, she loves it :)

Flower quilt

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Jun 09 2015

Some teasers for now

Published by under Quilting,Sewing

Pressed quilt tops

Just a couple of quick updates. I have been quilting along and working on a variety of items. Above are a couple of quilt tops that are pressed and waiting to be longarm quilted. They’re quilted now and I just need to add the binding.
Below is the neon quilt which is SO close to being finished. I really just need an hour or so more before the quilting is done and I can do the binding. Now if I can just find that hour . . .
Neon quilt progress!

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Jun 02 2015

April O’Neil Cosplay Prop Construction

Published by under Cosplay,Crafts

April O'Neil and Shredder

What is April without her Turtle Communicator to call the Turtles for help?

Two weekends ago I went to Fanime Con 2015 as April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Check out the earlier post here for more fun pictures like those above with cosplayer David Volko as Shredder. In this post, I talked about the sewing aspect of the construction. In this post I’ll talk about how I made some of the props for my April costume.


Of course I had to have one! I did some searches on the internet and you can get one of the retro ones that they used to sell as toys for anywhere from $20 to $100 on ebay. This was a bit much for my taste.


Fortunately, some internet searching turned up this adorable turtle tackle box at the much more reasonable price of $4.


I measured the inside area and cut out some shapes that looked about right on my Silhouette out of brown vinyl. The reason for doing this was two fold: 1) to give a base for my sticker and 2) if I screwed up my sticker (or the vinyl shape), the vinyl removes easily.


Fortunately I did pretty well on getting the shape of the inside part and my vinyl cutouts fit nearly perfectly.


I shrunk down the shape and filled it with designs similar to this image I found on Turtlepedia. I did all the designs by hand in the Silhouette program (as opposed to overlaying on the image and tracing) and I think I did a reasonable representation.

April O'Neil and Shredder

The other props that April had were a watch, a belt that I painted the buckle gold with nail polish, white boots, her microphone and the wig, expertly cut by Pocky Princess Darcy.

The white boots were actually thigh high boots that I tucked the top half into and the microphone was one that I added a windscreen to. I chopped the box the microphone came in so that I just had a cube part, covered it in white sticker paper that I had printed a red 6 on and then jammed the microphone through it. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Technically April should have a camera bag at her back left, but I forgot about that the day of. Next time! Most of the pictures were from the front anyhow, so I don’t see it as any great loss.

April O'Neil Cosplay Bag

I think that’s about it. I had extra fabric so I made a bag to keep all the parts of my costume in.

I leave you with this fun animated gif :)


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May 31 2015

April O’Neil Cosplay Costume Creation

Published by under Cosplay,Sewing


Last weekend I went to Fanime Con 2015 as April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Check out the earlier post here for more fun pictures like those above with cosplayer David Volko as Shredder. In this post I’m going to talk about the construction of the costume since it was one of the more complicated — and fun! — sewing projects that I’ve ever done.

I wasn’t going to be designing this costume from scratch so I searched for a jumpsuit pattern that would be a good starting point. I came upon Simplicity 7310, a vintage 70’s pattern that I got used from a seller on Etsy. 

April O'Neil Cosplay Simplicity 7310

I went by the measurements on the package and hoped for the best since patterns from back then only came in one size and not multi-sized like they do now. Fortunately, they also seem to be more true to size back then. Also, the pattern was missing two pieces. One I didn’t need and the other was a facing that I was able to redraft from the back piece.

April O'Neil Cosplay Muslin

Before I officially agreed to do this cosplay, I wanted to make sure it was feasible by making a muslin of the pattern. I stitched up the body part (because I could always shorten the legs) and tested out making the back a separate piece since I’d need to split it out to do the yoke. You can see where I made the seam line markings on the muslin. It fit pretty well so the next step was ordering fabric. 

April O'Neil Cosplay Muslin

I placed an order for enough fabric in several different shades and weights from fabric.com. Well, when I finally got the shipping notice (several days later) there was no way it was going to arrive in time for me to work on the costume during the main weekend I had available for sewing it. So my friends and I took a trip to one of those fabric warehouses where I found this polyester fabric that I ultimately made it in.

April O'Neil Cosplay

I was a little worried because the fabrics I had ordered all had stretch in them and this one did not. It turned out fine and I think sewing the stretch fabric actually might have driven me up the wall. This polyester fabric turned out to be super easy to sew and pressed beautifully which really contributed to the enjoyment of the making process. And since I had sized the pattern correctly, the resulting costume had plenty of give. Plus I think this polyester is more true to fact of what such a jumpsuit would actually be made of.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Alright, let’s get to some sewing! I’m only highlighting the interesting parts and where I deviated from the pattern itself which I mostly followed.

Back Yoke

April O'Neil Costume Creation

The biggest deviation was adding a yoke to the back. I had already split the back into two pieces — a top half and bottom half — when I made the muslin. Now I needed to split the top half into a yoke and bottom. I traced out the shape I wanted and redrafted my back pattern. Then I redrafted the top half of that to give me the sides and the pleat you see above.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

First I pressed the pleat sides in and top stitched along those pressed edges.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Then I stitched the pleat to either side of the top half of the back.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Finished stitching.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Here’s the back laid out. I stay stitched the curved edge and clipped it so that I could sew it together nicely. This also held down the pleat.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Lots of pins to get the stay stitch seams to line up.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

And the curved seam after pressing. It wasn’t laying quite as flat as I’d like so I added some top stitching.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

After topstitching. You can see the seam allowances through the fabric. I know. If I had more time or if I had sewn this before, I would have serged them, but I wanted to keep them in case I had to rip any seams out and had to make it smaller or larger.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Some top stitching close up.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

And here’s the whole back piece. Now we’re back to the normal instructions since this is the shape of the original back piece.

April O'Neil Cosplay Detail

Front Patch Pockets

April O'Neil Costume Creation

The next item of interest is the front chest patch pockets. All the pockets on this costume are real functioning pockets — several of which I used on the day of. For these I did actually tack them down because the flaps were, well, flapping. If I had had more time I would have added velcro to them.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

I used the existing patch pocket pattern piece from the original pattern.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

But as you can see the flap was too big for April’s look.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

This was my first attempt as shrinking the flap. It did not work out so well. Too rounded although the width was a win.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

So I drafted a new flap using my desired width and giving it a slight curl.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

And finally, placement. I actually sewed one on first and then tried it on. Bad idea. I had to rip the whole thing off because it was way low. So on round two, I put the jumpsuit on and then pinned them to me in approximately the right spots and then evened them out. Then I stitched around them twice since the cartoon has extra thick lines there.

April O'Neil Cosplay Detail

Side Cargo Pockets

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Not on the original pattern were cargo pockets on the side. I looked at a number of tutorials online about how to sew cargo pockets and this was what I came up with.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

I sewed the corners. Then I top stitched the edges. Then I top stitched to sew it down for the final pockets.

April O'Neil Cosplay Detail

Faux Seams

April O'Neil Costume Creation

One thing which April’s jumpsuit has is way more seams than this one. Actually, correction: it just has seams in different places. The front ones are the most noticeable ones and they had to be there. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to redraft the legs which is the Right (TM) way to do that. Instead I fudged it a little. I added faux seams on the front and back of the legs and highlighted them with top stitching and then left the side seams on the legs un-top stitched to draw attention away from them.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

I made the faux seams by doing a little pin tuck to the inside.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Then I pressed it to the side (all faux seams were pressed towards the center) and top stitched along that tiny seam allowance. Pretty happy with how it turned out.

April O'Neil Cosplay Detail

Miscellaneous Details

And now for a couple of extra details that I only have a picture here and there.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

First was the knee patches. This one took two iterations as well as the first try was too skinny. But we got it on the second try. Se above for the finished look.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

The next were were April’s weirdly triangular hip pockets. For these I started with the original pockets from the pattern and then traced out the bottom curve. I also had to bring the top to a point instead of squaring it off. I top stitched the bottom edges to the pants, so again they were small, but functional pockets. I lined up the long edge top stitching with the leg seam so it seemed continuous since they if I had redrafted this, they would have been in that seam. Probably. 

April O'Neil Cosplay Detail

Finally, as you can see in the reference pictures from the last post, April seems to have some D-rings on the side. No idea what she ever uses those for, but there you go. Added those, too.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

Finally, a couple of close up shots of the cuff. Nothing really special here. For this I followed the directions of the original pattern. I didn’t add the button because I was going to be rolling them up. But I did do a faux french seam on the inner arm seam since that was going to be visible when I rolled it up and this fabric was fraying like crazy.

April O'Neil Costume Creation

What I didn’t do

There are a couple of details to April’s costume that I would have liked to do but ultimately decided were unnecessary. Namely, the redrafting of the legs and her back zipper pocket. But given that the zipper pocket only appears in some episodes (not sure if it’s the early or late ones), I decided to take artistic liberties.

April O'Neil and Shredder

April can be spunky when she wants to.

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May 29 2015

April O’Neil Cosplay at Fanime 2015

Published by under Cosplay

April O'Neil Cosplay

I finally did my first cosplay! As April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

April O'Neil and Shredder

Cosplay was something I’d been wanting to try because it combines my love of sewing with my love of dressing up. My friend and experienced cosplayer David Volko was going to FanimeCon. Knowing that I had expressed interest in cosplay, he told me his group was dressing up as the Turtles and he was going as Shredder so they could totally use an April. I said I’d be willing to give it a try. This seemed like a reasonable one without too many complicated pieces. I grew up watching April on TMNT in the mornings while eating cereal before school and I’ve always liked her character despite the fact that the only purpose she serves in the cartoon is someone for the Turtles to save. But at least she was spunky. :)

April O'Neil Cosplay

Here’s a look at the costume. I’m really happy with how it turned out in the end! I think I make a decent April. And below are some of the screens grabs from episodes that I used as reference:


This was my first time going to a Cosplay convention (well, since the only other time when I was 10 or so and my parents took me to something that was sorta a fan convention but also just sorta weird). It was a ton of fun. I loved seeing everyone dressed up. Some people really went all out on some crazy costumes. Costumes ranged from classic 80’s like me and Jem below to modern day League of Legends to anime characters, of course, although most of those I didn’t recognize since I’ve only seen bits of anime here and there.

Here are some photos from the day.

April O'Neil and Jem: The 80's

Love this chick’s Jem outfit. Microphone ladies unite!

April O'Neil gets interviewed

The reporter got interviewed! This guy liked my outfit and asked me a few questions.

April Interviews a Corgi

I interviewed an adorable corgi. Because corgis are awesome.

April O'Neil and Shredder

And my friend and I had fun doing photos. It was fun to play with some of my old acting skills :)

Fanime 2015 Group

We also grabbed some photos with the whole group that I went with, good guys vs. bad guys style. In addition to April and Shredder, Samurai Kiss (left) went as Sasami and Pocky Princess Darcy went as Pixy Misa, both from Magical Girl Pretty Sammy.

Over the next couple of posts I’ll show details on how I made my costume from a modified 70’s jumpsuit pattern and toss in a couple more photos of April and Shredder for kicks.

April O'Neil and Shredder hanging out

April and Shredder hanging out, like they do.

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May 26 2015

Longarm quilting class

Published by under Quilting

Longarm sample

So a while ago, I took a longarm certification class. I made 2 quilts there (yes, I haven’t posted them yet, but I will) not including the 2 tiny practice ones. And when I went in the last time to take a step up to a bigger quilt, I had a horrible time of it. The thread kept breaking. I was dealing with a lot personally so after 3 hours or so of frustration, I gave up and figured I would come back later when I was in a better state of mind.

Well, by the time I decided to do so, it turned out the old place was no longer doing longarm rentals. Fortunately, there’s another store in the area that does do them. So I signed up to do their class. It actually took a few months to get in because they fill up fast!

 But this place is great! They provide everything and they’re really there to make sure things don’t go wrong and to help you out every step of the way. And the people are all so super nice at this place that I just love going there and supporting them. Oh, and they also have 3! machines you can rent! 

Longarm quilting sample

During the class we got to try things out on a non-stitch regulated machine. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be to keep the needle moving at a reasonable pace. This is good to know in case that ends up being the machine I end up renting at some point. The first design we tried was loops.

Longarm quilting sample

The second design we practiced was stippling or meandering. There were 6 people total in the class. Two of them were these two ladies who came together and were just too funny. I would take a quilting class with them any day!

Longarm sample

The third design was done using a pantograph design and controlling it from the back of the machine so you could trace the picture. This was an interesting idea and maybe at some point I’ll use it if I have a very thematic quilt, but in general I like to just freehand and be creative with it.

Longarm sample

And finally we were told to let loose and do whatever we wanted for the last practice set. I had wanted to try paisley so I did. I’m not thrilled with how it turned out. It’s fine, but now that I’ve re-read some of my books, I think I could do better.

All in all, it was a great class. I’ve already quilted 2 quilts there (posts coming up) and it was a blast. I’m going to try to make sure I have a date on the calendar, ideally once a month. I find the longarm quilting so therapeutic because you just get in this zen mode when you’re quilting and creating. So, even if I don’t have a quilt top, I can always do some whole cloth quilts with maybe some contrasting thread.

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May 25 2015

So much has happened!

Published by under Food

Wow, I did not mean to go a whole month without posting. It’s not that I haven’t done anything. On the contrary, it’s that I’ve done so much! So much to tell you. So I’ve got several posts coming up. But for now I leave you with this picture of a root beer macaron that I made. Yes, it was delicious. :)

Root beer float macaron

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Apr 22 2015

Glam Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons

Published by under Sewing

Coco dress

We will get back to the neon quilt — it’s almost done! But in the mean time, here’s another little item I made.

This is the Coco dress from Tilly and the Buttons. I love this pattern. It’s super simple and just comes together nicely. The fabric I made it out of is a little more drapey than they recommend (they recommend something stiffer like knit ponte), but I love how it came out.

It may be hard to tell but this is kinda mossy brown that has a gold shimmer on it. It’s great because it makes this an easy glam dress that I can just toss on. That being said, I’m excited to try this pattern in a more structured knit. Maybe something fun for summer. I also want to try a sleeveless version.

Also, I love the standing collar. It just gives it this retro feel that is super cool. Anyhow, that’s my Coco dress.

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