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Topic: Tutorial: How to pattern foam costumes  (Read 25884 times)
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desm88
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2009 06:33:23 AM »

this is a fantastic tutorial! thanks so much for sharing, Ludi Smiley
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Ludi
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« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2009 05:49:16 PM »

Thanks for all the nice comments!


I added upper and lower palettes of foam to the head to help define the shape of the muzzle and provide a mouth interior.



Covering with fleece:

I used polar fleece fabric to cover the Blue Whale.  You can also use faux fur, or any other fabric you want.  I prefer fleece because it is so pleasant to handle, and makes relatively invisible seams.  The Zebra is "plush" short pile synthetic faux fur, which is also pleasant to use.

We learned on the Blue Whale that sometimes the "facets" of the foam shapes show through as hard lines under the fleece, so to avoid this and make a smoother shape, cover the costume first with a layer of poly batting.  I didn't have time to do it on the Whale, so he's a little lumpy. Sad  If you're making a small shape and/or you can tell the facets won't show through, you might not have to do this.

I used the palette patterns to cut shapes from pink fleece for the mouth interior, and sewed them to the foam with matching thread.    For a costume in which the wearer sees through the mouth, you need to make sure there's enough of an opening at the back of the mouth to see through, and cover it with dark netting so the wearer isn't visible.



Sometimes it's better to finish the mouth interior last, so you can get inside the head easily.

Then drape the costume with fleece, and pin it in place.  You can make a muslin pattern if you want, but I find it easier and faster to drape directly on the object, cutting and fitting the fabric on the shapes.  This can be wasteful of fleece, though.  I try to conceal seams in anatomical features, if possible.  Don't pull the fleece too tight around the shapes because it can distort the foam, just smooth it over the contours.

I leave extra around the mouth to fit around the lips.




Carefully pin down and trim. You'll get the smoothest seam if you trim the fabric so the edges just meet.




Sew seams using small even stitches.  I use automotive upholstery thread for most costume projects.  I'm using regular thread for this little guy.




Depending on how fussy you are, you can get the seam to almost disappear by teasing the fibers with a pin.





Here's the head with the basic covering.  I made a tongue from fleece also:




More in the next day or two about detailing.





« Last Edit: October 27, 2009 05:51:04 PM by Ludi » THIS ROCKS   Logged

Ludi
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2009 06:31:18 PM »

I sewed some eyelids and nostrils on the little guy, using crescent-shapes cut from fleece.  For a larger sculpture you might need to make foam shapes to cover.  For a larger creature I would definitely turn the edge of the eyelid so the cut edge doesn't show.  These are glass taxidermy eyes. You can make eyes from any spheres or half-spheres - on the Whale we used plastic half-spheres used for home-made Christmas ornaments, I think.  Ping pong balls are a fine traditional choice for creature eyes.



You can add skin texture and wrinkles by quilting the fleece down to the foam.  Here I've added a few spots using applique.  You can also paint the fleece with an airbrush, but I prefer the look of the clean fleece.  You can spend the rest of your life adding details with quilting and whatnot.  I've decided to just do this little bit to give an idea of a couple techniques.  He's going to be toothless after all!



Ok, next Halloween I expect to see a lot of fabulous foam-sculpted costumes posted by you all!   Grin
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RedMenace
« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2009 07:59:50 PM »

Thank you so much for the fantastic tutorial... I can't wait to try this out! Cheesy
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Grave_13
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2009 12:21:03 PM »

Awesome tutorial!
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Ludi
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« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2009 10:26:34 AM »

Looking forward to seeing your projects!  Cheesy
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librarylolita
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2010 07:10:36 AM »

Thank you for the awesome tutorial.

Do you think it would be possible to smooth the "facets" out by shaving them down with an electric turkey cutter?  That's what they used at Joanns to cut a panel of foam for me.

I love the quilted details on the underside of the whale.  Is it being held up with any kind of harness?
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« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2010 05:37:20 PM »

The whale had an aluminum armature inside with pieces that rested on the wearer's shoulders like a backpack.

Re: carving the facets with a turkey cutter - I think there might be problems because of the adhesive holding the pieces together - it would likely gum up the knife.  Maybe worth doing a test though.  Smiley
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librarylolita
« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2010 10:32:18 AM »

Re: carving the facets with a turkey cutter - I think there might be problems because of the adhesive holding the pieces together - it would likely gum up the knife.  Maybe worth doing a test though.  Smiley

Well, if I can get a hold of a turkey cutter, I'll do a test run.  Thanks again for the tutorial!!
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Mrs Tumble
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2010 09:13:30 AM »

Thank you SO much for shareing, this is fascinating. I'm going to have to have a try now  Cheesy
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