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1  Thor: Dark World Vest in Costumes: Completed Projects by Lothruin on: Today at 01:04:26 PM
I was commissioned to help a guy who looks SO MUCH like Thor make a slightly-extra Thor cosplay based on the Dark World armor, which has a little bit of knot-work look to the design. The guy had a store-bought Thor costume, and other handcrafters made him an actual (very heavy) steel Mjolnir, dragon-scale chain mail for his arms, and hard-leather bracers. I made his vest and cape.

I have never made any cosplay armor pieces before, so I spent a LONG time just THINKING about this stupid thing, and letting anxiety prevent me from starting it. But eventually, I got it done.

And this is what I started with:

First I drafted out a simplified set of shapes for the armor pieces, in layers in Photoshop so I could then enlarge it and print each piece individually at the appropriate size. (For reference, I actually still have this file in PSD format, if anyone were ever interested in my "pattern". It doesn't include everything. There are some hangy-downy bits and a back panel just with belt fastenings. But the basic shapes are there, and it could be made to just about any size.) Then I cut them out of my materials, which were:

Once a month my local Goodwill stores do every item of clothing in the store for $1 each, and that includes leather goods, and on this day, I just basically grabbed everything made of leather in the store. It was $16. It included two leather dusters, both of which had some damage that would prevent them from really being used as coats. I took them apart and of course it was all garment-weight leather, and too thin for this purpose, but a lot of it was not the butter-soft type of leather, but a tougher hide, even though it was still thin. I used that, and folded over, glued down, and stitched most of the edges, and in some cases I also added a second layer of leather, but since most of the pieces were going to overlap other pieces anyway, and there would be multiple layers of leather there, each individual piece was treated differently.

I also bought and took apart an old brass umbrella stand and used that for the brass bits on the front of the vest, and then put the whole thing together with brass rivets from Tandy Leather. I wish I still had a picture of the cape from behind. It's 2 yards of ultrasuede manipulated to drape a certain way, and it turned out great. The sort of pauldron look was accomplished using the BIG foam shoulder pads from the more 80's of the two leather dusters.

And yeah. So there's that. It might be one of my best costumes yet.
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2  Leather Sporran in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by Lothruin on: Today at 08:50:57 AM
I am making a leather knife roll for my husband, who is a chef, and to practice, I made a sporran for a friend of mine using a part of the hide I bought for the knife roll. It was my very first leather project. The leather carving turned out pretty badly, but I also only had two leather-carving tools, and the rest, including the scoring, was entirely improvised.  All in all, the rest of it turned out rather well. I was pleasantly surprised that my hand-sewing skills translated as well as they did. I made the pattern myself after looking at about 7 different tutorials.

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3  Paw Stocking in Knitting: Completed Projects by Lothruin on: Today at 08:23:13 AM
I designed a paw stocking for my sister's puppers. It uses short rows for the toe/paw shaping, instead of working flat and then individually shaping each toe and having to weave in ends, and it works pretty darn slick! Then there's a two-color fulled patch too. I love the way it turned out.

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4  Fingerloop Braiding for Tunics in Weaving: Completed Projects by Lothruin on: February 22, 2018 02:05:28 PM
I've been fascinated with Fingerloop braiding lately. It's a technique I learned sitting in my best friends' bedroom as a tween, making friendship bracelets a NEW way. Little did I know that 2 decades later, I'd be researching this authentic 16th century trim-making technique for ren faire costuming applications. I love that 12 year old me was carrying on a centuries old oral handcrafting tradition without even knowing it.

My kid was a brownie sprite in a local ren faire for a couple of years, and I made most of her costume pieces, and since I could, I decided to weave up some trim for the two tunics, quick like a bunny, and this is how it turned out.

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5  Easy Fancy Cape Tutorial in Costumes: Completed Projects by Lothruin on: February 22, 2018 10:06:14 AM
Some time ago I made a cape for a friend's Little Red Riding Hood costume, but it needed to really use the fabric to it's every advantage, because she couldn't afford to spend too much on yardage. It didn't have to be especially long; in fact it was a sort of Victorian-themed costume, so a shorter cape was appropriate. Here's what I came up with:

This uses exactly 2 yards of 54" wide wool blend suiting material. Below is a diagram, and below that is an explanation of the diagram, which may or may not be self-explanatory.

So. Most wool-blend suiting comes in the approx 60" widths, which are usually closer to 54" to 56". Buy 2 yards, and make sure you get a cut that's as close to the grain as possible, but everything is approximate anyway, so there's wiggle room.

Start by cutting your fabric as long as it is wide. set aside the extra, which should be about 18", and then even up the square, and either deliberately fray all four edges (this is what I did for this example), or hem or fray-check them, or add any edging decorations. From one corner, measure 18" up both connecting sides, then mark an arc from point to point, with an 18" radius. Set this aside for now.

Now, with the bit you cut away: Cut into three even strips. If you can get three strips 6" wide, then great, but it's more likely you'll get 4" or 5" wide with some scrap left over due to evening out the store cut, etc. Sew these strips together into one long strip. Edge them however you want; ribbon edging, frayed, pinked, etc., but keep in mind they will be gathered a LOT. (In fact, you CAN just use 2 strips, really.) As with the other edges, I left mine frayed.

Now, you're going to run two rows of gather stitches equidistant from both edges, and between 1.5" and 2" apart. (So, if you have a 5" strip, run gathering stitches 1.5" in from both edges, leaving a 2" channel down the middle.) Now, this is a little finicky, but you're going to gather these up to slightly different lengths. Lay your strip down so that the center of the strip lays along the arc you marked on your square of fabric, and gather until both ends of your strips butt up flush with the edges of the cape, and the ruffles lay flat in a smooth arc, always with the center of the channel running along the marked arc. Pin well, and sew the gathered strip down along the gather stitches. (Later, if you have patience, you can pull the gather threads out.)

You're basically done. I just folded the point back about 6" and tacked it down, then ran a big ribbon through the gathered channel and tied in front. It's a super quick project if you just need a "plain" cape. It turns out something a little fancy and swishy and ruffly, without even adding any additional decorations. But simple steps to fancy it up even more include running a fancy edging along all the sides, sewing in a lining in the hood part (inside the arc) or just use two squares of fabric to line the whole cape, adding a tassel to the point in back, etc.
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6  Another Coraline, but no other Other Mother in Halloween Costumes by Lothruin on: November 08, 2012 10:54:48 AM
So, I see that another person has already posted a Coraline costume, complete with Other Mother. That was my plan this year, but plans fall apart... My daughter wanted to be a specific look from Coraline, and wanted me to be the corresponding Other Mother look (which is actually by that time the Beldam, I think) but in the spring I had costume pieces to make for the Midwest Haunters Convention, in the summer, I had to make some costume pieces for the Lincoln ZombieFest, in addition to busting butt to help organize it, and in September and October, I made a commissioned piece for a friend's cosplay, in addition to training actors for and supervising in a haunted house. I ran out of time for Other Mother, and my poor kid had to be a lonely Coraline. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, though.

My 9 year old wears a ladies size small, and so I went with a unisex adult PJ pattern, and like the other Coraline-maker, wound up hand-stamping polka dots. (No surprise, note a huge availability on bright orange fabric with pink and white dots.) The PJs came out too big, as you can see, but they're cozy and she gets to play dressup when going to sleep, which she thinks is a lot of fun. She's a stickler for detail, which is why the PJs HAD to have the pink edging, and even though you can't see them under the vest, pale blue buttons. I already owned the quilted vest and the captain's hat, and Kit was very VERY disappointed that I didn't get the red messenger back and red sneaker-covers done. We tried dyeing her hair blue, but it just turned black, so we did end up having to get a blue wig, last minute, which didn't work amazingly well. And she's wearing her own freckles.

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7  Just a Girl Vampire in Halloween Costumes by Lothruin on: October 24, 2010 03:03:43 PM
When my daughter, who turns 8 next month, told me she wanted to be a "girl vampire" I was actually a little disappointed.  Last year she chose Princess Peach, and I never did learn from where the idea came.  How could she go from something as cool as Princess Peach to something as cliche as "girl vampire"?  Woe is me!  But, she isn't a little kid anymore, and that is what she wanted, so that is what we set out to make.  Wherever her idea of "girl vampire" originated, though, must have included pictures, because she was VERY specific about exactly what she wanted.  A black dress with poofy sleeves and red in the center, with a spiderweb on it, and a fake spider.  And a cape with a big collar, of course.

Last year we made Princess Peach out of costume satin, and I swore to the nine hells I would NEVER use that stuff again.  This year when we made our shopping trip to Joann's we headed first to the clearance section, where everything also happened to be 50% off the red-tag price.  And lo, there were roughly 6 yards of black ultrasuede for $3.50/yd.  Who can't find a use for ultrasuede?  Into the cart it went, and I knew I'd be using some of it for Kit's costume.  A bit of red lining material and some of the on-sale Halloween fabric that was sheer with black spiderwebs, some snaps, a spool of ribbon, another spool of black thread (I live in fear of running out of black thread, and actually buy a spool on every trip to the fabric store...) and the well-wishes of the gals at the cutting counter, and off we went for home.

I (*gasp*, I still can't believe I did this, and it WORKED) drafted the pattern for this dress myself.  I took some careful measurements of Kit, and then drew the bodice onto the suede side of the ultrasuede (the dress is made of the "wrong" side of the ultrasuede throughout), folded in half at the center point, then drew on 1/2" of seam allowance and cut it out.  The shape was roughly the same as a tank top I remember from an old issue of Crochet Today, that was made in one piece from back seam to back seam, with the straps sewn together at the top of the shoulder.  It is also fully lined.  I sewed the little red and black bits to the front and hid the raw edges with the ribbon trim, and then sewed the sleeves into the arm holes.  Kit requested that they "flutter" rather than be gathered at the elbow as I originally intended.  So be it.  The skirt is five wedge-shaped panels of ultrasuede, one with the lining/spiderweb sandwich, and then the whole thing is gathered to make it fit the bodice and have everything line up pretty.  Then instead of hemming, I did the ruffle around the bottom.

And holy crap, it worked.  It all worked, and it kept working, and then it worked some more.  I haven't made the cape yet. But that's easy.  Since the ultrasuede is 60" wide, I'm just going to make a circle half-cape with a big collar.  Simple.  I needed a break.

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8  Lolita Legs Fishnets in Knitting: Completed Projects by Lothruin on: June 27, 2010 08:17:00 PM
I got paired with PinkMafia for the Be Awesome Swap.  She lives in Hawaii.  I'm a knitter.  This presents a few difficulties.  I'm lucky enough to also know Pink a little more personally, so I have a pretty good idea of her personality.  I thought, perhaps, she'd be able to use a pair of Knitty's Lolita Legs.  The pattern calls for Elann Esprit, which I had in my stash in grey and pink, but I also had some Cascade Fixation in black, and I chose to go that direction.  It's a cotton/elastic blend, which is great for a warmer climate and a good fit when you're a few thousand miles away from your recipient, but it's also a bit of a trick to work with until you get used to controlling the tension.

I also have never been fond of the lace-up aspect of the Lolita Legs pattern.  The stitch pattern gives the fabric a tendency to twist, and frankly, it is quite flattering on the leg. In order to get the lace-up seam in back,you have to untwist it.  (And also, I'm just really not a fan of the LOOK of the lacing with the net.  On a solid stocking, yes maybe.)  I read up on a few blogs via Ravelry, where they dispensed with the lacing, and made a plan on how to go about it myself.  I knitted the pattern basically as written except that I embraced the spiral, so that by the time I got to the heel shaping, the spiraling of the stitch pattern had given the entire work a quarter turn.  Instead of my original "start point" being the middle-back of the heel, I shifted everything one needle over to give the spiral room to twist on the foot.  This came into play later in the leg as well.  I knitted again as written until I reached the place where the leg is split and knit back and forth.  Again, the work had twisted, and I adjusted the "back" of the work accordingly, and increased two stitches on either side of my new "back seam" mark.  (The pattern calls for yo k2tog, or yo ssk, depending on the row.  On the increase row, immediately before and after the "back" mark, worked two yo k1 instead, effectively creating four new stitches fairly seamlessly within the structure of the pattern.  They're fairly hard to see if you aren't looking for them.)  Then I knit in the original stitch pattern around until they were as long as I wanted them, added three rows of k1 p1 rib, a row of k2tog, yo eyelet, another three rows of k1 p1 and bound off VERY loosely.  (Actually, for these I bound off with a crochet hook about twice the diameter of the size 4 needles I used to knit them.  Worked very well to keep a loose even bind off.)  I hope those mods make sense.  If you have any questions or need clarification, just ask. Cheesy

These are hard to photograph in progress because they don't look like much when they aren't stretched out, and I didn't want to WEAR them before the recipient did.  (I am weird about gifts like that.)  So I was so happy to get these finished pictures from Pink when she received her swap package!

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9  Knitted Kilt Hose in Knitting: Completed Projects by Lothruin on: June 27, 2010 07:59:00 PM
I desperately wanted to knit a pair of kilt hose, and luckily, I have a number of kilt-wearing friends.  One of them is now the proud owner of a pair of hand-knit kilt hose. 

I searched Ravelry for appropriate patterns and sent them to him, then used his favorite.  They're made of Cascade 220 in a heathered grey wool.  The pattern calls for worsted on size 3's, and the cable twists are only 3 rows apart.  This is a DENSE fabric, with TIGHT twists.  The resulting hose are completely awesome, but they are a real pain in the... wrist... to knit!!

On his well-formed calves:

The back shaping:

Some in progress pictures where you can see stuff better.  (He obliged me by taking pictures of himself wearing the hose, but was, unfortunately, doing it alone with only a camera phone.  So you really can't see the detail well in the finished pics.)

And my favorite part... The magic toe!  This was my first pair of toe-up socks, and I am in love with the short row toe!

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10  Re: Be Awesome Swap Gallery! in The Swap Gallery by Lothruin on: June 26, 2010 04:41:42 PM
And now, without further ado, PinkMafia sent me a little (gorgeous!) hat and matching bustle!  They're beautiful and completely AWESOME!  (Is there an Awesome Swap drinking game?  There should be!)  I went ahead and used the opportunity to get all dressed up for pictures, and gave my hubby an opportunity to add more pics to his growing portfolio, too, which made us both quite happy!  But I'll limit my post to the two pics that show the items best. Cheesy  (You all don't really need to see me being melodramatic!)

The bustle looks completely hot with my black corset and crinoline, as you can see!  I'm in love!

And a closer-up of the hat, in all it's coquettish glory!

Thank you SO much, Pink!!
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