Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mikasa SNK Harness Tutorial Part One

I am in the process of making a harness for my Mikasa Ackerman Attack on Titan (SNK) cosplay.  Part one of the tutorial will show you how to measure and make the straps you will need.  Part two will be assembly (currently working on that).

First, sketch it out.  Below is a good reference image, and my sketch.  My sketch is exactly the reference image, however going through sketching it made it make a little more sense, so I recommend it.

Once you've done your sketch, you should have an idea of how many straps you want.  Now comes measurement.  Using your sketch as a guide, measure where each strap will go and mark your measurements next to the coordinating strap.

Sorry for the crappy image here.  But hopefully you get the gist.  Now, some of the straps are thinner.  My blue strap (per sketch), yellow strap, and the two thigh straps I decided to make 1", and everything else 2".  Choose your fabric wisely.  I chose a dark brown suede fabric that I got dirt cheap at a Hancock sale.  The width will need to be multiplied by 4.  For example, for your 1" straps, the width should be 4".  Your 2" strap, the width should be 8".  Measure everything, and use a ruler!  I highly recommend getting a yard stick for this.  Add 4" to each of your length measurements, just in case you messed up the measurement.  Measure and cut your fabric.

Next, you are going to make these strips into bias tape.  If you don't know what that is, google it, or buy some and look at it, so you have an idea of what this next step entails.  First, fold a strip in half lengthwise, and press.  I recommend pinning since these strips are so long.

After pressing the entire length, unfold.  Then, fold in one side to the fold line and pin.  Press.

Repeat on other side.

Fold together at original fold.

Do this to all of the strips.  It's super time consuming, but very necessary.  After you've done this, it's time to sew them into strips!  This next bit is very complicated, and I don't trust my way with words, so at the end of the blog is a video to help if the explanation here confuses you.

First, unfold original fold so that you can see the two sides folded in.  Flip over.

What you see is the right side of the fabric.  This is the part you want to show.  At the ends, pin with right sides together.

Sew, using a 1/4" seam allowance (or more if you need).

 Next, use pinking shears (I think that's what they're called) to trim the edge with a zigzag pattern to keep it from unraveling.

Turn right side out and push out the corner (I used a mechanical pencil to do this bit).

Repeat on other end.  Now, it's time to sew the strip closed along its length.  I recommend doing this next part on the open side first, then the folded side.  On my 1" pieces, I used 1/8" for the hem.  On my 2" pieces, I used a 1/4" hem.  Starting at one end, sew the entire length of your strip.  Repeat on other side.

And that's all there is to making your straps!  This is the easy bit.  Part two, assembly, is much more difficult.  You should now have a pile of finished straps.

And, as promised, a link to a 5 minute video showing you how to sew the straps, since wording it was a bit difficult.


Until next time, keep cosplaying!  Any questions, comments, or request, leave them below!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Predator Body DIY

I have this very annoying allergy... I'm allergic to latex.  In small doses, I swell locally and get a painful rash.  In large doses, I've yet to find out.  Generally, a predator body is made out of latex.  This wasn't going to work for me.  Next option would be to paint it on.  The problem with that is who is going to paint me??  I'm very artistic, and my boyfriend is sort of artistic.  But he can't paint.  Therefore, I went with a third, less appealing option: paint clothing.  I got some tan/flesh colored legging type pants, and spaghetti strap shirt.  Unfortunately I did not take a picture of them before painting.  Get yourself a stock photo to copy from.  I used these:

 Make sure you have pictures from all angles.  I sort of mixed the first two pictures with my sketch.  Get yourself some cardboard (they sell Tshirt form cardboard at craft stores) and some fabric paint.  I painted half the shirt first to see if it would work.  When it did, I painted the other half.  If you are not a painter, you may want to get help for this.  There is blending and painted technique necessary.  I'm not much of a painter, but I figure with all the armor on, hopefully my mistakes won't be too obvious.

Once I had the front painted, I painted the back.  Anything that is going to be covered in armor does not need to be painted, that's why there are non painted portions of the shirt.

Next, I painted the leggings.  I made a duct tape dummy of my legs.  Basically, wrap yourself in duct tape (use plastic or old clothing as a barrier) being careful not to pull too tight or you'll be lumpy.  Cut yourself out, tape seams, and stuff.  It's probably easier if you have help.  I did not.  Paint legs.

I painted more than what is shown here, simply forgot to take a picture.  Sorry loves.   And here is the finished product:

 Not as good as painted skin or a latex suit, but you do what you can.  Hopefully it looks amazing once put together with the armor and helmet.

Until next time, keep cosplaying!  Any questions, comments, or request, leave them below!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

DIY TWD Carol knife sheath

This is a sort of supplemental project to go with the Carol knife.  Once you've made your knife, you need a sheath to wear it!  So that's this DIY blog entry.  The sheath!

First, take your finished knife and put it on some newspaper, tracing paper, or whatever paper you use to make patterns with.  I used newspaper.  Then, trace out the back of the sheath.  This will extend most of the way up your knife, tip to handle.  Use a reference image!  You can trace it exactly, then add seam allowance, or trace it with seam allowance.  If you are a newbie sewer, seam allowance is the extra fabric added to a pattern for connecting the pieces.  Newbies, give yourself a lot of seam allowance, like 5/8".  Non-newbs, go with 1/4".  I used a dark brown suede material for my sheath.

Cut out.  This is your back piece.  For the front piece, put the paper on top of your knife and trace.

These are your pattern.  Keep these pieces after you make your sheath.  If the sheath is ever damaged, or you find better material, or if you just mess up the first time around, you will have a pattern to work from.  Next, cut out your fabric.  You will need to cut 2 of the fabric for each pattern piece, and you will need to cut one interfacing (I used stabilizer) for the back piece.  When cutting the fabric, I recommend folding the material in half, and double cutting like that.  If you don't, you will need to flip your pattern for the second piece.  This will hopefully make sense later.

Check time: You should have 2 fabric back pieces, 2 fabric front pieces, and 1 interfacing back piece.  Okay, next step.  Iron on the interfacing to the WRONG side of the fabric of one of the back pieces.  I chose the back piece that will be against the knife, but it really doesn't matter.  Follow the directions that come with your interfacing.

Now, with RIGHT sides together, line up your pattern.  This is why you need to cut the fabric folded or flip your pattern.  If you don't, your pieces won't line up correctly.  You are now going to sew your pieces together, using the seam allowance you gave yourself.  If you went with 1/4" like I did, then make sure your sewing is 1/4" from the edge.  Don't forget to back stitch so you don't have to tie your threads.  If you don't know what this is, google it or ask.

Trim (if needed) and clip curves (no picture, sorry!).  Then, you are going to turn your pieces right side out and press them.

Now, you need to cut the piece that your belt loop will slide through.  Decide what thickness you want.  Then double that.  I decided I wanted 1/2".  So that makes 1" when doubles.  Now, add seam allowance to BOTH SIDES, which brings the measurement to 1 1/2".  This is your width.  Then, decide how long you want it.  I didn't measure this, I just cut until it looked about right.  If you have a specific belt you are using, you may want to measure this, then add seam allowance to both sides.  You only need 1 piece cut from the fabric.  With RIGHT sides together, fold in half lengthwise and stitch.  Turn right side out and press.

Now, attach to the back piece.  Fold over the top to your seam allowance and stitch.  Repeat for bottom.

Make sure you add the belt loop BEFORE you sew the top and bottom pieces together.  Once added, fold your top raw edge on both pieces in, then sew.  Basically, you want to trap the raw edges within your piece so they don't straggle.

I actually messed mine up a little, but I'm not really worried since it mostly isn't going to be seen.  Now, you are going to attach your two pieces.  Make sure the back piece is attached to the front with the belt loop on the exposed side (unless you plan on flipping it insides out, which I do not suggest).  Sew together.

I actually found it easier to stitch one side, put the needle down into the fabric, lift foot, spin fabric and line up, then put foot down and stitch other side.  But do what works for you.  And we are finished!  Test it out to make sure the knife fits in it, and that it fits on your belt.

Comments, questions, or request please leave in the comment section below.
Until next time, keep cosplaying!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DIY Carol Season 4 Knife

Hello my lovelies!  Since I pretty much have a Carol cosplay put together (thanks to my amazing bf for buying me a wig!), I decided I need to have the knife as well.  I want it to be Con and kid friendly, so just buying the real one was out.  Therefore, my very first adventure into expanding foam!

First, you need a schematic of her knife.

This will give you all the measurements so you can sketch out a template.  Just use regular computer paper, or sketch paper.  Make sure you measure everything!

Cut out your template.  Then, use it to cut out a template from cardboard.  From doing this, I learned that your template needs to be smaller overall, with the holes for your fingers bigger.  This is to allow for the growth you encounter later using foam and tape.

Next, get some expanding foam.  I got some cheap stuff at Lowes.  It doesn't have to be fancy.

Make sure you read and follow all of the directions on the back of the can.  Use PPE!  Work in a well ventilated room or you will get a massive headache from the fumes.  Next, spray onto your cardboard.  This bit is a pain in the arse.  The foam will not stick to the cardboard when it's wet.  So, you kind of have to carefully spray on top, trying not to push the foam already there out of the way.  It takes some getting used to.  Do a few practice sprays first.

It makes a mess.  I did this outside, then folded my newspaper to carry it in to dry.  Make sure you use plenty of protection (newspaper, drop cloth) because this stuff goes all over, and it's a pain to clean up!  I also utilized a Popsicle stick to direct my foam.  Let that dry.  Once dry, turn over and cover the other side.

Now, you need to let it dry completely.  If you have the time, I recommend you leave it overnight to dry.  Otherwise, while you are carving it up, you may hit a wet spot, and like I said above, this stuff is a pain to clean up!  Once it's dry, start carving.  You want to get the basic shape.  It does not need to be perfect.  I used an exacto knife and a hand saw.

Next, hit it with the dremel to get the shape you want, details, smoothing it out, and putting the finger holes in.  I messed up my finger holes by not making them large enough.  So make sure you give yourself plenty of room there when you cut your cardboard piece.

Now, wrap the whole thing in duct tape.

If you are utilizing this tutorial to make a different weapon, and it's large, the next thing you would want to do is wrap the whole thing in newspaper dipped into glue/wallpaper paste/paper mache mix.  If your weapon is small, like this knife, skip that step or it will be too bulky.

Now, you want to use fastmache (or paperclay) to cover your knife.  Do one side, let it dry completely, then do the other.  Little tip for working with fastmache.  First, read all of the directions, and follow them.  It should tell you to mix it in a ziplock bag.  Second, keep the majority of the mix in the bag, shut, while you work with small pieces.  This helps it to not dry out.  Make sure it is thick enough.  If it's too watery, it will just slide right off.  Basically, just play around with it.  It takes some getting used to, just like the expanding foam.  Don't forget to put clay inside the finger holes.

Now, sanding, sanding, and more sanding.  I would start out using a dremel to get the basic shape you want.  I used a few different tips in order to get into the finger holes and expand those.

Next, take a heavy grit sandpaper and hand sand it smooth.  Then, use a finer grit sandpaper and repeat.  You want it nice and smooth because steel is smooth.  No lumps.  I got lazy with mine, plus my fingers don't fit in the hole so I know I will be remaking this in the future, so mine is a little lumpy.  If you want a texture on your handle grip, add it now. 

After sanding, you are ready to paint!  First, prime it.  You can use a regular primer, or plastidip, depending on your needs or what you have available.  I used black plastidip.  Using white or black is up to you.  I personally like how silver spray paint looks on a black primer better than on a white primer.

After priming, paint the entire thing black.  I used a matte black spray paint for this.  I know, it's already black from the plastidip, but I still did this step.

Next, you can either paint the entire thing silver, or you can tape off the handle and only paint the steel bits silver.  It's up to you.  If you paint the entire thing silver, you will need to come back and paint the handle black later.  I opted to tape off the handle.  However, the silver leaked through so much that next time, I'll probably just paint the handle after the silver step. If you have a favorite silver spray paint, use that.  I don't.  I used the one Lowes had in stock.  It worked, but it isn't exactly what I had in mind.

Peel off the tape, and touch up your handle.  Or paint your handle on, depending on how you did the above step.

Then, do some weathering.  I used a dry brush technique.  Put black paint on your paint brush, use a paper towel and brush most of it off, then add the detail.  Any bumps you want to weather, and I also weathered the blade edge, since that would have the most usage, and in order to give it a bit more dimension.

Now, for me personally, it was way too shiny.  So in order to seal it, I chose a matte sealing spray.  It ended up too foggy, but it is better than when it was super shiny.

And done!  Feel free to use this blog as a jumping off point for this or any other weapon you wish to construct. 


If you have any comments, requests, or suggestions, leave them below!