Monday, November 11, 2013

OMG, I sewed something!

I actually made something! And finished it!

Yesterday was the Starfleet USO show. It's something that I've known was coming up for, quite literally, an entire year. So what do I do? I decide, three days before the event, that I should make a new dress for my Cardassian persona, Iliana Malek, to wear to the shindig. Because, you know, reasons.

Of course, I have all of $2 in my bank account, so I can't afford to actually buy anything to make it from, so it has to be a Stash Dash project. I wanted to use some of the burgundy taffeta that I have (I bought 20 yards for a project I never actually started on), but what to pair it with? I had some matching burgundy plaid, but a Cardassian in plaid? No way. What I did have was a few large scraps of the "flame" burnout velvet leftover from a Star Wars Amidala costume I had made for a client years ago. Perfect! Except it's royal purple. Hmm...surely I can find a way to fix that. I'm resourceful, I'm clever. Can't use bleach since it'll disintegrate the fabric, so what do I have in the house that can get rid of the color? Peroxide, of course!

Yeaaaah...not so much.

I did two peroxide baths, and this is all I got out of it. It's sliiiiiightly lighter than the original (on the right), but not by much. I'll keep in mind if I find a fabric that I want to lighten up a shade or two, but not for removing color to dye it something else. So, I had to break down and buy something. After reading the online reviews of RIT color remover, I went to Wal-Mart and bought a couple of boxes. I decided to do it in the sink on the suggestion of one of the reviewers, by filling the sink part way with super hot tap water, and then topping it off with water that I'd boiled on the stove. I then added the color remover and dissolved it in the water before praying to the fabric gods and adding my fabric. Within 5 seconds, it looked like this:

Holy crap! It's going bright screaming yellowAlright, no need to panic. I'm sure it'll be fine.

I left it for the remainder of the 30 minutes, stirring it every once in a while, and then I sent it through the washing machine to rinse out any remaining colour.  I ended up with a very light gold/tan.

Huh. Well, I didn't need it to be completely white, just light enough to dye over, so I was okay with it. My next obstacle was dying the velvet to match my taffeta. After looking at the color chart on RIT's website, I decided to use Cherry Red and Black to create my burgundy. Since I had it on hand, I threw in some Scarlet, as well. (There was only about a tablespoon left in the bottle, so I just dumped it in with the 1/2 bottle of cherry and 1/3 packet of black.) Miraculously, it turned out perfectly!

Once the fabric situation had been taken care of, I frankensteined a couple of old patterns together to create the look I wanted. (It takes me a long time to draft, so I didn't feel it was an option for this project with only three days to get things done!)

Once I got to the point where the sleeves were on and the bodice was finished, it was only a few hours before the event. I had wanted to have a drapey neckline thingy (I'm sure there's a term for it, I just don't know what it is), but wasn't sure if I had enough time to add it and apply my scales in time before the event. Then I though, screw it, I don't have to be there when the doors to the venue open, I'll get there when I get there. So, I added the drapey thing.

I'm really happy I did, too, because it really finishes off the look!

Another thing I had been working on while making the dress was a set of chest scales. I had always gone without them before because the dresses I made had a high enough neckline that I didn't need them. But, part of the reason I had made the dress the way I had was because I wanted to make chest scales, so I stayed up late one night and sculpted myself a set.

I didn't want to bother with lugging out the UltraCal, so I just cast them in some Plaster of Paris that I still had on hand. It turned out to be SUPER soft, but I guess I'm just used to the consistency of the UltraCal now. Whatever the case, the molds came out well, and the pieces I made from them came out perfectly!

I also decided to pre-paint my pieces before the event. This cut down on a TON of time applying them the night of the event, and I actually managed to get myself in my scales and my skin painted to match them in under 2 hours, less than half the time it usually takes me, even with the new chest scales! So worth taking the time to do it beforehand, I don't know why I never did it before.

All in all, I was very pleased with how everything turned out, especially with the short amount of time I had to throw everything together. And, best of all, it cost me almost nothing. I think my total for the cherry red dye and color remover was around $5. Everything else I had in my stash - velvet, taffeta, thread, zipper, plaster, clay, etc, etc. There are few things I want to go back and repair, like unfinished seams and what have you, but it's wearable and looked fabulous the night of the event, so it definitely goes in the win column!

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