I am a lover of costumes and dress up and make believe. I have been since I was little. If there’s a story that wants telling, I ‘ll tell it, preferably in costume. I think this is why I like cosplay so much. You get to become the character and continue the story for a little while. So, when J suggested that we cosplay Booker and Elizabeth from the video game BioShock Infinite I said yes immediately. Naturally, I offered to sew the costumes. I was excited and rather nervous to do that but, I assumed I could figure it out.
And, I have. Mostly. The skirt is finished, thanks to the help of my mom. I used this blog post as a jumping off point in terms of patterns she used and just general ideas on how to construct her costume. (the pattern she recommended was Simplicity 1819)
I decided that I was going to do start the bolero and do that on my own. The first challenge I encountered were the sleeves. Neither sleeve in the pattern I had was the right type, so one sweltering evening after work, I took a deep breath and began to modify the existing sleeve.
The first thing I did was measure the circumference around a button up shirt that fits me comfortably. It was 8 & 1/4″ (or ~21 cm). this would be the circumference of the bottom of the sleeve. Since the fabric won’t stretch in the costume I made sure to measure a sleeve that I could fit my hand through without unbuttoning it.
The next step was to take the patterned sleeve and measure the bottom. Across it was 16 & 1/2″ (or ~42 cm) since it was a bell sleeve.
I then found the middle of the sleeve, 8 & 1/4″ (or ~21 cm). The next step was to measure out the circumference of the sleeve of my button down shirt onto the pattern, having it centered in the middle. So, I found 4 & 1/4″ (or ~11 cm)on either side of the middle mark. I had found the bottom line of the pattern.
I then traced a straight line from the point where the sleeve started to flare out to the new bottom edges I had drawn. (The first time I did it I drew the new edges in accordance to the smallest size, not the largest, which was the size I needed)
I then cut out the new sleeves on the lines I had made and, voila! I had created new sleeves for myself out of an existing pattern. Until, I realized that that I had forgotten seam allowance. Seam allowance being the extra 1/2 inches or so given so that the seamstress has room to sew without being right up against the edge of the fabric.
Of course, I realized this after I had cut the sleeves out. I let it sit for a few days and then returned, there had to be some way to fix it, I couldn’t be beaten by, what amounted to, a once-inch wide strip of fabric.
So, I decided that I must add back onto my pattern.
I taped two pieces of printer paper to the edges of the sleeves and measured out 1/2″ (or ~1 cm) on either side of the bottom edge. I then drew a line, as I had before, up tot the point on the pattern where it had tarted to bell out, because, before that point in the given pattern it had had seam allowance.
I then cut the pattern out and started to pray to the Cosplay gods that I had big enough scraps let over to cut out two more sleeves. I held my breath and laid the pattern out. It looked like it could happen. It was close, I definitely had enough for one sleeve but two was iffy. All I could do was cut out the sleeves and hope for the best.
Somehow I made it. I had enough with nothing to spare. It was a tense moment but, int the end I got my sleeves cut out.
After that, how tough can the actual sewing be, right?
PS~ Kings totally keep their armies in their sleevies.