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American Duchess Giveaway!

American Duchess is doing an awesome giveaway on their new Regency shoe! http://www.americanduchess.com

Steampunk Airship Pirate

So, my fellow costuming buddies have been trying to get me to make a Steampunk costume for awhile now. I love the whole Steampunk craze and I just finished up doing a whole show that was Steampunk themed, so I decided to put mine to paper...

I was inspired by Abney Park's Airship Pirate song with a little Amelia Earhart style thrown in. The boots and jodhpurs are easy buys. I'm planning on building the corset, brown double breasted Spencer, the dickie, and the Garrison cap.

Uhura Undershirt Info

Thanks to Joe of Anovos, I know whats up with the undershirt now. I can't believe I didn't think of this! I knew that the undershirt had to be sleeveless cause they would show otherwise, but I did not think of the undershirt being a body suit. It's a leotard! AHHHHH....

So...I'm going to rebuild it with the new information. A leotard either in bias or with a bias yoke that snaps at the crotch. Yay!

Thankfully, I still have plenty of dyed cotton lycra. When I cut the first undershirt, I had a feeling that I might be doing it over...and so I am...

Uhura Complete!

I meant to make this post awhile back but things have been hectic since DragonCon. I'm actually in Lenox, Massachusetts right now working a gig for Shakespeare and Company. It was a sudden job offer, so I've been crazy busy!

I did take some construction pictures, but not as many as I wanted. I ended up doing some of the sewing work really late in the game due to outside, unforeseeable issues. Anywho, there are some things that I want to perfect later when I get back home...naturally. My neckline ended up being a little wide on me (I think it is because I'm so small in the torso. It would be perfect on a more regular sized person. I'm going to add special interfacing into the neckline binding to make it lay flatter. I used the regular grain for my binding and it worked to my advantage, but it still needs some more weight in there. Everything else went together nicely. I was really happy. The undershirt stops at the underbust, is sleeveless and has a bias yoke. I will perfect it as more research surfaces for it.

I ended up not really being able to costume a lot this year at DragonCon because of guest stuff. I did wear this Saturday night for the Guinness World Records attempt and the party stuff afterwards. There was a lot of Trek stuff this year because of that! And of course we broke the record and hopefully they will recognize it!

I apologize for the picture...It was a seriously rushed job when I realized that I had to leave town asap. I didn't even have time to steam it! I'm going to take lots of pictures later but here is this one for now:

Ladies and gentlemen...We have fabric!

So for the very first time since I started this crazy mission, I can say that I have Trek fabric! *happy dance*

It's not perfect, I know. I'm still going to be working with the screening, acid dyes, and so forth. But I'm going to use this fabric to create my first version of the 09 Women's Uniform Dress for DragonCon. I'm very excited to see how this fabric will look in garment form and how my pattern will work out. I'm sure there will be more changes that will need to happen after building as well...Always is. heh.

Unfortunately, during this experimental printing process, I lost a lot of fabric to testing and the machine liked to eat it sometimes, lol. I ordered more and redyed it like I said I would. The dye job was splotchy this round. I think there was something on the fabric even after washing, but that unfortunately happens sometimes even if you do your best to prevent it. Dye lots are always difficult to match too. This batch is not as purple as my original fabric, but could definitely use some orange. The lighting is really what changes everything...so I will see what the final product looks like and then dye the next batch accordingly. The splotches are really hard to see under the print anyway, but I'm annoyed that they are there. Grr.

We did learn today that it's important that the direction of the weave is running vertical with the design. So, we had to print it on what is traditionally referred to as the cross grain. Because this is Spandex we can get away with that with it being a 2-way stretch. Usually you would want the grain of the fabric to run vertical with your body and the cross grain to run horizontal on your body. I'll know more after the build.

Adam, the awesome guy that made this happen for me, is going to give me the design files as well for further use and tweaking. I know this isn't the most perfect design, but I'm happy with it so far.

Fabric PicturesCollapse )

Fantasia Shirt

Made this Fantasia shirt for my niece. My brother's group is going as True Blood peeps to Dragon*Con. It's not the accurate font and all, but it's close enough to get the point across. I hope. I think I'm going to make them fangs if I have enough time.

I'm hoping to get the rest of my Jumbo Spandex in for Uhura tomorrow. Then it's off to the printers...hopefully for the last time. ^^

Star Trek Fabric and UV Printers...

Okay, it wasn't stress free by any means and very experimental. I have good news and unfortunately bad news as well...UV Curable Printing will work but is probably not the best option. The best option has to be (so far) either Dye Sublimation or old fashioned screen printing. Here is why I believe this:

-The machine really isn't designed for thin things to go through it. It's made for signs, carpet, etc. This means that the operator has to be very, very, very careful or it will eat the fabric. Yikes! It did this twice to us but nothing terrible occurred.
-The ink is put onto the surface and then cured with a high powered UV light. In my case, this was causing the ink that was already laid down to start fading due to the UV light running back over it many times. We played with the printer's ink usage and different settings...even different colors! We found that a lighter pure black (grey basically) gave us the burgundy ink color of the original swatch. I'm thinking that the red underneath the print is causing the color change.
-The artwork cannot be the same as the original swatch due to the technology being used. We tried our best (with many, many test runs) to make it match the original swatch that was loaned to me. I think we got close but it's not 100% accurate.
-I actually used a special piece of fabric that I bought last week from the same company and dyed to match for testing purposes. We tested on it many times then did a large full scale run. It's the fabric in the pictures I have posted here. When I went to run the real fabric through the machine disaster happened. We don't understand why but some how the machine will not print on the main fabric. I believe that I have fabric from two different bolts and maybe even two different manufacturers, even though I bought the same fabric from the same company. The real fabric does seem slightly thinner and lighter. The only difference between the two fabrics originally is that I ordered white back in April and red last week. The white was sold out and the red turned out much easier to dye the right shade for Engineering Red. Something was different enough with the fabric that it would not get the real fabric printed. So, I'm in the process of ordering more of the red which I will dye and then print once again hopefully by Tuesday/Wed.

The good things are:

-It looks pretty darn good and was completely free.
-It stretches very well and is quickly done (if there are no problems)

I'm happy that I have a solution for the time being. As soon as DragonCon is over, I'm going to retackle the screen printing issue. It will work, darnit.

So here are my pictures. I'm sorry that they are grainy and washed out. I had to take them with my Blackberry at the time.

Continue to pictures...Collapse )

So, not perfect, I know. *sigh* Commentary?

Star Trek Fabric Madness...

Unfortunately, I had problems with my screen printing help so I am now attempting to go another route for the time being. The screen printing process hasn't really gone anywhere yet for me, but I do want to come back to it later when I have better skills in that area. I felt the need to look at other options and recently it came to my attention, through another family friend, that I had a connection with a commercial sign printing company. I was skeptic when I first talked to them, but I really don't mind trying other methods out at this point. Apparently, they use machines similar to large format dye sub printers but they are in the form of a large table. They usually print signs on this machine, but they can print on thick fabric. So, we are going to attempt to print the delta pattern onto the jumbo spandex with the UV ink used in these machines. I ordered and dyed a 2 yard piece for testing purposes and I color matched the ink color to Mike's swatch. I'm going to take it to them tomorrow and hopefully see what the verdict is...I'm hoping that it goes well because I'm only 2 weeks out from DragonCon. Ick.

We talked over the process several times. We are a little worried about stretching but they are going to take steps to prevent it. I'm mostly worried about ink reactions.

Here are my concerns so far:

-The fabric will not allow the machine to print on it due to width, texture, etc.
-The ink is absorbed into the fabric horribly and not crisp and smooth.
-The ink does not permeate the thickness of the fabric and is distorted when stretched.
-The fabric is stretched during printing which causes the design to be distorted.
-The artwork isn't as good as it looks on screen.

The artwork we are using was made off of magpies_trek's awesome JPEG and re-rendered in Illustrator to give it a higher resolution for this printer. The artwork looks great. I'm very pleased with what they have done so far. We are all very excited to try this out. It's experimental and could go horribly wrong, but you never know what might work! My original goal for this costume/replica (or whatever it is) was for it to be a DragonCon costume. It's sorta turned into my baby over the past 4-5 months and I've decided that I really want it to be the best it can be. If it isn't done by DragonCon, well then it's just not done...but I'm hoping that it will be!

So here goes nothing!

Back on Track!

Great news! I have some help!

We talked today about screen printing issues with these costumes and she had a lot of pointers for me. She has also agreed to not only help me out but she will be doing the artwork/coating/and burning the screen process herself at her screen printing shop, because they have the best screens, emulsion and equipment to work with. Super yay! I'm going to be handling the acid dye side of things and we will be meeting back up to print together.

Here are some of the problems that she thinks that I am having:

-The Emulsion. I had a suspicion that this might be part of the problem. Speedball or "green" emulsion does not have a good exposure time. It's kinda for arts and crafts not commercial or professional applications. So if anyone is planning on going the screen printing route, buy professional emulsion. I believe it might be pink, but I'm not sure.

-The Artwork. I knew this was an issue. My vector graphic was not all it could be. My cousin is going to use the vector graphics programs they use in addition to Corel to clean up my art file.

-The Thread Count. Screens are different and have finer and coarser weaves. I was using a standard Speedball 12XX which may or may not be the right type to use. She is going to make the decision after the artwork is finished. I think it will be the finer one because of all the small detail the deltas have.

-Printing Method. We are going to rig something up to print the fabric on. Apparently the pros use special tables (I guess the ones connected to the machines) and use fabric adhesive to attach T-shirts or what not. This prevents bleeding, smearing, and distortions. We are going to do something that will help the fabric during printing and registration.

I just have to say, I'm so excited to have some help with this. Everything else I can handle, but this is difficult and I really want a very detailed and close match to the original fabric. So, heres to hoping it works out well!

Uhura Makeup

I've found some pretty cool Uhura makeup tutorials while researching. Some are canon to the orginial series or Star Trek 2009 and some are just inspirational looks.

Here is a great cat-eye eyeliner tutorial: Cat-Eyes: How To Create the Perfect Winged Tip Eyeliner

Two great makeup tutorial's on YouTube: