Saturday, July 16, 2011

Luminara's headgear- The crest

The crest for Luminara’s hat was bit of a challenge. I first tried making it out from cushion board the same way as I did the dome. It didn’t work too well. The shape was really hard to achieve and it would have needed supporting structures to hold the shape, especially after applying the clay. Also it would have been heavy because of clay coating and I wanted to keep the thing as light as possible.

Then I tried paper, thinking that paper mache would work as some hats I’ve seen were made from it. But I lost my temper with floppy paper pieces and trashed them. I was close to giving in to chicken wire, which was the last possible choice because it’s heavy, bumpy and my least favourite material to date. Then it hit me; mosquito net! The net can be sewn, it’s pretty sturdy but light. First time I used mosquito net on Mayuri’s hat. I wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner.

I started shaping the thing by making a tube from foam and mosquito net. Then I took pieces of net and shaped them around the tube on a wig head. I’m sorry I can’t describe the process any more detailed, because it was mostly done by staring at references and cutting and shaping free-handed. I think there are four layers of net on the thickest parts of the crest. It’s enough, because against presumptions the wool isn't heavy at all.

I made the trumpets one at the time and then copied the shapes and cut the other side. This way I got identical shapes. I sew the pieces together and after modelling the crest on the dome I covered the parts I thought to be fragile with gauze and glue. To fide unwanted bumps, I finally covered the crest with fleece.

After the glue had dried I took out my scaled pattern for the textile part. I cut the wool and started to stretch it on the crest. Different to the dome, no water was needed. The wool I used was woven, so there was enough stretch to the shapes. I only had cut one slit on the base of the crest. I hand-stitched the wool in place and glued the sides inside the trumpets. The draped part I stitch around the tube to cover the inner structures. Finally I put the hat on and checked that the hem part was the same length all around.

After I had trimmed the hem I started with the ornament ribbon. The ribbon is not the final one. I didn't find suitable material for the outer edges, so I only did the middle part of the decoration ready. It’s likely that I will spend some time with embroydery in the near future.

The base of the ribbon is satin bias and the black is regular satin ribbon. When you sew together two materials that tend to act differently, I recommend you use steady base while sewing. I sewed the ribbons with a piece of paper underneath to avoid uneven stretching. After you’re done sewing you can rip the paper out. You can wash the ribbon to get the tiny pieces of paper off the stitches.

I sewed the ribbon on the hem by hand. I showed the result for Yoki who was really exited, but still pondered the size of the crest. I told her that with the costume it looks just fine. Note to self: Try on the costume with accessories before blazing assumptions as truths. The hem was too long, so I had to rip the ribbon and sew it back again. But now I’m happy with the headgear, even if it’s not properly finished.

Cropped from a photo by Santtu Pajukanta. Note, that everything in my head, including my mouth is crooked.

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