Monday, March 25, 2013


Few days ago I started to work with Amir’s footwear. I chose leather imitation for the boots. I bought three different colors: dark brown for the base and blue and white for the decorations. The blue was obviously too dark and I wanted the surface to remain textured, so I applied the light blue color on the pleather with a sponge. I used acrylic paint, because in thin layer it will not crack even if the pleather stretches a bit.

The progress itself was rather similar to crafting basic boot covers, but instead of base shoes I destroyed pair of old canvas ballerinas for their rubber soles. The “cover” I sew on a separate insole before gluing the rubber sole on. I also made another insole from thick felt, which is like a hidden heel inside the boot. This I thought to give not only few centimeters of height to match my proportions but also a better posture.

I had some problems with the fit of the boots on the ankles. I almost added zippers, but then I heard Yoki’s voice in my ears: “Authenticity! Remember authenticity!”

Seriously, after Yoki made her original costume design and after we discussed many times about functionality and authenticity, I’ve started to notice that I've been affected by Yoki’s way of thinking. I felt bit brainwashed when I took Amir’s finished underskirt and took apart the waistband, removed the zipper altered the fit more loose and added cord fastening. But I do like the skirt a lot better now and more than anything it resembles the reference pictures in more detail. Again, thanks go to Yoki!

Needless to say, I also skipped the zippers with the boots. It took some trimming and redrawing, but I got the fit and look right after a while.

The biggest problem ended up being the tips of the shoes. I never thought that finding the right shape for them would be the most time consuming part. It took me two evenings to get them right; everything else from patterns to sewing and details were done in one day. I finally sew the tips on yesterday after three different patterns and trials.

I’m quite happy with the results. I’m still going to darken the brown parts with black shoe polish and add the red details on the top of the boot. The next phase with the costume is to embroider the red undersuit and to continue with the jacket.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Journal for time travelling Doctor

When I was wearing my lady Doctor costume at Desucon last month, I got few questions regarding my Tardis journal and its construction. I realized that I had only posted one photo from the journal at its finished state but non from the crafting phase. This goes especially for that sweet girl who demanded me to teach her how the journal is made.

I found quite many tutorials of how to make the journal from binding the book to covering a readymade product. Of course I searched them up after I had almost finished my journal. The basics were the same, but I could have chosen a better material for the covers. I went with basic sheet cotton and it only came to my mind that it would probably not stretch enough to set neatly on all the small gaps and slots on the design when I had glued half of it on. So my journal represents the rugged type with water damages.

If I had read the internet tutorials before hand, I might have used a different material. For example tissue paper with decoupage technique. Just genius!

The base for my journal project was notebook I found from a local bookstore for few euros. With reference pictures of River Song’s journal I cut craft foam according the design and glued the pieces on the book. First I thought of using cardboard, but went with craft foam because it’s lot easier to cut. I added the “bindings” on the back and secured them with fabric before covering the whole thing.

I spread glue-water mixture on the cover and quickly worked the cotton on it. I used the end of my paintbrush to press the fabric on the slots. At this point I realized that I had chosen the wrong material, but decided to keep going as I could try to figure out how to fix the issue later.

After I had brushed glue also on the top of the fabric and the cover had dried, I took an exacto knife and sliced the slots that seemed too shallow. These slits I could easily fade away at the painting phase.

Then I glued the back and the back cover of the book. Before the glue set I made sure I can actually open the journal.

The seam allowances I glued on the inside of the covers. To hide the raw edges I glued the first paper page over the allowances and checking that the book can still be opened afterwards.

For painting the book I used blue, white and grey acrylics. I think I mixed four to five different shades to give the book three dimensional look, because of the shallow parts on the design. I used generous amounts of paint to seal the surface and to give the journal leathery look.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fimo jewelry with push molds for Amira

With my current project I was faced with a part of costume making, which I didn’t have much experience with and that was jewelry making from polymer clay. I can’t believe what some crafty people can do with that stuff! I’ve only used Fimo one time on the tusk necklace I made for our troll costumes last year and that was basically rolling sausages and baking them.

With my second take with Fimo, I decided that instead of sculpting the pieces one by one I would use molds. I thought that it would be the best way to keep the jewelry identical. The items I made in the first bunch are Amir’s earrings and the coins found on the necklace, hairband and scarf fastener of some sort. The second lot will contain small cone shaped beads, trinkets and a tube like amulet on the long necklace.

I started by sculpting a positive mold for the earrings from air-dry clay. After sculpting I let the mold cure over night. The next day I brushed latex on the mold, let it set and repeated the steps over and over until I was satisfied with the wall thickness of the mold. I should have used gloss or varnish to seal the clay mold, since clay absorbs any moisture and turns soft. When I pulled the clay mold from the latex, I ended up breaking it. Gladly, the mold was as good as it could and I didn’t have to make another one.

For the coin molds I just brushed the latex straight on real coins. I made two sides, naturally.

I used Fimo Soft as the material for the jewelry. After cleaning and drying the molds I softened the clay on my hand, took a suitable piece to fit in the mold and just pressed it in. I placed the mold on the fridge for a while before pulling the piece out. It’s lot easier to get the clay out from the mold in one piece when it has cooled down and stiffened.

I baked the Fimo in 110 Celsius for 30 minutes. After the pieces cooled down I removed any irregularities with exacto knife.

I still need to glue on the loops, drill some holes, wet-sand the edges to get a nice, clean look, paint the pieces and finally glue on the jewels.