January 28, 2013

Screen printing for Date's coat symbol pt.3

More progress on the screen printing!

Last time I finished all preparations needed for the symbol.. so now I had to get it over to the frame itself. I had kept the frame since last time, treated with photographic emulsion, in a dark room so it wouldn't get ruined by being exposed to light. Okay, so to get my chosen symbol traced over to the frame I put it next to the frame's "outside" (make sure the design will be the right way for how you want the final print to be on your fabric) and then put it inside an UV-light cabinet with a thick glass plate on top of it. I put my screen printing frame with the symbol transparent paper in there, put the UV-lights on, closet the doors and took time: 5 minutes.

UV-light cabinet (photo taken after I had removed my frame and lights were off)
After 5 minutes I took my frame out and it still looked totally... greenish. I couldn't see in the semi-darkness that anything had changed... except that not it wasn't light sensitive anymore. I held up the frame towards the door that was ajar (art classroom consists of two main rooms, I was in the non-main room were the heavier/special equipment is) and when I looked close enough I could see the symbol in a slightly fainter greenish shade along all the other... greens. Now to get it visible.. with the help of a high-pressure water jet thingy-whatever-it-is!

It looked like this ~
I put my screen printing frame into that.. err.. whatever it is called... to start "cleaning" my frame.. or well, to get the symbol visible. I find it a bit funny because that box I sprayed inside looked like something from a horror movie lol. I put earmuffs on because this water jet thingy makes very high sounds.

I just sprayed all over the frame in quick circle-ish motions.. making sure not to spray on the same place too long. I alternated the sides of the frame so that I would "clean" both sides evenly.

When I had sprayed once or twice.. you can see the symbol becoming visible (lighter green)
After I had sprayed more (notice the symbol turning transparent)
After I had sprayed enough to have the symbol turned fully transparent I took it out and attacked it with the blow dryer because.. well.. obviously it was soaking wet. I kept some distance with the blow-dryer, art teacher told me not to have it too close.

Speed drying for the win!
When my screen printing frame was dry I took it out into the light.. aka over to the main room of the art class. I taped around the frame's edges just to be sure of no paint leaking when printing.

Started reinforcing the edges with tape
I then held my frame up into the lights above me; I had to check for small holes and other faults (aka places were the paint could get through) and tape over them on the frame's "outside".. otherwise I would get small spots when printing on the fabric.. not cool. You have to be very careful when checking for holes, you don't want to miss any.. even if they are barely the size of a needle prick. So look many times to make sure there are no holes whatsoever.

Taping over all holes..
And that was all progress for today. My frame is now ready for a test printing!

January 24, 2013

Screen printing for Date's coat symbol pt.2

I said in the earlier screen printing post:
"And with that the art class had ended for me. More about this next week."

Or well, not really, I just had forgotten that I have art class on Thursdays too... xD
Today I picked a frame to use. While I applied the photographic emulsion on the frame, in a semi-dark room (the stuff is light sensitive), the art teacher went to scan my symbol over from the A3 paper to two A4 halves on transparency paper. (no A3 available)

Photographic emulsion
Plan of attack: screen print frame and a metal scoop-ish thing with the emulsion in (it's actually more of a teal color IRL)
There was a certain technique how to apply the photographic emulsion. You would hold up the frame with one hand and hold the metal scoop with the liquid in the other. Put the scoop at the bottom of the frame and then carefully angle the scoop so that the photographic emulsion flows and touches the frame, when it does that angle the scoop sliiiiiightly back up (but have the emulsion still touching the frame) and run it up towards the frame. Just repeat until the frame's.. frame... is covered. After that do another run with the scoop but this time without angling it.. aka so that you don't get any more photographic emulsion on. Just run it down and up to wipe off the excess. I dunno if my explanations make sense...

When that was done I took some paper and wiped the corners of the frame clean (no need to have the liquid on those) and then used a very painted, if I might add blow-dryer to dry the frame super speed.

Before the drying operation
After that it was time to work with the symbol itself. As I said I now had two A4 sized halves which I had to match as perfectly as possible. My art teacher by the way printed out two of each half because just one alone looked so faded.. not dark enough.

If you look closely you can see that it's not perfectly matched..
I tried for a long time get the symbol to match perfectly but I noticed it was impossible to get all parts of the symbol to meet just right in the middle. If some part was perfect it was off somewhere else etc. But then, a lot of inner irritation later, I noticed that if I left a bit of space between the two halves all different parts of the symbol would match if I just drew a continuous fitting line over to the other half; it was as if the scanner had eaten a few millimeters of the symbol.

Next up was to use some clear tape to tape together the two halves to one. I didn't want them coming loose or having the layered halves (remember I had two of each half to get the symbol dark enough) move so that they are not perfectly on top of each other.

I put a lot of strips of tape along the middle on both sides
Okay, I had the symbol taped together into one piece.. but there was now a line of empty space in the middle which needed to be filled in with the missing "eaten" parts of the symbol. Marker to the rescue!

After using markers to fill in the missing parts..
That was all the progress for today. :)

January 22, 2013

Masamune's undershirt feat. [not so] bling-bling sleeves

 Hello and greetings to you!

I've been working on and off the past weeks on a sort of undershirt for Masamune because even though it's not really obviously visible if he has something under that torso armor plate or not.. I can't imagine it being terribly comfortable if there wasn't anything under it hahah.

I have not written about this earlier even though I did not make it all in one day.. I decided to write everything in a single post when it's done, which it now is. So I warn you now, a lot of ramblings and progress photos ahead. If anyone wonders why I take so much progress photos of the steps when I work on my Masamune cosplay it's because it's a big "project work" I have to do (yes, I chose to do a costume) and therefore I need to show how I work and document all progress so my supervisor can follow what I do and blah blah.

The first progress on this undershirt I made on the 6th January. I decided to use very dark blue tricot fabric because it was what was easily available and I figured that because Masamune's undershirt isn't shown it wouldn't really matter what color it was (and besides it would hardly be seen anyway) ... but I wanted either black, dark gray or dark blue.

I found some close enough pattern (or not, it was some kind of top.. I don't know really) and decided to use it. I fixed the fabric and pinned the pattern in place. It was a bit short so I lengthened it a bit too. Also I cut the sides straight instead of curved.

Pattern pinned on fabric
The pattern I used didn't originally have a sleeve pattern but mom told me she had used this pattern quite a lot and found that another pattern's sleeve pattern fit it. I went and searched for it and then I found it. I didn't need the "mouth" of the sleeves as wide so I skipped the seam allowances except at the shoulder attachment part.

Sleeve pattern pinned on fabric
Because I've never sewn a long-armed shirt before I wasn't sure how the sleeve would fit.. yes, I found that upper shape weird. So to reassure myself I went and wrapped it around my arm after I had cut it out. At the same time I also decided to mark with a pin how far down I wanted the chainmail net fabric to reach.

Sweet Jesus, it indeed will become a sleeve! :DD lolololo
Next thing was to cut out the net fabric for the sleeves. It would be on top of the sleeves, like a second skin. First I just put it on top of the fabric to see what it would look like when finished.

Net fabric on top of sleeve. (pin marks how far I want it to reach)
Close-up photo
It looked surprisingly good so I decided to go ahead and cut out fitting parts. I folded the net fabric and put the cut out sleeve on top, to act as a pattern. As you can see on the photo below the full sleeve is not on the net fabric, I only wanted the net fabric to reach to that pin placed horizontally... the uncovered parts of the sleeve would be hidden by Masamune's gauntlets anyway.

Reference photo. As you can see the gauntlets reach pretty high, something elbow length..
Net fabric cut out to right shape and pinned in place
After I had all the parts cut out for the sleeves I started sewing the undershirt's shoulders closed, right sides facing each other as usual. I used an overlock machine.

Sewing shoulder seams..
That was all the progress I did on 6th January. Next progress was on 11th January.

I started by zigzaging the net fabric in place at where it ends on the sleeve, some 5 or so centimeters before the sleeve's "mouth".

Net fabric zigzaged in place..
(I chose to zigzag because it felt more secure than just a straight stitch)
After that was done I could go ahead and sew the sleeves to the undershirt... lolnope. Mom told me I had forgot to mark which part of that sleeve curve attachment thing is front and which is back. It was not like I had forgotten.. it was more like I had no idea long-armed shirt sleeves were so fancy that it mattered which way you sewed them on to the shirt itself. OTL (note: I've never sewn a long-sleeved shirt.. or heck, any sleeved shirt before.. just kimonos and a sleeveless shirt)

So I went and grabbed the sleeve pattern and put it beside until I could figure out which way it was supposed to be sewn on.. luckily the pattern was marked.

Notice "Etu", it means front in Finnish
Looking at the left sides of pattern and sleeve you'll notice it curves slightly deeper..
Okay, so that side which curves more will be sewn to the shirt's front. I went and got the body of the undershirt and pinned the sleeve in place.

Sleeve pinned in place
Sleeve attached to the body of the undershirt
Next step was to sew the sleeve closed as well as the sides of the undershirt. Still using an overlock machine.

Started sewing the sleeve closed
One sleeve sewn, about to sew armpit and go over to sewing the shirt's sides closed...
After both sleeves and both sides of the shirt were closed I could put it on and it would resemble clothing, yay. I put it on and it seemed okay so far.. but what was not okay was my face, hence the face censor.

Excuse me very dark photo..
That was all the progress I did on 11th January. Next progress was on 14th January.

With the sleeves sewn on and the sides closed I had the hemming and collar left to fix. I decided to hem the shirt's bottom first... but it was uneven.

I used the overlock to cut it straight and sew the edges so they don't fray. Then I switched over to the "normal sewing machine" and hemmed the bottom with a straight stitch.

Hemming hemming ~
(alien camera color anyone?)
Next up was to hem the "mouth" of the sleeves. I had to take off a part of the sewing machine so I could fit the sleeve around that part on which the presser is. I didn't want to risk accidentally sewing the sleeve opening shut.

Zigzaging the opening of the sleeve..
.. and hemming it with a straight stitch
That was all the progress I did on 14th January. Next progress was on 22nd January.

What was now left was the collar. I had pretty much no clue how to make a collar so what I did was pretty much impromptu. I started by taking a measuring tape and measuring around the collar on the undershirt to figure out how long the collar needed to be to fit. Then I went to get some white fabric that had some stretch in it but still wasn't overly.. floppy. Found a fitting fabric at home.
Because I couldn't find the fabric pen I had to use pins instead to mark the fabric where I would cut. I thought a 10 cm wide collar would be enough. I added some extra length just in case.

Fabric marked with pins
Collar fabric cut out
(I cut off those.. err.. sides of the fabric with those small holes.. you know, which keep the fabric from fraying.. I have no idea what they are called)
I figured I would need some light interfacing fabric for the collar...

Went to get the roll of interfacing fabric, put collar half on it...
... and cut out two fitting pieces
I ironed on the interfacing fabric to the wrong side of the collar pieces. I cut off the excess. I then went to sew the collar pieces together at one end to form a single long piece.

But when I thought about how to attach it things got weird; it wouldn't really work. I would need to sew the other ends together too so I would get one closed donut collar...

Like this. Now it looks like it could work...
Buuuuuuuttttttt. At this point I realized I had made a measurement mistake, d'oh! Of course I would have to fold the collar in half because there's the interfacing fabric on the wrong side... and because of this I should have cut the collar twice the width I wanted it to be when finished.

Collar folded in half, now only 5 cm wide...
I thought it wasn't too bad of a mistake so I continued. I took the undershirt and test pinned the collar around the collar opening of the shirt. The collar was way too long...

Notice the huge collar bump/gap.. ill-fitting...
I had to cut off a few centimeters from one of the ends I had sewed together and resew it closed.

After I had cut one end open again for a better fit
After resewing it closed I test pinned it in place again. This time it fit much better, not perfectly but better. Also I noticed if I aligned one of the shoulder seams with the corresponding collar seam the seams at the other side would not match up.

Better fit but both sides can't have aligned seams...
But I think I know why that is - because the undershirt's collar opening on the front and back are not of the same size while the collar has exactly the same length between each seam. I can't win haha.
I just decided to go with it and went to the overlock machine to sew the collar on.

Sewing collar on
I had to stretch the shirt's fabric a bit to get the collar to fit around right because it was still a bit longer than the shirt's collar opening. (both of them stretches lengthwise)

When I was done I noticed the collar is more.. err.. bigger, than when I put the shirt on without a collar. Probably because of the fabric stretching during the sewing.

Finished undershirt
I don't mind so much even though the collar isn't super accurate for the character; when it is looser and isn't hugging my neck I don't have to worry about restricted neck movement or face derps. I know my face tends to look bad when I have a high collar.. so I guess this kind of went from an unwanted cosplay mistake to an unplanned adjustment for a more flattering fit for the wearer, hahaha.

This sums up my feeling about this "fail" perfectly:

Oh, and during the collar progress, which I did today, I was in fact wearing kimono. I had worn kimono before deciding to sew and I didn't feel like changing clothes sooooo... as a final BONUS PIC here's my sewing outfit of today:

Yes, that's a measurement tape and yes, I tied my sleeves so they wouldn't be in the way ~
(mirror photo, I'm not dead...)
That's it. Next time I think I'll start on Masamune's coat for realz.. or at least that's the plan, hah!

January 21, 2013

Screen printing for Date's coat symbol pt.1

I've spent a long time on trying to find a good game reference of Masamune Date that would show the symbol on the upper back of his battle coat clearly. Not so long ago I managed to find a nice picture on deviantArt that showed the Sengoku Basara game model Date seen from the front, back and a head close-up. It was of immense help.. references like these are a godsend for cosplayers.

So to get a good view on that back symbol I had to crop that part specifically and then resize it bigger. Making something bigger also kinda drops the quality of it.. or well.. not sure what to call it but it doesn't get prettier or easier to see what exactly is on it. lol

Because this is a part of my "projektarbete", that I can do as an art task in my art course, why not do it? It's like killing two birds with one stone. Also school has some nice stuff for fabric printing that I do not have at home.. namely the materials needed for screen printing.

Okay, so during art class last week my teacher helped me to print out the coat symbol on an A4 paper. I thought at first A4 would be too small but upon further examination it seems to work okay. Although I will need to transfer over the symbol from that A4 print to an A3 to fill in some few parts of it that got left out when printing it out from the computer because of a lack of space.
   I would need to trace the symbol over to an A3 and at first I thought I could just put the A3 paper on top of it and trace it window style but lolnope.. I could hardly see the symbol under it at all. Too dark and it was hard to see what was blue and what was white and where they met when there was a paper on top. So what to do? Take a black marker and draw out all the lines. Life made 20% easier.

After I had drawn out all lines with marker
(lol the tape is still on, I just ripped it off temporarily from the A3)
After that I traced it again by using the window as a sort of "lightboard". Worked surprisingly well seeing it was still dark outside... art class is first lesson on the morning and during winter time it's dark. I did a fail though, at first I traced the symbol onto the backside of the A4... lol. At least I noticed pretty quickly and turned the whole thing around. After I had traced it down on the A3 using a pencil my teacher explained how the screen printing works. Sure I had done it once before.. but it was like 3 years ago so I didn't really remember much. But upon seeing a screen print frame, which still had someone else's art on it, reminded me of how it worked; everything that is transparent on the frame will be where there will be paint. The blue-green parts are like a sort of "hard filter" or something that blocks the paint and will therefore stay the fabric's color.

The example frame that still had a design on it..
Okay, so everything that I want white on my Masamune coat symbol will have to be colored black/dark? Sure, give me some markers!
A lot of minutes and neck pain (and annoying markers that color inconsistently) later I had this:

And with that the art class had ended for me. More about this next week.
Unless I continue with my landscape oil painting...