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!


Arawn Elidd said...

The undershirt looks great man! Lots of work, but it sounds like it was a good, new experience for you. Plus I'm really glad the collar mistake turned out to be a good thing in the end! Man, I swear that net fabric is just so ingenious. :D It seriously looks like actual chain-mail over the undershirt! ~

Oh yes, a most excellent choice of sewing outfit, I must say!

Valkoinen Samurai said...

Thank you!
I'm happy how well that net fabric idea worked out.. I was afraid it would look overly fake/cheap but nope, it's pretty cool. :)

Hahaha thanks! :D