02 November 2012

The Dragonfly Process

Because the first question people ask me when they've seen the new Japanese outfit I made for Takuan (you remember Takuan) is "did you make these?  wait - how did you do that??"  I figured I'd make a blog entry about it, since I've spent all week working on these.

In place of the six lions down the lapels of his jin-baori, as with the yellow and gold Caerleon outfit linked above, I did six mon, the circular embroidered designs (patches, in this case) running down the front of the garment, which bear a form of his SCA device.

All of these images can be enlarged by clicking on them.

I started with a red silk fabric with gold-colored dragonflies already woven into it.  This circle was cut so that it had one fly already in it, to save myself a bit of work.  I ironed a scrap of lightweight interfacing onto the back, and satin-stitched around the design to make it look appliquéd on the way the others will be.

All six of them are done, here.

you can see I've also run a loose zigzag around the edge of the circle, to keep it from unraveling.  This is some seriously unravely fabric.

Sometimes my camera is really badass.

The rest of the flies - all twelve of them - had to be cut from the fabric and ironed onto an interfacing backing...

...  and then cut free of the surrounding fabric, leaving a small border of red around each fly to carry the satin-stitching yet to come...

...which is what's happening here.

I have to say, at this point, that this new sewing machine is CRAZY AWESOME.  It's fast, it's quiet, it's smooth - seriously, these things went together in about twenty minutes apiece, once all the prep was out of the way (interfacing, making the circles, etc.).  On my old machine they took an hour EACH.

Also, I didn't notice until I saw this picture that I'd forgotten to put on the special foot I'm supposed to use when I'm satin-stitching. Oops!

Finally!   Obviously the circle isn't really straight, but I can't trim it just yet.

First I had to clip all the loose threads.  Next was to iron a circle of heavier interfacing onto the back, since, as you can see, the fabric is kinda wibbly.

Before I did that, I should have gone over the front and clipped off all the little hairy fabric bits that stuck out of the satin-stitching, but I can still go back and do that when I straighten out the circles before I put them on the garment.

And what are these going onto?

Well, this, for one thing.  Or rather, something like it.

The set of patches featured here are actually the second set - the ones for this black and red outfit were the first.  the second set went a lot more smoothly, since the first set was the proverbial $4M ashtray (West Wing reference; r&d and experimentation are the hard part.  Now I know what I'm doing).

The black and red outfit was done in August of this year.  It was a bit of a surprise, so I hadn't posted about it yet.  But here you go.  It's basically the same thing as the Caerleon samurai outfit (linked at the beginning of this post), but with sleeves...and...obviously...a different color.  The helmet, armor, and weaponry were all made by Takuan himself.


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