I knew it.

I got an email from the Marriott early this morning informing me that they’d just noticed that my cc didn’t get charged for the remaining balance on March 1st like it should have. I guess they tried but since the card had expired between making the reservation and paying the remainder it didn’t go through. For some reason my reservation didn’t get booted when the charge couldn’t be completed and it got overlooked. I updated my cc expiration date with them months ago, long before March but the system still tried to charge the old card. I hate years when my cc is about to expire, there is always something that goes wrong. The lady who contacted me was very nice though and she got it sorted out so all’s well that ends well.

I’ve been struggling with my Luke pants for days now switching between bouts of fevered alterations and apathetic inaction when my efforts have failed. I may have to start over on them and I’m not sure I have enough fabric to do that and the shirt. Also, the fabric is now sold out. Things are not progressing as planned. This is what I get for assuming the problems with my mock up would be solved by the stretch of the wool fabric.

Skywalker

My LED bulbs came and saved the day. When I took the incandescent bulb out again to make the switch I finally spotted the loose filament. It had a curly end so it would catch and appear unbroken sometimes like it did the first time I took it out. The intermittent contact it was making with the rest of the filament as the machine vibrated is what was causing the flickering. I always love when sewing machine troubles have simple fixes. Now let’s talk about that LED bulb. Holy crap, that thing is bright. I’m talkin’ the reflection from the slide plate is painful. However, I can clearly see what I’m working on…as soon as the spots fade from my eyes.

I worked on cleaning my glove up today and I’m pretty pleased with the results. As you can see below they were mostly covered in a silver film with occasional solid splotches. The handle of Quistis’ chain whip is silver and I found that when I put a clear coat over the metallic spray paint it lost its metallicyness and just looked grey. So what do I do? Leave it unsealed, of course. Well, with many metallic spray paints they have a film almost like dust that covers the surface. Anything that touches that surface comes away with silver “dust” on it. That was also an issue with the gunblade I made for Squall so these gloves got a double dose of fairy dust. I hung onto them and now their day of salvation is finally at hand. As always, I did my research first and found different suggestions for removing dried paint from leather. I started out with the most innocuous substance, olive oil. Supposedly it loosens the paint with enough rubbing. It didn’t work. Maybe if it were a different type of paint or if the paint hadn’t been on there for years it may have worked ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Next I tried rubbing alcohol (also did nothing), acetone-free nail polish remover (sorta removed some of it plus some dye) and I experimented with mink oil a bit (didn’t work). I finally decided to bust out the good ol’ Winsor and Newton Brush Cleaner & Restorer. I’ve had this stuff for years from my BJD customizing and it’s the bee’s knees for paint removal. I’ve never used it on leather before but nothing else was working so I gave it a shot. It removed the paint almost immediately. Some of the blotches were stubborn but they came off in the end. If it weren’t for the crease marks where the fingers bend they’d almost look new. [Quick pause for a word of caution- it did take some dye off with it so if you try this, test it in an inconspicuous area first.] I still had some olive oil left so I rubbed it down with that after I got all the paint off. I may go back and wipe it down with a damp cloth to try to remove any residue from all the junk I put on it. Then maybe some black shoe polish or mink oil followed by a nice buff with a shoe brush. It took about an hour to get it looking good again but that’s including all the experimentation. The second one should take about half that time whenever I get around to it so I guess the glove situation is handled. I can do this all day, I have no shame.

I finally finished putting the zipper in the pants. I had it up to the point where I was ready to do the topstitching and decided to pull it all out to move the zipper closer to CF. I didn’t do it right in the center seam like ready-to-wear the way I originally planned. I decided I’d rather have it offset a little so I don’t have to worry about the silver zipper teeth peeking out on my all-black costume. I did add a zipper shield though- so fancy! Once that was done I went ahead and sewed the side seams and basted the inseam so I could test the fit before I apply the trim. I don’t really understand pants fitting all that well but I know a diaper butt when I see one. I’m not sure how I’ll go about fixing it. After I got them on I had to see what they looked like with the boots and belt then I decided to bust out the lightsaber. Yeah, I pranced around for a bit. It keeps up morale on tedious projects. So I have to fix the fit issues, draft and attach a waistband, and hem the cuffs and attach stirrups. Then I get to start on the shirt. 19 days left, I can do this.

Ma’am Hands, Rey, Skywalker

I bought a pair of black leather gloves from eBay for my Luke costume but when they arrived Saturday I was disappointed to find that they didn’t fit. I have fairly long fingers for a lady-person but they lack the girth that most male fingers have. This means that most women’s gloves are too short for me and men’s gloves are too baggy. I got a pair of size L women’s gloves from Target many eons ago for my Quistis costume, they’re still the only pair I’ve found that have come close to fitting. They’re covered in silver smudges from Quistis’ chain whip but I think I may have to try cleaning them up for Luke. Well, one of them.

I sewed the two back pieces of my pants together and did the topstitching around the riding seam. I also serged along all my edges like a damn professional. So far I’m pleased with how they look. I got my zipper installed all but the double row of topstitching and inserting the fly shield. While I was working, the light on my sewing machine decided to start wildly flickering when I pushed the pedal which makes for a very “someone is about to pop out of the closet and murder me” sewing experience. Just kidding, my house doesn’t have closets. The obnoxious flickering did cause me to stop working on my pants though. I was in the middle of a seam when it started and I had to prop my phone up on the machine and use its light to finish the seam. The lighting in my house already isn’t good and I’m working on black fabric so the light on my machine is pretty important. I pulled it out to examine it and I didn’t see any broken filament but it may be getting ready to blow. I’ve had the same light in there since I got the machine when I graduated high school. That’s an impressive lifespan for an incandescent bulb. I hope it’s just the bulb, if not then it’s a wiring issue and that would be bad. The dryer was running when the trouble began and my husband thought that might be causing the issue (old house, old wiring). He turned the dryer off and I tried it out and it didn’t flicker. Thinking the trouble was solved I went to sew again only to have it go back to flickering. I got trolled by my sewing machine. So now I’ve got two fancy LED bulbs winging their way here from my lord and savior, Amazon. Hopefully that’ll solve the problem and I can get back to business.

My Rey fabric showed up today. I was really surprised at how light it is. From the pictures I imagined it to be like a mid-weight home decor type fabric but it’s more like an eyelet fabric. I see now why they lined it on her costume. It may not be such a bad thing that I got the white instead of the putty since I’ll have to dye the liner fabric to match. Dyeing them both at the same time will be easier than trying to match the existing putty fabric perfectly.

Not much progress today and tomorrow isn’t looking good either. I’ve got jury duty in the morning but I’m hoping it’ll wrap up quickly and I can get back here, install my new bulb and make headway on the pants. That is if this miserable Southern humidity doesn’t sap all my energy while I’m out driving around in it. My delicate constitution just isn’t suited to global warming.

Skywalker

I got my Luke pants cut out of the wool blend. I sewed the riding seam and it’s looking promising. I still need to do the top stitching. I think I’ll go ahead and sew up the back seam so I can have a nice unbroken topstitch across the riding seam. I also want to try to center the zipper. The way the pattern I’m referencing does it the zipper ends up offset to one side. You can’t tell once the fly covers it but it bugs me. I’ve also been obsessing over the trim down the sides of the pants. The original pair had 1″ mohair trim. Try to find 1″ mohair trim. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Yeah, it isn’t easy. I was able to find companies that make it but they only do large runs. I don’t need 144 yards of mohair trim. I did find 1.5″ mohair trim on eBay so I bought some just so I’d have an example of what the real deal looks like. I thought it might also be possible to fold it under on the sides to 1″. I was able to find 1″ polyester trim that has a similar look but it’s not exact. The mohair fibers are fairly short so they give the trim a fuzzy appearance where the ends stick out, sort of like sweater fuzz. I tried to replicate the look by running some fine grit sandpaper over the polyester trim. It takes some of the shine off and makes it fuzzy but it’s still not quite right. Most people use 1″ elastic to approximate the look which is probably what I should have done instead of fixating on perfection. Either way I’ll have to decide soon because it has to be sewn on before the crotch can be done unless I want to sew it on by hand. Which I don’t. I’m down to less than a month before D*C, time is of the essence. My summer semester finished up yesterday so I’ll have more time for sewing now. I just hope it’s enough.

Here are the photos I took of the different trims, one in natural light and one with flash. I sanded about a 1″ patch at the top of the polyester trim. It’s a little difficult to make out in the pics but it’s there, I assure you. The polyester and the elastic are nearly indistinguishable and both are pretty good substitutes for mohair. No one would even notice the difference. Then why does it matter so much to me? Whyyyyy?! Because science, that’s why.

Lady Skywalker

I started off my Luke pants trial and error with McCall’s 6901. I followed the instructions and made a tissue paper muslin with it first. It was…strange. I don’t understand how you’re supposed to judge how fabric will hug the contours of your body using a piece of paper. I use that method sometimes for judging length or other simple stuff but fitting pants this way didn’t click for me. I ended up making a fabric muslin from the paper muslin. The fit wasn’t what I was going for, it was baggy and just generally icky. It would have taken a while to get the alterations right so I made the call to scrap them and start fresh.

I finally decided to make a pattern off a pair of my jeans. I laid down a layer of foam core large enough for my pants to fit on and rolled my pattern paper out over that. With everything secured in place I started pinning through the pants, paper and into the foam along the seams of my pants as though I were pinning a specimen open for dissection. Apologies for the imagery. I didn’t take pictures so I have to paint one in the garden of your mind. Anyway, I pinned pretty frequently along the seams all the way around the leg piece while it was completely flat (only works for the front). When I took the pins out I had a pattern of the pants front. I used a pencil and a french curve to connect the pin holes in the paper. After drawing in my seam allowances my pattern was ready to go. I did the back the same way but it was a little trickier since you can’t lay out the entire piece flat at one time. Also, I had to put a riding seam in it so the back was split into two pieces.

I made a muslin with some twill I had on hand and ended up with what you see below.

The fit is still a bit off but I attribute some of it to the lack of stretch in the twill. My pants I made the pattern from stretch and so does the wool blend I’ll be using for the final pants so I imagine it’ll fit better in the wool.

D*C Hotel Woes and Young Skywalker

I had an atypical experience booking the Marriott last October. Usually I just sit there trembling like a chihuahua for about half an hour waiting for the rooms to drop then I get one with no trouble. This time was different. The site was being sluggish, as usual, but then it froze on me. When it came back up a few seconds later all the rooms were gone. I went numb with panic (I know, first world problems) and started hitting refresh as though my life depended on it. Finally, I accepted defeat and reserved myself to scrounging through the virtual dumpster for cast-off rooms in the coming months. It was almost an hour later when I decided to try again just for giggles. Holy crap, it went through! I got a confirmation number and everything…but did I really? I kept going back and checking it to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. I still log in and check that the reservation is there every few weeks. I’ve read accounts of people having their reservations dropped without notice so my paranoia isn’t unfounded in this case. Also, they were supposed to take the rest of the balance in March but the charge never showed up. I learned via FB D*C Hotel groups that other people had been charged so that just adds fuel to my paranoia fire, yay!

Now for some more up-to-date notes so that I don’t forget details.

I’m working on a female version of Luke Skywalker’s “death star duel” costume from Return of the Jedi. The only real changes I’m making are hairstyle and fitting the costume to a lady. The hair won’t be anything fancy as she’d be a farmgirl and not inclined toward Padmé levels of ridiculousness. Something along the lines of Qui Gon Ginn’s hair, maybe. Through my research I found that the fabric was likely a wool gabardine so I found a stretch wool gabardine from Mood Fabrics. The stretch should help the pants fit better as they are pretty form-fitting even on Mark Hamill. For the bib (the gray/white flap that folds down), I got a linen hopsack fabric in pale gray from Jo-Ann Fabrics- Item # 15468820 for the curious. 

Progress has been slow due, in part, to being back in school- I’m working on a second Bachelor’s. I’ve done 4 classes so far counting the one summer course I’m currently enrolled in. The going is slow because I already have nearly all the gen. ed. classes I need and my core curriculum (Computer Science) is only offered at certain times of the year. I’ll get there.

More updates coming soon. Unless I’m tired or I forget or just don’t want to do it.