Symmetry at Sunset

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I went on a small walk in the evening and saw the sun as a magenta ball when it peeked through the smoky clouds. I didn’t have my real camera on me to capture it properly in that moment but I went out the next evening and though it wasn’t quite as vividly pink as the day before it still looked quite beautiful.

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“Wowzers!”

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Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterson at the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them panel ComicCon SD 2016

My friend that went to ComicCon as Newt Scamander made my day when he texted me from San Diego on Saturday. He was at the panel for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them” which featured, amongst other members from the cast, Eddie Redmayne. Now since I wasn’t there I can only recount it as it was told to me, but my friend was very near the front, dressed in the coat and vest I made and his family and people around him were calling attention to him.

This is what my friend texted me (I’m leaving out my interruptions and incoherent texts of joy scattered in the conversation):

“I have news for you. Eddie Redmayne saw your coat. And your vest. From like 4 feet away. As he handed me a wand. And he said something.”

I wrote back: “What did he say?”

He answered: “‘Wowzers!'”

He saw my work– Eddie Redmayne, whose skill and work as an actor I admire greatly–saw my work. And he liked it.

I couldn’t stop smiling after my friend told me. Of course I’d hoped that somehow Eddie Redmayne or someone involved with the film would see my friend’s cosplay and maybe think to themselves “ooh how fun that someone made that, looks pretty good” but having that hope come true is something else. Amazing. Simply amazing.

And then, as if that wasn’t cool enough already, a couple hours later my friend told me he’d just had his picture taken by Pottermore. In the coat. How awesome is that??

I don’t think I have a way of expressing how this whole thing makes me feel, except “Wowzers!” That just might become my new favorite phrase😉

Newt Scamander: Mission Accomplished

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ComicBookMovie.com

I’ve been busy sewing these past few weeks to make sure everything is ready for ComicCon and I’m pleased to announce that I made the deadline and my friend was a hit as Newt Scamander at Con.

As expected I faced a couple of bumps along the way; for instance I realized that the collar wasn’t the only thing I needed to edit on the pattern I was using– the back of the coat needed small adjustments as well. It was easy to fix though, all that needed to be changed was how the back pleat looks. The tail feathers I’d mentioned before serve as part of the pleat and I simply added another panel behind so that the fold opens nicely. I’d been so focused on the front of the coat up until that point that I neglected to properly check out the back. Luckily it all got fixed so crisis averted😉

The inner lining layer took me about a day to finish– I cut the pieces, hemmed the edges, added the interfacing and sewed it all together. The pattern calls for shoulder pads but unfortunately the ones we bought didn’t really add much shape to the shoulders so we skipped them… I suppose I could still technically buy thicker ones and sew them in if my friend really wants them so it’s not a pressing issue.

The details of the coat, like the leather trim on the pockets and cuffs, are what give it that extra special touch and also what gave me a little bit of a challenge to overcome. The only leathery fabric that we found at JoAnns was an outdoor fabric but it actually feels really nice and is easy to sew. It comes on a wide roll so we only needed to get a couple of inches but even that gave me more than enough to experiment. The thing that worried me most was whether or not my machine could handle sewing a leathery material, especially if it’s wrapped around layers of wool. Thankfully everything worked out and I only sacrificed one sewing needle😉

At times the layers got a bit thick and I had trouble sewing it with my machine (so I sewed little bits by hand) but mostly it all went smoothly. I took at least an afternoon to figure out the best way to do the pockets– thing is that there are actually two pockets either side, at least that’s what it looks like from the various photos and I needed to come up with a good way of making them. I’ve never done pockets before so I made a few drafts before actually using the coat fabric. At one point I asked my friend if he needed all pockets to be functional and he said no but I wouldn’t have been satisfied with a so-so job so I made them all functional. I’m quite proud of how they came out in the end.

After finishing most of the coat— all except the buttons and the bottom hem— I busied myself with the second part of the project: the vest. The mock up was pretty easy to make and the linen for the actual garment was great to work with (though it wrinkles so easily!). The scariest bit of the vest was doing the buttons. I’ve never had to make buttonholes before so having to do six on the vest and one on the coat seemed daunting. I decided to use a tight zig-zag stick instead of the buttonhole function simply because it looked better. Also, making the buttonholes themselves wasn’t the scary bit, it was hoping that they were all even and that the threads didn’t tangle underneath that worried me. I tested and tested to make sure I knew what I was doing until finally I figured I was ready to tackle the real thing. I’m pleased with how they came out— I worked slowly and always double-checked things along the way.

I think that’s enough commentary for now, I’ll leave you with some photos of my process. As always, feel free to send any questions if you have them!

Ines🙂

P.S. Photos of the full coat and vest with detail shots will follow since I couldn’t get good ones yet.

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Tetris with coat lining.
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Pin things carefully so your pieces are uniform.
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Inside meets outside.
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Finally sewing pieces together.
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Lots of firsts for this project: men’s clothing, coat, collar, sleeves, pockets, vest, buttonholes, buttons…
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Close-up of the sleeve and edited collar.
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The leather detail on the back of the coat. Let it not be said that I skip things simply because they won’t be seen🙂 You can also see the zig-zag pattern on the underside of the collar if you look closely.
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Tight stitching to keep the leather in place.
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Test for the leather trim on the cuff and the band on the back of the coat. Always good to practice first and then do the real thing.
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Back band with buttons.
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Buttonhole and button.
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Mark, iron, pin, sew! All the pieces are ready and the interfacing is applied to the parts that need it.
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Eeeeeeeek! Buttonhole time!
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Phew! That one turned out nice🙂 It’s a good idea to pin the ends of the buttonhole so you don’t accidentally cut through the edges and ruin the work you just did. As you can see, the buttonhole is smiling and so am I😀

Dot in the Sea

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I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan of abstract art but sometimes it’s interesting to see things in a new or different way, to have what you’re looking at be reduced to simple lines and shapes and colors that don’t make some concrete thing that you can identify by name. Shapes and colors, lines and textures can be pleasing to look at in their own right.

The subject of this photo in its entirety isn’t that impressive, but this angle combined with the muted yet defined colors is actually strangely relaxing.

One Year In…

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Yesterday marked the first anniversary of my blog. Yay!

It doesn’t seem like I’ve been on WordPress for a year already. It’s funny also that this posting will be my 52nd which means that even though I decided on my “one post a week” rule as a New Year’s goal, several months after starting my blog, I posted enough to average one post per week overall🙂

All the best to any new bloggers and here’s to another year of new content!

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Curious Tree in LA

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I took this photo on the same night I went to the bluewhale. This is what happens when I mess around in Photoshop– it looks almost like a pinhole photo that’s been colorized. I like it and I think these signs that point out the direction of other major cities are awesome in general.

Keep your world open and explore. Stay curious🙂