Some of you may have gotten a “preview” of this post on Saturday, when I had a WordPress / iPad fail and published it early, unknowingly. Ooops! I tore it down as quickly as I could because frankly, it is hard enough to post 2x a week. And the post wasn’t done anyway. No pics. Nothing.
Anyway, back to answering the above question: What the $@#(% is a Breyna?
Breyna: (pronounced brey-nuh) my Dwarven priestess character from the (in)famous MMORPG World of Warcraft (WOW); known for healing party members, providing fortitude buffs, and making people “take her pain” when she’s feeling shadow-y.
My latest sewing endeavor will henceforth be known as “The Breyna Costume”. I am tired of describing what I am making each time I reference it, and therefore it needs a codename.
I began playing WOW back around Christmas 2006. Breyna was not my first character ever, but she was my “main”. If anyone reading out there plays WOW, you may have heard of the “0.5 Armor Sets.” This was back in “vanilla” WOW, before any of the expansions came out. Breyna (and some of her guild mates) spent a lot of time doing and redoing dungeons and farming various mobs in order to gather the pieces required to make this armor set. It was a very long quest line, and her capstone achievement. I worked harder for that armor than for any other gear she’s gotten since. Nobody ever does the quest anymore, and very few people found it worthwhile at the time… In fact the gear has been made available as an “appearance” set at this point. But in game, Breyna wears the real deal, gained through virtual blood, sweat, and laughter. That is why I decided to make myself a real life version of her Virtuous Armor. Here is a reminder of what the armor set should look like when I am done.
Ok, those of you who don’t enjoy hearing me blab about video games can relax now, it’s over. I’m moving on to the sewing!
My parents were in town visiting about a week ago, and my mom loves to sew, She always made our Halloween costumes when we were kids, even made me a dress for my sophomore dance in high school. I didn’t get a lot of time to sew with her while she was down here, and she didn’t bring a project with her anyways. However, we did spend a bit of time one day cutting and drafting the pattern pieces for Project Breyna.
Mom did a lot of the cutting. She had never used a rotary cutter and self-healing mat before, so she got to try out my fun toys. Despite how it looks in this picture, she did NOT cut the tip of her finger off with the rotary cutter. Thank goodness. I was a little panicked about that several times while she was cutting.
Random question – how old do you think my mom is from these pictures? Let me know in your comments 🙂
I spent most of my time drafting pieces of the pattern that would not come from the base that we were using (Simplicity 4795).
I bought and used some lightweight grid fabric to draw my patterns. Each block is 1 inch square, which made things pretty easy. I have to say, the piece of this costume I fear the most is the head gear, which stands straight up behind my neck and head. I have a plan for it, but it will be hard to know if it is going to work until much later in this process. Regardless, here is the pattern piece and the items I cut. I plan to sew-in some extra firm interfacing as well as a layer of batting for this piece. Notice how thick all this is … I am not looking forward to that. If this is not enough to make the piece stand behind my head, I might put a piece of foam core inside the middle area to support it in a hopefully lightweight manner. The horizontal flaps you see in the picture below that make a t-shape are part of the “attachment apparatus” – rather than describe it in detail, I will just say it attaches to the shoulder piece via velcro and a pocket of sorts.
I made Dad step away from an episode of Chuck that he was watching to take a picture of Mom and I. Here we are, Mom cutting, me pattern drafting. You can see Chuck on the tv in the background. And yes, those are Steampunk My Little Ponies on my t-shirt, in case you were curious.
After the head piece, I drafted a shoulder piece, with a tail flap on the back. This piece concerns me a bit too. I am hoping that the extra firm interfacing I plan to use here will help stabilize this area of the costume as well. The smaller pieces in the center here are what I like the call the “danglies” – they will hang off the front of the shoulder pads.
Mom modified the sleeves from the original pattern when she cut. We are making a modified “Tunic 4” from the pattern. After we stared at the pictures a bit, we realized that I do NOT want the sleeves nearly as belled as they are in the pattern. Mom is so neat and meticulous with all of her folding, marking, and cutting. You can tell she has been doing this way longer than I have!
The rest of this work I have done during the last few days, after Mom and Dad headed home. I drafted the below pattern piece to attach to the front of the robe. Slight side note, I decided the best way to get the yellow and ivory look of the robe was to make the base of the robe in ivory and the base of the sleeves in yellow. From there I will attach pieces and trims to various parts to attempt to achieve a similar look. The chain looking pattern on the left and right of this piece may wind up extending all the way down to the bottom of the flaps. The various other markings indicate where bias tape will be attached to get some of the piping look. I need a bunch of oval black buttons or jewelry pieces to attach to various parts of this costume. I think I counted 8. I did not have much luck at the craft store, so I will still be hunting for those.
I took the front and back pieces of the robe, and attached them at the shoulder seams. The were identical, but the Virtuous armor has more of a V-neck look in the front, so I modified the front a bit. Then I did a narrow hem on the collar. I noticed several things here.
1) My narrow hem foot was in the bag of needles and such that I misplaced last week. Boo hiss! I read an excellent tutorial on how to use one from See Kate Sew this week, and I wanted to try it again 😦 Sadly, this narrow hem was done the boring old normal way.
2) I have “wavy seam syndrome” here, at the yellow arrow. Apparently this is fairly common when hemming knits. I read about several tricks to prevent this (longer stitches, zigzag, tissue paper, etc), and hope to utilize them on the rest of this project.
3) I probably shouldn’t have narrow hemmed OR attached the shoulders together yet, since I had a lot of work to do on the front piece of the robe. It occurred to me that if I were to put the robe together first, it would be a significant challenge to sew all the other stuff onto the robe. And frankly, it is challenging enough since I am winging it and using some pretty large pieces of fabric here.
The final part of this post is me cutting and prepping the front yellow piece and attaching it and some trimmings to the robe front. I cut my piece out using my pattern, and I even used my wax paper and marking wheel to transfer everything over. Then I consulted The Google about the best way to work with layering fabrics together. I didn’t get a lot when I looked that up, so I started researching appliques. I found this resource, which I liked. And conveniently, I had mistakenly purchased a pack of heat and bond several months ago that I never opened. I was glad that I saved it instead of returning it! I cut several pieces of Heat & Bond and attached them to the back of the soon-to-be-applique. Afterwards, I peeled the backing paper off, placed the yellow applique on top of the ivory robe front, and bonded the two together.
Note to self: Get a new ironing board. This one is sad, tilted, tiny, responsible for some damage to my beloved dining room table, and too small.
I went to Hancock’s Saturday morning to hunt for bias tape to use for trimming on this project. They were nearly out of bias tape in the two colors I wanted. I bought several different kinds and sizes in the colors I wanted, and hoped it would be enough. Below, I am covering my red marking lines with ivory bias tape and pinning them down. I used my applique foot and a zigzag stitch to attach the tapes to the robe front. I adjusted the stitch size to something relatively small – length of 1.4-1.6, width of 2.0 – 2.5 on my machine. I think it’s coming along ok so far. I still have bias tape to add here, and I can’t wait to get more of the decorative stuff on there, such as the pretty braided trim I have on the right picture below. This braid will do the chain pattern on both sides of the front.
My biggest annoyance with myself so far? When I attached the heat and bond to the back of the yellow applique piece, I got a small fold in the fabric, circled in red. Theoretically, this area is supposed to be covered by a belt, so I am going to do my darnedest to make sure that it is. For now, I will continue to stare at it and hate myself for the stupid mistake.
I think there will be a lot of fitting work to be done when I piece the robe together. But I can’t get caught up in that yet, I need to focus on the steps in front of me at the moment 🙂 Cheers!