The Long and Winding Road to Sewing

I mentioned previously that I began sewing in August 2011.  It is no coincidence that this is almost exactly 1 month prior to a major sci-fi / fantasy convention called DragonCon, which happens every year on Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, GA.  I caught the costuming bug there about two years ago, when I made my first costume.

My first costume – a fire fairy.  I was trying very hard NOT to sew at this point.  I remembered all the sad epic fail pillows I made during grade school home economics class and knew I had no talent for sewing whatsoever.  I had some fun with fabric paint, face paint, constructing fairy wings, and making a skirt using no-sew heat bond stuff.  I started this project about a week before DragonCon 2009 and am still fairly proud of what I made last minute, though it is nothing compared to the last-minute costuming skills of a good friend of mine.

I enjoyed my first DragonCon costuming experience so much that I knew I was going to make something much more elaborate the following year.  I still did not want to sew.  Why did I not get whatever uber sewing skillz my mom had?  I was destined to fail at sewing.  I decided DragonCon 2010 would be armor.  A friend suggested an excellent tutorial for armor made from craft foam.  I began in January this time as procrastination is not really my cup of tea.  I will save you the details of a very long process – in hindsight, it took way longer than it would have for me to sew a costume.  But I had fun making the armor and learned a lot.  Ultimately I think making the armor to fit my body without any sort of pattern other than my own was a great experience that I some day hope to pull into my sewing.  Being an avid MMORPG player, my goal was to make armor that could pass for that of a Frost Death Knight from World of Warcraft.  I did not model my armor after anything in the game, but frosty-undead-evil-sword-wielding-warrior was my general goal.  I sadly did not take many good pictures of my costume on, but here is one of the better ones.  I also made my sword, which glowed in the dark 😀

I did learn a couple things from my 2010 DragonCon costuming experience.  First, I will never enter the costuming contest again.  I skipped out on lots of things to participate and was supremely outclassed.  I do this as a hobby but many many people at DragonCon do this as professionals.  Second, I was oblivious to people who were asking me for pictures.  Ooops, just in my own little world enjoying the con.  Third, I do not yet understand the mystical posing aspect of costuming.  Everyone who takes pictures in cool costumes at DragonCon has a pose.  See my picture above?  Most people in a fairly decent death knight costume would not pose like “super-awkward-wallflower-knight-trainee-who-may-drop-her-sword-if-she-isn’t-careful”.  Note to self – get better at posing.

In 2011, I knew I wanted to do a costume for DragonCon, but life got in the way early in the year.  Between tense old job situations, moving to a new state, and starting new jobs, it was July before I could even think about a costume for DragonCon.  Time to reuse some old ones.  But I still wanted to do something new.

So I FINALLY gave up my old notions of being a poor seamstress and decided everybody had to start somewhere.  I started by buying a machine.  I researched for a while on Amazon, and finally decided on this one.  I am extremely happy with it.  I also bought a pattern for a Renaissance style skirt, figuring I could combine it with a waist cincher I had acquired over the past two years, attach my old fairy wings, and voila!  Re-purposed fairy costume.  So my very first sewing project was a skirt.  I probably didn’t choose the easiest skirt to start with, since this one had two layers.  And my clean up work on the hem and the finishing work on the skirt tie was messy.  And if I never have to hear the words “continuous lap” again, it will be too soon.  BUT … I made a skirt.  And it was wearable.

To this day, I am afraid to wash it for fear that it might fall apart.  But … it was my first stop on my Sewing Journey.  And boy did it take me a long time to decide to take that trip!


2 comments for “The Long and Winding Road to Sewing

  1. George Chimiklis, Copperopolis, CA
    February 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    What an excellent story (DragonCon & Costumes) and very nice photos. Thank you, Jen, for sharing this. I very much look forward to your future projects.

  2. Kim
    February 1, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    This is great! I look forward to following your progress. I have considered doing something similiar in my journey of designing and making jewelry.
    I can’t wait to see what you do next!


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