Sunday, December 19, 2010

An Idiot's Guide to making Kigurumi Pjs (part one)

That said, I know Kigurumi aren't the best starter-project for sewing [Thai Fisherman Pants, however, are. See the last sewing entry, or please please find a better guide] but they're EXTREMELY forgiving in termsof fit. I think the only limitation is how much fabric [and time] you have reserved for this project. What I love about kigurumi pajamas is that they're supposed to be huge and stupid-looking, so apart from making the face too derpy, there's no pressure.
Exhibit A

Looking for proper patterns, this is all I came up with. Not exactly what I was going for. Luckily the internet is full of weirdos who make their own things. There are a few designs on deviantart, but overall the general shape is this:
Super chubby!
Super-forgiving. As for fabric, anything thinner than fleece will settle on the body easier and be a bit more revealing [always wear proper undergarments XD]. I'd wait for a coupon or a sale, since fleece is usually $8 a yard. Six yards is a good bet. As for materials: 
-Fabric scissors, 
-Sewing Machine [you DO NOT want to handsew], 
-appropriate fabric, 
-chosen design, 
-big-ass marker of choice, 
-overly baggy clothes [to sidestep proper measuring you should learn how to do for any other sewing project you slacker you], 
-the business section of a newspaper [you won't be distracted by the articles, I promise], 
-anything else that helps you eyeball-measure things.
Out-of-focus-picture, check. Disgusting Carpet, check. Awkward/inconsistent picture plane, check, non-hypoallergenic environment (cat) check. Amateur Tutorial checklist COMPLETE!

(The blue blanket was put down as a condom for general carpet-crud, but it helped a lot in terms of measurement. It's not necessary, but having a box just a bit bigger than your height/armspan is a good visual reference.)
  • Start by laying down several sheets of newspaper or risk taping more on later. (the blanket helps, I swear) You want more than enough room to work within
  • Lay out your baggy clothes on the newspaper. Kindly excuse the god-awful patterns, they're the baggiest things I own [I never went through the kangaroo-hoodie phase orz] These are really just a frame of reference for your basic body measurements [the ones that matter are your shoulders, crotch arm and leg lengths--you want this to be wider rather than tall]
  • With the above in mind, go crazy! You really shouldn't in sewing, but draw nice round curves. There should be no visual waist--though mind the shoulders. Don't make them much wider than your own, it'll drive you crazy wearing it. As for the crotch and armpits--don't make them TOO low, since everything will sag lower than you think. Mid-thigh and mid-ribcage is a good eyeball-length.

Excellent! Don't fret too much over measurements and shape--since things will change in assembly. Also you only need one half of the pattern, so don't agonize over symmetry. Keep the paper for smaller elements such as ears, the hood, pockets and facial elements. The only thing to keep in mind is SEAM ALLOWANCES. Depending on how you sew, leave more room than you think you need. That's a general rule though, these are very forgiving, and I told you six yards because you end up with about a yard extra--you'll want gloves, booties, tails, pockets and dolls later, right? ;D

If you're doing a single-color design, skip ahead to the hood/overall cutting section. I'm doing separate colors for legs and arms, so I'll be cutting up my pattern further. Likewise for stripes, spots or other decorations that aren't pockets or appliques--a white tummy or something--you don't want to use more fabric than you have to by stacking.
Cut apart as needed: Body, Leg, Arm
Gosh these shapes look vague, don't they? Remember, this is an Idiot's Guide--not necessarily, FOR idiots, but BY an idiot. Having run into problems due to neglect in the past, I LABEL EVERYTHING. I was taking pictures along the way, so you'll see the labels increase. It's best to mark which side is the front, how many of each shape you'll need, and what part it pertains to. If you want to get technical, I shouldn't have divided the arms into two pieces, because it'll produce an ugly seam along the outside--but we're not technical, WE'RE IDIOTS 8D
A female leg, Ex-Nazis, and the Best Family Gift Ever--wait WHAT.
A closeup of my excellent labeling skills, and exactly my point about using the business [or equally uninteresting] newspaper section. This one was just for poops and ha-has. X)
Like a boss
Hood time! Just flatten out an old hooded jacket and trace the pattern, that's really it. Personally I lucked out, the gimpy arm I didn't use ended up being the perfect shape and size for the hood--I only took note of the more ergonomic slant [ooh getting all uppity, aren't we?] There are many, many ways to do hoods, but this is the simplest. There are also a billion iterations for ears too, so I'll leave that to your personal flavor. Just follow a general rule of cutting more than you need--you can always trim later.
Clearly this makes perfect sense
More labeling~ Front, body part, and COLOR. This is so important with using different fabrics/colors. For me, I tend to lose track of which piece goes wherever because I tend to work in marathon-stints [which is bad, bad, bad] but I suppose it's helpful if you put this project aside for a day or so. Actual colored markers or WRITING the color clearly would be a smarter choice, but I'm using light and dark blue, so CROSS-HATCHING totally makes sense. I'll kick myself later, don't worry.
Your fabric comes crisply folded in half long-ways KEEP IT THAT WAY
(Relax baby, I'm right here--we'll get through this together)
Like any self-respecting [elitist, uppity, whathaveyou] art student and part-time dyslexic, I hate mental math. ESPECIALLY when it comes to fabric [see unnecessary patchwork angst circa the Harem Pants project]. You may fare better, but it is easy to overthink and miss something very important: Tracing and cutting over TWO layers when you need TWO of something = only having to cut out that shape ONCE. Double up for four pieces. 
*failed tetris*
And now for my favorite part: THERE IS NO WRONG SIDE TO FLEECE. Usually there is an unreasonable amount of confusion in terms of flipping templates to get the ride side of fabric [lest ye end up with two of the same shape that you don't really need]. I have suffered such a fate too many times. orz (so you'd think I'd be able to avoid it by now right? ...Right??) But not you, no YOU are working with fleece and can afford the luxury of giving no sh!ts about right or wrong sides.
You saucy tart.
Thus concludes our segment "Fun with Tangents" please exit to your left and visit the gift sho--DAMNIT. Just make sure you're using your wonderfully-doubled fabric economically. Because the I made is HUGE I assumed that I mentally included seam allowances, [which will probably bite me in the tukas later] So I can squish as I please--it's all up to personal preference. I still have a ton of awkward isosceles-ish scraps though--eyebrows for EVERYONE 8D.

Actually that concludes this post as well--just cut out and pin corresponding pieces together whilst telling other fabrics to kiss your grits for the time being. If you can, try it on and body-measure your pinned pieces every now and again--it really helps with the arms. [Leave both sides of the body be, we'll be cutting it down the middle for the zipper last] NEXT TIME: We'll be assembling the body and working on the hood/appliques~

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sew desu ne? *SHOT* (a preview)

Alright, bad joke, but my new sewing project is Japanese Disguise Pajamas!
Most people call them Kigurumi, and I do too, but apparently that's a whole genre pertaining to mascot costumes--such as Character actors at theme parks, fursuit costumes, and those creepy creepy anime-styled face masks. Check out the wiki. and just assume I mean the 'jammies.
Flash back to your childhood--I know footie pajamas were a bit before our time [though everyone had a pair until they were four]. Remember those BOSS bathtowels with character or animal heads for hoods? Yeah, don't lie--you had one of Minnie Mouse or a flamingo, and it was the coolest thing ever.
What a BAMF

Now combine that with footies and you've got a Kigurumi. What's better, people actually wear these in PUBLIC. Sure, it's all party kids, con-goers, and Japanese street-fashionistas, but I'mma get in on this. 
They see me rollin, they hatin'
Sadly there are still problems with getting your hands on one of these. Don't get me wrong--they ARE available in the states [through sites like Cushzilla, and BunnyWarez] but get ready to shell out anywhere between $50-100. Understandably though, that much fleece costs a f@ckton. In addition, the animal designs don't seem particularly adventurous or diverse enough: Hamster, Cat, Bunny, Pikachu, Godzilla, Disney female-counterparts, fox, raccoon, Doraemon--y'know, all the basic foodgroups. [Actually Doraemon is a great design--but just search for Kigurumi, you'll see the same thing keeps coming up].
They see me ro--oh...well, crap.

Enter Kobato [another CLAMP Cardcaptor Sakura incarnate]. Namely, her belligerent loud-mouthed stuffed dog and moral compass Ioryogi or Iorogi as he corrects her. This guy is a BOSS--did I mention he breathes fire? Yeah. YEAH. Plus Joann's had a 60% off sale on fleece. THIS IS SEW HAPPENING *SHOTDEAD* I'll be making a mock-up guide as I go [purely for laughs, don't ever follow my advice in sewing. I use PUNS, c'mon] considering I don't update this blog enough. Stay tuned~