Friday, October 12, 2012

Orchard Corset: The Finishing Touches

Alrighty. So, we have a skirt, corset, and a good chunk of a hat. We've come a long way, but we're far from rampage-ready! The next thing to tackle are the spines. We'll be using the rest of the grey felt that we cut our buildings from. Using foam brushes, paint a good long section with "Stiffy". Stuffy is a water-based fabric stiffener. It's awesome.

Let your fabric dry, and get out acrylic paint. I wanted a flame-like look, but also wanted my spikes to look spike-y.  I started with orange, then went to black.  Once that is dry, cut all of your spikes out. I decided to do sections of spines, verses one huge line, because it will move better with my body. The more you can move in your costume, the better!

Once cut, I paired sections and laid them back to back. 

You're going to be making a bunch of fabric sandwiches  Lay your first piece, right (nice) side up, add two spine sections, then add your second piece right side down. Then sew. This secures your spines right in the seam! You'll need to sew this very carefully, though, because you're going through some thick stuff. If you have a leather needle for your machine, it helps a lot. I also top stitched  it when I was done to help the spines stand up. Also, I enjoy the look of top stitching.

I put spine in three locations: the top of the hat, along a back piece, and in my tail. The picture above is for the hat. I took two curved pieces that matched the curve of the back of the hat.
Finishing the hat is easy. With that curved spike piece you should have the baseball hat covered. All I did after this was add a cowl/neck sleeve. This step is optional and depends on what you're going to wear under the hat. I knew that I was going to be wearing a wig, so I made a loose hood piece that snaps under my chin.

The pictures below are of the back piece. I put on the hat, then measured down my spine to where my tail was going to sit. I then cut two pieces that length, and sandwiched my tail spines between them. Then sew, sew, sew! I then took a piece of an old belt and used fabric glue to attach the spine piece. This then got sewn onto the hat to match up to the rest of the spines. When you wear this, you'll take couple safety pins and from the back grab onto the corset lacing. This will hold it down nicely, but allow you to move around! 

Now, marvel at your spiny goodness!

Moving on to the tail... I had to work this one out in paper first. I needed a tail that was long enough to get the whole "monster" effect, but I wanted it to hold itself up. Floppy tails aren't what we're looking for! What I eventually figured out, was to create a reeeeaaaaaaally long three-sided pyramid. This way, it has a nice base  to support itself. Cut out three of the long triangular pieces and then a equatorial triangle for the base. Start with the top edge, making the fabric-spine-spine-fabric sandwich. Sew. 

Once the two sides with the spines are all attached, sew the third piece to the sides. Remember to put your good fabric sides together. This will get complicated with the end spines, so sew slowly to avoid catching them in the seam. Now, turn your tail right side out and stuff! Look how nifty!

(Not pictured) Attach the triangular base piece. I just folded over the edges and sewed it from the top. Now, to attach it to your body, I just zig-zag stitched a length of elastic (long enough to tie around your waist) to two points at the upper part of the triangle. Your tail is complete! I recommend you put it on and go for a mini rampage! 

Back? No? Still rampaging? I'll wait. 

Okay! There we are. Moving on, we need to make some three fingered gloves to give our hands that delightful monster feel. To do this, I simply laid my hand down Spock-style and traced it. Then I used that as a pattern and cut out my fabric. If you can't do that comfortably you can arrange your fingers how they feel best. Again, we're putting the good sides together, then sewing. I used a stretch fabric, so I could make the wrists tight. If you did not, you will HAVE to add extra space there, or you will never get them on and off. 

With the extra pieces of green fabric, I cut out scalloped strips and used fabric glue to attach them in stripes to a black turtleneck. You will need a patient friend for this step! When you're nice and dry, take off the shirt; you may notice that the strips didn't stay down/didn't match up. I used some more glue and touched everything up so it looked nice. Let dry. 

Your last steps are details, like the eyes. I took three layers of felt, yellow, white, and black, and topped it with a red button. 

We've come a long way, but look! You have so much done! My next step is a photoshoot! Thank you for coming along on this journey with me! It's been a blast!

If you have any questions about this costume (or anything), drop me a line at


- Katherine "MayugeSeishou" Stocking

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