18 October 2014

Cosplay Progress: Yowamushi Pedal + knit construction info

A somewhat step-by-step progression of how I made my Hakogaku cycling jersey from Yowamushi Pedal. :)! I learned a lot working with such a slippery knit fabric, but I'm super happy with the end result, even though I still need to finish the cosplay!

Materials used

1.5yd Nylon/Spandex Milliskin Matte (WHITE)
1.5yd Nylon/Spandex Milliskin Matte (CORONA)
22" plastic separating zipper (WHITE)
Red acrylic paint
Black acrylic paint

I first began with creating and trueing the patterns. When working with knits, and creating form-fitting patterns, you have to account for how much stretch is in the fabric you're using (on the crosswise-grain). There's a bit of math involved, where you measure the stretch percentage of your fabric. This is also called the pick-a-knit rule in certain commercial pattern sets. It helps determine if the fabric you're going to use stretches enough to meet the pattern needs without distorting the fabric itself (if you're not careful, the finished result can give you that packed sausage look...)

1. Determine which direction is the stretchiest part of your fabric (this is usually the crosswise grain).
2. Cut out a 4"x4" swatch of your fabric.
3. Lay your swatch down on a flat, smooth surface and smooth it out as best as possible. You want your fabric to be laying in as natural a state as possible to get an accurate stretch percentage.
3. Take a ruler and place it on your fabric in the direction of that stretch. Hold the fabric down at the 0" mark, then pull the fabric along the ruler until you feel resistance. NOTE: if you pull too far you are distorting the fabric and will not get an accurate measurement. This is especially important if you are working with fabric that has a print (you don't want your polka dots to look like ovals!)
4. Write down how much the fabric stretches, then divide that number by the 4" the swatch started as. Then multiply that number by 100 to get the percentage. It should look something like this:

example: 2"/4" x 100 = 50% stretch.

To reduce bulk and ease movement, my seam allowances are 3/8" instead of 1/2" (what I usually make my seam allowances for woven fabric). Whether it's 3/8" or 5/8", both are common for knits. Milliskin Matte is a 4-way stretch knit (meaning it stretches crosswise and lengthwise) made of 80% nylon and 20% spandex, so it's amazing for form-fitting costumes, especially as bodysuits. It was my first time using this fabric, and my first time trying to make a form-fitting knit costume for a crossplay, so I felt that a 4-way stretch would be perfect for ease of movement (even though I wouldn't actually be cycling). I bought my fabric from NY Fashion Center Fabrics. :)
For the sleeves I divided the pattern into 3 pieces. The blue stripes are 3" wide and the sleeve length really depends on your body type and arm length. On the front and back piece, to prevent having to sew a shoulder seam in the middle of the blue (and creating too many pieces to cut out), I took a few inches off of both shoulder seams to create the blue (also 3" wide). If I remember correctly, I took 2" from the front and 1" from the back (you want the blue to show more on the front). The important thing is to make sure that your blues match up.

Sleeves sewn on, but side seams not finished. Usually you would finish the side seam and then sew a set-in sleeve, but I had to paint the red stripes after I sewed the sleeves and before I finished the side seam (you'll see why). I noticed that the body of the jersey was only slightly sheer, and I'd planned to wear my black binder and black tanktop underneath, so I ended up doubling the white. I did not double it on the sleeves, because it feel a little too bulky. The blue is perfect the way it is. :)

Here I debated whether or not to use fabric dye (Jacquard Dye-na-Flow or acrylic paint (Americana brand). Dye-na-Flow really lives up to its name, but I was curious to try it out. It essentially "stains" the fabric and acts as a paint-dye, allowing the painted area to retain its softness, but I found that it was terrible for lines. The Americana acrylic paint has been with me since the beginning (in sickness and in health, for better or worse....) and creates crisp, consistent lines with the help of painter's tape guides. I did a swatch test before on some scrap fabric, and this was the result:
(Left: Americana Acrylic | Right: Jacquard Dye-na-Flow)

As you can see the Dye-na-Flow brand was much darker, and bled passed the painter's tape.
Painting the red on!

The lines are 1/4" thick and separated 3/8" apart.

Sides sewn and collar added!! Pardon my messy AX hurricane room.... The collar is 2 3/4" tall and the pattern itself is CURVED to be close-fitting to my neck.

Zipper sewn in! KNIT FABRIC + ZIPPER TIP: Sew a 1" strip of thin interfacing to the wrong side of the zipper opening to prevent the zipper from stretching the fabric! It also helps keep the area smooth and free of bumps.

All the sewing is done now!
There are very tiny imperfections in the red stripes, but for the most part it's very crisp!

Without binding!

For the HAKOGAKU kanji on the front of the jerseys, I troubleshooted on what font was used, as well as the thickness, and I almost got it! The font is correct, but the stroke weight needs to be just one tick thicker. I'm going to go back and thicken it.

I created a file in Adobe Illustrator (8.5x11 artboard), and pasted the 箱根学園 kanji into a text box. I then modified the text as shown below.

In Adobe Illustrator

Font: 小塚明朝 Pr6N (Kozuka Mincho PR6N)
Font weight I used: R
Font weight I recommend: M, maybe B
Font size: 170pt
Like so ^
After making those adjustments, I spaced "箱根" a bit from "学園" since there's a zipper in between the text. I then printed out the file, cut vaguely around the text, placed it where I thought it would go underneath the first layer of white, pinned, then filled in the kanji with black acrylic paint directly on. There are some minor imperfections in the painting, but I was very happy with the result (until I got pictures back! It's too thin! haha).

And there you have it :)! Off and on this much took about 3 days to make between patterning, cutting out fabric, adjusting, sewing, and painting. I have yet to make the shorts, and there are more details I have to finish on the jersey as well.

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