Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind

But, you know… In summer…

I love Miyazaki films so much, and one of my first introductions to his and Studio Ghibli’s works (other than My Neighbor Totoro which I rewatched over and over on VHS as a kid) was the Nausicaa graphic novels.

And then I was introduced to all the movies. But Nausicaa is still one of my favorites…

So when my friends and I decided to do a Miyazaki day, I jumped on the chance to make a Nausicaa outfit. For one thing, Nausicaa doesn’t wear heels, so I could get away without such silly shoewear, and also I could make her outfit out of knit fabrics.


Yay for knits!

And then I realized that her full outfit would be really hot, and way too much work with about a week free before the con. So I decided to remove some items. And by some, I mean a lot.

The first item I made was some leggings using Cake Patterns’ Espresso pattern. I got this white rayon spandex knit from Joann Fabric’s. It doesn’t have a lovely amount of recovery, and its definitely translucent, but it worked well enough at the time. They certainly are warm and comfy!

Then I made the belt, mostly because I was not really looking forward to making the tunic. I got out some wide navy blue elastic, and this belt buckle I got from a trimming shop in New York City, and made the belt for my natural waist.

At some point in the last week pre-DragonCon, I decided to just go for it, and I created this new Closet Case Nettie hack (I made a muslin first, I promise!).


The neckline was adjusted to swing upwards to create that cut-on collar look, which I estimated from the crew neck version of the pattern. Then I created a “slit” down the front for a few inches. This necessitated a lining or facing of some kind, which I ended up doing as a half lining (so a kind of glorified shelf bra without the elastic) to give it a clean finished edge.

The sleeves were one thing I debated over. I originally thought short sleeves because of summer, but if I ever wanted to reuse this costume for a more comprehensive Nausicaa outfit, the sleeves needed to be longer, so I went with elbow-3/4 sleeves.

You might remember (from a long time ago) that I wasn’t sure which version of Nausicaa I wanted to create. I ended up going with “normal,” where she has ammo holders where shirt pockets would normally be, rather than trying to applique a bird emblem, for which I just took rectangles of fabric and sewed them to the proper places with spaces for three tubes on either side.

When I realized that I needed to make ammo to put in the ammo holders, I stalled. The night before I left I pulled out some dowels that I had bought with other projects in mind, cut some pieces about chapstick size in length, and then glued three together at a time. When they were dry to the touch I mixed together some cheap red and yellow acrylic to create a nice orange and I painted all of them. I made six, but when I wore the costume I used an orange chapstick in one place, which is what is sticking out a bit… It was handy but also slippy and kept slipping out of place.


Teto completed the look!

I’ve worn the tunic a few times now without costumes in mind, and I think it’ll get a lot of wear in winter. The leggings have gotten a few less wearings, but I am not the biggest fan of white clothing so it isn’t surprising. And Teto has been looking down on me from a bookcase, keeping me company!

Stay tuned for more on my Ariel costume, as well as some more TARDIS stuff! And some of those regular clothes things too. Lots of that.


Compression Coil

My backup costume is pretty much done!



I figured I’d get the backup costume done as quickly as I could, but realistically this has been mulling around in my brain for awhile.

The flightsuit/jumpsuit got to me in April, I think. Maybe March, but a long time ago. I actually went to my local surplus/costume/knick-knack store, and the owner sized me up and said that I would probably fit well in the child’s extra large. Which worked out nearly perfectly!

Realistically though, when I found the adult flightsuits at the back of the store they were as tall as I was. So the child’s size made sense.

It’s a lightweight poly-cotton, and straight from the package it fit well in the shoulders, and the chest, etc. Even the length from the crotch to the hem was good. The problem was the four inches of extra torso length. Four inches!


It did take me three or four months to actually fix this. And to be perfectly honest, I might have gone a little too far, but it looks great when I’m standing. And I can deal with it pulling a bit when sitting. There aren’t sleeves to deal with after all.


The patches are wonderful! I got them from Ebay, and here’s the teddy bear, and the heart/flower combo. You can get the combo of all three here…

I sewed them on using a normal back stitch, but around the teddy bear I also added some fake blanket stitching. Then I took a normal marker to draw on some Chinese characters. Luck and love, if I remember correctly…


I made the top using the Nettie pattern from Closet Case Files, like I do all my t-shirts, and this weird stretchy fabric. It’s rather plastic-y even for polyester… But it is very Kaylee!

The sandals are not nearly the same as Kaylee’s but I did make them! There will be more on those later this week though.

Add in some pigtail buns and my parasol, and it makes a pretty smashing Kaylee!


My name is Agent

skirtPeggy Carter is the master of well tailored shirts. Most of them are soft and drapey, and a few are structured. I’m excited to see whatever the next season brings, but from the first there were many good shirt examples, and mine is a combination.

This shirt post is long overdue. After all, I first wore this shirt in an unfinished capacity on Halloween… But then didn’t get around to actually finishing it until December. And it’s very wordy…

sideI started drafting in late September, and it went through a number of muslins (at least 4) and an incredible amount of drafting variations (meters and meters of Ikea drawing paper), some of which got scrapped before a muslin was even cut.

frontThe many alterations that I made for this shirt included a full bust adjustment, rotating and then eliminating darts, removing the back darts, adding a yoke, raising the armscye, moving the shoulder point up, doing a full back adjustment, and then taking some of that out, making a swayback adjustment, removing it, and then adding it back in, adding room to the bicep, adding room to the sleeve cap. Etc.

I had bought this lightweight linen at the same time I bought the linen for my Merida outfit, so I knew that it wouldn’t be super drapey, but not 100% structured either.


This is also the time to infodump my many sources for patterning and fitting this shirt. This was the website I used to draft the initial block that I drafted the shirt from. I used this article to help explain and draft my one piece front/collar and facing. I’m fairly certain I tried this forward shoulder stuff too… This placket tutorial is awesome! And this explanation of sleeves and drafting remains my favorite reference, and one that I re-read often.

sleeve upper back

front lower back

The front darts were replaced by three tucks, which do a good job of dealing with the dart-replacement, but make hemming the shirt a bit miserable. I eliminated the darts in the back, and tried to use a center back seam to solve swayback issues… It only worked a smidge, and the execution needs to be improved on my next version.

raised armsLook look look! I can raise my arms! The armscye is super close to the base of my arm, which I’ve learned is the key to a shirt that doesn’t pull out of a tucked-in state, and since I knew that I would be tucking the shirt into the 40s style trousers, this was very important to me. Because of the size and shape of the armscye, though, this shirt is oddly uncomfortable to take on and off. The sleeves are ginormous at the top, but because the circumference of the base of the sleeve is about the same as my bicep at its fullest fat level, the sleeve base pulls a little as I put it on. The sleeves are ginormous mostly because slimmer set sleeves were creating extreme draglines, so I overcompensated and made a super large sleeve cap instead, since I was running out of time. I’m hoping to slim them down slightly for the next version.

back skirtThis was supposed to be my Halloween costume, if you remember. And a version of it was in fact done for Halloween… One that wasn’t hemmed, no cuffs, no placket, a very ill-fitting back, and I sewed the top three buttons on when I was in the car on the way to the party… Also, I was sick-ish.

So most of the finishing was done post-Halloween. It’s currently a bit too chilly to wear the costume out of doors, but I anticipate that once spring comes, I’ll have more opportunities to photograph and show you the full costume! Maybe with a second version, that’s a bit neater and more crisp.

front skirt

In fact, I can’t actually wear this version as is… The cuffs don’t overlap, and for these pictures I’ve managed to pin them close with these tiny treble clef pins that I got in high school. Unless I take those off, and attach new ones (if I can find any remaining scraps of fabric), then this shirt won’t really leave the house.

I keep talking about this next version… I have the fabric, a white shirting material, and I’m just working up the motivation to cut it out and make it.

First I’ve got to finish this homework assignment due in four hours…

Running a Teashop


A few months ago I laid out a small sewing plan, and though I’ve worked on all of the projects, I’ve yet to post on most of them. But the time has come!

My first project, which is really my latest one, is a shirt for a small Hatter costume (who runs a “teashop,” by the way).


I fell in love with Syfy’s version of Alice in wonderland, which was a mini series that aired in 2009. It’s a perfect way of turning an old fashioned story around, and a story of family and love… now it just sounds like a romance. It’s more of a drama with a slight comedic undertone. The Mad Hatter is played by Andrew Lee Potts, and is not terribly nice or mean, but understandably complicated. He wears this awesome hat, go figure, which is the main part of the costume that I’m lacking, but his shirt is the craziest part.

Definitely vintage inspired, and oddly colourful, but rather simple otherwise.


I had always thought that Archer would be a great pattern for this, a good go to dress shirt pattern.

The only changes I made to it was the hem, where I chose to use the hem that was already sewn into my fabric, so I ignored any hemming instructions, and I shortened the sleeves to elbow length, without a cuff. Oh, and I only cut out one yoke piece, so I french seamed the entire thing. So I guess that’s more than a minimum of changes.


Other than that, a simple make. I thought I had lost my buttonhole foot though, and after searching my room, I found it where it most definitely should have been… in my makeup container. But then I got clicking away, sewed it up, and here it is! It’s fairly comfy for a swishy polyester shirt. Maybe soon I’ll have a full cosplay!


July in January

I caught the Archer bug.


Partially because I had some fabrics that I really wanted to make shirts from, but mostly because I was impressed with the fit of my first.

Neither of the fabrics were long enough to include sleeves, though. So I set about using the alterations suggested by Grainline forĀ  sleeveless versions, and I made two up! My main alterations at this point were to shorten the body, mostly because I don’t need the length, but also because I had a limited amount of fabric.

Remember how I said I was going to use a crisper iron-able fabric for my next version?


That didn’t happen. I started by using this green fabric, with a neat flower design. The flower has a raised velveteen pattern, as well, which occasionally proved tricky in that I couldn’t iron seams open. I also had to use a pink and brown fabric with a similar weight for the inside yolk and collarstand, since I barely had enough of the green to make the pattern work.

I used yellow bias binding on the sleeves, and white on the hem.


My hem is also very very tilted. I kinda like it though! If I was to wear it in a situation that doesn’t involve casual attire, I’d likely tuck it in to hide this fact.

All in all, it turned out better than I expected, since I was more using this for practice than for actual wearing. I don’t have lots of practice with such lightweight fabrics, but I love wearing them, so if I want to work with them in the future I might as well work on it with free to me fabrics now!

And then to my second sleeveless version.


This one was made out of real shirt-weight fabric. I should have started with this one, but I honestly wasn’t thinking about it when I got to work that day. It’s a nice cream and brown floral print that feels absolutely wonderful. The construction was easier, and there were no changes from the green one.

I think I finished the construction, from cutting to sewing, in two hours. Another forty five minutes for the red bias binding (though I’ve still got a minor fix on that), and then another hour plus for the buttons. I added more buttons to this one, for no real reason other than to torture my hands in sewing them in.

I’m glad I used the red binding and red buttons. It gives it a bit of flair. And adds some color. I like surreptitiously adding color to my wardrobe. It’s like I’m tricking myself into actually wearing color!

January Projects 3 and 4

Stashbusting – 4 fabrics used

Waterfall Archer

So I finished my first version of Grainline’s Archer Button Up.


And I love it!

It’s comfy and cozy, and fits me.

I don’t love long sleeve shirts in the first place, since I almost always just roll up the sleeves to my elbows, but I wanted a thick one, like the plaid flannel shirts. But for one, I don’t actually like wearing plaid, and two flannel is often a bit too warm for me.

So when I was gifted this neat geometric blue fabric, I thought I’d give it a try. In retrospect, it’s a bit too thick for a first time through on this pattern. It certainly is a thick as a nice flannel, but without the fuzz and some of the warmth. But it worked out nicely.


I love that the only exposed seams are the side seams and the armscye. I definitely have no qualms about putting this in the wash, which is more than I can say about most of my projects.

It’s a little baggy, which is what I was going through for this one, but I may cut some of the bagginess on my next one.

Because I will be making another.


I also had to cut the sleeve down a bit. Because the shoulder seams drop off the shoulder a bit, the sleeves were incredibly long, but I did notice that when I moved up the seam, the sleeve length was a bit better. For proof on the enormous length on petite little me, see the picture above. The length was past my palm!

But all in all, I loved the pattern. After using a Simplicity pattern right before, I appreciated that all notches matched up easily. I will admit, though, that I used the sew along online, instead of the booklet instructions. I admire pictures, and it’s easier for me to understand better with full color pics.

January Project #1

Stashbusting – 1 fabric used