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Seth: Post Dye Clean-up

Well… it seems I have a track record of updating this every year or so. I will try a bit harder in good ol’ 2013… especially as I have a backlog of things to post about <3.

Last post I talked about actually dyeing my fabric for Seth. Well, as lovely a job as it did, it’s also super important to tidy up all your tools. In this case, it meant cleaning up the washing machine >_<.

First I present to you images of the fabric right after the whole dye process was completed, including the 2nd wash with detergent. You’ll notice right away, it’s obvious I just dyed something in the washer. While not atrocious, there’s enough green around to make me really nervous about washing another load.

Fresh in the washer.  Look at that nice green frothy residue.Also observe all that green residue on the washer drum.

Taking an even closer look, the washer will definitely need a lil TLC to get it back to its rightful condition. It’s rather obviously green. I also want to remind you I used a super super weak concentration of dye for this amount of fabric. I’m not saying to be scared, but rather, be aware.

Close up on the green frothy residue.The green sticks wherever it can. Fortunately,  lots is just scummy residue it seems.Uber flash.  Sorry.  But take a look at how even the agitator took on a green hue.

There are at least two things you need to do protect your future washes from post dye accidents:

  • Wipe down the inside of the washer.
  • Run a wash cycle with bleach and a few rags.

No matter how “clean” your washes appears, it’s essential to run another wash cycle. Washers have a habit of holding residual water in the outer tub… right where you can’t see it. This means all the dye has not yet left the machine in just one wash. Yeah that’d be unpleasant, right? Also, the dye will stick to any type of scums or residue inside the washer. Water might not be able to reach all those spot. Take a look.

Surprise! The water is still greenish.You'll have to hand wipe those spots.

Yep not reaching that high. Frankly, even if it could, it might be too tough to just come off with a rinse. So, it’s good practice to wipe everything down. To ensure everything was clean, I wiped before and after my blank load. Even after the blank load, you can see how much I have to clean up. Make sure to pay attention to the very top of the washer drum and the agitator.

More spots to hand wipe down.Clean for the most part, but still needs attention.

Not bad at all I say! Everything looks all nice and clean now. I feel pretty confident my family won’t notice I dumped green dye into the washer… even with that bit of green tint still about.^^;

Pretty clean I think!Still a green hue, but much less so than before.Look at the difference! Notice my rags sacrificed for the cause.

Overall, I’d definitely call this a successful venture. However, I’ll continue to avoid ever dyeing polyester again if I can help it. Too much work. Too much effort. Polyester is also just too difficult with too many varying results for me to make a habit of it. Also, I can only order away for the dye, so it’s money wasted on shipping too! Nonetheless, it was a good experience and I hope someone can learn from my adventures.

So the recap what I learned:

  • Polyesters are difficult to dye and take special attention. In addition to the special chemical dye, you need heat and lots of it. Boiling water can barely achieve this.
  • Polyester dyes are powerful stuff. They.Smell.Horrid. Even though iDye Poly is nicely contained, once it hits the water, you’ll have to crack a window.
  • If you can fit it in a pot, do so. You’ll get much better dye results and the cleanup process is not only much easier, but less worrisome. I was terrified my mom would put in whites and get back the most lovely shades of green.
  • Polyester dyeing is best left for smaller amounts of fabric. Handling large volumes of fabric is very cumbersome because you can’t get it in a pot. That alone means it’s likely you won’t get very good results. Remember, when dyeing, you want the fabric to float freely.
  • Realistically, if you can get the close enough to the color in the first place, don’t bother with dyeing.

And there you have it! My adventures in polyester dying! I’ll try to post again much sooner. I might put a hold on Seth and talk about my more current tasks. We’ll see!

Laters <3

Seth: The Actual Dye Job

Hey there!

So I fell terribly behind on updating this blog, but alas I have returned and will whip my self into [a better] blogging routine. Let’s review! Way, back in like December, I received the 10 yards of mint moleskin I had ordered from Denver Fabrics. Mint however wasn’t quite the shade I was going for, so I decided to dye it. After a grand failure with RIT dye, I invested in some Jacquard’s iDye Poly. Let’s see how that process went.

The iDye Poly comes in a very attractive card-paper [is that a word?] packet. The packet contains the dye and color intensifier. The directions are directly printed on the packaging. Let me note, I decided to handle this with gloves from the moment I got it just to be safe. The chemicals are harsh. It is the very reason it comes packaged up in a water soluble pouch. Yep, that little plastic around the dye dissolves once it hits water. Keep you work surfaces dry.

iDye Poly PackagingiDye Poly Opened

Well, I read all the instructions and figured stove top method wasn’t gonna cut it. I had 10 yards of fabric. No pot I could get on my stove was going to hold that. With great reluctance, I started up the washing machine. Since the color intensifier only had directions for stove top I decided not to use it at all. This Dye Packet Dissolves Furiously Fast forming a deep green water bath. As the directions say, you only have to agitate 30 seconds before adding the fabric. Also, you might also want to open some windows right about now. It’s not terribly pungent, but keep some good airflow.

iDye Poly in WateriDye Poly in Water Dissolved

 

I reset the cycle 2 times allowing my fabric to agitate for almost 2 hours. The water temperature had cooled significantly over that time, so I knew the dye would not be as effective. The directions even said “Top load washing methods for polyester and nylon blends with natural fibers.” Not meant for 100% polyester because there’s not enough heat. I was not too worried since I only needed to tint the color a bit. Finally, I washed and dried the fabric. Let’s look at the results without and with flash..

Color ComparisonColor Comparison

 

Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m underwhelmed. But, it’ll work. You can see it definitely tinted the mint enough to achieve that soft green I was going for. It is now reflects more of a yellow than blue. Success! I say.

So my overall feeling, it worked. Don’t judge iDye Poly badly on my results. I did alot of things that would lessen the effectiveness of the dye. One packet of iDye is meant for 2-3lbs of fabric. I had about 10lbs or more. Also, 100% polyester needs high heat, and thus stove top method. Lastly, all polyesters are different. Any dye job is part trial and error. Would I recommend iDye Poly? Sure would! Just know the shortcomings first. Next entry, the clean-up!

G’ Luck everyone!

Seth: The Fabric Debate

It’s been months now since I committed to Seth. Yet, I don’t have fabric yet. I just can’t commit to a color. Nothing seems to be that happy middle ground. You either get deep forest greens, or very light greens. Originally I was aiming for a Jade or Emerald green; however, I’m having major second thoughts now. It was all okay when I certainly planned on dyeing everything, but that’s alot of eggs riding in one tiny basket. Today, I took a moment to reconsider my options a bit.

From the moment I saw Seth, I knew I wanted to use a short pile, fuzzy type fabric. This I narrowed down to microsuede, velveteen, and moleskin. Having had pleasant experiences with moleskin, I wanted to aim for that. Well, it seems the colors kelly green, emerald, jade, or any mid-shade vivid green color… don’t come in moleskin. In fact, moleskin fabric is rather scarce I learned. Many store have been discontinuing them. I was left with few choices, all forcing me to dye to get my precise desired color.

So, I scoured the net again. Selected backups, and made color comparison images. The top bar of colors, are all the various colors Seth wears in the artbook images. Check em out:
Mint Green SwatchKelly Green SwatchJade Green SwatchYellow Green Swatch

From this I am now pretty confident I will stick with the Mint color. If I get desperate, I can do a dye wash with either yellow or green and still have a pretty nice color.

Sorry this post is rather boring, but choosing you fabric is a huge part of the deal. In fact, I was surprised how well the basic colors seem to match from the color swatches made above. Fortunately, Seth wears many shades of green, so I have wiggle room. All in all, I’m glad I didn’t go with a kelly green as it is too rich for my tastes.

Til next time! Ja~

Seth: Paper Draft

Hihi!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated, but be assured I’ve been working somewhat hard. And since I’m sooo busy right now (Read: Trying to catch up like mad.), I’m gonna keep this post a bit short.

Today, I’m finally posting pictures of the newspaper draft of Seth’s dress. Thankfully it wasn’t too hard. I used My favorite “renaissance” dress pattern to shape the jacket, and kinda guessed everything else based on past experiences. When all was taped together, I cut it up to make a pattern for the real deal. This is a great tool for estimating how much fabric you actually need. I found out, I’ll actually need about 10 yards of fabric for this @_@. I joked about this to others, but didn’t believe it’d actually turn out this way. *defeat* Well onto the pictures!

 

Next time Some time later, I’ll hopefully talk a little bit more about my pattern pieces and such. IE: How i got the shapes, thought process. But for now, I’m gonna to play some games! (Right after this homestyle cherry pie

Can I Dye this?

Something amazing about cosplay is that everyday can be a learning day. The more things you try, the more experience you can gain, and the more knowledge you can pass onto others. Furthermore, failure is as much a tool as success can be. That being said, I wanted to share my findings involving the frequently asked question:

Can I dye this?

The general rule of thumb is: Natural Fibers dye easily, Synthetics not always so much, and Polyester will put up a grand fight. Now before you stare at this saying, well.. duh stupid, I want to admit I knew, but sometimes it’s just so much more fun to try and fail firsthand. I tried using RIT dye on a variety of fabrics because RIT can also dye some synthetics. You can even use RIT to dye buttons (and I’m hoping zippers… experiments for another day). Thankfully and woefully it’s surprisingly easy to get started. Make sure you cover your workspace, lest you’re kitchen table may have some interesting marbling colors…

The cotton based materials dyed with no problem whatsoever. After just 15 minutes in the teal dye bath, they took on good moderate color. I also threw in some yellow fabric to show how colors combine, notice that lovely green color. Finally, I tried some moleskin which was 97% polyester and 3% spandex soaking it for about 45 minutes. I’m assuming that slight slight ever so slight color change, is that 3% spandex.

 

So what’s the deal about polyester? Well from my general research, the dying process relies on heat. When a fiber is heated it opens up allowing it to absorb color pigments. The temperature of boiling water is enough for natural fibers, and several synthetics; however, polyester requires much higher temperatures. Technically, if you got the dye to adhere to the fabric, you could use an iron to heat up the pigments. In fact, Iron-on Transfer Crayons (for synthetics) operate on this concept. This would be impractical for large applications though. Thus, polyester dyes have chemicals that make the fibers open up so they can absorb pigments, but because of this they are also more dangerous to handle.

I can’t say this trial was purely scientific. I really was just hoping by some chance I could dye the mint moleskin jade hahaha. My only option now is to use a disperse dye made for Polyester. I’ve been eyeing Jacquard’s iDye Poly. It comes in a self-dissolving packet so you don’t have to handle the chemicals. I just hope I can mix colors successfully with it without dying my fabric too dark.

Til next time

A Hat like a Sail

Some time ago, I decided to pattern Seth’s hat. Since I don’t have the fabric yet, this is a great chance to figure out just how much fabric I need. What I learned: this thing is huge. After a nasty process of measuring, scaling, and redraw her hat using reference points frmo the scaling, I’ve made myself a hat. You’ll notice the pattern for the bottom layer of the hat has a wedge cut from it. This is to creates the 3d shape of the hat. It is similar to how a circle with a 1/4 wedge missing, forms a cone when the ends are forced to meet^^. Heres’ some pics from along the process.

 

Next time I’ll be talking about the quest for the perfect fabric. There has been much fail so far. Til then!

Seth’s Glistenings & Glamour

Today’s post is more a chance to me to think. I worked out Seth’s Hat Pattern two days ago (I’ll be sure to post pictures later), and now I’m thinking about the detailing on the hat. I already plan on using gesso and molding/modeling pastes to do alot of the intricacies. But now I’m faced with some decisions that swing on the boundaries of accuracy versus overall look.

I’ve referenced many, many other Seth cosplayers on my journey so far. To portray the red spot on her garment, I’ve seen varying combinations of gems and flat appliqués. I myself have been debating on this much as of late. In the black and white image, it’s really hard to discern which is what. So after my digital coloring, I broke out the color pencils and did another coloring by hand, which really helps clear up the details even more. Then I referenced the colored images and even images of other similar dressed characters. Most images portray the red areas as flat with a few raised gems here and there, in no real consistent pattern. Thinking more on this, I felt the red areas shouldn’t be simply fabric appliqués but somewhat raised . Then I’d use a few gems in some areas of the garment. I planned out my ideas in photoshop.

 

So the question once again: How to do the flat areas? I was pondering.. Perhaps my new favorite modeling paste again. You can sew through it when dry, you can use it to do image transfers, and it’s completely flexible. Then another though hit me! How about gel mediums. I start the appliqué with a thin coat of modeling paste, then paint it to my desire color. Then, I can used gel medium, which is transparent and come in high gloss and matte, mix it with my color and apply that over the appliqué to have a kinda shiny gem look, but on a flat yet raised surface. I like this idea alot!

Seth’s Decadent Flourishes

In my last post about Seth, I whined commented about the lavish flourishes that adorned her garments. Since then, I took a look around for possible ways to accomplish this in a controlled fashion that didn’t rely on me hand sculpting each piece individually. My first thoughts: molds. If I could make a mold of my desired shape, I could cast out flexible pieces with molding and modeling paste!

This took me to the hardware store, this time Lowe’s, where I was able to find some fancy wood moulding flourishes [called decorative accents]. I chose a symmetrical piece so I would have left and right hand copies of the same shape. Over a week, I coated the flourish with a liquid latex called Castin’ Craft Mold Builder.

Castin’ Craft Mold Builder is a brushable latex mold building substance. It’s a reasonably viscous liquid so it’s not very runny. It has a very strong ammonia smell, so use with good ventilation. The great thing about latex molds, is that you can make glove molds since it’s slightly stretchy. You can peel it off a cast piece inverting it completely even. Do note, the latex readily sticks to itself (many a times permanently). Always coat with some talcum powered to prevent it from sticking to itself. Usually you’ll want to protect more porous items so the latex doesn’t stick to it.

My wood piece was shrink wrapped in thin plastic that conformed to all its contours so I didn’t have to open the package and seal the wood before applying the mold builder. After the latex mold dried, I wanted to make sure it was reinforced, to prevent warping and stretch when I tried to cast from it. I poured plaster of paris over the mold to create a block for this reinforcement. After the block set, I very carefully peeled the original wood flourish away from the latex, being sure not to separate the latex from the plaster.

Now I have a beautifully stunning latex mold, sitting in a block of plaster. The liquid latex really pics up fine details without having to mix more complex molding compounds, or using lots of material. However as a trade off, it takes more time since it needs to be built up gradually and dry between coats.

Here’s my pictures of the process so far!

 

Well thanks for reading through yet another day of my banter. I’m gonna let my mold dry for a day I think. Next step: fill the mold with plaster and carve/break it apart into its smaller sections. I also should test just how well the molding paste adheres to fabric and how it reacts to stress like, being sat on. Til next time!

Aisha’s Armour & Molding Paste

When I last talked about Aisha Klan Klan, I was stumped with her chest armour. Here’s are the images again:

 

Her amour is a seamless shell, yet manages to move with her. I wanted to replicate this as much as possible. But how does one make something like that. Well, I think I got a pretty good solution going.

Golden’s Light Molding Paste!

 

Golden’s molding paste is located in the Artist’s Section (usually near the Fine Art’s Paints) of stores like A.C.Moore and Michaels. It’s a light, fluffy, creamy, flexible (only when fully dry!!!!) paste that artists can use on a canvas to add dimension to their art work. It holds stiff peaks, but is really lightweight and accepts paint super well. Even better, it’s totally sandable! Learn more about Golden’s molding pastes at their website.

I decided to get some out and give it a go and I was impressed. I also learned alot from this.

  1. ALWAYS wait until completely dry or else it will crack. Drying may take a couple of days when thickly applied so leave plenty of working time.
  2. Palette knives are much greater then plastic knives. I stupidly tried to be cheap frugal and it cost me much time and effort. Now I have heavy sanding ahead, and I still had to buy the palette knives (which were under three dollars).
  3. You notice less of your mistakes when working with white. However, they will become noticeable once painted. Work neatly from the beginning.
  4. Golden’s Molding Paste takes color extremely well. The fabric base I used for the amour actually bled green into the molding paste. Always seal your final product to ensure it does not pick up other colors. Even if you are making something white, go over it with a coat of white paint and then seal it.
  5. This adheres readily to fabric. Don’t use your best clothes, and if you do get some on you, resist the urge to rub it away. Lift bigger clumps away then try and scrap the rest off with a clean knife. Probably should go wash your clothes too.

So to make this amour, I glued then sewed fabric to heavy interfacing in the front and craft foam in the back. I attached the front directly to a bra. Then I covered everything in Golden’s Molding Paste (after a thin layer of Liquitex’s Flexible modeling paste.. I’ll be talking about that some other time). Check out my pictures below to see how everything’s going so far!

 

Well that’s that for today! Thanks for stopping by. If I get enough pictures together, I’m gonna document the whole process under tutorials. Ooh! Ooh!

DISCLAIMER:Golden’s Molding Paste while non-toxic has not been tested for extensive and/or prolonged exposure to humans. What this means: It is not recommended you use this in items that will do directly against you skin.

Seth: Figuring her out

So far, the hardest part of Seth is trying to decipher just what’s happening in these images. So I started coloring them in to get an idea. Here’s are some pictures of my colorings:

I first colored the images in Photoshop. Then I printed a black and white copy and recolored them with color pencils to increase my understanding. So far this has really helped! I also looked at other cosplayers to see how they interpreted details for a comparison. Overall, this also brought my attention to some of the crazy details and some aspects that I just have no idea what they are… yeah… Seth is particularly adorned by many lavish flourishes which I wasn’t really quite sure what to make of. She also has this funky kinda bustle-butt train going on. I’m still trying to figure out just what that silhouette boils down to. That’ll be another days research, however.

 

So, I got out on the internet and took a thorough look around. Starting with the word filigree and some google fu I think I got a few good leads.

Today’s Discovery/Realization: Rococo Stylings

Summing it up super simply: Rococo Style and influence tends to refer to the ornate and playful style of the 18th century affecting art, sculpture, ceramics, and furniture alike especially in France. It takes inspiration from Baroque elements, yet artist tend to drop symmetry and are more lavish and florid by comparison. See some examples here. These flourishes really reminded me of Seth’s ornate designs. Now the question is, how to replicate this look in a controlled fashion. I’ll save those pondering for next time!

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