Horns are Coming Together

In the most literal sense--I joined them at their fronts.
So the right sides are totally done. Just have to be joined at the back when I get the insides finished. And here's where I'm having a little bit of an issue.
I couldn't quite decide on the colors--either coral-orange-yellow or coral-orange-teal. I think the teal works better with the colors I was using for the vest pockets, but I just don't know if it's too weirdly 'rainbowy'
Teal. Thoughts? The whole thing with this character is much smaller areas of color, but with very bright, cheerful colors. It just feels weird, after having such controlled colors for the other characters--Red for Leoh, pink/peach for Lirienne.
Close up of the embroidery, which is just multiple rows of feather buttonhole stitch sorta "woven" into each other. Really happy with the texture of the stitch, it gives it a little bit of a ridge, echoing the corduroy.

Horns in Progress

The head piece is progressing!
One half has both the corduroy and the metallic threads couched down, it just needs some lining and finishing. The other I'm just starting to lay down the metallic threads.
It is very hard to get a decent picture of the metallic effect, but I'm really happy with it. Because of the raised nature of the corduroy, depending on the angle, the metallic threads appear and disappear.
Annnd because of the snow, it's been completely dead at work, so I have some time again to draw. I was thinking a bit about what to do with that strange lining tunic from I. Goldburg, and I wanted to sketch out with these horns plus the knitted under-helmet.

Sourcing Materials

I don't really mention all that much about my materials and where I get them, except to say that they are about 95% recycled (thread is a bit difficult to recycle, though I do when I can!) So I thought maybe it would be interesting to talk about a bit.

I have three main sources for materials:

Philly AIDS Thrift on 4th and Bainbridge--A bit of a 'cooler' thrift store, with mostly newer (80's/90's) stock, honestly I do more shopping here for myself than for my work, but they have a nice little fabric/craft section where I find some notions/trim/tools occasionally.

American Thrift on 7th and Wolf St--A digger's paradise of moldy old crap from the varied people of South Philadelphia. A lot of truly bizarre stuff and dirt cheap. Lots of my leather/suede comes from jackets and pants I find there, as well the stack of tweed suits I used for the lone star cape last year.

I. Goldburg Army Surplus on 12th and Chestnut--The top two floors are just rugged work-wear stuff, Woolrich, Levi's, Dickies. The basement, however, is a mess of old, clearly used often damaged army surplus from across the globe. This is where a lot of the 'base' garments I use come from. Something about the wear and construction of military clothing makes me more comfortable leaving something of the original garment intact. Most of the clothes I get elsewhere end up completely cut apart and reconfigured, but the stuff I get from I. Goldburg is often what informs the shape of the final garment.

I generally try to cycle going to these places every few weeks, and I had a little bonus money from work, so I went to I. Goldburg on Friday, and this was my haul:
Two hats/balaclavas for patterning inspiration. I don't think I'll actually use them physically, in anything (except maybe to warm up my own head) but rather to get an idea of the shapes I need to get the sort of coif I'm looking for. Also a pair of absolutely enormous wool socks that are half felted already, and I'll probably just finish the job.
Grey waffle sort of knit thermal, very large. I like the cotton plackets at the neck and sleeves, and the roughness of the knit material.
Some sort of jacket liner, I think? It's grey wool, and the shape is really sort of like a Turkish robe, I definately think the shape of this will be kept pretty much the same, not sure yet what I'll be doing with it.
Another undershirt, I used one of the same sort for Leoh's undergarments, it's made of this sort of perfect rough woven wool.
These might be my best find in a while. They're white boiled wool pants. According to the tag, they're British Welder's pants--I've seen leather used for welding protection, but never wool. Though it does make sense, it doesn't burn well, and the boiled wool on this is very thick.
Look at those giant buttons! It's all very brutish--it doesn't even have sides seams (must have been a large bolt of cloth!) They just kind of amazing, I'm not certain what's going to happen with them yet, I'll have to ponder.

I don't generally post picture of garments before I break them down. Partially, I think, because I just forget. The other part is that my work isn't really about the before-and-after transformation--I'm not turning an oversized t-shirt into a babydoll dress anymore, the presto-chango aspect of it is sort of moot. It's more about clothing adapting from one thing to another, without the idea of improving (or, god forbid, the awful word 'upcycle') Not to mention it gives my work a more clear and immediate history that I don't necessarily want known when it's seen.

Just thought it'd be interesting to share with you folks for once, after all, this blog is about the process, it's not my professional portfolio.

Some Finished Pieces, Some New Starts

The lace shirt is all finished. I'm still iffy on the finishing of that stupid cheesecloth, but the rest I'm happy with. Wish I still had a dress form to put it on...

The woven vest/jacket's pockets are lined and installed.

I confronted my fears about sock making, and was pleasantly surprised to get through these two with relatively little trouble. I think I messed up on the toe decreases a little, but in theory I'm understanding how the gusset/heel flap work.
I've wanted to work with corduroy for a while, it's a fabric with the sort of strength and familarity that I like, but I always felt like I had to transform it a little bit, it was a little too recognizable, I guess? Anyway, I cut a pair of pants down into bias strips, and I loved how it suddenly turned into something like a cord.
It's starting to turn into this, which will be a sort of head-band that goes over a hat/coif sort thing, probably a knitted one. I'm couching down some yarn, then sewing the 'cord' over it to give it some dimensionality.

Tiny Things

I didn't make any specific New Year's resolutions, but with the holidays far behind, I'm resolved to focus back on my work, and back on updating more frequently. Just in general. Also drawing more and cooking more rounded dinners. So I guess there was a few little things.

Working on some physical little things as well. My poor woven vest has been languishing sans-pockets for a while now. After the tough going with that tape lace, I figured some tiny, quick little pieces might be a good thing, so I set to work on some pockets. Instead of making a matched set, I like the idea of completely different ones, perhaps given by different people. They're almost like little badges that way, marking connections or events. This character's clothing is a little more piecemeal in general, for two reasons. The House of Horns is the house of orphans and clergy, so their clothing is bound to be a little less ornamental, and even further recycled than other house. She's also an outsider, recently taken in, so the clothing is going to be a sort of donated mish mash.
The knit one I didn't get an in-progress of, unfortuately, but you can see the patchwork one taking form. It was worked on 0 or 00 (I'm not sure, they were not marked?) needles with one strand of three-strand crewel or rug yarn. I would love to get even finer, if I can find a finer wool to work with. Lace weight wool tends to be sort of fuzzy and doesn't come in great colors. Any ideas?
And now pieced! It's a traditional 'snail trail' pattern, which I think looks like a variation of several older 'ram's horn' patterns. The beautiful silks used in this were gifted to me from my studiomate Astrid who dyed them. I used three shades of blue and a pale green. I'm not sure how tiny those seams are, but I think they are just shy of 1/8th.

And here it is bound and quilted. I love how this silk feels when quilted, would love to work with a whole garment of it. The variations of blues are also really nice.
You can see from the back of the knit one that there are a *lot* of ends--this is due to using (reusing) those short lengths of wool pre cut in embroidery kits. I was working with wool only about a yard long. So lots of joining. I'll probably line it as well so it's not so messy inside.

I think the next project I'll be moving onto is a hat/headpiece. I've been posting some 'hat-spiration' over at my tumblr, here's some of the key objects I'm looking at.

A Few Finds and Some Terrible Fabric

I generally try not to buy much old trim/ephemera or old embroideries. I'd love to collect them but I just don't have the room and they'd just pile up. Usually it's just old clothes to process (tear apart) and recycle into garments, and maybe something for myself. But I did pick up some neat things today.
Some really amazing old bias tape, in two plaids and a candy stripe. There was also polka dots but I'm not so fond of polka dots. It's still sealed and entire, and I'd really like to use the plaid! The plain muslin skirt facing is actually useful for my work, and the last, I admit...I bought for it's really lovely metallic label. The scalloping itself is kind of beat.
Entirely New!

The other big find was an unfinished piece of tape lace.
It's about half-finished. Sadly it's not really usable for my work, but it's a great reference for different stitches (would have been great to have about a month ago, hah)
I wish I could find this sort of premade lace. In any case, if I try my hand at tape lace again, it'll be a much finer lace.
Little eyelets!

My own tape lace is having some issues. The cheese-cloth like fabric that I was using to back the lace/make the arms ended up being incredibly difficult to work with. It's beautiful (thanks to Diana for gifting it to me!) but it shreds and pulls, and it definitely not made to be a weight-bearing fabric. Oops. At this point, I am going to finish it, and I may replace it at a later date.
It was originally going to be a full sleeve, but it was just not going to happen. Still, I'm okay with it. Many of the historical garments I look at have some pretty strange improvisations or fix ups, it doesn't necessarily harm the integrity of the garment.
Little baby sleeves. On the bright side, the lace merged really nicely with the body of the shirt.

All that said, I am a little ashamed of the hot mess left on the inside. I've always been pretty proud of the neatness of my insides (one the difference, I contend, between costume and clothing) but holy crow this fabric did not cooperate. And I don't want to add even more bulk by covering it. Agh.