Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Merry Sithmas

Star Wars stuff used to be limited to the Star Wars room - amply named for all its star wars stuff.  I personally am not a collector. My hubby is. While I read the books, watch movies, follow blogs, and make costumes, he buys tons of star wars crap - oh, mementoes.

And now it is taking over other parts of the house. Nerdy though I am, it might start bothering me.

New last year was the Star Wars lawn ornament set from our local hardware store. I liked them too and bought them for dear hubby.

And this year it was the Star Wars Tree. Luckily my black Halloween tree (used for The Nightmare before Christmas Ornaments set) worked out great. I still can't believe I found a black, fake christmas tree!

Complete with Star Wars Ornaments. I wanted more red, but he wanted silver. Sadly Target was out of the Yoda Tree Topper, and I want the Darth Vader Tree Topper, but the recruits want a star. So Jed tied a Bossk action figure up there. It was pretty funny....

So next year it will be one of these: well maybe.... unless something cooler comes out.

And check out this ornament set from ShopBuyTrend by Disney. I might just buy this now for next year. That way I don't regret it forever.

I am pretty sure my geeked-out hubby will be very happy. Especially for Han Solo in carbonite.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Star Wars Mania

We all know the new movie is coming out - but holy snikies! So are tons of merchandise. Not that I complain that often about buying cool star wars stuff but I think it may have reached a new, pitifully low level with Disney buying the franchise.

Just a few finds:

We are waffle people so naturally I did buy this item from and I admit it works pretty well! The waffles are very filling and huge, and can't easily be divided without destroying the death star. Something my recruits at home just love.

Shower heads: both hubby and I agreed this was just creepy. Having Darth Vader stare at you while you shower just seems wrong.

R2-D2 humidifier: Oh, Disney, how low can you go! But of course I bought one for my son's room. Sheesh, like shootin' fish in a barrel.

Notice our star wars room. Filled to the hilt with Star Wars and Marvel crap - Oh, I mean collectibles. But the puzzle was actually fairly challenging and kept our attention for most of November. It is a photomosaic puzzle of Boba Fett. It is so difficult in parts that you have to peer with a magnifying glass at the guide they give you to look at the patterns on the mosaics. Best 10 bucks spent ever!

And this was mine. They were out of the Tie Fighter so I got this one to give to my hubby. This 3D metal model was super hard to put together and besides being super shiny, and super cool lookin' - it now sits on a rotating base that just adds to the geekiness of it all. I highly recommend this one. But not for kids, maybe a very skilled teen.  And get the base, you will want it. They now have ones that light up.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Star Wars Imperial Bridge Crew Member Costume Build #3 - the Accessories

The Comm Pad

First on my list of accessories was a comm pad. Not needed but I really wanted it. 

If you are interested in making your own, the Nerdista has an inexpensive tutorial on how to make one from a plastic sign. You can get a sign from your local hardware store.

However, I chose to buy one. I purchased a flat one at first and when it arrived I just didn't like it. It was thick and heavy. My hubby also purchased the same one to use with his rebel pilot costume. He was able to trim a lot of bulk from his and make it work. I still didn't like it. So after hunting around I found one that was curved, and reasonably priced at Hole in the Ground Productions.

See the two side by side. Note how slim and curved the one is. It seems to fit my arm better.

Needless to say, it became my preferred one. I made sure to buy it before making my pocket. That way the window I cut for it was perfectly sized.

To paint it I just used sharpies. It is a challenge to get in all the cracks but I made it work. 

It turned out really good!

The Belt

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Star Wars Imperial Bridge Crew Member Costume Build #2 - pockets

The bridge crew has a variety of pockets that have to be sewn on. It already the two standard pockets on the hip (like normal) so you don't have to worry about those.

I found no downloadable pattern anywhere but did find a good visual aid on the jollyrogers forum as already mentioned. That became my basis.

Not its time to cut up the second suit I bought.

Here are the pocket patterns I created. Based off the 501st costume resource page for this one. You can see my comm pad on the right but ignore that for now. I will cover each pocket separately.

An indispensable tool is a clear quilter's notion called a square grid or ruler. I love mine! I got a small one at JoAnn's for $5. Can't beat that. 

Supply List:
Plain white scratch paper
Grid Ruler
Chalk pen for marking fabric
Scissors, two if you have ones for cutting paper and ones for cutting fabric
Sewing Machine with black thread
Comm Pad already purchased
Your two suits, one for wearing and the other for cutting up
Black velcro with sticky backing
Several good movies to watch: I was watching Sherlock on NetFlix.
Chocolate for snacking

This set makes the pockets on your legs and right arm. The measurements for the flap are: 6 inches wide by 2.5 inches tall at center. Then sides are 2 inches with bottom part being a chevron or triangle. I then added a 1/2 or 0.5 inch border. You will be double-folding and stitching the border to make a nice edge to the pocket.

The pockets dimensions are 6 inches wide by 5.75 tall with a 0.25 inch border on three sides, and a 0.5 inch border on the top. The sides and bottom you will only fold in 0.25 inch and press. This is because those sides will be sewn to your pants and won't be open. The open side you want to fold 0.25, press with iron, and then fold in 0.25 again so no raw fabric edges are exposed. 

Once you have pressed them, and you can just press them with your fingers or handle of your scissors, or use an iron. Sew them along the inside edge as shown. That will be the top edge to your pockets. Whenever done sewing, make sure to clip your threads. I will assume you know this from here on out.

For the flap, I sewed first along the sides. Then I folded and sewed the right half of bottom from outside in. (due to triangle shape) and repeated for other half of bottom.

It looked wonky from the back but the front side looked nice and pointed. (or chevron style)

Measure the center fold of your sleeve. I marked mine with the lower white headed pin. And pin your pocket on where you want it to be with the center of the pocket along the center top fold of your sleeve. After pinning see if you like how it looks so you don't have to redo it. Then pin your flap so it lines up. I sewed the flap on first. I placed it right above having 0.25 inch over lapping my pocket. I folded down the top of the pocket and then I stitched the bottom of flap in place with 0.25 seam allowance. I cheated. I folded the bottom edge over 0.25 inches then stitched right along that line and didn't pay attention to what the seam meter on my machine was saying.

Unfold your pocket, note how my pocket goes right up to the flap, pin and sew along right, bottom and top of pocket. Two small squares of sticky velcro were attached to the flap and pocket to hold the flap down. And they turned out rather nice. I suggest you pin both on and see how it looks. If you want put the flap up higher with maybe a 0.25 gap between it and the pocket.

This is the Data Cylinder pocket. It is 5.75 inches wide and 6 inches tall. Once I measured out my initial rectangle, I then measured 2.5 inches from lower left corner along the left side and bottom. By connecting these you make the bevel edge. (which means to cut off corner edge in layman's terms)

I then measured and made dotted lines for the cylinder dividers. They are 0.75 inches wide starting from the left side. Like the other one it has a 0.25 inch border on all sides but the top, which has 0.5 inches for the double fold.

I double-folded the top and stitched it first, just like above. I then folded the 0.25 or 1/4 inch along the sides, pressed, the bottom, pressed, and lastly the corner. I then pinned it before stitching along the right, bottom, corner, and left. Make sure to center your patch on the sleeve. You leave the top open.  Lastly, I measured the 0.75 the cylinder pouches needed to be and sewed them. You can do this two ways (or more maybe): mark them with fading pen or sewing chalk pen. Or, my cheater way, measure 0.75 on the pocket and put pins right in the line. Remove them as you sew. Note: my lazy way may result in slightly crooked seams. My other idea was to put tape there and follow along the edge of the tape, but my kids had used all my tape to make paper guns. These last lines must be hand sewed since it most likely won't fit in your machine without sewing your sleeve closed.

Last is the window pocket. It is 5 inches wide by 5.75 tall. I found the center of this pocket by making horizontal and vertical lines along the center of each side, where they cross is the dead center. And used these to make a 2.25 inch square. I cut this small square out of the paper pattern. Again, it has a 0.25 inch border on all sides but the top, which has 0.5 inches for the double fold.

Trace and cut on the back side of your cloth. I used the second suit I had purchased so the pockets would match my base suit exactly. I was using a quilters pen that fades over time in the picture. However, the black cloth made it hard to see the blue lines. I switched to a chalk pencil and that worked great. I also realized that I could cut out the little window in the paper pattern and trace it all at the same time. Second time's the charm.

After I traced the window square and the borders, I added two more inside windows by free hand just to show you how to fold. I didn't measure because I was lazy. 
But if you did measure, they should be 0.25 apart. I also did not trim the edges yet, notice the outside blue line is not all trimmed up yet.

You are going to cut from the inside corner of the smallest window square to the largest. If you haven't done so, trim the outside edges as well.

You are then going to turn or fold each edge of the window 0.25 inches. Then do it again. This will double-fold the raw edge inside so no threads can fray. Pin and machine sew. You will also do this to the top. If you notice I already did this in the picture. It makes a nice edge with a seam to have at the top of your pocket.

For extra protection again fraying threads I put a dab of Fray Check Sealant on the corners of the window. You can find this at your local fabric store or JoAnn's.

Sew all your window edges and it should end up with a neat opening for you comm pad.  The last step is to fold and press all edges 0.25 inches in. 

Pin your pockets on the right arm of your suit and make sure it lines up with your top pocket. My alignment worked fine but in retrospect I would pin both pockets on before sewing them to make sure they were lined up. Otherwise you might end up removing one pocket to re-align it. Remember you are not sewing the top.

Do a sanity check: put your com pad in and see how it looks. Try it on your arm and if you like it, then proceed.

Sew along left, bottom, and right sides. Don't sew along the top or they won't be a pocket!

And you are done with the suit... yay!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The final chapter... StarCraft: Legacy of the Void

I became hooked on StarCraft in college. I loved the alien races, the storyline and expansion packs. Guess how excited I was to find out (three years ago) that they released another series in this genre. I immediately bought it, played it multiple times, and have cherished the experience.

Now with games changing to online environments that focus on a main character (MOBA) or alliances, this might be my last chance to relive the strategy-styled games. Gosh, how I miss the thrill only Age of Empires or Warcraft II could give, building a base, amassing troops, and crushing your enemy. Gathering resources, upgrades, research - all added to the challenge. One game I miss most of all: Galactic Battle Grounds. Star Wars meets Age of Empires. I still have the disk and an old Mac to play it on. Too bad no new games have come close to taking their place in my gaming heart.

I admit to being sucked into their online world a little bit. I have really enjoyed the short stories based on the games plot. Some of them are very well written.

StarCraft will probably evolve into something else. For now, I can pre-order the last chapter, play the three pre-games while I wait for it to release. And relive my glory years for the last time. Nothing will ever be the same.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Star Wars Imperial Bridge Crew Member Costume Build #1

It begins...

So, to join the 501st Legion prior to having my Storm Trooper costume, I need another costume. A cheaper, easier one too. All my money has been sucked into a trooper outfit. (see previous post) It was suggested I be an Imperial Bridge Crew member. The outfit is cheaper, easy to put together and when I don't feel like wearing a bucket (slang for trooper helmet) I can be an inconspicuous extra who can help other bucket-wearing people walk around and keep crowds at bay.

I was first directed to the 501st costume gallery for what it is and requirements. (image above links there) That was a bit daunting because they list really specific things! Like a pocket has to be 6 in by 5.75 in exactly. I admit I panicked. I don't sew that well, and don't want to have to redo everything if I don't pass the inspection.  What a relief it was to find that there is a lot of leeway and you only send in 4 photos to be accepted. No measuring or major scrutinizing. Whew! My pockets can be 5.8 by 5.6 and no one will know!

My first step was a suit. I heard rumblings that you could make one but that you could also just buy them from a flight suit company or a mechanic outlet. What a find! Of course you have to buy two: one to keep and alter, the other to cut up for the extra pockets and such. That adds up but then you aren't driving to every fabric store in the area to find matching fabric. And since I live in rural Wisconsin, there is only one fabric store and it is 20 minutes away anyway. If I drove to two stores, the gas alone would pay for the second suit. And they ship it to your door. I'm all about the lazy!

To get started:

1. Bookmark costume reference page on 501st - you will visit it lots
2. Visit forums to get ideas and links to vendors
3. Order supplies off internet
4. Jump up and down when they arrive
5. Commandeer daughter's sewing kit because yours is scattered around the house

6. Assemble supplies
sewing needles
black thread
measuring tape
quilt marking pencil (it washes out)
sewing pins
various other items as needed (snacks, DVDS, pliers, soda)

The IC (Imperial Crew) costume has four parts:
Hat with greeblie
Black suit with two Imperial Empire Cog Patches
Belt with greeblie

I began with the flight suit. First I visited the 501st forums and found a few good links off the Jolly Rogers Academy page. Each evil group has their own cool name and forums for costuming. Then each garrison has their own forums, and the 501st has its own big forum. So lots of places to find help. They recommended using a jumpsuit that could also be used for a Tie Fighter Pilot costume. And I have been duly informed once I get started I might want several costumes. And I thought, Why Not? Who wouldn't want to be a Tie Fighter Pilot?

I bought my suits from here and the visual images from the Jolly Rogers Flight Suit page are a lifesaver!

*Note: I bought the twill one. Its a heavier cloth for colder weather (I live in Wisconsin you know) and I think I might buy the cotton one for summer months when I do parades.

I also purchased Imperial Empire Cog Patch on Amazon. The legion is very specific. It has to be a certain size and color. I also found some on Etsy or Ebay. Search for Star Wars Imperial Patch and you will find what you want. I bought three in silver. In case I needed an extra.

My two suits. I took this after I sewed on the patch. I was prompted to do a build thread after I had already started.

I measured one inch from the shoulder seam, and centered it along the line (where it was folded in half) and pinned it. I personally chose to hand sew it on. I used a technique called "stitch in the ditch." Touch the link and look at the pictures part way down. You aren't using a machine but the concept is the same. The goal is to hide your stitches. I placed my stitches exactly in the line between the white border and the black border. That way the stitches don't show. Took some extra time but it looks nice! I can then remove the patch and reposition it at any time. I sewed the other patch on in the same manner.

And now the collar:

The collar has to be 1.5 in  tall with a chevron style velcro flap for closing it. The flap has to go left over right. You need a measuring tape and marking pencil. A regular pencil might not wash out, this one is a special one for quilting. I love it. Some fade and some wash out. Either way - they are quite handy.

To avoid ripping off the collar and resewing it back on, I stole a technique from my hubby who was building an X-wing flight suite. You fold the collar on the inside and sew it. Measure and pin and make sure its the right height. Again, I hand sewed mine to make it lay just the way I wanted.

Next I cut off a piece of material from jumpsuit #2 that was 2 inches wide by 9 inches long. (well first I made one that was too short and had to do it again).  Remember that 1.5 inches with 1/4 inch seam on each side is 2 inches wide. Fold it in half. The top will be a fold and the bottom will be open. (Otherwise you are going to end up with an upside down one and have to redo it).

I made a mark on the top for the middle, measured down one inch on each side and make a mark. Then I drew a line to connect them. That made the chevron (or triangle) top. I then sewed 1/4 seam up the side, along the triangle top, and 1/4 inch down the opposite side using my machine. Trim off the extra material along the top cutting 1/4 inch from the seams. Turn it inside out, use your pencil to push out the tip and press with iron or flatten seams with scissor's handle on hard surface.

Ta da! Chevron style flap. I then folded the bottom ends in so the ragged edges of the fabric won't show. I finger pressed them to make a good crease and prepared to sew it onto my collar.

Just two tricks I have learned over the years. Sometimes when sewing over thick fabrics, you can have a hard time pushing the needle in or it jabs you in the finger. I use a small plastic thing (whatever I can find) to push it in and save my finger. A thimble will work the same but often my needle slips in the holes and still stabs me so I switched.

A universal tool that is so handy when sewing is needle-nose pliers. They can grasp a needle to is too hard to pull through fabric and easily pull it out. A must have for any sewer. Sewing stores also carry little rubber circles that can be used to grab needles. Note: putting lotion on your hands compounds the problem. Avoid that when starting to sew.

Notice that I am sewing the flap on the left side of the collar. The suit is upside down as I work on it.

And now the collar is almost done. I plan to use velcro to adhere the collar. The sticky velcro works fine for me. I don't plan to sew it on. But either way (stick velcro or regular), try the suit on and put the velcro in place while you are wearing it for optimal fit. 

*Note: if you choose to sew on sticky velcro just to make sure it won't fall off, be aware that it will cause a sticky needle. A simple solution is to keep a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol nearby to clean the needle.

And we are off to a great start!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A big decision to make... or not. Joining the 501st Legion

After a ten year hiatus from dressing up and making costumes, I was urged to rediscover this love by my hubby. He has been in costume mode for months now. It started with preparing for Chicago's C2E2 but soon morphed into all out making-every-costume-he-has-ever-wanted mode. It is a bit scary, he is not always mentally present, and it is expensive. But since he really works hard and loves it, (and we aren't broke) what can a girl do?

He is making a Star Lord helmet, a Plo Koon Jedi costume (I sewed the cloak), an X-wing Pilot costume, A Bossk Bounty Hunter costume, maybe a Greedo one, and a wolverine one... you get the idea.

At any rate he prompted me to join him and make a costume, especially a Star Wars one for Halloween. He suggested many good female characters. Whereas I promptly informed him I just wasn't that excited to dress up as a Jedi. This started a revelation on his part that I really prefer the Galactic Empire over the Rebellion. Needless to say there won't be any wars or desertions over opposing beliefs, but I was a little surprised that he didn't notice it at all.

Evidence is my lego Storm Trooper and Red Imperial Guard keychains, my Lego ATAT walker sets (yes, sets) my Storm Trooper T-shirts and the fact that I love The Empire Strikes back.  I also admitted I have always, and I do mean always, wanted to dress up as a Storm Trooper and join the 501st Legion. I looked at buying a trooper costume when we were first married but the $700 price tag was a bit hard to swallow for two struggling students.

This was in April and he almost went out and bought me a $2,000 trooper costume with his bonus as a surprise. When I got a call from my visa about a 1,700 dollar possible fraudulent charge from a european costume shop I almost went ballistic. I had a nice chat with him, realized the purchase was for me with good intentions and also realized my ADHD, impulsive hubby was going to get me a costume on the fly if I didn't go out and pick one. Soon.

So I did what Vader said I should do - well that is the 501st Vader named Dave I met at C2E2. Go the forums, sign up for an account, and talk to other nerds about getting my own storm trooper armor. I am so stoked!

They suggested an upcoming company called Anovos Productions (which is making better armor than the others) and I even got in early and got a discount. $650 bucks and I am on their wait list for orders. That's a lot better than $1700.

My sister called and asked what I was doing. I had to admit I was costume shopping for a TK. (Slang for the basic storm trooper). I sent her this so she could have a laugh. Which she did. Thank goodness she loves me as I am.

All the good costume makers had a wait list apparently. Mine should ship sometime around Christmas, but could be later. Till then I got in contact with my local Wisconsin Garrison and they suggested an easier costume to get me in the Legion sooner. I plan to start that costume soon. And my dream of joining the 501st Legion might come true!

The Beginning

Where did all the madness begin? Who can really tell? I know I loved reading Elfquest and LOTR as a child, my family watched Star Wars movies all the time but my descent began to speed up when I left home, started computer science classes and learned to play Star Craft and War Craft. By then it was too late. Now 20 years later I am still descending, still embracing the impulses that stir both your heart and mind. But unlike madness, with nerdness you never want to conquer it. You never want to triumph or overcome. Instead you keep still and let it consume you.

Welcome to My Descent Into Nerdness.

Some posts will be of past activities and fun-ness. Some are of my latest exploits, my hubby's costume making (which I started) and possibly my children, otherwise known as the recruits.