Riff Raff and Magenta space suits

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by Will Vale, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Hi all,

    With a Rocky Horror screening coming up in Wellington soon my wife was very keen to go as Space Riff Raff and Space Magenta (we went was Frank & Columbia last year). Definitely the costumes that are least do-able from off the peg stuff. So since I have some free time this week I bought some fabric, downloaded the instructions for her sewing machine and did a little test.

    What I've got is (what I think is) gold lame, iron-on interfacing, thin dacron wadding and some black calico for the insides. I've figured out how to thread the machine and messed around sewing lines on the calico. It's much quicker than hand sewing!

    So I cut out a little square and quilted it as a test - again, it all seems to work. I'm just drawing up some patterns. for the tabard pieces at the moment.

    The big question is how to do the hems - can I leave the lame over-size, and wrap it round to the back of the sandwich, or should I use some kind of bias tape?

    Cheers,

    Will
     
  2. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    I'm about halfway through quilting the back at the moment:

    [​IMG]

    It's going OK, the biggest problems so far have been getting the iron-on interfacing to go on consistently to the lame, and fiddly stuff like hems. I'm probably going to do the hems for the back piece before I finish quilting it. Collar is a bit scary!

    The last thing I made was this Eldar Harlequin mini-costume for my daughter, which was hand-sewn (armour shirt, sash) - the machine is amazingly quick and neat by comparison:

    [​IMG]

    Cheers,

    Will
     
  3. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    So I managed to finish the back of the first suit:

    [​IMG]

    Then went and got some supplies (draughting film, pinking shears) to make the second one easier to construct. Proper patterns helped get the hems a bit tidier and the shears keep the edges of the lame from fraying quite so badly.

    [​IMG]

    So I now have two back pieces (although one doesn't have a collar yet) which means we could do a test fit:

    [​IMG]

    It looks like the fronts need longer tabs at the shoulders to wrap over the top, as well as the side tabs which wrap around to the back. I'm not quite sure how to do these yet - it looks like the front should be all one piece, which makes the quilting easier but the hems more complicated.

    Cheers,

    Will
     
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  4. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    I'm afraid I didn't take any WIP pictures - I doubt there's much to learn from my n00b sewing anyway! But I have got the four tunic pieces finished. So much quilting, I think these have eaten half a km of thread between them.

    [​IMG]

    I need to start the gun and figure out how to sew PVC next for the wings.

    Will
     
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  5. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So, you're making ... TWO suits ... Would you consider this a ... science-fiction double-feature? ;)

    Man, that is a lot of quilting.
     
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  6. fallimar

    fallimar Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Awesome! One of my go-to movies for when I'm feeling crappy. Can't wait to see how they turn out, that's nice work on the quilting! Very neat!
     
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  7. EmmaInCandyland

    EmmaInCandyland Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looks amazing o_o
     
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  8. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Dammit, Janet, why didn't I think of that?

    Yeah I reckon I've used about half a km of thread so far. The quilting is quite therapeutic though - after all the fiddliness of pressing the hems and pinning it up you can just rip through it. The main problem I've had is that even in good light it's very hard to see the chalk marks on the lame. They also wear off quickly so I've only marked up a couple of rows ahead in most cases.

    It's quite messy close-up and the straight lines usually aren't, but because it's super bright and busy it's hard to see the problems. It's weird, back in model aeroplane land shiny metal finishes are a nightmare because they show every mistake!

    Just sewing up the backs of the mitred hems by hand at the moment to stop the corners from unravelling, then I need to think about poppers/domes/studs or velcro. I think the original suits used big jeans studs but they'll make it impossible to adjust the fit over time so I might sew studs or velcro instead?

    Will

    Cheers,

    Will
     
  9. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Spent what felt like a long time last night sewing on poppers to the shoulders of M's suit (and covering with gold buttons on the top side) but it's quite cool that the pieces are starting to turn into a garment. I need to do the tabs next, I was thinking of using the hammer-on studs for those.

    We have also got some silver satin gloves and a pair of ankle boots on the way :)

    W
     
  10. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    We've been short a table for the week because ours was being re-finished after the movers scraped it. But I have done a bit more shopping and yesterday had a go at one of the gauntlets - these are PVC lined with cotton and finished with gold edging.

    [​IMG]

    Took a fair bit of messing around for the first one but I did the second pretty quickly. They need poppers or similar to attach the (bought) cheapo silver gloves, and maybe an internal cuff to stop them flopping around so much.

    I made bias tape for the edges from scraps of the gold from the suits, using a steel ruler and a piece of folded brown paper to get straight folds, machined it on the front side and hand-sewed the back. This gave one nice edge and one sloppy edge but the thread is about the right colour so it doesn't look awful.

    Two weeks to go, need to do wings, boot tops, belts, another pair of gloves, badges and the gun. I suspect the latter is most likely to fall off the schedule although I have some components for it.

    Cheers,

    Will

    Cheers,
     
  11. madmacs

    madmacs Active Member

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    I just made the belt Buckle available on Thingiverse. It would have printed a lot better, but the ABS I was using was horrid, still with some sanding it came out presentable.
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1081706
    Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.51.34 AM.png Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.53.36 AM.png
    Great Job BTW. I have glove envy now.
    How are you handling the crazy shiny shoulders? Our fabric arrives on Wed.
     
  12. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Nice buckle! I've got some balsa dowel to cut up and finish with a pouring resin, then I need to figure out what the base should be.

    I need to start the wings ASAP - I'm hoping that I can make them with the same PVC and cotton lining as the gloves, and I have some PET sheet in 0.2 and 0.5mm to sandwich inside as stiffening. The pattern looks to be a big wide triangle or chevron, maybe curved, and fasten to the suit on the belt line? I'm not sure if they also have a shoulder fastening or if they just rest there.

    I did 90% of the second pair of gloves last night, they just need some hand sewing to finish off, and also stitched velcro to the backs of the silver costume gloves which was really tricky. They're stretchy and the machine wanted very much to stitch through both halves.

    I think the gauntlets would be improved by a wide internal elastic or velcro cuff to hold them against the forearm better - they're a bit floppy when worn.

    W
     
  13. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Lotsa messing around making patterns yesterday, cutting and sewing today. And fitting a dozen or so poppers, has resulted in this:

    [​IMG]

    I think the wings came out quite well - they're PVC lined with black calico with a piece of 0.25mm PET sheet in the shoulder to stiffen it. But they're also rather labour-intensive and I have to make a second set for Micky now. I had a bit of a panic last night when I went to cut them out and realised that there was only just enough fabric, so I had to be careful with the layout. Thankfully I managed to spot it in time and the remaining set will fit in what's left.

    The pattern is a sort of narrow chevron cut on a curve on the inside (like a boomerang!) The upper piece has a matching inside curve, kinked at the apex, with a sharper angle so it stands up when the curved edges are sewn together. Hope that makes sense?

    The belt looks a bit messy but I don't have a teflon foot so I had to stitch it wrong side (PVC down) to stop it grabbing the fabric. Buckles, boot toppers remain plus that second set of wings, Four days to go, including my full-time day job - uh oh.

    Cheers,

    Will
     
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  14. fallimar

    fallimar Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looking suitably fabulous! :D

    I know how much of a pain sewing vinyl is - my trick for stiffening and turning things inside out is to use buckram/embroidery mesh as a stiffener and actually sew it into the seams. If you put the rights sides of the vinyl together and put the buckram on top it'll end up on the inside when you turn it out. You do need to trim your seams very closely but it makes the process a heck of a lot easier!
     
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  15. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Thanks, and thanks for the tip! The vinyl we have is quite heavy-gauge, it must be 0.5mm thick (at least) and has a sort of jersey-ish backing that doesn't fray. So I was sort of hoping that the seam allowance would support it a bit more than it does - instead it seems to make it want to unfold, but I guess I haven't pressed it very hard yet. It keeps the shape well where the PET sheet is (cut to fit exactly and slotted inside before sewing up the final seam) so the corners are nice and sharp.

    That said, this isn't entirely a bad thing, since I think the original wings are lightly padded, but it makes them less keen to hold their shape. I might stick a couple more poppers in the back to bring them in a bit which will prevent the shoulders from sagging.

    Have just fit Mrs. V's tabard to her and marked/punched/fitted all the studs so that's another thing off the list. My wings fit her (almost) so I won't have to make an entirely new pattern, but she wants a bit off the shoulders and we're going to skip the upper layer to save time. It must've taken 40 minutes to do each of the long seams by hand where the upper and lower wings join.

    Cheers.

    Will
     
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  16. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Hi folks,

    Micky has helped out by making her costume wings (I modified the patterns and cut the pieces, she's sewing them up) so I've had some time to deal with all the non-sewing stuff. So far I have:

    1) Made a head for Riff Raff's antimatter laser. This is three 15mm knitting needles, bent with the aid of a heat gun (160'C) and a saucepan as a former. I tried using sand to keep the tube from kinking but it wasn't great, so I found a suitably-sized pen and wound a bending spring from wire. By heating a couple of inches at a time and forming I was able to get a decently even curve.

    [​IMG]

    There's a bit of a pucker on the inside from my dodgy spring (hard to get uniform coils by hand) but I reckon I can see the same on the Blu Ray, so...

    The boss is an old wooden knob from our sofa which broke. I drilled it out with a big spade bit to fit the tubes, epoxied them in with big gobs of Araldite, and afterwards drilled through both wood and plastic to fit some retaining pins. It needs cleaning up and a handle making, somehow.

    2) Nearly finished these pieces for the belt buckles - there are four in a square per buckle.

    [​IMG]

    These are balsa dowel split down the middle. I don't have a v-block so I used a vice and lots of turning around plus wedges to stop the cut from closing up. I also couldn't find my mitre box so had to cut them by eye. I used the ball head on my little modelling vice to set the jaws up at 45' so I had a guide of sorts. They still needed a fair bit of sanding to even things up.

    They've then been sealed with PVA, sanded down, and currently the second of two coats of decoupage (pouring) resin is drying. I think this will be good enough to paint, especially if I use something with visible metal flakes to hide any crapness of the surface.

    3) Very nearly finished the badges. My favourite - I cut one freehand out of 2mm styrene sheet with an Olfa cutter, then drew round it to make the second. The edges needed a lot of cleaning up and aren't perfect, but the surfaces look nice. The groove you can see has been filled with CA, it's just translucent so it looks like it hasn't.

    [​IMG]

    I have to go and do some more sewing now, once the belt bits are dry I'll paint those and the badges.

    The gun might still not get done in time (Friday night) but I'll have a go :)

    Cheers,

    Will
     
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  17. EmmaInCandyland

    EmmaInCandyland Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Incredible work Will!
     
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  18. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Thanks! I managed to do the boot tops tonight as well - two sizes since we don't have matching boots despite having the same shoe size.

    [​IMG]

    I tried the glue method from the Columbia's Closet blog (which is brilliant - while I haven't used Mina's patterns I've found the ideas very helpful) but the fabric glue I have soaked through to the surface of the vinyl and then ate it. Plus it looked a bit lumpy and naff anyway. Probably requires a roller or a spray adhesive to get a good laminate.

    So instead I marked and cut out the silver stuff (which is a sort of stretchy vinyl-ey leatherette thing, I'm not sure what but it'd probably make killer hot pants) and pinned it to the black vinyl and stitched around the edge. It has a tendency to pucker and the stretch under the foot has made the points curl inward, hence all the pins to try and wrestle them into shape.

    If that doesn't work we can maybe tack through the PVC to get a tighter curl, but hopefully that won't be necessary. Wiring would be possible but uncomfortable since I don't want to attach the tops permanently to the boots - they'll velcro round our calves and maybe to a stick-on velcro dot in the top of the boot for security.

    Cheers,

    Will.
     
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  19. Anth

    Anth New Member

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    I'm planning on making this outfit for February and I think I need to start planning it now! Your tunics (along with everything else) are great - would you mind sharing with me how you finished the edges. I had thought about using bias binding but it isn't going to be wide enough for the finished look but I can't work out how else I would finish the edges.
     
  20. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    I would take my approach with a pinch of salt since it's not based on any expertise, but I left a 2" hem allowance, pressed 1/2", and then folded the remainder behind and stitched it from the front before doing the quilting. That obviously works great for the back piece, but not for the concave angles around the tabs on the front.

    For those I cut into the hem allowance, folded it back as before and added little L-shaped patches behind which are stitched in the same way and have a row of some edging stitch on the inside of the L (visible on the garment). I added a dot of glue inside the corner to try and prevent any unravelling.

    The collar is effectively a piece of home made binding, although stitched from the front rather than invisibly. Now that I know how to do that properly (I used home-made binding for the gloves as well) I'd consider doing that for the whole suit. It's difficult even so because the combination of wide edges and sharp corners is hard to get neat.

    HTH, maybe someone else can suggest a proper tailoring approach?

    Cheers,

    Will
     
  21. Blaxmyth

    Blaxmyth Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Just a suggestion - I've been let down by Velcro dots before - might be an idea to hand sew the dot in place as the adhesive can let go if it gets hot or wet.
     
  22. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Thanks for the tip, but I wanted to avoid altering the boots permanently. Although from testing last night it looks like just velcro-ing the tops around our ankles will be enough - they didn't seem to drift. (All the other velcro is sewn in, it was just the boots I didn't want to mar.)

    W
     
  23. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    I finished the head of the gun (no handle yet!) and painted it as a test with Plastikote "Brilliant Metallic Silver". Wow, totally exceeded my expectations, such that I might go and get the gold to re-do the belt pieces with.

    [​IMG]

    WITNESS ME!

    Now to make and paint the handle and sew the belts, and we're all done. Bar dressing and makeup and hair and stuff that I don't really understand. Half wondering about getting a can of blonde highlight spray to turn my black hair less so, but not totally convinced yet. Micky's made her own wig out of wool (and it's huge) and I gather there are some finishing touches to do for that as well.

    Will
     
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  24. Blaxmyth

    Blaxmyth Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This thread is a keeper! :thumbsup
     
  25. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Good to hear, thanks :)

    have done the gun handle, more-or-less, after some dithering. I got some 30mm pine dowel and drilled out one end to ~16mm for the broken peg on the front bit (now cleaned up and whittled to fit.) I sanded a saddle into another piece of dowel and glued and screwed the two together, then made templates from paper and cut out 0.25mm styrene sheet to skin it and get a clean-ish surface for the paint.

    [​IMG]

    I cut the sheet a little long so the ping pong balls would fit inside, and also put epoxy and tissue into the ends to provide a bit more gluing surface than just the edges of the thin plastic. If I'm lucky I'll have time to add some CA tomorrow to clean up the edges of the sheet. I'm intending to drill through the dowel and pin, and into the grip, so I can insert a piece of brass wire. This will reinforce the big joint but also provide a trigger guard.

    The ribbed thing is a piece of hose coupler, it's not accurate to the movie but I think it looks cool and it covers up a gap for me :)

    In other news I finished one of the belts:

    [​IMG]

    It has all the right layers but not as much (or as pretty) stitching as the real ones.

    The best bits so far are probably the lightning badges. I gave these a few coats of TS-14 gloss black, but decided that the decoupage resin I used for the belt pieces would give a better gloss. It's not really accurate - the movie ones are dead flat because you can see them glint - but I think they look awesome:

    [​IMG]

    It was a bit nerve-wracking applying the resin bit-by-bit and coaxing it into the corners - I actually got one spot where it's run down inside a corner, but I didn't see until it was all set and done so I think we'll live with it.

    Just one belt to go, plus surfacing and painting the gun. I've noticed the metallic pigment rubs off a bit when handling - doesn't seem to affect the finish, just my fingers. So I'm not sure if I should seal it with something or not risk having another layer that doesn't have time to cure?

    Cheers,

    Will
     
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  26. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Sealing the metallic pigment runs the risk of having the sealant dull the finish. Or react with it.
     
  27. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Yeah that's true - especially with my rush-job dry times meaning it'll be unlikely to have completely outgassed - lots of potential for crazing. I've painted a spoon along with the other half of the gun this morning so I have a test case.

    I could very likely seal it with Klear or other acrylic gloss without problems, but it would be more convenient to use a gloss can.

    Will
     
  28. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    My test spoon indeed showed that this paint doesn't like being sealed. It wasn't ugly, but it was like a car paint (metal flake under lacquer) surface rather than a metal surface. So it's just the bare "metal". I did manage to CA and sand the handle seams yesterday morning, so it looks like it's all one (slightly lumpy) piece.

    We got everything done in time but it was a bit rushed doing the make-up. The screening was awesome and we got nominated for the best duos/groups which we then won!

    [​IMG]

    Not bad for a couple of forty--somethings :p

    Hopefully the RHPS Wellington page will put up some pictures from the stage in which case I'll link them here. Thanks to everyone who commented or suggested things, it was really good for motivation.

    Cheers,

    Will
     
  29. EmmaInCandyland

    EmmaInCandyland Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Omg, you guys look awesome!!!
     
  30. Mike J.

    Mike J. Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Congratulations!
     
  31. fallimar

    fallimar Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Gorgeous! You both look spectacular. :D
     
  32. Blaxmyth

    Blaxmyth Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow! Superb work, both of you! :thumbsup
     
  33. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That's awesome!
     
  34. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Thanks all, very kind of you. Still hoping the Embassy will post the pics from their pro photographer.

    Footnote on the chrome paint - it seems to tarnish a bit from skin oils - the gun was fine in my gloved hands but looked a bit blotchy after other people had a go with it. Will try and buff it all out in a day or so.

    Will
     
  35. Blaxmyth

    Blaxmyth Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Don't worry! Authentic weathering, used universe!

    Oh. Sorry. That's Star Wars...
     
  36. Anth

    Anth New Member

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    Thank you for your tip re the hemming it was very helpful. This thread has been incredible and so are your costumes. Congratulation on your win, you definitely deserved it :D
     
  37. p51

    p51 Sr Member

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    Great work!
     
  38. Will Vale

    Will Vale Member

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    Thanks for the kind comments, sorry I've been a bit slow to respond - being doing poster designs in my spare time for the model club's expo next year.

    Also I may have made a small Gundam...

    Will
     

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