Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mega Allsorts Halloween Costume

This year I got some Kiwi inspiration for my Halloween costume.  On my second day visiting New Zealand, I discovered a colorful candy:

And so the idea began.  I found a fabric store and bought 2m (We're going metric now!) of interfacing (a stiff fabric for structural support), and 1m each of pink, white, and yellow cotton.  Fabric (and most material goods) are quite expensive here, as everything must be shipped to the end of the earth.  I have no patterns and no sewing machine.  I buy needles, thread, pins, and a measuring tape.  The dull kitchen shears will have to do as nice sewing scissors are almost $50 NZ.  My plan is just to do the best I can with the time and materials I can.  I started by cutting panels of interfacing for the sides and top of the costume:
I then arrange the fabric sections over the interface panels and pin everything in place.

I also cut out a top panel and set it aside.

I start to join the fabric to the panels by sewing zig-zags, which will demarcate the colored sections.  Eventually these stitches will be covered with black ribbon for the liquorice stripes.
Lining up the pieces to check my work:

I sew three rows of zig-zags and then trim the fabric scraps.  Now it's time for liquorice stripes: 
Yay, they have tacky glue at this fabric store.  It works well for crafts and dries clear.  I fold the ribbon over itself for the zig-zags: 
It's starting to come together.  I leave long trails of ribbon so I can extend them to the neighboring panel.  Ideally it will look like one continuous band.
The best way to sew things is to sew inside-out, so you hide the stitches.  I laid the adjacent side panels face to face, then pinned them together.  Then, I hand-sewed them together about 1/2 cm in.  (Sorry I forgot to photograph this step).  Here is the finished result when unfolded:
I continued sewing all four panels into a rectangular prism.  This part was very tedious, so I watched a lot of television and completely forgot to take photographs.  Sorry.  The key point is to make sure all your stitches are hidden on the inside -- this is why you work inside-out.  I sewed the top on, then flipped the whole thing.  The final step was to cut holes for my head and arms. 

Another bit of Kiwi inspiration came from all the fascinators seen at department stores for Cup Week fashion.  And thank you tacky glue for adhering to allsorts without dissolving them.

And here's the finished piece, with yellow leggings and some faint purple hair coloring.
 It's even flexible enough to work in, which I'm sure my boss appreciates.
Fun facts: Construction time: 11 hours
Approximate cost: $72 NZ for fabric and materials + $13 NZ for yellow-green leggings + $19 NZ for glittery yellow Revlon nail polish (I'm not kidding, they shipped it through Australia to bring it here) + $25 NZ for hair dye = $129 NZ ~ $105 US

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nyan Cat Cake

For my 28th birthday I made a cake inspired by the notorious Nyan Cat.  My inspiration for this project came from Lydia Bakes.  The cake is the orange chiffon cake from Tartine.  It's easy recipe and forms a very level cake.  I used raspberry jam and the Quick White Icing I from Joy Of Cooking, using Cointreau for flavor.  Then, for a complete 180 from the Tartine aesthetic, I used colorful fondant for my 8-bit cat.  Wilton makes nice packs of multiple colors, and I did a little color-mixing to get the greys.      (For those of you in Austin, Make It Sweet is a nice local business that sells baking supplies.) Instead of cutting out each piece for the rainbow trail, I rolled out individual colors into snakes, lined them up, then rolled them flat into a rainbow.  I dampened the surface and applied edible glitter.  The final touch was french dragees for the stars.