Friday, October 29, 2010

Kitara (and an iPhone too)

Well it's that time of year again.  Connor asks us to make him a halloween costume that challenges us to turn it into a reality.  Past costumes?  A waterfall, a spice cabinet (complete with opening doors), an erupting volcano, a strom drain, a spigot, a circuit board.  This year?  An iPhone.

Connor's Costumes Past

Annabelle, on the contrary, is delighted to be a variety of traditional characters...a doggie, a bunny, a unicorn, a cheerleader.  All the creative force that is needed is to drive to target and put said costume in the basket.  This year, however, she wants to be Katara from The Last Airbender.  This was a simply wonderful anime TV show that Annabelle fell in love with.  It involves Ang, a young monk who is destined to bring peace to the world.  Only problem is that Ang is just a little kid and a pretty goofy one at that. He has to learn to control the four elements (air, water, earth and fire) in order to bring peace to the warring factions.  Katara ends up being his best friend and she helps him to learn to "bend" water as well as stays with him through thick and thin.  She's a wonderful character and there's no wonder Annabelle wants to emmulate her.  Well, seeing as how this was a big TV show, I feel certain that my local target will have said costume....but uh-oh, I look on-line first to show Anna what I will get and find that the only costumes they have made came from the movie version (which apparently was terrible and they changed the costuming for all of the main characters).  Anna took one look at the movie version of Katara's costume and said indignantly "Mama, that's NOT how Katara looks."  Well I figured that I owed Annabelle a real costume since I can sew.  But I also knew that I don't sew well, especially if there's not an easy pattern to follow and I was on my own for this one.  So the journey begins...

The finished product was supposed to look like this:

And here's the end product!

A Katara Tutorial

The first thing I did was to try and find some sort of pattern for a shirt that had a cross over collar.  I've never made a shirt (too many curved lines) but I dove in.

I found some really nice nylon/rayon? fabric that I knew was going to be a pain to work with but I really wanted the fabric to flow easily...anything for love.

I also purchased some furry white fleece and cut it in to strips to line the shirt color, waist, shirt sleeves (which wasn't in the picture but Anna and I agreed was a nice touch) and pant cuffs.  Above is the shirt collar.  Since lining it with an extra strip wasn't in the directions so I had to fumble a bit attaching it with interfacing.  It wasn't meant to stand up in the back but I went with it and sewed on another piece of fleece to make the back collar look finished.  I really futzed and fiddled with this pattern because the blouse needed to be more fitted than it was.  In the end, not everything lined up the way it should and I had to do some creative sewing to make it all come together.

Then, since I'm practical, I ordered some lovely knit leggings and a matching top from LLBean.  No need to do those from scratch.  I sewed on the strips of fleece.

Next I tackled the skirt, which was a heck of a lot easier than the top.  I just measured Annabelle and cut out two panels of fabric.  Kitara's skirt has very high slits up the side (for all of those water bending moves she does) so I only sewed the sides together about 2 and a half inches down.  Then I folded to top over for the waist, leaving a pocket for one inch elastic.  I ziz zagged the rest of the open skirt sides before folding them over by 1/2 inch and straight stitching for a finished edge.  Lastly, I sewed on more fleece strips along the bottom of the skirt.

One of Katara's key wardrobe peices is a special necklace given to her by her mother.  I initially was at a loss about how to recreate this.  Some people had handmade them on etsy but they were expensive and in my humble opinion didn't really have the right look.  I finally had a brainstorm....shrinky dinks!  I found a great close-up detail of the pattern on her necklace and printed it out onto jet ink shrinky dink paper.

With some help from Josh (who has a steadier hand than I) we colored in the design with dark blue sharpie (on Kitara's necklace, the white lines are dark blue).  I cut it out with a circle rotary cutter, punched a whole in the top and baked.


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