Friday, November 23, 2018

I wrote a book! Make It, Wear It:Wearable Electronics for Makers, Crafters, and Cosplayers

Exciting News!  I wrote a book - Make It, Wear It:Wearable Electronics for Makers, Crafters, and Cosplayers.  And it is now available everywhere in stores and

Want to see what's inside and download the files to create the projects?
Go here Make It Wear It Book 
Available at Amazon, online and in stores at Barnes and Noble, and at some local bookstores.

A fantastic gift for the maker, sewer, or cosplayer in your life.

Interested in learning how to use electronics or microcontrollers to make your clothes or cosplay light up?
The Starlight Skirt teaches you how to use an arduino to make this fun skirt.

Learn to sew a programmable circuit using conductive thread!

Sew a light up scarf with a simple circuit.

Learn how to 3D print on fabric and make a raglan sleeve tshirt
photo by Jason Martineau
photo by Jason Martineau

A glowing hip pack with easy programming.

Solar backpacks, bluetooth connected pixel art purses, and more!
photo by Jason Martineau

Thursday, May 17, 2018

World War 2 Japanese Propaganda Kimonos

WW2 propaganda kimono
Some fascinating textiles and garments seen at the de Young Museum exhibition Weapons of Mass Seduction: The Art of Propaganda.

WW2 propaganda kimono
Propaganda encompassed more than posters and radio programs, extending into everyday items like clothing.  These kimonos are from Japan during WW2 and have Japanese nationalistic symbols, militaristic themes, and even Nazi symbols.

WW2 propaganda kimono
WW2 propaganda kimono

WW2 propaganda kimono
WW2 propaganda kimono

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Some things I saw at Costume College

A super fun Steampunk Ghostbusters group.  I love the slime on one parasol!

Bunny's hand painted 18th century silk.  Hand painted!!!!

Fun light-up trident
 And Jez Roth's lecture on Using Fabric for Cosplay armor.  All these pieces are made using stretch latex over a thick fusible interfacing.  after construction he uses airbrushing to do detailing and distressing.  The pieces were incredibly light but the work seems just as fussy and time consuming as all other cosplay techniques (EVA foam, worbla, etc.) that I've seen so far.  I'd still love to do giant armor but need to clear my schedule to fit it in.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cherry blossom collar with 3D printing

3D printed cherry blossom collar
 Inspired by all the beautiful cherry blossoms and a giant roll of pink 3D printing filament, I decided to make a quick little 3D printing project and accessory.
Tidal Basin cherry blossoms

3D printing a test flower.  I used Tinkercad to make the flower model based on some other sakura models I found on the internet.
Printing directly onto the fabric using the "sandwich" method with a few layers printed below the fabric and the rest printed above.  

Here's a video of the 3D printer doing its thing.

I used this simplicity pattern for the collar.  I agree with online reviews, the L isn't really very large, its about 14-14.5 inches.  Given how simple the pattern pieces are they should extend the sizes.  The overall pattern was simple to sew and finish.

Here's the finished print.  It took about 2 hours, one hour for each side.  The overhanging petals didn't print as nicely as the rest of the model but a little sanding finished them up.

I decided to go with a burgundy as the backing color.

Finished cherry blossom collar

Friday, December 2, 2016

Art Deco Japan

Art Deco Japan is a current fashion and material culture exhibit at Hillwood Estate in Washington, DC.
The Exhibit is in two outbuildings of the estate and has some very interesting clothing and household items from the 1920s and 1940s that mix Japanese styling with the geometric lines and modern styling of Art Deco.
The contemporary era illustrations in the exhibit show a mixture of western and traditional attire with women wearing kimono and dresses with bob and waves haircut.

Silk Kimonos, underrobes and obis with modern art deco designs, skyscrapers, and designs like movie posters and sporting events

Hair ornaments and accessories

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fashion Rant - Comments on the Tim Gunn Opinion

Warning: Rant Ahead

Tim Gunn of Project Runway fame recently had a Washington Post Opinion titled Tim Gunn:

Designers refuse to make clothes to fit American women. It’s a disgrace.

He makes the point that the average American woman wears a size 16 and the fashion industry isn't really producing clothing for that size.
Ashley Nell Tipton for Project Runway

But in amongst that gem is a load of drivel, assumptions about what women want, perhaps a bit of fatphobia, and an absolutely absurd and un-called for bash on last season's Project Runway winner.

Here's what Mr. Gunn thinks fat women should not look like:

"Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked."

"Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade."

Delpozo - I guess shoulder pads are ok for skinny people?
There are plenty of fat fashionistas and fashion-at any-size blogs around that Mr. Gunn could have reviewed.  And if he looked, many fat women are not asking for clothes that make them look taller and thinner, they are looking for on-trend clothing that fits and is fashionable.  Fat women know we are fat, and while a nicely cut dress may disguise 10 pounds, nothing is going to hide 100.  It seems as if what Mr. Gunn would like plus size women to look like, is simply, not fat.

And then there is the paragraph long attack on Ashley Nell Tipton, where he blatantly calls her win tokenism and is appalled by the hideous clothes she designed.

Among these fashion sins are
  • bare midriffs
  • skirts over crinoline, which give the clothes, and the wearer, more volume
  • see-through skirts that reveal panties
  • pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile
  • large-scale floral embellishments that shout “prom.”
"This season, something different happened: Ashley Nell Tipton won the contest with the show’s first plus-size collection. But even this achievement managed to come off as condescending. I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life: bare midriffs; skirts over crinoline, which give the clothes, and the wearer, more volume; see-through skirts that reveal panties; pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile; and large-scale floral embellishments that shout “prom.” Her victory reeked of tokenism. One judge told me that she was “voting for the symbol” and that these were clothes for a “certain population.” I said they should be clothes all women want to wear. I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them. A nod toward inclusiveness is not enough."

And this is where I think Mr. Gunn goes truly off-the-rails.  While he may dislike all of these things for all designers, there is no doubt that they are on-trend and present in many designer fashion lines currently showing at NYC fashion week.  Perhaps Mr. Gunn just doesn't want to see these things on fat bodies, as indicated by his comment that they "give...the wearer, more volume".

Here's a comparison of Ashley's collection with what is right now on the runway in ready-to-wear at fashion week.

Bare Midriffs

Ashley Nell Tipton for Project Runway


Tory Burch

Skirts over Crinolines, and large-scale floral embellishments that shout “prom.”


Reem Acra
Horrors!  see-through skirts that reveal panties,  
Ashley Nell Tipton for Project Runway
Ashley Nell Tipton for Project Runway

Reem Acra

 Pastels - pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile

Thom Browne

So, it appears that Ashley's collection is timely and fashionable.  Publicly stating that her win is blatant tokenism is unconscionable.  His tattling out of class that "...judge said... these were clothes for a “certain population.”, is derisive and frankly insulting to the population of size 16 and over women that he claims designers should cater to.  And while it is possible that Mr. Gunn, who is neither fat, nor female, might object to these various styles in both small and large sizes, I can't help but wonder, if he is really not just another voice objecting to seeing fat women at all. Mr. Gunn raises an important issue in his column, but I'm not sure he is part of the solution.