ghostbusters costume: elbow pads and belt

well i got all these pots ready and scheduled over the weekend, but this one was unfinished. i figured i'd have had time to finish the items & photogrpah them by now.


instead, i was in hospital for a few days with appendicitis. booo.

i did manage to finish the elbow pads in the er waiting room, actually, but haven't photographed them (and am not entirely sure where they are... trunk of the car maybe?)

anyway my starting point was a size massive polo shirt in a shade of grey i thought would work:

i cut the pieces out from the back of the shirt and sleeves. amazing how much shirt is left! i even used some of it for stuffing the elbow pads.

the good news is, the saturday morning event that kiddo was going to wear it to? cancelled. and sunday morning is probably cancelled, too, only because i can't drive while looped. so, the deadline has returned to hallowe'en proper.

three cheers for extra time!


ghostbusters costume: proton pack! part 1

step one is the plans. i started by looking at a lot of pictures of proton packs, as well as some plans from gbfans. i printed out one of their pdfs, and scribbled a few notes on it for clarity (because i am not accustomed to looking at proton pack plans, and i couldn't tell what was what).

then i said to myself, how can i make this a functional backpack? what's crucial? what can be changed, but still leave it looking like a proton pack?

and then i drew up some more plans.

it's basically a sewing pattern at this point. or, an idea for one.

next, i took my basic pattern and traced/sketched on what it might look like if i "decorated" it like a proton pack, basically adding the remaining elements as appliques.

the heavy outline shows "structural" seams. the lighter outlines indicate embellishments.

then, i got my materials. i had bought a metre of black poly twill for this, but in my closet i had the piece de resistance: a broken backpack.

the thing about kids and backpacks is, kids are small. backpacks are big. i've seen kids who practically need to walk tiptoe to keep their backpacks off the ground. so when the kiddo was starting jk, tg got him an appropriately kid-sized backpack.

except, you couldn't fit much of anything inside. it was stuffed to the gills and beyond, and it wasn't long before it was torn and all the zippers broken. unusable.

but, the straps will work for me nicely. lots of usable stuff here. the inner pocket for example; will be easy to transfer that straight over.

so, i dismantled it.

there are lots of useful bits and bobs on this thing, including the main fabric itself - it's sort of rubberized, i guess to make it waterproofish, but the rubbery side is kind of neat. i decided to use both sides of the fabric in the embellishments, just to have a variety of textures.

then the fun part.

using my sketches as a guide, i started placing and cutting shapes and stuff, moving bits around to get a feel for how it all will look.

i think it's gonna look awesome.

i've got some ideas in store for the cables and whatnot, too. i just wish the led spoke lights i planned to use for the back round thing weren't sold out! major sighs.


ghostbusters costume: the hose connector thing

after much futzing about and rooting through old stuff (i have too much stuff!) i came across a couple of pieces of "elephant skin" lino for doing linocut prints. i bought this stuff ten years ago or possibly more. maybe someday, i will do the linocuts. meanwhile, it's a great colour and carvable. so, i decided to see what i could do to fashion a hose connector thing out of it.

that's one of these, the bit that connects the hose to the left thigh of the flightsuit.

i had some aquarium hose, and a thing that it fit onto, to use as a starting point.

i cut the thing-it-fit-onto - some sort of aquarium filter piece thing (again, we have too much stuff!) down to size, leaving the "flare" so i could securely attach it into the hose connector thing.

since the lino is not terribly thick, i had to glue bits together to get tomething close to what i wanted. the leg hose connector itself is made of stacked rings, glued together with some all-purpose adhesive i found in my toolbox.

i glued together the two large base pieces and the two smaller nozzle pieces separately, so i could mess around with the fit of everything, and also to make it easier to sand the edges, which were pretty uneven.

i clamped the whole lot together while the glue dried.

then, slip the hose through, and voila! ready to be sewn onto the leg of the flightsuit.


ghostbusters costume: the "no ghost" badge

i need to tidy this up a bit, but for now i'm done. it's late.

first i went to gb fans for pics of the original badge. i adjusted it to be the size i wanted, and then i used the dumb "autoshapes" function in ms word to make the outline of the red circle, then i roughly traced the ghost in place, adjusting for the fabric wrinkles and whatnot.

looks all right, doesn't he?

i traced him onto a scrap of fabric left over from some curtains (i thought it had enough heft) using a red fabric marker i happened to have on hand. why do i happen to have all of this stuff on hand? i really need to declutter. anyway.

then, i went to town with my old elna supermatic. i've never done machine embroidery before, have no idea how to do it properly, and no special attachments. but it's not terrible? i feel i could do better, but it's also for a 6-year-old who isn't such a stickler for that kind of detail, so i think it'll do.

and now i'm going to sleep!


ghostbusters costume: flight suit done!

the flight suit is done!

well, almost. i have to put some velcro on the sleeve tabs, and of course the "no ghost" badge. but otherwise, it's done! with all seven zippers and everything. tried it on, and it fits. woohoo! very excited about this. kiddo is, too. as in, is already planning on wearing it to school. heh.

and yep, seven zippers, not kidding. six zippered pocket and the big zip to get in and out. all from my endless stash. which is awful, because it's just encouraging my hoarding tendencies. oh well. here's a zipper shot:

and the leg pockets and ankle zips:

every single zipper required shortening, too! gah. but i am so pleased with how good it looks.


ghostbusters costume: the zipper-shortening tutorial

i was updating my progress on this costume yesterday when i realised i hadn't taken any pictures of the zipper-shortening process - and figured this might be useful information for someone.

so here it is: how to shorten a zipper.

"why would you even want to do that, it looks fiddly," i hear you cry. well, when you have a dozen old zippers you bought for cheap somewheres a million years ago, and you find yourself needing a half-dozen zips of varying lengths in order to make a set of coveralls for a ghostbusters hallowe'en costume, you gotta do what you gotta do.

i used a nail file and a pair of pliers to do it.

the thing that stops most zippers from opening at the wrong end - and thus determines their length - is a little piece of metal that clamps the two sides together. it kind of looks like this:

with the flat top part showing on the front of the zipper, and the teeth at either end going through the fabric and bending over the teeth of the zipper. here's a look at the back view:

see the teeth? they're pretty well camouflaged. what you want to do is open up those teeth on one side so you can take the bracket off. i used a nail file to pry them up.

once you've got one side loosened, you can push back on the fabric of the zipper to pull them out. here's a look at the front, you can see the teeth pulling out:

then, grab the bracket with a pair of needle-nosed pliers, and pull it gently away from the fabric.

here it is. you can see the teeth on one side (the side pried open with the nail file) are kind of straight, but the teeth on the other side are still bent.

use the broad part of your pliers to straighten out the teeth.

now the bracket is ready to be re-inserted into the zipper in the new location. push the teeth through the fabric on the right side so they poke through on the wrong side.

then, use the pliers to clamp the teeth closed over the zipper so they're nice and flat.

that's when my batteries died, but it's basically done. just cut off the excess fabric, leaving about 5/8" below the bracket for stability.


ghostbusters costume: starting to come together

there are a lot of details on the jumpsuit...

i can't include every detail. i just can't. i am putting 4 zippered pockets on this thing plus zips at the ankles. there should be at least two more zips from what i can tell in the photos. but you know what? you can scale down a lot of things, but you can't scale down zippers! they come in pretty much two sizes: heavy duty, and regular. i've already shortened the zips i have, using needle-nosed pliers to pull out the end block, and then pushing it in in a new location (why don't i have a photo of that? i will take a photo of that. eta: i took 13 photos of that, and made a tutorial). anyway even with shortened zippers and smaller pockets, there is just no room for all the pockets the originals have on the legs.

anyway, close enough!

i've stay-stitched where the zips will go, and slashed the openings. just to keep everything sorted, i laid out the pieces with the zips and pockets pinned on, just to make sure i have everything i need.

... and i sewed on the name badge. these are really starting to turn in to something! i'm pretty excited. the kiddo is pretty excited, too.

now... how am i going to attach the hose to the leg? i need some sort of nozzle/grommet/thingy... keeping my eyes open for anything that might work. the lid from a sport-style water bottle, maybe? hmmm. will keep my eyes peeled on garbage night.


who ya gonna call?

got started on the hallowe'en costume today!

so far i've prewashed/preshrunk the fabric for the jumpsuit, dug up the pattern, altered it for size, and dug a bunch of zippers out of a bag i was just about to take to goodwill. whee!

the ghostbusters fan wiki has been a huge help as far as figuring out details. or in my case, figuring out what details i am going to leave out. i just don't have the time and energy for that level of authenticity, especially for a kid who will outgrow it in no time. it's not like he's going to be going to historical reenactments for years in this thing. but it was good to look at all the details on the wiki and sketch out what i am going do.

and, in the spirit of being able to say i accomplished at least one thing, i machine-embroidered a venkman badge. not sure i'm perfectly happy with it, but it's not bad.

just one million more tasks to go in the next four weeks...


just a few pics from our busy weekend!

what a gorgeous weekend it was, blue skies and sunshine. made me want to be outside!

so i decided to pack up the elna supermatic and head outside to do some sewing. but first, i needed to harvest some grapes!

they are so sweet and lovely. also seedy, ah well. we have concords too, but they were ready earlier, and have already been made into jam!

with the grapes (and wasps) out of the way, i was able to set up for sewing. i finished my first shirt (in a lovely light turquoise, fabric i had somehow "misplaced" when i cut out the fabric for the other shirts-in-waiting, but which thankfully turned up), and three cushion covers for the living room!

well, two and a half. somehow i had fabric and piping and filler for three cushions, but only two zippers. how did i manage that? bah.

i am pleased with how well they match the afghan though (pattern via ravelry). i carried a scrap of the lett lopi around in my pocketbook for yonks before i finally found the right fabric. worth it!

then it was cookie time. i am turning into the sneaky protein lady. the other week it was black bean brownies; this time it's white bean chocolate chip cookies. after reading some tips and tricks i decided to just wing it anyway, and they turned out pretty tasty. there are a few tweaks i want to make to the recipe though. guess i'll have to bake more cookies to experiment!

oh, and i made candied lemon peel as well, have to get ready for making xmas fruitcake!



just noticed that i have gone a full month without a post... whoops.


i have been busy, as usual.

i have shirt #1 done, i've made cushion covers for the living room, grape jam and candied lemon peel, started a knitting project when i ran out of yarn for the cardigan i was working on, then the yarn came in so i'm back to getting that done.

and back to school mania etc., with the kiddo in various programs and all manner of extracurricular whatnot. went to mini maker faire, brief jaunt to ottawa, and on and on. busy month.


i am just starting a project that truly fits the official mandate of filmcraft: the kid's costume this hallowe'en is none other than peter venkman, ghostbuster par excellence.

i have discovered an immense cache of online ghostbuster lore, with endless project plans for accurate homemade replica proton packs and whatnot, and numerous sellers of supplies. it's crazy out there.

for this project, my stash helpfully includes a sewing pattern for a kid's jumpsuit (size 5, will need altering), which is an easy place to start. i have the guts of an old backpack to use as a base for the proton pack - which will be not so much authentic, as functional for the kiddo to use as a backpack after hallowe'en is over. i have fabric and a friday to get started with the elna supermatic.

meanwhile, i need to strategize my proton pack. i've looked at all the superelite plans with instructions on how to mold plastic and whatnot; some of those will provide inspiration, but the kids will be strictly sewing (and perhaps knitting - i can see i-cord being useful).