WWWIP 2019-2020: Kyle's Week 3 Progress

WWWIP 2019-2020: Kyle's Week 3 Progress

Hello fellow winter crafters! Kyle here with our third week of progress. Last week I went into the basics of vector creation in order to make a pattern piece from scratch. We started with some flat shapes so that we wouldn’t have to worry about more than one angle of reference, but this week we’re going to tackle something more complex. Before we start it is good to keep in mind that we won’t know for sure if our pattern works until we print it and try it on, so this is simply our rough draft. This means you don’t have to worry about it being perfect right off the bat. I will be making notes of things I’m not completely certain of as I go so that I will know what to change when needed.

The hip and leg armor pieces wrap halfway around each leg. Since you can’t see the whole shape without multiple reference pictures, we’re going to pattern the different parts separately and then combine them together. We’ll start with the front and back reference images. I’m not too worried about the cutoff points for each shape since they will need to be adjusted when I combine them. I am also going to ignore the bevel in these armor elements for now. After I have finalized the fit of these flat patterns, I can decide if I want to further break the patterns down to accomodate a bevel or simply dremel sand a bevel into layered foam.

Next we can move them over to the side view image, and this is where things can get tricky. I notice that even though my t-pose references all look the same size, the front and back pieces I vectored aren’t quite lining up with my side reference image. I’ll use a bit of guesswork to line them up for now, knowing that I can always make adjustments later. 

Here’s a trick you can use to get all of these points to line up nicely. First select all of the cutoff points for the shapes. Then go to the Object menu > Path > Average (or hit Alt+Ctrl+J). In the pop up window select Vertical and hit Ok. You’ll see that all of the end points are now centered together, but we still need to line up the end points horizontally and connect the front and back shapes.

To do this, select two end points and use the Average feature again, but this time hit the “both” option so that they are centered at the same spot vertically and horizontally. 

You might be asking “But Kyle, why didn’t you just use the both option for all of them together?” Well...if you do that then every single point will center horizontally and vertically, which gives you a spider web. And if you skip the first step and only align the pairs of end points, then you may find that they no longer line up with each other vertically because their averages are different from each other. I love math...math is fun...

So we have our side points lined up now, but the shapes could still use a bit of tweaking. I use my own artistic senses to average up the heights and clean up the curves. I anticipate that these patterns will probably need adjustments after a test print has been tried on, but it’s a good starting point. To create the upper hip plates I repeat my process from the leg pieces. I add some overlap between the two layers so that they can be glued together easily.

Now that all of my pieces are patterned out, I need to scale them up to the right size. An easy way to do this without having to worry about measurements is to select all of my shapes and the reference picture and group them together. This will make it easy to select them all together without worrying about missing any of them. Next, I make the Torso armor pattern visible and carefully scale up the group until the reference picture loosely lines up with the torso piece. This should theoretically make all of my pieces the correct scale, but as mentioned before they may all need adjustments so we’ll be sure to print out a test pattern on paper to fit onto Harl before considering these patterns final.

As we wrap up 2019 and jump into 2020 I’m sure a lot of you have some big projects in mind, and they may seem pretty scary or even impossible. Believe me, I still get intimidated by projects after making costumes for half of my life now. The biggest piece of advice that I can give to any of you who are struggling is to have patience and give yourself the time to learn. Absolutely nothing in life is easy on the first try. Reading, writing, math, sports, driving, and creative endeavors are all learned over time as we grow up, they don’t come naturally. You may feel lost or want to give up at first but whenever you hit a snag take a short break to clear your mind and then try to hone in on what seems wrong before starting over or giving up. Ask for help from a friend, post your question in an online cosplay community, or even shoot a message to a cosplayer you admire. I have been patterning digitally for 5 years and on drafting paper with pencil for over 10 years. I have been making costumes for half of my life, and I have been an artist since before elementary school. I still have to make adjustments to every pattern I draft up, they are never perfect on the first try. I still find myself making really dumb mistakes on every costume and wanting to tear my hair out. But with each pattern I create, and each costume I endeavor to finish, I improve a little more. So don’t ever give up, you can create anything you set your heart to as long as you give yourself the time!

Happy Holidays everyone! Tune in Next week as we move on to eva foam armor construction.

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