Making sequins/spangles

(Hello people coming here from tumblr! Just as an update- I am waiting on an order of similar width sequin film to test for durability and ease of use. I keep having on and off issues with being able to scratch the Shimmer Sheetz however the colour is so perfect.. So I’m also going to attempt to tone the sequin film. )

I also have an updated list of all sequins I tested:
The methods will be the same though I need a new paper trimmer as the blade has escaped and I am short sighted enough to not be able to find the inch wide bright orange piece of plastic it is attached to! I hope that the heavier density of the sequin film will allow me to sand the corners smooth as well.

Elsa is semi on hold while I work out my Maleficent DragonsDemons Daydreams but I’ll update methods here regularly, including any new glues.



So very similar but a little more durable.


No, not hard core stamped metal but I finally got cutting of my Shimmer Sheetz:

Shimmer Sheetz are produced by Elizabeth Crafts.

I have just ordered Turquoise as well because I think the two together will give a good gradient to the bodice. Here they are in action:

I was really worried the blue iris was too flat in colour but I also suspected that once cut the effect would be greater. And it was. Β These tests didn’t even use all of the three strips I made from one sheet. Each strip is 1cm wide then cut to about 1.5-2cm with a few irregulars. I have five packets of three sheets so I should have more than enough πŸ™‚

I’m gluing to net as I can increase sticky from underneath if need be.

The process to make them is as follows:

I scuffed the Sheetz on the reverse, this is to ensure the glue adheres. Not only is the iridescent layer laminated and so prone to pulling away but the surface is shiny. This means even the best glue it not going to grip unless it welds through- and that will lead to warping.

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Then I cut the sheet in to 1cm wide strips with a handy line cutter. I am going to invest in a better one, but this was enough to get a feel for how it will cut.

Then each strip was cut into shorter pieces. Preferred length is 2cm so this gives 180 larger sequins per sheet. So 540 per pack.

At this stage I will sand the edges into rounded shapes. Not only because the artwork shows this but also to eliminate any potential extra snagging.

In the below with flash is on the left, without on the right.

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I glued the pieces to two different kinds of net (the net of the sequin fabric and the old net for the cape). I tried irregular overlapping and I tried an open pattern. I prefer the open pattern, the shine really kicks through and the outlines of the background show up.

To glue I picked up each piece with angled tweezers and swept the underside over the end of an open tube of Shoe Goo (Same for E6000 or Goop) then laid and pressed the back in to the net. I used a sheet of styrene inderneath (would prefer waxed paper or sheet silicon to prevent sticking but also to allow the piece to lay flat during curing. I’d also like a roller to press the glue evenly.

So I tried from other angles and with and without flash to capture the effect.

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Below are samples of the Sheetz with clear AB pale blue sequins and the base sequinned fabric.

Lined up vertical and horizontal to see which way works best.

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All the fabrics before any alterations.



And finally just the intersection of cape, shirt and bodice and why I wanted power net and rounded edged sequins! There is a lot of friction there!


Why it is important to view images in multiple environments:


I checked this image in PS and in Win8 Photogallery. My monitor has the wrong profile assigned so all my images in the view look warm toned (on the right). As the screen cap looks the same in PS and in my browsers, my older program and in thumbnails… It is clear the Photo Gallery colour is wrong.

And now I can be happy knowing all my programs show true to color (as I can) as I have an amazing monitor and graphics card πŸ˜‰

Other sites gave some fairly off information, this is bang on. And clearly an issue not addressed in further Win7 updates and not even in Win8- luckily a super easy fix. I have calibrated and also altered my monitor- calibrations via the OS and the buttons on my monitor. I actually aim for slightly cool tones so you can imagine how annoying this issue has actually been.

Win8 shows the thumbnails the correct colour but there was like an fffff1 mask over the top.

My netbook has V.Lux and even during the day colours are warmer. And our TV definitely tone stowards the cooler- and specifically to make true white look slightly cool purple. I’m mostly using my phone as I can get immediate feedback about how real life looks and then I can compare and adjust my monitor.

Anyway I’m not even going to go too far in to why I think red and blue are particularly troublesome for graphics (I’ve know for at least 15 years this was an issue with digital cameras (I worked for a car magazine and the swears I heard when trying to get a blue car to look right on screen and on film and at the printers…..) It’s a bit of a degree level thing to really study but here, have a spoonflower quick explanation as it is nicely and easily understood:

Basically RBG (Red, green Blue) vc CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) clashing I think is most at fault. Blue and Cyan and Red and Magenta being substituted or not properly able to be expressed between colour spaces. It may explain the blue-> Cyan and red-> magenta shifts when using flash and “auto” on most entry level cameras.

Anyway, I need a nap (read 24 hours sleep- it’s thing, yay monoclonal antibody therapy!) but my next batch of fabric is already in Honolulu and I won’t be surprised if it lands here tomorrow. Anticipating arrival soon anyway. Tomorrow I may have new buckets to store all my fabrics and projects in (fingers crossed) as I really do like having access to everything. Also multipurpose storage is for the win.

But I am sorely tempted to get the decal.


And hey, working for a magazine meant I got dropped in the deep end of colour theory as it applies to digital media really fast. I was Editorial Assistant at a time when there were both digital and physical copies of.. copy πŸ˜‰ So it’s a bug to me when people use ultimate colour terms. Now I may just have to see the movie again at yet another cinema because the two screening have shown her dress to be heavily in the green tones. And the same as the short tv shots show on my monitor.

That said I had the same argument over the Slave Leia skirt. It is a warm violet in reality, which is why it looks even warmer on print and old yellowed photos but looks very violet in flash (from exhibits and in the barge scene) but everyone remembers it as a dark wine. My skirt behaves exactly the same under those various media and lighting situations. But in person people think it’s wrong.

They do get an ear ful of colour theory I have to admit πŸ˜‰ I think people forget I am trained as an artist as well as scientist. And quite widely in both.


Oh geez, now for bed. There are mashmallows and I am giggling every time I nom one.

Elsa colours

Sigh I have been having issues with working out what colour scheme to go for. At the cinemas her gown is seriously green. However the promo artwork has been tweaked cooler to the point her sleeves look purple.

So I am aiming for this:

Note how her cape clashes with her dress? Awesome. I am going to go whole hog and try for that. It hurts my brain!!! Warm tone and cool tones should not mix! but well I really like how it does clash and hurt my eyes a bit.

It’s kind of like whole tone scales. It’s weird. But it works if you Let It Go… mwahahahaha.


Also, my second piece of fabric is already heading here πŸ™‚ Hoping like mad I got it right and that my shipping worked out. But yes. 3 yards including fedex was cheaper than two meters of similar but not as good fabric from Spotlight. That said, Spotlight clearance warehouse.. I want to be there tomorrow.. pout pout cry. They may have some furniture….

Elsa graphics

Net dyed: slightly greener than aqua. Power net dyed: slightly too dark. All okay, I can get more net πŸ™‚ And more dye to deeper the net and barely tint the power net.

And now I have seven snowflakes as line art on my computer. Close enough that I can use them to print and use as stencils, not good enough to share. Once I’ve got the proportions sorted I’ll make them available- and learn illustration while I’m at it…. Hopefully none are bigger than a letter or A4 sheet of paper, but I don’t know yet as I haven’t put them on my template!

Okay so I have brute made 5 and two are duplicates, shhhh

Ahhhh! Splicing placeholders over my actual pattern shows how much fuller we are making aour capes. But I do think it makes for better flow. Pattern and actual cape. The cape is about 2.4m long from shoulder blades to hem in the artwork (for my height) and I had about 2.58 and I have even more of the new net .


Elsa painting!! ZOMGZOMGZOMG!!!

I get chased by a bee at nearly 2mins. Just saying if you want to hear me get very squealy, that’s your cue.



I have to share I don’t care if anyone uses these techniques and “pips” me to the post, this is too too too fun! And I’ll be using this on the cape and shoes. Read on for more info πŸ™‚

So Resolene is the most amazing awesome finisher ever. The fact that it will bind to leather even under a wax polish? That makes it a bit special. But I wasn’t sure if it would work on sequins as they are plastic with a plastic coating. Leather is porous. Sequins are not.


Pearl Ex (interference green and duo tone blue/green)

Resolene, matte.


You just mix the pigments straight in to the Resolene and that is it.


Okay, you’ll want to work out what the best mix ratio is.

Resolene is very runny- it’s like skim milk/no fat milk in colour and viscositys. It also isn’t sticky until it starts to dry. It does however smell of ammonia so you will need to work in a ventilated area. But this is true of spray paint πŸ˜‰ And if you have used acrylic paint from a tube it’s pretty much that… but more so. Not sure why some acrylics smell like ammonia and others don’t. Liquiset and PA don’t after all.

I patted the brush on the sequins after sweeping-brushing caused more pigment to build up under the sequins (which acted as mini scrapers). So I think airbrushing will be the best option. I need a new brush and a compressor. I have two cans of air but they may or may not last so will be set aside for make up.

I wouldn’t recommend a sponge as the Resolene will be sucked in to that too much as it is so liquid.


So for her shoes I’ll use my left over Russet (vege tanned, unfinished leather for craftwork) and dye them.. hmmm.. possibly a mix of the black and yellow dyes I have. But Feibing also does a white acrylic “dye” (it’s opaque but should work well) so I’ll go over with that as well.

And then use the Resolene/Pearl Ex mix over that with a brush to shade.


For her cape I’ll airbrush with stencils as well as use heat set crystals to make the designs pop. I may be airbrushing first and then deciding how many crystals I’ll need. But I won’t be setting them butting each other rather with regular spaces between.


So I’m back to photoshop to make the dozen special snowflakes and layout. Kinda liking working with paths again but it was frustrating trying to get my cape pattern to properly scale. I tweaked it a bit.

Elsa new fabrics

Charmeuse at the top (closer to the colour in the flash) new softer but strong net on the right, power net on the left and three Shimmer Sheetz on the bottom:sm_DSC_2678 sm_DSC_2679

Forgot the link:Β

In large sheets like this it’s a bit floppy but easy to cut. I’ve tested a small rectangle. It’s pretty pliable so I’d definitely recommend these for those who want to glue not sew- it will form to body curves pretty well. In the large sheets they can be sanded easily which will give the glue something to stick to.

I’m also now okay with the iridescence in person. It’s not too much, There are those kind of flame lines but I have Plans(tm) on using that as a guide to cut.

Elsa wig redo! Photo heavy!

Not a total redo but as it’ll be a while before I can replace the wig I decided to store it nicely which meant I undid the work of yesterday and got photos of this and redoing it. No photos of it on me as I am still bleary and really not a fan of all the downlighting everywhere atm πŸ˜‰ However new desk makes for a good light bouncer so hooray for reasonable photos!

ELsa wig as she was after a full day wear including in the car and the wind tunnel!

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You can see how matted the underside got!

So I started by unravelling the ends and brushing them out as I went. You can see how the two wigs are not perfectly matched at all but by mixing in sections as I went they wre far more subtle. Also very crunchy! Β Yay for acrylic wig toning but boo for needing high intensity conditioning to counter it.

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Here you can see how the second wig was simply pinned (pinned not hair pinned) in the crown and the main wig styled over it:

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The second wig was simply cut in to a D shape and folded in on itself.

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To restyle I sectioned the main wig in to four main sections:

The top where the French Braid started, then the sides which covered the second wig for the French part of the braid πŸ˜‰ and then the middle bottom section which would fill the tail part of the braid.

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The side sections where then divided in to five smaller sections for each step of the French Braid (one side only here) and brushed relatively smooth before being twisted:

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I then pinned the second wig in place and started sectioning it to match the first wig.


I had to let all the sections loose to be able to hand braid these. Luckily the twisting kept the sections fairly free from each other. I did braid the top section simply to manage these pieces while trying to take photos!


The top section barely starts the braiding before the side and second wig sections start being worked in.

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Sorry for the sudden jump to a nearly completed braid! These are difficult to hold and gets photos and remember which section is the top most while working with so many different components.

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Once the side sections were all in I braided the length to keep it manageable while dealing with the last of the tail sections (the middle bottom of each wig). So I divided these remaining sections into three equal parts and then brushed them and then undid the temporary braid and brushed that.

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Et voila, a restyled Elsa wig to keep nice and tidy until I find a softer option πŸ™‚sm_DSC_2649 sm_DSC_2650

Main wig is “Kim” from Sepia in 613 (pale blonde) and secondary wig is just a standard halloween wig ($NZ5) in a slightly pinker tone. Acrylic paint mixed with methylated spirits for a fast drying dye bath (ie denatured ethanol not actually any methanol at all due to health laws in NZ).


Elsa Mark I- and plans for the full thing

Currently she is in a pile on the floor in my room. But I did it. I test patterned doing the dress as a single piece and I am going to try and do that for the final version- seam lines were great and the skirt was full without being too full. At least for the lining. I don’t think I want the same skirt fabric under the bodice sequins….

Super fun, so fun. However I was terrified. I think N. and A. may have picked up on stress but it’s not just a worked-in-to-fatigue stress it was a “I feel ugly and ungainly and stupid” stress (not part of the other aspect of wearing big hair, big make up and what was essentially a pageant dress!) But it was all relieved when we got to the carpark and I heard a muffled “OH MY GOD!” from the back of a people mover. And then someone said “awesome cosplay” so I mentined the CNZ facebook page. Pimping the community at every opportunity.

And then at the cinema foyer… teens, tweens and little girls just came flocking. I’m not saying my costume was amazing or I was but it was wonderful to be part of making people smile. And wow, do people love Elsa. So much. Having her as an accidental antagonist rather than villain was a good move.

Anwyay, so I’m very happy, one of my materials has arrived πŸ™‚ Hopefully it’s a cooler shade than on the site but if not I deliberately got matte sequins to be able to get some overcoating.

But seeing Elsa in full cinema scale rather than on the tv or computer in the various releases (love the snow fight tv spot!) it’s pretty clear Elsa is very definitely shaded to the green side of aqua and its really closer to a duo tone than interference. SIgh. That is hard to get in sequins. Very hard. Her cape seems t be darker on the inside than outside, which I think is more a marker of how light reflective the ice particles are (and looking at them… It would be best to use scattered sequins than anything else as the cape needs to be super light and also those pariticles are large and at least evenly spaced and scattered. So I may be breaking out my giant frame of doom.

It should be easier than Glinda’s bubble dress for me though. The issues with that were two fold: I had to cut the petals individually to know I had enough and to easily store the various pieces. This made pining to net on the frame and use of the frame tricky. The other was the randomness of the size and shape of the sequins. I can do rows of beads and sequins quickly, it really is easy when you have the same shape to guide you, the difficulty is when the shape goes against the base shape you are working around! But as I’d be using all the same shape then tension of the thread and muscle movement is pretty repetitive. So much easier.

But then I will want a very different net. Possibly. It does look very sheer in photos and it is very light. It’s also durable. Which is vital- the hem of my gown is shredded, so the final gown will also get a handy dandy facing that will overlap slightly (pretty sure like the Eleanora di Toledo gown..) so the very edge is protected and the facing can be removed for washing. Like a balyeuse for 1870s dresses πŸ™‚ Which were made from super delicate laces and sheer linen/cotton so good for washing but made liable to shred on cobblestones!

Anyway. My wig was also a good test practice πŸ™‚ While the marketing media for Elsa has her with a quite warm super pale blonde she has had a blue rinse in the movie πŸ˜‰ So I’ll give my wig a spot of tlc so I can use it for another costume and see if I can find a wig and matching wefts. Her braid is super full. Definitely needed two wigs. Sadly because I didn’t have a chance to condition my wigs they wound up very matted on the underside where the wig sat against my cape.

And that’s another thing! I should be putting a bridal tulle over everything. The reason why? The sequins will snag my hair, wig and any other fabric. My hair got totally tangled in the diamantes on my Black Diamonds costume and I also was lucky my gloves came up as far as they did to protect my arms from sequin rash πŸ˜‰

So lessons learned: Yes to having a separate support layer (but with the hips better shaped) yes to the wig style but with softer wig hair! (the acrylic rinse made it all a bit crunchy- but easy to wash out πŸ™‚ ) and yes to having a costume that is child friendly πŸ™‚

Frozen sing along!

Yay! So I am dragging N. to the Frozen Sing Along on Thursday which means a bump in the schedule πŸ˜‰ Well I had sequinned fabric to get rid of so hey, quickie costume here we go!

Alcega? Alcega! Or patterning as if I was a 16thC Spanish tailor plonked here and now. Tailors had to make best use of as little fabric as possible. In part due to parsimonious clients but also as they could keep the offcuts. And you talk about actual cloth of gold or actual cloth of silver you can see how there could be a bit of a conflict!

1) Measure the dimensions for the front panel (waist from side front to side front, then hips Β and then full length and remember this is on the fold and is twice the width! Then cut with the hem at the end of the fabric so as to be able to top and tail the back pieces! Then work from the other end and make whatever you can for the back piece because there is eff all there… Remember there is scrap to be able to piece in to the back.

Front panel is upside down on the upper right, back panels right way to us on the lower left.


2) rotate back piece and lay against the scrap to work out how much there is to finish the back panels and see if you can squeak out a train.

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3) success! a three panel skirt but made from five pieces thanks to not having all the fabric in the world.


4) lay test pattern on next test fabric. I had tried the orange on to adjust proportions (narrowing the skirt front) but yay for being super stingy on the first test as there is more fabric here to play with.

Note, knit sequinned fabric twists like mad. This lovely flat view was not so easy to achieve or maintain.


5) Pretty much follow the pattern but add where you can, I like to angle the the back seam up which makes for more flare at the hem less bulk at the waist.


Yes, the knit backing is very dark, the sequins aren’t but I will be doing something to tone them back. And hey as this is a test pattern the skirt will be looking for a home.. next week πŸ˜‰

My cape is mine though. No touchy.

Elsa actual progress sort of!

So my corset mock up is ugly. I said it was anyway, so here it is! Institutional mint and badly drawn lines everywhere! But look, a cape! And from just barely over 4m of fabric!

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She has boobs! Yes they are OTT but you can see the places I am taking in and will also balance those puppies out πŸ˜‰ This is also for an over bust which means it does look ridiculous! This is my base pattern to fit me and work with my idiosyncratic shape. There was a lot of experimentation in the 19thC for corsets so mine is a blend of genuinely conceivable pieces. I do only have four panels but may wind up cutting through the bust and angling to CF hem.

So, now the Elsa cape:

Super sturdy but fine tulle (photos show how transparent it is.) I cut the pattern over my Elissa underskirt to make sure I got the train as long as possible and forgot to account for it going over a pair of legs and a skirt.

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1) I started by pinning the tulle to the form, selvage for the side/front seam and to see how long the gore would be on the diagonal, ending at the point which winds up side back of the train.


2) so this created a gore that I could top and tail (yay for reversible fabrics!) And so I smoothed it out by folding the fabric along the line and then cutting the first gore.Β sm_DSC_2586

3) I then laid that over the other side and cut and trimmed to match (if this was not reversible this would not work and I’d have two of the same sides)


4) So this creates the sides. I had measured to make sure there was enough length left that the back could be cut. This meant at least as long as the diagonal line plus any extra.


5) Success! Enough with a little left over. So I then pinned the remaining fabric to the back (cB on the fold and pinned at the hem as far to the selvage as possible) and pinned to best shape with the already cut pieces:


6) I laid the fabric on the fold and then used the same folding on the diagonal to smooth the line as before, matching the length to the side gore:


7) this left a narrow gore on either side. So rather than waste it I added it to the fonts and then reshaped all seams (smaller at the top tapering as wide as possible to the bottom).

I’m pretty sure there are five panels I just am not sure if I got them exactly where they are in the film (you see one straight to diagonal seam in the last scene on the fjord at least and the way it folds suggests seams) but i’m not too worried if not. This tulle is $14/m and I still have to dye it πŸ˜‰ So I wanted best bang for buck!