Tag Archives: sew

Bangalore Comic-Con

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comic con express

I wanted Comic-Con to have its own post.

Sowmini and I decided to go as soon as I saw that Bangalore was hosting a Comic-Con event. My room-mate Jadine initially wanted to come too, and as two avid Whovians (Doctor Who fans for those muggles who aren’t so excited by a certain blue box) we entertained the idea of going as different aliens.

Jadine couldn’t make it in the end though, and Sowmini and I were left to fend for ourselves. Then I had it! Why had I never thought of doing Lord of the Rings cosplay before – ever since the films came out (now so long ago) I’ve wanted to be Eowyn…ahem, I mean dress as Eowyn.

So we took a trip to the claustrophobic streets of Shivaji bazaar last weekend in search of fabric and haberdashery. Very pleased with our purchases, we took the stuff to every tailor near to the office in Lingarajapuram, only to be rejected again and again. Turns out most tailors only want to make salwar kameez.

We did manage to dig out a good one back in the depths of the market however, so all was not lost. Late on Friday night, after promises of delivery and wasted trips to pick up items when they weren’t ready, I finally got to view the finished outfits. They looked fantastic. He did such a good job with Eowyn’s dress, and it fit perfectly.

Me in my Thor costume

Our fellow volunteer, and Sowmini’s friend from college, Prarthanna decided to join us at the last minute, so the three of us spent Saturday morning getting ready at my place. We pinned Sowmini’s hair with some silver anklets, and voila – she was Arwen! I rooted out a blond wig from a shop near the apartment, and one more cosplayer – Eowyn-maybe-Heidi. Luckily I’d kept hold of my costume made for the marathon, so Prarthanna donned her papier mache helmet with polystyrene wings, her red curtain cloak, and chainmail top – one Thor!

Comic-Con itself passed in a blur. It was so crowded and hot inside the stadium, moving through the narrow channels was like being part of a shuffling human caterpillar that didn’t know which way to turn its head.

British-pistol-18th-Century

British Pistol, 18th. Century – Flintlocks | Collectors Heritage

There were stalls full of temptation on every side. I almost cried when the ATM refused my card, and I was forced to choose between House Lannister, House Targaryen, and House Stark in buying a sew-on patch. Obviously being Northern and proud I opted for the direwolf.

Then there was the Abigail-heaven-but-I’m-too-poor-stall selling steampunk pistols and replica lotr swords; a gandalf hat and even Sauron’s mailed hand with the One Ring! *fangasm* I couldn’t afford the 5000 rupee price tag though, so moved onto registering myself for the cosplayer competition and got some over-priced food.

Sowmini and Prarthanna had retreated to the stadium benches by that time. They were definitely not used to being constantly harassed and asked for photos. I think at least 20 people must have asked whether I was Daenerys Stormborn, simply because of the wig. I had a couple of “Are you Rapunzel?”s and even one “She’s Snow White!”. Yes, because they look exactly the same.

There was a girl there as the dragon-queen, with a home-made egg, but the guy who won our category was painted up as Darth Maul. A bit uninteresting in my opinion. Why be Darth Maul when you can be Hans Solo, or Jabba the Hut? He didn’t even have the correct colour light saber!

The guy who won overall had a fantastic getup though. He’d spent four months preparing his fully articulated Iron Man suit, and he’d even wired up bulbs in the palms to get the real light effect. Each piece moved individually. Everyone was yelling his name before they announced the winner, he really deserved to win.

Iron Man cosplayer who won the top prize

Finally, we headed home. The day had been awesome. That night I went to bed far too late with a browser full of steampunk ideas, just waiting to burst into creation. Might have to make a visit back to that tailor.

A Busy Week

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As the title suggests, this week has been a bit jam-packed. Thus, despite my good intentions, I have again not come around to putting up this blog post as soon as I would have liked.

Anyhow, I received a call late on Thursday night last week from a lady I have been liaising with from Brigg Town Council, asking if I wanted to gatecrash another event (not quite her words) the following evening. I went along with bucket and fresh raffle ticket book in hand, and perched at the top of the stairs waiting for any unsuspecting attendees to walk in. My placement was clearly spot-on, as it enabled me to capture £46 from all the people who didn’t manage to sprint past me fast enough. What a fantastic and rapid way to boost my fundraising! I also succeeded in inundating all of these lovely people with flyers for my upcoming fundraising evening with local business Design Orchard. Looks like my efforts might be more successful yet!

The Saturday following this was devoted then to a pre-planned stall at Wrawby Autumn Fair, in the village hall. I was indecisively umm-ing and aah-ing about going beforehand, as I was meant to be at work that day, but committed in the end to the fundraising task ahead – and I am so glad I did!

I walked into the hall during the initial set-up expecting it be dead, and was shocked at the number of stalls that were already in place. I think I was the last one to be ready. I had a huge table (which I spent about 20 minutes re-arranging, much to my Nan’s annoyance – thanks Nan for the help by the way!).

My Nan, the ever-faithful helper

There was a real village atmosphere (or was that just me?) as I saw old faces from my primary school years coming in  and pretty much every one of them bought something from me. Even though the completion of some of the Christmas tree decorations was still ongoing during the 2 hours that the fair was open to the public, I managed to make £42.50! That’s over £80 in two days – enough for…about a month’s food in India? Or perhaps a quarter of the cost of my visa if you want to put it that way.

I was so pleased with myself, and the stall looked fantastic, as did all the decorations.

Some girl stood behind a stall

The professional touch…

After clearing up and taking the remaining stock home, I spent the rest of my week putting the finishing touches to the final few decorations still needing buttons/ribbons/wire. It may not sound like a lot of work, but such small things can take a very long time to get through, especially when you keep stabbing yourself with the needle. If I wasn’t self-employed, I’d be able to sue my boss for damages.

Just when it seemed that all was nearly completed, with only the final 20 or so pieces to finish, my poor, overworked sewing machine had a massive tantrum and started eating anything I put under its foot. Feeling confident, I pulled out my special lubricating oil and subjected every moving part I could see to rivers of the stuff. After this didn’t work however, and my machine continued to make a horrible clacking noise, I enlisted the help of my Dad. Together, we nearly dismantled the thing in an attempt to get at the inner machinery. Eventually I found the problem, smothered all the cogs in petroleum jelly, and it began sewing again like a dream. Pity it only took me a whole afternoon to figure that out.

Thursday evening then saw the completion of the final favour, which brings us to today.

This Saturday was the date I’ve been counting down to for over a month and a half, the one which began the entire crazed sewing project. The Humberside WI Christmas Fair. I therefore expected to sell as much of my stock as possible, and in the best scenario sell out, making a couple of hundred pounds in the process. I also had some silk scarves imported from India which sold like hot-cakes at the Wrawby fair.

Scarves imported from India, modelled by my mannequin

But I was bitterly disappointed by the lack of customer interest. Despite a great deal of footfall throughout the day, and the fair being open for six hours, I only sold 5 items from my stall, and made up the rest of my pitiful £34.50 profit from raffle ticket sales. In all honesty it wasn’t really worth me going, and I’ll now have to put the rest of my (mountain) of stock onto ebay or etsy (more to come on that). It’s ironic that I did much better on an event which only arose because I was already planning to attend this one. It wasn’t for lack of customer interest. I think the people who came to the fair were in general more interested in having an afternoon out than seriously purchasing goods, as several of the other stall holders also did poorly on sales.

Well, the experience has still served me a valuable lesson. I’ll now be focussing more of my attention onto selling raffle tickets – they’re easy to carry on me at all times and have a low mark-up price which encourages more people to buy. Furthermore, they don’t need to run out, as I can always purchase another book. 🙂

On a brighter note, my next upcoming event should be great fun. Scunthorpe’s Amnesty International group have kindly agreed to hold a joint fundraiser evening for me, where some of the profits will be mine, and the rest Amnesty’s. It’s basically a curry evening where people pay to attend and get their meal. I still need to think of something to contribute, edible or otherwise…until next time!

Frustration

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Different events are drawing near, and time seems to be running out. I’ve got my first craft fair coming up this Saturday in my village, but I’m already triple booked for that day – what to do!? I’m currently debating whether or not to enlist some parental help in getting my stall sorted, whilst simultaneously working in two other places at once. In addition, my pile of decorations, though looking beautiful and fairly substantial, are still not finished. I’ve been frantically hand-stitching for a whole day and I still have to attach all of the ribbons to hang them with. Looks like my next day off is going to consist of me being locked in a room by myself until they’re all done!

I’ve finally started to bite the bullet on collecting bungee jump sponsorships off people too. I hate asking people for money, and it’s been stopping me for quite a while. However, now that there’s less than a month to go, and given how much I’m dreading the jump, the back of my mind has started shouting at me to make it all worthwhile. Last night I descended on my lovely work colleagues and badgered them all into giving me their autographs…”£100? Yes, just sign here please…”

Things are also starting to become increasingly real. I have my vaccinations booked for tomorrow, thankfully only the one, and all my medications sorted for the year. And I don’t have to take anti-malarials in Bangalore! I’m so glad that I won’t be constantly itching for a year (the tablets don’t agree with me). Though the travel nurse assured me that if I was to go anywhere north of Hyderabad, or into Goa, I must get some. So, basically, I should be taking them anyway, as I intend to go to all those places.

Most of the weekend was spent trawling price comparison sites and deal-finders, and I was ready to book yesterday – I even got so far as ringing the flight agency – only to be told my flights had disappeared (apparently). 😦  Time to start looking again.

Dressmaking

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I realise I haven’t updated my blog in a couple of weeks. To explain why, I’ve made a little photo diary of what I’ve been up to…

Basically lots of sewing christmas crafty things for a stall I’m now booked onto for the Humberside WI’s christmas fair. Can’t wait! I’ve been making little favours, or bags to put sweets/jewellery/gifts into, and lots of tree decorations. I got all my fabric scraps out which are no good for anything else as they’re too small, spent hours ironing them all out, and had loads of fun designing my own patterns.

The favours took the longest to make surprisingly, even though they only required hemming and a line sewing for the tie to go through. In contrast, the tree decorations look amazing and are really quick. I’ve probably only spent four or five hours on them so far and all I have left to do is stuff them and stitch up the gaps. That’s for about 50 as well, so on average each will be about 10 minutes to make.

I’m also super-busy trying to organise an evening with the local Amnesty International group in Scunthorpe, and still gathering sponsorship for my bungee jump. I got an article in the local rag last month too – nearly half a page spread! Hopefully people will be interested in what I’m doing and want to help support me.

Enjoy the pics. I’ll post some new ones up from the next thrilling event in the build-up to India!!!