T-58: Editorial

“If we give people hell for trying hard to create something they’re proud of, how can we ever expect anyone to try?”–Lind of Mordengaard/Lady Guinevere Godmoney

“LARP REQUIRES COSTUMING”–Tyson Hood/Pollo

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Friends, today and Monday, we’re going to talk about a subject that is near ot my heart, but that I don’t take as seriously as I should. On Monday, we’re going to talk about showing your persona through your garb, but first: a brief editorial.

First, we must briefly discuss a toxic, false dichotomy that so many people perpetuate: the stick jocks vs. flurbs split.

Just stop. Perpetuating these stereotypes doesn’t help anyone. Some of our greatest fighters can hang with our greatest artisans, and some of our greatest artisans prefer ditching to battlegaming. Boxes are for packing, not people. 🙂

My next point: we are a fantasy game. Do you know how many people have been drawn in (and how many more could be) by demonstrating that facet? Yes, we get together in costume and fight in battlegames with boffer weapons, but I never again want to hear the self-deprecating elevator pitch that “we dress up funny and hit our friends with sticks.”

We should embrace, improve, and encourage the community we’re trying to cultivate. I’d say the majority of us self-identify as nerds. Don’t be the jerk you were trying to avoid when you joined the nerd club.

That being said, we need to encourage healthy character expression and fantasy within our game. If that first- or second- or twelfth-day newbie shows up with a slow, bulky-looking weapon that they obviously made themselves, rather than opening with, “oh, that’ll never pass safety inspection” or something else negative, I want your eyes to light up. I want your heart to overflow with pride.

Do you know what that player did, first and foremost? They invested in the game. They bought in. That’s HUGE! They are so excited to be a part of the community that they spent their time, money, and effort making a thing. They probably did a thing they’ve never done before in an effort to fit in with what can frankly be an intimidating crowd. That was you, once. Remember it.

If we cultivate new players to have enthusiasm for the game, if we build people up constructively rather than breaking them down, we will all be better for it.

Be excellent to each other!–<3 Lisael

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T-89: quick update because I haven’t updated

Okay, so got out of the habit of updating the blog, but I’ve still been doing some stuff (though slowly).

Last week, I wrote articles for the smith blog. 

This weekend, I cut my linen for the hood. As per usual, I messed something up mildly (stacked my linen too thick when using the rotary cutter), but since I had cut the hood for the largest pattern size, I was able to lose a little fabric to square things up.

Need to buy a small amount of Kona in pink, yellow, and white for the applique badge for the hood.

T-120: beginner garber tips

Simple tips even a beginning garber can use:

Use sharp scissors: Sharp scissors make sharp lines. Use sharp, fabric-dedicated scissors for cutting fabric. (They don’t have to be special fabric scissors, but they have to be YOUR fabric scissors.

        I have 3 pairs of fabric scissors that I bought in a set from Hancock Fabrics (RIP). I most typically use my midsize scissors. I don’t actually find the small scissors to be functional (it feels like tiny little elementary school Fiskars), and the longer scissors can be unwieldy.

        People joke about using fabric scissors on paper. I assure you, it’s srs bzns. (Insert “Show me who used your fabric scissors on paper, and I will dispatch him forthwith” meme.)

Color catchers: BRUH. Color catchers have SAVED MY PROJECTS. BRUUUHHH. I can’t sing their praises enough.

        Color catchers are these magical dryer-sheet-like things that you throw in the washer along with your fabrics and detergent. I try to use these any time I am washing new fabric, especially bold colors and reds. Reds stereotypically bleed (remember Rachel bawling to Ross because her whites became pinks?), so ALWAYS use a color catcher when washing reds with something else! (This includes a finished garment that uses multiple colors. My company colors are maroon and white. Color catcher every time.

        They look like this! When washing new fabric, use two! (Thanks to Sir Thalen Tannon for the tip!)

Use the appropriate needle for the project: I’ll go into greater detail about this in an equipment/tools post later, but make sure you’re using the appropriate needle for your project. Not all needles are created equal, and your project will turn out so much better if you use the right kind and size!

Change your needle often: This is a “do as I say, not as I do” piece of advice: change your needle often! Some people recommend to change your needle as often as every 8 hours. Since that’s not really how I usually measure my sewing time, that can be hard for me to gauge. I at least try to remember to change it when I start to hear my needle punch through the fabric. Once you figure out that’s why your sewing is making that sound, you can learn to change the needle. (Insert video of this sound if I can get it.)

        Generally, changing the needle can fix a bunch of other problems, too. If you notice your machine is skipping stitches or doing something weird you can’t diagnose, try rethreading your machine and putting in a new needle.

Use the proper tools: *group associated topics here*

Be prepared: *group those under here*

Iron your fabric: JUST DO IT. I hate it, too. It really does make a huge, noticeable difference, though, and it really does make things easier.

        Side note: make sure you keep your iron clean and use the appropriate heat setting! I mostly work in cottons and linens, so I’m full blast all the time, but make sure you account for any synthetic content.

Wash your hands: Before you start or pick up work on any project, wash your hands. Wash your hands ESPECIALLY before embroidery. It’s so easy to accidentally transfer skin oils, pet oils, ink, paint, or lunch onto your project.

Set up your workspace: Give yourself a logical workflow. Make sure all of your materials are gathered. Make sure your work surfaces are clean (not just cleared off—run a washcloth over them to make sure you didn’t miss an errant ketchup spot or bit of leather dye or something).

        I’ve worked in tiny cramped spaces (inside my tent the day of an event–*cough cough*), as well as larger spaces all my own. You can make any size space work if you’re organized. (I don’t mean organized all the time—that’s madness! But take 10-15 minutes before you get started to organize your space for the next few hours, or whatever. It’s worth it.) This includes adequate lighting!

Clip your threads: Oh my cheesus, clip your threads. Then, wash your new garb piece (with a color catcher!) and clip your threads again. Garb judges never get as picky over anything so easily fixed as unclipped threads. (Do not burn them off. This isn’t the military.)

 Read through your whole pattern before you start: Trust me, I’ve seen some patterns that have omitted some pretty big steps in the materials list or overview. Reading through the pattern also lets you know what you might need to practice before you get started or might indicate any assumptions the author of the pattern might have made about your expertise.