October 11, 2015 by New Capel Street: Fabric Division
A little enthusiasm can be a dangerous thing. Recently, those nice people at Academy of Eblana LARP ran what was by popular agreement a very good event. In the middle of the post-event chatter and froth, I offered to make a series of tutorials on how to make basic LARP kit. Some people might say that this was a mistake. Other people liked the idea, so I’m going to do it.
Academy of Eblana, and the other LARP system that readers may be familiar with, Lorien Trust or LT, are high-fantasy systems. While any sewing skills are transferrable and applicable to any LARP system, and making clothing for everyday life, for this series I’m going to focus on making what’s commonly referred to as Generic Kit. With good pieces of Generic Kit, you can dress a character, or have something comfortable to wear when monstering, that is distinct from your own character kit.
Disclaimer: I haven’t done tutorials before, so if anything doesn’t make sense, please comment and let me know!
The Plan Of Attack
We’re going to pattern out and make one simple, comfortable outfit. We’ll source fabric as cheaply as possible, and use equipment that can be found in most homes. Access to a sewing machine is preferable, but if you don’t have one, or don’t know how to use one, that’s no problem at all. Having hand sewing skills is important even when you do have a machine, so you’ll be at an advantage when it comes to finishing things neatly and adding embellishments if you want them.
Good scissors. If you’ve got fabric scissors, don’t use them for paper! Paper dulls the blades, and blunt scissors will not cut nice, precise lines through your fabric.
Hand-sewing needles. These can be found in any shop. Fabric shops such as Hickeys on Henry Street or WM Trimmings on Capel Street will have a wider seleection. The most versatile are probably crewel needles – they have a nice big eye, and are suitable for most fabrics.
(Optional: Needle threader. These little wire loop doodads can be especially useful if you are using a thick thread, as they can sometimes fray and unravel while you try to poke them through the needle.)
Tracing paper. Ideally, pattern tracing paper as it is light and easy to use, but greaseproof paper or baking parchment can be taped to the width and length you need also.
A moderately loose-fitting t-shirt.
Tailor’s chalk, which can be got cheaply in any fabric shop.
Fabric and thread. Gutermann’s Sew-All Thread is cheap and good quality. You should aim to match thread to fabric colour, but a light nondescript shade of grey works for a surprising range of tones also.
Cutting mat and rotary cutter. These items are incredibly useful for planning layouts, making precise cuts and quick cutting-out.
Graph paper – for sketching out ideas on trims, garment shapes etc while working out proportions.
Ironing board (a blanket or towel on a table will do in a pinch)
Camera or smartphone (for taking smug costume selfies).
If you have any questions on the plan so far, please comment below! Next time, we’re going to make our pattern for garment 1: A simple tunic.