Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Black Suit

Today's attempt at clothing resulted in a full dress suit. Black shoes (which I still need heels for), skirt, jacket and white shirt were completed. To my surprise, the black construction paper didn't fully disintegrate while converting the paper to a more fabric -like texture by means of repeated crumpling. It was stiff, and tends to develop tears and holes in higher stressed regions, which render the paper soft but pliable. At this point, it would be a good time to explain the clothes making process.

You'll need some generic paper, preferably construction paper to work with if you want color. One of those economy packs you get at a supermarket or CVS should be sufficient. Those have a poor initial strength and should wear out quickly. If you happened to buy the stronger kind, around 100lb or so, you're going to need some assistance. Preferably a squad of schoolchildren conveniently duped into "doing an art project" to crumple the paper for you. I've been working with my hands for about a month, and it's starting to hurt when I crumple a large amount of sheets to convert into fabric. I unfortunately do not have access to child labor, and thus had to tough it out.

Next, you need to carefully crumple the paper into a ball or anything that doesn't form repeated creases. Creasing the paper will develop significant wear lines that will be noticeable. Unless you're going for something like a checkerboard pattern, I'd advise against it. After about a few rounds of good crumpling and possible imagining that you're strangling something, you should have a stressed sheet of paper. You'll need to smooth it out now. You can use an edge of a desk, but I use a wooden dowel and roll the paper over it to weaken the paper further. You now should have a decently soft sheet of paper, assuming your child laborers haven't torn it to pieces.
You could look for patterns to cut out to make your clothes, but I have to freehand, since I'm hampered by a lack of decent clothing making resources. I start by wrapping the paper around the torso and making a tube that fits around the figure, then I start cutting away elements. First the armholes via long slits from the top, then the neck hole. I next start shaping the paper around the model until the desired shape starts to result. After a week of "sod this" and watching more Top Gear, I resume the process. Eventually, after a long series of cutting and gluing to fit, I get something that resembles human clothes. Perhaps the worst tutorial ever.

Anyways, it would be best to show the final results of today.
Today's pictures don't have the silly drafting backdrop that hangs on my desk or more interesting poses, but offers some shots of the model from several views. Sadly, since I'm an idiot and a crap photographer, you'll be hard pressed to see details on the clothing. (Black is hardly an ideal color to use to show details for the freehanded clothing)

As much as I like the results so far, it only reinforces the fact that the original goal of this project wasn't to make a female Reservoir Dogs wannabe, but to make two figures I want but can't cheaply buy:

a Kirakishou doll and a Shenhua figure.

Perhaps, after all this girly cocking about, making 1/6 scale accessories, I'll return to my goal and start figuring out how to make 4th dimensional clothing. Apparently, Shenhua's dress's back tail things flare out excessively to make a proper costume out of while being able to pose in such a manner. I'll sort that out in a few weeks... hopefully.

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