Merry Harry Christmas!

December 3, 2023

I already posted this on my Harry Potter-blog, but I thought I could share it here as well. I’m taking a bit of a break from cosplay this month to focus on making gifts and getting in holiday spirits! This was one of many projects – but some I cannot share, since they will be gifts.

Hope you’re all enjoying your December, regardless of whether you’re celebrating Christmas or not!

I’m slowly working towards making our Christmas tree more Harry Potter-themed. This year’s additions were decorations gifted from my friends for Christmas, a few that I bought myself at a convention earlier in the year and – the piece de resistance – a carpet to put under the tree that I made myself. I’m actually not sure how to call it in English. My research told me that at least in America (I’m not sure about UK), people use tree skirts instead. But these go over the foot of the tree, whereas in Denmark, we put what we call: “Juletræstæppe” or directly translated “Christmas tree blanket” under the whole thing.

In any case – whatever the name, I made one. I used the embroidery machine I got for Christmas last year to embroider gold/red panels that I stitched together with a pretty green/gold fabric. I wanted to add some gold ribbon as well, but I haven’t found quite the right one. My original plan was the make the embroidery files as well, but unfortunately, I had some issues with the software (mainly that my trial expired and it’s too damn expensive to buy, haha). Luckily, I started the project just as all the shops were having black friday sales, so I managed to get 70% off, making the files quite affordable. I’ll add links to all of them later.

Each of them took around 1-2 hours to complete, and I think the biggest one is 38,000 stitches or so. I changed the colour schemes so that they all matched with just 3 tones of the yellowy gold. I chose to use Gunold Sulky embroidery thread, because it has that silky shine, but it works really well in my machine. I have bought some metallic threads as well, but these are supposedly hard to work with and seeing as the entire thing had around 250,000 stitches, I went with the safe option.

Each square is 30*30 cms. I originally made them 40*40 cms, but realized after finishing that I should have placed the embroideries diagonally on the fabric, but luckily I was able to turn them into 30×30 cms on the diagonal, so I didn’t have to redo them.
The diamonds are also 30cms on each side and 45degree at the top and bottom and 135 degrees at the sides. There’s 8 squares and 8 diamonds. I first stitched them all together, then I placed it on top of my backing fabric and used it as a template to cut it. I may add gold ribbon around the squares later if I find any – but so far I haven’t found one I liked, so I left it out.

Here’s the files I used:
Owl
Broom
Stag/Patronus
Dragon
Unicorn
Griffin/Hippogriff 
Wand
Flying Key 

This Bernina was my 2nd serger/overlocker and actually the first (and only) brand new machine I have bought. It works quite good and it’s a bit less noisy than my old one, which is great. One thing I miss from my old machine: It doesn’t have free arm capabilities. I don’t follow rules when I sew, so I like to overlock on my sleeves when I’m making clothes, which is harder when you can’t fit the fabric around the machine, especially when making mistakes and accidentally stitching through wrong layers will ruin the whole project, because the machine cuts while sewing. But it’s a minor thing that I work around, and overall, I’m really pleased with the performance!

My next machine was a very fancy christmas gift from my dad:

Pfaff Creative Vision sewing /embroidery machine

I have wanted an embroidery machine for years, but they are both quite expensive (though, more and more affordable models are being released) and also I had no idea what to look for. I thought each machine had their own software, and so I thought it was also a thing to consider. But it turns out it’s not. And while embroidery software (to make your own designs) is a whole topic of it’s own, it turns out the machines are quite “simple”. This one functions both as a sewing machine and an embroidery machine, and I have used it for sewing a little bit, but for that purpose, my old one still does better – it has a more powerful engine. This machine struggles with e.g. webbing. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s a bit of a chore to convert it between sewing and embroidery (the attachment + foot + needle needs to be replaced, and different types of threads on upper-and lower thread), so I just use it as embroidery machine. And for that, it works great. It supports quite large hoops – up to 360 x 350 mm. (though biggest I have is 360 x 200 mm). The standard hoops that were included were plastic ones that work by squeezing fabric between inner and outer hoop and tightening it. But I fairly quickly upgraded to metal hoops with magnets, because I find it easier to align designs like that. It’s a preference thing. It’s a single colour machine, so you have to replace the thread after each colour. But I think it’s fine. Some projects require you to babysit it, while others you can just leave it alone. It depends both on the file, the fabric and the thread. There’s a lot to learn when embroidering, but it’s quite fun. I haven’t used it for cosplay yet, but most things that sit still long enough in our house gets embroidered.

The latest machine I bought is this one:
Brother Coverstitch CV3550 coverlock machine

 

This machine is quite limited in it’s use. It’s something inbetween an overlocker and a regular machine. It has one bottom looper, and up to 3 upper threads. And this version also has an extra thread that is kind of like an over-looper. If you have a t-shirt on, I’m pretty sure there’s an edge of folded fabric that is stitched with a coverlock. On the visible side, it’s usually 2 straight, parallel seam-lines and on the underside, it’ll be kind of looping around. That’s a coverstitch. I got this, because I enjoy making clothes for myself and my family, and it makes that a lot easier. But it’s overkill for most people and probably not that relevant for cosplay. I just felt like splurging a bit and buying myself something nice. I did buy it used, though, because I figured I would get one that had all the possible features (including free arm for easier sleeve stitching).

So that’s basically all the machines I have! I would like to add one honorable mention, though:

 Husqvarna 5710 sewing machine

 

This was my very first sewing machine! My grandmother had it before me, and it’s from somewhere between 1976-1982 (I don’t know exactly when) It was actually a nice machine, but when I first got into cosplay and realized it was something I wanted to do a lot, I wanted something a bit more quiet with more features. But this machine isn’t gone. My mother-in-law didn’t have a sewing machine, so I brought it to Lithuania and now she uses it for little repairs and such. It makes me happy to know that after all this time, it still has a purpose and it still works just fine. Those old Husqvarna machines are work horses, and if your budget is small, go look for this kind of machine. The machines that were made back then were so simple that they don’t break that easy, and they were made with quality materials, so they last forever. They may not have lots of fancy seams, but my first Druid cosplay was made mostly with this red machine.

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