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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Loki Stuttgart Scarf

Shockingly, I recently sewed something for someone else that's not a commission!
My friend Naxius (who commissioned the AOA Loki Bullshit Bodice and the Balem robe) had a birthday recently. And so I made him a scarf that turned out to be WAY more frustrating than I anticipated.
 It's a scarf worn by Loki in a scene from The Avengers where he shows up at a fancy art gallery event in Stuttgart, Germany. It was only on screen for about a minute, but has been copied plenty of times by Loki cosplayers and I figured it would be a perfect birthday present for Nax.
Such a fabulous scarf!
Unfortunately I can't seem to find the source for this picture.
 The scarf in the movie is made from a pale yellowish fabric with a woven dark brown geometric pattern and tiny green squares.
The tiny squares look brown in some pictures, but here they are clearly dark green.
(Source)
 I decided to replicate the pattern as closely as I could with a screen print, since I go to a school where I'm learning fabric printing and can use the equipment.
I spent a very long time making the pattern on Adobe Illustrator. I did it all as one print because there was no way I was going to make 2 screens and try to line them up just to make the little squares green.
Adobe Illustrator is EVIL. But I eventually figured it out.
This isn't my whole print, just a screenshot of part of it.
 I ended up having to re-do my screen 3 times. The first 2 times I put the pattern on the screen I made foolish mistakes. The photo below shows my first attempt, in which half the tiny squares are missing because I didn't pay close enough attention to my repeat.
I had to re-do all this. Twice. Bleh.
(this didn't happen with other screens I've done!)
 I won't go through the whole screen shooting process, but it involved photocopying and a very big vacuum light table in a darkroom.
I did several test prints. The silver on black one on the left was my failed first screen, and the blue one on the right is from my third and final screen. I also did a test print on a bit of the final fabric.
Note the missing tiny squares on the left one.
Because the scarf in the film is quite swishy, I used rayon. I had a piece of yellow rayon that was a lovely drapey texture, but too dark. I bleached it and dyed it a pale straw colour.
The rayon before bleaching & dyeing.
I think it's crepe?
I printed 6 repeats of my 10" x 15" pattern on it with dark brown dye paste. (Which I also won't go into detail on, but it involves  mixing up dye powder and a particular sort of thickening goop.)
Amazingly, I managed to get them all lined up nearly perfectly!
Big printing table!

Printed fabric! Hooray!
 The fabric had to be steamed to set the dye paste, and even though the two samples I did with dye paste turned out completely fine, somehow a bit of water leaked into the steaming package. Consequently the print is not entirely even in colour, but thankfully there was very little blurring.
I was SO angry at this at first, but it's not too noticeable on the actual scarf, so I can live with it.
I had originally intended to use rayon for the green portion as well, but after three attempts at dyeing a piece of pale green rayon from my stash and still not getting it a dark enough shade I gave up on that. I grudgingly bought some synthetic suiting instead, which was the perfect colour and nicely drapey, though a little thicker than I would have liked.
 I marked out a 57" by 15" rectangle on the green stuff and marked all the stripes on with my 5cm wide ruler. I cut rectangles of the printed stuff to fit in the spaces around the stripes, because a reverse-appliqué seemed the best way to do it.
I carefully pressed in the edges and slip stitched them all down by hand.
The machine basting around the edge was done after the appliqué.

Hand stitching somewhat visible on the back of the piece.
 The local fabric store had some swishy rayon fringe in the perfect colour for the scarf, but it was too short.
2 meters of fringe being pulled apart.
I pulled all the doubled fringey strings out of their little chain stitch thing and re-strung them all from one end so they'd be long enough. (Don't worry about the little bendy bits in the middle. I soaked them in water and they straightened out very nicely.)
At this point it became a scarf of regret.
 I machine sewed a rectangle of the leftover un-printed rayon to the sides. After turning it inside out and slip stitching the ends closed I had to do a running stitch around the whole edge to get it to lie flat. I was very careful to make the stitches on the printed side as small as possible so they wouldn't show.
End closing up.
I trimmed the fringe to the correct length using a rotary cutter and my wonderfully useful 5cm wide ruler.
Nasty evil fringe finally looking right.
And it was finished!

Nax making a serious face, like he usually does in photos.
 It was a little over a week late, but I managed to keep it a surprise, which is something I'm usually terrible at.
It's worn folded in half lengthwise, so there are 2 crosses at each end.
 He was very surprised! And so delighted I actually managed to get a photo of him smiling. (Not that he doesn't smile often, it's just difficult to catch on camera.)
 I'll be sure to post pictures when he eventually wears it to a con with his Loki wig and sceptre and a proper suit!
I quite like the pattern, and will definitely use the screen to print something for me someday.
Urgh, I can still kind of see the uneven-ness in that photo....
It's ok though. It's not too bad.