Cosplaying while pregnant.

So I’m speaking to this subject from a sort of bizarre place; I haven’t TECHNICALLY been IN cosplay while pregnant yet. I’m finding it difficult enough to just get a costume FINISHED at this point! But as (probably more than) half of cosplay for me is in the creation, I imagine I’m speaking a little more to that!

Cosplay has become delightfully broad and rich in recent years, a fact I’m proud of for individuals and the community alike. When my husband and I found out we were expecting our first child, in addition to the usual delight and trepidation, I felt strongly that I wanted to continue to enjoy cosplay with our growing family (and my growing belly).

 

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At 19 weeks, I shared this photo to celebrate one year to Star Wars VII! The sign says “This is me (and Padawan Baby) one year from The Force Awakens.”

 

My efforts in cosplay have slowed significantly in recent years, but I’ve never planned on stopping, and the expected change in my body was inspiring! When my first trimester became particularly tumultuous and difficult health-wise, I decided to resign from my teaching position early (a plan we had in place for when baby is born, anyway), and that left us with a significantly lowered income far sooner than we’d expected or planned for.

So besides just the illness associated with my early pregnancy, I faced guilt that came along with no longer providing for my household – who am I to make costumes (even if I felt well enough to do so) when there isn’t really any extra money around (and we still have all these things to buy for baby? Nursery planning and painting and stuff and THINGS)? So I didn’t. And I didn’t feel well enough to do so until late 2014, well into the second trimester.

 

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Baby boy at 24 weeks!

 

Fortunately, many health issues and some financial issues began to resolve and I felt a lot better, finding the energy to do more not only for my family and baby, but for me, too! But another problem presented itself… I was GROWING. So I typed in the funniest combination of search terms I can think of: pregnant cosplay costumes!

A lot of fun and famous results popped up, and one of my passions was included: Star Wars! Padme Amidala of course spends much of the third prequel sporting a cute bump, and her tan dress quickly went on my list. It was practical, didn’t require a massive amount of materials (unlike many of her other dresses!), and showed off that cute belly! Other suggestions came from friends, and while I don’t know if I’ll have time to tackle all of them (with just 10 weeks left now!), it was absolutely a fun conversation. So that’s in progress, and getting a little closer to completion every day (taking it in small, slow bites here!). I’m also still working on a White Mage costume that I’ve (embarassingly) had the materials for for over a year. Because it’s a big, loose robe, I can certainly wear it comfortably while bumpy (and comfort is a big consideration these days)!



I really AM hoping to get Padme all finished up before go time (in May), perhaps attend Starfest (and present the documentary I’ve been working on since last year!), but now into the third trimester, health and just general fatigue are getting to me again. As a woman with pre-existing high blood pressure, pregnancy can be a high-risk scenario for me and baby. Fortunately we’ve been able to manage it with good medical care and drugs, but that doesn’t stop a mama from worrying. I’m very lucky to have a great doctor (who says DO THINGS and GO PLACES!), a supportive husband, and a growing small business that is able to provide at least a little extra income! This whole experience has been exciting and (obviously!) life-changing, in so many ways it’s almost impossible to count!

Next up? Dressing up this little boy (at least until he has the wherewithal to say, “Stop it, Mommy!” Hehehehe.)!

Crafting Product: Spray Adhesive

I’m a big fan of adhesive in costuming as it can make it easier to apply applique and work with fabrics and other materials. I have a deep and abiding love for fusible webbing (like Heat’n’Bond, for instance), but when completing work on my White Mage costume, I felt like I needed something a little different.

Because I was already looking at adding a good amount of fabric with the large triangles at the hem, I didn’t want to add more materials to weigh down the costume – not to mention having to cut MORE triangles after I already cut these ones! Fusible webbing – even lightweight – can add additional bulk to fabric and stiffen the same way interfacing will, and I wanted to avoid both of these effects. But I still needed something to hold the triangles secure while stitching them to the main robe! I didn’t feel pins would be as effective or efficient for me, soo…

 

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Ready to spray!

 

I turned to a temporary fabric adhesive! I purchased Odif USA 505 Temporary Fabric Spray Adhesive from Amazon.com and found it works brilliantly!

It worked great, holding each triangle securely while I used a blanket stitch to fix it permanently to the robe. The blanket stitch was intended both a little decoratively (it seems suitable for the slightly rustic style of the Tactics costumes, in conjunction with the black contrast stitching added later.

 

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What the spray looks like on fabric.

I covered my ironing board with a layer of craft paper and sprayed directly on the reverse side of the triangles I was applying – I didn’t want to stick to any overspray on the main robe. I then just picked up each triangle and affixed it in the position I wanted! If I made a mistake or didn’t get it where I wanted it, it was easy to re-position – I could usually move it without spraying more adhesive.

 

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Ready for sewing!

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With secure blanket stitch.

 

The adhesive itself sprays on a little bit dry (not much of an odor, a great benefit as I’m pregnant at the moment and SUPER sensitive to smells) and looks kind of like that window snow spray people use in winter for decorating doors and windows. It doesn’t take much! I focused on making sure the edges had a good coat, but never enough to dampen the fabric. They’re entirely accurate when they say it doesn’t gum up the needle, a big plus that I’ve found missing in some other temporary adhesives.

Specifically, I wanted to avoid bulk at the hem of this robe, namely that of adding more material using something like fusible webbing. I also wanted to avoid the excess time and bulk hemming each individual triangle would have added. This particular adhesive solved both of those problems and streamlined the process very well!

The 5.6 oz can was about $12 at Amazon.com and I have TONS left for future projects.

A long time ago…

I hadn’t even been thought of 37 years ago today; not even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes.  In fact, my parents had just recently met through friends of friends; in three months, my father would propose to my mother.  But they would go see Star Wars eventually and were (in hindsight, with much chagrin) Luke & Leia for Halloween that year (I found photographic evidence of this when I was a kid in Indiana – I am still hunting down that picture).

I would be born at the very end of 1980, after Empire came out.

In 1983, when Jedi premiered, I would be two and my sister would be one.  We would not have been interested even if we had been to see the third installment of the trilogy.

It would take me (personally) 31 more years to discover the universe that so many were enchanted with before I was even born.  Of course, I was exposed to and enjoyed the original trilogy on VHS and saw the prequels when they came out – I was a passing fan because who in all the annals of nerddom was not, when it came to Star Wars?  I was that child when young; I loved the Ewoks and the droids because they were cute and funny and I could relate.  I always liked Star Wars.  Passion came later.

It came in 2011.  Engaged and teaching my first elementary class of my professional career, my husband-to-be asked if I wanted to play Star Wars: The Old Republic with him.  I’d refused World of Warcraft on several occasions before because I didn’t care for the art style, but something in the cinematic previews of SWTOR caught my fancy.  So we played, together.  We played and played.  And I asked to see the original trilogy again (pre-special edition).  And then I asked to watch through all the prequels.  Now we watch every Christmas; it’s our tradition.

And I started reading.  I devoured the Old Republic books, limited as they were.  I moved on to the post-trilogy EU and read and read and read and read – I’m still reading.  I’m still playing.

In 2012, fiance and I got married.  Han and Leia were our wedding cake toppers.  Nick gifted his groomsmen with Star Wars themed cuff links.   And in lieu of a garter, I sported a blue temporary tattoo of the Jedi Order symbol on my upper thigh.

IMG_0529In 2013, I made a costume based on my Jedi Consular from SWTOR and wore it to Costume Con were I met Dragon Dronet, the Darth Malgus.

In 2014, husband and I watched all of the Clone Wars series.  I celebrated May the 4th with all the gusto I could at Starfest, where I got to hear the words of tie-in authors John Jackson Miller and Kevin J. Anderson.  I shook hands with Billy Dee Williams.  I stalk the internet daily for news of Episode VII.

I also got my first (and probably only) real tattoo – the Jedi Order symbol, of course – on my shoulder in 2014.

I am still new to a longstanding fandom.  I imagine I must feel every day the way the children and teens and 20-somethings of the 70s & 80s felt when Star Wars was new.  I bring my passion for Star Wars into my classroom.  I bring my love for it into my home in subtle yet literal ways.  I celebrate, because it is something to be celebrated.

I’m new, but welcomed into the community with open arms.  I’m welcomed as a female presence in a genre still hungry for women’s influence.  I’m welcomed as new blood.

So as late to this party as I am, I’ve still been welcomed, a welcome 37 years in the making – and still being made for this and future generations.

Welcome to a long time ago, a galaxy far, far away.

Super happy nerdy Star Wars May the 4th Be With You Starfest Weekend!

I had an absolutely stunning time at Starfest last weekend.  I’m still reeling over how wonderful it all was.  I had the privilege of listening to some amazing authors speak about their experiences not only as writers but as fans.  I had a lovely time in the costume contest, wearing my delightful Watchful Dress – I wonder if anyone recognized it?

I come back inspired as a costumer, writer, and even as a teacher.  I want to bring these experiences with me into a classroom, because I feel so inspired by them.

I’ve got a lot of things going, and every one of them is exciting.

The Subtle Nerd

I relish my nerdiness.  I delight in my geekiness.  I also like modern style and fashion and tend toward a more Anthropologie-styled look – very bohemian, soft, and layered.  My home tends to be similar as well, with a strong industrial-modern flair (I like to think our Bexley bar from World Market exemplifies our home style), but I still want subtle bits of our passion for fandom to show through.  While retailers like Black Milk have fantastic and quality garments, their sleek sheath dresses aren’t really my style and don’t work for my everyday school-wear as a teacher.

I am a scarf-wearing fiend.  So this multi-fandom organic cotton infinity scarf really tickles my fancy!  Featuring a whole host of beloved fandoms, it’s sure to delight any hippie-nerd (nippy?  herd?) with the aged print style and gauzy fabric.

My husband would not consider himself fashionable, but I like to pick up tee shirts for him pretty regularly, and nerdy shirts are never turned down.  His (and my) favorites are the subtle nerd humor styles, such as this “Ski Hoth” shirt emblazoned with a 70s style skiing advertisement.  Fortunately tees like this one are very trendy and can even be found at retailers like Target.

 

Retailer Her Universe specializes in geek chic for women and girls.  Envisioned by the charming Ashley Eckstein, actress and voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Her Universe has put forth a great collection of clothes and accessories from all our favorite series.  I’m especially fond of their jewelry line, simple and elegant pendants that can add that subtle bit of flair to any everyday outfit.

 

My husband and I did the same thing with our wedding.  We wanted a very sweet, traditional event, yet we couldn’t help but include a few references here and there.  My “something blue” was a Jedi Order temporary tattoo in place of the more traditional garter; Nick gifted his groomsmen with Star Wars themes cufflinks.  I made the little wooden cake-toppers.  I walked down the aisle to “Dearly Beloved” from Kingdom Hearts.

Finally, we received this absolutely perfect gift last Christmas from my sister-in-law, this adorable set of Han & Leia silhouette prints.  They now reside charmingly in our master bedroom.

How do you show off your nerd?

 

Juxtapose: A Cosplay Story has its cosplayers!

In addition to my own crafting and cosplay, I’m currently producing a documentary focused on three Denver-area cosplayers.  I wanted to do this because there’s just SO much talent and passion in the mountain region that tends to get skipped over just because of the inconvenient location – despite the fact that we have one of the biggest comic cons in the country happening in June!

The cosplay contest – aka the Shindig – at Denver Comic Con will be the terminus of our project as we follow three cosplayers on their journey there.  From concept to competition, I wanted to capture what the creation process is like in our unique and wonderful community.

 Juxtapose: A Cosplay Story

The cosplayers who are participating have just been announced at the Juxtapose Facebook page, and you can keep up with the action there, at the website, or on Twitter.