Cosplay Friday!

I REALIZE that I need to put a little more focus on costuming because, hello, that’s a thing I do.  Crafts are so distracting, augh!  So on Fridays I will try to focus on some aspect of cosplay or costuming.  I am sewing, after all!  I didn’t buy that awesome new machine for nothing!

imageToday I want to focus on one of my favorite cosplay places on the internet: the AC Paradise Network!  With places for every kind of cosplayer, from the ladies, to the gentlemen, to the photographers who capture them all, ACP has organized and carved out a space for every cosplayer on the internet.

One of the neat things about this website is the cross-referencing features that can help you find photos of your costumes.  By searching by tags of your name, the convention you attended, the character or series your costume is from, or any combination thereof, there’s a good chance you’ll find a photo you haven’t seen yet.  I love to use this to reminisce about fun cons of years gone past, like in this photo from Anime Central 2007 with some of my favorite peoples!  “What’s that over there?!”  Ha!

There are also several levels of membership that you can purchase for yourself or others can choose as gifts.  Really love someone’s stuff and want to encourage them more?  Pick up a Celestial Membership for them!  Believe me, it’ll really make their day!

ACP has grown and evolved alongside the cosplay community since their creation in 2000, making good on their motto of “A Site for Cosplayers, by Cosplayers."  With them as a supporter of the community, the last decade of cosplay has proven to be a great one for everyone!  Thanks for all the great memories, Wayne and Genjitsu!  We love ya!

Quick and Easy Day of the Dead Costumes

deaddaySo my attempt at Han Solo and Princess Leia costumes failed with an overwhelming week prior to Halloween.  We didn’t even make it to the main party we usually attend, and we missed our friends bunches!   We did make it out for a short trip to another party on Saturday, but I struggled to come up with a last minute costume for each of us.

Climbing into the costume closet, I returned with all the pieces of black clothing we owned and proposed a fitting Dia de los Muertos theme!  I printed out these decorated skull images (or calaveras) and mounted them on cardstock and construction paper to create handheld masks for each of us.  With a little coloring, they really popped!  A few flowers borrowed from Ophelia completed our costumes.

The outfits were a big hit (and they go really well with the black and white floor at my friend’s house!  Heehee!).  I’ve seen a lot of similar costumes created with makeup and really incredible styling, so that’s another option you could go for!  I liked this option for us because we didn’t have the makeup available, and we didn’t run the risk of scaring the host’s 8-month-old daughter.  It’s also interesting to learn more about Dia de los Muertos!

How was your Halloween?

Dressing Ophelia – Complete!

She’s done!  In fact, she’s been done for a week, but I wanted to get a few nice photos.  I had a lot of fun at Mile Hi Con, too, and took home 1st place in the adult category!  Nick and I took these photos yesterday – so Happy Halloween, too!

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SONY DSC  SONY DSC

I did all the beading in about 12 hours total, using about a dozen types of stones and glass: pearls, rose & crystal quartz, aventurine, amazonite, jade, jasper, garnet, labradorite, and others.  I even got to use a friend’s great embroidery machine to add some much needed detail. I still have a little beading to do; my tiny pearls for the sleeves just got in this week.  But overall I’m really thrilled with the outcome and I can’t wait to wear it again!

Obscure Costume Sources

As a cosplayer, this is certainly not a foreign idea to me, as I’ve mentioned before.  Cosplay costumes don’t make good Halloween costumes, of course, but I’ve found myself picking out even more obscure designs for creation among books – especially children’s books.  I blame it all on the teaching thing.  Here are some ideas I’d love to go after:

imageThe pretty maiden from East of the Sun, West of the Moon by Mercer Mayer.

I’m working on an author study of Mr. Mayer for graduate school, and this is one of the main reasons I chose him: his beautiful illustrations and tales. East of the Sun, West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairy tales (linked with Psyche and Cupid, the Frog Prince, etc), and I adore the detailed dresses and lush fabrics in Mayer’s illustrations.  I’d love to create one of the pretty dresses from this story someday.

imageThe Beloved from the Twelve Days of Christmas Golden Book.

This little book was such a surprise!  I got it in a collection of free kids books that were donated to my future classroom,  and this was indeed a treasure.  Filled with beautiful illustrations of a girl and her holiday sweetheart, I fell in love with the medieval inspired dresses the girl changes throughout the twelve days.  Also I HAVE A THING FOR PRETTY DRESSES.

Now that I think about it, I actually have done a slightly obscure book character: Arha, the Eaten One from the Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin.

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And of course Ophelia, in her Waterhouse incarnation… that’ll be finished up soon.  What sort of obscure projects are you dreaming of?

Dressing Ophelia – Part 3

I finally found time on Monday to get the dress pieced together, as well as the collar in place (sleeves are coming up today!).  I decided the dress would be more period appropriate without lining and worn with a  chemise underneath instead.  seamThis is a good choice because with all the beadwork and pearls that will eventually be installed on the dress, it won’t make for an easy cleaning.   I’ll probably still put in some underarm shields to save myself some struggle later, too!

That still requires some work for the collar, a facing, something.  Since the collar of this dress shows the same gold accent on the cuffs and above the hem, I went that direction and did a sort of inside-out neckline facing.  This is something I learned in the SCA as it’s an easy way to add the common neckline detail seen in a lot of medieval clothing.  It’s prepared just the same way as a typical neckline facing, only with the facing coming to the outside instead of being hidden inside the garment.

backwardsTo make this reverse facing especially successful, finish your inside shoulder seams using a French seam or other treatment (I simply folded under the raw edges of the seam and ironed them in place).  Then you won’t have to be concerned with any raw edges of seams showing at your neckline.

Here’s where the inside-out/backwards part comes in.  Instead of right side to right side, sew the pieces together right side of facing to wrong side of garment.  This makes it so you can display the facing (the right side of the facing, without any seams or interfacing!) on the outside of the garment!  It still enables a really tidy edge, but you get a nice contrast. 

I went in after everything was ironed out (don’t forget to trim and grade those inside edges so the collar edge sits very nice; I just used my serger) and stitched the bottom edgcollare down, as can be seen in the photo.  Since you have this raw edge, zig zag stitching or covering the edge with trim is advisable, though if you feel like going to the trouble of hemming and stitching it down, that’s a nice look, too!  I think I’ll be using a pretty strand of top-drilled pearls to accent the REST of the beading that will go into this dress.  I liked the more earthy look of the offset pattern in the beads.

So there we are!  I’ve also finally received all the beads I’m going to use on this costume, so it’s just a matter of getting the trim on sleeves and hem, and getting the beading done!  The wig is also in my possession, and I think I’ll toss in a few flowers in as well!  Just a few more steps and Ophelia should be finished!

How are your projects going?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s October!  Fall starts, squash and pumpkins are in season, cooler days, maybe even some snow!  And finally, Halloween!

I often get comments from my non-costuming friends that Halloween must be an easy holiday for me… just head into the costume closet, pull something out, tada, set for Halloween!  Oddly enough, nothing could be farther from the truth!  Because so many of my costumes are tied to sources not in the mainstream, they’re typically not recognizable to the general public (ah, the downfall of cosplay!).  Not to mention that even if I’m doing something recognizable, I admit to a bit of fussiness and perfectionism in the creation of it.  i mean, I’ve been creating costumes and competing for over ten years now… I guess I just can’t help myself a little!

Last year I wore one of my favorites, Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle, to my elementary school.  It was a success, but not as Sophie… Everyone thought I was Laura from Little House on the Prairie!  Oops!  I can definitely see where the resemblance might be:

sophielaura

Can’t really argue with that!  And being that those were some of my favorite books from my childhood, too, I decided I was perfectly willing to accept that conclusion.  Funny how things work out!

This year Nick and I are planning on Princess Leia and Han Solo; pretty recognizable characters!  I still find myself fussing over details (let me tell you, the ordeal of finding a very soft-handed fabric for Leia’s dress… well, I can’t really complain since it was on the search for this fabric that I ran into Mondo and Michael C.!), but I’m also willing to let things go!  For example, Nick’s costume is mostly altered secondhand clothing; more information about the process will come out as I continue working on them.

What’s your plan for Halloween?

Purple 80s Hair

This is all I have to offer in exchange for the post I missed on Friday.  I was too busy parading around in my delightful winged finery.  And by parading, I mean sitting at the bar!

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Courtesy of Lilacwire!  See you tomorrow!

Back to our (stretchy) roots…

A project coming to fruition in about a week is completing some classic Sailormoon costumes!  Ah, Sailormoon, how long our love affair has been! Super Sailormoon was my Very First Costume as a cosplayer, and that was a Long Time Ago at SDCC 1998.  Interestingly, a classic Sailormoon costume is one I never did!  No time like the present!  I’m joined by my friends Lilacwire and Mara Lune for this endeavor.  ‘Cause we’re nerds.

imageI wanted to really focus on a good fabric for our purposes.  We wanted to go with a stretch knit for obvious reasons – the costume is basically a leotard, after all.  Lilacwire sent me a link to Spandex World, which offered me a great opportunity: to get swatches!  Spandex World provides up to ten (it says 12 on the website, but I kept getting batches of 10) FREE swatches!  That really gave us the chance to review our options in texture and color without the commitment of several yards. Their swatches of stretch moleskin turned out to be exactly what we wanted.  Moleskin is a heavyweight fabric that is matte – not shiny!  It also has a 4 way stretch (stretching across the grain and up and down), and was just what we were looking for.

The only falter was an unavailable orange in moleskin, so we replaced that with milliskin; similar in texture to the moleskin, slightly lighter weight, which was fine for the skirt.  They were quick to notify me on the order and we got it taken care of in no time!  Thanks, Spandex World!

This week we complete the costumes and next will be the debut!  Stay tuned!