Tuesday, November 11, 2008

:<

Hello,

Just wanted to pop in a quick entry to say that I'm not dead or anything. I haven't been working on anything cosplay-related recently because I can't find a job and, therefore, can't fund making costumes. It's too bad, really, because I have so much time on my hands... >_>

Guess I'll be working on those tutorials I keep saying will be up and then aren't. Sorry about that, by the way.

Hopefully something will happen soon, ne?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Guess where I am... . _.

I probably won't be posting updates for a couple weeks. I thought I would be able to before I left for Japan, but it just didn't happen... too much packing and planning.

If you're interested, I am updating a blog about my daily activities while I'm here. It can be found here.

I'll be back near the end of the month. Hope everyone's costumes are going well! ^_^

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's all over, for now

So it's been a while, and all that time has been full of obsessive costume making and attending of cons large and small. It's all over now, so we've reached the exhale part of the month.

I won't go into any details in this short post... but you will probably be seeing many posts from me over the next few weeks, starting this weekend. I'll have some how tos, con reports, costume reports, and the like.

In the mean time, I hope that anyone who went to Connecticon or Otakon had a great time, as I know I did. Can't wait to look at all the thousands and thousands of photos... :D

For now, you can enjoy this... probably the best thing at the Otakon 2008 masquerade, although the video doesn't really do it justice.

"Flute Link" at Otakon 2008:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pokemon costume progress

My sister's wedding is over, so I've finally had time to get back to costumes and putting up my portfolio site, which I just finished today (finally!).

I've been working on my Gijinka costume. I decided on Gabite. Here's what I've got so far:



I still have to sew the sleeves on the shirt, and put fasteners on the shirt and skirt.

This was my first time making a "proper" collar. I did my best, but it didn't turn out that great. It's passable, though. It's one of those things that I would only redo if I found myself with a bunch of spare time before the con (read: not gonna happen) but I won't be too disappointed if I don't.

For the skirt, I used a pattern I had from high school. The skirt is simple with a waistband, and isn't too full. I modified the pattern by (1) making it shorter, and (2) making the skirt even less full, though only slightly. I just folded on of the pattern pieces down to about half its width, effectively removing about a foot of fullness.

Instead of installing a zipper, I elected to leave a slit and close the skirt using velcro. I wanted more flexibility to adjust the waist size so the shirt would sty tucked in and lay flat. I also just wanted something that was just fast and easy to sew and to use. I left the slit where the zipper would have been installed, then folded under and finished the edges.

On a side note, I keep all of my patterns in their own plastic bag, which I label with the pattern brand, number, and sizes. Then I can keep everything organized without having to worry about fitting the pattern pieces back into the little envelope. :<

If you're planning on modifying a pattern, read the directions for the pattern first, especially if you aren't very familiar with garment construction. It will teach you more about the way clothes are put together, and can save you a lot of time and trouble. You can see what pieces are unnecessary and, therefore, you don't have to waste fabric cutting out. You can also look ahead to see what steps are skippable and what steps are a good idea that you may not have thought of.

I hope everyone else's costumes are going well!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pokemon Gijinka

So this whole Pokemon Gijinka thing seems to be pretty popular nowadays... about as popular as Gurren Lagann cosplay is right now, it seems. This is a costume someone designs for a person to look like or at least exude the essence of the Pokemon.

Personally, I am completely into it; I love love Pokemon, and I don't love fur suits. :<

Also, I am interested in fashion and costume design, and the ways artists are translating pokemon into interesting costumes for males and females is really interesting and inspiring.

I'm planning on doing one of these designs if I manage to get myself over to Connecticon this year. Depending on how much time I have, I'll be doing one of these three:


Gabite: Probably the most time consuming/complicated of these, but its a cool Pokemon.


Azumarill: Cute Pokemon, cute costume... it would probably take second longest of the three.


Drifloon: My favourite Pokemon (really), and a simple costume to do.

I downloaded all the designs in a .rar file that was posted on 4chan in /cgl/... however, I believe they came from this site (it's in Japanese... but if you look for the links on the left that are numbered 1-50, etc, you should be able to see them easily). Other artists make these as well; however, this seems to be the most widely known and used.

What do you think about this trend? Or the Gurren Lagann trend? What cosplay trends are you into or would you like to see?

I can't wait to go to Otakon this year and see what costumes are there.

Also, Zabuza's Sword step-by-step instructions are almost complete... should be posted soon.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Still Alive

I'm still here. I haven't given up. Do not worry.

I just finished college, and finals were all up ons my time. I am graduating tomorrow... can't wait to go home this summer and work on some costumes!

I've also been putting together a few step-by-step guides to creating some things. I've gotten emails about my Tachibana Izumi goggles, so that will probably be the first one up, followed by Zabuza's sword. Please leave a comment or send me an email if you have any suggestions about guides I should be making, or other issues you'd like to see addressed!

And, thanks for reading my blog. I think it's going to be a good year! ^_^

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Anime Boston AMV List

I found a thread at the big bad AMV site of all the AMVs shown at Anime Boston 2008, complete with links to each individual page, where you can download a high quality movie if you sign up for the site (free, fast, painless... I did it). It shows who won each award and provides some basic info.

Anime Boston 2008 AMVs



Hope you enjoy looking at these! I think "Unbreakable" is really great. I haven't seen many of the anime featured in it, but now I want to! Also, it's makes me all happy inside to watch it.

Also, make sure you check out Dead Fantasy I and Dead Fantasy II... they're awesome.

AB Aftermath

Well, Anime Boston has come and gone, and I've had to integrate myself back into the real world.

It's a sad time for everyone.

I had a lot of fun at AB this year, although perhaps not as much as I had expected. I can't really put my finger on the exact reason for it, but I think part of it had to do with being unable to attend all the panels I was interested in, with the exception of the Doujinshi Culture panel, which was very good.

As far as cosplay goes, I would say it was a success. I loved wearing both of my costumes, and a lot of people took photos of me and my friends. I even got a ticket for the judge's hall contest... too bad you need three to get a prize ribbon. Oh, well. Maybe next year I'll hang out in the hallways posing more often. :3

Mike's Ashitaka costume turned out great, if I do say so myself. My boyfriend helped out (time crunch, don't be too shocked) by wrapping the sword handle and making the sheath. Mike showed up with his own bow.

The Pillows put on a really great show on Saturday, despite the concert itself being very far behind schedule (reason I missed one of my panels ._.). It was kind of ridiculous how long we were kept waiting, and that they didn't even start letting people in until 3, which is when the concert was supposed to start. This was bad planning. I enjoyed watching Luv & Response as well... can't go wrong with choreographed dances. They were too r&b for my taste, though. I'm more of a straight pop fan in that category.

Anyway.

I heard about... and saw a little of... the astronomically long registration lines. To anyone who had to wait in that melee, I feel really bad about it. It couldn't have been fun, and I'm sure you missed things you wanted to do. On behalf of everyone, I hope - and pretty much expect and demand - that AB gets it right next year. Six computers to register tens of thousands of people is unacceptable.

I saw many good costumes at the convention, but as I'm still having camera issues, didn't get to take many photos. I'll have to rely on my friends' few pictures to show some of the costumes.

For now, here are some pictures I've gathered off the internet and my friends of all of us in our various costumes. The photo above is me as Gwendolyn from Odin Sphere (her formal outfit), which I wore to the formal ball on Friday and just walking around Sunday.


[Left] Me as Suigintou. [Right] My boyfriend as Phoenix Wright (plus glasses), with a Mia and Maya we bumped into at the Pru.


[Left] Mike as Zabuza from Naruto. After a year, the sword needs some touching up, but it still looked pretty damn cool. [Right] Mike (the other Mike) as Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cosplay Material Links

I get excited when I find a new source of materials or information for cosplay, so here is a short list of some that I've found recently.

Reynold's Advanced Materials - These guys just opened up a store in the Boston area, which I plan on checking out. They have basically everything you would ever need to cast anything. If you live near a store, they also have classes.

Simply Spray Fabric Paint - The website isn't so great, but I'm trying to focus on the product. I found out about this through a cosplay forum. A girl used it to paint an intricate plaid pattern on a dress, and it looked great. It doesn't get stiff or anything, and goes on like spraypaint. You can buy it in stores... I just saw some in Joanns recently.

Volara Foam, Conductive Foam - These foams are supposedly alternatives to "fun foam" or craft foam for forming armour. Apparently they respond well to heated shaping and are pretty durable. One is closed cell and the other appears to be open celled. I was recommended these materials by others who have used it.

Friendly Plastic Pellets - This is an alternative resource for Friendly Plastic pellets, which might be a little less expensive than cosplaysupplies.com.

Electrique Boutique - This isn't for construction, but this place has a large assortment of different shoes that might be useful, and their prices are good. You can get a pair of boots for about $25, brand new, which is good in my book.

Hope you guys can find these links useful. ^_^

AB Prep Day 2

Hello there.

Earlier today I finished Ashitaka's hood. Sorry, I know I look... not good. heh. I traced a hood on my WoW hoodie for a general idea of the shape and size of the hood. I brought it over the forehead a little more and made the top more pointed, then cut it out and sewed it together. I made two of these exact hoods, one in red and one in brown (for the lining... the red fabric has a bit of an open weave). Then I used trial and error, putting it on to check the shape. I ended up making the top shorter. Sometimes trial and error is the best way to go.

Right now I'm working on my ball gown. I finally got the top fitted to me properly, which is extremely important for strapless dresses. Now I am working on pinning on the colours. I finished and gathered the top edge of my blue fabric and am in the process of pinning it on, which is what you see in the picture. That's why it looks weird.

I ran into a problem with Ashitaka's pants. I won't go into details, but needless to say it came down to a shortage of fabric... even someone as skinny as Mike wouldn't fit into these. We're going to try to substitute some premade pants for the sake of time, either a pair of Mike's or one that I will go purchase. Sometimes, when there is a simple component to a costume, it is more worth your time and money to just buy it and add it to the pieces you made yourself. That way, they won't detract from all your hard work.

I've been trying to take more step-by-step photos, but I've been having a problem with my camera's batteries running out for no reason, and then I have to recharge them. Since the con's only a few days away, I can't stop working to wait for the camera. So, sorry. ._.

I'm going to post some links to cosplay supply websites that I've found lately. Next post!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ashitaka's Comin Along

Mike's Ashitaka costume is coming along nicely. Last night, I created the sleeve part that goes underneath the whole thing.



At this moment, I'm working on the robe. It's almost done! It just needs sleeves.



Sleeves are one of the hardest things to make, especially if you aren't using a pattern. Robe sleeves are pretty easy because they're baggy and easy to hide any flaws in. At this point, I'm okay at sleeves. I start by making cylinders, which either taper toward the wrist or don't depending on the design, and then I cut an angle at the top unfinished end.

I'm going to do a sleeve tutorial some time soon.

I have a few more things on the check list for today, so I'm off. I hope if you're going to AB that your preparations are going well! Leave a comment and maybe I'll see you there!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Preparing for a Con

Anime Boston is a week away!
Yay!
I'll be blogging all this week, showing pictures of my projects and giving you some idea of my timeline. I try not to have costumes to make right before the con, but that hasn't happened yet, and I have one to make for my friend in addition to finishing my own.

The first step is to make a big fat list. I wrote down each costume and underneath each put what I had to do, in specific tasks. If a task had multiple steps, I wrote those in. If you gloss over things, you will think you have more time than you do. Seriously.

Tomorrow I'm going to make a rough timeline to give myself some deadlines. I'll have to squeeze in some schoolwork, too!

The second step was rearranging my room to accommodate the amount of cosplay stuff that's in it. I live in a single dorm room, and it's reasonably sized for a person who doesn't sew or do cosplay as a hobby. I have crinolines hanging on the walls, bags on the walls... everything on the walls! All I have is vertical space. Use what you have.

I have a lot of materials and supplies, and everything gets organized into separate bags by costumes. Fabric is kept separately from paint, wood, etc. and in ziplocs (to keep out dust) instead of grocery bags.

3M hooks are great for this kind of thing. You can put up tons of them, hang everything your little heart desires, and then take them down after the con!

I'll be posting some photos of the sword making process this week, as well.

I finished up my client's dress. It was a bitch to make, for some reason, stupid things just kept going wrong. It happens. There was a problem when she got it, too, but we figured out how to fix it :D and she has been very nice the entire time. I can't wait to see how she creates the rest of her Urd costume.

Well, off to work on costumes...!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Costumes; More Sword Changes

As is typical, the idea and process for creating the Suigintou sword has changed yet again.

I spent hours with my dad (definitely a two-person job) creating a blade out of foam to cover in plastic, and it was just not working out. We got stuck trying to make the difficult angles in the blade, and worried how the plastic would adhere if we couldn't get the foam perfectly smooth. It was all blowing up and we were at a standstill for a while.

I finally came the conclusion that I should just make the blade out of wood/MDF and deal with the consequences should there be any. That way, the sword would look the way I wanted it to. I will take it to Anime Boston and hope no one thinks it's dangerous (it certainly will not be). If they do, I'll just leave it at security, pick it up at the end of the day, and go on without it. But at least I will have a sword the way I want it to look for other cons and photo shoots. That seemed more important, in the end, than a particular cons potential rules, particularly when I'm not being entered in any formal competitions.

In the realm of more costumes... MORE COSTUMES. I will be making myself another costume for Anime Boston to wear to the formal ball, which will be Gwendolyn's ball gown from Odin Sphere. I bought all the fabric for it this weekend and I'm really excited about it.

I also bought fabric for my friend Mike's costume, who will be going to AB as Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke. It's a pretty simple costume, which are some of the most fun to do, because every detail is important. I got great fabric for the hood and burlap to make him some shoe covers. He's (supposedly) taking care of his own sword and (maybe) bow.

I'll be working on 4 costumes - the two mentioned above, Suigintou, and the Urd commission - over the next month leading up to AB. Spring break is definitely my friend this year (first week of march). I'll be posting all kinds of photos over the coming weeks, including of sword construction.

This is the fun part!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The First Official Client

Thanks to the magic of Facebook, I have a cosplay client. She's a very nice college student who was looking to have a part of her costume done by commission.

She's going as Urd from Ah! My Goddess, and I'll be making the dress part of the costume. She came over last week to drop off supplies, meet me, and get measured. She's very nice!

I still have some mixed feelings about costume commissions overall, and I'm wondering how others feel about it. On one hand, I love love LOVE cosplay and making costumes, so any chance to make a great costume is fantastic. On the other hand, I can't help but feel like I want credit for my work, and when someone else wears the costume, it's hard to say if the credit is correctly placed. I also really like the idea of people making their own costumes. However, I realize many people don't have access to resources or have skills such as sewing. I am very fortunate to have these things.

I think costume commissions are good, if the client knows not to take credit for the costume's construction, and if they aren't mass(ish)-produced throw-it-on-ebay-in-5-sizes kind of thing. Custom costumes for a specific person is something I might be able to get into, particularly for boys, since I am not one of those. I was very proud of costumes I've made for my friends, so it shouldn't be different for other people.

If you have any thoughts on the matter, add a comment. I'm curious to know how others feel about commissions, etc.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Slow progress...

Well, I did get SOME things done over the holiday. The sword is about 1/3 of the way done. I don't have any photos yet, but I should have some when the process is a bit further along. It's just as well, so that you can see where it's all going.

After much planning and discussion, the original plan was sort of thrown out, or at least modified. No more "sandwich". Now, the main part of the handle has been made out of a baseball bat, and the wings were cut out of MDF (medium density fiberboard; available at any home improvement place). I put wooden dowels into the foam for the blade for structure and support, and the bottom end of the dowel will be put through the handle several inches.

The next steps are to carve and cover the blade, and dremel the design into the wing section. I will do those some time in the next several weeks, when I have access to the tools and space at home again.

I also spent about 2 hours simply detangling the wig. What an annoying process. When I next work on the sword, I'll work on the styling of the wig more as well. I got a curling iron with adjustable temperature which I'm hoping will help solve the problems I've been having with it.

In Gwendolyn and general construction news, I FINALLY got a shipment of Wonderflex in the mail, and will be playing with it this weekend with my heatgun. I'll also be experimenting with various combinations of craft foam, polystyrene, hot glue, and the heat gun to see what comes from it. I'll post my results next week.

If you are looking for Wonderflex, I got mine from Mainstage Theatre Supply, where I got a full sheet for around $30 shipped, MUCH cheaper than cosplaysupply.com's $70ish dollar charge for a sheet. (EDIT: I have reason to suspect that Mainstage, while nice people, do not have a website that is as secure as it should be for credit cards. Please use caution when using your card over the internet. I recommend trying to phone in your order and/or paying with a different method.) I will probably still end up ordering Friendly Plastic from them, though, unless I find it somewhere else. I'm thinking about ordering some Fosshape as well... but more on that another time.