30 December 2016

2016: A Year in Review

At long last this horrid year has finally come to a close despite all the crappy things it has put us through! Unfortunately I didn't accomplish as much as I had wanted to, and most of the things I did do I'm not completely happy with, but I thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on all the new projects I worked on this year and the new skills I learned along the way.

The first few months of this year were pretty slow-going. In January I actually got a lot of work done on Kyoko Sakura's jacket from the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

Unfortunately what I made turned out to be waaayy too small and I had to re-do everything. Currently the jacket sits in my room half-done. This project has been ongoing for the past two years and yet I still haven't managed to finish it! Finishing this will definitely be one of my big goals for the new year!

At the beginning of March I finally had the opportunity to properly shoot my Nonon costume at a super small local con with one of my best friends. (Photo creds to Guiness Cosplay!) I'm very satisfied with these photos and I think at this point I am perfectly okay with retiring that costume and possibly selling it to a new home.

I spent a lot of time working on my unidolized Magician Umi Sonoda costume from Love Live for Anime Boston at the end of March. I completed it in time, but many parts were rushed and I am overall very unsatisfied with the outcome. I plan on remaking the jacket at some point, as the original one that I made is nowhere close to the quality or shape that I would like it to be.

After that disappointment, I finally got started on what was arguably my best work of the year, which would be my Ladybug costume! Though it's a pretty simple design, I had a ridiculous amount of fun making her, and I also got to learn a bunch of new wig techniques! Check out my in depth construction write-up of this costume over here.

(Photography by Chris Goss)

Around the same time as Ladybug, I made a steampunk version of Buttercup from the popular Powerpuff Girls. (Original design by Buttlesworth!) Though I like how the robot hand came out (made from craft foam, Worbla, and googly eyes!), I'm not exactly excited about how the whole costume turned out. I didn't sew anything for this, just pulled some matching clothes from the closet (as well as my Big Sister boots!).  I wore this with a group to Connecticon in July, but unfortunately we still have yet to get photos back!

Also for Connecticon in July, my friends and I did a casual Punk inspired fashion group of the girls from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Though none of us actually made anything for this group, it was a ton of fun.

At some point in the year it hit me that I had yet to do a costume from my favorite video game of all time: The Legend of Zelda. At the time I was very motivated to do some version of Link, so I started out with making his infamous sword: The Master Sword. Unfortunately, I didn't get much further on that project than completing the sword (that'll have to be a project for this coming year!), but I did manage to make the sword into something I can say I'm quite proud of. A full write-up of this prop can be found here.

Early on I decided I wanted to make Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens for Halloween. and by early on, I mean August. Though not all details for this costume are included (I plan to add them later this year), I really like what I came up with in only two days! (Did I mention I also wore her to a super small meet up in august?) I still need to weather everything as well as make shoes and get a wig, but I like what I've got so far!

For my all time favorite con, Another Anime Con in October, my best friend and I decided to enter the masquerade with a skit and one of our dream costumes from one of our favorite animes: Ouran High School Host Club. Though the outfits were pretty simple, they came out pretty well and we even ended up winning a judge's award! Construction notes on my Haruhi costume can be found here.

(Photography by Chris Goss)

For AAC in October, I also cosplayed Pidge from the new Voltron remake! This costume was super easy and fun to make, but it was a bit too simple to justify a post of its own! (It was just a lot of color blocking!) I had a stupid amount of fun wearing this along with my friend who was dressed as Hunk!

That about settles it for 2016 projects! Like I mentioned before, I'm not overall pleased with my projects from this year, but I'm determined to do better in this new year!

30 November 2016

Haruhi Fujioka - Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club is one of my favorite anime series of all time. If you haven't seen it, it's a humorous show about a girl who breaks an expensive vase and has to join the school's Host Club under guise as a boy in order to pay for the vase. It's truly a wonderful show with characters that are over the top in a likable way. However, I'm not here to preach about how wonderful a show Ouran is.

Since I first discovered the show back in middle school, I have wanted to cosplay Haruhi, the main character, and this year that dream is finally coming true! One of my closest friends and I decided that we would make the outfits from the final episode for the masquerade at this year's Another Anime Con!

I decided to try draping this time around when it came to drafting the bodice.

This method proved to be very useful for me, as when I made the mock-up from the pattern, very little adjustments had to be made!

From there I was able to start cutting into my nice fabric! The base white fabric is a polyester blend with a nice weight that makes it drape beautifully. I bought a sheer ivory material to use as an overlay to give the fabric more of a dressy, expensive look.

I assembled the bodice using french seams.

Unfortunately, my local Joann's did not carry bias tape in the exact color I wanted, so I decided to bite the bullet and make my own using a cotton broadcloth that matched the sheer ivory fabric.

Bias tape was then bound over all the raw edges of the bodice. For the cleanest possible results, I machine stitched the outside and hand-stitched the inside to avoid any visible stitching.

I really wanted to make the insides as clean as I possible, so I bound the raw arm-scythes with bias tape in the same method I used for the details on the outside!

For the sleeves, I took the measurements of my bicep circumference as well as the length that I wanted the sleeve to be. I drafted a standard sleeve pattern, then cut and spread the pattern to add the volume that I wanted!

Unfortunately, I have no progress photos of the skirt, but what I did was cut a rectangle the length I wanted the skirt to be, then gathered the top and hemmed the bottom. I realized later that I should have bought much more fabric so that I could have made the skirt much larger than it turned out to be. My skirt having the same width at the top and the bottom caused there to be more volume at the waist than at the bottom of the skirt, which was the opposite of what I had in mind. Amateur mistake!

I used my own hair for this costume since my current haircut is very similar to that of Haruhi's.

Watch our skit here! We won a judge's award!

Photography by Chris Goss. Tamaki is Guiness Cosplay.

29 September 2016

Ladybug Photos! - Connecticon

School has slowed my progress crafting wise, so unfortunately I don't have much to post here as of late. I think for times like this is perfect for showing off the photos of my finished costumes!

Back in July when I debuted Ladybug at ConnectiCon I had a photoshoot with Chris Goss, which resulted in these wonderful photos!

I climbed a fence for this one!

I really love these photos; they make me love the costume even more!

19 September 2016

Angel Stocking Anarchy - 2015

This should be the last of my 2015 backlog posts! (Yay!) So from here on out you can expect more current projects with (hopefully) much more progress photos!

I'm actually just starting college now, so I apologize if things get slow on this end. I'll try to update weekly as much as possible with current projects, but on weeks when I am too swamped with schoolwork to get anything done, hopefully I'll still make a photo post or something. But anyways, on to the fun part!

In late 2014 my friend proposed to me that we do Panty and Stocking's angel versions (from the anime Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt) for the masquerade at a con that would take place a year later. We didn't start them until August that year, with the con being in October, and our skit was a mess due to people dropping at the last minute, but we did manage to snag Best Novice Craftsmanship!

I've actually been quite hesitant to write up this project. As much as I like it, I don't feel I documented it very well while making it and I'm afraid some parts may be hard to explain. With that said, if anything I say is vague or just doesn't make sense, please feel free to shoot me a message asking for clarification!

I first drafted the dress by making a rectangular tube for the top and a circle skirt for the bottom. I tried on and adjusted the mock-up before transferring the patterns onto white cotton sateen. The gray pieces are a grey casa satin I found at JoAnn's.

NOTE: The bows on the skirt were made suuuper last minute the night before the con, so they are very hastily made from hot-glue. I still need to go back an remake these, so please excuse the messiness!

The stripe in the skirt was added by making the circle skirt into a three part pattern that consisted of the top white section, the middle blue section, and the bottom white section.

(excuse the wrinkles!)

The stripes on the bodice were top-stitched in place.

The heart details were made by painting plastic heart ornaments. (I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby. Each heart had two halves, so I was able to use just three for both my Panty and I)

I took the halves of the hearts and coated the insides with Mod Podge before sprinkling glitter into them. Once that was dry, I added acrylic paint in the proper colors.

I made sure to do all of this work from the inside so that the nice shiny plastic finish on the outside of the hearts would remain intact. Here's a close up of one of the finished hearts!

For the corset, I used the same pattern I made for Big Sister, but I adjusted the shape of it to be more accurate for stocking. I used the underside of the grey satin that I used for the straps and top band, as I felt that the matte side fit better for this portion of the costume.

I then sewed the boning channels and began to add details!

For the front detailing, I cut out a rectangle the size that I wanted this section to be. I then hand tacked ribbon down to create the lattice pattern. I hand ruffled two short strips of cotton sateen, which I sewed onto the long sides of the rectangle. The entire thing was then top-stitched onto the corset itself.

The corset is finished off with another silver band on the top, and a row of ruffles on the bottom. Grommets were added to the back edges for easy lace-up!

For the stockings, I couldn't find a knit in blue that matched all the other blues on the costume, so I decided to dye them! Fortunately Dylon's China Blue perfectly matched all of my other fabrics!

I bought a bunch of white cotton knit to make the stockings. I cut the amount I had in half and dyed it. This was my first time dying fabric, and I was very nervous, but I'm glad to say it came out flawlessly.

The rest was easy-peasy! All I had to do was cut a bunch of 3 in wide strips from both fabrics, sew them together, and adjust them to be the right size! I do highly suggest either buying sock glue, or sewing them to dance tights as they like to fall down...a lot.

 As for the rest of the costume, the wig was purchased on eBay. The arm socks were made of spandex and the same silver fabric that I used on the corset and dress. The collar was also made with this fabric, but with the addition of ruffled lace. It ties behind my neck. My bangles and shoes were stuff I already had hanging around, and my wings are cut out of 5mm craft foam. The hair bow, like the bows on the dress, was haphazardly made the night before the con and needs to be revisited. I wear a petticoat from Leg Avenue underneath the dress for extra floof.

Overall I like how this costume came out, despite the fact that a few bits need some upgrading. Unfortunately I have yet to do a photoshoot for Stocking; that will have to be a goal for next spring (or indoors in winter?).

Thank you so much for reading, and stay tuned for how I made Stocking's Sword and Panty's gun!

Top Photo by Chris Goss. That bottom one is a candid backround shot that shows off the costume pretty well!