Thursday, January 22, 2015

Potential Projects for 2015

Definitely Making:
Asuka Langley Soryu (Neon Genesis Evangelion): Cos' it's 2015 and Third impact is due, so why not? I like Asuka. She's awful, but so much more relatable to me than Shinji. This costume will be difficult to make. I've never worked with this much spandex, but hopefully things will work out.
Female Titan (Attack on Titan): Actually did most of the work in 2014, but the legs are much too pink. I need to repaint them :( Also, I need some proper facepaint for this one.
Sakizou's Juliette: I was fortunate enough to find affordable velvet (albeit stretch velvet), so no excuses, I'm making it. I'm going to adapt a Regency costume pattern for this one.
Natsuki (Summer Wars): Hopefully I'll be going to Eurofurrence. I don't really want to wear a fursuit, so this seems like a good compromise. I also like Natsuki's character, and the striking design of her Oz Avatar

Astrid from (How to Train Your Dragon 2): Astrid is fantastic, and one of my favourite characters. I love the design, and I have a weakness for fur.

Captain Amelia (Treasure Planet): Love that coat. Yes, I'm that shallow. Though Amelia is a great character.
Xena from (Xena Warrior Princess): Xena's another fantastic character. She's only on the maybe list because I'm not sure if I can make the armour.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Summary of 2014 Projects

Better late than never, eh?

Non-costume Projects: I think black and grey was a theme this year
Aristocrat Dress: Kind of a disappointment. It's too long, and not very flattering. It would look better on someone taller for sure. The skirt sure if ruffly, though
Hooded Dress: Very pleased with this one. I had to take it in over and over again, but it fits snugly. This dress is now for sale: 
Black Gothic dress: urgh, I should have put a side zip in, and made the waist smaller. Also, the grommets all split. 
House Stark Bag: Made this for a private client on etsy who still hasn't got back to me. If anyone wants it, let me know. 

Two Twenties inspired dresses (now sold). The beaded dress was a labour of love. I spent at least 24 hours in total beading the darn thing. The satin dress on the right was also a challenge. The material frays easily, and slips all over the place.

Bring on the costumes
Daenerys "Khaleesi": Simple to make. I followed Threadbanger's tutorial. I used a sack-cloth type material for the top, loin-cloth, and overskirt, a thin suede-like material for the belt, and made the belts from craft foam and card. I think if I made another Daenerys costume I will tint this wig blonde: it's just too white. Sold.
Retro Catwoman: Didn't actually wear this costume because it's was too revealing. Sold.
Bombshell Harley Quinn: I altered a lot of pieces for this, and used up all the jersey in my scrap box. It's a cute costume and I love it.
Fionna the Human: Another costume where I bought and altered the clothes. I made the bag (gave to a friend), hat, and socks (a bit loose on me)

Rat Queen: I am so proud of this one. i made just about everything. I've never made a corset with a busk, and this was mostly successful. The busk is a bit tricky to close because the cloth on the knob side is a bit too thick.
Sailor Mars: Remade this costume because the Sailor Moon voice cast visited Malta Expo. Very popular costume. It was interesting working with lycra. I would love a serger though, because it's difficult to move knit material through the sewing machine. I had to sandwich the pieces between lengths of tissue paper to get it through the machine. Sold.
 Madame Vastra: Another costume where I made most of the pieces. Won a prize with this one :) Now for sale in my etsy shop:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lady Loki: Walkthrough

The main reasons I made this costume:
1. I love Loki
2. There's a bunch of fabric that I needed to use up. Below is a picture o this green silk that I have. It's a bit stained, but I think that works for Lady Loki. I also had some whitish fur scraps and gold satin.

The first and simplest step was making the fur collar. i made a paper template and fiddled with it until it look right, then cut out the fur pieces and sewed them together. I made a mistake when cutting the fur by using a rotary cutter. It sliced through the hairs and now the back of the collar looks very choppy. I need to try evening it up.
Next came the bustier. This is a Burda style pattern. The lining is gabardine, and I used an old tablecloth to add structure to the bust. The bones are plastic. The outer layer is green silk.
For extra glamour, i added gold bias tape and laced the bustier closed with gold eyelets and cord. The fur collar is attached to the bustier with hooks and eyes. I forgot to take pictures, but there's also a loin cloth with this costume, also made of green silk and gold satin. I need to alter it so that it's adjustable.

 Finally, the armour. I kept it simple: just a helm and bracers. The helm is foam, wire, cloth, paper mache, and a bit of polymer clay on the horns. There's a wire structure in the craft foam to help it fit my face. There's also wire and foam in the horns.
There's also wire in the bracers. I thought they would be able to hold their own shape, but I was worried that they would fall off. I added eyelets and ribbon to help hold them on.

This costume was also meant to include a cape, but I got lazy.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Malta Comic Con 2014

So Malta Comic Con's over. That's the last local convention for 2014. I'd say the (very short) convention season ended on a good note, at least in terms of cosplay. The turnout was excellent, and the quality of the costumes was fantastic in general. 

The contest was also much better organised. The judging criteria were much clearer:
Audience impact was a little hard to gauge, because everyone applauded each cosplayer, but the other criteria wee very clear. The judges also asked us questions about our costumes, and gave us a chance to explain exactly what we made, altered, or bought. I think we lost a few points for not completely sewing all of Jenny Flint's costume, not making our own prosthetic, and using cheap plastic swords - my sword was particularly flimsy, and actually fell to pieces on stage. Darn cheap plastic katana.

I think my favourites that day were Lady Thor, the Bioshock Infinite couple, and Annie from League of Legends.

  I've been planning to enter as Madame Vastra with my friend as Jenny Flint for a year now, and we finally debuted our costumes. I think we look pretty darn good. 
 The makeup took about 90 minutes to apply, and I was amazed how well it turned out. Another friend applied most of it for me. I don't think I could have done it without her. The prosthetic is stuck down with spirit gum and blended with liquid latex. Once everything was dry she covered it with green face paint and added details with more paint and some eye shadow.

Because I was so busy with the makeup, and only got to St James Cavalier at noon, I didn't see very much of the con. I had a look around the tables and chatted with various artists and creators. Got myself a copy of Pilot: Mythology, and very nice Tank Girl t-shirt too. I also tried out a demo game: The Adventures of Scottie. It was made by some friends of mine, and it looks like a lot of fun.

We came third in the costume contest (Group Pose category), and I don't mind too much, considering how good the second and first place competitors were. First place were a fantastic Bioshock Infinite couple, and second place were a Magi couple. So many couples this year :)

 I didn't attend the second day of Malta Comic Con, partly because my Female Titan costume is nowhere near ready, and partly because I had other commitments. Oh well, maybe next year. I'm already thinking of all the costumes I could create :) . . . 
Photographs were taken by the talented Sven Farrugia:
He took some amazing photos of the cosplay contest and of cosplayers at the convention

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Malta Comics Expo 2014

Yeah, I'm a week late with this con report. It was a 3 day long convention, starting 31st October and ending 2nd November. I didn't get much sleep, was rushed off my feet while simultaneously waiting ages for things to happen. I'm not going to do a detailed summary of the Expo. I recommend reading this blog: the guy writes it better than I can: 

I will say that the pre-party was quite fun, but it took a while for me to start chatting because I didn't know many people there. On the other hand, by the end of the evening my friend and I managed to teach some of the Sailor Moon voice actors Maltese swear words :) The crowning achievement of my life, ladies and gentlemen.

 For the first day I wore my new Sailor Mars costume: totally redone. It looks great except for the skirt, which needed a good ironing. The gloves were also a bit fiddly because I had to take them off if I wanted to read.
I got to Valletta very early in the day in order to find parking. So I was there at 7am and was very lucky to find parking near the MCC. I killed time by walking around Valletta and read my Animal Ethics book (this is one of my favourite subjects - it's so interesting).

Then I had a mad rush to get my table set up. They put all the cosplay related tables together, so I had an amazing makeup artist on one side and a fantastic prop maker on the other. These guys are incredibly talented (the makeup artist took first place in the group cosplay contest, and it was a well deserved victory).

One thing the Expo needs to work on is organisation and allocation of tasks, because I get the impression that everything was in the hands of a few people, so things were a bit chaotic. On the first day there were no printed schedules so no one knew what time or where things were happening. Some panels were cancelled, or very few people turned up to the existing panels because the PA system didn't extend down to the artist alley. I was moderating the Sailor Moon panel on both Friday and Sunday, and the audience on both days was tiny - and I don't think it's because people aren't interested in Sailor Moon.
Having said that, I had a real blast at the Sailor Moon panels. The cast members were all so funny and interesting to listen to, and have a great group dynamic. They really didn't need me moderating - they would have been fine on their own. It was really interesting to hear them talk about their work. There are a lot of great clips from the panel on Youtube, which I'll link below

It was also a really good day in terms of sales. I sold all my Adventure Time hats! Score for me! I actually did quite well that weekend. I sold some flower crowns too, but only one steampunk necklace. I made enough that I could go for sushi on Friday night.

For the second day I wore Bombshell Harley Quinn and Rat Queen.

Harley was a popular costume that day: there were about 4 Harleys in total, and all different variations. There was me, this pirate Harley, Arkham City Harley, and classic Harley. There were a lot of great cosplayers: I saw an amazing Elizabeth Comstock, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Jack Sparrow, Umbridge (A Very Potter Sequel), Korra, Assassin's Creed and more. The turnout for my panel was low: only 4 people, and my slide show didn't work, so I just showed them my laptop screen.

Interestingly, only two people knew the Rat Queen, and neither of them were Maltese. One of them was Arkham City Harley (you looked so amazing as Harley!). I had to keep explaining Rat Queen and Emilie Autumn, which can be quite tricky: I mean, where do you begin? 

Off topic, but I had an amazing vegetarian burger on Saturday, made from mushrooms. SO GOOD.
The third day was an exclusive Rat Queen day. I was originally going to wear Vastra, but I just didn't have the energy. I felt pretty tired that day, and wearing the corset didn't help. The choker also felt tight, even though I could fit two fingers between it and my neck quite comfortably. I think the corset was on a little tight. I got a lot of compliments on this costume, even from guests. Thanks so much to Jennifer Cihi, the Sailor Moon voice cast, and others who were so nice about my cosplay.

I entered the cosplay contest, but didn't win. The winner made this amazing Diablo costume with Worbla armour. I think she definitely deserved to win, because the armour looked fantastic.

Before I wrap up, I'd just like to thank all my friends who helped to look after my table, and the organisers who managed to organise such a huge event. There were issues which do need to be sorted out, but I think it was quite a successful first con, and hopefully these issues can be smoothed out in the future. 
Much thanks also to Capture Me Photography for these incredible photos. Check out their facebook page 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gothic Satin and Velvet Skirt and Bustier

I always wanted to try my hand at a gothic dress. I was partly inspired by doxiequeen1's gothic dress: , and I also had some nice fabric I wanted to use. I bought a satin dress from 50c in a charity shop. It had a gorgeous pattern, something like a brocade material would have. I looked on the internet for inspiration, and decided to make a satin skirt, and a satin and velvet bustier. Originally this was going to be a one piece dress, but I thought two pieces would be more versatile. Unfortunately the bodice doesn't fit me very well: it's just a bit too loose; so I'm selling the outfit on etsy: 
Here are all the bodice pieces. I used two layers: fashion fabric, and twill as a strength layer. Corset type tops need a strength layer due to the stress of being laced shut. Without the strength layer they can rip. 

The first step was assembling the bodice. This is based on a Burdastyle pattern. I pinned everything together carefully and sewed it. I then added boning channels using scraps of cloth: you can see the channels in the picture on the right.

Once the strength layer was ready, I started on the fashion layer. The central panel is satin with interfacing, and the rest is velvet. I was very lucky because I already had all the fabric that I needed. I had a piece of black velvet left over from Harley Quinn, and it was just big enough for this bodice.
My cat Pearl (it's the name he came with; I wanted to call him Othello but he wasn't interested) came in to help. I try to keep him out of the room when I'm sewing in case he swallows thread or gets pricked by a needle. It's surprisingly common for cats to swallow needles, thread or both.
 The final stage was adding grommets to the back. I use grommet pliers to set them. they're not as good quality as hammered grommets, but they do look nice.
The skirt was a little tricky to make. I didn't have very much fabric to work with. I could have been lazy and made a gathered skirt, but I knew that a circle skirt would have a nice drape. I found this amazing website that helps you calculate the radius of your circle skirt and how much fabric you'll need: . I drafted a half circle skirt in two pieces. I made the front shorter than the back, added some side gores for volume, and then added the curve in the front.
The rest of the process was quite boring. I sewed everything together and also sewed bias tape along the bottom, then hemmed it. I made a very simple gathered skirt to act as a lining. Finally I added a waistband and zip.