Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Rosie Cotton

This cosplay came out of no where in the two days leading up to Montreal Comic Con 2014.  I was originally going to finish all the Legend of Zelda costumes that my group and I planned to debut at the con but alas time was not on my side and I could not finish in time.  I really wanted to make something for the con so I gathered all my spare materials and decided that I had enough to make a hobbit dress.  Since it was a blue dress, I decided that it would be a Rosie Cotton cosplay!


Dress - The dress was made using Simplicity's 1771 pattern.  This entire dress only cost me less than five dollars to make.  I was given all of the fabric that I used and even the zipper!  I only had to buy ribbon and elastic for this costume.  The main fabric for the skirt and bodice was a blue gingham cotton, the front bodice panel was a blue floral cotton and the sleeves and ruffles were made from a white satin.  Those ruffles took me forever to make even as the satin didn't want to budget and I broke one of the gathering threads early on.  This is a super easy costume to wear!  I hope to make some invisible shoes for next time so that I can waltz around "barefoot" and still be protected (somewhat).

Completed costume

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Sakura Kinomoto

How could I not cosplay Sakura?  Cardcaptors was my favourite show as a kid and I used to run around my house with an old broom handle which I pretended was her staff, a grey pleated skirt and a matching grey hat which I pretended was her school outfit.  There are just so many costumes to choose from so I decided to go with a costume from one of my favourite episodes of the anime... just to start (because of course I plan to make more CCS cosplays).  I ended up choosing her outfit from the shadow card episode!


Leotard - The leotard was made using a four way stretch, blue lycra, with more stretch across the grain.  I used  the Green Pepper "Crystal Lake" Skating Pattern with sleeves as a base, modifed the neckline to be a mandarin collar and added an invisiblie zipper along the back seam.  I didn't reinforce the collar as I wanted to keep the stretch in the material.

Waistcoat - Since the waistcoat had gold piping along princess seams and incorporated a tail coat, I decided to take one of my princess dress patterns and modified it heavily to give me the pattern for the waist coat.  Originally I was going to finish the seams with french seams but soon determined that a lining would give the fabric better stability (I used cheap poplin) and a better look overall (no blue colour showing through the white waistcoat).  The gold piping was made using gold bias tape and a thick cord as the base while the trim all along the bottom edged was just bias tape.  The waistcoat opens in front via two long strips of velcro.  I hand sewed the velcro to the lining.

Waiscoat construction
Cape - The cape is a 3/4 circle cloak but since I had a budget to look out for I opted for a half circle cloak.  It also has two mandarin collars which was a puzzle to figure out.  The pattern for the cape was made using a half circle for the main body folded in half.  The petals were drawn on the quarter circle and cut out so that both sides matched up.  The neckline was made large on the main cape.  The neckline was reinforced with a piece of red fabric that had a smaller neckline, thus solving the two collar situation.

First mandarin collar
The length of each neckline was measured and the mandarin collars were made based on each measurement.  Sewing the collars together was rather tricky but I managed to work in out in the end.  The hem for the cape is a simple rolled hem.  The bow was made separate from the cape.  It is attached by passing a fabric band through the bow knot.  The cape is removed by opening the band (yay for velcro).

Gloves - Like all my other gloves, I made these from a pattern that I drafted myself, modifying it to match with the stretch of the fabric.  I used a rather weird spandex/lycra material as the ribs in the fabric feel stiff when stretched out.  I had to hand sew all the fingers and even fix up some holes that popped up the entire first day I wore them :S  The cuffs were stuffed with spare ponti di roma fabric I had lying around.  The ponti di roma was layered and sewn together to give it the nice smooth look all around the cuff.  As the inserts aren't fixed to the outer fabric they tend to move around a lot when washed which means that I have to adjust them all the time.

Glove construction
Hat - This was my first time making a hat!  I found a beret pattern online and used that as the base for the hat.  I exagerated the proportions to make the hat seem bigger than my head.  The long dangling pieces were made using leftover blue lycra and gold painted craftfoam for the pendants on the ends.  They were sewn into the hat band.  The hatband turned out to be too small for my head plus the wig so it has to be pinned in with barrettes.

Wig - I had bought a wig off of thinking that it was the prefect colour for Sakura.  It turned out to be too blond.  Originally I was going to work with it but as the deadline came closer I decided that I would attempt to dye it a darker shade to match the character better.  I tried so many ways of dyeing it and the only way it would take colour was by putting four brown sharpies in a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol.  I now know that I should use a ton of sharpies to dye a wig using the method I was using.  Next time I might try and just soak the wig in the solution instead of spraying it on.

Dyeing the wig
Styling the wig
Once it dried completely I cut and styled the wig.  I teased the hair and combed untouched wefts over the bangs to make them fluffy.  To get them to stay up I coated them in got2b glued hairspray, which is the best hairspray I have ever come across!  To get the antennas I took some hair at the top of the wig and used a small clear elastic to make a tiny ponytail.  I separated in into two parts and sprayed them until they stayed in place.

Socks - I cheated and made legwarmers instead of having to deal with the whole foot thing.  I used three measurements in total, the length of the leg warmer, my ankle measurement and my thigh measurement.  I made two tubes and added elastic to both the top and bottom hems.  The elastic doesn't keep them from falling through so I ended up having to use fashion tape to keep them up.

Shoes - To get the same design that Sakura has on her shoes, I drew out the pattern and painted it with red acrylic paint.  Unfortunately the red paint has started to come off on the rubber sole part of the shoe so that will need to be touched up again.

Staff - The staff was the most time consuming part of the whole costume.  I used a one inch wooden dowel rob for the staff part and sculpted the head part out of a large foam ball, a smaller foam ball cut in two and a foam cone.  The beak was fun to carve because I had to transfer a two dimensional shape to a three dimensional shape.  It was very rewarding when I finally came up with the proper look!

Staff base
The foam acted as a base for the worbla.  I heated the worbla in pieces and molded it to the head carfully as the foam started to melt as soon as I touched it!  This made the final product lumpy and bumpy but I don't mind.  It was my first time using worbla and my first large prop and I think it looks pretty good.  Next time though I will use papier mache instead of a thermoplastic when foam is used as my base!

Basic painting
The bottom part of the staff was made by sculpting scrap pieces of worbla.  The worbla parts were then primed using a white glue.  I painted five or six layers of the white glue and then painted two layers of gesso over that before giving it the actual paint job.  The painting itself took some more layers depending on the colour used.  Finally the whole thing had to be sprayed with a protective layer which I applied three times.  The wings were made out of craftfoam and hot glued very carefully to the head to finish it up.

Completed costume

Bakuretsu Con 2014 Journal

Bakuretsucon is a small town convention located in Colchester, Vermont.  Even though the con was pretty tiny (it was held in a small hotel where some of the events were held in hotel rooms) the people were all super friendly and the atmosphere was really cozy.  I went with my boyfriend and our friend Bandit Spurs, deciding the very last minute that we would stay Friday night in Colchester at a local hotel to be in the area for Saturday.  Due to some unexpected delays, we only arrived in Colchester at 4 am!  We checked into the hotel (which was a super cute, super cheap Hollywood themed place) and crashed.  Four hours later, Bandits and I went to get breakfast before getting into our costumes for the day.

I was dressed as Sheik for the day while Bandit's was Princess Zelda.  It was so much fun walking around the con as a pair!  We got to interact with each other and be silly as our characters.  We even got some professional photos taken of us!  I can't wait for those to be uploaded so I can share them with everyone :D  We got some awesome shots from that shoot!

Bandits and I entered in the masquerade as separate entries and we experienced pre-judging for the first time.  Each of us were given a time slot where we would meet with all the judges at once.  During my pre-judging it was discovered that my right thigh armour was rapping on the inside.  I was forced to undo the faster that caused the craft foam to rip so that further damage could be prevented.  I am going to have to find a way to fix it for the future (I will most likely superglue the craft foam in place).  I also forgot to bring printed out references of my costume so I ended up having to show them pics on my phone.

Right before leaving Montreal I came up with a really great performance idea.  I choose to go the "totally-out-of-character" route.  My entry was titled "Miss Hyrule" and for my walk-on I did a catwalk type of thing to "Sexy Back".  If you wish to see the performance and laugh at the MC's comments then click here.  Bandits went for a very elegant and princess-like walk-on and that performance can be found here.  After the masquerade entries finished, the AMV winners were shown to the audience (the judges deliberated during this intermission).

Those AMV's were freaking awesome!  Some of them were really well done!  My favourite one was made to look like an upcoming feature film.  The masquerade award ceremony was held right after (which was awesome as we were only staying for one day).  Bandits won the award for Best Advanced Craftsmanship and I won the award for the Best Advanced Walk-On :D  We were handed certificates as well as handmade bomb candles (which I will never light lol).

We decided to stay a bit longer as there was a charity auction with some interesting items for sale.  I bid on a Magic Knight Rayearth DVD set but I didn't win it.  I didn't have enough money and I wasn't about to pay more than $20 for it.  During the auction we found a Link and a Malon and took some pictures together :D

I would definitely go back again, maybe as a panelist and for more than one day next time!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Halloween and Quinte Mini Con Journal

Ever since MCC ended my cosplay progress has been put on hold.  Halloween came up super quickly and I managed to put together a pretty awesome costume in only two days!  I decided that I would be a wind up doll.  I used my Mokona dress as the base for the costume, made a cardboard key that was held in place with a sash and wore my unstyled white wig that I bought for Delphine :)  The makeup for this costume took me two hours (with minimal help).  Everyone thought I was Annabelle from the film that just came out.  I hope to get a decent photo shoot of it before I have to style the wig, it was a really cool costume but I was unable to get any pictures of it :(

Just this past Saturday I attended Quinte Mini Con with my boyfriend and two other friends.  I won free tickets to the con due to winning Best in Show at Coticon so I figured that I might as well use them!  We arrived at the con in the early afternoon and decided to go sign up for the masquerade before getting into our costumes.  We got there only to discover that the masquerade sign up hadn't started yet so we went back to the car and occupied some large washrooms for a good portion of an hour :P  it took me about twenty five minutes to get suited up as Sheik and I was already wearing some of the layers.

We had to do some last minute cosplay repairs which we did in the hallway.  Luckily my friends brought a hot glue gun which I used to fix something that had just broken during the bathroom break.  Once our costumes were repaired and set, we started out by wandering the dealers room.  There were a variety of artists and dealers which was pretty cool to see.  We signed up for the masquerade eventually and I got bombarded by Sheik love.  I had so many people ask for hugs it was kind of ridiculous :P

So I was all ready to sign up for the Journeyman category for the masquerade when I was informed that I was in fact an Artisan after winning Best in Show at CoTicon.  That kind of threw me out of the water and of course since it was a small con I was most probably the only one in my class.  I entered as an Artisan anyways and went on with my day.  We attended a few panels, one of which was a cosplay Q&A where funny stories where shared and another which was a voice actor who related stories about his experiences.  Our evening was taken up by the masquerade where we hung out with cosplayers in the green room and stressed over our presentations.  I feel like I didn't have a good performance this time but I am still pleased with the overall event.  I ended up winning Best in Class Artisan (with a gift certificate for Arda Wigs) and my friends won Best in Class Journeyman (with a crafting package).

Quinte Mini Con was a fun con to attend with friends and I would totally go again, next time for both days :)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Montreal Comic Con Journal

I was originally planning on finishing three costumes in two weeks (plus schoool) for Montreal Comic Con (Sept 12-14).  I was working on Twilight Princess Zelda for a friend, Twilight Princess Concept Art Sheik for myself and Ocarina of Time Link for my boyfriend.  I couldn't even complete one of those costumes in time, which was disappointing.  The con however was far from disappointing.

Friday:  My boyfriend and I arrived at MCC before the panels started.  The line for pre-registration was super short which was a plus :)  My boyfriend left right after getting his badge to go to a meeting.  I decided that I would get in line for Yaya's panel.  I was an hour early and I got to talk to some cosplayers who were also keen on attending the panel.  Because I was early I got to sit in the front and even managed to save a seat for my bf (whose meeting prevented him from arriving to the panel at all).  All the questions that people asked were interesting and useful and everyone thoroughly enjoyed all the answers.  I got to ask Yaya a question (which in itself is amazing that I was actually able to formulate a question) and she said that my cosplay was very cute :3

Right after the panel I went to get in line for Kamui's panel.  My bf managed to meet up with me while I was waiting in line.  This was the second panel of Kamui's that I saw and it did not disappoint!  Her English has improved a lot since last year and she is super funny!  I am very glad that I was able to listen to her lecture :)

Saturday:  The convention center was incredibly packed on the second day of the con!  I've never seen it filled with so many people!  Apparently the day passes sold out and there was a three hour line to get in!  I was very glad that I had a weekend pass.  It was a very cold and wet day and of course I had the brilliant idea of wearing Sakura Kinomoto.  It was fine for indoors but as soon as I had to leave, it was freaking cold!  I went to the con with my bf and a friend of mine (it was her first convention).  We attended the Billy Boyd and Stephen Amell Q&A's.  I was expecting to fangirl hard in Billy's panel but I managed to remain calm and collected, even when I went and asked him a question!  We actually had a bit of a conversation because he had no idea what my costume came from.  To top things off, he said that it was cute!  Eeeeeeeee :D

Between the two panels I got to meet Kamui and Monika Lee at their booths!  I splurged and bought all of Kamui's books right on the spot!  We took some pictures, her holding my clow staff and me holding her battle axe!!!  (OMG)  We went to see Monika Lee after and it turns out that she really liked my Sakura costume as well (I got lots of compliments at this con).  We browsed her prints and took photos with her.  Then it was off to Stephen's panel.  My friend whoc was with us got to ask him a question which completely made her day!  I am so happy she got to talk to him briefly as it was her first con and I was worried that she would be let down.

We ended the day by shopping in the dealer's room (I found my Kero!) and attending the masquerade.  The costumes were awesome but the MC's were a little inexperienced and were kind of awkward.  
Sunday:  I spent most of my morning finishing up my Rosie Cotton cosplay which I had started the day before the con.  We got to the con after lunch and mostly wandered the dealer's room.  When people asked me who I was, they often commented that I was too tall to be a hobbit.  I laughed it off but those comments kind of stung.  I realized that comic conventions have a slightly different culture when it comes to cosplay.  I didn't let it bother me though because I understood that those people didn't understand cosplay all too well.  I got to meet Yaya Han in person at her booth and bought one of her calenders.  I can't wait to post it on my wall and be inspired by her amazing costumes all year round!

All in all, MCC was an awesome con, I got to debut new costumes and meet awesome people and hang out with friends!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Chibi G-anime and Coticon Con Journal

This past summer I was able to attend two tiny cons within a reasonable driving distance.  Chibi G-anime was held in Gatineau and Coticon was held in Cornwall.  Despite the smallness of the cons, they were both very cute and boasted some pretty good cosplays.

Chibi G-Anime was held on July 26 2014.  The day started out with my boyfriend and I driving from Montreal to Gatineau.  Along the way he showed me a landscaping display put on by his municipality: it was a hobbit house!  I was dressed as Sheeta so I ended up having a mini photo shoot with the display before heading to the con.  We got there around 11 am and signed in.  The first half hour we spent wandering the hotel and getting to know the layout of the mini con.  I was quite displeased with the location, mostly because the hotel was weirdly shaped and caused a lot of awkward angles.  I didn't let the location ruin my day though.  There was a little courtyard with a beautiful ivy covered brick wall and lovely tall hedges which was the perfect place for a Laputa themed photo shoot.

We attended a few panels, one of which was all about Magi.  I went in thinking that the panel was going to be an analysis of the anime (the anime does bring up a lot of interesting and sensitive topics) but it ended up being an open discussion between the panelists and the audience.  I learned a few interesting things but my boyfriend who never read/saw Magi was bored.  We attended two other panels both hosted by Messy Mia, a Gatineau-Ottawa based cosplayer I met at Otakuthon 2013.  Her first panel was hosted in French and the topic was cosplay 101.  It was well presented and I was surprised that I understood everything without too much effort!  Her second panel was all about Clamp and unfortunately because it was at the end of the day there was no one in the panel except for us and her friends.  Again, my boyfriend wasn't really into it but I enjoyed the panel (I love Clamp)!

Coticon was held in Cornwall, a short 45 minute drive from Montreal.  It was the smallest con I have ever been to!  The whole convention was held in a few rooms and a hallway.  There were five or six booths, a cafeteria area, a panel room, a video game room and a screening area.  Even though it was super tiny (less than 200 people) it was pretty cozy.  The location was excellent for photo shoots and had lots of outside space.  They definitely have room to expand!  We were also able to mingle more with con goers as there were very few of us and we kept bumping into each other.

I was dressed as Sheeta for this con as well and I was quite surprised to see a couple other Studio Ghibli cosplayers!  We had our own mini photo shoot together :)  I even managed to convince some of them to enter in the masquerade last minute!  I of course was told I should enter by the con organizer so I did.  I ended up being the only person in my class and thus won by default.  I also won Best in Show which resulted me in winning two pairs of tickets to Quinte Mini Con 2014 and Frostcon 2015.

After the con ended a bunch of us went out to eat dinner together.  We had a really nice time hanging out together and got to know new people in the con circuit.  I look forward to the next post con hangout I might get to be part of!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Otakuthon 2014 Con Journal

I have three words to describe Otakuthon: Oh My God.  It was amazing!!  I had the most fun this past weekend at any con I’ve ever been too.  I didn’t get to do all that much in terms of panels, but I talked to some really awesome people, made new friends and felt 100% magical in my costumes.  Here is a brief rundown of each day.

Friday:  The day started out with me frantically styling my Sakura wig.  I woke up late and only started working on things around 1:30 ish.  I spent two hours working on the wig until I was satisfied with it.  In the meantime we determined that my apartment was not going to have water in the morning.  This made us look into booking a last minute hotel room for Friday night, which we managed to get!  I spent another couple of hours packing and getting everything ready.  My boyfriend came over with his stuff and we got a ride to the hotel with our friend.  We checked in, I got changed into Mew Zakuro and we headed to the con. 

We got there around 7 pm just in time to check out a few cosplays and head over to the World Cosplay Summit.  The show itself was a little short but the cosplays were awesome!  I was really looking forward to seeing Melting Mirror/Calamity Cosplay and Detailed Mess’ skits.  Personally I found some of the skits a little too wordy; I prefer to see flashy things.  We ended up staying up super late in the board game room playing Click-Clack Lumberjack (which was surprisingly amusing) and Dixit which was super cute.  Once everyone beside my roommates decided that they were leaving, my boyfriend and I went and did a little photo shoot of my Zakuro.

Saturday:  I woke up super early to get ready for masquerade registration.  Being the person I am I wanted to get into costume before heading to the con just to reduce the number of trips to and from the hotel.  I ironed my costume, showered, put everything on, packed and head out the door.  I got to the convention center and checked my weapon.  I was given the wrong directions to the masquerade registration line and I almost didn’t get in!  I was number 77 out of 80 in line.  And it was only 9:40 am!  The masquerade registration (from my understanding) was only supposed to open at 10:00 am!
Once I finally got through the registration line I walked around a bit and went into the dealer’s room.  I wanted to try and find a small Kero plushie to bring on stage with me.  Of course I never did find one but I did run into somebody who I was not expecting: Jesse from Midnight Armour!  I wasn’t keeping tabs on the guests because I’m not normally one who follows that kind of stuff so I was kind of surprised.  We talked and I showed him my first large prop I made (Sakura’s staff).  He wanted to know if it was light so I let him hold it.  He agreed with my statement of feeling 20% more magical J  I then determined that he was going to be a judge for the masquerade which I thought was awesome and scary at the same time!

After meeting Jesse I met up with my boyfriend and we went to attend Jesse’s panel, “Meet the Hero”.  It covered a lot of what the cosplayers had to face behind the scenes and how the show actually worked.  It turns out that the cosplayers were only told one or two weeks before the con that they were being flown out to a specific place and they had to make a costume for it.  So all that drama of being last minute in making costumes wasn’t their fault!  He also revealed some funny incidents involving a mechanical bull.  After the panel we went to a cheap Italian place to eat before rushing me to the green room space.

The green room at Otakuthon this year was so fun!  It made my weekend!  We walked in, had our dens assigned and our judge’s photos taken right away.  I was placed in den 12, entry number 72 alongside my friend Bandit Spurs.  We made friends with everyone in our den and even with people in different dens.  I got to meet Shushuwafflez who was wearing her gorgeous Queen Esther gown, Anniechie dressed as Maiden Zelda, Piratica in her Nonon cosplay and many others!  There were three craftsmanship judges, one of them being Detailled Illusion, and three performance judges which included Jesse from Midnight Armour.

Sometime before I was judged the food arrived.  I was distracted by food (they have good cookies!) and then even more distracted by a couple of guys who were cosplaying Ashura Ou and Yukito from the Tsubasa artbook.  I had never seen those cosplays done before so I decided to chill with them for a bit.  I apparently stayed too long away from my den at this point because my den mom came and scolded me, telling me to get back.  It was not going to be the last scolding that night.

Eventually the show got started and participants were able to show off their costumes and skits on stage.  Since den 12 was one of the last dens, we were in the green room with nowhere to go for a long time.  A few of the participants stayed in the green room to watch the rest of the show after they finished.  A few of my den mates and I went on a paparazzi spree to pass the time.

By the time our den was called to line up, I was starting to get the jitters.  When I get the jitters, I tend to bounce… a lot.  So I was trying to refrain from bouncing which resulted in me vibrating.  All along the line the girl behind me kept trying to calm me down.  I only became calm the moment before getting up on stage.  I had only a vague idea of what I was doing, namely that I had to pick up my staff and book off the stage and that I wanted the mood of my skit to be emotional.  Being on stage everything seemed to move in slow motion.  The music to me seemed like it was going too fast and I had to exit the stage a little bit before the music finished.  Heading back to the green room I was welcomed by my den exclaiming how beautiful my skit was.  Fors those curious, you can find my portion of the show at 8:15.

After the masquerade I met up with Henrickson for a private photo shoot, my very first one.  I was unsure of how to proceed with things and I was also pretty tired at this point.  I think things turned out well though, I’m looking forward to seeing the edited photos J After the shoot my boyfriend and I went up to the hotel room that we had booked as a large group (a different hotel).  We stayed up pretty late playing games and hanging out.

Sunday:  I had a very good complimentary breakfast Sunday morning.  The only thing that was missing was the bacon but they made up for it with chocolate brioches.  Since we didn’t have to check out of the hotel until 1 pm we headed out to the con early.  I wore Sakura as I had way too much fun being magical the day before (and I had decided that the white rabbit was going to be pushed back to another con).  My boyfriend and I attended a leather working panel for an hour before heading back to the hotel to check out.  The panel was pretty interesting and informative.  I asked a few questions, mentioning that I am a klutz and got told that maybe leather working wasn’t meant for me (jokingly of course).

We had to run to the hotel earlier than expected because we were given the wrong message regarding hotel check out.  Luckily we had packed up all our stuff before we left that morning so it was quick and efficient.  We check in our baggage and hurried off to the masquerade awards ceremony.  It was in a tiny panel room with people sitting on the floor and standing up along the back and sides of the room.  They announced the award for the World Cosplay Summit first and the team Detailed Mess won!  I am so happy and excited for them!  Bandit Spurs was late getting in and she missed them announce her award she won for craftsmanship!  I ended up winning the Most Touching Performance award!  It is official, Bandits and I are now Journeymen!  The awesome Tsubasa group also won an award… for best in class for craftsmanship!  Aww man, so many deserving cosplayers got recognized for their effort and work!  Congrats everyone!

After the ceremony was done, we spoke to Jesse lagers for a bit and asked him if he would be willing to take some photos with us (Bandits wanted at least one picture with a judge).  Detailed Mess unfortunately had to run to catch a train so we couldn’t talk to them.  Jesse was super fun to hang out with though and he even said that I had really good stage presence!  Looks like I know what my strong point is now!

We decided to wander the dealer’s room one last time before the con closed up.  I got a cat collar with a little bell on it J  We found one of the people who came to our room party in the artist alley and I supported her by getting two adorable digimon buttons!  We searched the entire room for prosthetic ears but in the end we didn’t find any.  Once everything closed up, Bandits headed back home and my boyfriend and I decided to go and take some pictures along the way to the hotel.  We got some really great shots of my Sakura cosplay!  It was a good way to end the con.