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.

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.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Anime North 2014 Con Journal

Man I am super late in posting this!  Things have been crazy since my last post!  I have also been very lazy :P  So to make up for it I am going to post like mad this month to cover everything that has happened in the past couple of months, starting with my first con journal of the year!  Here it goes!

Friday

·         My friends and I left Montreal early Friday morning to head to Toronto
·         We stopped in Kingston for breakfast
·         We ran into some rain on the way and hoped that by the time we got to Toronto it would clear up
·         Got to the congress center two hours before the con opened and managed to get our badges in a timely manner
·         Went to check in at the hotel and I changed into Mokona Modoki
·         We attended the armouring panel and learned how to shape metal sheets into curved forms
·         I left after the first panel to go meet up with a friend, who I never managed to meet up with
·         Masquerade registration was open so I got in line for it figuring that I wouldn’t be able to get to the con early enough to register for it Saturday morning
·         I got to meet some awesome cosplayers while in line
·         I didn’t have my music on me so I promised the masquerade staff that I would bring it to them first thing in the morning
·         On my way to the dealers room I bumped into one of the guy from my group and we decided to eat something
·         Afterwards we wandered the dealers room and artists alley
·         We took quite a few pictures of cosplayers
·         I got a lift back to the hotel early while the rest of my group went to the rave

Saturday

·         I woke up super early and got back into Mokona for the morning and carefully packed Mew Zakuro into my boyfriend’s bag
·         I got the hotel to order a taxi for me and got to chat with a cute Dutch couple about cosplay (apparently their son cosplays back home!)
·         I got stuck in traffic which resulted in a very pricey taxi ride (it took double the time!)
·         As the masquerade staff asked me to bring them my audio asap I went to the registration desk first
·         After handing in my music, I wandered around a bit and took more cosplay pics!
·         At noon there was a CLAMP photo shoot, Mokona had lots of fun!
·         I met up with my friends after the shoot and ate with them before heading into the dealers room
·         I found Worbla but managed to resist buying it
·         They had a cosplay changing area in the dealers room which was awesome because changing in a bathroom stall is not fun
·         Walking around the con I discovered that the top I had made was slightly too small and that the snaps were not strong enough to keep it up if I breathed too deeply
·         I managed to discover a way to keep my top from falling (without relying solely on safety pins)!
·         Before I had to go to the green room I took a little nap on the grass while my friends hung out with other cosplayers
·         I woke up with a little sunburn L
·         Anime North organizes their masquerade with all the entries in order so I was assigned a den with other novices
·         Once all my judging, audio, and photos were completed I started to wander the other dens and talk to some other cosplayers
·         I was one of the earlier entries and I completely improvised my walk on
·         I found that once people went on stage, they didn’t stay to hang out but rather left to go do other things
·         I got to meet some really cool cosplayers!  My den dad was also pretty chill
·         After the masquerade (none of my friends watched my performance L ) I met up with my boyfriend and got something to eat
·         I decided to try and stay up with my friends but I was so exhausted that I ended up having to make them bring me back to the hotel

Sunday

·         As we had to check out of the hotel, we all got up at the same time and packed our things
·         I had two things to do on my agenda: attend the Ghibli photo shoot at noon as Sheeta and go to the masquerade award ceremony
·         My friend and I barely arrived at the shoot on time but I was one of the first on site; nobody seemed to know where it was exactly
·         The location wasn’t the greatest as we had large power lines overhead but we still had fun J
·         After the shoot I attended the ceremonies (alone, again) and it turns out that I was awarded an Honourable Mention for tailoring in the novice division!
·         I met up with my group for one last tour of the dealers room and I finally caved and bought a roll of extra-large Worbla
·         We were sad when we had to leave the con L We decided that we would have a nice large dinner all together before heading back to Montreal

Overall Anime North was an amazing, super fun experience.  It was the con that I wandered around alone the most and at times I rather liked it!  I hope that I can go back again next year!

Monday, 10 March 2014

White Rabbit

"I'm late!  I'm late!  For a very important date!  No time to say hello, goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!"

I managed to convince one of my friends to cosplay as the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland and I promised him that I would be his white rabbit :)  I didn't want to cosplay as Alice because I donèt really like her outfit from the cartoon and her outfits in the latest film are just plain crazy!  I mean, I would love to do one of those but I don't have the time or money to go off on a crazy fabric shopping adventure to find the right fabrics!  I had also decided that the white rabbit would be a half closet cosplay for me as I had come up with an original design for it which would be cheap and easy for me to make.

Recently I saw an artwork depicting Alice and I fell in love with her costume!  I will eventually do that version of her.

Conception:

I wanted to make my rabbit costume a little odd and punky (steampunky that is!).  The accessories and the costume bits are not supposed to match, rather they are supposed to make a jumbled, unfashionable mess!  I had played with a few versions of the white rabbit and I still haven't decided what it is going to look like in the end.  I guess it will be a surprise even for me!  Spontaneity is awesome!

Construction:

Leotard - The leotard was relatively simple to make.  I used the same pattern as I used for Sailor Jupiter.  I altered it so that there wasn't a hip line seam.  I used leftover material from the Jupiter as well.  I did not realize that I had enough fabric to make another leotard!  I messed up my seams by using a pointed sewing needle (I forgot to change it).  I was wondering why all my seams were puckering and it was because of my needle :S The elastics around the hips and shoulder are quite snug but the neckline is way too loose.  I think I will redo the neckline and add an elastic to it instead of the facing.

Sewing the neck facing
  

Waistcoat - The pattern for the waist coat was hand drafted by wrapping myself in saran wrap and tape, then drawing the pattern and cutting it off.  The pieces were laid flat on some paper to trace the pattern.  I added some ease and seam allowances as well as some extra width in the front for the buttons.  The tail patterns were improvised using the width in the back as the only measurement.  I used a red satin for the lining and a black matte sateen for the outside.

The waistcoat was sewn together with the right sides together (lining and outside).  I ended up having to slip stitch in the armholes.  The buttons were hand sewn and the button holes were done by machine.  I didn't really like how it turned out but it was my first time trying to do something like this.  Next time I will have to add in some shaping features like darts or princess seams.

Skirt - I bought a pleated white skirt at Hot Topic while visiting Toronto last fall.  It was super cute and I figured that I would get to wear it during the summer.  Once I started working on the white rabbit I figured that I could also use the skirt for the cosplay!

Work in progress

Ears and Tail - 

Pocket Watch and Chain - 

Top Hat - 

Socks - The socks are knee length socks that were bought at Hot Topic.

Shoes - I already own a pair of black pumps so I'm going to use those in this cosplay.

Gloves - I am going to re-use my Mokona gloves for this cosplay!  (I don't feel like making them)

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Cosplay/Con Plans for 2014

This year is going to be fun if I can get everything I want done in time!  I have a good number of cosplays that I plan to make and a decent number of cons to attend.  I don't know if I'll get to do everything I want to do.  School has to come first and when summer comes around my job will take over my life (and I need a job if I want to fund future projects).  This list might be a bit ambitious but I will give it my best shot!

I would really love to attend Costume Con as it is in Toronto this year and its super cheap for students!  I haven't booked anything yet however as it is scheduled in April which is my final exam month.  I have to wait until the exam schedule comes out before I decide if I can attend it.  Anime North is a for sure con on my list!  I have yet to book the ticket but I am pretty sure that I'm going.  Of course I will also be attending my local cons, Otakuthon and Montreal Comic Con.  If I can attend other cons I will go but I doubt that it will happen.

Last year I started working on Sheeta (Castle in the Sky) so I guess I will finish it this year and wear it to one or two cons.  I started working on Mew Zakuro (Tokyo Mew Mew) which I am planning on competing in.  I managed to convince a friend of mine to cosplay as the Cheshire cat while I will cosplay the white rabbit (Alice in Wonderland) so I started working on that as well.  Sakura's shadow costume (Cardcaptor Sakura) is another project that I would love to make and enter a masquerade in.  Shunki (Saiunkoku Monogatari) and Sakura's cherry blossom kimono (Tsubasa Spring Thunder Chronicles) are plans for winter cons such as G-Anime (which I missed this year).  I would also love to finally finish Padme!

Mmmmm seven cosplays for this year?  Let's see if I can do this!  Bring on the thread! :P

Monday, 20 January 2014

Mew Zakuro

When I was watching Tokyo Mew Mew I decided that I had to cosplay one of the characters.  I chose to cosplay Zakuro because she is the mysterious one who as more wisdom that the other girls and is fierce at the same time.  I also really liked her design.  I decided to go with her transformed costume because I wanted to make the ears and the tail to get some experience working with fake fur.

Construction:

Shorts - Zakuro's shorts have an interesting design to them.  Instead of a normal pair of shorts, they have princess seams.  This meant that I would need a custom pattern.  I started out by getting my boyfriend to wrap me up in saran wrap, then taping over that, then marking off the seam lines and then cutting myself out of the plastic wrapping.  The plastic wrap still held the shape of my body even when it was removed.  To draft the actual pattern, I flattened each piece on a sheet of paper and traced around it.  I added my seam allowance and some ease.  I used a seam allowance of 1.5 cm and a design ease of 1.25 cm per seam in the crotch area.  The ease that I added around the hips was very minimal.

Pattern Drafting
Once all the pieces were drawn out I noticed that the left leg was different from the right leg.  I decided that since both legs were supposed to be the same design that I would discard the pattern for the left leg and just use the right leg pattern for both sides.  I ended up with a front center panel, a front side panel, a back side panel and a back center panel.  I made up a draft using some cheap leftover material to check the size and the lines of the shorts.  I edited the pattern to level out the bottom line of the shorts and raise the waist line in the back.

Final Shorts Pattern
The shorts are made out of a purple poplin fabric and they are fully lined. I took both pieces and altered them so that they fit to my curves better.  This meant that I had to take in the seam allowance a bit more in certain places, particularly in the back.  Sewing the lining and the outside together was an interesting exercise.  I followed the tutorial that can be found in the references link.  Once the lining and the outside were joined by the bottom hems, I added in the invisible zipper.  It was my first time inserting such a zipper and I did it without a special foot!  I just used the normal zipper foot.  For a glimpse at the tutorials I consulted, again they can be found in below.

Atached Zipper
Closed zipper
Once the zipper was attached, I drafted the pattern for the waist band.  It ended up being a little too thin for my liking but it still works.  The seams lines don't all line up because I didn't make the same adjustments for the waistband as I did for the shorts (I forgot >_>).  Once the waist band was sewn on I added some snaps in the back to close it up.  Yay!  My first pair of shorts, and the best part is that I can actually wear them as normal clothes!

Front View
Back view
Top - The top was drafted in the same way as the shorts.  I wrapped the saran wrap and the tape around myself (it was really hard!) and drew on the lines marking the pattern by looking in my mirror.  The top consists of sixteen different pieces, eight for the bodice part and eight for the under bust band.  I used the same amount of seam allowance as the shorts but changed my ease measurements.  I only added 0.2 cm to each measurement for the ease.  Of course when I actually made the first layer it was too large around the waist.  I had to alter it to fit and then changed the pattern so that my outer layer would match it.  I made sure that I had enough fabric to overlap in the back as I was using snaps to fasten it.

The piping used a thick cord and some white fluffy molleton.  I slip stitched it in between the two layers of the top.  The top is quite tight and stays up nicely.  I have to be super careful not to bend down too low as the snaps will un-snap.  I'm thinking of getting some topstick to use as a precaution.  It's super tight now but that doesn't mean it won't slip at the con!

Boot covers - 

Arm/leg bands - 

Choker - 

Wig - 

Ears & tail - 

Magical item - 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Thermoplastic Experiments!

My boyfriend and I acquired some Worbla and some Wonderflex a while ago.  We only recently had time to start working with them.  We started out with some Worbla samples that Kamui gave out at her panel at Montreal Comic Con.  I wanted to make Sheeta's belt buckle out of a thermoplastic.  I figured that something that small could be made out of minimal material and it would be easy to shape.  At first we thought the buckle was flat but after looking at many reference picture we determined that it was rounded.

I cut out a circle of craft foam and trimmed it to fit within the small rectangular samples.  My boyfriend heated the plastic and sandwiched the craft  foam in between.  Once it was hard again I attempted cutting it out.  I accidentally cut too close to the edge so we had to reheat the Worbla, reattach the cut off part and then cut it out again.  We then molded it into a hemisphere by heating it up and shaping it around a tennis ball.

Re-molded Worbla
As my boyfriend cosplayed the Shredder in the past I figured that we should upgrade his armour.  I drafted the pattern for the arm guards and the spikes.  The patterns were traced onto the craft foam and then cut out.  The Wonderflex was really curled when I took it out of the box so I had to use some heavy items to hold it down while I worked with it.  The craft foam was placed on the Wonderflex and I cut two pieces leaving some working space around the shape.

As the pieces were still curved, I had to use the heat gun to flatten them out first.  Once they had
cooled I sandwiched the craft foam between the pieces and molded them together with the heat gun.  The first time I did this I got air bubbles!  I tried to re-mold it but I ruined the Wonderflex.  I had used the wrong sides to heat together so it just tore apart.  Needless to say that I learned from that mistake and the second time around I had no trouble at all :)

Cut out arm guard base
Now I just have to figure out how to attach the spikes to the arm guards, among many other things :P

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Ottawa Pop Expo 2013 Photo Shoot

Ottawa Pop Expo is the smallest con that I have ever been to.  I must say that even though there wasn't much stuff to do in regards to panels, there was a lot of room to walk around in and thus a lot of room to take pictures!  I only went the Saturday (Dec 7) cosplaying as Vana :)  My friend, Lambert Le was acting as my personal photographer that day.  He got some really awesome shots that I want to share with you guys!  I also participated in the masquerade so I will eventually be getting those pictures as well.  I guess I'll make a different post when those come in.  Anyways, here are the pics!

This first one really shows makeup on my eyes.  This was my first time doing something a little over the top for Vana in regards to makeup.

First Snow
I was so excited when I saw Detailed-Illusion's costume of Thranduil!  I was following his work closely up until the con and for a brief amount of time it looked like he wouldn't be able to finish it.  I'm so glad he was able to get it done in time!  He took home the best in show prize so a big congratulations to him!

Vana and Thranduil
I wanted a picture of my spinning.  I had to be careful to not hit anybody with my long dangling sleeves.  The shadow is a bit weird in this picture but I really like how all the fabric is flowing.

Spinning
This one is just a plain full length shot of the costume.  The sun was a little bit too bright so my eyes look kind of weird.

Walking on Snow
This one is one of my two favourites from the bunch.  I just love how I'm positioned in this photo.  I love having massively full skirts that can pool around me while I'm kneeling/sitting.

Winter's Touch
My absolute favourite!!  I like that I'm slightly off center, I feel that it makes the picture more interesting.  I had shown Lambert an article the day before about portrait shooting and I think he was keeping that in mind when he shot this.  Riddle was caught in the background of this picture.  I decided not to crop it out because I think it's amusing.

Nature Lover