Sunday, 21 February 2016

My Cosplans for 2016!

The year is going by too fast!  It's almost March and I still have so many costumes to make!  :P


This year I decided to focus on making cosplays that are on my dream list!  I started out with making Yuuko as part of a Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles group for G-Anime.  I did not expect to ever cosplay Yuuko but here I am with her on my list for the year!

I have some ambitious plans that involve Irisiviel for this year; I want to make a cosplay music video where I would cover the second ending to Fate/Zero!  I am almost done memorizing the song, now I just need to figure out how I am going to shoot it!

Akari has been on my to-do list ever since I watched Hitsugi no Chaika a year ago.  She is definitely not my typical character to portray which will make it all the more fun to do!  I will hopefully get her done in time for Otakuthon this summer.

I love Magi and all the wonderful costumes!  I fell in love with Kougyoku's djinn equip design and I knew that I had to make it at some point.  Well that point will happen this year, and I might even get to have my boyfriend, Corey, join me as Judar!!

Captain Milk is from a really unknown anime called The Legend of the Legendary Heroes.  I mostly want to cosplay her because of her name, after all I do come from a dairy farm!  In all seriousness though, she is such a cute character and I think this will be a super comfy costume to have.

Hayate is yet another magical girl cosplay on my list!  I love magical girls so much, I need to make a new one every year!  I really want to try and tackle her design because it has everything; wings, props, armour, and sewing!

Bandit Spurs and I have decided to enter in the World Cosplay Summit Canadian Preliminaries.  Our costumes and skit idea are a secret for the time being but let me tell you, we are going for the win!  Wish us luck!

And who knows, maybe I'll even add other costumes to this list!

Cosplay Summary of 2015

Another great year has gone by and I have made leaps and bounds in terms of cosplay construction and performance!  I made a great variety of costumes this year not only for myself but for some of my friends as well!  Without further ado, here are my accomplishments!


First Attempts -

  • Vlogging
  • Video Tutorials
  • Audio Editing
  • Photo Editing
  • KATSUCON!!!  :D
  • Cosplay Panel
  • Cosplay Group
  • Crossplay
  • Hand Applique
  • Bought Costume
  • Glued Hairline
  • Self Painted Tattoo
  • Sewing Feathers
  • Sewing Beads
  • Clay Jewelry
  • French Maid Outfit
  • ARMOUR!
  • Sword
  • Seifuku


New Things Learned -

  • Cosplay groups are the best!  :D
  • Katsucon is amazing and I want to go back so badddddddd!!!
  • Hand applique takes a very, very long time
  • Crossplay can be so much fun
  • Vlogging is quite challenging!
  • Driving for fourteen hours to a con is not worth it, next time I'm going to fly
  • Working with feathers is a tedious process
  • Sewing beads is also tedious, though working with large beads are not so annoying
  • Keeping mock-ups are a great pattern resource for similar bodices/skirts/pants/etc
  • Ebay is a good and cheap wig source for costumes with simple wig styles
  • Mops are a great stage prop for funny skits... and for confusing con attendees
  • Traveling to cons with more than one room worth of people is the best experience!
  • Scheduled shoots at conventions are really fun and rewarding
  • Large armour makes walking through crowds difficult
  • Large armour also attracts lots of attention, especially when in a group with other large amoured cosplayers!
  • Curly wigs are so freaking adorable!
  • Giving a panel is more fun with friends :)
  • Under water shoots have very distinct challenges - such as keeping wigs on heads and preventing skirts from floating :P
  • Need to organize more out of cosplay evens with cosplay friends


Cheapest Cosplay - Mukaido Manaka

This cosplay only required a dress to be made and a wig so my costs were reduced by buying from ebay and fabric discount stores.  In total it cost me about $45 CAD.

Most Expensive Cosplay - Fuu Hououji

It's very understandable as to why this costume was the most expensive.  It involves armour, lots of fabric, and a giant sword.  While this costume is not complete (missing the sword), the price of it only lands in the $120 CAD range, which makes this cosplay not all that expensive.

Longest to Construct Cosplay - Fuu Hououji

Again, this makes a lot of sense in terms of cosplay construction time.  I worked on this one for 52 hours so far and the sword will probably add another 10 hours on top of that.  The most time consuming part was probably the painting of all the armour.  I had to paint many layers and of course there is drying time between each layer as well.

Quickest to Construct Cosplay - Mukaido Manaka

I made this costume super quickly before Halloween.  It took about 11 hours to make and is a great comfy costume to bring to faraway cons.

First Favourite Cosplay - Fuu Hououji

I really love wearing this costume, despite the huge armour that makes it hard to walk through crowds.  It's actually really comfy and doesn't take forever to get on and off.  Fuu was one of my dream cosplays and I'm so happy I got to make her!  Still working on that massive sword though!  xD

Second Favourite Cosplay - Maid Saber

Despite this costume being annoying in the form of making sure it doesn't tumble off my shoulders, it is a really fun costume to wear.  People had great reactions to it and I've made some really cool friends because I was wearing this costume.   I can't wait to make another Saber cosplay!

Third Favourite Cosplay - Howl

Crossplaying was surprisingly fun, I have to admit!  I loved portraying Howl's flirtatious character, especially in photos I took that involved girl characters.  His shirt was voluminous enough that I didn't need to bind my chest which helped a lot with the comfort levels.  Maybe one day I'll change things up and throw together a FemHowl :)

Favourite Commission - Twilight Princess Zelda

I spent so much time working on this costume and I had so many doubts about certain things but when I finally finished it, the whole costume looked spectacular!  I loved working on the armour and painting the tapestry.  I'm super happy with the final look and I know what I would change should I ever make this costume again!

Favourite Convention - Katsucon

Need I explain this?!  Katsucon was such a freaking blast!  It was the first time where we actually made friends at a con that we hung out with, went to party with and rode a mechanical bull with!  Not to all the awesome cosplays I saw!  I really want to go back again and next time I'll bring some really spectacular costumes as well!

Best Masquerade Performance - Hyrule Dreams

If you haven't seen this footage, please go and check it out.  The video speaks for itself :P

Biggest Cosplay Challenge - Working with Expanding Foam

I have never worked with expanding foam before and boy oh boy was I ever in for a ride!  I used it to form the super complex hilt for Hikaru's sword (pictured below).  Applying it was the easy part, getting it to the shape that I wanted, err not so much!  Not to mention that it was incredibly itchy when I was trying to form it over my lap!  Maybe next time I'll try working on a more simple shape with expanding foam :P


Fondest Cosplay Memory - Fate Gathering at Anime North

I was so nervous going to the Fate gathering!  I had just started getting into the fandom, I hadn't played any of the games and I had only seen the original Fate/Stay Night anime.  I shouldn't have worried though because I was warmly welcome by a bunch of fate cosplayers even before I got to the shoot location!  I had so much fun that I decided that I needed to make another Fate cosplay, just for that one event at AN in 2016, and perhaps for every other years after that!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Luke Skywalker

As everyone knows, The Force Awakens came out in theaters in the December 2015.  My youngest brother is a big fan of the whole franchise (under my guidance of course).  He approached me as soon as he discovered the date of release and told me that he wanted to dress up as a character to go see the film.  He decided on Luke, mostly because he has similar hair and so I made him the outfit from the Jedi Returns.  It actually makes for a very good Sith costume as well!

Construction:

Shirt - The shirt was simple to construct and consisted of one back panel, two front panels, the sleeves and the mandarin collar.  I altered a jedi tunic pattern so that the shirt's neckline was circular and it crossed over on front to button up on one side.

Vest - I used a ninja armour pattern for the vest.  The making of the vest wasn't all that exciting until I started placing it with the rest of the costume.  The vest stays in place with ties on the side and velcro fasteners on the shoulders.

Belt - The belt is a modified obi; the majority of the belt is comprised of the ties which are attached to the rounded ends of a rounded rectangle.  It ties by wrapping the rectangle around the waist and bringing the ties from the back to the front to make a knot.

Pants - I drafted the pants pattern myself using a pyjama pants tutorial that I have used countless time now.  I did make a mistake with the first pattern so I did have to re-make them once.  They are held up by an elastic at the waist and are loose throughout the leg.

Completed Costume

Ottawa Pop Expo 2015

Bandit Spurs, C-o-r-E, Tim and I trekked up to Ottawa Pop Expo on the Sunday just to check things out and of course it gave us cosplayers another excuse to dress up!  Tattered Tarten joined up with us for the day and hitched a ride back with us (he was there all weekend).  Bandit Spurs wore her recently completed Malon cosplay and I wore my re-vamped Howl cosplay.  We toured the dealers room for the majority of the time and took photos/videos of all the awesome cosplayers.  I got to flirt with a bunch of girl who wanted their photo taken with me.  I really went all out with Howl, taking on her personality and acting like a charming playboy.  It was weirdly empowering and great fun.

Hall Shot of Howl
We got to meet up with some Ottawa cosplay friends during our meanderings and had some fun chilling in the board game section.  At one point Bandits, Tattered Tartan and I headed outside grab some photos of each other.  We got some great shots and even some fanservicy crossover photos :D  While it wasn't a very eventful con, it was really fun to hang out with friends dressed up as fictional characters.

Mowlon :P

Quinte Mini Con 2015 Journal

I decided to attend Quinte Mini Con about a week before the actual con.  A couple of my cosplay friends, Tsuki no StarDust and SawakoMio had a free spot in their hotel so I joined them for the weekend.  In the end I had so much fun and I am so happy that I attended!  It is a pretty small con but the people are all so friendly and I got to hang out with cosplayers who are normally very busy at cons such as Detailled Illusion and Miss Messy Mia.  I made new friends and strengthened my friendship with older friends.

Photo Shoot in Hotel Lobby :P
The first day of the con, Saturday, started out with a super early morning pool shoot in our hotel.  StarDust and I took photos of each other's costumes by the pool and even in the water.  I was cosplaying as Manaka from Nagi no Asukara and StarDust was Haru from Free!  It was a huge learning experience!  Wigs would fall off, I would accidentally flashed StarDust (I was wearing booty shorts though so it was ok) and the actual pool was slightly cloudy which really affected the results of the photos.

Results From the Pool Shoot
The rest of the day I wore my Maid Saber cosplay.  I had a scheduled photo shoot with a photographer from Toronto and I participated in the masquerade that night.  The majority of the day was spent chilling with friends and being silly.  By the end of the day I was absolutely beat (being up since 5:30 am that morning) and I could hardly keep awake throughout dinner.  We stayed up talking about future cosplans until I really could not stay awake anymore.

My Masqeurade Performance
Sunday started out with checking out of the hotel and going down to the harbour to snap some photos before heading to the con.  The award ceremony was first on the con schedule for us and it resulted in me receiving my first official Master award (Best in Class)!  StarDust and SawakoMio had performed together and they won Best in Show :D  We left the con pretty late in the afternoon with lots of great memories.  I definitely want to go back again next week!

Manaka from Nagi no Asukara

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Mukaido Manaka

I wanted to try my hand at making a seifuku for a school girl so that I could have a comfy cosplay for lazy Sundays at cons.  I chose to make Manaka's costume as my first one because she is such a cute character and I totally adored the series!  I needed to show it some love, not to mention the costume was too cute to pass up!

Construction:

Dress - I started out with a simple dress pattern that consisted of a princess seamed bodice and a box pleated skirt.  I modified the dress to have knife pleats instead of box pleats and to have a V-neck.  The dress was made using a white fabric that was relatively heavy.  The blue strip along the bottom as well as the blue sailor collar was made out of a knit fabric.  The sailor collar was hand drafted and added to the dress before the lining for the bodice was sewn in.  The dress closes with an invisible zipper located in a side seam.

Sailor Collar
Socks - The socks took very little time to make, I just needed to paint the blue stripe along the top of the knee length white socks.

Painting the socks
Earrings - The earrings were made using white feathers and bobby pins.  I don't have my ear pierced so all the character earring I make use bobby pins to fix them to the wig behind the ear.

Wig - The wig was bought off of an eBay store.  Her hair was pretty simple to make, I only needed to trim the bangs.

Cut bangs
Shoes - I wanted to try and find some brown Mary Janes for this cosplay but I was cheap so I just used my brown flats that I bought for "bare-footed" characters.

Completed Costume

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Fuu

Fuu has been on my dream cosplay list since I saw Magic Knight Rayearth.  I loved her character and felt that I could relate to her.  One day last winter I decided that I needed to get a MKR group organized to showcase my love for it.  I managed to get my friend Jen to be Hikaru and my cosplay friend Bandit Spurs to be Umi.  We debuted our group at Otakuthon 2015 and it was a huge hit!  Turns out there is a lot of love for old anime!

Construction:

Top - I made Fuu's top using the same method that I used for Hikaru's.  It was a simple loose tube of white fabric with an elastic at the top and some excess fabric for the built in ruffle.  The long flowy panels were sewn onto the back of the top; there were four in total were made from a light chiffon.

Completed top
Cincher - I decided to make her cincher out of fabric and interfacing.  I used a "soft" corset pattern (no boning) and modified it slightly.  In hindsight I would not make the cincher out of fabric again as the edge where the eyelets had to go was so thick from the layers of material that I had to glue them in place.

Cincher with bias trim
Skirt - The skirt was made by taking circle skirt pattern and modifying it to have an eliptical shape, with the opening off center.  I cut into the hem to form the ragged edge and each edge was narrow hemmed.  A zipper and waistband was used to form the opening.

Skirt Pattern
Over Skirt - This was probably the easiest thing to make for this costume.  I took an old bed sheet, bleached it and used nearly the whole piece for the fabric of the over skirt.  It was sewn onto an elastic waist band leaving a six inch gap at the front to allow the skirt to poke through.  Hardly any hemming was required as I tried to maximize the use of the already finished hems from the bed sheet.

Armband - The armband was made by simply making a cylinder out of fabric larger than my forearm and adding an elastic hem at the wrist end.  The green ribbons were sewn onto the back of the armband.

Boot Covers - Since the source image didn't show what kind of boots she was wearing, I had to improvise what I thought would be on her legs and feet.  I settled on an asymmetric boot cover design where one boot cover extended slightly past her knee and the other hovered around ankle height,  Both boot covers were made using a slightly tampered cylinder of fabric of different lengths.  The taller one also had a green ribbon sewn into the top as an embellishment.

Armour - Most of the effort that went into this costume was focused on the armour portions.  The were ankle pieces and pauldrons, a hip plate and a knee cover.  All the armour was made using EVA foam with acrylic paint.  I decided to make the pauldrons "float" as they seem to not be supported by her shoulders at all in the source artwork.  I also magnified their size to emphasize the unrealistic proportions that Clamp loves to use in their art.

Basic pattern for pauldron set
In order to create the floating illusion, I made the pauldron into two parts, the inner band that wrapped around my arms and the outer shell.  The outer shell was supported by a series of "bones" that connected the floating piece to the armband.  I don't know how feasible this method would work in other materials but because of the lightness of the foam, the pauldron stayed up and didn't fall down my arm.

Construction of the floating pauldron
The hip piece was simpler to make and consisted of a curved elliptical piece and two strips that acted as the belt.  The knee pad and ankle pieces were designed using simple shapes namely a curved ellipse and two half circles.  All the details were made using EVA foam and Styrofoam balls.  The armour pieces were primed with Gesso, then painted with a base coat of black before adding the colour, shadows and highlights using the dry brush method.  The paint job was sealed using a modge podge acrylic spray sealer.

Painted armour set
Wig - I used my original howl wig as a base to style Fuu's wig.  The wig was bought from Arda Wigs in the Inigo style in light blonde.  To get Fuu's adorable curls, I sectioned the hair into curlers and used boiling water to set the fibers.  I soaked it before letting it dry overnight.  Once the curling process was done I actually had to loosen the curls with a comb to get the flowy hair she has in the anime.

Putting the curlers in
Sword - The sword is currently in progress.

Completed Costume, Photo Credits to Another Exposure