WIP: January 2016

Ah, nothing like getting a new year started with lots of new makes! Here’s a quick look at what I worked on last month.

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Hannah from Rat Queens: 50% finished

After nearly a year of planning with Callula Cosplay, we’re finally cosplaying from Rat Queens! I’m so excited that we have a full group of our main girls! Let the raucousness commence!

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Prior to adding the cups and altering the bias tape.

 

Okay, enough exclamations (for now). My main focus this month was the hardest part of the costume: Hannah’s bodice/corset… thing. As usual, all of my reference shots varied just a little. I see a lot of cosplayers do this as an underbust cincher coupled with a bra. It’s a perfectly valid choice, but that look didn’t appeal to my aesthetic (see: I have to make life difficult :P). However, I took a queue from Cupcake Cosplay‘s Avery and attached bra cups to my corset for additional support (HIDE THAT BACK FAT, YO!). To create this, I turned to my trusty TV110 and cut out the front right around the bra cups. I hand stitched pink fabric to the cups and then again hand stitched them to the corset. This was a tedious process, filled with lots of swearing and finger pricking.

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I also made mock-ups of my bolero and skirt, and as of this post, those pieces are now complete. Now to finish up the wig and accessories for DCC next week!

Commissions & Non-Cosplay: 

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Most of my commissions this month revolved around alterations for friends. I knocked out some bunny suit modifications for my friend Sabrina and altered my friend Showva’s Jaina Solo tunic. I also helped Space Cadet Cosplay with the fabric bits for her Violet costume.

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The pillow case and scarf are available for sale in my shop! 

I did meet my goal of making a few non-cosplay things, though most of those were catch-up Christmas gifts, items for my Etsy shop, and prizes for my giveaway on Facebook.

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Thor approves of the new arrangement.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really give myself a lot of time to work on non-cosplay things for myself, though I did take the time to reorganize my craft room. I do aim to make non-cosplay sewing a priority this month after DCC, and I think I have the perfect project. Turns out past Mindy cut out pieces for a new Cambie sometime last year, so it’s about time to knock that out!

What are you currently working on? 

Totoro Kigurumi

New year, new makes! I actually finished this make at the very, very end of 2015. I think I finished it 2 days before Christmas, and that was with the intent of wearing it to (what I thought would be) a cold Christmas with the beau’s family.

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So why an adult size onesie? Well, I never had any intention of owning one, but several of my cosplay friends have been snagging them lately, and they just looked so darn warm and cozy. I thought it’d be nice to have one in my costume rotation for late-night convention shennanigans!

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I debated what kind of kigu I wanted to make for quite a while and ultimately decided on Totoro. He’s one of my favorite Miyazaki characters, and what says kigurumi better than a giant teddy-bear like creature?

The Basics: 

Pattern: McCall’s M6251

Fabric: Anti-pill fleece and felt scraps

Alterations:

  • Aesthetic changes (stomach and applique work)
  • Added about 4 inches of length in the pants
  • Ditched the cuffs for elastic bands
  • Added a hood (snagged from the Avacado Hoodie pattern)
  • Added pockets
  • Invisible front zipper
  • Added “paws”
  • Added a tail

Notions: Zippers, double-sided fusible web, elastic

Make it again?: For sure! In the future, I’ll add just a bit more length for myself and add extra length for the arms.

Favorite parts: As I was planning this, I paid close attention to the things my friends loved (and hated) about their kigus so I could make a killer one. My first major addition to my kigu was giant pockets. I snagged an inseam pocket pattern piece from an old pattern and blew it up to twice its size. Of course, I didn’t want my pockets to gape open, so I attached my pockets with invisible zippers so I could close them. Lots of storage and no need for a purse! The zipper tape also acts as a nice stabilizer.

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For my hood, I slashed and spread the Avacado pattern piece so that I could have a super drapey hood. This part was super cozy. I spent a lot of post-turkey time curled up on the couch with basically my entire face covered by Totoro’s. I took the same pattern piece and cut out a second set to act as a lining. I drafted  the ears and facial appliques by more or less eyeballing them and sketching them out on paper.

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I originally planned to do buttons on the front of the kigu, but I mucked up when I started attaching appliques and didn’t leave enough room for the facing and button holes. Rather than seam rip all my appliques, I decided to just add an invisible zipper. Turns out, I like the look a bit better than kigus with buttons. There’s no need to worry about gaping!

Pro-tip on working with appliques: either use basting spray or double sided fusible web to add your designs. It’ll save SOOOOOOO much sanity.

Other Thoughts: This was such a cozy and relaxing project. I think it took me somewhere around 10 hours, but that was mostly because I satin-stitched EVERYTHING. I think I’ll just edgestich in the future to save time. After the insanity of Lulu, it was nice to work on a project that didn’t require much in the way of tailoring (or contact cement fumes).

The one thing I regret about this projects was the arm length. The sleeves are just barely long enough for me, and since I ditched the cuffs, they’re a tiny bit too short. I plan to go back and added an extra band to the bottom of the sleeves, which works out well since I need to stitch on the “paws” anyway.

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Do you have a kigurumi? If not, would you wear one? 

Fandom Friday: Favorite Ways to Netflix and Chill

Happy Friday! I was hoping to share a new make with all of you today, but my camera is in need of some TLC, so have a Fandom Friday post!

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The term “Netflix and chill” always makes me giggle. I don’t really associate it with with hooking up. When I watch Netflix and chill, it really is just that! Here are my favorite ways to hang with Netflix:

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Netflix saved my sanity while working on Lulu.

 

Crafting: I’ve mentioned before that I tend to watch A LOT of Netflix while I craft. I like the background noise. Often times I’ll watch my favorite sitcoms on repeat. I’ve made several cycles through How I Met Your Mother, Buffy, Angel, Archer, Bob’s Burgers, and now Friends (high school Mindy LOVES that it’s streaming now :) ). I tend to save shows I actually want to pay attention to for hand stitching or other crafts that don’t involve my sewing machine since I can spare a little more attention that way.

From bed: Not gonna lie, one of my favorite lazy indulgences is hanging in bed while wearing my warmest PJs and watching my favorite shows, especially on a rainy morning. I normally do with shows the boyfriend and I are both into. Right now, that’s a run through of The Office!

From the couch: Occasionally I feel the need actually get out of bed (I know, what?). I still enjoy a good Netflix binge, though, so watching some shows from the couch is one way that my guy and I hang together. Of course, this is also prime cuddle time with Thor pup.

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Thor is always a great sick day companion.

When I’m sick: Maybe it’s just habit at this point, but any time I’m sick, I tend to just fall into bed and watch Netflix. It doesn’t take too much effort, and watching my favorite shows is like chicken soup for the brain.

When I’m working on household tasks: Again, I really like the background noise of my favorite sitcoms. At this point I have most of Tina’s jokes memorized. I especially like watching Netflix while doing laundry. It’s such a mindless task, and I enjoy the chance to catch up on my favorite shows!

Well, those are a few of my favorite ways to Netflix and chill. What are some of yours? You can see more Fandom Friday posts over at The Nerdy Girlie or by searching the hashtag #5FandomFriday.

Sewing and Body Image

It’s that time of year. You know what I’m talking about: all the billboards and advertisements screaming, “Lose that holiday weight!”, “Get bikini body ready!”, “Your best you is waiting!” And yet as another New Year comes and goes, I find myself asking if it’s really worth it to get on the bandwagon again.

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In 2014, I was in a really good mental place. I stopped paying attention to the scale and focused more on how my body felt. Taking a ready-to-wear (RTW) clothing fast and creating clothes that actually fit me well really helped me appreciate my figure. And to be honest, I’ve felt really awesome overall in recent years. That mental state hit a roadblock with a visit to the doctor in early 2015, when I learned that I gained 40 pounds rapidly, putting me at the heaviest weight of my life.

In hindsight, I suppose it shouldn’t have been a surprise. I knew that my jeans felt a little snug, and I expected 10 pounds or so, especially with travel (thanks for the buffets, Vegas), changing birth control medications (according to my doctor, I’m sensitive to changes in appetite, but the medication itself isn’t responsible for my weight gain. Suuuuurreeeee….), moving, and generally letting my fitness and health take a backseat. Still, dealing with this news was rough. Much of my life has been a battle of reconciling my frame with what’s ideal or even considered “healthy” by that oh-so-annoying and outdated BMI measurement. With my height and frame, I’ve teetered in the overweight to obese category pretty much since I hit puberty.

The funny thing is that even at my lightest weight, I really hated my body. I fell into a dangerous cycle of binge eating and then working out for hours afterwards, sometimes upwards of 3-4 hours a day. In hindsight, it’s clear that I was struggling with depression and self-medicating through excessive exercise.

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See: me in grad school.

I focused so much energy on keeping the scale down that I forgot how to enjoy things, including working out. I seem to be in the minority on this, but I actually love working out! Especially weight lifting. I’ve always been strong, and spending some time pumping iron totally makes me feel like a badass.

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My mantra when it comes to workouts these days.

This year, I’m going to get back to that healthy mental place again, but this time I want to do it with a healthy body as well. I’m going on this weight loss journey from a place of self-love rather than loathing. There’s no deadline like my past attempts at weight loss. No magical number in mind. Just getting the point where I feel healthy and energetic again. I think that bringing garments back into my sewing rotation will help. My emphasis for the moment is on knit garments and patterns with clean lines for easy alterations should garments need tailoring.

So friends, I want to ask you: how do you handle weight loss and body positivity? Sewers: how do you deal with weight fluctuation and garment making?

2015 Year in Review

We’re quickly approaching the end of 2015, so I thought I’d take today to glance back.

I made 7 costumes total for myself this year:

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Captain Marvel. Photo by Kristi Grunden
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Belle. Photo by ACCosplay
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Margaret from Persona. Photo by Aperture Ashley.
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Batwoman. Photo by Scott Van.
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Wonder Woman. Photo by Roger Enyart on FB.
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She-Hulk and Red She-Hulk. Photo by Mehreen Rizvi Photography.
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Lulu from Final Fantasy X (1, 2, and 3). Photo by Callula Cosplay.

All in all, I’m very happy with these builds with the exception of Batwoman. I mentioned in my Costume Notes that the bodysuit just didn’t work for me. While the optimist in me would love to revisit that costume and remake the suit, I think I’ll add it to my used costume pile, sell it, and move on. I still love that cape, though!

Here are a few quick highlights from this year’s adventures:

  • Started competing in Costume Contests. Won Best in Show at DCC in February (Captain Marvel) and Best Craftsmanship at ANT (Lulu)
  • Shared on several websites this year, including Geek and Sundry, Titans of CosplayWomen of Comic Book Cosplay, and CosCouture.
  • Opened an Etsy shop
  • Completed 15+ commission builds
  • Learned lots of new skills, including corsetry, some very basic leatherworking, and embroidery
  • Invited as a guest and cosplay judge at local events
  • Invited to local libraries and museums to teach Cosplay 101 workshops
  • Served as staff advisor to my college’s costuming club
  • Had the chance to do some cosplay charity work
  • Got to work with several new photographers, including the fantastic Mehreen Rizvi and Kristi Grunden Photography
  • Met several of my favorite cosplayers and got to pick their brains (Thanks again for the book tips, Riddle!)
  • Made lots of new friends!

This year has definitely been my best yet for cosplay. That said, there were definitely times where I pushed myself to the point of burning out. I’m taking a (very small) step back from cosplay next year to give my wallet and my schedule a bit more breathing room, and to also allow me the freedom to explore my non-cosplay interests again, including garment sewing!

Here are my for-sure builds planned for 2016:

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Clockwise from top left: Sailor Uranus, Hannah from Rat Queens, Bruce Timm Poison Ivy, and Wonder Woman.

I’d love to squeeze 1-2 more builds in there next year if time and funds allow, but I’m not going to stress if I don’t. I’m far more interested in making quality builds, and possibly revisiting/tweaking some of my older costumes. I still have so many that need proper photoshoots!

And since we’re quickly approaching the New Year, here are a few of my sewing, cosplay and blogging goals for 2016:

  • Invest more blog time in tutorials. I started doing this early in 2015, but tapered off. I’d love to do more Back-to-Basics posts and post some freebie patterns/tutorials!
  • Clean up and reorganize my craft space. It’s so, so, so chaotic right now that I can barely function. Over the holidays, my goal is to take a few days to reorganize everything. I’m hoping to also stash bust my old fabric, wigs, and supplies and post them on Etsy!
  • Get back to non-cosplay sewing. I sorely neglected this in 2015. I don’t want to kill my budget or time, so I’m shooting low and planning to make 1 non-cosplay thing per month. Eventually I’ll finish my tailored coat project!
  • Make the switch to WordPress.org. This has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while. WordPress.com was a great way to get this blog started, but now I want to do more with it, like add Disqus and my shop widget among other things. I’ll probably do this when I get through my first 2-3 cons of the year.
  • Do at least 1-2 non-convention photoshoots. This is a holdover from last year. I let time get away from me, and as a result, I didn’t allow myself much time to do non-convention photoshoots. Now that I’m planning to cut back on my builds, I’d like to squeeze in more photoshoot time.
  • Revamp my commissions procedures. I… was not smart in how I handled commissions this year. While I’m grateful for the experience I got, they overwhelmed me quite a bit. This year, I’m going to try working in blocks. I’ll open commissions during my slower times and accept a limited number of spandex based commissions. I’ll probably open my first block of commissions in March, so keep an eye out!
  • Add more variety to my Etsy shopMy clutches didn’t go over as well as I hoped, so I’m planning to add a little more variety to my shop next year. I’m planning to add some pillow covers and infinity scarves, but I’m also open to other ideas! Is there anything you’d be interested in seeing?
  • Get a new dress form. This is less of a goal and more of an inevitable “to-do”. My poor dress form is completely warped and more or less unusable right now. Once I get some spare funds I’m getting this gal!
  • Take a photography class. Another holdover from last year. While my photography skills have gotten marginally better, I’d love to take a class on Craftsy and set-up a mini-photo shoot area in my craft room to practice.
  • Spend more time interacting with other blogs. This is another thing I let slide this year. I’d really like to get back to interacting with other blogs on a  regular basis again!

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Bring it on 2016!

What are your goals for next year?

Handmade Holiday Tutorials

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! …Sorta. I don’t know about all of you, but shopping for holiday gifts is intensely stressful for me. Between going to stores and fighting the crowds, worrying about whether or not an item is in stock (or will ship on time), or just not finding the perfect thing for the geek in your life, holiday shopping can be a real hassle.

So in an effort to be thrifty/clear my ridiculous fabric stash and hand out some more personalized gifts this year, I DIY-ed most of my gifts! Here’s a round-up of my favorite quick-ish and easy tutorials if you’re still looking for the perfect gift this year:

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Stanley Tree: This is a free pattern from Sewaholic! I made this tree out of some super adorable Avengers fabric I got at Jo-Ann’s several months ago. The first one went to my work white elephant gift exchange, and my co-workers loved it! I left mine plain out of time concerns, but you can easily add bells, ornaments, and ribbons for a bit of extra flair.

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Infinity Scarves: These are way easier than I expected! I cobbled this one together from scraps of exploding Tardis fabric and some fleece, so it’s totally reversible. I also made one out of wool for another gift. This does require a touch of hand-sewing, but it’s still a super fast project. My first one took about an hour (again, cobbling together several pieces of fabric), and my second one took around 30 minutes.

Throw Blanket: I have a ridiculous amount of wool in my fabric stash, but I had no clue what to do with it. After some digging, I figured out how to turn it into an easy throw blanket! All you have to do with this project is cut the fabric to your desired length and trim it in double-fold blanket edging. You could get real fancy and add a lining and batting for a super cozy blanket.

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Reversible bag: I’ve made a few versions of this bag, and it’s a great introduction to making your own purse! Try geeky fabrics on both sides for a fantastic convention bag, or put a more subdued fabric on the outside for a more subtle purse.

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Pillow cases: These are super quick to make and easy to customize! For a basic pillow, all you need is about a quarter yard of fabric depending on how large you want your pillow to be. From there, you can do just about anything! For a very simple approach, try an envelope pillow. If you’re ready to go further, add an invisible zipper, some piping, a liner for a reversible pillow, contrasting fabric on the backside, or make a character themed pillow like the one Space Cadet Cosplay and I made. I’ll post a tutorial (and possibly a pattern) on this after the holidays.

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Bow clutch: I love, love, love making these clutches if you can’t tell. While I’d hesitate to recommend this to a straight-up beginner, they are fairly straightforward if you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt. Don’t want to make one? Grab one from my Etsy shop! There’s still time for you U.S. folks to snag one for Christmas :)

Here are a few other tutorials that I haven’t tried yet, but are on my radar for next year/belated gifts for this year:

Are you DIY-ing any gifts this year? 

Costume Notes: Lulu pt. 3

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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

Welcome back to my final post on Lulu! If you’ve stuck with me through all these posts, you deserve a whole big ol’ batch of cookies.

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Mmmm…. cookies

Today I’ll discuss a few final details and lots of photos! But first, a few things I forgot to write about already.

Completed: November 2015

Hours Spent: Approximately 150 hours

Debuted: Anime North Texas 2015

Awards: Best Craftsmanship (ANT)

Why This Costume: If you’ve been following these posts, it’s probably obvious that I’m a pretty hardcore FFX fan. Final Fantasy X was my introduction to the FF series, and it’s held a special place in my fangirl heart for years. I logged close to 300 hours on it as a teenager, and I’m not even going to discuss how much I played it when the HD Remaster came out a little while back.

Lulu was my favorite character from the game both in terms of design and personality. She comes off as cold, but she’s so maternal and protective of Yuna, and I loved that side of her. Plus, black magic. What can I say? I like my spell casters.

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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

Accessories: My accessories for this costume were a mix of things I purchased and things I already had on hand.

Purchased pieces:

  • Garter belt: Fantastic fit and feel! These were super comfortable under my costume all day long.
  • Stockings: I went with silicone-backed leggings since I hate fashion tape, and these miraculously stayed up all day on their own! I got the garter belt for extra support, but I really didn’t need it.
  • Thumb ring and miscellaneous earrings: Claire’s
  • Venus Eye Bright Red contacts: PinkyParadise

Re-used pieces:

  • Purple stone ring: A gift from Italy
  • Ballet flats: These are my work shoes!
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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Callula’s beautiful chopsticks. She made these using dowel rods, Worbla, beads, and other bits and bobs. They’re absolutely stunning! As I mentioned in my last post, my bun has a styrofoam core, and I secured the chopsticks with hotglue.

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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

Makeup: Next to Shulkie, this is the most extreme makeup I’ve done in for cosplay. Here are a few tutorials I found helpful:

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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

Things to change: Overall, this is the happiest I’ve been with my final costume. That said, there’s always something I want to tweak after a full day of wear at a con. In order of importance:

  • I need to make the sleeve elastic a little snugger. The left sleeve kept slipping down my arm, and I kept mucking up my fur stole trying to fix it. In addition to making the elastic tighter, I think I’ll also add a hook and eye to the armpit area of the corset for a little extra security.
  • I absolutely must swap buckles and/or get a wider belt for the hoop skirt. The military buckle I used dug into my skin so much throughout the day that it made me nauseous at one point, and I didn’t even lace my corset very tight.
  • Speaking of the hoopskirt, I definitely need to add some padding to the center front on the interior hoop bag. I noticed I had some bruising on my lower shins and the top of my foot.
  • Again going back to the hoopskirt, I’d like to fix the placement of a few belts. I didn’t make the red belt quite long enough, so I want to cover the end with some diagonal belts.
  • The bangs of this wig aren’t quite as long as I’d like them to be, so I sprang for a clip-in long black bang from Arda’s recent sale.
  • The purple beads left residue on my chest. I’m not sure if I had a weird reaction to it or if the beads weren’t properly sealed. I need to play with this and see if I need to remake that necklace.
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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

Final thoughts: Man, this costume has been such a crazy learning experience. I’ve been building skills specifically for this costume for a few years now, and it’s still kind of a shock to realize that it’s done. I nearly gave up soooooo many times. It’s been a huge confidence booster to actually say that I did it. It definitely makes me realize I can tackle even bigger projects in the future!

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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography. Thanks to Callula, SpaceCadet, and Showva for being my handlers!

This definitely isn’t a comfortable costume, so I’m restricting it to hotel-based cons when I have friends available to play handler. I do have some future photo shoots in mind. I’d love to find a beach setting to mimic Besaid Island, and it’d be cool to do a shoot in a cemetery with grand headstones. Or catacombs. Of course, I’d also love to do a big group shoot with other FFX cosplayers!

Additional photos from the con and my photoshoot are on my Facebook page!

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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

What costume build are you most proud of? Feel free to share photos/links below! 

Winter Sewing Projects

Who’s planning their winter sewing projects? I certainly am!

Now that my con season is over, I’m finally getting back into the swing of non-cosplay projects, which I’ve sorely neglected this past year.

My Top Winter Sewing Projects: 

1. Tailored Coat (B5685)

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Slightly speckled wool fabric. This is a medium-weight wool, so hopefully I’ll get more than 2 months of wear out of it :P

This has been on my wishlist for well over a year now. My boyfriend’s mother gave me several yards of gorgeous wool several years ago, including some very nice grey wool. I’ve never had a long statement coat before, so I went with grey to keep it slightly more subdued.

One thing I’m looking forward to with this project is the chance to dive back into slow sewing. This pattern is pretty basic, so I’m planning to jazz it up with some advanced tailoring techniques, including bound button holes.

I’ve wanted a new coat for quite some time, and now that my sewing docket is clear, I’m reading to dive headfirst into this!

2. Gabriola Skirt

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Ah, another project that I’ve had on my docket for months. I was instantly smitten with this skirt when Tasia first revealed it. I love a good maxi skirt, but I’m not a fan of knit ones. The yoke is super pretty and adds a nice bit of detail and shaping on an otherwise simple pattern.

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Mock-up for the Gabriola skirt and my tailored coat. Thor is being a very supportive craft pup.

I opted to go with a black rayon blend linen from Harts Fabric for this skirt so I could use it as a wardrobe stable regardless of the season. As long as time works out for me, I’m hoping to knock out the bulk of construction on this skirt over the weekend. I’ve already made my mock-up for this skirt and I’m hoping to cut the fabric tonight. If everything goes well, you can expect to see a lot more of these in the near future!

3. Stanley Tree

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I still have a ridiculous amount of geeky fabric in my stash :P

With the holidays just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about gifts for close friends and family members. Sewaholic’s free(!) Stanley Tree pattern is super cute, and it looks like a pretty straight forward build. I’m hoping to make a few of these out of my stash of nerdy fabrics to gift to friends and use for White Elephant contributions. Hopefully I’ll have a free evening or 2 next week to knock one out for my work White Elephant exchange!

4. Totoro Kigurumi (M6251)

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I seriously considered snatching Callula Cosplay’s kigu at Anime North Texas.

Many of my cosplay friends recently purchased kigurumis to wear for lazy days at cons and for lounging about. I’ve been eyeballing them jealously, and I finally caved and admitted I need my own. But of course instead of just going out and buying one, I have to make life difficult and make one :P.

I debated on what kind of kigu to make, and while I’d love a moogle, that seems like a one-way ticket to a giant stain. Instead, I’m making one based on one of my favorite Hayao Miyazaki films, My Neighbor Totoro. While I’d love to finish this before I head up North to visit family for the holidays, I’ll most likely knock this out during my winter break.

What are all of you making this winter? Have you made any of these projects? 

Costume Notes: Lulu pt. 2

Welcome back! This week I’m sharing more details on my Lulu build, which I debuted at Anime North Texas last weekend. In my last post, I talked mostly about the upper half of the costume, so this week I’ll be getting into the lower half of this build.

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First attempt at attaching lace to the final sleeve. 

Skirt and sleeves: There’s a lot of debate as to how Lulu’s “dress” is constructed. A lot of cosplayers seem to think that Lulu is actually wearing an off-the-shoulder dress with a severely low cut back, which is held up by her corset. I thought about taking this approach, but ultimately decided to just make a set of sleeves and separate skirt for easier storage and repairs. I used this material from Fabric.com.

To create the sleeves, I took a basic sleeve pattern piece and traced it off. From there, I held it up to my arm, cut off the top section, and slashed and spread the piece up to the very top of my pattern to create a bell shape. I used my hip ruler to trace off a clean curve. I tweaked the fit using a mock-up. The final piece is held up on my arm with silicone-backed elastic, though I need to make this snugger before I wear this costume again.

For the skirt, I turned to Kwik-Sew 3400. I blended the princess seams on the front and back of the pattern and then cut each piece off at the waist. To create the front, I held the piece up on myself and snipped it off a few inches below the lowest part of my hips. To finish the top edge of the skirt, I made a facing using my mock-up pieces and serged the bottom edges of the facing. The skirt closes with an invisible zipper.

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Pretty, pretty bound edges. 

I opted not to line these pieces, mostly out of concern for the sleeves. Since interior parts of the skirt and sleeves will be visible, I did finish them off with bias bound edges and top-stitched the seam allowances down to match the game artwork.

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Mmmmm…. Topstitching.

Helpful tutorials:

Estimated time: 7 hours

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A VERY small selection of the lace I dyed.

Lace: Oh… the lace. My original plan was to digitize everything for a super accurate costume. Then I quickly realized that I didn’t have: 1) the skills to complete this; 2) the time to learn; or, 3) the money to pay someone to do all the digitizing for me. Instead, I compromised. I picked up a fair amount of lace from cheeptrims.com in the Venetian lace and appliques section. These pieces I painted using Jacquard’s Dynaflow.

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Freestanding lace prior to removing the stabilizer.

I also made a few lace embroidery pieces. For these, I purchased a set of floral lace files from emblibrary.com and used this tutorial on their website.

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Pinwheel patch pieces. I glued these to the base skirt with e6000. 

I did opt to commission Meow About Crafts for Lulu’s very notable lace pieces: the center front piece and the pinwheel pieces scattered throughout the base skirt. For the pinwheel pieces, I essentially treated them as patches. Once I stitched them out onto scrap pleather, I cut them out very close to the edge and then glued them onto skirt. For the center front piece, I stitched it directly onto the front of the skirt. That was an interesting experience, as I had to attempt to figure out how to do multi-hoop embroidery and pretty much failed. I covered my mistakes with extra lace, though I plan to correct this for my next wear.

I glued all the lace pieces to the skirt and sleeves using contact cement and e6000.

Helpful tutorials:

Estimated time: 25 hours (I made way more than I ultimately used)

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SO MANY BELTS

Belts: Oh man, this was another crazy challenge. I didn’t want to kill myself over accuracy here, because that would have been a one-way ticket to crazy town. Instead, I raided thrift stores and found fairly close matches for belts. I grabbed anything that looked remotely usable, regardless of color or hideous buckle design. For belts that were funky colors or needed touch-ups, I painted them with Angelus leather paints.

From there, I laid out all my belts and created a frame work, using the opening on my crinoline as a guide. Once I had a frame of decent belts built up, I started gluing them again with contact cement. I added several layers, trying to keep with Lulu’s overall color scheme and patterns. The only belt I built myself was her iconic red belt, which I made from vinyl and leftover belts. There are about 40 belts total.

To attach the belts to the crinoline, I laid my glued belt piece face down on my craft table, then placed my crinoline on top of it. I used contact cement on the hoop bag and e6000 at all the cross joints and straps. Once everything was glued, I placed clamps and clothespins on everything and let it sit overnight. The result worked out quite well! I can jump, twist, and do all kinds of movement in the skirt now.

Helpful tutorials:

Estimated time: 7 hours

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Mr. Flufflebutt McDeathface

Moogle: This is the one part of my costume that I’m considering remaking before I rewear. I started this project based on Simplicity 5461. The pattern head was nowhere near big enough, so I drafted my own, which was also too small. I then drafted a 3rd head for my moogle, which worked out pretty well, but I still may go back and remake him. Thankfully, I did figure out how to do the bulk of the facial design on my sewing machine (sew the face front, sew on the details, then sew the rest of the head together), and I learned how to give a plush a skeleton for posing, which was helpful.

Helpful tutorials:

Estimated time: 20 hours

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I find it really helpful to let gravity do the hard work when styling high ponytails. Once your wig head is in place, gently comb the hair to the position you want it in with your hands and secure. 

Wig: This piece was surprisingly time consuming. I picked up a black ponytail wig from EpicCosplay along with their long wefts. To create the base of the wig, I separated out chunks of wig hair around the enter wig for the braids. Once I separated out my pieces, I pulled the rest back into a high(ish) ponytail.

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Almost…

From there, I set about braiding ALL the rest of the hair (aside from the bangs) into 1″ chunks and pulling it back into the base pony. There were a few gaps where wefts were visible when I was complete, so I took the clip-in pony that came with the wig and harvested the wefts to fill in gaps. After I got all the exposed wefts covered, I stubbed the base pony and covered it with a pre-made bun from Arda. To give the bun a little more stability, I hallowed out a Styrofoam ball and used it as a base. The bun is hotglued to the wig and has extra support from bobby pins. I covered my work with extra braids made from pony weft scraps.

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Finished wig with Callula’s beautiful hair sticks. 

For the long braids in the back, I sewed the wefts onto some scrap black ribbon, then sewed the ribbon into wefts just underneath the bun. I separated them into four braids and added beads to the end. The chopsticks are held in place with hot glue.

Helpful tutorials:

Estimated time: 12 hours

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Craft night with the girls!

Flame prop: This was a fun experiment with Worbla’s new transparent product. To create this, Callula and I cut out several flame shapes. I dyed them yellow and red(ish) using iDye Poly while Callula built a LED core for the center flame. SpaceCadet Cosplay molded the flames, and we used an undyed strip to wrap around my hand. Unfortunately, the switch we originally picked up didn’t work out, so we had to use a press button instead, which means I had to cover the button with tape at the con to keep the LED lit.

Helpful tutorials:

Estimated time: 5 hours

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Photo by Callula Cosplay

That about does it for this week’s post! Next time I’ll share some final details, thoughts, and hopefully lots of finished photos!

5 Fandom Friday: Fandoms I’m Thankful For

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Happy Friday! No Lulu post this week since all my spare time has been devoted to actually finishing her. Instead, have a 5 Fandom Friday post!

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Sailor Jupiter. Photo by Aperture Ashley.

1. Sailor Moon : How do I even begin to define how Sailor Moon has impacted my life? It’s such an emotional connection for me. I remember being a kid and waking up every Saturday morning to catch the DiC broadcast at 6am. I remember pulling clothes out of my closet to dress as a senshi. As an adult, Sailor Moon fandom has brought so many friends into my life, and even though it’s campy and silly at times, it’s very dear to me.

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Kotobukiya Rogue. Photo by Aperture Ashley

2. X-Men : This was another formative fandom for me. Much like Sailor Moon, my introduction to this fandom was through Saturday morning cartoons as a child. I’d always make sure to catch the Fox morning block, with a heavy emphasis on X-Men. That was when I really started gravitating towards Rogue. I loved her in those cartoons! She’s so strong and yet vulnerable at the same time.

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Moogle hoodie

3. Final Fantasy : I came into the FF fandom later in my teen years. My first FF game was Final Fantasy X, and man, I was hooked right off the bat. I think I was 15 or 16 when I first started playing, and along the way I put around 300 hours into the game. The story (especially Yuna’s Final Sending) made me weep repeatedly. FFX will always be my favorite in the series, and I’m so happy to finally have a costume from this game!

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Star Wars Cambie

4. Star Wars : Another formative fandom! My dad is responsible for getting me hooked on the movies as a kid. For quite a while, we made it a holiday tradition to marathon all the original films. When Episodes I-III came out, he even took us out of school to go see them in theaters (thanks, dad!). I’m really looking forward to the new film next month!

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Captain Marvel. Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography

5. Captain Marvel / Carol Corps : The Carol Corps is unlike any other fandom I’ve seen. They’re so welcoming and supportive, and there’s such an amazing emphasis on feminism and kick-ass ladies! I wasn’t always a Carol Danvers fan, mostly due to the aforementioned X-Men cartoon. She always came off as a villain to me. My fandom was inspired by a stashbusting cosplay build of Ms. Marvel’s Warbird costume, and the more I learned about her, the more I loved her, especially as Captain Marvel.

And there you have it! Funny how most of my major fandoms are represented in my cosplays :P Eventually I’ll get around to a Star Wars costume!

What are your favorite fandoms? Check out more responses on Twitter by following the hashtag #Fandom5.