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Costume Notes: Updated Cornelia

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Photographer Credits: White Specs Photography

Completed: February 2019

Hours Spent: Between 15-20

Debuted: Katsucon 2019

Why This Costume: Me, Koho, and AdventTraitor are big Code Geass fans! This was the first group costume we decided on when we planned for Katsu, aided by our friend Jinxie Cosplay’s plans to make Suzaku! I had never worn Cornelia to a convention, so I took it as an opportunity to update pieces I was unhappy with.

How I Made it: 

Truth be told, the updates on this costume were pretty quick. As I mentioned in my original Cornelia write-up, the main things I was unhappy with were her coat tails, the fit of the pants, and the boot covers.

 

For the coat tails, I took a cue from Koholint’s Mew Lettuce build. To hold the crazy tails in place, Koho split and curved pieces of Rigeline and built them into the seam for a gravity-devying shape. I carefully seam ripped enough space on my tailcoat to get access to the interlining. From there, I stuck in 6 extra pieces of rigeline and sewed the coat up again. Once that was in place, I pressed the ever loving crap out of the boning and weighted it with heavy books until it cooled and held its shape. I still need my friends to check me for shoots, but the tails of the coat hold their shape much better now.

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To fix the pants, the first thing I needed to do was explore fit issues. I primarily had an issue with full thigh, so I carefully seam-ripped the pants and and adjusted them until I could remove the majority of the unsightly wrinkles. Unfortunately, they’re still not perfect, but Mood is sold out of this fabric, so I did the best I could with what was available to me. Additionally, I moved the zipper to the center back, reinforced it, and traded the pants waistband for a self-drafted facing to drop the overall height of the pants. Finally, I added bands to the bottom of the legs from scrap fabric so that I could tuck them into my boots easier.

The boot covers required a complete do-over. I decided this time around to build the covers over a pair of boots so that they wouldn’t flop over like my last pair. My Pluto boots are the perfect base shape, so I patterned these out by covering my foot in saran wrap and duct tape. After making a quick mock-up, I stitched these together with some white vinyl. The base of the shoe is glued on with contact cement, and the top is stitched over the boot itself. I changed the color of the sole with 4 layers of  white Plastidip, which was much faster (and durable) than the approach I used for Mami.

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The final piece I tweaked for this build was the wig. I was very pleased with the wig’s color, but I wanted more volume around the hair line. Unfortunately, I didn’t allow myself enough time to add wefts to this wig, but I did re-style it using gravity, a lot of teasing, and some helpful drag techniques. Sadly, it didn’t work out quite the way I’d hoped (these curlers were the worst and did not want to let go of my wig fibers), but there’s always next time!

Thoughts on This Build:

All in all, I’m much happier with this build. There are still some things I want to tweak, along with extra pieces I want to make (I’m talking about you, BS cape and gun blade). But it was so much fun running around with friends in Code Geass costumes! Honestly, this was probably the most fun I had in a costume at Katsu. We spent a large portion of the day replicating ridiculous memes and it was glorious. Here are a few of my favorites.

 

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Costume Notes: Mami (Madoka Magica)

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Photographer Credits: 

Completed: May 2017

Hours Spent: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I kept track up until April, when A-Kon told us our group was too big to compete. After that I stopped caring.

Debuted: A-Kon 2017

Why This Costume: When the Cosmic Coterie crew decided to make Madoka as our major group build this year, I jumped at the chance to cosplay Mami. She’s by and far my favorite character and design, and had a couple of crazy design elements I wanted to jump at to improve my prop making and wig making skills.

Purchased Pieces: 

  • Contacts: Etia Coeur in Caramel Gold
  • Base gloves: We Love Colors solid wrist gloves in white (dyed and altered)
  • Soul gem base kit: The Dangerous Ladies
  • Wig: Arda Chibi and long clip in extensions in Fairy Blonde

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

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To create the hat, I dug up some books on millinery. After looking at multiple reference sources (including my Mami figures. Knew they’d pay off eventually!), I realized that Mami’s hat isn’t a standard pillbox hat; it tapers in rather dramatically. I used the information found in Basic Millinery for the Stage to create a buckram base. The shell fabric is a chocolate velveteen from OnlineFabricStore.net with a matching lining. It stays in place with sewn in wig combs.

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My wig was an intense experience, which I detailed here. It took several tries to get right, but it’s one of the pieces I’m proudest of with this build! Sparkle Pipsi’s drill curl tutorial was an invaluable resource.

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Initially I wanted to make my own mold for Mami’s soul gem, but when I stumbled across the kits provided by TheDangerousLadies (I got the fabric for my stockings from them too!), I decided to save myself the trouble. The kits come unpainted, so I lightly sanded the base gem, primed and painted it, and then used jewelry wire I had on hand to create a flower backing. The wire is held in place with scrap Worbla, and I used e6000 to glue hair pins onto the back of the Worbla.

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My blouse was one of the easier parts of this build. Yaya’s peacoat pattern in my size required minimal alterations. I went with view A and used the puffy sleeves (shortened to appropriate Mami proportions). I decided to leave the peplum shape on this top since it was tucked into my skirt anyway, which meant that it acted as a slip. I created strips out of gold satin and attached those to the center front of the bodice before adding in my invisible zipper. For the neck piece, made the collar according to pattern instructions, then cut a small strip of gold on the bias to create the trim on her collar. The center front buttons on the blouse were a lucky find from Jo-Ann’s. They have adorable flowers embossed on them! The gold buttons on the sleeve cuffs were harvested from my old Captain Marvel, and the trim on the arms is the same velveteen I used for my hat. It’s a bias cut strip that I carefully pinned around the arm hole after attaching the sleeve. It’s edgestitched down. The sleeves are underlined with tulle to help them retain their puffy shape.

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The arm warmers are made from the same peachskin I used for the blouse. I drafted a bell-shape that started at my bicep and ended at the wrist. I left enough room at the bicep to create an elastic casing and gathered the base for puffy sleeves. As with my blouse sleeves, the arm warmers are underlined with tulle for maximum puff.

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My gloves were far more of a hassle than I anticipated. I picked up a base brown pair from We Love Colors, but they weren’t quite brown enough. I attempted to dye them, but the dye didn’t take AT ALL and actually made the gloves lighter. I picked up a white pair instead and dyed them to a deep brown (2 parts brown dye, 1 part black) and that did the trick. Once the gloves were dyed, I cut off the fingers at the knuckles and hand stitched gold neoprene bands on the ends.

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The corset was my showpiece, and I spared no expense. Since Mami’s design is relatively simple, I went for an embossed floral vinyl from Mood and stained it to a deep chocolate color using Eco-Flo. The patterning is a lot to explain in one post (don’t worry, a more detailed write-up is coming soon), but essentially I made a closure to cover the busk using information from Lucy’s Corsetry and made a hidden lacing panel in the back that closes with a separating zipper. I made 2 corsets total: one using a floating strength layer and another using the welt seam approach. The welt seam approach was my final corset, since I made the first one just a hair too big. It makes me so sad the first one didn’t work out, because I used adorable lining fabric designed by Sparkle Pipsi! Maybe one day I’ll feel up to adding a lining to my second corset and buy more fabric. Both corsets use cotton coutil as the strength layer and use a combination of spiral and flat steel boning.

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Mami’s skirt has very noticeable box pleats, so I combined two full circle skirts and marked off 4″ box pleats with full returns and then skipped 4″ sections between pleats. The hem has 1″ horsehair braid, and the brown strip is chocolate peachskin cut on the bias. It took a little math to figure out, but essentially what I did was completely encase the horsehair braid so it’s not visible from the top or bottom of the skirt. Super clean for the win!

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For Mami’s thigh-highs, I used Yaya Han’s stockings/bootcovers pattern and some lovely ribbed knit from The Dangerous Ladies. The tops and bottoms have elastic in them for a super secure fit. I still had issues with my stockings falling down at A-Kon, so I stitched them to my dance tights for AX.

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I was pretty darn pleased with how my boots came out. I had a pair of chunky heels sitting in my closet, so painted them gold with Angelus paints, painted the heel and sole white with acrylic paint and gesso, and then made boot toppers out of the same fabric as my corset. To create the boot toppers, I used the duct tape/saran wrap patterning method, then made a mock-up of my boots to tweak fit issues. Once that was complete, I created the toppers and lined them out of gold leftover from my skirt. I glued the boot toppers to the base shoes using Shoe-Goo, but then went back in and hand sewed the base for aesthetic appeal. The white strips at the top are vinyl bias tape I found on Etsy, and the gold tabs are leftover material from Hannah.

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Another reason I chose Mami for this build was the chance to work on prop making. I love Mami’s rifles and wanted to flex my prop muscles here, so I did a lot of research on creating weapons out of foam. Kamui’s eBooks were an invaluable resource, as was the pattern vectorized by The Dangerous Ladies. This is another lengthy upcoming post, so the short version is that I made it from an EVA foam base, covered it with Worbla, used PVC pipe for the barrel, then primed it. I was running short on time at this point, so Storietellers took over painting for me.

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The bow was self drafted and mostly made out of looped tubes. It snaps onto my choker!

Final Thoughts:

All in all, I’m very pleased with this build. There are a few things I might do differently now that it’s complete and I know more, but that’s true of any build. I’m a bit sad I didn’t get a chance to compete with it, since I built it with that in mind, but there’s always next time.

Who’s your favorite character from Madoka Magica? 

Costume Notes: Bunnysuit Usagi

 

 

 

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Photographer Credits: Koholint Cosplay, assistance from AdventTraitor

Completed: March 2019

Hours Spent: App. 30

Debuted: N/A

Why This Costume: A traditional bunny suit has been on my wishlist for quite a while. I was going through a stash-busting phase earlier this year when I realized I had everything on hand to make a bunny suit fit for Usagi! I was initially hoping to bust this out in time for the Bunny Hutch at All-Con (one of my local go-to conventions), but the timing didn’t quite work out as I was leaving on vacation the morning after the Hutch. Still, it was fun to pump out this build and do some in-house shooting with my bro, Koho!

Purchased Pieces: N/A, though AdventTraitor graciously allowed me to borrow her beautiful Proplicas!

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

Surprisingly, this was a super straight forward build. I’ve build bunny suits up in my head for so long that I didn’t really think about the fact that they’re full-body bodices. If you have experience making bodices or corsets, then the basic process is quite similar!

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I followed the pattern as is for the most part, with the exception of adding a bit of length at the waist, which is normal for me. All in all, it fits normally compared to other Simplicity patterns, so that wasn’t a huge issue. One thing I will say about this pattern is that there’s more ease in the pattern than I expected. I cut a 24, which I was expecting it to be snug, but I had to take the whole thing in a full size, and it was still a touch loose on me, especially in the bust. If you want an extreme waist nip, ala old school Playboy bunnies, you’ll have to do some pattern alterations at the waist (which I plan to do for my next suit).

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The only real deviation I made from the pattern instructions was boning placement. It wasn’t quite as structured as I would have liked, so I used Josh Hart’s guide to boning placement (linked above) to add more pieces of spiral steel boning.

The rest of the suit and accessories came together pretty quickly. The ears kept wanting to fall off my head, so in the future, I’ll definitely add some clips to help them stay in place better. I do think I want to tweak the bowtie piece as well. It’s a little small for my liking, but that’s a minor complaint.

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Thoughts on this build: 

For a quick speed build, this was a lot of fun! I’m already looking forward to my next suit and how I can make improvements on it.

I also really enjoyed doing in-house shooting with my friends! I have a bad habit of building lots of stuff, then forgetting to take pictures of it. I’d like to spend more time in the fall doing in-house shots with friends and trying my hand at self-photography. It’s not quite the same as working with experienced photographers, but it’s a nice way to get content up a little faster, especially when I do the bulk of my shoots at conventions and I’m going to fewer of those.

Costume Notes: Sailor Pluto 3.0

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Photographer: Koholint Cosplay

Completed: August 2018

Hours Spent: Approximately 30

Debuted: N/A

Why This Costume: The initial idea for another Pluto came from plans with Koholint (as usual lol). I sold my last Pluto a little while back, but I still had the wig and accessories. Koholint made ChibiUsa for our Outer Senshi Cosmic Coterie group in 2018, and we wanted to do more duo shoots for our Caffeine Schemes account.

The final push to make this costume came from Pinecrest Fabrics, who asked me to review their tricot, which is available on Fabric.com. Many thanks to them for providing material that helped make this happen!

Purchased pieces: 

Helpful Tutorials:

How I made it: 

There are a few major variations on this suit compared to my last Pluto. As usual, I’ve been experimenting and tweaking my process for commissions, which impacts how I make my fukus as well. The first big difference on this fuku compared to my previous ones is the angle of the hip roll. I’ve been tweaking the plus-size pattern I use for myself and clients (I swear I’ll get around to digitizing this eventually), and one of the things I was unhappy with on Uranus 1.0 was how shallow the hip roll angle was. I raised the hip roll angle as outlined in the Cosmic Coterie tutorial (linked above) and I’m sooooo much happier with where it sits now.

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In the past, I’ve added all the length I need on my leotard to the bodice, but this time I split the length between the bodice and bloomer portion, which worked out much better for me.

Another major variation on this suit is the skirt. We’ve used 2 circle skirts over at Cosmic Coterie in the past, but when Koholint went back to look at her Mars, she realized she used 2.5 skirts, which prompted her to try 3 circle skirts for her ChibiUsa. I loved how fluffy the skirt looked (and how much easier it made pleating), so I did the same with this Pluto.

Once my base suit was done, I pulled out my old wig and accessories and touched them up. I also cast my resin brooch for this build using Daydreamer Nessa’s tutorial (linked above) as a guideline.

Review: Pinecrest Fabrics Tricot

Again, many thanks to Pinecrest Fabrics for providing the tricot for this build! I’m always on the hunt for good material to use for senshi fuku, and this material is officially on my list.

The white tricot they sent me is an 81% nylon/19% spandex blend, and it has great recovery. The moisture wicking is excellent, which is great for wearing fuku to hot Texas summer cons. This material IS rather shifty, so I highly recommend basting pieces if you’re nervous about anything slipping around.

As with many white fabrics, there is a degree of transparency to the material. I highly recommend a lining or underlining your spandex if you’re concerned about lines showing through.

Thoughts on this Build

I’m so happy to have a new Pluto! As I mentioned in my last Pluto post, I adore cosplaying her and feel surprisingly pretty as Pluto. She’s definitely my favorite of the Outer Senshi! I can’t wait to set up more shoots with Koholint as ChibiUsa and get all the Small Lady and Pluto pictures.

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Bonus selfies! Including some with AdventTraitor’s dog, Bruno. He’s the best magical doggo.

 

Costume Notes: Avengers Academy Captain Marvel

Completed: April 2019

Hours Spent: 15-ish

Debuted: Dallas Film Society’s High School Day

Why This Costume: This costume has been on my back burner wish list for quite some time. I really enjoyed the Avengers Academy game while it was out (it’s dead now, sadly), and Carol’s initial outfit appealed to me since it looked like a set of comfy but recognizable workout clothes! I even bought fabric for this outfit, but then Pinecrest fabric asked if I had an interest in reviewing one of their new collections and I jumped at the opportunity. The review is at the end of this write-up!

Purchased Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

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I debated on how I wanted this suit to work for a little while before settling on a base leotard and leggings. Initially I thought I’d do a sleeveless zip-up top, but ultimately I settled on a leotard so that 1) the top wouldn’t ride up as I was wearing it, and 2) the leotard by itself could work for a cosplay swimsuit!

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The first piece I worked on was the bodysuit. I used a modified version of Yaya Han’s bodysuit pattern since I’ve made it several times before. I blended out the underbust seams and marked the angle and depth of the color blocking based on my comic book Captain Marvel. Since I didn’t have to worry about stripes for this costume, that was a quick step. Once the pieces were cut and seam allowances added, I sewed this up with yellow stretch piping between the blue and yellow for an extra pop of color. I also quickly drafted some basic yellow bands to finish off the arms and match my reference. For the collar, I extended the piece by 2 inches and cut the neck as two pieces rather than a single folded piece. It closes with a large snap.

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My test run of the star has a leather base from an old Captain Marvel jacket I had on hand. I sprayed it with 3M 77 spray adhesive and pressed some of the remaining yellow spandex on it. From there, I carefully cut around the points, folding over the fabric edges and securing them with hot glue. The star attaches to the suit with velcro.

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The pants were slightly more tricky, but that’s mostly due to the waistband. Thankfully, Sewaholic has a great tutorial on the process (linked above)! I opted to use this waistband since it had a pocket large enough for a cell phone and I’ve also had this pattern in my stash for AGES. The seams on the Pacific pants are cute and flattering, but I opted to use the Simplicity pattern so that I could put piping in the side seam. I finished the pants off with a red cuff for a speedy and clean look.

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Pinecrest Fabic Review: 

As I mentioned at the start of this post, a big reason this cosplay happened is because of Pinecrest Fabric. When they reached out and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing their material, I jumped at the opportunity (who doesn’t want fabric?).

The red and blue used in this build are the coolest part; they’re made from recycled bottle caps! Cosplay isn’t exactly eco-friendly, and I loved the idea of using sustainable materials. I didn’t notice any difference in moisture wicking, fit, opacity, or comfort compared to other spandex materials I often used, and the materials are nice and matte, which I prefer for my builds. The recovery is great, which is critical for a fitted spandex piece!

All in all, I highly recommend this material, especially if you’re looking to make more eco-conscious purchases for your builds! You can find Pinecrest fabrics for sale by the yard at Fabric.com.

Thoughts on this Build: 

This is such a comfy build. I’m so glad I finally got around to making it! I want to make a few small tweaks to it, mainly getting a different wig and making a new star, but overall I’m pretty pleased with this build and can’t wait to wear it to more cons! And give it a proper photoshoot.

 

Costume Notes: Eternal Sailor Moon

 

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Photographer credit: Chez Photo

Oh man, talk about a big project! I decided to tackle this fuku for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve had several commission requests for Eternal fukus over the years, but I’ve never been comfortable making one for a commission without doing some trial and error first. Second, I wanted a big solo competitive piece, so I could use that as an excuse to go balls to the wall with this build and try out lots of new techniques. Third, I’ve had an interest in making several Sailor Moon accessories for my fuku commissions, which explains my rationale in how I approached a lot of these items, especially the smaller resin accessories.

So, let’s get this started!

Wig

 

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The wig is both fairly straight forward but also time-consuming. I’m not going to write a tutorial here on creating a Sailor Moon wig, since several folks have done that already and much better than I could. I used a Chibi from Arda in Fairy blonde along with 2 long ponytail clips and short wefts.

After fixing the bag hair, I tweaked the bang line, stubbed the ponytails, created the odango and styled the bangs.

Special shout-out to Vickie Bane for giving me lots of helpful tips and keeping me sane when I wanted to chuck this in the trash.

Here are a few helpful tutorials:

Wig Accessories

 

Here’s where we start getting to the fun stuff! As I mentioned above, I went into this build knowing that I wanted to create resin molds so to sell as part of my commissions. With that in mind, I started by creating odango shields in TinkerCAD. I made these as a two-part set: the base white layer and a top layer that I could cast with tinted resin. These are printed on PLA at my work (having easy access to a Makerspace is the best), then sanded and finished by me. Once the lines were SUUUUUUPER smooth, I took the pieces for the odango shields and created molds using Smooth-On products, specifically OOMOO 30.

Once the molds cured, I used Smooth-On 300 to cast the pieces. To create the white pieces, I “painted” white glittery powder from the Jacquard Pearl EX set into the mold, then poured in the resin, which cures in 10 minutes. For the red pieces, I “painted” Cast Magic Red Devil powder into the mold cavity and tinted the resin with a tiny bit of Red SO-Strong tint. I attached the pieces together with e6000.

The hair feathers were super fun! I traced the feathers from some ESM clipart I found online and created a vector of them in Inkscape. From there, I converted the files and cut them off on 2mm EVA foam using my Cricut Maker. I heat sealed the pieces prior, then glued them in a staggered pattern to match the pearl width. For the pearls, I found some flat back pieces on Amazon and glued them on the front and back of the feathers with hot glue. Once the full piece was dry, I glued the piece on a hair clip. This process is essentially the same for the other pearl/feather bits on her sleeves.

Again, here’s a helpful list of resources!

Base Fuku

 

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Ahhh, the big part of this. Thankfully, I have a lot of experience making fukus, so this part wasn’t too daunting, but there are some big differences between making these and making classic fukus.

Note: I’m going to do a more comprehensive “how-to” tutorial over on Cosmic Coterie for this build (eventually), so my discussion below will mostly detail my thought process as well as trial and error.

One of my big hold-ups with making an Eternal fuku was the sleeves. They’re such an odd shape in how they look like bubbles, but are often drawn clear in the manga. I wanted something that had that bubble shape, but wasn’t *just* gathering. I turned to this tutorial by Angelic Threads as my prototype. This process requires A TON of tulle stuffing (I used nearly 4 yards of tulle in each sleeve), but it’s by and far my favorite way to make the sleeves. In fact, these turned out so well that I ditched my other protype ideas and stuck with this one! For the bottom of the sleeves, I used our glove roll approach at Cosmic Coterie, but just tweaked the pattern so it was 2 rolls instead of 3.

Once I ironed out the sleeve issue, it was time to tackle the belts! Proportions on the Eternal leotards are essentially the same as the classic fukus, so I took the base leotard pattern I normally used and built the pink belt into the leotard. The pink “belt” is my normal hip roll pieces cut on the bias and treated essentially in the same manner as the hip roll for a classic fuku. I will note that you must be EXTRA careful with the bias cut satin to prevent weird pulling. I cut a strip of interfacing and fused it to the top layer of the “belt” and also was extra mindful of my pressing. Additionally, you will likely need to taper the belt in at the center back to prevent puckering (if you care about that and I did).

The gold belt was very similar. I again took my hip roll pieces, cut them on the bias, and interfaced them. Once they were stitched together, I tacked the center front onto the leotard, then used snaps to hold the belt in place. Cutting the belt on the bias helps it curve around the body and lay flat!

The skirts are treated in the exact same manner as the skirts we use over at Cosmic Coterie. I did 3 circle skirts for each layer, basted them together, and treated them as one before pleating and attaching them to the base leotard. Then came the ETERNALLY (I crack myself up) long process of cutting and hemming 30 yards of fabric *dies inside*.

The collar was the most straight-forward part of the base fuku. I used the collar pattern Vickie Bane drafted up for us with my giant person alterations. From there, I made bias tape from my scrap gold fabric to create the stripes.

For Katsucon, I opted to create a standard butt bow since I didn’t want to travel with large wings. I’ll add those on when I get ready to compete!

Helpful tutorials:

Chest Brooch

 

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This was another trial and error piece. I had a resin heart mold on hand that I love for my Super senshi. I experimented with some shimmery mixes for the resin casting before ultimately deciding on an opaque design with Cast Magic.

Like the hair feathers, I created a basic vector of the wing shape based on some artwork I found online and played with the sizing until I found the size I was most comfortable with and suited me proportionally. I then converted the files and cut the base shape out on my Cricut. As with the feathers, I heat sealed the pieces prior to moving on.

Once that was done, It was time to mount everything! The heart resin piece attaches onto the base wings with industrial strength Velcro and then attached the pearl feathers to the sides with e6000. For a little extra flair, I also glued a few fluffy feathers onto the base and also added some Swarovski crystals for extra sparkle.

To help keep all this nonsense on my chest, I attached 4 spin clips to the back that are held in place with Black Worbla.

Helpful Tutorials:

Gloves

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Ugh, I hate how inconsistently the Eternals especially are drawn. Sometimes Moon is drawn with the points on her gloves, sometimes not. My preference is with them, for a very specific reason: hand access.

For these gloves, I bought a base pair of white wrist gloves from We Love Colors. I then made arm stockings from the same material as my leotard for the top (the glove rolls were made using our normal approach over at Cosmic Coterie and then adding on the feather clips). To create the point, I made some bias cut satin strips and used the same angle I use for hip rolls (app. 90 degrees). I then treated this as really fancy bias binding and stitched it around the edge of the arm stockings, gluing crescent moons I cast out of resin on the tip.

Once the bias binding was on, I hand sewed snaps on the stocking and the base glove, enabling me to easily remove my glove while in costume without having to take the whole piece off.

Boots

There’s not a whole lot to say on these that hasn’t been approached in other Eternals write-ups. I bought a pair of base white boots, but unfortunately they weren’t quite large enough for my calves. This was a pretty easy fix, thankfully. The boots had a center seam in the back, so I opened it up down to the bottom of my calf and sewed in a wide pieces of elastic.

After cutting the boots at a 45 degree angle, I stitched more pink bias cut satin around the tops and then glued on more crescent moons that I cast out of resin. Easy peasy!

Other Accessories

 

A few years ago, my Cosmic Coterie teammate Space Cadet Cosplay had plans on making ESM, so she bought a ton of generic molds for this project. When I mentioned I wanted to do this build, she was super sweet and gave me the molds. I used the mold she gave me to create all the stars you see on this build. The crescent moon molds are from MoldsbyMia.

For the heart/moon piece, I built a small model in TinkerCAD and printed and cast them as I described above. These two pieces are mounted on the choker, which is also a piece of bias cut satin stitched at an angle.

Thoughts on this build:

I nearly talked myself out of wearing this build so many times, but its one of my favorites to date! I love how everything came together and how many new skills I picked up, which is refreshing after making so many Sailor Moon costumes. I do plan to add on to this build for competition later in the summer and will absolutely document the process to share with all of you.

In the name of the Moon, make gorgeous things! ❤

Anthony in the pool June 2016
Photographer credit: Chez Photo

Costume Notes: Nana Shimura (Boku no Hero Academia)

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Completed: September 2018

Debuted: Two Heroes viewing

Hours Spent: 20-ish

Why This Costume: 

Have I talked about how much I love spandex lately? Because I really, really do. As soon as I saw Nana on My Hero Academia, I knew I needed to make her. She’s super in line with my cosplay type. But what really triggered the inspiration for this costume was the need to remake the cape for my Saitama commission. The one I originally made was a few inches too short for my client, so I decided to use this cape for myself since I’m a few inches shorter than him and the cape worked almost perfectly for Nana. From there, it was pretty much a dive in my closet of what materials I had available (black spandex, check; wig from Angel Dust, check; yellow leftover spandex also from my Saitama commission, check; red mystery knit, check) and getting to work!

Purchased Pieces: 

  • Wedge heels: Amazon
  • Belt buckle: Etsy

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

Since the cape was already done (and my serger was threaded with red), I started with the skirt. For Nana’s skirt, I drafted a half circle skirt and tweaked the opening a bit. I wanted this to have some volume, so of course a circle skirt was the way to go! After letting it hang for a few days, I tapered the opening a bit and lined the skirt with the same fabric. The waistband has elastic in it and I sewed snaps at the sides and center back for extra support, much like I did with Utena.

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My next step was to work on Nana’s bodysuit. Her suit is pretty simple overall: just a single-color sleeveless form-fitting suit with a high collar. To make this, I turned to Yaya’s bodysuit pattern and made a mock-up in my size. From there, I tailored it to fit me while wearing my intended undergarments. My original plan was to eliminate some of the extra seamlines, but I quickly realized that wouldn’t work for the yardage I had on hand. So I stuck with the pattern as designed and managed to squeak out all the pieces!

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My dog does not appreciate my hand turkey shennanigans.

The gloves were… interesting. I forced myself to make them this time since I had a solid yellow on hand (hehehe) to match her design. I used the cheater’s method of sewing stretch gloves and made a hand turkey. These aren’t the prettiest, but they work!

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I started to make the buckle myself, intending to make it out of foam. A quick Etsy search revealed this lovely 3d printed option, though! I went ahead and purchased the buckle, then sanded it down and painted it.

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To make the boots, I chose to go a little outside the reference image and wear wedges instead of flats. Heels just make legs look better to be honest. I picked up a cheap pair on Amazon, stripped the varnish, and painted them white with Angelus. After several coats of paint, I sealed them up again using Angelus products and they were good to go!

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The last piece I styled was my wig. This is the same Arda wig I used for my Angel Dust cosplay! After giving the wig a thorough washing, I set out to re-style this wig. I used a couple of tricks from my wiggy senpai Victoria Bane to get the pieced bangs, then used the back portion of the wig to style a half-up messy bun.

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To finish everything off, I covered a few button kits with yellow spandex to match my gloves, added them to the cape, and also stitched on a gold chain.

Thoughts on this build: 

This was such a fun costume to wear, and it came together super fast! Honestly, I think I spent more time painting the boots than anything else. I was so glad I finished her in time for the Two Heroes movie debut and got to wear her with my awesome friend JWow! I can’t wait to shoot her and wear her at a con!

Have you seen Two Heroes yet? What did you think of it? 

Commission Notes: Saitama (One Punch Man)

Completed: August 2018

Hours Spent: 30-ish

Purchased Pieces: 

Patterns Used: 

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

Ahhhh, this was such a fun build! My friend Ash (and one of my favorite photographers) is really into One Punch Man, and a few months ago she asked if any of her cosplay friends could help turn her dad into Saitama. I jumped at the opportunity, especially after I decided to watch the show (much to Koholint‘s delight).

I started with the base bodysuit for this build. It’s fairly straightforward, but because of that, I wanted to make sure all the details were correct and clean. I’ve used Kwik Sew 3029 several times at this point, so I was able to quickly note changes and modifications to the pattern (big shout-out to Victoria Bane for cutting these pieces for me!). The top just required adding a white collar portion and zipper. I chose to do the white portion as inset corners and also sewed in an exposed zipper. The rest was a very quick process. I zig-zag stitched the suit together, hit the seam allowance with my serger (overkill, but I like the final look), and added elastic to the ankles to give the pants more of a “puff” look.

The next piece was the cape. Again, big shout-out to Victoria Bane for cutting this for me! My go-to for any big cape is The Dangerous Ladies’ tutorial (linked above). After letting the pieces hang for a few days (let that bias settle, yo), I cleaned up the cape and stitched the fashion and lining layers together.

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First run at the cape. At least I can still use it for Nana Shimura!

What I failed to realize was that my client’s measurements exceeded the length available on 60″ wide fabric. Thankfully, this wasn’t a lost cause. The shape of this cape will work very well for one of my upcoming cosplays, Nana Shimura from My Hero Academia. I held onto the cape for myself since it was already complete, and ordered 120″ fabric from Online Fabric Store for a new one. I again followed the same process, but this time at the proper length. After the new cape was sewn up, I hand sewed snaps to attach to the base leotard and sewed on the giant grey buttons (made from scraps of my Arsene vest!).

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The boots were fairly straightforward. I ordered a base pair from Funtasma in my client’s size, stripped the varnish, and painted them with about 10 layers of Scarlet and Fire red from Anglus. Once they were fully painted, I hit them with Angelus finisher.

The gloves were a little more challenging. I had this bright idea to get some Captain America gloves and paint them to match the boots. However, the gloves were… garbage quality. They didn’t take the paint at all and basically fell apart the second I looked at them. Instead, I made a pair of glove toppers using vinyl that matched the boots. I also realized that the dye I used for Makoto’s gloves was a good match for the boots and vinyl, so I set out to dye a pair of men’s gloves from We Love Colors. It took about 6 washes to get them fully dye free.

To create the belt, I found a Saitama cosplay belt on Amazon. The buckle was fairly accurate, but the belt itself was okay at best. I purchased the belt, stripped off the buckle, and made a new belt out of black vinyl I had on hand.

Thoughts on this build: 

This was such a fun build! I love how absurd this show is, and I’m glad I got the chance to make something from it. I can’t wait to see Ash’s dad as Saitama!

On Cosplay and Burnout (+ commission updates)

Man, oh man. This post… This post has been a long time in the making. I started writing it well over a year ago, and it’s taken a lot of time, distance, and reflection to find the words I want to express myself.

Over the last two years, I’ve had some of the best moments of my cosplay life along with some of the worst. I’ve cut out toxic people from my life who I once held dear, solidified friendships with people who are essentially my chosen family, published my work professionally, competed in competitions, judged in many others, guested at several cons, and lots more. And through it all, I’ve struggled with burnout and what it means for me going forward as a seasoned-but-not-quite-veteran cosplayer.

I first started noticing the worst burnout of my cosplay life to date around late February/early March of 2017, almost 5 years since I started cosplay. I was juggling several commissions while simultaneously trying to crank out multiple new costumes for a few of my favorite local cons, All-Con and Dallas Fan Expo, which were a little over two weeks apart. I’d dealt with con crunch before, and thought I had it all well in hand, but I also got sideswiped by an increased load at my 9-5 that had me staying at the office late and checking my work e-mails from home — a situation I promised myself I’d never be in again after leaving a horribly toxic work environment several years ago.

Combine all of that with being responsible for 1/3 of our Madoka build at Cosmic Coterie (FYI, organizing a large group build is a crazy amount of work, but that’s something to discuss later), and I crashed HARD the week before All-Con 2017. All the work I’d done to make sure my costumes were finished more or less went to waste; some of the builds I made are still waiting to be worn, a year and a half later. I attended the con for a day, out of costume, and only stayed for a few hours because I had to go back home and work on more commissions.

The whole ordeal was very sobering for me. I realized in that time frame that cosplay was turning into a job, and it was an unpleasant and poor paying one at that. By the time all was said and done, I was easily spending 20+ hours a week working on cosplay for other people in addition to my 40-hour a week job, and this left me with next to no time to work on my own builds, let alone this blog.

The idea of quitting cosplay replayed in my mind over and over during the next few months, compounded by heartache, exhaustion, and physical and mental consequences I’m still trying to fix. Most of my summer con season in 2017 was a blur and a repetitive cycle of work to the bone up until the very last second, then smile tiredly for pictures, and hustle back home to work on the next thing. Cosplay can be a rat race of churning out new content every week or even every day if you let it, and I definitely did for a while.

This year has been infinitely better for me in terms of workload, in large part thanks to the workflow changes we voted on over at Cosmic Coterie. In our very early years, only a handful of people handled technical construction, which was how I got involved with the group. With our Madoka build, we tried to move toward a model where all members were largely responsible for their own builds, but we appointed the strongest crafters as team leads to help tackle the trickier parts of the costumes. This didn’t work out quite the way we envisioned and the bulk of construction still fell on a handful of people. When planning for this year came around, we decided that each person should be 100% responsible for their own builds. We still help each other out when the need arises (such as with our Outer Senshi build this year), but ultimately every person handles their own stuff. This has GREATLY reduced my overall stress, but I’ve still been guilty of taking on more work than I can handle this year, specifically in the realm of commissions.

Moving forward, I’m re-focusing on my efforts on getting back to my cosplay roots: making for the joy of making. I love learning new skills, and I love emphasizing craftsmanship above all else in my work. Working at the speed of light over the last few years has forced me to sacrifice both, and I’m excited to get back to doing what I love.

As a result, I’m taking a brief hiatus from commissions, at least through the end of 2018. I love doing commissions and helping people become their favorite characters. But the reality is that I can’t continue at this pace, especially while working full-time.

All that said, I hope y’all will stick with me through this next year. I have a lot of exciting projects and creative endeavors planned for the coming months, and I can’t wait to get back to sharing them all with you here.

Costume Notes: Revolutionary Girl Utena

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Photographer Credits: Ash Snap ‘Em Photography

Completed: August 2018

Hours Spent: 35-ish? It took about 10 days start to finish.

Debuted: A-Fest 2018

Why This Costume:

Have you ever had friends who are really into a series, and it takes forever for you to jump on board? That’s how I was with Utena. I’d heard people talk about it for years, but I blew it off for the longest time. I decided at the end of July to watch a few episodes and quickly got hooked!

Patterns: 

Helpful Tutorials: 

Purchased pieces:

How I made it: 

Blazer WIP collage! I tested a few sizes for the pockets since of course the anime has all sorts of varying sizes.

All in all, this was a pretty simple build since I had a couple of go-to patterns to help me with it. I used my tried-and-true princess seam top, McCall’s 7373, as the base for this pattern. I started with a quick mock-up, mainly focusing on the lower half of the jacket to make sure the shape was right. Once I made sure everything was good to go, I knocked out the base of the blazer using a black suiting and lining fabric from Jo-Ann’s. I stuck to the show’s 4 buttons on the blazer, but I used large snaps on the lining side to make sure the fabric didn’t gape. The bodice has a light interfacing to help keep its structure. Since I didn’t want to interrupt the lines of this design, I opted to make faux pockets rather than real ones. I might go back and re-do those at some point so that I have easier phone access.

Blazer progress with the bias tape!

All of my bias tape is made from scraps of Vickie Bane’s Anthy to make sure we’re extra matchy-matchy. I used a couple of flat shank buttons leftover from my Cornelia for this design. The cuffs are self-drafted, using Vickie’s Anthy cuffs as a springboard. I’d like to revisit these before I wear her again and make them detachable so I can easily switch between school and duelist uniforms.

I finished off the jacket with the Duelist Utena Kit from UniqueCosplayProps on Etsy since I was short on time with this build. I’m not a huge fan of the fringe used on the epaulets, but when I tried to take it off, the resin nearly cracked. I’ll probably 3D print another set of epaulets and use thicker cording next time. I’ll also likely use magnets instead of spin clips to attach the epaulets. One of the spin clips broke during my photoshoot, and they didn’t do a great job of holding the SUPER HEAVY epaulets in place. I’m hoping that a couple of rare earth magnets will work better.

Playing with 3d printing! I’ll post it to Thingverse soon!

I forgot to make sure the triangle neck pieces were included in the duelist accessory kit when I ordered it (they aren’t, if you want to order this set for yourself), so I quickly set out to make them. I designed the pieces in TinkerCAD and printed them off at my work’s Makerspace. After printing the triangles, I sanded them down to remove the 3d print lines, then primed and painted them. They attach to the collar with pin backs.

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Crummy bathroom shot trying everything on together!

For Utena’s underskirt, I followed Vickie’s lead again and made a trapezoid out of chiffon and then box-pleated it. I used French seams on the edges and the skirt is held up with extra wide double-fold bias tape. The skirt connects with a hook and I also have snaps sewn on at the side seams of the shorts to keep it from shifting throughout the day.

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Speaking of the shorts, they were a quick evening project. I used some credits sitting in my Seamwork account to get the Kaye shorts pattern and knocked them out using dull tricot from We Love Colors. The only alteration I made to the shorts was to add an elastic waistband for a little extra stability.

Again, since I was short on time for this build, I purchased a resin kit from Azure Props for the sword. This kit was absolutely gorgeous and the seller is such a sweetheart! Definitely hit her shop up if you need Utena resin pieces. Once my kit arrived, I assembled it and began sanding. Once I removed all the seam lines, I attached all the pieces with HobbyTown’s 5 minute Epoxy and primed and painted it.

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When I have more free time, I’d love to do a bit more detail painting and maybe some work with Rub-n-Buff. But it turned out well enough for my first wear!

First wig that was sadly a bust (cries over time spent wefting). Be wary of cutting your wigs too short! I’m also terrible at cutting wigs in general, whomp whomp.

For the wig, I dug up my old Fluttershy wig from my cosplay closet. It was a great color, but it didn’t have quite enough volume for my taste. I filled it in with Rose Pink wefts from Arda. Unfortunately, I cut this wig a bit too short, so I had to replace it with a Baby Pink Venus from Arda.

Utena wig, take 2! So much better!

I gave the bangs and forelocks gravity-defying volume using the tutorial linked above. Thankfully, my Epic wig won’t go to waste. I’m going to hold on to it for movie Utena at some point in the future!

Thoughts on this Build: 

This has honestly got to be one of my most comfortable costumes to date. Biker shorts, a fitted blazer, and comfy flats for the win! I was nervous about how a pink wig would look with my skin tone, but I honestly felt really pretty as Utena! This costume will very likely become a staple in my cosplay rotation. I can’t wait to do a shoot of her in a rose garden with Vickie!

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Costume Notes: DSN Makoto Nijima (Persona 5)

 

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Photographer Credits: Michael Benedict LA, Wildstarjp Photography, Arlington Public Library

Completed: June 2018

Hours Spent: Less than 10

Debuted: ArlingCon 2018

Why This Costume: I mean… I’m pretty much obsessed with this game and still have a ton of plans for future P5 builds, especially with Koholint and AdventTraitor. I was so giddy when Atlus announced a stand-alone dancing game with new designs. I love this dancing version of Makoto and prefer it over her DAN DLC design.

Purchased Pieces: 

  • Base gloves: We Love Colors
  • Base t-shirt: Amazon
  • Jaquard paint: Amazon
  • Shujin fabric: Spoonflower
  • Base boots: Amazon
  • Wig: Arda Magnum in Spanish Brown with a clip-in braid
  • Contacts: Etia Coeur
  • Belt: Hot Topic

Super Helpful Tutorials: 

How I Made it: 

This build was super simple. It’s borderline closet cosplay to be honest, especially since I’d already made Makoto’s skirt, though eventually I want to remake mine using some tips my Cosmic Coterie teammate Victoria Bane shared with us.

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I pulled most of this together over the course of a few days. To start, I grabbed a pair of base boots I had in my closet from a Tifa costume I never got around to. I stripped the varnish and repainted them with a combination of Scarlet and Autumn Red Angelus leather paints. It took several layers to get to the shade I wanted, and once my final layer dried, I sealed the boots and swapped out the red laces for black ones.

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In between my shoe painting, I also hit the shirt. For ArlingCon, I bought a basic grey shirt off of Amazon along with Jacquard paint. I literally dipped a brush in the paint jar and just went to town splattering the paint everywhere. The bigger splotches needed a full 24 hours to dry, and once that was done, I followed the manufacturers directions and heat set the paint on the reverse side of the fabric. Once the dye was dry and set, I took my fabric shears, cut a few openings in the shirt, and covered them in safety pins.

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To create the gloves, I grabbed a pair of white wrist gloves from We Love Colors and dyed them with red iDye Poly. You can definitely use a pair of red gloves from them instead of dyeing, but I was mostly working with what I had on hand (huehuehue). I’ve covered dyeing spandex before, so I won’t address that here other than to say IT DOES NOT TAKE LONG TO GET THE COLOR YOU NEED. Seriously, I left the gloves in the dye pot for a minute and they’re still a little darker than I’d like. I wound up washing them 3 times before calling it quits and I still got red dye on my hands after a full day of wearing them. After dyeing the gloves, I grabbed a scrap of stretch vinyl and created a band to attach to the top of the gloves. Pretty easy and quick!

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Wannabe grunge baby

For the arm band, I cut a rectangle on the bias of some red satin and gave it tapered points. My original intent was to have it as a single layer of fabric with a machine rolled hem, but then I decided to fold it in half and just stitch it up that way (much like my Ms. Marvel sash).

Truth be told, the belt was the biggest challenge I faced with this build. I needed something that fit my low hip rather than my waist, and I had trouble finding something on Amazon that didn’t cost $50+. I thought I’d be thrifty and make my own belt, but 3 columns into studding it by hand and I gave up. Instead, I hit my local Hot Topic, bought two belts, and spliced them together using contact cement. I made sure to cut carefully and overlap sections where the studs would disguise my hacking. It’s not the most elegant solution, but it works for this costume!

The rest of the costume was pulled together from pieces in my closet, including the stockings and garter belt I used for Lulu.

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Thoughts on this build: 

I had such a fun time with this costume! It’s a fantastic summer outfit with the skirt and t-shirt combination. I do have a few pieces I’d like to tweak as I mentioned above, but it’s such a chill costume that I honestly don’t mind if I take my time (huehuehue) with those updates. This will be a great costume for judging and chill con days!

Do you have a favorite closet cosplay?