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:Ā 

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 šŸ˜›

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 šŸ˜›

With the holidays just around the corner, I’ve been thinking about gifts for close friends and family members. Sewaholic’s free(!)Ā 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?Ā 

5 Fandom Friday: Fandoms Iā€™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.Ā 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.Ā 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.Ā 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 representedĀ in my cosplays šŸ˜› 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.Ā 

Costume Notes: Lulu pt. 1

Happy Friday, folks! This week’s post is a little out of the ordinary for me. Lulu has been my main build for a little over a month now, and though I’m not quite finished with her yet, I wanted to go ahead and start detailing my construction process. I’m doing this for a couple of reasons: 1) To help me remember all the details of this build for craftsmanship judging; 2) Because I am way too wordy and this will be a novella otherwise; and, 3) Because it frustrates me to no end that Lulu was THE character to cosplay when FFX came out over a decade ago and yet there are only a handful of cosplayers on the web with detailed descriptions of their builds. Now that the preamble is out of the way, I’ll start by going over this costume in chronological order of construction.

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Jewelry: Though I’ve been researching this costume for about three years and purchasing pieces since last November, the first real parts I worked on were Lulu’s necklaces and earrings. This was mostly a matter of scheduling. I stayed in Portland for a week in March and wanted something to work on in my down time that was easy to transport. Lulu’s jewelry fit the bill perfectly!

For the largest necklace, I snagged some rubber purple flat circles off of eBay. They’re separated by ivory faux pearls from Michael’s. The middle necklace is made from redĀ jade cylinder beads and dark green jade beads I found on Etsy. The shortest necklace is made from faux pearls from Michael’s. All the necklaces close with lobster clasps.

The earrings pictured above wound up being waaaaaay too heavy, so after spending far too much money on various beads on Etsy, I finally settled on pink agate oval beads with small faux gold pearls. I’ll share updated imagesĀ next week.

Helpful tutorials:

Time estimation: 10 hours

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“Fur” Stole: Once I got back from Portland, I decided to tackle Lulu’s fur stole. I picked up some gorgeous faux fur from Golden D’Or early this year along with some royal purple polyester haubute. The stole is pretty simple in terms of patterning. It’s a very long rectangle, just long enough to go around my shoulders with a bit of overlap in the front, and the lining piece is about a half inch shorter on each side to account for turn of cloth. Once I had my pieces cut, I sewed them right sides together, flipped them, and hand stitched the opening gap.

Fur, whether real or fake, is a tricky beast to work with. When cutting, it’s advisable to cut your piece from the wrong side of the fabric with a box cutter, taking care not to give your fur an inadvertent hair cut. This is also something to be mindful of when sewing. You’ll want to brush the fur away from your stitching and use a comb to release any fur that gets caught when you turn everything inside out. Have a vacuum and lint brush on hand to clean up when you finish! The stole attachesĀ to my corset via hand-sewn snaps.

Helpful tutorials:

Time estimation: 6 hours (with patterning and a do-over piece)

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Crinoline: Ah, the big piece that made me go, “Oh shit, I guess I’m really doing this.” This was my big hold-up with Lulu construction. Lulu’s skirt of belts was insanely daunting to me as a nooblet. I’ve seen a lot of people take the “apron” approach, where they build a faux apron out of the belts and hold it up with a harness around the waist. I took this a step further by building a crinoline based on an 1860s design. My rationale was that if these crinolines were built to hold several pounds worth of skirts, hopefully it’d also do the same with belts (I still have to test this theory. I’ll report back after this weekend :P). Another reason I went with the crinoline approach was because I prefer artwork of Lulu with a full skirt in the back, and a crinoline is a great way to get that effect.

I won’t go into too much detail here, since I already wrote about this topic in my TV103 pattern review. My big recommendation if you take on a project like this is to prepare for a LOT of hand sewing, especially if you deviate from the pattern markings AT ALL. Had I not altered this pattern as drastically as I did, I probably could have just sewn the bulk of the crinoline on my machine and then inserted the hoops. However, my alterations required me to do a lot of eyeballing and readjustments for a well-balanced crinoline. If you’ve got a lot of weight on yours, you might also consider using a heavy-duty belt buckle.

Helpful tutorials:

Time estimation: 20 hours (mostly hand-stitching)

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Corset: (One of) the main event(s)! This is what all my corset practice this year has been leading to. I knew I wanted this corset to be a major focus piece of the costume, so I went all out. I again turned to TV110 for construction. The only major pattern alteration I made was lengthening the front pieces to accommodate the points of the corset.

I made this corset using the welt seam approach. My strength layers are a cotton/viscose blend coutil with a gorgeous floral motif and duck cloth. I also made a floating liner layer out of Kona cotton. I wanted this corset to be super sturdy and able to withstand tightlacing, so I double-boned each seam with 1/4″ inch spiral steel boning.

Initial binding around the busk. This was 1" wide, and it was waaaay too wide for my taste. I seam ripped both sides, reduced them to 5/8", and used my zipper foot to edge stitch them down again.
Initial binding around the busk. This was 1″ wide, and it was waaaay too wide for my taste. I seam ripped both sides, reduced them to 5/8″, and used my zipper foot to edge stitch them down again.

One of my bigger challenges with this corset was adding the binding around the busk. Inserting a busk requires precision, and I had to add the satin binding to my coutil layer before I could construct the busk pocket. I drew in all my seam allowances with tailor’s chalk and went VERY slowly with the whole process. Once I had my hook side inserted, I stitched it down, and then brought my binding over and stitched that down as well. Unfortunately, my initial measurement of 1″ faux boning channels was far too wide for my taste, so I had to seam rip it up and reduce it to 5/8″.

Creating the rest of the faux grey boning channels was slightly easier. I created the channels by cutting my satin blanket binding in half, then sewing the strips WRONG sides together. I then pressed the tubes using quilter’s bars and cut my excess seam allowance away to reduce bulk. Once my tubes were created, I placed them on my corset using Wundertape and edgestitched them down. This also required a LOT of precision, since I was stitching directly into my boning channels.

After my channels were sewn and boning inserted, I used my blanket binding to edge the corset. The trickiest part was getting those corners to look mitered. I kind of want to seam rip these and do them again, buuuuuut that may have to wait until after the con.

For the back of the corset, I pretty much ignored the game art entirely for a couple of reasons, the primary being that Lulu’s corset is designed with zero lacing gap. In terms of corsets, this means that the corset is too big. You should have about a 2″ gap for a properly fitted corset. Since I did create this corset with a gap in mind, I also made a floating modesty panel made from leftover coutil and black bias tape. I laced it with parachute cord.

Helpful tutorials:

Time estimation: 20 hours

That about does it for this week’s post. Next week I’ll share more details!

What’s the biggest cosplay you’ve made? Ā 

Fandom Friday: Favorite Halloween Episodes of TV Shows

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Happy Friday! It’s been a little while since I participated in one of these. With Halloween just around the corner, I’m in the mood for all things Halloween. Here are a few of my favorite Halloween episodes of TV shows:

97tTMBuffy the Vampire Slayer: I like almost all of the Halloween episodes of Buffy, but my favorite has to be Fear, Itself. In this episode, the Scoobies (most of them, anyway), are trapped in a frat house and a demon feeds on their individual fears. There are some great moments here, including Anya in a bunny suit, ala A Christmas Carol, and Giles wearing a sombrero.

tumblr_ll9s5pb57r1qbgx8ao1_500Angel: I adore Lorne-centric episodes, and Life of the Party is one of my favorites. Lorne has his sleep removed in order to plan an office party to smooth over Angel’s transition into the big boss, and as a result, he winds up suppressing his empathic subconscious, resulting in all sorts of out of character behavior for the main cast. Favorite moments include: Angel and Eve getting it on in the office, “drunk” Fred and Wesley, and dancing Spike.

tumblr_n7phxq5oHY1tfr7zvo2_500Bob’s Burgers: Again, I like almost every Halloween episode of Bob’s Burgers, but my favorite has to be Fort Night. In this episode, the Belcher kids get trapped in their makeshift fort with some of their friends, and their classmate, Millie, refuses to get help after Louise insults her. Meanwhile, Bob and Linda are rushing to finish a Chinese dragon costume for the kids for trick-or-treating. The kids’ escape plans are hilarious, and the guest stars Aziz Ansari and Sarah and Laura Silverman give some great performances.

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Parks and Recreation: I debated this one. Parks Halloween episodes are pretty solid. Halloween Surprise has a lot of great moments (including Ben’s proposal to Leslie) and Recall Vote had Ben and Leslie in fabulous Princess Bride costumes (made by Castle Corsetry!). But my favorite is Greg Pikitis. This episode really helps push the show in a new direction after a fairly rough start. In it, Ann throws a Halloween party that’s not going well, but starts picking up when Tom arrives and turns the place into a dance party. Leslie’s “arch-nemesis”, Greg, is introduced as well. Some of my favorite parts from this episode include Leslie’s overall insanity geared towards Greg (tee-peeing Leslie is fantastic), Raggedy Ann, and Louis C.K.’s guest appearance.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-3720-1440245432-5How I Met Your Mother: Again, I debated this one. Ultimately, I decided on The Slutty Pumpkin Returns. After years of searching, Ted finally locates the girl who wore the Slutty Pumpkin costume in the first season of the show, and they begin dating, only to realize they have zero chemistry in hilarious fashion. Meanwhile, pregnant Lilly is convinced she and Marshall must move to the suburbs. We also find out that Barney is one-quarter Canadian, much to Robyn’s delight. Some of my favorite moments include: Ted having a hard time figuring out how to hold Naomi’s (the Slutty Pumpkin) hand, Lilly handing out a stapler to trick-or-treaters, and Barney going to a rooftop Halloween party in an American themed boxing outfit.

What are some of your favorite Halloween episodes of TV shows? Check out more responses by following the hashtag #5fandomfriday or #fandom5 on Twitter.

Disclaimer: All images are copyrighted to their respective companies.

Fandom Friday: 5 Pumpkin Items Cannot Wait To Purchase

5fandomfridayHappy Friday! Now that fall is in full swing, I’m jumping the bandwagon for all the pumpkin things! Here are a few items I can’t wait to get my hands on:

  1. A legit pumpkin: Now that I have a house with a real front porch, I’m looking forward to hitting my local fall festival and carving a pumpkin. I think I’m going to go with something simple, but nerdy. Probably Mario related!
  2. Pumpkin spice Oreos. Callula Cosplay is to blame for this one. She raved and raved about them recently, so now I’m dying to try them!
  3. Brach’s Pumpkin Candy: Not to be confused with Brach’s pumpkin spice candy. These bad boys take me back to childhood. Such a delicious sugary concoction! I can easily eat a bag of these by myself (and won’t admit how many times I have :P)
  4. Bath and Bodyworks Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin: I adore Bath and Bodyworks scents, and cinnamon pumpkin sounds divine. I really want to pick up some of their lotion in this scent along with some candles!
  5. Pumpkin fabric: I’m really feeling the itch to decorate my place right now. Probably unrealistic given all the projects I need to complete, oh, yesterday, but that won’t stop me from eyeballing all the cute fall themed cottons at JoAnn’s and Hancock right now.

You’ll notice that pumpkin spice latte is not on this list. As much as I want to like it, I’m really more of a salted caramel mocha kind of gal. I love that sea salt!

imageWhat’s on your pumpkin wishlist? Check out more responses over at The Nerdy Girlie!

Costume Breakdown: Casual Wonder Woman

Today I thought I’d do something a little different and show you how I plan my costumes and determine quotes for commissions. I find the planning stage one of the most stressful but also one of the most crucial stages of creating a costume. Planning a costume is where I figure out how much it will cost, how long it will take, what skills I need to learn, etc. Most of my costumes take at least a few weeks of planning before I even start purchasing materials, and all of that starts with a costume breakdown in Google Docs. Let’s take one of my upcoming costumes as an example.

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Art by Hanie Mohd.

Side note: I actually thought about doing this post using Lulu from FFX as an example, but I got to about 1,000 words and gave up.

My first step in breaking down a costume is looking at each component. Sometimes I’ll draw it out on a fashion croquis even if I have reference art, because I’ll catch small details that I might have missed otherwise. Here’s a quick example of what a breakdown looks like for this costume:

  • Wig: Despite owning 4 black wigs, I didn’t have one wig that quite matched this art, so I picked one up from Purple Plum. This is my first wig from them, and I really like it so far! When I plan costumes, I like to overlap as many materials as possible, and this wig is a solid base for one of my future costumes.
  • Contacts: I was fortunate that I had a couple other blue-eyed characters this year, so my contacts from Pinky Paradise have gone a long way! This is of course an optional purchase. Always, always, always check with your optometrist before ordering contacts!
  • Headband/bracelets: I have a similar tiara and bracelets used for a previous Wonder Woman outfit, so money saved.
  • Corset: This bodice could easily be modified as a corset, which actually works out well as a practice piece for Lulu. I had some of the materials on hand, but I still had to purchase the fashion fabric (1 yd casa satin), duck cloth for a strength layer (1 yd), grommets (1 set), binding (2 packs), and lacing (16 yds since I didn’t have a busk).
  • Gold “armor”: I can easily make the gold embellishments on the top and bottom using craft foam covered in gold spandex. I have all the necessary materials to construct these pieces.
  • Skirt: Fairly basic design, but the pattern was the tricky part. I opted for a double circle skirt with an elastic waist band. Callula Cosplay came up with the graphic for the fabric, which I printed from Spoonflower. I used leftover horsehair braid from a different project for the hem.
  • Petticoat: This skirt has a lot of volume, so I’ll probably wear a petticoat under it. I already have one, so money saved!
  • Character shoes: Easy enough purchase, though I had to paint them and still need to find scrap leather to form the T. Fortunately, I had leftover paint materials from Bombshell Wonder Woman.
OMG, shoes.
OMG, shoes.

At this point, I need to figure out details, extras, and skills I need to work on:

  • I think I’d like to make a matching bolero for cold weather cons, maybe with an embroidered Wonder Woman symbol.
  • Aside from the bracelets, there’s no jewelry drawn. I might skip a necklace, but I’ll definitely add earrings that I currently have.
Nearly finished corset!
Nearly finished corset!

Once I’ve got an idea of what skills and extras I want, it’s time to window shop and budget. I do a lot of this online through eBay, Amazon, Etsy and various fabric shops. When I do my budgeting, I also take a look at mailers to see when various companies are having sales. So if I need to buy patterns, I’ll check when my local Hancock’s and Jo-Ann’s are having sales and plan around those pieces.

Planning a commission quote follows all these steps as well, with the added exception of labor. I try to estimate how many hours a project will take based on previous experience and charge based on expected hours.

That’s just a brief look at how I plan my costumes. Do you plan your costumes out or do you wing it?

WIP July 2015 Edition

Another month has completely flown by! After the craziness of my early summer cons, I decided to take July slow(ish) with my workload. It’s been nice to take a few breaks and not rush projects!

Prior to adding horsehair braid to the skirt and finishing the corset.
Prior to adding horsehair braid to the skirt and finishing the corset.

Hanie Mohd Wonder Woman: 60% complete

This has been my big personal project for the month. I finished hemming the skirt over the weekend, and I also knocked out the other big component of this costume: the corset. I went back and forth on making an actual corset. With this style, a boned bodice probably would have been more appropriate (not to mention cheaper). That said, I really wanted to try out some different corset making methods to figure out how I want to make Lulu. So corset it is! All that’s left is making the “armor” and painting my shoes!

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Cut all the lace!

Lulu: 6% complete

Oh, Lulu… I didn’t really get around to doing anything with Lulu this month other than shopping for EVEN MORE LACE and a few other materials. After some thought, I decided to bump Lulu up on my costume roster. I’m still planning to make Shulkie soon (and maybe squeeze in one more simple costume this year), but this is going to be my primary costume build for more or less the next 4 months. I kind of just need to make this costume and get it out of my system. So look forward to lots and lots of lace and belts in the near future! My goal for next month is to makeĀ  her corset and a hoop skirt as the base for the belts.

Commissions:

11040603_746740975452011_6846321515076192671_nMy first commission this month was a Codex corset for Callula Cosplay! To pattern this, I made a mock-up of my trusty TV110 in her size. I marked the top edge while she wore it.

The fashion fabric for this is a burgandy upholstery fabric I found at Jo-Anns. I cut the fabric on the cross-grain (technically a corsetry no-no) to match the appearance of “stripes” on Felicia Day’s corset. The fashion fabric is fused to duck cloth which acts as a strength layer, and I used muslin for the lining. The whole thing is constructed using the welt seam method, which is pretty forgiving of cutting errors and also very durable. I bound the edges in pre-made gold bias tape. The front white panel is made of casa satin fused to duck cloth and lined with more muslin. It attaches separately with snaps. Overall I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out, and Dana looks great in it!

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Close-up of the side panel detail prior to topstitching.

My other commission this month is a bodysuit for Kevin Dale. He’s the guy who made my fantastic Captain Marvel cowl! I don’t really want to mention what this is from since he hasn’t announced his plans yet, but with all that red, it should be pretty easy to guess (Hint: it’s a spin on a classic Marvel character with a recently released show šŸ˜‰ ). I constructed this suit pretty much with the same approach I used on my Grihahim commission.

Once we got the mock-up fitted, I drew in seam lines for some visual interest. The base of the suit is red moleskin, and the side panels are high performance red spandex. I interfaced and topstitched 2″ faux panels on the sides and under the arms. I also topstitched the edges of these panels and extra seam lines for more visual interest. I can’t wait to see all of this come together!

wonder woman - blue 2The other major project I completed this month was making the initial run of product for my Etsy shop! I’ve accumulated lots of geeky prints over the last few months, so I sat down over a 3 day weekend and sewed up 18 clutches. So far, I’ve got Avengers, Batgirl/Supergirl/Wonder Woman, Disney villains, Anna and Elsa, and 2 different Star Wars prints. I picked up some Dr. Who fabric recently and will add a few samples to the shop soon!

Do you have any requests for specific clutches? I’m always on the hunt for geeky themed fabric. If you’ve got suggestions for other products you’d like to see (clutches without bows, coin purses, pillows, etc.) let me know!

What have you been working on this month?

5 Fandom Friday: Five Fictional Pets I’d Like To Adopt

5fandomfridayIt’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but I couldn’t pass up today’s topic!

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Clockwise from top left: Luna, Ghost, Fat Chocobo, Dragon from Dragon Riders of Pern, and Black Hayate.

1. Luna from Sailor Moon: C’mon, admit it. How many ofĀ  you Moonies have stumbled across a black cat and checked to see if it had a crescent moon symbol? My inner magical girl as a child (and adult, if we’re being perfectly honest) wanted an adorable black cat to come give me a transformation brooch and tell me I have super powers. Sadly, my black cat did not come with a transformation pen and the ability to talk. Didn’t stop me from talking to her!

2. Black Hayate from Fullmetal Alchemist:Ā  The beau and I are currently watching Brotherhood, and watching it reminds me how much I love Hayate. Shibu Inus are so adorable, and he’s incredibly loyal, coming to Hawkeye’s aid no matter how dangerous the situation.

3. Ghost from Game of Thrones: I went back and forth on whether I’d want a dragon from GoT or a direwolf, and ultimately went with direwolves since Dany’s dragons go from cute to “Oh crap, I think they might eat her.” Direwolves seem much more loyal by comparison, and I love Ghost’s gorgeous fur. That said, I’d also totally adopt a…

4. Dragon from the Dragon Riders of Pern series: I devoured this series growing up, specifically the Harper Hall of Pern books. It’d be so cool to telepathically communicate with a dragon that can also teleport! I also like the fire-lizards from this series too

5. Chocobo from Final Fantasy: Specifically, the fat chocobo from FFXIV. Because LOOK AT IT.

Which video game pets are your favorites? You can see more responses over at The Nerdy Girlie and SuperSpaceChick!

Life According to Instagram: June 2015

June1. I kicked off June with a trip to A-Kon! This convention is near and dear to me, since it marks my 3rd year of cosplay and attending conventions. Overall, I had a blast, and this was definitely my best experience yet! I got some beautiful shots back from various A-Kon shoots. One of my favorites is thisĀ  Captain Marvel profile from Kristi Grunden photography. You can find more photos of my A-Kon experience on my Facebook Page.

2. As I mentioned in my last WIP post, I wrapped up a couple of commissions this month. I was pretty pleased with how both of them turned out, especially Ghrihahim. It’s one of the craziest bodysuits I’ve made to date!

3. I did some cat-sitting for Callula Cosplay while she was out and about on world travels. Her cat Bella is so adorable! As much as I love Thor pup, I’ll always be a crazy cat lady at heart.

4. My boyfriend’s dad visited us a few weeks ago. We trekked out to see the Rangers vs. Twins baseball game. The game got delayed by rain, but we did see a very neat double rainbow!

5. Thor. Because Thor. He’s taken to chewing up his dog beds recently, so we’re taking him on even more walks in an effort to tire him out. My co-worker also just recommended a bed we’ll look into if he destroys his current bed. Have any of you had this kind of issue?

6. I’m making small bits of progress here and there on Lulu! Part of me wants to push all of my other projects to the side and just knock this out. I’ve put this costume off since I started cosplaying 3 years ago, and I’ve made it a monumental beast in my head. I think I’ll feel better once I really dive into it.

7. I had my first live-stream experience at the end of June! I was unsure how it’d go, since I’ve only seen a few and never done something like this before. It was pretty cool to just chat while doing some simple crafting. I wouldn’t mind doing something like this again soon!

8. My friend Allison invited me out to her library as Belle for their summer reading program! They had a storybook/Disney theme with lots of interactive crafts and I was in my own section with a castle backdrop. Hopefully I’ll have more photos to share soon!

9. I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing FFXIV this month since Heavensward dropped. My boyfriend and I took an entire 3 day weekend to chill and play video games and it was glorious. I’m leisurely leveling my White Mage and Astrologian, and I’m really enjoying my new flying mounts. Though all this game play has me thinking I may have to make a cosplay from the game soonish. Ysele is a strong contender (and much easier than her Shiva counterpart :P)!

Convention Report: A-Kon 26

Happy Friday! I was hoping to share my costume notes for Margaret today, but I’m still waiting on some photos and it’s been ages since I wrote up a proper convention report.

Velvet Room derp-age.
Velvet Room derp-age.

A-Kon 26 was my best A-Kon yet. This convention will always have a special place in my heart, since it was the first convention I ever attended, and 2015 was my best experience yet! This year marks my 3rd year of cosplay as well.

I got into the con on Thursday with the sole intention of picking up my badge. In previous years, I’ve waited 2-3 hours or more, even with pre-registering. A-Kon is finally listening to people, though, and upgraded to an electronic system. I was able to pick up my badge in about 20 minutes!

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New badges for this year.

I know a lot of people complained about them using paper badges this year, but I’m so willing to go for paper badges if it means waiting a fraction of the time I have in the past. In the future, it’d be great if they separated pre-reg from on-site. It wasn’t a big deal on Thursday, but several of my friends were stuck in line for 2 hours on Saturday because of that set-up.

Since I was able to get through line so quickly, I spent the rest of Thursday doing my normal con shopping in the Artists’ Alley. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of my loot (bad blogger), but I did pick up several pieces from thealicechan on Tumblr. Her work is absolutely beautiful!

Photo by ACCosplay.
Photo by ACCosplay.

Friday was all about photoshoots! I booked a shoot with ACCosplay at 10am on Friday morning. Big mistake! We stayed up pretty late on Thursday, so I got a late start and totally forgot my gloves. My hoopskirt also lost the lowest hoop on the walk from the Doubletree to the Anatole. Still, Sherwin was a total trooper and got some absolutely stunning shots of my dress. I highly recommend working with him, especially if you’ve got some pretty gowns!

After my Belle shoot, I wandered over to the Hallway Costume Contest. I’d never participated in one before, so I figured why not? While I didn’t win any awards, I was very pleased with how the contest was organized. I was in and out in 20 minutes, but really got quality time to chat with the judges (I think most of them were from Titanesque Cosplay) about costume construction. This is something I think most cosplay contests lack. I consider myself more of a craftsman than a performer, so I really value any chance I get to focus on that aspect of competitions. I’ll definitely participate again in the future!

Photo from John Welke on FB.
Photo from John Welke on FB.

In the afternoon, I changed into Captain Marvel for a shoot with Kristi Grunden Photography. I really enjoyed working with her! She was excellent at communication and captured some gorgeous images. She’s in the process of editing a few more shots, but here’s a teaser.

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Photo by Kristi Grunden Photography.

I was also happy to run into several Carol fans at the con, including an awesome guy in a Carol Corps t-shirt! Sadly, I didn’t get a photo on my phone, but if you’re reading this: represent!

Between shots with Aperture Ashley, so don't mind the derpy faces. Zwookiez got this photo!
Between shots with Aperture Ashley, so don’t mind the derpy faces. Zwookiez got this photo!

On Saturday, I joined some friends for a Velvet Room group from the Persona series. Even though this was a down-to-the-wire finish, it turned out quite well! We definitely got more recognition than I expected, and it was a blast to run around with my “siblings” for the better part of the day.

Double Margaret! Photo by Payton Renee Photography.
Double Margaret! Photo by Payton Renee Photography.

I also made it out to the Shin Megami Tensei meet-up in the afternoon. Definitely loads of fun, even though a quilted dress is not ideal for 90+ degree weather. Thank goodness for Kat Von D setting spray, otherwise my face would have been a puddle of foundation goo!

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Selfie time with Callula Cosplay and Showva!

Aside from silly photos, I really enjoyed the opportunity to kick back and chill with friends. Staying at the hotel definitely improved my overall experience at this con, since I could run back and forth to my room at all hours and not worry about leaving things at home. I’m definitely going to try to book a room in the host hotel next year. Or the Doubletree, since they had great service and a very nice complimentary breakfast spread. I had a fantastic time this year, and I’m really excited to get ready for A-fest in September! More photos are available on my Facebook Page.

Have you stayed at the host hotel for a con before? How was your experience?