Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Avoiding Catastrophe: Think Before You Cosplay

As a cosplayer, I sometimes get so caught up in cosplaying as something, that I don't think it all the way through before I begin making my outfit.  Here are some personal things I have learned, and some things I have witnessed that I hope will help you to choose a good cosplay.

1)Wigs are heavy!  If you are going to do a cosplay that has a wig as part of the costume, keep in mind that the longer the hair and the longer the time spent in it, the bigger headache you will have by days end.  My Lady Arrow costplay has a short wig.  I can wear this wig for about 8 hours before I start getting a headache.

My Daenerys, however, gave me a headache after about 4 hours.  I had a migraine by the end of the day.  Also, I got the same type of wig I got for my Lady Arrow.  Big mistake.  If you do a long wig, do yourself a favor and get a lace front.  It's a bit more expensive, but well worth the investment.

Also, my Twilight Sparkle was fairly heavy.  Although not as long as the Daenerys, it had the added weight of ears and a horn.

Look for a blog all about wigs in the future.

2)Think about your shoes!  First of all, don't wear tennis shoes with a ball gown.  Also, the Con floors are filthy, try not to go barefoot.  There are plenty of tutorials for invisible shoes if your cosplay requires no shoes.  If you don't wear heels on a regular basis, about an hour on the concrete floors of the con and you are going to be in agony.  Either train your feet for the con by wearing heels prior to the event, or choose a more comfortable shoe.  And don't think you can just tough it out, cause the pain will be written all over your face.  I can tell just by a look if someone's feet are killing them in their heels.

3)Corsets are painful.  If you have never worn one, wear it BEFORE your con or you will live to regret it.  Corsets force you to have very good posture.  Most of us don't have great posture, therefore the corset uses muscles that aren't used to being used.  You will have a backache of epic proportions if you do not train your muscles before the con.

4)Speaking of wearing things before the con, make sure you wear your entire cosplay prior to the con!  I cannot stress the importance of this.  It would be terrible for everything to look perfect, you get to the con and change, and the entire outfit starts falling apart.  Wear your cosplay around the house for a day.  Sit, stand, walk.  Pose in it.  Make sure that everything is secure and that it looks good on your body.  I made this mistake with my Daenerys cosplay and look how poorly fitted it is at the first con I wore it to:

You can see the fabric puckering off of my abdomen, when her outfit is supposed to be very fitted.

5)Think very hard about the character before you sex it up.  Now, I'm in no way saying that making a character sexy is taboo.  I love seeing the sexy costumes out there and have nothing but deep respect and awe for the women who put themselves out there in such costumes.  It's not me, but I'm okay with it.  That being said, there are certain characters that you probably shouldn't sex up.  For example, if you are cosplaying a My Little Pony character at a con that is likely to have kids, you may not want to wear a corset that gives you ample cleavage and a short skirt.  Although you may look incredible, you may end up on the receiving end of a lecture by the parents of a child who wants a picture with you.  The above scenario actually happened to an unfortunate cosplayer at a con I went to recently.  She looked mortified, embarrassed, and on the verge of tears.  If you don't wish to deal with this, then think about your character.  There are plenty of characters that are already super sexy, or that have a more adult audience.  My Little Pony has an adult audience, but I'll tell you from my experience, 90% of the pictures I took the day I wore my Twilight Sparkle were with children 4-8.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Props: Ears and Horn for Twilight Sparkle

I decided I wanted to do a Twilight Sparkle cosplay.  I've recently gotten into My Little Pony, and I absolutely love her.  She's basically me!  Plus, it's a relatively easy cosplay.  Easy to put together, and easy to wear.  The only hard part, was making the pony ears and unicorn horn.  I decided to sculpt mine using polymer clay.

Let's start with the ears.  Start off  with two pieces of clay, roughly the same size. Shape one into a rough triangle shape.  The next step is artistic.  Shape and mold until you have the ear shape you like. Now, polymer clay is super hard at first.  Once it warms up in your hands, it will be very easy to manipulate.

Repeat with the other ball of clay, trying to make it the same size and basic shape.  It doesn't have to be perfect.

Set aside.  Now, let's work on the horn.  Get two balls of clay roughly the same size. The size depends on how big you want your horn.  Don't make it too big or it won't be able to stand up.

Roll out like a worm, making it thicker at one end and thinner at the other.  Repeat with other ball.

Next, twist them around each other.

Now, it's time to bake.  Follow the directions for your specific brand of polymer clay.  Mine was to bake at 275 F for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch.  My ears and horn were about 1/2 inch, so I baked it for 30 minutes.

Let it cool.  Once cool, paint however you want.  Obviously, mine is for Twilight Sparkle, so I painted mine with a metallic purple so it sparkles a little.

Paint both sides.  This may require multiple coats.  After it is dry, you need to attach the horn and ears to the clips that will hold them to your wig.  I used hot glue and it seems to be working fine.  You can also use hot glue, let that dry, pull it apart, and super glue it back on.  I tried super glue from the get go and it wouldn't work, but I had to use super glue and hot glue for the horn and it worked perfectly.  Also, keep in mind that the glue will not hold if it bends when you are attaching your clips.  I had to attach my horn to the middle of the clip because it kept snapping off when I attached it to the end.

And viola!  We're done!  For me, in order to get the horn to stay, I have to attach it to the wig, then use clips in front and in back of the main clip to keep it from tipping over.

My finished cosplay!

Until next time, keep cosplaying!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sewing Feet

I've been sewing for years.  I'm self taught.  Basically, I wanted to know how to sew, therefore I bought a pattern, asked for help reading the back and getting the materials needed, then foraged ahead.  I used to know next to nothing about my sewing machine.  There are tons of things you need to know about your sewing machine that will drastically change your sewing projects.  Today, I'm going to cover feet.

There are a multitude of feet that you can put on your sewing machine that will help you.  The one it comes with is a basic, sew two pieces together foot.  If you want to do more than that, you need to invest in some more.  Sewing feet are a bit pricey, but trust me, they're worth it.  Let's start off with how to choose the correct foot.  First, you need to know what type of shank you have.  If you have the manual, look it up.  If not, take the foot off your sewing machine and see what it looks like.

Mine is a snap-on.  This is the generic foot that works for pretty much anything you need to do.  In fact, it works for everything you will need to do for cosplaying, however, other feet will definitely make your life a lot easier.

This foot comes with any machine you buy.  Now, if you want to install a zipper on your garment, there are a variety of zipper feet.  Here are two that I have.  Both came with one of my machines.  Not all machines come with more than one foot.  Amazon is a great place to buy feet if you don't have a sewing store in the area that sells your shank type (like me).

The foot part is smaller so that you can get your seam line right along the zipper teeth.  If you use the generic foot, you have to make sure you have plenty of material because you won't be able to sew right along the zipper teeth.  Your foot will get in the way.

Finally, my favorite foot: The hem foot!  

This baby is amazing.  It does a rolled hem, which will roll the fabric for you.  This means the fabric won't fray and leave lovely fray fabric strings dangling from under your skirt (or whatever you hemmed).  And it makes hemming a breeze.  Now, word of warning, it is a little difficult to start using.  Look up a tutorial on youtube or practice on some scrap fabric until you get the hang of it.  Once you do, it gives gorgeous hems, such as:

The hem foot comes in a multitude of sizes.  The hem pictured above was accomplished using a narrow hem foot.  Works wonderfully for long flowing elven sleeves.

Until next time!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Using Patterns to Make Your Cosplay

I love creating new outfits using only seamstressing skills and a dress form.  However, it's very time consuming.  A huge part of cosplaying is being able to look at a pattern (McCalls, Simplicity, etc) and knowing how you can alter it, or knowing that it will work for whatever you need it to.  It's not easy.  For example, take my first attempt at Steampunk Daphne:

I used Simplicity Pattern 2832

Looking at the pattern, my final product doesn't seem to match.  But if you look closely, you can tell it was made using this pattern.  I knew I wanted a puffy sleeve.  I also knew I was going to want a half skirt as I was going to pair it with shorts. 

I'm also currently working on a new cosplay that this idea applies to, but I don't want to give it away.  Therefore, once I'm finished and debut the cosplay, I shall add another post.

Until next time!

Twitter: AnnaStasiaCospl