Thursday 8 September 2016

Arwen Undomiel - Dream Gown

This costume was a spur of the moment build.  I was shopping for notions for a different cosplay when my eye caught sight of a beautiful iridescent blue-purple fabric.  The shop owner wanted to get rid of it so she offered me the entire bolt (about 10 m) for $20.  I thought about it and realized that it would work perfect for Arwen's dream gown so I bought the whole roll!  Yay for surprise cosplays!

Reference photo

Dress - The dress consists of two layers that are attached to each other at the shoulders and along the zippered seam line.  The under dress was made using a pale purple stretch fabric that had a really awesome texture to it.  It is an empire waist dress with a form fitting body and a drapey, loose top.  The over dress was made using 2 large rectangles that join at the shoulder and have side seams down to the hips that leave a large seam allowance.  It is reminiscent of a chiffon but it is more fitted.  All the pieces started out as rectangles that I draped over a dress form until I got the right silhouette and fit that I wanted.  It was my first draping project and I think it turned out pretty well!  Since there are no back seams, the zipper is located on the side.

Under dress
Wig - I bought an Arda wig in dark brown in the style of Le Tigre for this cosplay.  I crimped the hair by braiding small locks of hair and pouring hot water over them.  I waited until they dried completely before taking out the braids.  To create her half up style I took little pieces from the front and with the help of hairspray and heat I pinned each lock down to create a rose inspired centerpiece on the crown of the wig.  I left two small locks down in the front that partially cover the ears in an attempt to hide the seam.

The rose centerpiece
Necklace and Shoes - The Evenstar pendant was bought from a seller on Ebay and luckily it arrived in time for the first debut of the costume.  I reused the nude ballet flats I bought for Irisiviel since she doesn't really wear shoes in this gown.

Completed costume - credits to Soulfool Cosplay and Photography

Wednesday 7 September 2016

Irisviel von Einzbern

When I was watching Fate/Zero I got the sudden inspiration to create one of Iri's costumes and perform a music video cover of the second ending song.  I decided to go with her white (wedding?) gown since it was a simple enough costume and didn't require much effort to make.  I'm so glad I made this version of her because I feel like such a princess in it!


Dress - The dress was composed of four parts, the sweet heart bodice, the sleeves, the under skirt and the overskirt.  I took the pattern from my Pocahontas costume and altered the length of the bodice to create an empire waist.  The two skirts were both half circle skirts and the sleeves were patterned out on newspaper.  The gold details were done using a textured gold trim.  The dress has an invisible zipper in the back, is lined in the bodice and sleeves and has little loops to hold clear bra straps so that the dress actually stays up.

The bodice
Wig - I bought a pure white wig from The Anime Stuff Store in the style of Kana and some short wefts.  To style the bangs, I separated the main potion of the wig from the front two pieces .  I took a small portion of hair underneath the front pieces on each side, teased, hairsprayed and blow dried it until it held the shape I wanted.  I then combed over the mess with the clean top side of the front pieces.  I trimmed the bangs to the right length and used the remaining hair and some wefts to create a glued hairline underneath the bangs.  I trimmed the hairline and pinned the center part of the bangs underneath and to the side to create more of an open space in the middle.

Styling the bangs
Shoes - I didn't want the shoes to be a big eyesore or eye catcher for this costume so I settled on a nude pair of ballet flats that lace up the front.

Completed Costume - Credit to Soulfool Cosplay and Photography

Winter G-Anime 2016

G-Anime was a group excursion with Tsuki no StarDust, C-o-r-E and I that started late Friday evening.  We left Montreal later than we expected which resulted in us eating candies and chocolate in the car rather than an actual meal :P  Saturday we woke up bright and early to grab our badges and register for the masquerade.  Once all the paperwork was done we went back to the hotel and got dressed in our Tsubasa group cosplays!  It was my first time cosplaying as Yuuko and as soon as I had the makeup and wig on I felt like a completely different person!  It's really incredible how a cosplay can empower someone by just being worn :)

First time in Yuuko
Lunch was the next thing on our to do list for the day and we chilled in the food court with a bunch of cosplay friends.  We finally made it to the con and wandered through the dealer's room before stopping by Droo's booth for some photos.  While waiting in line for the photo booth I got to chat with Melting Mirror one of my cosplay senpais.  She now recognizes me which is really awesome :D  I only wish I could hang out with her more at cons.

Our masquerade performance
The masquerade was really fun, it was my first time entering with Tsuki no StarDust and our skit sweet!  If you want to check it our, click here!  Right after the masquerade we had a photo shoot with Erik Paredes Photography.  I made Tsuki no StarDust do some Yaoi poses and the results were gorgeous (tee hee)!  C-o-r-E was trapped in the masquerade until it finished so he didn't get to witness our shoot.

Master Awards
Sunday I got dressed in Yuuko once again while Tsuki wore Yukito and StarDust wore Ashura Ou.  We checked out of the hotel room and proceeded to the masquerade awards ceremony.  We ended up winning the "Strike the Pose" award and an Honourable mention for fabric painting in the master division!  Afterwards we met up with Detailed Illusion (Niq Cosplay), Miss Mess Mia and Elemental Photography and Designs for a big Tsubasa group photo shoot!  The shoot was the perfect thing to end the con with.  I really can't wait for next year it was really fun and not too stressful!

Overhead view of the group photo shoot

Monday 5 September 2016

Yuuko Ichihara

Normally Yuuko would not be a cosplay that I would have on my immediate list of things that I need to get done but I stumbled across this beautiful artwork that piqued my interest.  I shared it with Tsuki no StarDust who also love Clamp, jokingly saying that we needed to make this group cosplay one day.  Well they also loved the designs and we decided to make the group right away!  It was my first time working with these lovely boys and we had so much fun together!

Reference Photo

Dress - The dress was based off of the Tom and Linda Platt pattern supplied by Vogue (V1474).  I modified the pattern so that the bodice and skirt were separate from each other.  The top was further adjusted by changing the thickness of the shoulders and adding a floofy insert in the bust.  The skirt's slit was brought to the front side.

Airbrushed lining fabric
StarDust was in charge of all the airbrushing.  Once the pattern was made on the orange fabric, the skirt lining was cut out and assembled.  One flower was cut out and hand sewn onto the rear of the skirt while another was cut out to create the hair piece.  To get the vines to line up properly on the dress, the skirt and bodice were partially assembled and pinned for airbrushing.  The skirt was finished by bag lining it and adding a waistband.  The skirt is closed along the slit by a small zipper.  The bodice was lined with red lining fabric and detailed with the orange insert.  Velcro strips were sewn along the inside of the bodice and the outside of the waist band to keep the two pieces from separating.

Bodice lining
Gloves - The gloves, originally for a Delphine Eraclea cosplay, were handmade and made out of a black knit fabric.

Wig - I used a black wig in the style of Mio from Purple Plum Inc.  I trimmed the bangs to get a natural but blunt cut and cut some of the side locks to create the longer side bangs Yuuko has.  I separated two locks from each side of the wig and set them aside.  I gathered the rest of the hair and made a high side ponytail.  I took part of the left lock of hair and draped it over the top of the ponytail and pinned it in place.

Creating the base of the style
To make the hair loops, I separated the ponytail into three pieces,  Each piece was hair sprayed underneath and heated with a hair dryer.  Clear nail polish was applied to the underside and the lock was held up until it dried.  A loop was made and tied with black embroidery floss. I started from the top piece and worked my way down.  The hair loops were tied to each other to give added support and the excess hair was wrapped around and through the loops to hide the wefting and messiness and held in place by bobby pins.

Adding the hair loops

Accessories - The hairpiece was made with scrap worbla, a small comb and the fabric flower.  The worbla was heated and rolled into thin cylinders.  To create the hairpiece the cylinders were attached and shaped to a rectangular piece of worbla on a flat surface.  The longer vines were made first and then joined by the smaller ones that cross over and under.  The buds were shaped once all the vines were created.  The completed piece was shaped on last time by placing it on my head and shaping each vine one by one until I was satisfied with the result.

Shaping the hairpiece
The necklace was made using friendly plastic and made using the same method as with the hairpiece.  Both the hairpiece and the necklace were primed with gesso and painted with gold acrylic paint.  They were aged by painting brown paint all over and removing the paint with a paper towel.  The necklace closes in the back with a ribbon threaded through the ends of the vines.  The hairpiece was finished by gluing the comb to the back of the base and gluing the fabric flower to the front.

Tsuki no StarDust and I - Completed Costumes

Sunday 21 February 2016

My Cosplans for 2016!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cosplay Summary of 2015

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

First Attempts -

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

New Things Learned -

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

Cheapest Cosplay - Mukaido Manaka

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

Most Expensive Cosplay - Fuu Hououji

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

Longest to Construct Cosplay - Fuu Hououji

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

Quickest to Construct Cosplay - Mukaido Manaka

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

First Favourite Cosplay - Fuu Hououji

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

Second Favourite Cosplay - Maid Saber

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

Third Favourite Cosplay - Howl

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

Favourite Commission - Twilight Princess Zelda

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

Favourite Convention - Katsucon

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

Best Masquerade Performance - Hyrule Dreams

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

Biggest Cosplay Challenge - Working with Expanding Foam

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

Fondest Cosplay Memory - Fate Gathering at Anime North

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

Thursday 18 February 2016

Luke Skywalker

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


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

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

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

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

Completed Costume