Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Journal of Anime Boston 2013

Anime Boston 2013... what can I say?  It was awesome!!!  It was only my second con ever and it was great!  So much to do, so little time.  So many cosplays, not enough battery power.  My group and I arrived on Thursday much later than anticipated.  Pre-registration was SOOO fast!  It literally took us a moment.  there was no wait, no line!  I hope that other cons will look at what Anime Boston did this year so that they can improve their own methods in the future.

Friday started bright and early for us.  Unfortunately we didn't wake up early enough so we missed the first panels.  I was sad as I wanted to attend the panel about costume analysis.  I cosplayed as Vana on Friday and I was in the first ever Original Cosplay Fashion Show!  We were brought on stage and asked questions about our characters.  It was a good experience for me, I think that it gave me confidence about showcasing my costumes on stage.  Perhaps I will partake in a Masquerade soon!

So I went to a few pretty cool panels on Friday.  Here are my notes for those panels:

All About Fabric

*To dye synthetics, try using half the dye and half vinegar so that the dye will take better to the fabric
*Tips for Sewing - Do your research, use the right fabric, use the right needle, use the right thread, watch the edges from the very beginning
*Leather mask molding - wet leather until it is sponge wet (not soaking wet), cut out the desired shape, place it over the mold and let it dry while on the mold.  It will hold its shape afterwards.

Saving Money and Your Mind in Cosplay

*Wig caps - use old panty hose, cut off the legs and there you have a wig cap.  To put it on pull it over your head, front first then the back to get in all your hair.
*Wigs have little flap things inside.  They are supposed to line up with your sideburns to center the wig.
*Skirt make from old t-shirt, cut off the top at armpits and add an elastic waist band.  You can use two of the same shirt to make a fuller skirt.
*Apparently there is a cosplay ice skating event every year in Boston!  Perhaps Otakuthon could organize one in Montreal... :)

I went to other panels too but they were more watching clips than note taking ones.

Saturday was the biggest day!  There were so many people!!  I went early to scope out the line (this was before the con started) and it was huge!  It moved pretty quickly though despite bag check.  It was very efficient.  The longest the line was looked like it would take at least an hour and it only took about 25 minutes.

Here are the notes that I took from the Panels on Saturday:

How to Take Commissions

*To know when you are ready - Do people want your stuff?  Do you have time?  Are there other people doing what you do, are they more skilled than you are?  Have you done your homework?  Be honest with yourself! Manage your time
*What will you offer - Create a portfolio, specify what kind of commissions you can do, show examples, keep your portfolio update (your style may change), have a price range, prices and quality are important to people
*Pricing - consider length of time, cost of materials, your market, hobby vs needs.  Don't under price yourself (or overprice), don't charge hourly at first but consider it.  If you get too busy with comissions, increase your prices.  Be confident with yourself.
*Managing Clients - Deposits can be refundable or not, give receipts, good idea to use materials cost as deposit, online payments can use paypal, square for smartphones (takes credit cards), money orders (make sure they are legit), don't take personal cheques as they can bounce, for shipping it is a good idea to take out insurance, get feedback from the clients, anonymous surveys, etc.
*Self Promotion - Follow through with what you say, put your best foot forward, create a wait list, communication is a big one!  It also helps to be interested in what the customer wants.
*Paying taxes - it's best to speak to an accountant!

We couldn't go to some of the panels that we wanted to because they were so full!  People lined up a head of time just to get into the panels.  I really wanted to see the masquerade and at around 5-ish I noticed that there was a really long line all around the second floor.  We figured out that it was the masquerade line!  Basically we waited for about an hour and a half just to get into the auditorium.  The masquerade was great though!  Some skits were really well thought out and performed.  The hall cosplay fashion show was also an event for the masquerade.  At the end, they showed the AMV contest winners.

Sunday was the quiet day.  We slept in that day and spent most of it in the dealer's room.  We did get to go to the closing ceremonies and the feedback panel.  I was able to find a Teto for my Nausicaa cosplay!!!  I have to remake it now (maybe transform it into the Manga version).

All in all Anime Boston 2013 was great and if I didn't have to worry about school then I would definitely go again next year!  (It will be held in March which means that I will be in midterms or pre-finals)

Monday, 13 May 2013

Sailor Jupiter

Originally my friend and I were going to get a Sailor Moon group going.  We talked about it for a bit but then we couldn't find any other girls to do it with us.  I thought about doing a Queen Serenity and Princess Serena duo, then the idea of Sailor Moon and Sailor V.  Eventually I decided that I didn't want to do any of those characters.  I've always loved Jupiter so Jupiter I will be!  If my friend is still interested maybe she will do Sailor Venus.


Leotard: I used the Green Pepper "Crystal Lake" Skating Pattern for the leotard.  I traced my size onto a piece of newspaper so I could keep all the sizes for future use.  I modified it a bit, making the neckline a little larger so that it wouldn't be so high.

I didn't use elastic around the neckline, instead I cut out a strip of fabric very much like I did in my Curtain-to-Cloak tutorial.  I used that as a bias edging so that I could have a nice clean finish.

Chest Armour: I took the top part of the leotard pattern and retraced around it to make the pattern for the chest armour.  Since I was using a knit material that didn't have as much stretch to it, I added extra fabric in the back.  I altered the length of the top, the neckline and the armholes.  I cut out the pattern and used that to get two pieces of the white knit fabric.  I pinned them right sides together and sewed along all the edges except the back seam and the shoulder seams.

I then sewed the back seam and the shoulder seams.  The first time I put it together the chest armour was too small so I had to go back to alter the pattern.  The second time I only had to adjust the back seam as it was too loose across the shoulders.

To make the sleeves I used the pattern described in the tutorial (see references at the bottom).  It took me a while to figure out how stuffed I wanted them.  I cut up scraps of white fabric I had lying around to stuff the sleeves as I am too cheap to buy polyester filling.  I also don't like wasting things even scraps of fabric.  Reduce your waste to help our environment!

Chest armour with sleeves
Sewing the sleeves onto the armour was quite difficult.  I had two make two seam lines, one as a basting and the other as the final seam.

Sailor Collar: I followed the same procedure as is outlined in the tutorial (mentioned at the bottom of the page).  I used the same measurements and to make things simpler I put my pattern piece on the folded edge of the fabric so that I wouldn't have to sew that seam.  Putting the ribbon on was tricky as I didn't really know how to make the corner sharp and clean.  I tried two different methods.  The first one was where the horizontal ribbon covered the ends of the vertical ribbon with an angled edge.  The second method was the cover the ends of the vertical ribbons with the ends of the horizontal ribbon folded over itself.  I'm not sure what the actual method is, they way I did it meant that you had three separate pieces of ribbon to attach.

Finished collar
To attach the collar to the chest armour, I added snaps at the very tips of the collar.  The collar doesn't match up with the neckline of the armour but it wraps nicely around the neck.  The snaps makes it easy to put on and take off.

Skirt:  I decided to alter my skirt from the one described in the tutorial.  I cut out a long rectangle of fabric measured 13 inches by 100 inches.  I totally forgot that I changed the length of the fabric from 90 inches to 100 though so my pleat calculations were messed up.

I decided that I wanted to try and make inverted pleats for the skirt.  I found a really good tutorial on making inverted pleats, which is also mentioned at the bottom of the page.  I did some calculations (with the wrong numbers lol) and figured out something that yielded a skirt that was too big for me.  I actually had to cut off two pleats on each side for it to fit properly.

I sewed up the back seam of the skirt.  I followed the cutting pattern for the V shapes as indicated in the tutorial.  Even with the V I still had to loosen up the skirt in the back.  I took out a few stitches until I could wiggle into it comfortably.
Pleated length
I made the hip rolls next, following the pattern in the tutorial.  They were a little long so I had to cut them back and adjust their length to fit with the skirt.  I stuffed them using the same method as for the shoulder rolls.  I have been able to use up so much scrap material!

I made a big mistake here; I attached the hip rolls before I secured the pleats down.  The hip roll was so stuffed that everything after this had to be hand sewn :S  Luckily I had the time to spend for this.  In the back I added a snap so that the opening that I made could be closed up.

I secured the pleats two inches from the top edge.  Hand sewing all those pleats took a lot of patience!  Again, do this before you attach a really stuffed hip roll!

Bows: Again for both bows I followed the tutorial's instructions and measurements.  I used a satin because I wanted to have a nice sheen to my bows.  I think I should had reinforced the bows more though because they are not as stiff as I would have like them to be.  They attach to the chest armour and the skirt by velcro.

Bow example
The first iteration of the brooch was made out of green Fimo modelling clay.  It was my first time using the clay so it took a while for me to figure out how to soften it enough to mold it into a hemisphere.  Once it was baked, I painted it with the Fimo polish.  I gave it two coats to get everything nice a shiny.  I first tried attaching it with sticky Velcro.  That didn't hold so I then tried to attach it by hot gluing a safety pin to the back.  I pinned it to the bow on the chest and found that it was too heavy and sagged.  I came up with some other ideas including screwing in a screw and then pinning the screw tightly to the bow.  That worked the longest but it didn't hold up perfectly and it even began to crack.

I will be making a second iteration of the brooch soon.  I just have to figure out a way to do it.

Gloves: Again I made these gloves, pattern and all.  I hand stitched most of it.  I only ended up sewing the long seam by machine.

Hand sewing spandex is really quite the challenge because you have to make sure that your thread will stretch with the fabric.  I did my best to keep the thread loose enough so that the fabric wouldn't pucker.  In order to fit the glove to my arm I had to adjust the long seam a few times to make it snug.

For the glove rolls I used the pattern from the sailor fuku tutorial below.  I stuffed them with scrap material.

Finished glove
Boots: I bought a pair of cheap nude heels that I knew I would be able to use for multiple cosplays as long as my boot/shoe covers could be removed and replaced.  I started out drafting my boot covers but placing the heel on a piece of newspaper and traced around the shoe.  I also traced around the heel.  I widened the heel markings and cut out the traced shapes, leaving a hole where the heel was.  I then cut out a piece of fabric using that rough pattern and placed it on the bottom of the shoe.  I cut the heel hole a little wider as it didn't first the first time over the entire heel.  Once I aligned everything, I cut it until it was the perfect shape of the sole and then traced the finished shape onto a new piece of newspaper.  As I didn't want the shoe cover to wear underneath the shoe, I cut out the center piece (2cm from the outer edges) of the part that touched the floor.

Bottom of boot cover
I then started the measure the shoe for the body of the cover.  I measured from the toe to the back of the shoe and from the toe to the ball of the foot (right before the shoe curved up to the heel).  I drew the full length on a piece of newspaper and marked off the ball of the foot.  I then measured from the floor to how high I wanted the boot cover to go, the circumference of the leg at that height and from the ground to the heel top.  I drew that line perpendicular to the first line and marked off the heel height.  

I halved the leg circumference measurement and drew that line perpendicular to the vertical line at the top.  I drew a line from the ball of the foot to the heel height to show the slope of the shoe.  To finish up the rough shoe shape I measured (at the widest part of the shoe) from the bottom of the shoe up to the middle of the foot.  I then measured the length from the toe to the widest part of the shoe.  I marked that point off and drew the shoe width line up from it.  I estimated the curved shape of the toe and closed the shape up by drawing a straight line between the last two open points.

I added some seam allowance to the rough pattern and rounded out the sharp corners.  To perfect the pattern I cut out the fabric version of it (twice) and using the bottom fabric piece, made a mock up of the boot cover.  I took note of the place where it was ill fitting and used that knowledge to tweak the design.  Once I got a good design, I also drafted the lace pattern.  I drew out a rectangle with width of 4 cm and the length I wanted for the opening.

To figure out how to attach the lace piece, I took my mock up and sewed around the toe until a certain point.  I then cut a little slash down and towards the bottom of the shoe.  I then sewed the lace piece right side together with the the width along the slash, then along the length.  This worked out and thus I moved onto making the real boot covers.

I interfaced the lace pieces as well as the top of the boot covers to keep them stiff.  I started sewing by reinforcing the bottom of the shoe and sewing some elastic across the open space (this was done to ensure that the cover would stay tightly around the shoe).  I sewed the back seam of the covers first, then moved onto the top hem, attaching the bottom to the body, then sewing up the curve to the marked cut point.  I set that aside then I made up the lace pieces, inserting eight eyelets into each piece.

I took the finished lace piece back to the main body and attached them both.  I inserted the laces and checked the fit.  If it was too large then I removed the laces piece and sewed it so that it would be smaller.  A lot of the boot covers had to be hand sewn though I was able to get away with a few machine stitched seams.

Finished boot cover
Wig: I ordered a medium brown Ivy wig from cosplay.com.  It took me a while to trim the bags because I didn't want to mess it up.  I cut the bangs with the scissors as parallel as possible with the hair fibers.  I did one half first then did the other half then evened out both parts.  I have yet to learn how to put it in the actual ponytail.  I have not going to keep it in the ponytail as I will be using this wig for Sheeta as well.

Bangs cut
To style the wig I had my boyfriend help me.  I had him wear a wig cap and then the wig on top of it.  I styled it using a handy tutorial I found online.  I had to do it twice as I messed up the first time and became really frustrated with it as it kept on knotting up.  The second time I styled it, I made sure the comb everything after every step.  It still got messy at the end but it was much better that the first time.  I have to re-style it though as it became tangled during Otakuthon.

Styled wig
Tiara:  I used craft foam, flexible craft wire, super glue, gesso, gold acrylic paint and a green plastic gem to make my tiara.  I started out by drawing the tiara pattern out of the craft foam.  I cut out two layers of it to sandwich the wire in.  I cut two long piece of wire and shaped them to the size and shape of a wig head.  I then super glued them in between the craft foam layers and let it dry.  Once it was dry I remolded the tiara so that it fit with my head.  I primed the tiara with the gesso, then painted three layers of the gold paint over top.  To finish it off, I glued the gem to the center of the tiara.  I cut the ends of the wire so that I could place them in my hair to help stabilize it under my wig.

Finished tiara
Choker: I found the perfect ribbon for Jupiter's choker!  I will just tie it loosely around my neck and let the ends hang down under the collar.

Make-up:  I started out by washing my face with regular soap and putting my hair up to facilitate make-up application.  To get all the little annoying hairs I put on my wig cap as well.  For my foundation I used Cover Girl's Clean sensitive skin liquid foundation, appropriate for my skin tone.  I applied it using a cosmetic sponge until I had an even skin tone.  For my eyes, I started out by applying a layer of Maybelline color tattoo (by EyeStudio) over my eyelids.  It was a cream eye shadow in edgy emerald.  I then used Rimmel London Colour Rush quad eyeshadow, urban flower for the dark spots and the highlights.  I used the dark brown in the crease, the light brown on the brow bone to highlight and the green to add colour in between.

I added some pink/purple colouring to the edge of my eyes using Cover Girl's eye enhancers dance party eyeshadow.  As I am not very good with eye liner yet, I used a liquid eyeliner only on the top lip.  I used Line Exact in black by Cover Girl.  For my mascara I used Lash Blast Volume in brown by Cover Girl.  Once my eyes were done I moved onto the finishing touches.  I used Match Perfection blush medium by Rimmel to add colour to my cheeks, nose, forehead and chin and finished up by using Vinyl Gloss love bug lip gloss by Rimmel for my lips.

Completed make-up
Sailor Jupiter is both fun and extremely painful to wear!  I love being recognized by all kinds of people and there were so many sailor scouts that I took pictures with!  I am not used to wearing heels so I had a hard time by the end of the day.  At Otakuthon I walked around the greenroom most of the time with bare feet because I wanted to save my feet from some pain before going on stage!  I also learned a valuable lesson: never wear a cosplay with heels two days in a row at a con.  My wig also caused me a lot of grief.  At Otakuthon it kept falling back because the ponytail was too heavy for it to stay on properly.  At Montreal Comic Con I used pin curls to put up my hair and attach the wig to.  I actually had to take pills because the wig was pulling so much on my real hair that it caused a headache!

Completed Jupiter Cosplay