Anime-Zap! photos – part one

Well, the convention is over, and again I managed to take almost no pictures of any of our costumes.  Hmph.  I do have a few, however, so here’s the first batch.

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Lucia cosplay for Anime-Zap! 2015

I’m getting excited – all of my costumes are nearly done!

I’m hopefully going to get everything finished and take some photos of each costume this week.  Here’s the first installment: some photos of my Lucia cosplay, which might be my favorite thing ever.

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I really just love this costume, now that it’s all come together.

The cape and jacket I covered in previous posts; the trousers I whipped up last week, and they were so much easier than I expected.  I literally just traced around a pair of jeans I own that fit me really well, and used that as my pattern; I serged all the seams, put a couple of darts at the waist, and put a hook to close them in the front.  They’re pretty utilitarian – nothing fancy (although I did mean to do pockets, but I forgot >_>) but they fit great and look great.  So I’m quite pleased.

I still need to make the hat and gloves, and the armor, which I’m working on tonight with some craft foam.  Also need to add a hook to the top of the jacket, because the neckline kind of flops open a little when I move around.  The boots are a pair that I own already, and they look good enough that I’m not going to bother with boot covers or cuffs or anything like that.  Although I’m a little miffed that I didn’t take into account the heels, and so the cape falls just a bit short of hitting the ground when I’m wearing it.  But it’s so not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

I think I’ve got my makeup down for this cosplay, too; the wig still needs some work.  I’ve used a number of cheap Ebay wigs over the years, but this one I think is the worst in quality I’ve ever had – it’s super thin and really unmanageable despite spending a week in a fabric softener bath to sleek it up.  It came with a lot of built-in snarls, too, that I had to cut out they were so tangled.  I’m hoping once I have the hat on it will disguise the fact that the wig sucks a little bit.

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I got a lot done today.  A lot.  In fact, I got a lot done this whole week, and I definitely feel like I busted my ass to do so.  But things are starting to kind of come together now.

What I accomplished today:

patterned, constructed, and finished pants for my Lucia cosplay

added lace and chiffon to my Black Lady dress

hemmed three yards of chiffon for a shawl

patterned, constructed, and finished an entirely new blouse for my Black Lady cosplay

 

Some photos:

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I had forgotten that I bought this lace for this costume a while ago, until I was digging through my lace stash yesterday while working on the Celestia cosplay.

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I added a panel of black chiffon to the inside of the dress.  In the official artwork that describes Black Lady’s outfit, Naoko Takeuchi says that the piece inside the dress and the shawl are made of the same material – but the shawl is pink, and the dress is blue-black-ish.  Perhaps she just meant they are both chiffon.  Anyway, I took my own liberties, and made the costume to the image I had in my head.  I’ll go more into that later, when I post the full pictures of this costume.

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I hemmed a buttload of chiffon.  I have a peculiar process for getting a perfect tiny rolled hem on chiffon (I really just love to use chiffon, so I’ve had a lot of practice with it) and that was what took the most time today.  It’s a step-by-step process that involves tearing, sealing, and hemming each edge one at a time.  Mostly it’s the sealing with Fray Away that takes up the most time.

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This shawl is a gorgeous color, closer to the pink I used inside the dress than the other chiffon that I bought for a shawl. I picked some up a while ago that was a nice burgundy-red color, but I really didn’t get enough – I cut one yard in half and sewed it together to make a 2 x 1/2 yard piece, and it seemed so skimpy.  This time, I bought a full three yards and this shawl is lovely and big.

I also made a whole new blouse for the Black Lady costume, only because I happened across some organza at the fabric store that was much closer in color to the idea I originally had in my head – although the blouse, on the whole, is far from my favorite piece of this costume.  I was in the middle of attaching the gemstones on to the collar and cuffs when I ran out of hot glue, but this whole outfit is quite nearly done – hurray!

 

I’ll do proper posts for both this costume and my Lucia costume probably later this week, when I get around to taking pictures, but I don’t feel up to it tonight.  The Black Lady costume, at least, does not fit on my dress form – it’s kind of a squeeze on me, in fact, but I wanted it that way – so I have to work up the energy to put the whole thing on to take pictures.

Kagamine Rin “Reactor” for Anime-Zap 2015 – construction

I have a short off-week this week, which sucks, but I have been working ultra-hard the last three days on my convention costumes.  It’s definitely crunch time – I have one more off-week between now and the convention and I’m going to be out of town for two days of that!  So I really have to finish all the big pieces this week, and hopefully I can work on the little things during my work week, as I have time – something I really try to avoid doing, but I don’t have a choice anymore.

Two of my sister’s costume picks were Vocaloid – the Camellia one I’ve already covered; the other is Kagamine Rin’s “Reactor” outfit – which is undeniably cute, and I was looking forward to making.

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I dedicated Friday to working on the dress.  Which, as usual, I tackled in a fairly stupid way.

I may have mentioned before, my “day job” is actually a night job – I work third shift on a week-on week-off schedule.  The big pro of this is that I get a solid chunk of time to work on costumes on my off-week.  The big con is that I am not a daytime person, and it’s extremely hard to force myself into a daytime schedule on days off, which usually results in a constant state of exhaustion and me doing dumb things and making a lot of mistakes that could be avoided.

So, Friday, I got up super-early (noon), went out and got some shopping done, and then got to work on this costume.

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I had draped the pattern that morning before going to bed.  Had I been thinking more about it, I would have made the dress pattern in three pieces – bust, stomach, and skirt.  Actually, had I been thinking about it, I probably would have just draped the dress on my dress form, because I knew those pleats were going to be finicky.  But, well, hindsight.

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I cut out and assembled my lining first.  Thrifted cotton sheet – $1.

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I thought the best way to assemble this thing would be to pleat my fabric first, and then cut out my pattern over it.  This probably would have worked fairly well if my pattern didn’t have a bust dart.  But I went ahead with it anyway.

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I cut out the pattern pieces and stitched around the edges to keep the pleats in place.  At this point it was still looking good to me.  I did each piece – front left, front right, back left, and back right – one at a time, to keep things straight.

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I wasn’t liking the way it was looking at this point, but I kept going.

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I got everything assembled, threw a zipper in the back, and stitched on some gold trim I had bought.  The pleats in the skirt are a little messy, but not so much so that I’ll spend time I don’t have trying to fix them.  This dress is finished.

Yesterday, I took on the jacket.

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I cut out my pieces, again being careful to get my colors and sides right… only to find out, after googling, that I had it wrong!  When I made the dress, I did the pieces black-white-black-white, like a checkerboard.  I didn’t realize until I was on the jacket that it was simply half-black, half-white – I made it a lot more complicated than it needed to be.  Well, it was too late to start over on the dress, but I had to take the jacket apart and swap some pieces to get it right.

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I used Wonder Under to get the black-and-white designs on the front and back of the jacket, and down the sleeves.

I drafted a sleeve pattern the way I usually do, and then assembled them.

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I sewed right through the top of my sleeve by not paying attention – d’oh!  I managed to steam most of the holes away, though.  But they were really obvious in this fabric, which was white cotton broadcloth and black kona cotton – chosen mostly because they were on sale at JoAnn’s, but also I wanted something that would hold a nice pleat.

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So, I added some of the same metallic gold trim as is on the skirt to the cuffs and collar, and this project was finished!  Not bad for two days’ work!  Actually, there are a lot of parts of this outfit I’m not happy with, but it’s unlikely I’ll have time to go back and correct mistakes.  I’ll be spending tomorrow finishing the costume I started today, and then hopefully on Tuesday I can finish up some bits and pieces of other things that I’ve not yet gotten to.  Then all that will be left will be little things like jewelry, accessories, etc.

I’m not done yet for today; I have two wigs to style before I go to bed… sigh.  So much left to do!  It’s only my own fault for waiting so long to start these costumes, but still!

Lucia cosplay for Anime-Zap! 2015 – uniform, part one

Well, I didn’t get nearly as much done this week as I thought I was going to.  I had two extra days off for a total of eight days – which seems like a lot of time, but it vanished pretty quickly!  Although, I lost two whole days to being sick and I had a lot of chores to do, which ate up most of another day.

I meant to get this whole uniform taken care of this week, but so far, I’ve only got one piece done – the jacket.

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So, I studied Lucia’s uniform as best I could given there aren’t a lot of pictures of it and it doesn’t get a lot of screen time in the game.  I came up with a list of items to make to complete the outfit: a jacket, pants, boots (or possibly boot cuffs if I have a pair that works,) gloves, and that belt/loincloth type thing she’s wearing.  I began with the jacket.

For this project I bought some black stretch sateen, which is a nice looking fabric with a nice sheen, and, bonus, it stretches!  I threw together a quick pattern by draping on my dress form, and got to work.  There’s no visible opening on the jacket in the picture, but it looks to be double-breasted, so I designed it that way; it comes to about hip-length, and is slightly tapered to a point in the back.

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This was my back piece pattern.  I added a little extra room to have a pleat at the center back.  No other reason than that I though it would look kinda cool.

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My mum has a lovely little BabyLock serger, which I don’t often make use of – I put a lining in nearly everything that I make, which eliminates the need to finish the edges.  But I didn’t have the time, energy, proper fabric, or desire to line this jacket (I have a feeling it’s going to be hot underneath this and that cape, and I didn’t want to add to that if I didn’t have to) so I opted out of lining it, and serged all the seams instead.  So quick and easy!

I was lax with the picture-taking again, but the construction went mostly the same way it always does – I sewed the front and back pieces together, and then drafted a basic sleeve pattern, and attached sleeves.  I made a facing for the neckline, and hemmed all the other edges.  Then I tried it on to mark out where my button holes would be.

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Sewing button holes.  Mine are obviously far from perfect, but they serve their purpose.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get good at doing button holes and eyelets; mine are always just… a little bit off-looking.

I couldn’t really tell what kind of buttons she’s got on her uniform – they look kind of like they might be gold/red toggles, but there’s no way to tell.  So I just grabbed some nice silver military-looking buttons instead.

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Here’s the finished jacket, complete with buttons!  It turned out quite nice, for something which will mostly not be seen…

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I also threw together this belt/skirt/whatever thing she wears around her waist.  It’s made of the black stretch sateen and some scraps of the red sateen I used for the cape, and hooks in the back.  I’m not sure yet how I’ll get that stripe design or whatever it is on the front of it – I thought of embroidering it, but I’m not sure it will look the way I want.  More likely I’ll find some matching fabric or ribbon and just tack it on.

Also, I stumbled upon this really neat app lately for cosplayers – Cosplanner.

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It helps you to keep track of your costumes and projects, and I’m finding I like it a lot – It’s clearly designed for cosplayers, but I have ideas of using it for all my costuming projects.  And it’s free, so that’s a win!  Anyhow, you can see the ones I’m currently working on – all of my and my sister’s Anime-Zap! costumes are there.  You can also see how not close to finishing I am overall, considering that this convention is in January – yikes!  Having lists and percentages really helps me keep track of things, though, so this app was a great find.  Up until now I just had pages and pages of checklists on my phone that I was trying to keep track of, and it was kind of a mess.