the “Kiki” Dress

My sister and I are going to be hitting up Anime Central for three days this year – and since time is short, I figured I could make one new costume for each of us and we could reuse some of the ones from the last convention (my Black Lady cosplay is something I definitely want to wear again.)  However, since none of my other projects are going right at the moment, I was feeling frustrated today and I wanted to do something else, something easy to get me out of my funk.  Well, there’s a super-easy cosplay that I’ve always wanted to do – Kiki, from Kiki’s Delivery Service, one of my favorite movies.  So, I thought about what I wanted my cosplay to look like, made a run to the fabric store, and started and finished this cosplay today.

Continue reading

Advertisements

bits and pieces

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:

IMG_0415

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.

IMG_0418

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.

IMG_0428 IMG_0416

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.

IMG_0445

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.

project_diva_arcade_kagamine_rin_meltdown_by_johnjan11-d6m65h5

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.

IMG_0315 IMG_0314

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.

IMG_0317

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

IMG_0318

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.

IMG_0319 IMG_0320

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.

IMG_0323

 

 

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

IMG_0324

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.

IMG_0326

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.

IMG_0328 IMG_0330

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.

IMG_0357

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.

IMG_0375 IMG_0376

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!

Luna cosplay – part one

So, an honest moment here.  This blog is not the best showcase of my work.  I do make some efforts at a more professional-looking blog, but it’s not high on my list of priorities.  Anyway, all of what I post here is probably only about half of what I make, and it’s not necessarily the better half – my best items are the ones I make for other people, where I hold myself to extremely high standards – higher than costumes I make for my own enjoyment.  So what you get here on my blog is a mix of the good and the bad – and naturally, there will be some total failures from time to time.

So… I had really big ambitions this past week.  It began with a wig.

I ordered a cheap blue wig from Ebay a while ago, for my Dark Althena cosplay, but when I decided to change to the Lucia cosplay instead, I realized that the wig wasn’t going to work.  Lucia’s hair is more teal, and the wig I had was definitely blue, and I find I’m extremely picky about certain things when it comes to cosplay.  So, I ordered another one in a more teal-ish color – no harm done, very little money wasted.

But that blue wig just stared at me.  I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stand the though of not using it – I did, after all, go to some trouble to style it and make it look presentable, including five days of soaking it in some fabric softener to get rid of the horrible cheap wig shine (as a result, my apartment still smells like a field of flowers some weeks later.)  I was really determined to get some good out of it, for whatever reason.  So I started thinking about costumes I could use it for and then I had this brilliant idea.

Duh – Luna.

Luna

I did some study of her costume, and broke it down into basically four parts – an underdress, a dress, a vest, and a shawl.  I thought to myself, this will be an easy make – I can probably get the whole thing done in less than a week!  Heck, I can probably get it done in a day!  I had plans to call this post “one-day cosplay” and show off how much you can get accomplished in a short amount of time.

Well – that plan got shot pretty quickly.  I severely underestimated this costume, and severely overestimated myself.

Of course, I wasn’t feeling my best this week to begin with, and I should know better than to try and sew too much when I’m already sick and tired – I always make mistakes.  But I overwhelmed myself with this costume.  I spent a good four days on it, and it’s still not done – it is nearly there; it’s 95% done according to my Cosplanner.  But it irks me that I didn’t finish it the way I planned.  Because, in theory, it should have been an easy make – it’s just four pieces, after all.

Well – on to the costume.

luna2 luna1 luna

Unlike the Lucia costume, there are some pretty good reference pics of Luna’s outfit.  What it looked like to me is that she has on a white underdress/shift type thing, followed by the yellow dress, then the blue and white overdress/vest/whatever, and the shawl tied around her hips.  I went digging through my newly-orginized stash, and found that I had nearly everything I needed – the only things I bought for this costume were some blue and purple remnants, and the fuzzy stuff for the bottom of her dress.

IMG_0299

I started with the shift, and made it your basic white shift – almost identical to my 18th century shift, except it has no gussets under the arms.  It’s made from an old linen curtain I got at the thrift store (price tag read $2 for a pair) and I cut my pieces at the bottom so I didn’t even have to hem it.  Although, I realized later that it’s a bit too long, so I’ll have to hem it after all…

IMG_0301 IMG_0300

The yellow dress is made of some heavy yellow linen I’ve had laying around for a while now.  I was a little bit at a loss for how to build this – the image of Luna in her yellow dress shows it as being seamless with no visible opening or how to get it on.  You can see that it has a black collar and presumably laces or buttons at the neck.  I decided to open it up the front and make it lace up, cotehardie-style.  The hem is trimmed with maribou; I though that real (faux) fur would be too heavy and the maribou has a nice fluffy look to it.

The belt and the shawl are both finished, and the vest just needs a collar and closures put on for that to be finished, too – so really, this costume came together pretty well.  Just not as optimistically well as I wanted.  I’ll cover the vest and the shawl in my next post about this costume.

Bonus – here’s a pic of me modeling my wig, looking not-so-hot at six in the morning:

IMG_0265

I can’t decide whether or not to be pleased with my progress on this costume as a whole – on one hand, I got a lot done in a fairly short amount of time, but on the other hand, I literally had no reason to make this costume except for that I wanted to challenge myself.  I could have been working on my Anime-Zap! costumes instead, because that’s coming up quite fast.  Oh well – at least I learned my own limitations, if nothing else.

Megpoid Camellia for Anime-Zap! 2015

Ah, it feels so good to cross things off lists!  Yesterday I tackled the white dress for my sister’s Megpoid cosplay.

vocaloid-just-a-game-white-camellia-gumi-2

Here, if you need reminding, is an image of the costume in question.

IMG_0247

And here’s my version!  I spent all day yesterday constructing the dress, but admittedly I was working pretty leisurely on it.  The construction is simple and I probably could have finished in half a day.

I didn’t take many pictures of it during construction, but here’s a close up of the bodice and the inside of the bodice:

IMG_0235 IMG_0234

I drafted the pattern on my dress form, to my sister’s measurements.  Since it’s a strapless dress, I built it more sturdily than my own.  The inner layer is an old thrifted white sheet, the fashion layer is white peach skin, and it’s lined with white lining fabric.  I added a hefty amount of boning (some industrial-size zip ties that my dad gave me for free; score!)  There are two bones to each seam and some in between seam, as well.  One thing I really hate sometimes is seeing a good costume – historical or otherwise – ruined by looking slummy because of a lack of proper undergarments/structuring.  Stays and corsets are important for historical costuming, and I guess for me that carries over into modern costuming as well; the silhouette is important.  So, anyway, that’s the reason for that.  (Sorry for the spiel!)

The skirt is a half-circle.  It took me some thinking to decide how to do the skirt of the dress, because the green petticoat was cut in a full circle only for fullness – I didn’t want the dress skirt to be that full.  In the picture, it pretty much lays flat over the green fluff layer.  So I played around with some fabric and the petticoat on my dress form until I decided that a half-circle would do.

And also…

IMG_0237

A hat!  I whipped this together in about ten minutes with some hot glue and an old black felt hat I happened to have laying around.  The green flowers I had gone shopping for last week, and I went to every craft store in town to find what I wanted – but I was working off memory and didn’t have a picture of the costume with me, so maybe I was being more picky than I needed to be.  Anyhow, none of the flowers I found were actually camellias, but they’re all a good close match.  The flowers on the dress were bought for this project; the white flower on the hat and the crystals were bought a while back on clearance, as well as the green striped ribbon.

This project is essentially finished (“essentially finished” – my catchphrase) and it’s nice to have finally completed something!  I’ve been working on bits and pieces of stuff but there’s a sense of accomplishment in having a costume all done.  All I have left on this one is to add a bit more green tulle to the petticoat (or maybe I’ll add it to the white skirt itself) to cover that little gap where I pulled the skirt up to attach the flower.

 

And what did I work on today…?

IMG_0246

Hint: it involves… yet more ruffles!  I’ll post about that tomorrow.

“The Borgias” – part two

There’s nothing like a deadline to create serious inspiration!  The problem I have a lot of the time with motivation is that I’m super-motivated for the first day, or two, or three when I start a project… and if I don’t finish the entire thing within that time, I completely lose it.  However, I do love to work against a deadline.  Maybe that’s why this costume came together so nicely for me!

So, at last post, my Borgias inspired gown (which I’ve taken to calling the “cotton candy” dress, because the color scheme is so garish XD) was in need of sleeves.  They were a pretty easy build.  I drafted a sleeve pattern for a full-length sleeve, which I made up of my own design because I didn’t find any pictures of any sleeves that I particularly liked, and would have enough fabric for.  I had a scant half yard of the blue taffeta for both sleeves.  Yikes!  They are kind of inspired by the sleeves on the dark burgundy velvet dress that Danielle wears at the end of Ever after (did I mention it’s my favorite?), the ones with the gold-thread quilting.  Plus, it is November in Wisconsin, so I figured that quilted sleeves might give the costume some extra warmth where it would surely be needed.

Image

the sleeve I drafted.  I played around with the shape a bit until I got what I wanted, which was a straight sleeve that would tie to the arm hole of the gown, with a very pointed part at the shoulder.

Image

quilting!  yeeergh!  I admire people who quilt, because I do not have the patience for it.  Just doing these two sleeves was enough for me.  I didn’t use a grid or any kind of marks for my design, I just eyeballed it, so it came out not exactly perfect.  But I think it lends a handmade feel to it.  I didn’t want it to be too perfect.

Image

Image

The finished sleeves, inside and out.  I slashed the elbows because i liked the look of it, and bound all the edges with the scraps of the blue taffeta that were left (and believe me, I was down to bits and pieces by the end.)  The “peekaboo” fabric is some white crepe-y jersey stuff that I found in a box in my closet.  It’s kind of scratchy and definitely not period accurate, but it had the right look of what I wanted.  Rather than making full sleeves, I just tacked some pieces on to the holes, in true theater fashion.  For one, I didn’t have much of the fabric, but also the sleeves were kind of a tight fit to begin with and I didn’t think a whole bulky sleeve would fit well in there.

Image

This was the inside of the bodice when all was said and done.  I used another panel of the crepe jersey, with a faux-lacing of silver cord on the front of the bodice.  However, I don’t have a picture of that.  The whole thing doesn’t look too pretty from the inside, but hey, I was short on time.

All that was left was to sew some eyelets up the back, and hem the darn thing, all of which I did this morning when I got home from work at 5 a.m.  (Last-minute sewing is the only type of sewing!)  Then, when I got up this afternoon, I managed to whip together a kind of short cape to wear with the gown, because it was, indeed, quite cold outside today.  I’ll have some pictures of me wearing the whole ensemble in the next post.

Since it’s November (novel month!) I’ll be taking a break from sewing.  But I’d like to revisit this costume again when I have some spare time.  For one, I’d like to sturdy up all those tacked-on pieces, or maybe change the design of how I did it.  Also, the front of the bodice of the gown is dismally unadorned.  I did have some pink and silver trim, and some pearls I intended to slap on there if I had the time, but I ran out.  There are also some small fitting issues that would require a more thorough deconstruction (the bodice back, for instance, could be shortened an inch or two, and the straps were a bit too big.)  So I’ll put this costume on the shelf for some more work later on down the line.