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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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.


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.


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


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.




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


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.


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.


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!

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.


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


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:

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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…


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…?


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

Meiko Camellia for Anime-Zap! – dress and petticoat

Do you ever have one of those just horrible sewing days?  Where everything goes wrong, nothing turns out like it should, and you just feel like giving up?  Well, I had a grand one of those today.

So, I finished the red petticoat yesterday, as planned – yes!  It went pretty well, too.  These big fluffy skirts were actually a lot of fun to make, despite the hours of labor in involved – maybe because I could the results of my work as I went along.  With each tier of ruffles, they got bigger, fluffier, poofier!

For the red skirt, which has a sort of high-low hem, I knew I didn’t want a circle skirt.  I began with a tube of fabric which I then cut into the shape that I wanted.  It wasn’t quite big enough, though, so I added a gore in the back for some volume.

Then I began adding the tulle.  I made an attempt at math, and failed again.  So, it was back to guesstimating.  I’ve done enough of it to be pretty good at it by now ;D



Here’s the first layer of tulle around the hem.  Not even remotely fluffy yet.


Eight layers of tulle.  Starting to get pretty fluffy!


Fourteen layers!  So fluff!  I was just kind of making it up as I went along, but I had a general idea of where I wanted the layers to go.  There are two that go all the way around the hem, then ten short layers across the back inside of the skirt, and two more layers around the hem at the top.

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Here you can see the shape of it.  It needs a little tweaking because the tulle has a tendency to go off in whatever direction it likes, but it’s what I was looking for.

As well as things went with the petticoat yesterday, they went totally the opposite with the dress today.  I just couldn’t do a thing right.  I was determined to bully through it, though, and I spent about 8 solid hours on it today, and it is finished.  But it could be better.

I wasn’t taking a lot of pictures today, but I do have a few.  (Really, three.)



Some late-night pattern drafting last night.

I ran to the fabric store this morning and grabbed a bunch of white peach skin, which is what I particularly wanted for these costumes.  I really loathe satin almost all of the time, and my other choice for the image I had in my head of this dress would have been silk taffeta or dupioni, if budget allowed.  Peach skin was my first choice, though, and luckily there was just enough on the bolt.

I cut out my pattern pieces, started on the sewing… and immediately started making mistakes.  sewing pieces together backwards, sewing the wrong pieces together, sewing my lining to my fashion fabric.  The pattern is basically a halter top that zips up the back, and it took me about an hour to assemble eight pieces.  Then, because I cut my pattern too shallow in the underarm and too short in the back, I had to go back and add pieces to make it larger.  Ugh!  So the dress top is kind of a pieced-together mess, but once the black vest is on, you won’t be able to see any of it.  Still, I know that it’s there, and it irks me.

The skirt went easier, although I overestimated how thick the peach skin would be – it’s fairly see-through even with a (albeit white) lining.  So instead of an unlined skirt, as I planned, I cut two of each panel and lined the skirt with peach skin.  I can always run back to the store for more fabric if I’m short on the other dress I have to make, but I pieced it out and I should have just enough.  So there’s one thing that went right.

I stitched a length of horsehair into the skirt hem to give it some weight and shape.  When it’s actually on top of the red underskirt, it floats up a little bit, so I may add snaps or something to hold it down.  I don’t want to attach the skirt to the underskirt because they’re two separate pieces, but now that I think about it, it could be done super easily.  So maybe I will.


The scalloped neckline gave me some food for thought.  In retrospect, I made it more complicated than it probably had to be.  I cut eight scalloped pieces to make four double-sided pieces, two for each half of the neckline.  The halter neck closes in the back with hooks.  I did a sloppy job with the whole neckline and I was getting frustrated by then.  But it was close to being done, so I charged ahead.

I attached the top and skirt at the waist, and then put in an invisible zipper – backwards the first time, and the second time the waist was out of line by an inch and a half.  But the third time’s the charm, right?  After that, it was just a matter of tacking the lining down on the inside to finish the dress.


Like always, it fits the dress form not quite as well as it fits me.  It doesn’t ride up quite so high in the neckline.

I do have some red tulle left, probably just about enough for one more tier of ruffles, so I’m going to add another one to the outer edge of the underskirt.  That will fill in some of that gap between the white and red skirts.  Also, more ruffles!

I’m really happy with the petticoat, but the white dress isn’t one of my better costuming efforts.  With the black vest, though (which I’d like to tackle tomorrow as well as the other white dress) to hide some of the flaws, I’ll have to be happy with it.

Camellias for Anime-Zap! – skirts, part one

I’ve officially hit that point where I am way the heck behind on my sister’s and my convention costumes.  I have three to make for each of us; as of the start of this week, I had one of them started, and nothing else.  So it’s time to get my butt in gear with these things.

On Saturday of the convention, we’re planning to do sort-of matching Vocaloid costumes.

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My sister wanted to do Megpoid (the green one) and she picked out Meiko (in red) for me.  These are costumes I love.  Big and fluffy and ruffly.  Immediately I knew what I wanted: yards and yards… and yards… of tulle.

I knew these skirts were going to be a pain so I decided to get them out of the way first this week.  I went out and got a few bolts worth of tulle, and some matching colored broadcloth for the skirts.  I began with a simple circle skirt pattern:



Then, before cutting into my tulle, I sat down with a calculator, a pen and paper, and a stumped expression, and did some math.  and some calculating.  and some more math.  and still more math.

The truth is, I almost never measure or calculate anything when I sew, and that does fairly often come back to bite me in the ass.  Even when I do, I somehow always get things wrong.  For instance, I figured that I needed nineteen pieces of 10″ by 28″ to make the ruffle that would go at the hem of the skirt, and I ended up using fifteen.  That might have been due to under-gathering in some spots, but that’s still a lot of extra yardage to waste.  So anyway, after that, I went back to my usual method of doing things: eyeballing it.

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I made a makeshift cutting board out of some other fabric I had at hand, because no way can I cut nineteen straight lines in tulle.  I can maybe do it in regular fabric.

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Four little piles of tulle strips.  I sewed them together, end t0 end.  I was so happy when I was finished because it seemed like I had not screwed it up and gotten some of the seams on the wrong side… when it turned out that I had, in fact, somehow flipped it over halfway through, so half of my seams went one way and half went the other.  Not that you can tell, it’s tulle.

I folded the entire long as hell strip in half, pressed it (carefully) so it would hold a crease, and then I sewed a loooong piece of cord down one side for gathering.  I’m really fond of cord gathering, rather than doing it on a thread.  Then I sewed the whole mess to the hem of the skirt.


Here it is with one tier of ruffles, just the one at the hem.

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Here it is with two.  The second tier was two inches longer than the first, and sewn on right above it.  But already I knew that if I kept going like this, not only would I need a gajillion yards of tulle, but the shape wasn’t what I wanted.  So for the next layer, I went back to 5″ wide ruffles, and sewed them to a long piece of green broadcloth, which was then gathered and stitched down two inches under the waistline.

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The inside of the skirt, with the “yoke”.  Not the easiest thing to assemble – I kind of went about the whole skirt backwards, I think.

It was still not quite enough poof.  I took my remaining tulle and cut it into four 18″ wide strips, which were joined together, and folded in half to make 9″.  This I gathered and stitched down on the underside of the yoke, to give the hip part of the skirt a little more oomph.

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The completed skirt, laying flat(ish), and a view of the poof.

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And here it is on my dress form – complete with an underskirt view ;D

Tomorrow, I tackle the red version of this poofy mess, which is going to have twice as many ruffles!  We’ll see if I can finish it in a day; this green one took me two afternoons, but I probably could have finished it in one day if I’d gotten out of bed earlier.

Rolling Girl

Not much to report on the costuming front, I’m afraid.  I was out of town all last week and I’m going out of town tomorrow for a week as well.  I’m off to Seattle with my little sis to see Lady Gaga with Hatsune Miku!  (on a side note: I’m starting to get a handle on this Vocaloid stuff.  Rin is my favorite I think, I like his voice the best.)

We thought it would be fun for the concert to do a little Vocaloid cosplay; nothing fancy, as our time and budget are both short.  So we’re both doing the “Rolling Girl” video cosplay, a really easy costume to thrift.  I went out and got mine today:


and after experimenting with some makeup:



(Ignore my dirty mirror; I was cleaning my makeup brushes and I always make a mess.  Then I didn’t feel like retaking pictures after I got undressed and took my makeup off.)


As for the convention costumes – haven’t made much progress since last I posted.  I’m still waiting on my jewels to come in the mail for the gown’s collar and cuffs.  I did, after days of scouring the internet, find exactly the perfect crystals for Black Lady’s earrings, so I’m like really pumped to make them.  It’s rare that I find exactly what I want when I have a particular picture in my head of something.  I did get all the chiffon hemmed today – the shawl and the skirt piece.

After I get back from Seattle, it’s time to go full throttle on these convention costumes.  So I’ll have some more updates then!