Monthly Archives: January 2010

Deconstructing the Costume

Picking a costume is interesting.  Sometimes you see a character and say, “I want to be her/him!”, others you want to tackle the costume, there are those you are coerced into, and for a few, the character chooses you.  It doesn’t matter how it got you to the point of actually making a cosplay, but you’re here.  You’re sitting with a picture and trying to figure out how on Earth you’re going to pull it off.

Take in a a deep breath and don’t panic.  Give the picture  a second glance and tear it apart in your mind.  How many different pieces can be made from it?   Is it a three pieces suit?  What can you do to make it easier?

I’m currently making xxxHolic’s cover 14 Yuuko (the one with the coins).  It looks like it’s a revealing kimono with sash, but I’ve separated into five pieces that will be stitched together in the end, and that’s without the sash, triangles, coins and hat.

There are two sleeves, a skirt, a vest-style top, and the strip of fabric hanging from her waist.  From there, I broke apart each piece.  The sleeves will be one piece of fabric each, the skirt will be one piece as well, the vest will be three, and the strip of fabric will be hundreds of triangles sew together.

And suddenly, that costume doesn’t look so hard.  It’s a lot of little pieces, but once they are sewn together, you’ve got a costume. Take it one step at a time, and trust me, it’ll be easy.

After all, I’m working on my first “real” cosplay here; I’m as terrified as you are.



Defining Scantily Clad

I think I need to preface this with a few facts.  My name is mamaesme, I played volleyball so I’ve worn skimpy clothing before (spandex shorts anyone?), and this is an opinion.

Greyrondo and I had a conversation a while back about who I could cosplay, and she mentioned that I had that my boobs were a good fit for Yuuko from xxxHolic.  (Yes, we have frequent conversations like this.)  I had loved xxxHolic for a long time and was immediately taken with the idea.  I happened across the cover of book 14 and fell in love with the coins.  You see, I have a weakness for them.

So, I decided to do it.  I mean, I have the boobs, why not go for it?

I have since learned this:  A classy slutty look is hard to create.

If you know anything about Yuuko, she’s either one extreme or the other in the clothing department.  She is sexually confident and likes to stride around in either kimonos or what could pass as nightwear.  Making nightwear something you can wear in public, where children are present, is a bit of a challenge.

There is a fine line to walk in order to keep something from looking slutty when costuming.  Modify the design when you need to, because boobs do not need to pop out when little kids are running around.  Curve the top like a tank top, use lots of tape the day of, and make a built in bra in order to keep those girls in line.   (I’ll have more stories and diagrams when the mocking of Yuuko is finished.)

The same goes for skirts.  Wear pantyhose, for heaven’s sake, because, again, there are always little kids at cons.  I’ve seen perverts as well.  They are more than willing to stare at the girls or boys wearing little and displaying a lot.

If the costume calls for it, make sure the piece in question will lay flat or, again, modify it.  Most manga-ka aren’t thinking about how an outfit would look on a normal person when they draw it.  It’s up to you, as a cosplayer, to make sure it works in the real world.  (and to make sure you can’t get arrested by a cop for public indecency)

It takes a bit of work to look classy slutty, but the final product will look amazing and you’ll feel completely safe to walk around the con. Just keep a friend around to ward off the creepers.

In short: Cover up enough to make sure that you can’t get stopped by a cop.

Product Rant: Fabric-Tac

All right, Fabric-Tac. I’m going to be honest with you: you disappoint me. A lot.

I have heard some interesting things about your ability to hold corkscrew curls in wigs, but seriously, stop holding out on me. A product that smells as toxic as you should work better than you actually do. The first time made sense, because I assumed that when you said you work with fabric, you meant that you work with synthetic fibers and would, by extension of that logic, work on plastic. But then there was that second time with the feathers, and… well, we have a long history together.

You don’t dilute unless it’s with something weird like acetone or turpentine. You’re sticky in all the wrong ways–namely, you get everywhere easily enough, but when it’s time to man up and do your job, you don’t really hit the mark all the time. I can’t leave an open bottle of you alone for five seconds without you spilling over… sometimes even if you’re standing upright.

If I’m going to be asked my date of birth whenever I buy you at Joanns, then you need to be worth the ‘Do I *look* eighteen??’ reaction.

Finished Shoes

I just realized that I never posted pics of the completed Grell Sutcliffe shoes! I basically went through the same process as I did for the red, except I taped off the red so that the brown wouldn’t come near it and I went ahead and painted the soles because I thought that the original off-white soles would look glaringly out of place. I also ‘dyed’ (it’s technically painting) the laces red with a Sharpie, and then thoroughly washed both to remove the Sharpie smell and to give them a faded appearance.

Prop Chainsaw Construction Gallery

Series/Source: Kuroshitsuji, anime.

Character: Grell Sutcliffe

Prop: Ridiculously oversized chainsaw (and a total anachronism, to boot).

Quickie Product Review: Dazzling Metallics Elegant Finish 'Festive Red'

Why I bought it: Rustoleum’s hammered finish spray paint doesn’t come in bright red.

The Good: Dazzling Metallics Elegant Finish in ‘Festive Red’, manufactured by DecoArt, is just as shiny as it claims it is. It’s also an acrylic paint, and goes on with that much ease. I haven’t tried it on fabric, but it goes on very well over foam and insulation foam (pre-treated with a coat or two of Tack Glue to prevent paint absorption.) The amount of metallic in the product makes it highlight a sponge-painted effect very well.

The Bad: ‘Festive Red’ is also just as pink-hued as the label suggests. But since it needs a couple of coats anyways, painting it over a layer of a brown-leaning red counterbalances this pretty decently. This line of metallics doesn’t have nearly as many choices as other brands.

Worth it?: Yes. If it’s the exact color you’re looking for, then congrats.  But since it’s an acrylic, it will mix nicely with other paints anyways. You can find it with the rest of the acrylic paints in craft stores. I paid a little over $2 per 2 US fl oz. bottle at Hobby Lobby.