Monthly Archives: November 2010

Planning is Important

Now let me reiterated this:  planning is very, very, important.

I spend a good three to four months without a sewing machine every six months, and then, I leave myself with only four weeks to complete a full costume in.  When working in such a small time frame (and that really is, comparing to the complexity and level of work that I am pushing for with my current costumes), I have to plan every moment out and try to maximize the time I do have.

As a business student, I’m good with scheduling time and working through errors, but the amount of preparation you can do is key.  I make sure to finalize a design months in advance.  I, then, go through the fabric I have and figure out what fabric I need to purchase.  The new few months are spent looking for the perfect fabric combinations.

Typically, I begin to plan any props or the costume itself after that.  I make patterns from discarded newspapers (I use the Wall Street Journal) for anything I don’t already have a pattern for.  Also, I take to making replicas of my props, like Midori’s blade Dragonblossom, from cardboard and poster board to decide what needs to be worked on.

I do all of this so that when I do have time with a sewing machine, it’ll be a much smoother and quicker process to finish the costumes I want to make.


❤ amara


Happy Golden Sun 3 Day!

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is out! I don’t have a Nintendo DS. I was waiting for GS:DD to come out before I got one, and then the release caught me by surprise, so I won’t be playing until that changes. So far I’ve heard that it’s pretty dialogue-heavy, which doesn’t bother me at all. Since my love for Golden Sun has been around even longer than Kingdom Hearts and I played GS before I had even touched Final Fantasy, I feel that if I can’t play the game, the least I could do is cosplay.

I got a lot of work for classes done over Thanksgiving so I could come home and get ‘Arcanus’ finished for Ikkicon. Though I’m back to work now, I did have a pretty successful day yesterday. I finished his cloak, skirt/pants (they remind me of the riding pants ladies would wear in the 1800s), and got through about half of his tunic.

It all went really quickly because apparently I was in the mood to tell fabric what to do, so everything except for the tunic spent most of its time as  a rectangle of fabric that I gathered/pleated/steamed into submission.

So, everything drapes nicely on a person but looks a bit off when I drape it onto the floor to take photos. Just one more reason to get a dress form (but mostly I want one so I can be super-neurotic and set all of my sleeves by hand. Seriously, it’s really fun.)

Looks like a full skirt, but they’re pants, I swear. Basically just four yards of fabric shoved onto an elastic waistband and hemmed because I wanted them to go up to my natural waist, but his tunic hits at mid-thigh. This is not the time of year when I enjoy making extra work for myself.

Also a bunch of rectangles. The dark blue has a touch enough of indigo to distinguish it from the navy of the pants, since my interpretation of the official art tells me they’re supposed to be two very subtly different tones. The cloak took much longer than the pants, due to the fusible interfacing on the lining and topstitching to make sure the lining didn’t bag out awkwardly from the cloak. Trim is absolutely stolen from Kuja, since when I bought that trim I had the total yardage of trim in my head, and didn’t take into account that I might want to use a couple of different trims on Final Fantasy’s peacock. To get the cloak to turn from a rectangle into something that would sit–and stay–on my shoulders, there’s a series of huge knife pleats underneath the hood. The hood was originally constructed to be functional like my Fai cloak, but I decided that I didn’t want to give myself the option of screwing up Alex’s wig with a hood. So I installed gathering lines on either end and flipped it so that the French seam holding the two halves together wasn’t showing.

My next chance to work on him is on Friday. I don’t think he’ll take longer than one more dedicated work day, so we’ll see what happens! I broke out the frock coat pattern to get a base sleeve for his tunic, so maybe Fai’s coat will see some progress fairly soon.


First Cosplay Saga, Chapter 2

On Wednesday night, we met at IHOP because that late at night, there aren’t any options in suburbia.  The server now thinks I’m this guy’s life coach because he saw me scribbling down the 2011 Texas convention schedule and asked what we were doing.

So I presented him with a couple of options. We started talking about what convention he should shoot for, and then we got onto the conversation of bought/commissioned cosplay. I told him that it was an option he could definitely consider for his first cosplay so that he could figure out if the convention and character side of cosplay was for him without considering construction quite yet. This is an important consideration since the cosplay he chose is fairly ornate and I was afraid of him burning out on his first one.

But we talked about how cool it is to know how to do stuff and make things, and so we ultimately decided that he would be commissioning the weapons only and he would shoot for San Japan, which gives him seven months. And if he needs more, then there’s Afest and Oni-Con before the end of the year.

So I gave him homework before our next meeting during Christmas:

  1. Learn to sew. That sounds really rough, but he doesn’t have to worry about anything insane for this cosplay. I knew he’d be fine when he told me he wanted to learn how to install zippers.
  2. Get a commercial pattern that best fits the fabric part of the cosplay and do a mock-up in cotton muslin. This will help with #1 and it’ll also give him a base from which to learn how to do alterations for cosplay.
  3. Read through THIS craft foam cosplay tutorial. If he feels particularly ambitious, get started on posterboard patterns for all the armor.

Of course, he’s not just going off and doing this on his own. I recommended additional published resources and I’ll be busy with Ikkicon stuff, but not too busy to translate commercial pattern gibberish into plain English!


Reading CLAMP Mokona’s Okimono Kimono

Amara and I think on the same wavelength sometimes. We had been angsting about Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, so when we met up to go see Deathly Hallows, I had a pile of Cardcaptor Sakura manga back from when it was released in Western comic format, not the books, and she had CLAMP Mokona’s Okimono Kimono for me. And the second issue of CosplayGen, but more on that in a different post.

I didn’t get to read it until Wednesday afternoon! But I read the whole thing in one sitting. It has multiple sections: original kimono designs, interviews, outfits with antique kimono, and even a short manga.

I love kimono. I love the way you can put so many different colors into a single ensemble and have everything make sense. I love the elegant drape, the accessories, pretty much everything.

From a cosplay perspective, the first section was especially interesting because so many design elements from series like xxxHolic came into play and there’s nothing quite like hearing directly from the creator of such iconic art styles. In the antique kimono section, there’s one kimono of which is noted:

“This is the yukata that got me turned on to kimono. Nekoi Tsubaki recommended it to me when I first started working on xxxHolic. It has drawings of swallows, which I like a lot.”

It’s a subtle thing at first, but the more you stare at that kimono, the more the signature style of xxxHolic strikes you. I had trouble looking away from it!

Of course, I freaked out over the inclusion of various kimono patterns at the end. Because that’s what I do.


CLAMP Mokona’s Okimono Kimono is published by Dark Horse Manga in English, © 2010. Original Japanese edition © 2007.

New design and layout!

House of Pavonine has a new look! Just something a little brighter and a little easier to navigate.

First Cosplay Update!

Remember the guy friend I mentioned who’s getting ready to cosplay for the first time? After a bit of going back and forth (there are a lot of characters out there, after all!), he’s decided on…

Heck yes.


Yeah, I’m really excited for him because 1) I looooove this design and 2) it would kind of be a fail on my part if he picked something out I couldn’t really help him with; he was talking about doing mecha cosplay earlier and that’s a gaping hole in my cosplay knowledge if I ever had one.

Of course, with a cosplay like this, I’ve just sent him the important text: ‘do you have access to a sewing machine’? Because that will make all of this so much faster and easier, even some of the armor. Looking forward to what happens next!


…And then nostalgia hit me like a ton of bricks.

Sure, 'Arcanus'. Whatever.

That’s all. I’m sparing everyone the ten minute long fangirl explosion that Destiny had to sit through last night.