Tag Archives: cosplay

An Angry Letter to My Latest Cosplay

With Star Ocean: The Last
Hope
Nabari no OuLast Exile, and many others, I’ve been knee-deep in anime, manga, and video games for the past few months. I think that spending some time being a fan and reminding myself why I love this crazy stuff in the first place really helped me with my convention and cosplay fatigue. Needless to say, I’m incredibly excited for my next.convention.

I’m also incredibly suspicious of Amara and December now. There’s no way that they haven’t been scheming behind my back because suddenly I’m cosplaying Pandora Hearts, never mind that I’m super late to this party, and I don’t even think I had a say in this. I started reading and suddenly a character just decided to include himself on my list without talking to me first. I think money changed hands.

In their schemes they were obviously planning on me choosing Xerxes Break. I should have told them I was cosplaying Oz and stuck to it for 24 hours or so to see if they planned a cosplay intervention. The fact that they both had the same second and third choices (yes I made them guess) for me only confirms that they’ve had this planned for a while.

So way to throw off everyone including me, Vincent Nightray, because bless your batsh*t crazy little heart, but I was reading Pandora Hearts for pretty much everyone but you. I don’t know what you’re doing here, because I’m not really even a fan of your character design. I mean, it’s okay, I guess, but there’s a lot more interesting stuff going on with others on the cast and I’ve gotten harassed a lot for that nightdress you’re wearing. I’ve endured a lot of harassment, actually, thanks to you (but I’m pretty sure 95% of it’s payback for all the Kamui jokes I made a couple of months ago.)

Also. You’re a super creeper.

Love,

greyrondo

P.S. Okay so maybe you’re a nice casual cosplay with a little bit of craft work that will give me something to do so I don’t go crazy during finals and you’re just what I need to warm back up before tackling Kuja and Arumat for spring, you look pretty comfy, and I can hug all of the adorable Gilbert cosplayers I want and blame it on you. But none of that excuses anything.

P.P.S. As of right now, I have everything I need for you either bought, ordered, or planned to order so that it doesn’t appear on my doorstep when I’m in another state, except for the velvet I want for your robe. So I guess I like you.

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Remembering Last Exile

I first watched Last Exile with my dad when I was in high school. I had never watched an anime like it before, and it’s probably one of the most influential series in my taste in anime. Because of Fam—the anime I’m looking forward to the most this season—I spent the weekend marathoning through the original Last Exile series while doing sketches for class.

Last Exile was always on the fringes of my cosplay plans. I could never quite decide between Dio Elaclaire and Alex Row, but I’d always leaned towards Dio because Alex made me feel a little uncomfortable. My face was too young for him and I didn’t quite understand him to the same extent that I understood Dio. Since I was facing the thought of leaving home and becoming an adult, Dio’s story made more sense to me. But even though Dio would have been an excellent addition to my white wig collection and the refined simplicity of his costume would have done wonders for my technical skills, I just never got around to him between my involvement in a cosplay group at that time, and getting ready for college.

So when I heard rumors of a Last Exile sequel, I decided to wait and see how it would play out. One of my cosplay friends up here (the one who has the same taste in cosplay as me) is working on filling out her list of future cosplays, and with Fam coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to Dio and the world of Last Exile. She also hasn’t watched too much anime, so I try to show her good series when I can.

But as we watched, I started remembering Alex Row’s story: the tragedy of the loss of the love of his life, the crushing admittance of his moment of cowardice, his mask of apathy and how it at times turned into gentle protection of Claus and Lavi, and later Dio and Lucciola, and at other times slipped into raw anger and an ultimately fatal desire for revenge and a new world freed from the cruel reign of the Guild.

We tried to play the ‘guess who I’d cosplay at the end of the series’ game, but it took her all of two episodes to decide that Alex fit me best this time around (surprisingly enough to me, she initially liked Tatiana Wisla best before Dio’s creepiness evolved into being adorable.)

Curiosity got the best of me, and I looked up the character art for Fam. Dio’s design can be found here, along with the rest of the concept art that has been revealed so far.

While I love Dio’s design for my friend, no one visually captured my interest. I don’t know if I’m stuck on Alex, or if I’ll have to watch Fam all the way through first. I have a lot of hope in this series as a sequel, and I’m excited to see how the world continues after the upheaval at the end of the original series.


A Present for Madam Red

After her flight back from Kumoricon, one of my cosplay friends discovered that TSA had done quite a bit of damage to several parts of her Madam Red and Panty costumes. So we decided to remake a few of the destroyed pieces as a surprise.

As her Grell, I decided to tackle her choker. And then I thought: while I was at it, why shouldn’t I make chokers for both of my Madam Reds?

Since we don’t really know how much longer we have with my Colorado Madam Red before she moves halfway across the country, I gave it to her this weekend during a horror movie marathon.  And…

She saw the black lace and freaked out. We didn’t understand why she refused to open it in front of our guy friend. Then I thought about it for a second and told her about fifty times that it wasn’t underwear (why would I give her underwear? She’s got plenty from her Panty cosplay.) She didn’t really believe me and flung the choker onto the couch a good five feet away before she saw the gems and chain and everything.

Most hilarious reaction to a present I’ve ever seen? I think so.

This is the one I made for her. It’s basically my reinterpretation of the commissioned choker that came with her dress. It has a velvet ribbon base with black lace stitched onto the top and bottom, with a skinny black trim to disguise the stitching. The black trim was also a good anchor for the brooch, chain, and beading. She’d always had problems with her old choker’s fit, so I made it adjustable with a bit of extra Velcro.

For Amara, I decided to go more with my own instincts on how I would make Madam Red’s choker. But I haven’t yet found the perfect brooch for the center, so the design’s a secret until it’s in her hands!


Protests and (Not) Looking Pretty

I wasn’t going to talk much about my production design work this semester, but then I saw this article on the protests happening right now . Judging by my instant ‘Oh I know what to wear to a protest!’ before I even clicked on the link, I definitely still feel strongly about the message of the production and my experiences even though it closed on Sunday.

My university’s production of Waiting for Lefty was a reaction to the Wisconsin protests that took place this past year when labor unions were threatened with the loss of collective bargaining rights. The director staged the production during a contemporary union meeting, and (spoilers!) in the end, they strike.

Contemporary clothing, even high fashion contemporary clothing, isn’t something that I deal with much in cosplay. And it’s a totally different story when you’re not dressing your own body. The illusion of familiarity with contemporary clothing was a challenge, because it’s a vocabulary that the actors and the audience speaks, and because all of the things I like and don’t like about what I (and other people) wear on the street came out in my instinctive design choices. A college student’s Vogue-laced impression of clothing wasn’t necessarily the best look for these characters. The show was all about the background characters of America, and for me, about learning how to preserve that ‘everyman’ look while allowing them to be heard.

I speak a little about my opinion on the relationship between cosplay and a career in costume design in Steven Savage’s recently published book, Focused Fandom: Cosplay, Costuming, and Careers. I interviewed with him before Waiting for Lefty really began, but if anything, working on this production cemented my conclusion that A doesn’t necessarily equal B. What did change was this: if you are a serious cosplayer, I cannot more highly recommend taking any opportunity to see how costuming works in a theatrical or film production.  There have been things I’ve picked up from cosplay that help in the theater world, and vice versa, but it’s not about the technical details like that. It’s about seeing what happens when an individual piece fits into something much greater than the sum of its parts. That’s a perspective you can take to masquerades, to group cosplay, and to the entire American cosplay community.


Back to Work: Amano Kuja II Supplies (Pics!)

 

 

I’ve been really picky about fabric lately. I’ve actually been so picky about fabric that I’ve started to hate shopping with myself and shopping for fabric in general, but that’s because I’ve been shopping for Amano Kuja II fabric. But after months of shopping, which has turned into my eyes glazing over at the mere sight of a bolt of fabric (good thing I go back to work as a stitcher next week, right?) I finally have enough to get started.

All of this is from Denver Fabrics. I think finding a good, opaque white is the most important part of any Kuja cosplay because of his black thong. It also has a bit of luster and texture but not too much, which I like since everything else on this costume will be texture, pattern, and more texture just for fun. The two pale blues (one is a metallic) will be used on the jacket, upper sleeves, and everywhere else, but in ‘everywhere else’ there will probably be buckets of beading on top. The darker blue will be lining and trim. I almost got the blue and silver version of the purple beaded trim I purchased for Treno Kuja, but then I remembered that the only reason I could afford that trim was because it was on clearance. I still don’t know exactly what I want to do with the trim, though, so maybe that was for the best.

This was taken with flash, so you can see the luster of the white, as well as something weird going on with the silk chiffon. I’m glad the luster shows through, at least. The periwinkle chiffon was left over from Treno Kuja, the other chiffon is just a duller pale blue version of the same fabric (but it’s good to know now that it goes darker under flash.) Right now, I’m thinking of multiple sleeves,with the white on top and the chiffon peeking out from the hem.

I picked up the shinier fabric at Denver Fabrics, but the patterned upholstery fabric is from Hancock. I’m not sure which side I want to use yet, or even if I want to use both, so it’s folded over. I’m 99.9% sure that shiny fabric is poly something, so I’m going to cut it in the jagged shape of Kuja’s armor/undershirt thing and singe the edges, and layer that over the orange, which will be knife pleated and then cut with the same jagged hem. I’m not sure if I want to attach it to the jacket or have it be a separate garment yet.

Those little chain/bead… fringes… are going all over the orange fabric of the undershirt. I’m going to hate myself so much in a week when I’m handsewing each one on!

These are buckles I picked up years ago at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. The beads are left over from CLAMPtastic Vampire Fai from this past A-kon. I have no idea where the beads are going to go. The buckles are for Kuja’s thigh-high boots.

Let me explain this whole thing. The actual wig is a pale blue. At least, that’s what I’m hoping, because it’s still… not… here. I’m putting the white rooster feathers in at the crown of the wig to give the illusion of a gradient from white to pale blue to dark blue. Half of the ostrich feathers will be trimmed off, then they will be steamed and slightly curled, and then the tips will be dyed a pale blue to match the body of the wig. The longer dark blue rooster feathers will be going into the bottom of the wig, which will also be dyed a darker blue to make the transition from pale blue wig fiber to dark blue feather smoother.

As for Arumat, I’m planning on being so frustrated with the chain fringe on Kuja’s jacket that I’m going to start with that burned/distressed/I don’t even know what happened skirt of his. Yay cosplay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Blister Prevention

I have a bit of a problem with my feet.  It’s called “prone-to-blister-and-bleed-and-make-mamaesme’s-mother-freak-out” syndrome, and I’ve been plagued with it my entire life.  No matter what type or style of shoe, I get horrible gaping bloody wounds all over my feet.  For example, when I played volleyball in high school, I would have to go get my feet wrapped in medical gauze and tape because the running shoes left my feet so torn up after three hours of practice that I would have to limp away. Court shoes usually did worse to my feet, and I have enough bloody socks to prove it.

How do I prevent this in everyday life?  I normally don’t.  Usually my feet will toughen up enough that the blisters will stop developing so quickly, or I’ll simply wear think socks with my tennis shoes or flip flops.  Because of the latter, my feet are unusually soft, and seem to blister after wearing heels for thirty minutes, as seen today.

What does this rambling have to do with cosplay?  Some costumes call for the most ludicrous shoes that prove to be the Achilles heel to…well, my heel.  I’m making sure to wrap my feet in medical tape, because if I’m going to wear ankle boots for Madam Red or wooden platforms for Yuuko, I want to be able to make sure I a) don’t bleed through the shoe itself (this has happened) and b) don’t end up limping after thirty minutes.

So, safety tip of the day.

If your feet are prone to blisters, or your shoes aren’t the best, put band-aids on the potential problem areas, wrap medical gauze (the colored plastic stuff!) across your feet to cover the band aid, and then wrap medical tape on top of the gauze.  (side note: make sure to adhere some of the tape to your skin so everything will stay in place.)  Make sure the tape isn’t too tight, slip on your shoes, and have a great day.

Any other safety tips I should mention?

❤ mamesme


Small Appliques

Time: 20 hours

Ability: 1/5

Safety: 4.5/5

I just finished making about five bajillion triangles for Yuuko.  Since I’ve decided I’ve has enough practice, I’ll explain through steps!

1) I found the fabric.

There were four main colors for the triangles I needed to find.  A red, one white, and the last purple or green, depending on the location of the piece on the costume.  I searched for a fitting shade that matched the other pieces as well as had some sort of design in the fabric to keep it from looking too plain.  Hobby Lobby, Joann’s, Walmart – I went everywhere until I found what I wanted.

2) I decided the size and shape.

I decide to go with square instead of triangles since, in all cases, making a larger applique and cutting it in half would be easier.  Especially since the art in question didn’t show perfect triangles.  There is also a piece of the costume that is a collection of diamonds.  Two birds, one stone situation.

I played with sizes with paper, figuring out how large I wanted the final products until I decided that I wanted them to be cut out 4 (purple/green), 5 (white), and 6 (red) inches.

3) I decided not to sew.

I don’t have a sewing machine (or access to one) at college.   I, instead, decided to use Stitch Witch, a hemming heat activated glue easily found at Walmart in the sewing section.  I used the regular rolls, which resemble dyer sheets when opened, but they worked perfectly.

4) I got busy.

I sat down a few weeks and put myself into the zone, measuring and cutting out all the squares.  I turned on marathons of America’s Next Top Model and ironed, ironed and ironed some more.  I ironed the edges of the squares over, ironed them to each other layer by layer until I had a finished square and then I cut them in half.

150+ triangles later, I’m done with the appliques and finished the part with the diamonds.  (below is a prototype.  There are three versions of each triangle until I got it just right.

In the end I used: 1 yard of green and 1 of purple fabric, 2 1/2 yards of white, and 3 of red.  I also used over 15 rolls of Stitch Witch and killed a marker and a ruler.  🙂  And a yard of fusible interfacing was used on the triangles when it went on sale.