Friday, June 15, 2012

Website Announcement!

So, Ktar and I are working on setting up a website for our cosplay group/commissioning business thing!

On our website, we will have galleries of our costumes, as well as tutorials that we're in the process of creating.

We're setting up an Etsy too, where we'll have various small props and things such as character hats, bags, and fabric screen printed with various geeky themes. We will also start taking commissions through Etsy and our website.

I'll link to the site as soon as we are finished setting everything up!

We're really excited to finally get this thing going, we've been planning on undertaking something like this for a long time now!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ice Climbers process/progress

So, I made this blog before I made our Ice Climbers costumes, and I never took any progress photos during the creation of them. I'll describe what I can here, since I've had a few questions about them.

I will take a few photos of details and things so you can get a better idea of what I am talking about.

For the suits, I got a simple pajamas pattern and altered the shirt to close in the center front. I just used a drawstring pants pattern for the pants.

Everything is 100% lined because the fur I used was uncomfortably itchy. To line the top, I essentially made 2 of each jacket, one out of fur and one out of the lining fabric. I inserted the lining so the wrongs sides of each fabric were touching. since I was adding white on the edges, I sewed the lining straight to the outer fabric, and hand-stitched the white edging on the sleeves and the center front.

To make the pants with an elastic casing was a bit tricky since pants are usually fully lined. I ended up making the outer as usual, but I left a space in the crotch of the lining so I could turn it right side out.  I put the outer fabric inside the lining, RIGHT sides touching. I left a little space so I could string the elastic into the waist after I finished sewing it.
I then turned the pants right side out through the hole in the crotch, and sewed in the space for the elastic casing. I threaded the elastic into the casing, and hand hemmed the pants to finish them up.

For the shoes, I got some Uggs-style slippers at Wal-Mart, and covered them with some padding and white vinyl on the toes. To complete the shoes, I used a thin piece of upholserty foam sandwiched between a lining fabric and the white vinyl. I then handsewed it to the shoes, and hand sewed in a zipper to the back of each shoe. It took the entire 6 hour car trip to Katsucon that year to sew the tops on the shoes and the zippers.

For the hoods, I made some patterns based on measurements, tried them out in junk fabric, and then cut them out f the fur and sewed them. To make the edges extra puffy, I stuffed the white edges, and sewed with some strong thread around it to make the little puffs. I just looped it around and pulled tightly to get the puffs the size I wanted them.
For the mittens I just traced our hands and made the patterns from that. I really want to re-make the mittens if we plan on wearing these costumes again, since the pleather I used tore pretty bald in-between the thumb and fingers. I would also make the fingers roomier.

The hammers were designed by my boyfriend. We used a piece of wood as the handle, and 2 inch thick green upholstery foam from Hancock to make the base of the hammer. We skinned the hammer in 1/2" thick upholstery foam so it could be mostly hollow.  We made two intersecting pieces for the main base, and some quarters of circles to flesh it out, leaving quite a bit of empty space. We wanted the hammers to be as absolutely light as possible.
We glued the foam together with contact cement and we used some sewing pins to help hold it together
Here's a diagram of how the inside of the hammers look on the inside:

To cover them in fabric, I just pinned the fabric on and sewed it by hand.
I really wanted to take the fabric off and screen print a wood grain print on it, but I don't think I want to undo all that sewing.

That should pretty much cover everything about this costume. It's extremely hot to wear, and it pretty much a legit snowsuit, all things considered. I can't believe we wore it the first time we went to Dragon*Con.

Jadesprite progress/process

(I apologize for the lack of progress photos of this! I made most of this in the middle of the night and didn't feel like looking for my camera. I'll add in some detail shots of what I'm talking about later. As always, feel free to ask me any questions you might have!)

For Jadesprite, I just used a lot of materials that I had lying around. The only things I bought specifically for this costume were the wig, makeup, and glasses.

I made the dress out of a cotton/poly jersey that I had bought over a year ago when it was $1 a yard at Wal-Mart. I lined it with a combination of green fabric and white fabric I reclaimed from sheets bought at a thrift store. I used the green at the bottom of the skirt, so my legs might blend into it a bit more, hoping that it would help the illusion that I had no legs.

Since this character is only depicted as a sprite, not even having arms, I had a lot of freedom with how I would make it. I decided that a wrap dress would look a bit more "ethereal" or something. I wanted the jersey to drape a bit in the design, so I cut the jersey bigger than the lining. There is one instance in the comic where Jadesprite is shown in a more human form, and she has large puffed sleeves, and a furry chest, hence my decisions to make my sleeves so big.

I started by draping out the basic design in some fabric I got for $0.50 a BOLT. It was $0.10 a yard, so I didn't care that it was gaudy Hannah Montana fabric, haha
I came up with the design for the puff sleeves by drawing out a basic sleeve shape, cutting off the sleeve cap and cutting it in the middle, and separating it in quarters. I stretched out the sleeve cap more widthwise than I did lengthwise, if that makes sense. When I went to construct the sleeves, I just gathered the top and bottom of the sleeve cap before sewing it to the rest of the sleeve and the armscye.

To keep the sleeves puffy, I sewed in some tulle, which I had gathered up a bunch to puff out a lot, and covered the itchy ends of the tulle with ribbon. I sewed in a length of ribbon to help hold the sleeve cap to the correct length. I think I might add in a couple more ribbons in each sleeve to hold the puff up better.

The sash attaches with two pants hook and eyes, and a single snap to hold the bow in place on one side, and it is sewed down on the other side.

The ears are on a thin black metal headband. I cut some super heavyweight interfacing into the shape I wanted, and whipstitched it to each side of the headband. I then cut out the fur and hand-stitched it to the interfacing. I had to cut the fur to the length that I wanted it to be.

For the furry neck, I got some really long fur from a friend of mine, and colored the roots green with 3 different colors of Sharpies. It took a while, and my finger tips were all green from smudging it around as I went. I'm really happy with how it came out. After it was all colored, I trimmed the fur on the back of the neck, so it wouldn't rub on the wig quite so much and tangle it.  I then lined it with a white fabric, and added a tab of fabric and snaps to close it.

I made gloves similar to what I did for my weeping angel costume, by gluing on painted fingernails to make them a little more realistic. I just traced my hand carefully and sewed around that to make the gloves out of some leftover jersey.
I didn't want to deal with painting my hands for this costume, so the gloves were awesome to have.

All I did for the glasses was to paint them. I looked at other peoples' Jadesprite costumes, and I didn't like how the glasses were whatever color they ordered. I wanted mine to match and be green, like how they are in the comic.

For the makeup, I used the method I described in my post about our Adventure Time costumes' makeup. I just used white as a base, and green to contour. I painted the bottom of my nose green to emulate a dog's nose, and used green to color in eyeshadow and my eyebrows.

And that's pretty much how I went about Jadesprite. Nothing fancy, but a lot more planning went into it than I thought I would put into it.

As always, if there are any questions, shoot me an email or something! I'll try to answer as fast as I can!

Sophitia's Accessories, Sword, and Shield

Sophitia's Armor, sword and shield

(I apologize for not having any progress photos, I made all of this in a hurry and completely forgot to take them… I'll add in some detail shots later so you can see what I'm talking about. As aways, feel free to ask me any questions you have, either here, my email, or my Tumblr!)

Sophitia was the first costume that I have made which had any armor or weapons, so I did a lot of research first.  I decided that the way I wanted to make my armor was using craft foam and thin styrene plastic. I decided for the weapons I'd use the similar materials, but in a slightly different way, adding Bondo on top of it all to harden it.

For the shoes, I took some cheap brown flip flops and cut the straps off. I made straps for each of the pieces, and sewed them together. I used the combination of some Loctite glue, and straight pins to attach the straps to the soles of the shoes.
It was a lot of trial and error, but I got them to work.
For the silver bits on the shoes, i used one layer of 3mm craft foam and a really think piece of styrene, and cut out the shape. Simple.

For the belts, I made the flat one out of pleather, and painted it with Jacquard Lumiere Paint. For the belt made out of circles, I made the large circle out of Lightweight Sculpey, which I sanded and painted with the same Jacquard Lumiere Paint as the flat belt. For the repeated circles, I made a form out of sculpey, which I took a mold of using liquid latex, and I cast using Epoxy Resin (EasyCAst Brand). It was the first time I ever made a mold or cast anything with resin, but it was super simple. I may make a tutorial on it based on the way I made my belt.

I also cast jewels for the upper arm armor, the shoes, and earrings.

In order to start making the armor, I made paper patterns for each piece, as well as patterns for each raised design.
For each piece of armor, I used two pieces 3mm thick craft foam for the base of each piece, which I cut out using the paper patterns. I then cut out a piece of thin styrene about 1 inch larger than my pattern piece. Using hot glue, I glued the styrene to the foam, bending it to fit my arms as I glued it. when I made the outline pieces, I only cut out the interior, so when I glued it to the styrene, I stretched it to make it fit the base of the armor perfectly. I glued in the small interior pieces after trimming the extra foam from the outline.

After I finished gluing all the pieces of armor together, I then painted on Elmer's glue on all the foam pieces to seal it before painting.

I first sprayed all the armor with Rustoleum Hammered Silver paint, then I painted in the blue with the same Jacquard Lumiere Paint as the belt.

Sword and Shield:
The sword and shield were made out of blue insulation foam.
The shield was made out of two layers of 1" insulation foam, backed in styrene, using 6mm thick craft foam for the edge and center design. I used a palm sander to sand down the shape of the shield, before gluing the craft foam onto the shield.
After painting it with Elmers Craft Glue to seal it, I applied Bondo all over it. I sanded the Bondo smooth, filling any low spots with Spackling Paste.
After I was happy with the finish, I primed and painted it with Rustoleum Hammered Finish Gold, then I painted the blue with the same Jacquard Lumiere Paint as the belt and armor.

For the sword, I cut out the outline of the sword on2 layers of 1" blue insulation foam, with a piece of thick styrene in the center, which goes all the way through the sword. The thick styrene makes this a really strong, but really light prop.
I cut smaller pieces for the raised up sections, and glue them in place, sanding the shape to how I wanted it, I covered it in Bondo and Spackling paste, just like the sword.
I primed and painted it just like the shield, but using Silver instead of gold, and painting in the black areas by hand.

To weather everything, I watered down some cheap craft acrylic paint in black and brown.
I put a lot of it in all the cracks of raised edges of all the details on one piece at a time, then I would wipe it so it would leave the black in the cracks and only leave a little all over the piece. I used both black and brown for both oxidation and grime.

And that's all.

Sophitia's Dress

I realized that I never really wrote much on how I made my Sophitia costume.
Sorry about that, and here it is about a year late, haha

Well, The dress was probably the simplest part of this costume.
I started by measuring where I wanted the dress to fall on my thighs, as well as how wide across my breasts it needed to cover.

I have a dress form, so it was easy to figure out approximately how big and where the "bodice" of the dress should go. I cut out tapered rectangle shapes for the bodice, and used 3 layers of sheep and one layer of white, so it was the same thickness as the skirt.

After I made the initial measurements, I looked at the reference photos, and figure out where the pleats on the skirt should be. They were box pleats, so each pleat is 4 times as large as the overlap on the pleat, if that makes sense. Here's a drawing if that will help.

I took my waist measurement and added the size of each of the pleats to that measurement. I then marked out a rectangle on a large sheet of paper, the length of my waist + pleats, and the height was how long I decided the skirt needed to be.
I figure out where each pleat was going to go, and marked that on the rectangle I had drawn. I then made a template for the bottom scallop shape to fit evenly into the rectangle and drew it onto the rectangle, completing the pattern.

I'll take some detail photos and add them in a bit later. Sorry about that.

I then cut out 3 layers of sheer fabric, and one layer of white fabric to make up the skirt. I sewed the scalloped edges together on 2 layers of sheer fabric, then again on the layer of white and the last sheer layer, ending up with 2 layers to my skirt. I topstitched each layer before screen printing the design on the skirt. I used a french seam to finish the skirt up nicely, and I serged it together.

For the sheer layers that tie on the shoulder, go under the shoes, and drape on my upper arms, I used my serger to create a rolled hem edge along all the sides of each piece.

After turning and pressing the bodice, I sewed it to the skirt, with the sheer triangular layers in-between the bodice and skirt, and serged it all together. I added in an elastic casing and added some 3/4 inch elastic to the waist of the dress to help hold it up.

To make the shoulders of the dress, I used some pleather lined with cotton to create the shape, and the straps are made out of the same pleather. I used some thick wire to sew under the "shoulder pads" to make them kind of clamp onto my shoulders.

The shoulder pieces are the main thing that holds this dress up, along with fashion tape, haha.

Looking at the dress, I didn't have a problem figuring out how to make it, but how to wear a bro with it… I don't know if this is too much information, but I thought I could share, incase other people are having problems figuring out how to get support in a similar situation of a backless, center cleavage to my waist, side boob included dress.
I used one of these sticky bras:
and instead of putting it on the way listed in the instructions, I didn't clasp it in the center. I turned the sticky cups 90 degrees, to where the part that would clasp together was on the top… uh well, I applied it to myself like it's shown in this video:

Sophitia's Wig

I aplogize for the lack of photos. I'll take some of the completed wig, and add them a bit later :)

To create the wig, I used a 2 color blended blonde Dory wig from Amphigory, and I bought 1 pack of kinky hair, and 2 packs of each blonde color silky hair from Doctored Locks.

I couldn't find any tutorials on anything like I wanted to do here, so I kind of made it up.

I used some batting and fabric dyed to match and made three tapered tubes to make up the bulk of the braid.

I made weft of the kinky braid, and blended my silky braids to make wefts using this tutorial:

After I made the wefts, I cut them into 3 pieces, and attached them to each of the tubes.

I sewed the tubes into the back of the wig, a little but up from the bottom of the back of the wig.

AFter all that, I simply sprayed a lot of hairspray to help glue the hair the fabric tubes as I braided it.

I recently restyled the wig to include hair nets wrapped around each piece of the braid to help it stay neat and not get tangled. I learned that trick from working at Disney :) You can't see the nets unless you're looking for them and know the nets are there.

After braiding it, I  sewed it using clear thread and a curved needle to keep the braid together.

Simple :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Finished Flame Princess costume!

Here's the Finished Flame Princess costume! Photos taken at Animazement 2012


Flame Princess and Adventure Time Makeup!

Animazment was the first time I wore this costume, so I greatly underestimated how long it would take to put on all that makeup.
It took around 1 hour and 45 minutes, but we were all helping each other. Well, Ktar was putting on makeup for Ice Queen, and my sister was putting on makeup for Marceline, and we did each other's backs.

I was the only one who had the makeup to test it out before the convention, so I was the only one who had it down on what to do to get it on evenly and to make it stay put.

I didn't' have any problems with it coming off for several hours, and only then it was minor. I didn't put any on my palms to start with so I didn't have any problems with it coming off there anyway.

We used Ben Nye creme liners for Flame Princess and Marceline, and Ktar chose to use light blue Ben Nye creme foundation.
We bought all of our suplies from Frends Beauty Supply online, but the shipping was really expensive for what we were getting, so we all bought it together and split the shipping.
Link to Creme color search
Link to Final Seal
Link to Colorless Powder

For Flame princess, I mixed 2 containers of Goldenrod, and 1/4 of a container of Red. For Marceline I mixed 1 White and 1 Grey container.

I used Haanyan's Homestuck makeup tutorial to get the idea on how to use this sort of makeup.

I contoured with red Creme Liner for Flame Princess, black eyeshadow for Marceline, and Ktar used blue lipstick and eyeshadow for her lips and contouring.

To seal it we powdered the heck out of ourselves, which we should have photographed, which was a party and a half in itself….

After powdering it, we sprayed ourselves with the Final Seal, and we were on our merry way.

Ktar and I were Rooks in this year's Cosplay Chess, on the side character's side, and we both made it until the end of the match, helping the side characters win, haha

We wore the Adventure Time costumes from about 9am until 6pm, and we still looked really good by the end of the day, makeup wise. We got up at 7 to start putting on the makeup and didn't really start until 7:30 and we didn't finish until around 9 or 9:15…So if any one is thinking of doing something like this, start far in advance!

Flame Princess wig progress/information

I've had a few people ask me about how I did my Flame Princess wig, and honestly, I made it up as I went.

I started with:
 a Cosplay Wigs USA Pumpkin 90cm long curly wig.  (it was a lot lighter than the photo)
Clear Elmer's School Glue
a curved sewing needle
thick strong thread
clear thread
foam brushes
lots of bobby pins (to hold it in place as you glue it)

The curls made it harder to work with, but if I made it again, I'd still use the curly one, just because I really loved the curls that came set into the wig. I used the same wig in green for my Jadesprite costume.

First off, the orange wasn't the color I wanted it, so I dyed it a bit darker orange.
I used this method (click for full resolution)

But instead of putting it in a tub to soak, I put my dye in a spray bottle and sprayed it in sections all over my wig. I actually WANTED it to not be 100% even in color. I thought the variances in shades of orange would make it look a little bit more realistic.
After it dried overnight, I loosely braided it before I washed out the extra dye, so it wouldn't get quite  as tangled. Its going to get VERY tangled through the whole dyeing and rinsing process.

Red and orange dyes never really wash out 100%, so I gave up after about half an hour of washing it in the tub, under COLD water.

After rinsing, I made a solution of lotion and water in a spray bottle and shook it up really well until it was a could water. This makes a good detangler, which will smell like whatever lotion you use.
I just sprayed it all over a tangle and started working it out gently, starting at the BOTTOM of the fibers.
It took longer to detangle it than it did to rinse it.
I let the wig sit overnight again to dry throughly, and I sectioned it out into a lot of equal sections before I started to style it.

I carved a block of green florist's foam into a rough cone-type shape, then covered it with a red-orange craft foam, which I forgot to take a photo of before I sewed it into my wig with thick button thread.

I sewed it to the vertical elastic in the wig, in the position I wanted it. I didn't remove any wefts underneath where I put the cone, since it wasn't super large.

After I made sure the cone was where I wanted it, I used the foam brushes to spread glue all over the cone and started to use small sections of hair from close to the cone to cover it. I spread out the hair evenly and made sure to really saturate it with glue, since this was the base coat of fiber and you wouldn't see it anyway.

I made up the wrapping pattern as I went, and I needed to add some more volume to the base of the cone, so I pulled out some small sections of hair and teased and back combed it until I had a nice fluffy tangled mess, which I rolled up and sewed into position with the clear thread.

it looks kind of nasty and really messy at this point, but you cover it all up int he end, and this was a lot easier to me than to try to make a pad out of foam or batting, since it was soft, and exactly the same color as the wig.

I didn't have much of a plan on how I was going to wrap it up, but I knew what I kind of wanted it to look like in the end.
I would take bobby pins and pin it in a way to see if I liked how it looked, and I would un-pin it, use the foam brush to burst a little bit of glue on the fiber in sections, starting nearer the roots, placing that where I wanted it, and pinned it where I wanted it before eI move on further down the section of fiber.

Almost finished:

I don't know what else to say about it, except that it took over 15 hours (nearly straight!) of styling, and about 2 and half days of just dyeing it and rinsing it out.

I just kept wrapping and pinning and unpinning and gluing and pinning it again.

Once I got to the outermost layer, I didn't coat the entire section of fiber with glue, I kind of put a line of glue where I knew it would be pinned and made sure the section I was glueing was really stuck down.

After I had the whole outer layer pinned and glued down, I let that dry for a while.
After it had all dried, I used the curved needle and the clear thread to sew into my wig to hold down all the little curls and to make sure the outermost layer didn't budge.

The wig is REALLY back -heavy, so I got a couple of toupee clips and sewed into the front, right about where the hairline is above my eyes.

And that's it.
I didn't use any hairspray on this, since I dyed it with alcohol, and hairspray is primarily alcohol, which would have ended up with the color being stripped out or running if I had used it as my primary adhesive.

Here's the finished product!


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