Three weeks left: Tra-la-la

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Time is short. Such a pity.

Last week was very successful considering I had a lot to do and some personal matters to take care of. I finished attaching the tailcoat of the jacket to the top. I also attached the lace. It just needs lace on the cuffs and jewels. Picture this: everywhere you see black lace will be covered in jewels.

I’ve bought enough jewels to put a dragon’s horde to shame. I didn’t want sew-ins because that would be too time consuming so I opted for glue ons.

BTW: Did you spot Hoggle in this picture. Hoggle loves shiny things.

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MAS IMPORTANTE!!!

For any of you wanting to embellish with jewels, choose a glue based on how you will wash your costume. I would like to dry clean it, so I had to order a dry clean only glue.

Speaking of Hoggle, we finally started the Hoggle mask. Sorry, no pictures. I haven’t gotten very far. I was really tired and depressed this week, all things considered, but I anticipate this week will be better.

We also cut out the patterns for my sister’s dress. Below is a picture of the kitty cats “helping.” We also did a dummy pattern out of a table cloth. If the table cloth looks that good, I can’t wait to see what it looks like with the satin.

Below are pictures of the fabric cut and stacked on top of each other. When it’s done, the bodice will be five layers: interfacing, lining, satin, lace, and iridescent organza. The skirt will be at least three layers with a hoop skirt underneath.

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Well, I’ve got to get back to work if I’m ever going to solve this labyrinth–er finish this costume.  Let me know what you think.

Labyrinth Cosplay: Progress Update

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I’ve honestly lost count of how many weeks I’ve been working on this project and how many there are left.

This week, I made a lot of trips to Jo-Ann’s. Not that I don’t usually, but this one required more. It seemed like every night I was missing something–something required to work on the next step.

For starters, Somehow this fabric hoarder ran out of interfacing. And I also had to buy shoulder pads–how 80’s. If I’d read the notions section of the pattern, I would have known this, but I tend to ignore this part until I’m ready for it.

Then the clear coat for my brooch didn’t work, so I had to go get more of that, and it’s very hard to find in a gloss.

I also messed up my cuffs and had to start from scratch, which meant cutting more fabric, more interfacing, and more lace.

I was worried the week was going to be full of setbacks, but then towards the end there was a complete turn around.

I almost finished my jacket. It is looking super awesome. I just need to attach the bottom and glue on the jewels. I also found one of those stands to put it on instead of a hanger. That will come in handy when I sew the dress.

My favorite part is the lace. I just love how it ads depth and tones down some of that blue. I can’t wait to ad the jewels, though I’m sure that will be a pain in the butt.

I can’t wait to be done. It’s been a total headache. I’ve had to stock up on ale, snacks, and binge watch Supernatural just to get through it.

The other  major accomplishment: my sister finally chose fabric for her dress. We cut out the patterns and I’m super excited to get started on this.

I also finished spraying the brooch and it’s ready for jewels.

Note: If you ever need a super silver shiny spray paint, Krylon metallic silver is great. My brooch and the keys look like real metal.

My goal this week is to finish the jacket, work on the Hoggle mask, and maybe, just maybe, start sewing the dress.

 

Labyrinth Cosplay: Week Two

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Even though I have 7 weeks left, I feel like time is running out, much like the thirteen hours in the Labyrinth. Probably because I’m moving a lot slower than I thought. It’s taking me roughly a week to finish one article of clothing. Considering I have a shirt, gloves, jacket, and dress to sew, this is too slow.

But I’m going to focus on what was accomplished and not what’s left to go.

It’s Hoggle

his shirt and vest is officially done. I’m really happy with the vest. I love the fabric, and the patterns were not as hard to sew in as I thought they’d be.

I was going to start the Jareth shirt, but I lost page one of the instructions, so I had to re-order the entire pattern for the instructions. I did cut the pieces out so they are laying in a silky pile waiting to be sewn.

Other than that, I attempted to sew the gloves, and I cut the patterns for his pants and the dress. This was a week with a lot of setbacks. But I’m going to keep plowing forward.

Why I Cosplay

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So as you all know, my blog is where I share my passions–mainly writing (though lately my post haven’t been about writing so much). Right now my greatest passion is cosplay.

What is Cosplay?

Some of you probably cosplay yourselves or at least have heard about it. I’m really not sure what the etymology of the word is, but I know it has “play” in it. It means costume play or something of that nature. I like to call it adult pretend, though children can certainly cosplay as well. It means something different to everyone. Cosplay may be synonymous with weird to some of you who are no doubt looking for the unfollow option on my blog.

Cosplay gets a bad rep for being considered some sort of adult dress up where those who participate are in some sort of stunted state of adolescence or refuse to grow up.

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None of that is true. It’s not just dress up or pretend, it’s a creative outlet and a way of expression.

What Type of People Cosplay?

You’ll find all kinds of grownups, some serious adulting types even. A doctor, lawyer, or insurance agent by trade could be Batman, Iron Man, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Gandalph, or Hermione at a con.

Whatever they do for a living, your typical cosplayers are artist, nerds, geeks, dye-hard fans, actors, etc.

Let’s look at some of my favorite cosplayers.

thgJoshua Dart: Thranduart: Here is an example of a man who took a character and made him his own. He has celebrity status for his Thranduil cosplay. He is the perfect example of cosplaying from the inside out. Not only does he look like the character, but he acts like him. While he still cosplays as Thranduil, he has also cosplayed as Nick Wylde, Woody, and he’s currently working on a new project. You can follow him via Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about him and his cosplay, read all about him in my blog interview here.

14702315_10154198864517955_4740621950542902139_nElysia Vaughan: I met her at my first con, and now I see her every year. The first year she won first place in a costume contest and rightfully so, as she made her costume the year we ordered ours. We won second place, but she certainly deserved first for her Predator cosplay. I wish I had a photo to share, but I can’t find it. She was very friendly and willing to share information about the process of making her costume. She really inspired me to try my hand at making my own. She made it sound easy. I always look forward to seeing her and learning more about her as a person instead of just a fellow cosplayer.

Even some famous people have cosplayed, even if it was just to disguise themselves at cons: Masie Williams, Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Hiddleston, and Henry Cavill. Chances are, if you see someone just wearing a spider man mask, they’re a celebrity in hiding.

Here are a few of my favorites who, sadly, I don’t know their names:

Why Cosplay?

 

There are many reasons to cosplay. Many of us just want to share a passion either for a fandom, a character, for makeup or costume art, or something else that can be expressed through the art of cosplay.

Yes, I just called it an art. And it is. It involves certain skills in arts, crafts, engineering, mathematics, textiles, etc.

I’ve always loved art: theatre, painting, drawing, crafting, textiles, music.

Cosplay gives me an outlet to do all of these things. I get to work with wood, fabric, makeup, do crazy hairstyles, create, and act. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to escape the stresses of normal adult life.

I’ve been doing this about three years now. The first year, we literally had a month before KokomoCon. I wasn’t going to do it but my sister wanted to. A month doesn’t give you time to make your own costume (or so we thought), so we ordered them. There are a lot of websites if you’re interested in ordering costumes, wigs, or costume accessories: Etsy, AliExpress, Amazon, and Ebay to name a few.

I did make the crown and we painted the ears. That first year was experimental. I wasn’t confidant enough to sew yet. I didn’t believe in myself and I hadn’t discovered I’m awesome and can do anything. We decided to be the Mirkwood elves from the Hobbit. Making the crown reconnected me to the artistic side of myself that had been on hiatus. It also reminded me of theatre, which I hadn’t been a part of since Highschool but meant to get back into. This got me involved in local theatre the following year.

My next cosplay started off as a theatre role. As some of you may remember, I was the centaur in the Lion, the Witch & the Wardobe. After spending over a month working on it, I decided to take it to the con. I learned how to sew a little in high school but this costume told me how to apply what I learned to go above and beyond: creating something they don’t make patterns for. I also learned a lot of shop skills from creating the body and learned to work with mediums I’m not that experienced with like foam. I used parts of my brain I didn’t even know existed, and I’m a lot more savvy than I gave myself credit for.

This year I went as Lagertha from Vikings. This cosplay has a special place in my heart because I feel like we all went as characters we can identify with. I hate to say it, but my kid probably relates to Bjorn. He’s a boy who’s parents split up and he struggles with accepting that while learning new responsibilities as he becomes an adult. I’ve always identified with Lagertha. She’s a protective mother who still has dreams outside of being a parent. Her ex screws her and so does every man she knows, so she becomes a fiercely independent lady boss. I’d say Kylie went as Porunn because she’s a bit wild, independent, and wants to be free.

For this cosplay, I learned to make chain mail, wooden swords, shields, and lace leather. It was fun and daunting at the same time. And we learned something we didn’t think possible when we started our Mirkwood elves cosplay–you can get a costume done in a month. I just don’t recommend it.

For our next cosplay we’re giving ourselves a little more time. I’m going to be The Goblin King from Labyrinth. Again, a lot of sewing involved, and glitter, so much glitter. But all our cosplays must have the wow factor, and the educational one, so I must learn how to do all of his crystal ball tricks. I’m not sure how long it takes to learn how to contact juggle (well) but I have several months to get good enough, so I’m going to try. My son decided to be Hoggle, which will give me practice doing a creature mask, possibly with moving mouth and blinking eyes. My sister will be Sarah. The ball gown should be a bit of a challenge, but I’m up for it.

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Do you cosplay. Share some photos. Why do you cosplay? Who have you been? Who are you planning on being this year?

The Centaur Mentor

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This time last year I was a novice cosplayer. Honesty, I’m still a beginner by most standards; however, turns out, I’m just experienced and knowledgeable enough to offer advice on the subject.

A friend of ours invited my sister and I to talk to her club about attending their first con. She was very impressed with our Mirkwood Elves cosplay and wanted us to share our experience. This time last year we were in their shoes. We told her we weren’t professionals (not that there are professional cosplayers) but that was part of the reason she chose us. Our first cosplay was a big success by any standard. We received a lot of praise and photo requests–not to mention a $200 cash prize in the costume contest.

So I arrived at the school in my centaur costume to mentor the kids about what they should know to attend their first con.

the centaur mentor

the centaur mentor

I’m not a stranger to the class room or guest speaking. I’ve given presentations to students before; I’ve just never given one in a centaur costume. The topic was a first too. Usually I talk about auto insurance and the importance of maintaining insurance and a clean driving record. It was nice getting to talk about something I’m passionate about. I felt like I got to take my hobby to the next level by sharing my passion and knowledge with others.

We talked about what to bring, how to plan and budget a costume, what to expect, etc. We showed them my latest cosplay along with pieces from last year’s Mirkwood elves cosplay. They enjoyed trying on the ears and the Thranduil crown.

My sister even snuck in a little shameless marketing for her books.

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It was a very rewarding experience, and a great networking opportunity. Many of the kids came to the con. Several even bought my sister’s books. We even connected with another librarian interested in scheduling a day to have us talk to her club about cosplay.

Book sales, networking contacts, new friends. You don’t need a ruler to measure that success.

When I made this costume, my expectations were to wow and amaze people. I never thought it would lead to opportunities to network, guest speak, inspire, and teach.

I’ll get to mentor as the centaur again in the near future since the librarian at Eastern wants us to guest speak and the theatre director at Northwestern wants me to make a costume for his production of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’m looking forward to it.

For those of you who have been following my post about creating the centaur costume, I will be posting a very detailed how-to very soon, I promise. Just got to get caught up on a little housecleaning, book outlining, and rest–lots and lots of rest after the play and the con. I’ve also got to get my receipts and notes together so I can give an accurate account of how many hours it took to make, the cost, and all the materials that are required.

Stay tuned.

I’m going to build a butt

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For those of you who don’t already know, I was cast as the Centaur in The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

I’m sure you all know what a centaur is, but for those of you who don’t …

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A centaur is a mythological creature that essentially has the head, arms, and torso of a human attached to the torso of a horse.

Let’s see . . . I already have the torso and arms of a human, but I don’t have horsey parts, which  means . . .

I have to build a butt–a horse butt.

I’m starting to suspect that this casting decision was made more for my cosplaying abilities rather than my actual acting talents.

(and with the lines the centaur has, it’s going to be hard to show off my acting abilities, so this costume is going to rock)

Most people would be daunted if given the task of creating a centaur costume.

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On the contrary. It’s actually quite doable, even without CGI. So when I was offered the role of centaur I said

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

And where did I go to research concepts for my costume–why, the internet of course.

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Oops, sorry, that’s not a centaur. That’s Kim Kardashian. I guess I could just sit on my ass until my booty is big enough o glue a tail on.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with this guy

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He pops up a lot if you Google centaur. His name is impossible to pronounce and equally challenging to spell, so I’m just going to call him that cool, muscled guy from Narnia.

For those of you who remember Xena: Warrior Princess or Hercules, you might remember these dudes–er horse guys, or whatever.

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Not bad special effects for their time … considering Xena had some of the best–and worst–CGI I’ve ever seen.

But alas, I will not be using CGI or green screens. I will be doing this the old fashioned way.

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Between Google, YouTube, forums, Pinterest, and all other forms of social media, I found a lot of pictures of finished centaur costumes … but very little on the step-by-step process.

So it seems no one wants to share their methods. No problem.

If you’re interested in making a centaur costume (or just want to see how mine turns out), keep in touch with me via Facebook, twitter, and my blog for tutorials, production updates, as well as reveals of the finished project.

Allow me to be your “Centaur Mentor.”

Next post–building the skeleton.

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