21 February 2013

Luminara Unduli - Regaining Momentum

It's really late right now (about 2:45 AM) and I should probably be getting ready for bed, but I've made a lot of progress tonight on Luminara and felt compelled to write this post tonight for my clamoring audiences.

Suddenly it has hit me just HOW MUCH work this cosplay really is.  I knew that in the back of my mind from the beginning, but only now did it really dawn on me.  How could I look at this thing and think I could throw it together quickly?

Tonight I made a lot of progress on the front tab, shirt, and headdress.  And by that I mean I randomly stuck pieces of fabric together and hoped they formed something coherent.

The tab was fairly simple.  It's a base of brownish pleather with designs made of craft foam.  So here's the process, for those of you who give a shit.

I cropped an image of the entire piece and put it onto a grid in Photoshop for easy scaling.  Then I just drew it onto the craft foam using permanent marker, which also got all over my hands and into my nose which probably made me a bit loopy.

Moving on.

Here's this thing complete with the markings.  I had to use red craft foam too because there were only two pieces of yellow in my package of assorted colours.  I also had to trim some edges a little more to eliminate puckering.

As you can see in one of my close-up references, there's embossing in what I assume is real leather.  I couldn't use real leather for a couple reasons, but I'm no getting into those now because I'm tired and my sleeping isn't going to do itself.

I took care of the etching using a knitting needle.  For some reason I got a bunch of black stuff all over the tip of the needle and even after about ten hours' work I still can't figure out where the hell that came from.

I got my stupid acrylic paints for two bucks each at Joann's.  So there were some issues of questionable quality, as I learned very quickly here.  Number one, my light gold paint was completely dried out.  The coppery colour was about half dried out, so at least I got something out of it.  But I still have to do the arm guards.  A trip to Michael's is probably in the works for next week.

Anyway, I had to put on around ten layers of paint before the colour of the craft foam stopped showing through.  I also couldn't find my real paint brushes.  As some of you may know, I moved about a week and a half ago and still haven't managed to unbox a lot of my shit.  So I had to use a makeup brush for this instead.

Here's all the paint I could do without the light gold.  Looks pretty good.  I was really glad that the red craft foam did not turn the paint a different colour, because that would have sucked immensely.


Luminara wears a stupid headdress.

I can't think of any legitimate reason to wear such a brick-ass-dumb thing when you're obviously getting into light saber battles, but then no one asked me.

Here go my creepy experiments.  For all of these, there was no stitching involved.  Just some pin voodoo with my wig head and a lot of cursing when the craft foam ripped and hit me in the face.

I'm gonna make mine out of craft foam because, uh...well, it's what I have on hand.  I've got this stuff on hand, not money to go buy some screen or mosquito net or something more rational.  The cap, as you can see here, is going to be made out of a brown knit for easy wear.

I also tried dressing up this bloody thing with more of the knit to see how it looks.  Looks pretty similar to the original, so let's go with this.

Of course, this experiment was very hypothetical.  I'm going to have to use a real piece of craft foam (i.e. not a scrap like I did here) so that I get the shape exactly right.


I also put the pleats on the front of my turtleneck shirt.

I'm sorry you can't see very well, but whomever took these photos did not seem to care about what the fuck was going on with the shirt.  From what I understand they were more interested in the cloak construction, leatherwork, and headdress.  As can be expected.

My turtleneck cost about eight bucks from a super reputable eBay seller.  No, really, they were great.  No idea how they got it to me so fast.  I decided to accomplish the pleating by overlaying another piece of black knit.

I'm not sure how they did this so smoothly on the original, but I didn't do too bad I think.

First I just pinned the pleats into my strip of black knit.

Then I sewed them in place.  My sewing machine doesn't like knits or lots of layers of fabric.  It complained profusely then broke the thread and threw the needle in my face.

Here's this thing pinned to the shirt to check for fit.

Just so you know, it's really stupid to try stretchy things on when they have pins in them.  For one thing, you end up turning yourself into a voodoo doll.  You also end up ripping out half the pins.  Just watch those stab me in the foot when I "find" them on my floor with bare feet in the God-forsaken morning.

It turned out pretty well.  Not photos, though, sorry.  I can't position the camera right.  So that's what you get.  Later on I'll conceal the raw edges using trim.

That's it for tonight!  Or is is this morning?

Fuck it.

Up next:  What Blogarama said I should do to popularize my blog.  Don't hold your breath.

06 February 2013

Caterina Sforza: Design Breakdown

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I've not had much to write about since I'm currently painting and painting and painting to get all the little designs onto Luminara's cloak.  My piece of fabric is about 6 yards by 60 inches wide...and it all needs to be painted!  So far only about 1.5-2 yards have their design.  Ay-yay-yay.

Too much paint.

In the interim I am working on a complete design for my Caterina Sforza cosplay.

You don't get a reference for the shoes!

This is Caterina in her Rosencreutz Orden uniform.  This is the only available reference of this costume, due to this event taking place somewhere in the story's future.  The idea is that Caterina joins the Orden in order to destroy it from the inside.  At least, that's what the author said before he died awhile back.  Hopefully the manga will get to this point!  I can't wait to see these costumes fleshed out.

Anyway, the challenge here has been drawing enough detail to complete the costume design, mostly using artwork for other characters in the Orden.

Welcome to Club Hair Gel.

Thores Shibamoto's artwork is absolutely stunning.  Anyway, here are a bunch of the current Orden members.  This is a wonderful image because it shows the detail in things like the Orden armbands and collar insignia.  Members also seem to wear shoulder patches and epaulettes, all of which seem meticulously detailed.

I have black tentacle things.  Your argument is invalid.

Isaak Fernand von Kampfer's solo image also provides detail.

Just gonna push up my invisible glasses.

Aaaaaaand he does it again.

My design feels complete now.

I'm not drawing out all the patches and pins.  I've got references enough for those that it's just not necessary.  I'll probably be painting/embroidering all the patches, whilst the pins will be made out of paper clay mounted on pin backs.  I'm going to try painting them with model paints sold by a local store.

Fiscal...umm...difficulties and the "improved" bus routes will not allow me to get materials for awhile.  Anyway, I've drafted patterns for everything except the sleeves, so everything's set to go.  I guess I could start on the pins at least.

The trim gave me a little technical difficulty, but I think I've settled on a plan.  Most Rosencreutz cosplays just use hem binding tape.  To me this looks...cartoon-y.  Fake.  Like, no one would actual wear something like that.  I'm going to sew piping into the appropriate seams and hems, then set it off with some slender silver braid.  Should look pretty decent, I hope.

Construction likely won't begin until mid-March or so.  The costume is already entered in the Anime Boston masquerade in late May, so I had better get this thing done!  Wish me luck.