25 August 2013

Kira Nerys - So Simple It's Complicated

I swear, if I have to take apart her jacket ONE MORE TIME...... *fumes*

Okay, that comes later.

I really didn't start going about this the right way.  It's been damage control right from the beginning and we're just going to see how this turns out because I'm not even sure what I'm doing anymore.

Here's what we're working on this time:

Since beginning work I've learned that this is, in fact, a jumpsuit rather than a two-piece uniform, as I had designed it to be because of an earlier version of the uniform:

They're VERY similar, but the former looks much more streamlined and, in my opinion, attractive.

Basically, here's what we want:
Back zip, smooth silhouette, quilted sleeves, and a pair of leggings that have a close fit, but not skintight.  And a belt.  However that's gonna happen.

I started out with two different colours of fabric, though the uniform fabric was still a little too orange at this point.

The dilute red dyebath I put the orange in did little more than streak the colour, which was interesting, but not quite what I had expected.  I went ahead with it anyway because it was basically the right shade.

Sleeve and shoulderpiece quilting was accomplished by layering a piece of fleece or batting in between layers of fabric, then machine stitching.

Measuring for precision
Right before stitching
It was VERY difficult to keep the stitching straight
My original coat had a front zip, which I moved to the back in order to keep the front smoother.  In total I probably had to take this coat apart and put it back together again about half a dozen times.

Here is what we have so far (please excuse the poor lighting):

The fit is good, though unfortunately it doesn't lie as flat as the original.  Probably due to the lining, which may not have been necessary had I chosen the body suit option.  Oops.  Final step is to add the zipper.

Leggings are made in four pieces based off a pattern created by cutting apart one of my mother's old pairs of jeans.  They fit really well, actually.

If I thought all THAT was difficult...I just hadn't gotten to the belt yet T_T

From what I understand, the original is made from vinyl.  I've never worked with this material, so I expected it to be a challenge...just not this BIG of a challenge.

Liquid latex seemed like a suitable substitute for vinyl, so I set about purchasing the necessary latex and some modelling clay to make a mold out of.

It is NOWHERE NEAR that easy.  As I should have known, but chose to ignore common sense.  Anyhow, here is what I tried.  I hope it serves as a cautionary tale.

I made a little wooden stamp to impress the design into the modelling clay.  It looked like it worked out pretty well, but...

I mixed acrylic paint into the latex as colouring.  I got it extremely close to the original colour through drying tests, because latex darkens in colour as it dries.  Like, a lot.

To avoid air bubbles, I carefully dabbed the first latex layer into the mold.  (Although later on I realized that a lot of air bubbles managed to slip in >_< )

It's going to be awhile before I know how it turned out, but I think it's fucked.  I'm going to have to look into other options.  This is extremely disappointing.

So let's just say that this hasn't been one of my victories.  Let's hope for better luck with Puck.  I'm extremely frustrated with everything right now.

21 August 2013

Jushiro Ukitake - Uniform Completion and Sword Construction

That's right, Superman.  Don't bloody jam up the escalators.

This sign is from Albuquerque Comic Expo.  It went up near the end of the day on Friday.  I can only assume that someone *did* get their cape caught in the escalator and that's what made them decide the sign was necessary.  What an awkward way to go down, Batman!

Before we get on with your regularly scheduled content, I have a few updates.

First off: AlbinoShadow Cosplay is on FACEBOOK, OH YEAH!  So you can go over there and give me a ubiquitous 'like' and make me feel like I'm doing something in the world.  Or not, that's okay too.
Official Facebok Page Link!

Finally: I fixed the banner on the top of my blog.  For whatever reason, Blogger didn't like the JPG version I tried uploading.  Image quality should be much better now.

Uh, okay.  Remember that content I promised?  I think it's here now.  Hrm, yes.

These photos are all from my Ukitake photoshoot a few weeks ago!  So at least the fabric parts of the cosplay are done.  There's still loads of work left on Sogyo, unfortunately.  That'll have to wait until December because my school does not take kindly to woodworking in the residential halls.  True story.

For these shoots I purchased a decorative katana: real steel, true construction, but an unsharpened blade.  The booth selling them actually had several replica Bleach zanpaku-to, as well as a Klingon Bat'leth, which I seriously almost bought.  I DEMAND HONOR IN BATTLE, P'TACH

What I do have are a few progress shots of Sogyo's 'cards'...sorry, but the actual sword part is going to have to wait!

I've noticed on other cosplay props that Sogyo's 'cards' often cause the ribbon to hang askew, presumably because they are too heavy.  Others all bunch up in the middle.  In my design I'm trying to solve those problems.

I started by making the 'cards' as light as possible.  For these I'm using craft foam, not necessarily because it's the *best* choice, but because it's what I have on hand.

Proportions seemed very important to streamline the design.  I went through a couple different ways of drawing them before coming up with the shape above.

 Each of the five cards is made up of three pieces and they are all cut out using an exacto knife to produce straight edges.

Before layering...

...And after.  By now they are spray painted gold and coated with gloss sealer to metalize them.  The ribbon is another problem that I'm still working on.

Since this is a shorter post, I thought I'd end by sharing a quick preview of the next project I'm working on, which is so exciting I can't keep it quiet any longer!

This is my design for Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream.  And yes, I made Puck female.  Why?  Because I think Oberon needs a little taste of his own medicine--a pretty (albeit tricky) girl to fall madly in love with ;)

Planned debut for Puck is in late January at Arisia 2014...better get to work!

Next Post will be about Kira Nerys.  Until then!

12 August 2013

Caterina Sforza - Completion

...Aaaaaand it's a wrap!  Actually it was done about a month and a half ago, but who's keeping count?

This cosplay won first place in Master Division at Albuquerque Comic Expo!  And that's all after Anime Boston rejected it for their masquerade.  BURN.

So, yeah, now I do have some final photos and stuff about how I made this epically complicated-as-heck costume.

Last time I think I left off with the wig, which was a giant LIE if you read my last post (uhh...this post here).

I put blood and tears into the wig I bought specifically for Cat, but no matter what I did it ended up looking like shit glued together with gobs of white glue and hair mat things.  Oh, it was a rather clever process I came up with.

Remember Cat's tubular curls of death?

Yeah, those.  There is no POSSIBLE way to have that much hair unless you're a freak of nature or wear a ton of hair extensions!  I mean, how much  must that hairstyle weigh?  I'm guessing at least twenty pounds, bloody hell.  Unwilling to be defeated by an impossible hairstyle, I armed myself with white glue, a poster tube, and some saran wrap, and set off to make this sucker.

The theory was basically to saturate a section of hair with white glue, flatten it out, then wrap it around the poster tube and wait until it dried enough for me to peel it carefully off the saran wrap.

The result after completing a few curls was quite interesting actually.

Yes, accurate and interesting, perhaps, but really impractical and the wrong kinda colour.  The "corkscrews" like to wind together into one giant curl of death, then cling to one another and the costume and stick out at odd angles.  I should have anticipated that given that I know white glue stiffens the fiber.  Meh.

So the wig was a casualty.  I mean, it's not ruined or anything.  I just have to soak the white glue out, but then what?  How am I going to use a piss-yellow pigtail wig that reaches past my butt?

In the end I went with a slight restyle of my Daenerys wig, which looked much better anyway.  I just took the handful of hair at the side fronts of the wig, twisted it a bit, then pinned it up in a sort of 'donut' shape using hair forks stabbed into the wig netting.

Photo by the amazing Ed Martinez (whose page you should visit...)
Last couple of things are really just side notes, not that interesting, but I thought I'd include them for those who may be interested.

I was kind of pissed off while working on the hat...which means I didn't take many photos.  The thing is built on base made of cardboard strips and masking tape.

Later on I fitted another piece of cardboard into the top to maintain the shape, then I covered it with flannel to even out bumps.  Final layer was stretchy black velvet.

Trim is pinned on before I attached it using hot glue:

I added two layers of decoration to the outer edge of the hat.  One is pleated black lace leftover from making the sleeves of my Raven Roth cosplay.

Underneath is a tightly gathered one yard length of black millinery netting, which I edged with seed beads and glass drops to help it lay flat.

My monocle needed secure attachments to keep it in place, for I cannot wear it without getting a headache.  These things are not meant for comfort in a modern age.  I added a little hook so it can hank from one of my pins, as well as a small ear cuff at the end of the chain.

The finishing touches of the costume were the same boots I used for my Drocell Cainz cosplay, and, for the photoshoot, a World War II-style airsoft pistol.

The final word?  This isn't my favourite cosplay ever.  But I'm glad to finally have been able to do justice to Caterina Sforza after all these years.  I feel like she gets so much flack for how she conflicts with Esther and Abel.  I feel she has every right to pursue a relationship with Abel, no matter how stuck-up Esther may act about it.  He's a grown man and Cat is a grown woman, and Esther needs to grow the hell up.  She's much cuter with Ion anyway.