26 Jan 2015

Cosplay Shenanigans - 2am sewing, picnics, and planning

In order to encourage me to post more as well as keep you all up to date with any cosplay related things, I'm introducing a new weekly post - Cosplay Shenanigans! Basically just a summary of anything cosplay related that happened through the week, such as progress, events, or news in the wider community. A lot of stuff you'll already find on my Facebook page or my Tumblr.

Last minute sewing

No matter how much time you give yourself to prepare your cosplay, it appears that you'll inevitably be found frantically sewing in the wee hours before an event.

I think I gave myself a month to sew Korra (book 4), yet I was attaching buttons and hot gluing things together the night before the event (Auckland Cosplay Picnic).

3D printed button and cording for the thread

If I hadn't slacked off the previous weeks, I wouldn't be gently crying over my sewing supplies while wishing I could just put my head down and sleep. Lesson learnt (yeah, right).

Cosplay in a park

So what was all the rush about? So I could dress up and run around in public, of course!

I hadn't been to one of the Auckland Cosplay Picnics before, so wasn't sure what to expect. Turns out it had a similar vibe to a convention, except almost everyone was cosplaying, it was far more relaxed, and there were no lines for food!

I caught up with a lot of the people I met at Auckgeddon, hung out with a some great friends, and met some new ones!

I was also privileged to have a casual photoshoot with a cosplayer/photographer I met, Hannah (BB's Cosplay & Photography). I'm amazed someone can take such fantastic looking photos while everyone is running around like mad. It was also my first photoshoot, but I didn't feel stressed - it was so fun! I can't wait to see the end result, but for now here's a preview!

Image credit: BB's Cosplay & Photography

Also I just realised I parted the fringe to the wrong side. Shameful, haha.

And I absolutely have to show you this most amazing gift Sparky made for me.

She made it herself! I think I died a little. And by a little, I mean a lot. So many feels!! What a talented lady!!

Future cosplays and planning

One of my next major cosplays is going to be Post Apocalyptic Jane Porter, which will debut at Hamilton along with a lovely group of other Post Apocalyptic Disney guys and gals.

I don't have much time each day to make it, so I had to do some forward planning.

I'm using Google Tasks, the predecessor to Google Keep. I like it because it gives you a nice overview on your calendar.

First I added all the major components, then spread them out across the remaining weeks. After that I broke each component down into manageable tasks that I can tick off as I go. There's a lot to do, but if I stick to this schedule I shouldn't get too stressed about it.


I've done a little bit of work on Jane this week - just a part of the underskirt. I can't wait to rip it up and weather it!

It's been a busy week, and next week should be just as busy, which means I'll have a lot of content for next weeks Cosplay Shenanigans post!

24 Jan 2015

Korra Book 4 Cosplay write-up

The January Auckland Cosplay Picnic gave a good incentive to finish my second cosplay - once again, Korra. But this time from Book 4, in her Earth Kingdom garb. Turned out to be perfect for a picnic!

I started with the pants, as they were very similar to her season 1 outfit.

The cuffs were cut and sewn separately, then sewn into the pants. I put elastic in them it keep them taut. The ties were made much later.

Next up, the backpack! This was a pretty fun part. I learned how to make (and sew) piping, and used sew-in interfacing for the first time. I prefer iron on, though.

The tutorial I used was this one, minus a few bits and pieces.

Sewing the interfacing in

Sewing the piping! This fabric is from the dress I'm using for Post Apocalyptic Jane

Sewing it together

The outside complete

Added some lining from some fat quarters I had lying around

Strap sewn in, flap sewn on, and an elastic closure added

I then started work on the top. This time I used what I learned from a draping panel at Armageddon, and it came out pretty well!

The darker green was very hard to find. I wanted to use a natural fibre, but there was only polyester!

The detailing is sewn together

And the complete tunic

At this point I think the picnic was only a week away, and I started panicking a wee bit. My wig hadn't arrived, and I didn't want to cut my hair. I had kind of started the shoes, but still had a number of small things to finish off. I dug my heels in and got back to work!

I pulled apart these old, worn shoes to make the template

The outers are done!

As well as the insole - cardboard with craft foam, then fabric sewn onto it

After a lot of hot glue, the end result

My wig arrived with plenty of time to spare - I'm very pleased with the quality! It needs a bit of styling, but would do for the picnic.

The night before the picnic, I made the belt and attached the button to the backpack. Oh wait, what button? I don't have a big yellow button!

3D printer to the rescue! In half an hour, I had a perfect yellow button, which I attached with leftover piping I turned through.

The end result? Well, during the picnic I got to have a very wonderful photoshoot with a talented photographer. I'll post them up when I get the chance!

18 Dec 2014

Upcoming cosplays

So after Auckland Armageddon Expo 2014 I caught the cosplay fever bad. I already had a couple of characters I wanted to cosplay (Korra, season 4, for example) but that list has increased exponentially.

Seeing that Armageddon only has three days, I've decided to go to both Hamilton and Wellington (Comic Con). That way I can make more cosplay!

So first on the list: Korra, Season 4.

I adore her outfit. It's comfortable, distinctive, and comes with a backpack! This is pretty much the ideal con-going cosplay. I'll be able to traverse the halls, and anything I buy will go in the backpack.

So far I've sewn the trousers. I used the same pattern as for Korra Season 1, but made them a bit shorter and attached some elasticated cuffs. I still need to make the little ties.

Next up is a cosplay I wasn't expecting to do. A couple of gals from CosplayNZ Facebook group came up with the great idea to form a cosplay group based on Tess Fowler's Post Apocalyptic Disney Princesses.

Initially I kind of wanted to do Snow White, but she got snapped up pretty quickly. None of the other princesses really appealed, as I feel like I should cosplay a character I connect with.

So I chose to make one up!

I decided on Jane from Tarzan (she's a princess of the jungle, okay?).

I incorporated as much Tarzan style as I could, while keeping with a post-apocalyptic theme. It's pretty hard!

In terms of progress, I've bought a lot of the materials. Mostly thrift store items that I plan to rip up!

Fangs made from Super Sculpey!

Weathered leather using sandpaper and a dremel

My crafts collection has grown a lot with this Jane cosplay, as she has so many random bits and pieces (I have no one to blame but myself).

And then there is the Witch King. I really want to do well on this one. Most of the effort will be props (of which I've made none before) and armour (also very little experience), so should be a good challenge.

At the moment I've half-built the sword, and that's pretty much it.

Gesso covered
And then there's my competition piece which I'll be wearing for Auckland.

Leona! In pretty much my favourite skin of all time. I love everything about this outfit, and I'm going to make this. It has props, chainmail, armour....everything!

The best part is that I got a whole lot of Worbla recently, thanks to Alter Ego cosplay (closed group here for NZ Worbla orders).

It smells weird.

Hopefully there should be enough to make at least Leona's armour (let's be honest; it's pretty skimpy so I won't need that much).

I'll finish off with a list of "nice to have's" - these are the cosplays I want to make, but might not have the time, or place to wear them.

  • Aela the Huntress (Skyrim)
  • Corvo Attano (Dishonored)
  • Jack of Blades (Fable)
  • Kuvira (Korra)
  • Lin (Spirited Away)
  • Theresa (Fable, Fable 2)
  • Monarch henchman (the Venture Bros)
So that's the state of things! I'm likely to finish Korra first, followed by Jane. I'm so excited, I wish they were done already!

27 Oct 2014

Armageddon Expo 2014!

I've been to Armageddon Expo before. A few times, actually, when it was held at Aotea Centre. I used to go all three days, then cut it back to one. There wasn't that much content for me.

So this year I decided to cosplay, which is why I've been making a Korra cosplay this whole time. I thought it would be a bit more fun - an excuse to meet other cosplayers, and I might even get some photos.

I wasn't prepared for how much better it would be.

In the days leading up to the event, the Cosplay New Zealand Facebook group was on fire. Photos of people making last minute adjustments to cosplays, and some people just starting. Questions abounded, and advice was there seconds later. I loved sitting on the sidelines (so to speak) and offering encouragement and support. Every other comment was, "I can't wait to meet you"!

I woke up quite early (6:30? 7:00? Early for me, anyway) and laid everything out. I was ready to go out in public as Korra! I wasn't nervous though. All I've heard from the cosplay community are the positive messages from the Facebook group, so I put everything on and left the house like I was going to a friend's brunch party.

I only hit traffic once I got to the main road heading to the showgrounds. I was feeling a tiny bit self concious at this point - Korra's distinctive hair ornaments were waving in the breeze from my open window. I started seeing cosplayers though - droves of them, walking along the street. My spirits rose, and I waved out the window as Korra with Sunglasses.

Walking through the gates, all I could see were cosplayers. My jaw was dragging on the ground as I slowly made my way to the main entrance. I didn't know how to handle so much amazing in one place.

For some reason, for the past few Armageddons, this feeling had been lost. Something was different this time, but I don't think it was just the fact that I was dressed up. Maybe seeing all the other cosplayers, and noticing all the hard work they all put in to their outfits, maybe this is the sense of awe I could practically taste.

I started off by wandering around the jam-packed halls. Every now and then I caught a passing "Korra!", "That's Avatar Korra!", or sometimes "Katara!". Very soon I realised it would be impractical to walk through such a crowded area (there were over 120,000 attendees on Saturday) so I retreated to the foyer. I then ran into an old high school friend who won Dunedin's Best in Show - Courtney of Kayoss Cosplay. She was there with a Jinx with an amazing Fishbones prop, and a Demon Six tails from Naruto. I merged with the group and we became a very strange mash-up. From there we could barely walk a few feet without being asked for photos!

Saturday ended with a fantastic Avatar group and a hilarious cosplay parade. Ty Lee (Elishia) welcomed me with open arms (quite literally) and I was officially inducted into the world of cosplay.

Photo credit: Mustafa Qureshi
I was so completely exhausted that I slumped into bed at 8pm that day. Meanwhile, Courty Kayoss stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning sewing a huge sheep that doubled as a bag and finishing off her Astrid cosplay (How to Train Your Dragon II).

Somehow struggling to get out of bed at 7:30, I ran through the motions of becoming Korra. This time I didn't forget my armband. Did I mention that?

We got an excellent photo at the Hobbiton set. The rest of the photos I took were so lacking compared to the casual snapshot from the attendee of the stall.

There were no big events on Sunday apart from the great cosplay panels, but I caught the end of the League of Legends cosplay competition completely by accident. These guys were simply amazing, and the crowd loved them too. That would be a small teaser of the full competition I was attending the next day.

Monday was competition day, and by this point I was actually getting nervous. Seeing the calibre of the other cosplays was completely blowing me away - but I stuck to my guns and attended the call time regardless.

Our 11:30 slot contained an Ursula, Gamora, Stargate Serpent Guard, and a few other awesome cosplayers. Everyone was so supportive - by the end of the judging session, my nerves were completely gone. How could you be scared when you're performing in front of people who are rooting for you?

We had time to kill before the public display of the competitors on stage, so Six Tails, Jinx, and a Bucky Barnes we roped in slowly made our way to the V 360 photo set. It took us about 15 minutes there and 10 back, even though it was about 20 metres away. So many photos, so many wonderful people.

After the group competition shot, all 39 contestants/groups made their gradual way to the main stage, where we got to watch the SFX competition (which Courtney was competing in).

Since it's still the day of the competition, I haven't found any photos of the display yet. I'm happy to say Korra was a resounding success with the crowd, but not so for the competition as a whole. I'm so very proud of the contestants who won prizes, however. The Gamora from my call slot won a technical award with her very first go at making armour, and a Link who had a real Ocarina (and played it, too), busted out a hilarious skit, even though it was her first competition. She won the novice skit prize, as well.

Courtney once again was involved (she's a busy girl), as she had won Best in Show Dunedin with her Eowyn in armour cosplay (which was stunning!). Katniss took the Trans-Tasman cup with a mind-blowing performance and a dress that revealed another dress underneath. We tried to find Courtney after the show, but doubtless she was helping her SFX model out of the amazing makeup work she did.

And then it was over.

Reluctant to leave each other, Jinx (Georga), Six Tails (Courtney, not Kayoss) all said our "farewell"s and "well done"s and "congratulations", and went our separate ways, knowing that next year will be even better, and we'll all level up our cosplays for a mind-blowing convention.

11 Oct 2014

Korra Cosplay - complete!

The last piece of Korra's outfit was completed today - the armband.

Originally I was going to represent it as a tattoo, but the latest season of Korra shows her bare arm - so it is definitely not a tattoo!

I decided to make it out of craft foam I had lying around. The colours were close enough.

Triangles cut out of the foam

All superglued together

Painted spots on

Heat formed

Crappy closure thing. :\

Close scrutiny will betray the shoddy workmanship, but from a distance it looks kinda badass.

I am so excited to run around Armageddon Expo in this thing. I might even enter the competition, because why not?

View the first post in this series where I begin my cosplay journey by making pants!