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Costume Diaries: Cardcaptor Sakura- The Flower

I’ve decided to start condensing my costume progress posts into one comprehensive post, because I tend to get really wrapped up in my projects.  So I figure if I talk about the whole thing after it’s finished, I don’t have to feel like a noob for saying I’m going to do continuation posts and then get sidetracked, lol.  This could be kind of long, so grab a snack, tea, coffee, and leggo! ❤

Animazement was this weekend (well, as I write this, today is the last day of the con, but I only went for one day, so for me it’s over, lol), and after all the (literal) blood, sweat, and tears, I got to wear mah costume!!  It got so much love, and I couldn’t have been happier.  It’s been a LONG time since I’ve gotten to really cosplay.  Financial setbacks kept me on the sidelines for a while, so this costume was really special to me.  It’s frustrating when you can’t participate in a hobby you love.  I wore myself out, finishing this costume.  The week before a con is called “con crunch,”  or I like to call “hell week (throwback to my high school days working backstage in the drama dept),” and I’d say that’s what my week was.  I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning, and I’m talking 3-4 AM.  Your girl is tired, but so, so, so happy. 😀  I’m going to break this down into three sections, since I’ve already talked about the vine wrist cuffs, and the petticoat.  I took a lot of inspiration from images online of intricate wedding dresses, and other costume designers such as Firefly Path, who is one of my absolute favorites.  I’ve dreamed for so long to be able to create elegant fantasy costumes like she does.  But without further adieu, here is the result!

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Photo courtesy of my friend Rey Colon

The Bodice

So for the bodice, I used Simplicity 1728 as my pattern base.  It has a slight off the shoulder pattern that was exactly what I wanted for this.  It took some time to modify the top of each piece, to take on the shape I needed the neckline to look like.  I’d contemplated trying to make the front of the bodice look more like the open front that the character has, and using  fabric close to my skin tone to make it appear “nude (but not actually nude because I wanted to keep it family friendly, lol),” but I decided not to do that, in the end.  The neckline is scalloped, which I patterned to match the scalloping on the lace overlay.  The bodice is made of pink matte satin that I purchased from the Online Fabric Store, two types of Pellon fusible interfacing, and lined with cotton broadcloth I bought from JoAnn.  I wanted to give this strength, and structure, and I knew that I would need the neckline to be a bit stiffer, so it would stand up, and I didn’t want to have to use wire to achieve that result.  So I used one type of interfacing for the each entire piece of the bodice, and then made smaller pieces that were just for the top, and fused those to the rest of my pieces.  For boning, I went with spiral steel, which I happened to have an entire roll of from a while back, that I completely forgot I had.  In addition to putting boning in the seams, I also added extra channels in the front and sides, for a smoother silhouette and structure.

The overlay is made of special occasion lace, and I was only able to match the two back panels of the bodice to the scalloped edge of the lace.  For the other pieces, I cut off the scalloping and re-attached it along the raw edge of my lace, to match.  The seams are serged, and I attached it to the satin by sewing the two layers together at the arm holes and shoulder seams, before attaching the lining.  I also went back and tacked the scallops of the lace to the bodice to make sure it wouldn’t side down.  The lace overlay is longer than the rest of the bodice, and I cut some of the panels at an edge, and then distressed the edges with scissors so it would look less deliberate.  The bodice is COVERED in rhinstones, I wanted to sparkle like the magical girl I am, lol. I bought a lot of 720 Swarovski-like (they are very similar to Swarovski) rhinestones from a seller on Etsy, and with as many as I used, I actually still have maybe about half of the bag left.  I’m thinking about going back and adding more, because why not, lulz.  The majority of them were glued on by me, but a friend did come over one day to give me a little bit of a helping hand with finishing the blinging and I appreciated him so much. ❤  The artificial flowers are both sewn and glued on, and each flower has a rhinestone in the center.  I used larger rhinestones in the larger flowers.  IT’S SO SPARKLY!! ❤

 

Part II: The Skirt

The overall look I was going for with this costume was organic, whimsical, and realistic, while still keeping elements of the character’s design. Her skirt has a small top tier, and then the rest of the skirt, so I decided I wanted my top tier to be a tatter skirt.  I bought about 3-4 yards of different types of lace from work, cut them into strips, and again distressed them with scissors for the tatter skirt.  I was going to ombre dye the edges of the tatters, but I changed my mind.  The main skirt is made of the same pink matte satin as the bodice, with a pink organza overlay that I ombre dyed myself, using two colors of Jacquard Acid Dye to get the shade of pink I wanted. I used Simplicity 8490, and added a few inches to the length.  The seams are serged, and I roll-hemmed the satin by hand, and used fishing line in the hem for the organza.  The large flowers on the skirt are removable for cleaning purposes.  I was unsure of just how many flowers I wanted to add to the skirt, but I still have quite a few left, so I will most likely be adding more.  I also kept most of them off of the back of the dress because I wanted to account for when I would be sitting down, but I think I ended up kind of lifting my dress up a bit to sit, so I think if I add some to the back, they’ll be okay.

Skirt

Close-up of the flowers

Part III:  The Wig

I know you’re not going to believe me, given how this turned out, but I am NOT a hair person, seriously.  I’ve never been one to do a lot of hair styling to my own hair, and at best, I’m pretty good at cutting bangs now, so how this wig turned out so well, is BEYOND me.  There’s only been one other time I have done major wig styling, and that was  with a Flame Princess cosplay when I was still pretty new to the scene.  I didn’t know what I was doing then, and I damn sure didn’t know what I was doing for this, but some way, somehow, this wig turned out better than I could have ever hoped for.  The wig is an Arda classic “Chibi” in the shade “Victory Blonde.”  I went with a shade of blonde that I thought might be complimentary to my skin tone.  The matching wefts I needed were on backorder, but I found an equivalent in the classic wefts, and ordered 4 of them.  It turned out to be too much hair, I used one bag, and part of a second one, but I had no idea how much hair this would call for, so I’d rather have too much than not enough.

What I did know, was that I needed the base for the pigtails to be as light as possible.  My boyfriend suggested that I make a series of cones into the shape I needed, but it just didn’t turn out that way, lol.  I ended up making a cage out of a combination of poster and cardstock, and a bit of 14 gauge wire for stability.  After I made the cage, I covered it in felt, and then wrapped clear packing tape around all of that, because I wasn’t sure if the felt would absorb any of the products I was going to use.

I looked up how to make drill curls, and started with that end of the wig, since the ends of her hair are in a spiral.  After some trial an error, and lots of Googling, I went out to get some clear silicone caulk, and in addition to the caulk, I used Got2B hair gel, as well as some hot glue.  I did the drill curls first, and then glued them to my base, so that I could blend the other wefts in, and make it look as cohesive as possible.  I trimmed the bangs and used the hair gel to keep them out of my face.

You won’t find me trying to enter the Arda Iron Wig contest anytime soon, but I am definitely proud of myself, and it gave me a nice confidence boost for sure!

Wig

Who even am I?!

All in all, this costume turned out exactly the way I hoped, and I am SO, SO, SO HAPPY!  There are two things I didn’t get done in time, and that was a pair of earrings, and an umbrella I wanted to modify to look like a giant flower.  I’ll be getting those done after I’ve had a little break.  I’ll also be doing a separate post about the makeup, which I’m still kind of toying with.  I’ll probably keep playing with ideas for the next time I wear this costume.  Thanks for reading, see you soon!! ❤

Flower dress

 

 

 

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Vintage Glamour: Billie Holiday Shoot

I love vintage glamour.  I think it’s hard not to.  The old photos of singers and actresses, perfectly coiffed, flawless makeup, and that film noir lighting.  I’ve always wanted to do a shoot like that, and I hope to do more in the future whether it’s based off of someone else, or just me.  I used to be in a group called the Carolina D20 Girls, and while it wasn’t a cosplay group specifically, many of the women in there liked to cosplay.  We were always throwing shoot ideas around.  I suggested a vintage glamour shoot, you could choose to channel someone famous, or just get dressed up really nice in some kind of vintage attire.  I chose a Billie Holiday-inspired look.

I did this shoot back in 2013, and I’m pretty sure it was the second photo shoot I had ever done.  All of these images are by my friend Midday Enchantments Photography.

We had the shoot at an antique shop in Cameron Village, in downtown Raleigh.  This was probably the second costume I had ever made.  I love these photos so much, though.  I love that cosplay allows you to make fantasy a reality.  And when I look at these photos, I really do feel like I stepped back into time, where maybe I could have been a sultry songstress.  I do sing, and without tooting my own horn, I’m not too bad at it.  I usually keep it to myself, though.  But I felt like a singer was a nice choice for me, it’s like art within art.

My makeup was very simple, I didn’t know very much about how to do vintage-inspired looks.  Now that I’ve gotten more into makeup, I’ll have a better idea of how to create what I’m going for, the next time I do a shoot like this.  In fact, I kind of feel inspired to try out a vintage makeup look for funsies.  Perhaps there will be a blog post about that in the near future. 🙂

-See you next time!

Morrigan Aensland: Sensual Succubus

Morrigan

Photo by Paul Cory Photography

I was first introduced to Morrigan maybe 5 or 6 years ago, while playing Marvel vs. Capcom 3.  I loved the moves that she had, and the fact that she could turn her wings into weapons.  I also later watched Darkstalkers, and still need to play the games.  Once I got into cosplay, I knew she’d be an awesome character to dress as, and a challenge because of her wings.  Besides her charm and deadly allure, she’s also strong and confident.  She’s not really a heroine, but she’s not entirely a villain.  I might call her chaotic neutral.  At any rate, she’s fun, and she was a big departure for me, at that point.

I had a brief moment of anxiety when I made up my mind to finally cosplay Morrigan.  Her body and mine aren’t exactly the same, aside from being pretty boobtacular, lol.  I wondered being the size that I was, if I would really be able to pull off her outfit.  Then one day, I got an idea to modify her leotard.  I sketched it out, and I loved it.  Instead of wearing her classic leotard, I would wear a dress.  I wanted to make sure that I stayed true to what she wore, but I also wanted something that I felt would flatter me, and this was the result!

The dress is made out of a suede cloth fabric that has a leathery look to it. It was really easy to work with, and I’ll have to remember it in the future if I ever do anything else like this.  I used Simplicity pattern 2400 and modified it to be a slinky, high-cut dress, similar to her leotard.  For extra lift in the chest area, I sewed a push-up bra into the top of the dress, and replaced the straps it came with, with clear ones.  I ordered feather trim from ebay, and some open gloves from Amazon.

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A work-in-progress photo, circa 2014

The wings  came after that.  I did some hunting around online and found large sheets of craft foam, which was awesome.  I was pretty new to do cosplay at the time, so there were lots of materials I didn’t know about.  But I happened across that, and then found out the rolls could be bought at either Joann or Michaels, so I went out and bought a large roll of foam, and some smaller sheets for her head wings.  I’d found a tutorial online for how to make the head wings, but I ended up just kind of doing my own thing with them.  The head wings are made of 14 gauge wire that’s soldered to a metal headband.  The talons are made of sculpey, and there is vein detailing done with puff paint, on the back of both the head and back wings.  The frame for the back wings is made with 9 gauge wire.  When it came time to paint the wings, I was really inspired by some artwork I had come across of her, where she was in the sky and her wings appeared to have a purple and blue gradient look.  I really liked it so I tried to re-create it as the color-scheme for my wings, but the purple came out more pink-ish.  I still loved it though.  You can check out the WIP album for both sets of wings here.

I found purple tights at WeLoveColors, and made a bat stencil and  painted the tights myself.  That was really tricky!  I’ve since had to replace those tights with another pair that still needs to be painted.  I debuted Morrigan at Dragon Con in 2014, and about a month later, I did a photo shoot in her with Paul Cory Photography.  This was the first time I had truly gotten to see everything I had done, and I was incredibly happy!

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Photo by Paul Cory Photography

I wore her to Animazement in 2015 as well, and did an impromptu shoot with my friend Kim, of Midday Enchantments Photography.  You can see the rest of the photos from both shoots on my Facebook page.

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Photo by Midday Enchantments Photography

Currently, she’s “retired,” but not really.  I need to re-make the back wings.  But I am currently working on another version of Morrigan that I plan to debut in Spring 2017.  She’ll probably come out to play again someday, as I have really been wanting to do a night time shoot in her.  Until next time!!