Sunday, March 9, 2014

Costuming for Conventions

The following are my slides that I use when presenting my panel about costuming at various conventions.  Since many people ask for this information, I'm posting it all right here for everyone to see.  Most of it is self explanatory but I'll annotate it where necessary.

The previous two slides are something I feel extremely passionate about.  In all of the subcultures that are nerdom, there's a lot of animosity between the fandoms and within fandoms.  But, honestly, this is SO DUMB.  We should be sharing our love for these thing not hating on each other for sharing common interests.  

More importantly, we shouldn't be judging other cosplayers based on stupid things like age, race, or size.  We should support and encourage each other because we should understand each other and this passion we share.  

Think about it, what happens when you tell a "normie" that you like to go to conventions on the weekends and run around in costumes based on cartoon characters.  The world looks at you like you're a weirdo.  Cons are the one place where we can revel in our nerdom.  We shouldn't have to worry about what other nerds think about us.

This changes often, but typically includes things like...
  • paperclay for props and jewelry
  • fabric medium for changing ordinary acrylic paint into fabric paint
  • dance tights for shaping and tanning legs (and also covering tattoos and leg hair)
  • E6000 glue... because it works on just about everything but styrofoam
  • Recommended readings (I'll put these in a separate post)
  • Dollar stores
  • Harbor Freight

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Beaux Stratagem: Sir Charles Freeman

The Beaux Stratagem
Sir Charles Freeman
Completed November 2013

Items Made: Coat, Petticoat Breeches

The Beaux Stratagem is a restoration comedy written in 1707. The character, Sir Charles, is supposed to be a little older, therefore in a style of dress a little before the rest of the cast. 

But this was super fun to make.  The designer wanted him to look like a peppermint stick.  There were lots of one word descriptions for the costume themes in this show.  And since it's comedy, you can get away with it. 

The Jacket is made from black cotton with silver embroidery and lined with red silk-satin.  The sleeves are slashed and the jacket is trimmed with green ribbon and buttons.  

The petticoat breeches are absolutely ridiculous which in a costume shop equates to "Holy wow! So much fun!"  In the actual restoration period, when it came to bagginess of breeches, baggier was better.  So I made them as baggy as I could with the amount of fabric I had.  They're made from seasonal fabric... this one a red cotton with gold and green metallic stripe.  There was also no such thing as too much ribbon during the Restoration.  Sadly, I only had so much of the green/white embroidered ribbon to trim the waist with.  

The Beaux Stratagem: Lady Bountiful

The Beaux Stratagem
Lady Bountiful
Completed November 2013

Items Made: Bodice, Stomacher, Skirt, and Apron

The Beaux Stratagem is a restoration comedy written in 1707. The character, Lady Bountiful, is sort of a sadistic, mad-doctor type. But also wealthy.  Anyway, the designer wanted her to look like a big bruisey tumor.  So lots of purple and green.  To me, I think she's a little like any of Helena Bonham Carters recent characters.  

The skirt is a crushed purple taffeta, and the bodice a purple/green stripe moire with green hued batik cotton trimming the sleeves.  The stomacher is purple microsuede with green/gold brocade trim and rosettes made from the same fabric as the skirt.  The apron is a two tone green strip cotton.   

The coolest/most challenging part was drafting the bodice based on patterns from that era... which, when drafted, come out super tiny.  I know people were smaller back then, but these patterns kept as they are wouldn't fit ANYONE today... so having to refigure that was tough.  But in the end, I think I got it and this became one of my favorite costumes in the show.... and not just because I made it.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Monday, February 3, 2014

Lady of the Lake WIP Pt. 2

So I've had another go round with the Lady of the Lake.  As you can see, possibly, in some of the photos, I've removed the sleeves and now we're gonna go with an opera length gauntlety thing.  I also reworked the wings/fin/cape whatever so now it's floor length starts at the neck.  To fix the uniformity that I didn't like with the previous cape thing, I made panels in different widths and staggered them in no particular pattern.  They also start narrow out narrow at the top and get wider at the bottom... I might have to add more panels on... I'm not sure... I guess it depends on if she has to raise both her arms over her head...  Right now the cape forms a full half-circle... 

All that's left is fitting the bodice, sewing down all the facings (which I don't wanna do until the bodice is fitted) and add make the sea shells for the bust.  Oh... and attach everything to everything that needs attaching...


Monday, January 27, 2014

Lady of the Lake WIP

So these past few days I've started on my next project... well... it isn't for me... but it's something I'm working on.  This one is for a character from the Monty Python stage show, Spamalot.  It's pretty much Quest for the Holy Grail... with more musical numbers. 

My mission this go round is the Lady of the Lake (who's not in the movie but was added to the stage show).  And she's pretty much THE female lead.  We're kind of going with medieval warrior mermaid lady...  So the bodice is pretty standard... princess seams... not quite a square neckline and made out of a green velvet upholstery.  The skirt is from a purple and gold brocade... but I'm using the reverse which looks like scales... floor length with a train.  Pardon the mannequin in the pics... it's really short so the costume drowns it. 

Next up I added in a slightly puffy upper sleeve with a bell shaped lower sleeve.  The upper sleeve is a green stretch velvet with gold glitter detail (it'll make sense in a minute) The lower sleeve is teal sparkle organza.  I also added a ruffle to the hem of the skirt out of a crinkly pleated taffeta... I wanted her to look like she's walking in water... I left the upper edge of the ruffle unfinished and slightly distressed... I don't want this to be too neat... so slight distressing going on in a few places. 

Next up, I got the other sleeve on and added on a gold sash (now the gold glitter on the sleeves makes sense).  The sash is a gold metallic brocade that looks like gold sequins...

Lastly, she'll have these flowing panels of fabric coming from the back of her waist and attached to her wrists so that when she raises her arms, they'll look like fins or wings or whatever... Here's one of the panels...

And here it is in action... kinda... and herein lies the issue... With the wings/fins/whatever... the bell sleeves don't seem to work anymore... so I've gotta figure out what I want to do... I have a couple of options... I can make the gown sleeveless and have her with gauntlet sleeves made from the green/gold stretch velvet... to which I can attach the wings... or I can edit out some of the organza in the sleeves and make them more fitted...

The other issue is that the panel of strips of fabric looks too neat... I want it to look more organic... so I need to figure out how to fix that as well... 

Stay tuned for more progress pics as this costume comes to life... 

See ya next time!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My "New Year's Resolutions" for 2014

Okay, so I don't really like saying New Year's resolutions... cause it's kinda lame... but there ARE goals that I'd like to accomplish this year... so I guess, technically, they're resolutions... but whatever... haha!  Some of  them are new projects, some are completions of old projects, some deal with costuming and some don't.  But I wanted to share a few of them with you guys!

I guess I was really inspired by a couple of other blogs I read right around the new year.  Apparently there are some cool sewing challenges that are designed to inspire/motivate you to spend more time sewing and less time procrastinating... which is something I'm REALLY good at... when I get around to it. 

Here's a couple of those challenges.

They're both mostly geared towards historical/period costuming for women.  But since I'm a dude and the only historical stuff I do is renfaire... these challenges aren't really geared towards me.  But they did inspire me to create my own challenge... for me. 

I sat down and I wrote out a list of things I wanted to accomplish this year.  So, this time next year, I'll look back at this post and see how much of my list I actually did.  

Of course this does not include any freelance work I might pick up this year... In fact, I already know that I'll be working on the next two shows at my local college.  

To be completed in no particular order:

* Get the workshop up and running:  Actually I just finished this one!!! Woot!
* Blog more:  At least once a week... preferrably 2-3 times.  
* Build a prop sword for Crona.
* Build the Ragnarok prop for Crona... I actually had an AMAZING idea on how I want to do this... but it's gonna take some serious figuring out.  I'll keep you posted on the progress. 
* Finish a mask for Jack Skellington.  I've started two... I need to finish 1... or maybe both... but definitely 1.
* Finish the tutorial series on using commercial patterns.  I have the second part written I just need to record it.
* Make more videos:  At least 1 a month.   I've got a couple ideas in the works.  Let me know what kind of videos you want to see!!! Make up tutorials? Sewing basics? Progress videos?
* Finish Prince Diamond.  Well, start THEN finish him.  I've cut his wig and made the jewels for this cape... but that's about it. 
* Mend ALL of my regular clothing that needs mending.  I've got so many clothes with little holes in them or zippers that have been chewed off by little puppy teeth...
* Draft and complete at least 1 original sewing pattern for publishing.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I'd really like to publish my own line of sewing patterns... patterns mostly made for cosplayers.  I've been toying around with this idea for a few years now but I want to put this plan in motion.

Anyway... those are my challenges.  What are some of your challenges for 2014? 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rising New Moon Studios has a new home!!!

Or as I like to call it... "The Workshop Under the Bed"  because, seriously, this is UNDER my bed.  And this is what I've been up to the past several weeks.  I've been a busy bee sorting, cleaning, purging, organizing, and all the other "ings" you can come up with.  

Now, it's not completely done, and it isn't perfect.  But that's okay because the important thing is I can start working at home again... 

So let's break it down and I'll give you the pictorial tour!!!

First off, my bed is from IKEA.  They call it a loft bed, but really it's a bunk bed minus the bottom bunk.  Which is awesome because in my new place I have less room to work so I had to maximize my space.  The climbing in and out of bed is kind of a pain, but the end result it totally worth it. 

Then I added in a shelving unit and desk combo ALSO from IKEA. The desk gives me a sizable work surface and all the cubbies provide plenty of storage.  

I also have another folding table for my machines... Unfortunately, this table is a little old and is starting to sag under the weight of the machine, but I'm going to replace it with something a little sturdier.  

Tucked into the corner is my fabric stash.  I went through my entire stash and seriously downsized it.  It was hard.  Those of you who sew as much as I do KNOW how bad the fabric hoarding can get.  But I was able to look at everything I had (and all the stuff I inherited from friends) and objectively decide if it was REALLY a fabric I might use or something just taking up valuable real estate.  I also got rid of all the little scraps and ribbons of fabric I had been holding onto.   

The end result is 3 totes of fabric... all grouped by color.  I'll admit the fabric is tough to access but I honestly don't need to get into that often.  And the very top tote is all of my utilitarian fabric like interfacing and muslin which is much easier to get to.  I'm working on another idea to add to my fabric storage organization... but I haven't got it all quite figured out just yet.

Then there's all the cubbies that I LOVE SO MUCH!!!  It's so nice to have everything out in the open.  I'm trying to keep all of the tools I use most close at hand so I don't have to dig or search for everything.  Granted, the cubbies still need a little more refining, but they're a start.  

 What doesn't fit in the cubbies, goes over here on this shelf.  Which is in the other corner of my room.

Here's my pattern library, all transferred into large storage envelopes.  I still want to refine this a little more.  Right now, all my patterns are sorted in pretty broad categories... Oh, and I might have to reconfigure this because they're packed in there pretty tight.  I guess my library is growing. 

Then I have all of my wig supplies and all of my makeup.  The next shelf, which I didn't take a picture of, is wigs on wig heads.  Some of my wigs are in ziploc bags in drawers, which is fine, but the wigs I care about more, I'd like to keep safe on wig heads.  

And that's pretty much it!  Thanks for joining me in my little tour!  I hope this helps to give you a few ideas for creative use of space and I'll see you in the next blog!!!