Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cosplay Tips 3

Hello all. This will be a continuing series of tips and suggestions I have for cosplayers and anyone interested in cosplaying or just dressing up for Halloween. I'll try to do a few examples if necessary for each of these posts. So, without further ado, here is

Cosplaying tip #3: When to Wear What Cosplay

I chose this topic for my cosplaying tips because of one of my friends. In my last cosplay tip I mentioned that I had altered a hoodie for a friend's cosplay. My friend wore that cosplay costume to a convention at the end of summer and got a case of heat prostration because of it. To help avoid this happening to others I chose to write this post as a tip and a warning.


The main exception to this rule is if you plan on being inside an air conditioned building that is NOT overly crowded. Another cosplayer I met who was cosplaying as Death the Kid from Soul Eater at that convention was mostly hanging out in a less crowded part of the convention and highly recommended against doing a photoshoot in the desert in the middle of summer in a Death the Kid cosplay.

Another recommendation I have is to avoid wearing shorts, thin clothing, and other summer weather clothing at conventions taking place during winter or fall. The original shirt I had for my cosplay costume for Liz Thompson from Soul Eater was made from and old pair of stretchy pajama pants. As ingenious as this shirt was, I was freezing cold outside. And it was worse when I wore the same shirt with shorts for my cosplay costume for Patty Thompson, Liz's twin sister from Soul Eater. If you do wear shorts or a short skirt for a cosplay costume during cold weather, I highly recommend you wear pink or tan tights, depending on your skin tone. Not nylons, tights. Tights tend to be thicker than regular nylons and I frequently wear a pair of footless or convertible tights under my jeans when it's cold outside. They work very well for insulation without being too thick or bulky. One of my dance teachers used to take her old tights and convert them into a shirt by cutting off the feet and cutting a hole in the crotch for her head to go through. If you do this, I recommend using clear nail polish on the edges to avoid runs in the tights.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My New Bloomers

This past week I finally had the time to sew a new pair of bloomers. I used the same pattern as for the bloomers I made for my senior project, but I lengthened the legs a bit so that they come down a bit farther. I used the same lace and purple ribbon that I used for my other bloomers since I had some left over from my senior project. I had to take out several seams as I figured out how to make the longer legs properly, but it wasn't very hard for me to figure out how I should sew the legs properly. My bloomers turned out wonderfully! They come down to just above my knees and poof out nicely. Here is a picture:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cosplay Tips 2

First of all, I would like to apologize for the long intermission between postings. I unfortunately had school take over my life, but now I am back with more posts. Enjoy!

Hello all. This will be a continuing series of tips and suggestions I have for cosplayers and anyone interested in cosplaying or just dressing up for Halloween. I'll try to do a few examples if necessary for each of these posts. So, without further ado, here is

Cosplaying tip #2: Make your own Cosplay- Choosing Materials

  Many people buy pre-made cosplay costumes, simply just to have a cosplay costume. I, being a bit of a cheapskate or broke most of the time, choose to make my own cosplay costumes. Another reason I make my own cosplay costumes is: quality. I see lots of cosplay costumes that use cheap fabrics that are poorly made selling for horrendous amounts of money. This has always bugged me because when I cosplay I always try to make my costumes look like real clothing, not just a costume.

 When shopping for clothing to use for cosplaying, I look for clothes that I can wear normally too. I also raid my closets to find clothes that I can use for cosplaying. One example of this is my current cosplay costume for Misa Amane from Death Note. A while back I had bought a strapless black dress at Love Culture that I recently realized I could use for a Misa cosplay. I paired it with a black camisole that I pinned underneath to give the impression of a strapped dress and some black lace gauntlets to make an adorable Misa Amane cosplay costume. Since I didn't have a necklace that looked like the one Misa usually wears, I just tied a black ribbon around my neck like a choker and wore my dog tags instead. And in place of black lace stockings I wore black tights. Also, last time I bought a pair of jeans I bought them with cosplay in mind. I bought a style that I could wear on normal days as well as for my cosplay costume for Liz Thompson from Soul Eater.

 I admit there are many cosplay costumes that can be pulled off with normal clothes, but many, like Sailor Moon, require out-of-the-ordinary pieces. Not many people walk around in a white leotard with a blue mini skirt on a daily basis. For costumes like this that have to be made, I highly recommend making your own costume or buying a costume made with real fabrics, like cotton or linen, as opposed to costume fabrics. Many costumes are made out of low-quality fabrics that are meant only for costumes. These fabrics not only look bad, but they don't hold up nearly as well as other fabrics. I admit for some cosplays it doesn't matter because the outfit the character is wearing is a costume, but many anime and manga characters wear their outfits all the time. So, let me ask you: Do you wear cheaply made clothing that looks like a costume on a daily basis? For many of you, the answer is most likely no. This is why I choose to use real clothing for my cosplay costumes. Also, real clothing and costumes made out of better fabrics hold up better than most costumes.

There are some cosplay costume parts that look like regular clothing with an anime twist. Instead of killing yourself trying to make the whole costume piece, use as much of an article of clothing as you can. An example of this is the jacket for a cosplay of the character Soul from Soul Eater that I revamped for a friend's cosplay. I started with a black hoodie that my friend had. I removed the seams attaching the sleeves of the hoodie to the body, used them as a pattern to cut out new, yellow sleeves, then attached the new sleeves I had made to the hoodie. I then cut out the shape that Soul has on his jacket's front and back and sewed them on to the hoodie. Granted I did this all the night before and on the drive down to the convention my friend wore it to, so it didn't look perfect. However, my friend was recognizable as Soul, which was good enough for me.

I apologize for the length of the post, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lolita in Anime

Lolita is rather frequent in anime and manga along with cute maid and other cosplay outfits. One of my favorite animes/mangas, Monster Princess/Princess Resurrection has multiple characters who wear Lolita all the time. This anime was actually one of my first introductions to the Gothic Lolita style. I automatically fell in love with the outfit worn by the main characters master, Hime, and have wanted to cosplay her ever since I first watched it. Even now I still love how her skirt has multiple ruffled layers. My lovely Gothic Lolita Pinafore has a similar skirt, but with only two layers instead of three.  Her sister, Sherwood, has an equally pretty outfit with red roses around the waist and an adorable crown that she wears at the top of her ponytail. A cute little cat girl character, named Hiroko, that showed up in the anime only had a different maid outfit in every episode. All of her outfits looked very Lolita-like with lots of frills and lace on them. In the manga, another one of Hime's sisters had a white Lolita outfit similar in style to Hime's, but without the tiered skirt. I, unfortunately, can never remember her name, most likely because she isn't seen very often in the manga and does not appear in the anime. It's unfortunate that my favorite character in the Monster Princess anime, Hiroko, doesn't appear in the manga and that, likewise, my favorite character in the manga, Hime's other sister, isn't in the anime. Some of the main things I dislike about the Monster Princess anime are that it is a completed series and that it did't go into the story in the manga very deeply. It is still an enjoyable anime despite that. Also, it's less bloody that the manga, making it a lighter story without as much death in it. In one particular story, there was a monster that controlled people's body's and sucked the life out of people. The main difference between the manga and the anime was that in the manga, anyone that had the monster control them died, whereas in the anime they were still alive, but only just. I like the anime better in some ways, but I also like the manga because there are more stories in it. Both are definitely on my favorites list though.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dreaming of Dollfies

A few years ago I saw a very pretty doll at an Anime convention I was attending. She looked so delicate and dainty, I fell in love with her. I later found out that she was a Dollfie, an asian ball-jointed doll. Ever since then, I've been interested in getting one. Sometimes I'd look up pictures of different Dollfies. And then, one day, I looked at the price of a Dollfie on an online store. It was enough to make me shriek. Luckily, I didn't. I was startled that anyone would be willing to pay so much for a doll. My hopes of getting my own Dollfie were flittering away as fast as a bird being chased by my cat. However, recently I found that there are other doll manufactures that make similar dolls for much lower prices. My hopes of getting a Dollfie, or a cheaper imitation, were renewed. All of the dolls I found were still rather expensive for my price range, but I still hope that I can get one of these beautiful dolls that I can dress up in homemade Lolita dresses that match my own.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My new Gothic Lolita Pinafore

I recently had the opportunity to buy a lovely Gothic Lolita pinafore from Miss Carlyfornia. It is very well made, comfortable, and adorable too! I have yet to make a blouse to wear with it, so I took one of my white button-up shirts and tucked the collar in. This is my second Lolita dress so far, and it will definitely not be the only one I buy from Miss Carlyfornia. The lace is very girly and cute and the purple ribbon used as a tie for the skirt is a nice touch. All of Miss Carlyfornia's clothing is very nice in the fact that it is adjustable and thus can be worn by a wide variety of people. Here are some pictures of my lovely new pinafore!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cosplay Tips 1: Updated!

Hello all. This will be a continuing series of tips and suggestions I have for cosplayers and anyone interested in cosplaying or just dressing up for Halloween. I'll try to do a few examples if necessary for each of these posts. So, without further ado, here is

Cosplaying tip #1: Wigs and Hair
One thing that I find difficult about cosplaying is the hair. Many Anime characters have gravity defying hair or hair that is an unnatural color. Thanks to wigs, the task of looking like you have 6 inch purple spiked hair is made much easier. However, good wigs tend to be expensive, and not everyone has the time to style wigs or the money to buy a wigs styled like their favorite anime character. So my main solution is: choose a character that has hair similar to your own. For example, I have long blond hair. This is a fairly popular combination in anime and it gives me some versatility.  Some of the characters I've cosplayed in the past were Patty and Liz Thomas and Maka Albairn from Soul Eater along with Chi from Chobits. It's true, my hair wasn't perfect, but it was enough to get the point across

Wig allow a lot more versatility, but also have a lot of their own problems. For one thing, the fibers most wigs are made out of behave differently from real hair. This can have it's advantages, namely when you style the wig, it stays styled, unlike real hair. However, this also means that wigs behave differently from real hair. I found a really nice book about 'wig crafting' recently that has lots of different suggestions for how to style wigs. It's called "World of Wigcraft" by Katie Bair. I haven't had the opportunity to try out anything from it yet, but it was very informative and I hope to use some of the tips in the future. If you are interested in making your own wigs, I would highly recommend you buy "World of Wigcraft." Some of the things that I found the most helpful were using hot water to style the wigs instead of a curler of straightener so as to not melt the fibers and not treating wigs like real hair since they aren't attached to a scalp like real hair and lay differently.

I've noticed one of the main struggles with wigs, especially long ones, is that they tangle fairly easily. One could just try combing the wig out to get the worst of the tangles out, but this isn't always the best choice. If you've got a wig that's super tangled or just really messy the best choice is to wash the wig. Here's what you'll need:
-A tub, I just used my bath tub, but you can use a sink or plastic tub if you have a shorter wig
-Shampoo, I'd recomend using a less expensive shampoo for this since you'll likely be using a lot
-Wide tooth comb, I used a plastic shower comb for this

 Start by filling the tub up to a few inches deep so you have enough water to submerge the wig in.  Get the wig thoroughly wet, both the outside and the inside of the wig. Pull the wig out of the water and apply some shampoo to the ends of the fibers on one section of the wig. work it through the fibers and then use a comb to gently work the tangles to the ends of the fibers. Always work from the bottom to the top of the wig to avoid pulling out as many fibers as possible. If the fibers start feeling less wet, dunk them in the water again and reapply the shampoo. It's easiest to work on a small section at a time instead of the whole wig. I did one side in sections until it was mostly tangle free, then switched sides of the wig. Once you finish with the outside of the wig, flip it inside out and work on the inside fibers the same way as for the outside ones. Afterwords, turn the wig right side out again and fix the outside fibers if needed. This process can take anywhere from half an hour to several hours depending on the length of the wig and the severity of the tangles, so be patient. You don't want to get impatient and tear out too many wig fibers when you do this. Once the wig's detangled, wash all of the shampoo out and gently pat off excess water with a towel. The wig can take several days to dry, so make sure to put it somewhere where it can hang freely and let it air dry. Make sure the wig is 100% dry before storing it.

I used a straight wig for this, so I don't know how this method would work on a wig with curls. If your wig has curls, make sure to use cold or lukewarm water as hot water can make the wig fiber change shape. This should ensure that the curls will stay better intact on your wig.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Very Own Lolita Outfit

For my senior project, I decided to make a Lolita dress. I'd been wanting a Lolita dress for some time and I was thinking of making one. However, I hadn't had the funds or the motivation to make one. So when the time came to choose my project, I immediately knew what I wanted to do. I originally was thinking of just making a dress, but I knew just a dress wouldn't be enough. So I decided to make a jumper dress, a blouse, a head bow, bloomers, and a petticoat. They all turned out very nicely, despite some difficulties I came across. My mentor, Miss Carlyfornia, helped instruct me in how to make it all. Here are a few pictures of the dress and bloomers.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hello to All

In this blog I intend to talk mainly on the subjects of Anime and the Lolita style, along with cosplay, sewing, dolls, and anything else relevant that catches my fancy. I plan to put up pictures of my Lolita and Anime related clothing, as well as tips and suggestions for making or putting together your own cosplays and Lolita outfits. Please enjoy reading this blog as well as commenting. Thank you all.