Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Koi Fish Fascinator

The first of my hat projects from my millinery course from this past fall--a straw fascinator! The goal was to take a straw capeline and freeform pin and block it into an abstract shape. I decided to make a fish?

It's not the type of work I would normally do. I'm a person who tends to plan out what I'm doing in advance. So taking on a project where you had to make up what you were doing on the fly was a bit of a challenge for me.

The basics of blocking straw is: you take the straw capeline and wet it with a watered down gelatin mixture. This will make it easy to sculpt and pin. Then you let it dry in that shape. The gelatin acts as a stiffener.

I don't have any pictures of this part of the process because I didn't want to get gelatin on my phone. Haha

The challenge with mine is that I didn't want to do a large fascinator, and only wanted to use half of the capeline. But you can't just cut a straw capeline, otherwise the weave will quickly start to unravel. Before you cut it, you must first do a zig-zag stitch on either side of your cutting line--so the part you want to keep and the excess both don't unravel. I had to do this before I sprayed it with the gelatin mixture so I didn't get that on my sewing machine.

The "head" of the fish is half the crown of the capeline.

I just blocked it on a regular foam wig head. I used pins and bulldog clips to hold it in place as it dried.

Once it had dried overnight I carefully hand-stitched it to a plain black headband.

As an afterthought, I added little fins. These were made out of some of the excess material. They are hand stitched on.

Overall I think it was a neat exercise and a cool project, but I will probably never wear it.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

January Update

Hey all! I guess it's been a while. Happy New Year!

2016 was not a very productive year on the cosplay front. That's primarily because I've been getting more work in my industry but also due to me taking some time to step back from my projects a bit. I have not been as active on this blog as I would like, but that's partially due to a lack of finished material to post about.

For me this has been a year of learning and career progress.

I finished 2 costumes this year from my ongoing projects list and completed several more smaller projects (mostly hats!).

The first was Presea. This one was in progress and then on hiatus for several years--with the bulk of the work having been completed more than 3 years ago. I'm glad I was able to finally complete the battle axe this year with my current skill-level in painting. :)
The second (and final) costume I completed was Princess Leia from Return of the Jedi--her Rebel Scout outfit. I've been a Star Wars fan since forever and Leia and Han were always my favourite characters. It was nice to finally cosplay from that series. And also to step-up my wig game.

I still need to get some finished shots of this costume--aiming for late spring to do a photoshoot in the park behind my house.

So, what does 2017 have in store for me?

On the cosplay front: Completing the last 4 costumes I have left on the go! Plus 2 new secret projects? Secret mostly means I haven't quite finalized the list yet, and I don't want you guys to hold me to any promised future costumes. Hoping to complete the top row in the first half of the year, and announce my 2 new costumes halfway through the year.

On the personal front: Well, I have some product ideas that I am taking off the backburner. I've been working on some designs for a while and need to finish prototyping. Looking at debuting some things to sell early spring.

On the blog front: I'll try to keep up! Haha

That's all for now folks! Looking forward to 2017 with a positive mind! Gotta get back in the groove!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Leia Rebel Scout - Star Wars VI - Wig

Hey guys! Lets take our first look at my Leia Rebel Scout costume! I won the "Best of Thursday" award at the FanExpo Cosplay Craftsmanship Contest 2016 with this costume.

I've wanted to do something Star Wars for a long time, but I was undecided what costume to do. I was interested in doing Leia, since I enjoy her character a lot (though not as much as my undying love for Han Solo). But as far as costumes go I thought her most iconic outfit is kind of bland and "slave Leia" is really not my kind of costume. I did however find the rebel uniforms pretty neat and really loved those bizarre ponchos they wear in the forest on Endor, so I thought I would do the most un-cosplayed Leia costume there is. Enter, Leia Rebel Scout!

This wig was a bit a leap for me in terms of wig skills--I have never worked with a lace front before this. So I was worried it was going to turn out awfully. My fears were unfounded though! For my first lace-front I thought the application went pretty damn smoothly.  Especially since my boyfriend Blayke was my assistant for the first trial run and we know how he likes to do cosplay (hint it involves using only staples).

But I got quite a few compliments on my wig! Most people were fooled into thinking it was my actual hair and praised my hair braiding wizard skills. If they were fooled, it must have worked? ;D
My base wig was from Arda Wigs--because they sell good quality lace-front wigs for cosplay. I got the Matilda in warm light brown. I was a bit disappointed to discover that it looked more ginger than I wanted, so I actually toned down the colour with a brown sharpie before I started styling it. What this means is that I took individual fibers/small bundles and coloured them in, this gave it a more natural look of colour variation that helped to darken it a bit.

This style involved next to no cutting--it was primarily sectioning the hair and braiding it. I sheared off a few strands at the front to create the wisps of hair that hang down at the sides of her face and give a more worn look to the hairstyle--like she has in the Endor scenes.

This style involved next to no cutting--it was primarily sectioning the hair and braiding it. I sheared off a few strands at the front to create the wisps of hair that hang down at the sides of her face and give a more worn look to the hairstyle--like she has in the Endor scenes. I straightened these later because they were a little too curly.

The two braids that come up and over the head start one on each side. As they passed the halfway point hair from the front hairline was french braided in to extend the length. Then they were tucked in and pinned in place.

The bun at the back is made up of 6 sections. There are 2 braids that take most of the top section--these were held off to the side at first. I took the next two sections--which are fairly close together at the center back--and twisted them into two small buns. Then I took my next two smaller sections and braided them. 

The first two braids were crossed below the buns and then coiled around the bases. They were pinned in place there. The smaller braids were then coiled around the two buns in a figure eight--turning the two separate buns into one larger bun.

I trimmed the excess lace at the front down to less than 1/4".

The application process went fairly smoothly but took a hell of a long time. The wig actually has a comb clip in the front, which I hooked onto my own hair (I french braid my bangs when I wear wigs) to keep it from sliding. This wig is fairly back heavy.

I started at the center of the hairline and made sure it was sitting in the correct place. Then I moved outwards from the center along the hairline down each side doing small sections and gluing them in place with spirit gum. I used a hairdryer to speed up the drying time (that was Blayke's job) while I held things in the correct place. Once it was done it looked pretty convincing!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

November Update

It's November? This year is going way too fast for me...

In other news I decided to stop being a caveman, catch up with the times and get a Tumblr account. I'm going to use it very similarly to my facebook page--posting progress shots and links to my blog. Be sure to check it out! Click here to go to the adventuresome wilds of the tumblr!

Rest assured, I will still continue posting my detailed blog posts and longer tutorials here. Because that's how I roll. (I'm clearly making myself sound ancient.)

Halloween was pretty casual. But I did go out this year as the weather was actually not horrible. And in unexpected news I brought not one, but TWO costumes out of retirement for the event.

I am of course speaking of my Gryffindor robes--which I lent to Blayke--and my Crow Soldier mask. If you want to take a trip down memory lane, follow those links all the way back to 2011. When times were simpler and I had no idea what I was doing.

Things are going pretty slowly, but my projects are coming along. Fingers crossed I can keep motivated and get it all done!

That's all for now folks!