Phoenix Risen

I did it! I finished the sewing on my steampunk Dark Phoenix!

Now I all I have left for this cosplay is to airbrush flames onto the fan and my husband has a plan for some kind of “flamethrower” device for my arm. The “flames” would be the fan flames, so when I used the “flamethrower” I’d open up my fan and do that. I’m not sure what kind of device it will be, though; he hasn’t gotten a solid plan down yet.

The wig needs detangling like nobody’s business, and the corset is a tad big, but overall I love the outcome. I worked really, really hard to come up with this and put it all together. I thought about fabric colors and placement of those colors, of what I was going to do about the shirt (considering that I am too big for the shirt that the pattern called for), of designing the shirt, of, well, everything. This is my interpretation of Dark Phoenix, steampunk-style.

And of course, there’s the breastplate. It works great with the fabrics my friend sold me! I really love the shine of it all. This, combined with the makeup and steampunk sunglasses, will really pull it all together.

I’m grateful for the distraction that finishing this costume has given me. Annabelle’s passing really got to me. The initial painful sadness has gone, but I still miss her. At least I was able to be there at the end. Now I’ve got to keep her death from distracting me from my husband’s coat. I’ve still got to do that.

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Light at the end?

So the corset’s (mostly) done–just need to put in the grommets and lace it–and the under skirt is almost done (could’ve finished it this morning, but I left some of the pieces at my parents’ house for some reason). Next are the bloomers, then finishing the belt loops on my husband’s pants and making his jacket. Oh, and riveting the fan holster that I decided last week I was going to make out of some leather we have.

There’s still a lot of work to go, but thankfully the majority of my outfit is done. It took a lot of cutting, pinning, and sewing…a lot of yardage, but surprisingly not a lot of actual time spent working on it considering that yardage.

The jacket is going to be the most complex piece I have left. I have to admit, I am dreading it a bit. Jackets tend to frustrate the heck outta me. I get to certain points and have to step away for a few minutes (or hours) until the instructions “click.” Sometimes the pictures on the pattern instructions don’t make sense to me at first, and I have to think about it. Like, I don’t understand spatially how things go together to make the finished piece. You have piece #X that needs to be sewn onto piece #Y, but the way it looks in the picture seems to defy the laws of physics. Or something.

I’ll be glad when these cosplays are done and I can move on to more SCA garb-making. As much trouble as they gave me size-wise, I enjoyed making the rapier tunics and would like to get started on new, more complex designs for “everyday” wear. Y’know, event garb for times when my husband and I won’t be fighting. I’ll admit that the layered tunics are heavy and a little hot when the temps get up there (it is Arizona, after all), so single-layer tunics will be nice for off the fighting field and pants would be a plus. Wearing pajama pants that aren’t quite long enough is a little embarrassing, even though I don’t even know if anyone can tell they’re pajama pants. People can certainly tell they’re not long enough, though: my socks show. A lot.

I also need to make us “period” (Viking-era) shoes and leg wraps to complete the looks. Or we need to find appropriate shoes that look Viking-era. I’ve seen lots of tutorials on how to make the shoes, but I’d rather avoid all that leather sewing and molding and stuff. I just can’t imagine it being very comfortable, but who knows. I might do it just to prove to myself that I can.

Oh yeah, and bracers. We have enough leather for bracers right now (would need to buy more for shoes), so I have to figure those out eventually. Not right now, because the cosplay comes first, then pants and single-layer tunics and leg wraps, but eventually.

Then of course there’s the embroidery I want to learn to do on our garb….

…Why do I take on so many projects at once? Lol

Making cosplay headway

Feeling much less stress about the cosplay crunch right now! While I still have yet to finish the corset (ordered the boning for it this morning), I managed to throw together a shirt to go under it & the breastplate. The shirt actually turned out pretty decent, and though it’s a little big it’s quite comfortable.

It’s just one short month until Phoenix Comicon, but with only the skirts, bloomers, and a jacket to go I think I’ll be okay. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to procrastinate again; it just means the stress is lifted just a tiny bit. Skirts, bloomers, and a jacket sound much better than “a whole outfit plus another half an outfit.” I guess it’s just a matter of perspective.

I also plan on making a sort of holster for my folding fan, so I don’t have to carry the thing the whole con. I found this image on Pinterest, and I think it should be easy enough to make (plus we have pretty much all the materials I’ll need already):

fan holster

I haven’t decided if I want to use some of the leftover suede from the mask or if I want to do thicker leather. I think I’ll do the thick stuff, so it’s sturdier (and so I can rivet it instead of all that hand sewing lol).

Oh, yeah, the fan…I still have to airbrush it…crap. Maybe that stress is coming back after all…….

Getting down to dressing up

This next month and a half–hell, this next week–is going to be jam-packed with SCA and cosplay work.

I have to make two Viking-esque tunics that are suitable for rapier fighting, then I have to get cracking on the rest of the steampunk cosplays.

I keep telling myself I can do it (as I’ve said many times here), but time is flying! How did two months turn into a month and a half? Geez-o-Pete.

Thankfully the tunics shouldn’t take too much time (famous last words), but the cosplay sewing is going to be down to the wire. I really want to be able to try my hand at rapier fighting at the next SCA event–which is in two weeks–so I have to do the tunics first.

Though it’s made me super busy, I’m glad I finally let my husband talk me into joining the SCA. We’ve got some great friends there who also enjoy a lot of the same non-SCA stuff we do. Like gaming, for instance. We’re getting together to play Pathfinder tonight. It should be interesting. 

Writing will have to be put on hold for a while… at least until Phoenix Comicon is over. 

The eyes have it

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Ever since I decided to do a Dark Phoenix cosplay, I’ve been obsessed with getting every detail just right–down to the eyes. Now, I still have to get the red contact lenses I want to wear, but otherwise I pretty much have the look I want down pat…and I decided to do a quasi-tutorial for it! 🙂 Bear with me on this, because I am definitely not experienced when it comes to makeup. This is just how I do my eyes for this fiery look.

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Ack! Scary, huh? Well, this is what I start with: Nothing. Good ol’ blank canvas. (A little broken out, but whatever. Most of my face will be covered with a mask during the majority of the day that I’ll be wearing the cosplay anyway.)

Next up: Brows. Some chicks play up their brows to the Nth degree, with penciling and stenciling and whatever. I just use a bit of brownish powder to fill in where my eyebrow tattoos have faded. Are they perfect? No, but I’m not wanting the focus on my brows. (For the cosplay I will probably use a burnt orange or a red eyeshadow for this part, but I’m working today so I’ll have to skip that part and just use regular brow shadow.)

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A little better than the faded tats, and a good starting point I guess. I don’t know if it makes much of a difference, but I like to start with the brows.

Next, I took some Nyx eyeshadow primer and put it all over my lids to get the stuff to stay on better. This is the one I used (recommended by a friend):

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Then, I went on to the base color. After buying a sample pack of loose powder eyeshadows, I fell in love with Dollipop Cosmetics. Their pigments are bright and long-lasting, and it only takes a very small amount of pigment to get amazing color. The first color I’m using? It’s called “Kirk.” Now I ordered this sample pack a few months ago, so I think some of the colors I have are discontinued, but they are constantly updating their pigments with newer and more amazing colors, so check them out on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/DollipopCosmetics

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Tiny packaging, I know, but like I said it only takes a small amount to get your color on.

Since I’m new at makeup stuff, I don’t have any fancy brushes yet. My solution (also recommended by a friend): Q-tips. I’m not doing any fine details with this look, so I don’t need anything too precise. I applied Kirk all over my eyelids, almost up to the brows. I also put some around the nasal corners of my eyes to give a little “pop.”

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Doesn’t look like much–yet. But wait, there’s more!

Next up I chose a kind of burnt orange color from my samples called “Leia.” This one I think is discontinued (last time I checked their page I didn’t see it), but Dollipop has a lot of similar colors to choose from still.

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This I applied to the lid under and along the crease. (I was aiming for just under the crease, but again I was using Q-tip so no precision application there…and besides, I’m going to blend it all at the end anyway.) This is my middle color. It’s a little rough, but I’m not done yet.

Now comes another Dollipop shadow from my sample pack, “Washu.” It’s a really vibrant red, perfect for my flame-y look.

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This I applied just over the crease, just under the lower lashes, and at the temporal corners of the upper lids. Again, doesn’t look too impressive before the blending, but I’m getting there.

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Eww! Wtf did I do? Yeah, it’s sloppy and funky looking, but here’s where the blending comes in. For this part, the Q-tips are really useful. I’m not sure what brush you would use to blend, but again, I don’t have any brushes just yet anyway. So I smudged away with those Q-tips, blending all those hard edges together.

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Much better! Again, still not perfect, but very fiery colors nonetheless. After I was satisfied with my blending (I even blended a bit more after this) I put on mascara. Here I’d just say go with your mascara of choice, because there is such a wide range of types to choose from.

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This e.l.f. stuff works pretty well for me, and it’s inexpensive too. Once it’s dried I don’t have much trouble with flaking or smudging. You can use lash curlers or false lashes or whatever you normally do, but I really don’t know how to properly use lash curlers and I’ve never used false lashes…so I’m not going to advise on those. I honestly don’t know.

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Almost done! This is the step where I take a makeup remover and clean up my cheeks where the loose pigment has fallen on them. There are probably “makeup hacks” to keep pigment from doing this, but I don’t know any. I just clean up my edges and make sure no pigment gets smeared all over my cheeks, making me look bruised and is just plain embarrassing.

Now here comes a great product that–you guessed it–a friend recommended: setting spray. Here’s what was recommended to me:

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This is to keep the pigment from smearing, smudging, or otherwise getting fucked up as the day goes on. I haven’t tried any other brands, but I can attest that this brand holds up nicely. I’ve had shadow hold up through entire work days or day trips out of town. Here’s the shadow after a few hours at work, where I even occasionally forgot I was wearing it and scratched at my lids. Eep!

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love it! This may only be a half-day’s worth of wear, but I’m confident that this look will last through the whole day at Phoenix Comicon! 🙂

Okay, really truly honestly back to cosplay

I know I keep saying I’m getting back to cosplay sewing…and I generally mean it when I say it. Yesterday afternoon, however, I actually did begin sewing again. Granted, I didn’t get too much sewn–a couple of pockets–but the point is I got back to it.

I have T-minus 9 weeks (approximately) to finish two full outfits. I’m pretty sure I can do it, but it’s going to take some heavy pushing on my part.

My serger has been out of commission for a while due to a bent chaining fork, but that should be remedied today. Then I can work faster on the things that can be serged. Not everything can (those pockets would not have worked on a serger, and I don’t think it’s wise for the corset–at all), but those things that can be serged will go a lot faster.

As for the regular sewing machine, it still seems to be in perfect working order, so that’s good. The bobbin does weird things when I backstitch, so I might have to clean and oil it, but otherwise I’m moving right along with that.

Fabrication is nearly complete. My husband is going to a friend’s house to get some work done on a pauldron for his right shoulder today, and hopefully that’s the last of the leatherworking left to do. My phoenix breastplate is done, the rest of my husband’s steampunk X-Men harness is done, and his steampunk Cyclops goggles will be arriving in the mail before the con (he got some custom ordered from a vendor at a recent steampunk convention). So…it’s all down to me.

I keep telling myself that I’ve got this. It’s just a simple matter of buckling down.

But buckling down sucks. And since my usual best, most productive time is butt-early in the morning before work, I’ve got to get serious about this. Maybe even sew some on surgery days. I don’t get as much time before work then, but any time I can steal from my day is time worth spending now.

Nine weeks and counting. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this…

Masking unmasked

Finally!

After one horridly failed attempt at making a mask for my steampunk Dark Phoenix, I have finished the final product. The end result?

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It’s far from perfect, but I still can hardly wait to get home from my parents’ house and put on the wig and top hat to see how it all goes together. I think it’ll work well, especially once I get to sewing the actual outfit. My husband’s costume comes first, though, because that happened to be where I started first (and tends to be where I usually start with the sewing).

Two and a half months. I think it should be plenty of time, if I can stay focused. Zero in on the target. Something like that.

This year’s Phoenix Comicon is going to be awesome, if only to debut the steampunk cosplays. (And that may be the highlight, because only a few of the thus-far announced guests even sound interesting enough for a photo op).