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).

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Man, I had both a terrible night’s sleep last night and I slept like a rock.

It took me a long time to get to sleep in the first place (too tired to take my night meds, too wired to nod off), then I woke up at every little sound until my husband went to bed. I don’t think I was tossing and turning much, though, because I woke up with my back muscles all knotted up…possibly because I didn’t take my nightly muscle relaxer.

Another possibility: I was moving around so much in my damn dreams that my body is worn out. I had dreams of walking cross-country, taking a long trek for some reason or another–a quest-worthy reason–that involved old friends, Stephen Amell, and assassins. And humanoid aliens. My long walk apparently took me into space as well.

Stephen Amell was pretty nice. He tried to protect me from the assassins, which I thought considerate given that he doesn’t know me. Old friends were mostly waypoints on my journey, places more than people but people all the same. I walked to Alabama. I walked to Ohio. I walked to places I’ve never been before.

The aliens had some pretty opulent jewelry, which was sold in malls. Space malls. That I walked to. And shopped in. With Wolverine. Well, Old Man Logan. He was my dad, I guess. In the dream that is.

Aside from the aliens, the analytical part of me can pinpoint all the events of yesterday that could lead to these dream elements. I’ve been eager to be rid of this fracture boot–hence the walking. I watched Flashwhich crosses over with Arrow quite frequently, hence Stephen Amell. I talked with my husband about the various people who we’ll have over to visit when our house is built. And I talked with my sister about seeing Logan in the theaters.

So there are the pieces of the strange puzzle of my subconscious mind, haphazard and random. None of the “major” parts of the previous day played a part; no cosplay, no immediate family, none of that. Funny how dreams work.

Harnessing my creativity (part deux)

Well, I don’t know how well it will work yet (because I forgot to bring the contact cement to attach the phoenix breastplate to it), but I’ve got a custom-made harness for my Dark Phoenix cosplay!

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Best thing? I had a little help from my friends in the brainstorming and fitting department, but other than that I made it myself! Yeah, so it’s just some leather straps and dye and a few rivets here and there and a buckle–the point is, I did it. My handiwork. It feels great 🙂

I still have another week in the boot, so I can’t quite start on the sewing yet, but as soon as the boot’s off I’m going to be back in the craft room, busy at work putting together two full outfits. I’ve still got two months, but it’s going to be close with all the details we’re putting into these.

I can do this though. Just have to power through the sewing once the boot’s off.

Harnessing my creativity

Pinterest is great for organizing ideas, tips, and tutorials.

It also sucks when you can’t find where or how you organized something important.

So here’s a little backstory: I made a phoenix-shaped breastplate for my Dark Phoenix cosplay. It looks really cool, but I have to make a harness to wear it. I’ve got the leather, got the leather dye, got rivets and buckles and all that fun stuff…but I don’t have the harness tutorial I found months ago.

Fuck.

Luckily, I have enough artistic ability to design something that might work. The problem is figuring out which something will work best. I’m coming up with several different options, and I can’t make up my mind. That’s the tough part of design–settling on an actual design.

think I know what I’m going to do, but until I get the leather straps out and start assembling the thing I won’t know for sure if it’ll work. I’d try a mock-up, but I don’t have any fabric straps that are the same width/length (and I don’t want to cut into the leather until I’m ready). I suppose I could dig the leather straps out of the bag they’re in, but they’re in the bottom of a bag in a bag that’s packed up for going over to a friend’s house today to work on it.

Yeah. Queen of last-minute crunching. I’ve had months to figure this out, and I’m only just sitting down and getting serious about it now. FML.

I’ll get it done, it’s just frustrating that I had such a good tutorial with step-by-step pics and I lost it somehow. Maybe I forgot to pin it when I found it? Who knows at this point.

Wigging out

It’s the weekend of Wild Wild West Con, and even though I don’t have a steampunk cosplay to wear to it I think I’m going to wear my Phoenix wig from Arda Wigs (check them out; they have an awesome selection of wigs as well as cosmetics links and tutorials on their page: https://www.arda-wigs.com/ ). Gotta get used to wearing the wig for Phoenix Comicon, and besides, it’s cute!

I need to brush it to get the tangles out an make it look nicer, but I love it. Can’t wait to wear it with the rest of my Dark Phoenix cosplay at the con in May. Yeah, the bangs cover up the awesome eye makeup I did, but I think once I have the wig brushed and styled better it will look pretty good.

Since I started cosplaying, I’ve developed a fondness for wigs. The wig for my Magik cosplay (sorry, don’t remember the name of the con booth I got it at) is a little odd to wear because it’s long and heavy so I have to keep adjusting it, but I love it as well.

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I have to get a decent wig cap. I’m sure I can find one at, like, Wal-Mart or something, because I’ve seen stuff like that there for people who wear wigs daily. I think that might solve the adjustment problem. Still, it looks pretty cool and definitely changes up my look quite a bit. I’m still recognizable as me–can’t hide that nose very well, except once I get my mask done for the steampunk cosplay–but I’m also different. It’s kind of cool.

I’ve been debating finding a wig that would go with my Jedi/TARDIS cosplay, but that would be tricky to wear because of the hood. I suppose once I get accustomed to a wig cap and pins to hold the wigs in place the hood wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but I may end up with the same frizz/flyaway problem I have with my natural hair in that hood.

Cosplay is definitely addicting, even for a plus-sized girl like me. I like that I can alter costumes to be more modest (see previous post about Wild Wild West Con and my past cosplays for pics of the Magik character and the outfit I ended up wearing) and still be recognizable as the character. It’ll be interesting to see how many people “get” my steampunk Dark Phoenix (as I won’t be anywhere near the actual character’s design), but I think the top hat and breastplate will help immensely.

Oh, and another fun thing I get to try: spray body paint! My husband got me an airbrush kit for Valentine’s Day, so I might airbrush my arms with some cool flames to go with the outfit, and possibly my legs as well. Not my face–I’m terrified of getting airbrush body paint anywhere near my eyes–but yeah, some flames would look cool. Better practice posing 😉 And better get to sewing…once the stupid boot is off.

Failed designs

Frustration doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I tried something that I thought would be cool for my steampunk Dark Phoenix cosplay mask. Eyelets placed in the shapes of flames. Awesome, right?

Nope. My “flames” turned out looking vaguely like waves. Who wants watery waves for a fiery cosplay? So back to the drawing board on that one. I *think* I know how to make it look better, but it involves re-making the whole mask. The whole. Damn. thing. *Sigh*

Good thing I have plenty of materials. I just need to rethink the design.

The harness and belt for the steampunk Cyclops is turning out pretty cool. My husband and I got the straps and the X-Men medallion all dyed yesterday. We still need to attach a couple of buckles and rivet some things, but so far so good. We’ll also need to buy some more buckles and rivets. Oops. We thought we had calculated everything, but I guess until you start putting the stuff together you don’t necessarily know what you’ll need–especially when you don’t know what you’re doing. 😉

None of the sewing is done yet. I’m not sure how I’ll manage that with my broken foot (I use my right foot to operate the pedal for the machine), but it’s only a little over 3 more weeks in the boot and approximately 3 more months until the con. So there’s time. I mean, I’ve done more in less time…so I got this, right?

Cosplay reboot

Finally! I’ve gotten the motivation to work on cosplay again!

Okay, so it’s not the Cyclops steampunk pants I cut out the pieces for months ago and started sewing the interfacing on yesterday. But I’ve gotta get this done or it’ll drive me nuts not working on it.

I’m talking about my mask for Dark Phoenix.

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It’s not much yet–I want to wait until my husband is on his lunch break before I start hammering holes into the suede to sew in the interfacing for this–but it’s a start. I’m going to make two halves, sew them together, then use rivets to attach a darker contrasting leather around the edges. Similar to the image below (stolen from Pinterest, no idea who the original artist is), but without the ventilator bits. I’m going to see how eyelets work for that before I go cutting big ol’ holes in my mask. Maybe eyelets set in the shape of flames? Hmm…

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I think once I get this done, or at least mostly done, I’ll be able to focus on the pants. I hate sewing pants. Lol

It feels so good to be back in the cosplay swing of things. I’ve been avoiding it for so long because I got burned out after the massive amount of cosplay sewing I did before Dragon Con. My mind needed a break from it all, I think.

Still have two complete outfits to sew, plus two harnesses to fabricate (one for the phoenix breastplate, one for Cyclops’s X-Men logo circle X thingy), plus another complete outfit (a commission, my first cosplay commission and one I’ll have to work on without the person in person to fit and adjust–fun!) and other things that I’m sure I haven’t thought of yet.

At least these cosplays have minimal fabrication. A few straps of leather here and there, some rivets, some dyeing, hole punching, stamping, etc. Not giant 4′ swords lol