The con is nigh…so why aren’t I more excited?

I’m almost done with the jacket for my husband’s new cosplay. Almost. Just a few more steps, and it’ll be finished. So why am I not elated? Why am I not filled with excitement for Phoenix Comicon and the great things I’ll get to do there?

Part of it could be sheer exhaustion. Con prep hasn’t been the most fulfilling thing this year. It’s been stressful and rushed, largely due to my own poor time management. For instance, I should be sewing right now–but I’m at a step in the instructions that confuses me, so I’m really unsure on how to proceed. That happens to me sometimes: I can’t visualize what the instructions are telling me to do (despite the pictures provided), so I get stuck. I should be done by the end of today, though. There really isn’t much left to do. I just have to get up and get going. Kick my butt in gear. Get the fuck out of bed.

The upcoming con itself isn’t upping the excitement factor like it usually does. Maybe it’s because, though I’m going as a member of the media, I haven’t even heard official word from the con about how they’re going to handle guest interviews. Seriously? I mean, it’s 4 days from the start of con; how can you not tell your media attendees what process they need to start in order to interview people?

Another disappointment in the con is the rapid-fire cancellations of some of the guests I was most excited to see. Charlie Cox of Daredevil? Cancelled. Arthur Darvill? Cancelled. Jenna Coleman? Cancelled. Ming-Na Wen? Cancelled. Sure, they are active actors and have filming commitments that came up (well, Ming-Na had knee surgery, so it’s not really her fault), but those were all actors I wanted to meet in person, either in a quick photo op or maybe at an autograph signing…Except for Arthur. Him I wanted a photo with, but I also wanted to use the few seconds of posing to apologize for stabbing him with my foam spikes at Dragon Con. This kind of thing happens every year (the cancellations, not the stabbing with foam spikes), but it never ceases to disappoint.

Even the excitement of debuting our first steampunk cosplays (because let’s face it, my first attempt at steampunk ended up more burlesque) isn’t enough to get my engine revved up for Comicon. I had a lot of firsts with these cosplays. First time altering a pattern at the last minute to make it fit my husband. First time altering a corset pattern to have it fit *me.* First time sculpting with craft and EVA foam. First time leatherworking. First time airbrushing (see the pic of the fan at the top–yeah, not really well-defined flames, but I think it gets the point across…and it’s shiny). It has been a lot of work, and I might have to alter the jacket a bit to make it fit my husband, too (despite us measuring him beforehand–I am so sick of commercial patterns right now…wondering if the local community college has any classes on fashion design and patterning lol).

We’ve even got friends coming from clear across the country to visit us and join us at Comicon. That should have me super excited, because the four of us had a blast at Dragon Con. At the moment, though, I’m more…meh. No offense to my friends; I just can’t whip up any thrill for the con that usually strikes me each year.

I’m hoping that once the jacket is done I can sit down, take a deep breath, and chill for, like, half a day before the con is upon me.

C’mon, con jitters–kick in already!

Ironing out the details

Once again, I must get cracking on my husband’s cosplay coat. There’s just one little thing that’s halting my progress the past couple of days:

Ironing.

It’s not that I don’t know how to iron; it’s just that my most productive time of day is first thing in the morning, and sometimes I’m too tired to be productive then. Like, so tired I should not be operating an iron. Burns = bad.

Once I get the interfacing all ironed on the pieces it goes on, though, it’s gonna be crank-out time. Sewing away in the mornings and on the weekends, busting butt to get it done.

My husband is working on a leather bracer, a sort of “flamethrower” for my costume (since Dark Phoenix is all about the telekinetic flames). It’s great that we have some friends who are willing to help us out with our cosplays, because without them we’d have been lost on the leatherworking with these latest costumes. Our skills have increased since we began this project, though, which has me feeling pretty good about things.

Having a circle of friends again (after having gone so long with no one really to hang out with) is weird. Like, all of a sudden we have a social life. Plans. We’re going out and doing things. With other people. Who like spending time with us. Weird.

I gotta admit, it’s a little exhausting, especially with all the cosplay work (and the day job) on top of the new social activities. Suddenly we’re doing something on almost every day off–and even some workday afternoons–and it’s a little overwhelming. Not that it’s not fun; I have a blast hanging with our friends. It’s just, like…surreal.

The funny thing is, the most fun I have is when we’re doing rapier practice. Yeah, I get bruises out the wazoo, but it’s exercise that I actually enjoy. And it’s a blast. Fucking swordfighting in the 21st century. Wicked. I wish I’d known about this when I was younger, before age caught up to me and my metabolism ground to a halt. Maybe, if I’d been fighting with rapiers earlier, I wouldn’t be the fatty that I am now. Yeah, yeah, big is beautiful too, but I want to be comfortable with my weight. Which I’m not at the moment.

And I just realized something that has my cosplay panic revved up to a new level of panic: We’re going to have house guests (apartment guests?) after Comicon for a couple of days. I have to clean up the craft room as soon as I’m done with hubby’s coat.

Crap.

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.

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…….

Speed cosplay

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Tick-tock, tick-tock…Phoenix Comicon is just 26 days or so away…and I have so much more to sew!

I have the corset almost finished (need to order boning, get grommets, and put the top trim on once the boning is in–oh, and get lacing for it) and am about to start on the shirt to wear under it…Except that shirt pattern is too small for me. Guess I’m finding a similar shirt that I own that does fit me and using it to make a pattern.

The skirts might be tricky in that I will have to alter them as well to get them to fit. I had to add some width to the corset (which may or may not work; won’t know until I get the boning in and close it up) and my butt’s much bigger than my waist lol

Guess I’ll get back to working on it before I have to get back to the day job.

26 days.

Tick-tock.

 

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.

Wild Wild

Yep, this weekend is the annual Wild Wild West Con (WWWC) in Tucson, AZ. I hadn’t considered going because even before my procrastination/broken foot I didn’t think I’d have time to finish our steampunk X-Men cosplays before the con. And what’s a con without cosplay, right? Imagine what a difference a few years can make.

At my first con (Phoenix Comicon 2012), I couldn’t fathom going to a con in cosplay. I thought cosplay was all skimpy clothes and I was (and still am, really) quite overweight. The next year, I did a cosplay of River Song from Doctor Who and it’s been cosplay every year ever since. So in five years I went from “I’m never going to cosplay” to “Wait, I can go to a con without cosplaying?”

firstcosplay

It’s been quite the journey. The first year, I purchased all the things I needed for cosplay. Then, in 2014, I hand-sewed an entire costume that was supposed to be steampunk but ended up more burlesque. My angel wasn’t quite a “hit,” but it got some looks and a few people liked the wings (even though, if I ever get back down to that weight, I need to redo the wings because they totally look like a grade-school craft project).

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I guess this costume was enough of a hit, though, because shortly after I joined Twitter a year or so later I had an a spam porn account follow me that was using the above pic for their profile pic. Creepy and flattering at the same time lol

The next year was mostly “casual” cosplays, with very little actual sewing involved. Still, I cosplayed most of the days I was at the con.

And then last year it began in earnest. For my birthday in 2015 I got a sewing machine, and a monster was created. I sewed my first machine-sewed cosplay in a few months (complete with corset–go big or go home!) and then sewed a second cosplay for my husband to coordinate with me after that. Then, about a month before Phoenix Comicon last year I sewed another two full cosplays, including designing a vest from scratch, and helped my husband make a prop for his (my prop we purchased online).

THEN, for Dragon Con last year, I worked on two more cosplays, this time with new props built for both of them. I made some alterations to the character design, because the character I was cosplaying had a crop top and shorty shorts, which I was not about to wear to a con in my current weight:

Those are the characters we went with. These are the results:

lot of design alteration occurred with these cosplays. I had to alter the shrug that went over the corset considerably before I sewed it, and my husband’s coat started out as a full-length solid-color trench coat pattern. We had some help from friends for the props, but they turned out well. We re-wore these cosplays and the Star Wars/Doctor Who mashups for Phoenix Fan Fest in October, so I had a break from mad sewing for a while.

Next up are the steampunk Cyclops and Dark Phoenix for this year’s Phoenix Comicon. We’ve started on the leatherworking but not much is done otherwise, partly due to my procrastination and partly due to the fact that, once I was ready to start sewing, I broke my damn foot. Still, we’ve got some well-made (and expensive!) top hats purchased and I have the phoenix breastplate made (still need to do the leatherwork for the harness on that), so at least we’ve got a start on them.

Yes, a monster has been born. Well, two monsters. I kindamaybesorta got my husband looked on couples’ cosplays after the Shamy cosplay (Sheldon/Amy from The Big Bang Theory). Still, I think I’ll manage the con this weekend without being in costume. I may feel a tad naked and out-of-place, but it should be fun 🙂