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?”

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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 🙂

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Boob Pockets! A Tutorial

Did the title grab you? If you’re a cosplayer (or anyone really) who, like me, is lacking in the boobage department, you may get frustrated by some overbust corset patterns that are totally cute but totally too big. Where’s the cleave? Not here…

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Nothing. It’s a damn shame, because I worked hard on that corset. Pleather is a bitch to work with. And, seeing as how I don’t know how to alter corset patterns (yet), I thought I was stuck with it.

Not so! I came up with an idea that has turned out great, and I decided to make a pictorial to show how I “fixed” the corset to fit and look great…in time for Dragon Con, no less 🙂

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So this is the corset top. Pretty er, flat when laid flat, but still obviously not flat enough to push the girls up the way I want. My solution? Those little silicone cutlet things you can buy to go inside your bra. Buuuuut….how do I prevent a fashion faux pas and keep the buggers from falling out in the middle of the con? Of course! Boob pockets!

Thus my boob pockets were conceived. Now, this would be difficult and damn near impossible with a corset that has fused layers instead of sewn layers, so I have no advice on fused fabric corsets. I may be a noob on sewing, but I can sew through one or two layers without sewing through the top layer. So that helped a lot. It takes some practice, so maybe playing around with some scrap fabric first will help get the technique down. I’ll show you how I do it later on here. I also recommend sewing the corset first and getting the boning channels and bones in, because you certainly don’t want to accidentally sew either your boning channel or your boob pocket shut!

As you can see from the above photos, I made it so the cutlet would be removable for ease of washing…and for reuse of the cutlet with other bras and such. It took me forever to get the placement right and pick out the right kind of fabric for it. I mean, anything too rigid and the cutlet’s not going to fit right unless I sew it just right…and I’m not skilled enough to guarantee that. I decided on something stretchy, but not too stretchy. I had a pair of stretch leggings that never fit, so they were sacrificed to the fashion gods. This is how I got started:

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I placed a self-adhesive bra cup on the leggings and cut around it with the fabric folded so I got two even pieces (you can also just set the cutlet directly down on the fabric). I cut a little wider than the actual cup because A: 3 dimensions–don’t forget this in your design; and B: I wanted to give myself room to sew my basic pocket into shape before I placed it on the corset…that way I could position it easier without having to fight with an unruly cutlet.

So as you can see, I made sure the cutlet would “fit,” then I pinned around it with it between the two pieces of fabric. I left room for the cutlet to be taken out (don’t forget this!) and then removed it with the pins still intact. Now I knew that it could be stuffed in and taken out with the seam where it was, and I was ready to sew my pocket halves together, once again leaving a space open for the cutlet to be inserted and removed. Once that was done (I serged the seam, but you can zig-zag or maybe baste? I haven’t worked with stretch fabrics for very long…maybe a couple of weeks…so I’m no expert on which stitch is the best for this), I put on my corset, put the cutlet in the pocket, and started adjusting and pinning until I had the placement down. Adjust and pin carefully! You don’t want to puncture yourself, and you don’t want to puncture the top layer of corset fabric if you can avoid it.

I tried to get it roughly even with the first pocket. Since these pockets will be on the inside, they don’t have to be perfect. Besides, once you get the first one sewn, it’ll be easier to sew the other one in place evenly. Again, leave a space open for inserting and removing the cutlet. I’d put that in bold again, but I think you get the point. Next we get sewing.

So here comes the one-layer pinning and sewing. As you can see, if you’re careful, you can get the pins and needles/thread through the inner layer(s) without puncturing the top layer. On the pleather that I was using, that was particularly important because, again, the stuff is a bitch to work with. Once a hole’s there, it’s pretty much there.

You can sew it with the cutlet in or out, I guess. I sewed it with the cutlet in because I wanted to make sure it stretched tight and held the cutlet in place well. I didn’t want saggy cutlets, after all!

When you take the cutlet out, as you can see the pocket will pucker and look wonky. That’s okay. You want it like that, because that means it’ll stretch to fit the cutlet firmly. This is why stretchy fabric is so nice for this; you can accidentally sew it too tight and not have to worry about it, because it’ll stretch and you won’t have to seam rip any of your hard work.

In the bottom picture above, you can see that I also sewed the corset side of the opening down. I don’t know that this is a really necessary step, but I figured it would reduce the chance of the pocket ripping off and secure it better. Be careful not to sew the opening shut if you plan on removing the cutlet at any time.

Okay, you’ve gotten your pockets cut, pinned, sewn, placed, pinned again, and sewn onto the corset. Next, let’s see how it turned out…..

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Omg, look at that cleave! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Ready for Dragon Con, without risk of a rogue cutlet escaping 🙂

I hope this tutorial is helpful to someone. It’s my first time doing one of these, so I tried not to forget any steps.