Countdown

In two weeks, I’ll be in Mesa, probably awake early and anxiously getting ready for Day 1 of Phoenix Comicon 2017.

It’s not my first Phoenix Comicon–my 6th, actually–but I still get excited all the same, just as if it was the first. The anticipation of the crowds, the cosplay, the panels, the celebrities, etc., is exhilarating.

The only problem? Yeah, yeah, you guessed it: cosplay crunch. I still haven’t finished my husband’s coat for his steampunk Cyclops. I have no doubt that I’ll get it done in time, but I feel stupid for letting so much time go by. I have only myself to blame. I try to blame my broken foot for the delay, but let’s face it: we had these cosplays planned way back in September when we were at DragonCon. I didn’t break my foot until the end of January. So yeah, overall it’s my own procrastination that’s got me hustling.

I kind of do better when I’m rushed, though. I mean, I managed to crank out all of the sewing on the steampunk Dark Phoenix in less than two weeks, so what’s one little coat? Except I hate coats. Coats have sleeves. As much sewing as I’ve done, I’ve never managed to figure out how to “ease” a sleeve into place. I’ve had it explained to me a bunch of times, but I just don’t get it. Sew it with a special stitch then pull the bobbin thread? What? So I do it “my” way, which is totally not the “right” way, but it gets the sleeve on there. Sure, there are, like, bunched up parts in places, but the job gets done and that’s what’s important.

I don’t have any photos of the jacket yet (mostly because I’ve only cut out the pieces and haven’t started the ironing to put the interfacing on where it needs to go), but I should have something to show in a few days. Or a week. Before Phoenix Comicon definitely. Hopefully.

Aww, who am I kidding? I got this.

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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 🙂

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…

steampunkmask

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

Nitpicking

Every time I start work on my husband’s steampunk Cyclops cosplay, I find myself being distracted by some minutiae of the progress (what little there is) that needs to be fixed.

I had started basting fabric to interfacing, but I decided I didn’t like the way it turned out with the sewing machine foot I was using, so I stopped about half a dozen pattern pieces in and have been seam-ripping the basting in order to resew it better.

Why is this so difficult for me to get started? Normally I’m well into the project by now, especially one I am so excited to begin. I mean, if these cosplays turn out the way we have planned, they’re going to be our best ones to date. We’re plotting out the big picture and the small details. I have the cosplays envisioned in my mind; they’re taking shape on a conceptual level, so why can’t I bring the concept to life as I have in the past?

Perhaps I need to clean up my craft room. Maybe the clutter in which I normally reside is hampering my ability to progress at any reasonable speed.

I’ll give straightening up a go later on. My level of focus is on the “shiny object” scale right now, so organizing might not be the best thing to attempt at this time.

Ideas aplenty, but lost for motivation

Pinterest is both heaven and hell.

I have found dozens and dozens of ideas and tutorials for the steampunk cosplays I’m making for next year’s Phoenix Comicon, but I haven’t been able to motivate myself to get started on anything but the breastplate for my Dark Phoenix.

Well, I take that back. I cut two pieces for my husband’s steampunk pants and pinned several more pieces. And that’s about it.

I don’t know why I can’t seem to get started in earnest. It’s not like I don’t have the time. I just can’t seem to force myself to work on it for very long before I drift back to the computer. Or, like yesterday, to my adult coloring books. Because coloring is fun…or something.

Tomorrow morning I may have some time to get started in earnest before we go to my parents’ house for laundry & our weekly “family bonding time” visit. I’m also going to spray paint the phoenix breastplate gold. I’m really hoping the color comes out nice. I picked a spray paint that wasn’t super shiny (because I didn’t really want that “smooth” look; I’m kinda digging how so far the craft foam has a leathery texture to it) but still would bring some of that bright gold to the piece. Maybe once I get most of the breastplate done–or at least this part; I won’t be able to do the harness for a while yet–I can focus more on my husband’s outfit.

I’ll definitely post pictures once the gold is on there, because I’m excited for that part to be done. The breastplate looks good black, and there is a version of Dark Phoenix that has a black breastplate, but, well….

dark-phoenix-black-costume

Yeah, no. Not for me. Not unless I lose like 100 lbs before Phoenix Comicon 2017 (highly unlikely)…and even then, I’m not relying on Spirit Glue or dress tape or whatever it is that’s keeping that fucker on there. Hell no. No, my breastplate is going to be over a shirt and corset. I may like corsets in my cosplays, but I don’t like showing skin too much, at least not at my weight. (Not that there’s anything wrong with plus-size cosplay or even plus-size cosplay that shows skin…just not my gig.) And I’m not risking a “wardrobe malfunction” when that thing inevitably falls off of me.

Last night I figured out the color scheme for my dress and corset. I was having a hard time deciding on colors, because I wanted to incorporate a bronze-colored fabric to tie in to the hints of bronze on the top hat, but then I had the epiphany to import an image of the pattern I’ll be using–Simplicity 8159, by LoriAnn Costume Designs (Google her! She is amazing and she’s designed a bunch of patterns for Simplicity…and they all look gorgeous. I’ve become somewhat of a collector of them, even though I doubt I’ll get around to making all of the ones I have)–to Photoshop and play around with the fabric colors I want.

This is what the finished dress on the pattern package looks like:

8159-front

And this is the color scheme I am going for (keeping in mind that my Photoshop skills suck, but at least it gave me a visual on what I was doing):

8159-front-concept-colors

I’ll be omitting the hat, collar/tie, white gloves (I’ll probably make yellow ones), and book (of course), but here it shows that I’ll be keeping it mostly red and yellow (the more traditional colors for Dark Phoenix’s costume) with just that hint of bronze to tie it all in. And the brown binding will all be gold. I think it’ll turn out looking excellent, and can’t wait to get started on it.

Maybe that’s why I am dragging my feet on making my husband’s cosplay: I’m so excited to get mine started! His will look cool as well, but sometimes the men’s patterns frustrate me when I get to sewing and I often have to take breaks to work out how the pieces are supposed to go together. The patterns always have pictures/diagrams on what to do, but sometimes the mechanics of it don’t “click” with me until I’ve taken time off to think it over. Then it clicks, and I go back to sewing with a vengeance.

This weekend I need to get started on his costume in earnest. I have to, or else I might never get my ass in gear. I know I have plenty of time, but my costume will be time-consuming as well because of the massive amounts of fabric I’ll be working with.

Gotta get started. This evening. Or maybe tomorrow……

The gears are turning…

I think I’ve finally had a breakthrough on the steampunk Cyclops cosplay for my husband. I had been trying to figure out what to do about the “X” symbol and how to incorporate it while making it more “steampunk” when it hit me: Do a cog/gear with an X in the middle of it!

Granted, it’s a simple and likely common solution to that little dilemma, but I think if I find the right design to print out I can transfer it to polymer clay easily enough and bake myself a little X for his costume. The tricky part will be getting it even, because I suck at rolling the clay to an even thickness.

I am brimming with so many ideas for these cosplays that I almost hate that I have to redo the corset for my Magik cosplay. I want to get started on the steampunk cosplays and see what I can create from the patterns and fabrics I have. I’ve already got several ideas for how to make new things that I think will really enhance the costumes. Maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s the cold medicine talking. Either way, should be interesting once they’re done. I almost wish there was another con before Phoenix Comicon that we could wear them to.

Oh, wait! I think there is! Tucson has an annual Wild Wild West Con, which is a steampunk convention. Hmm….wonder if I can convince hubby to go for that one………..

I totally should be sleeping right now. Resting. Recuperating. But no, the little gears in my head are moving too fast to be stopped now. Soon, my creations will come to life!