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.

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.

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?

Halfway points

First revisions are roughly halfway through…steampunk mask is roughly halfway through…making progress on different fronts, but still a lot to do in my creative worlds.

I’m really liking how book 1 is coming along, but I’ve noticed that some parts are better written than others, so maybe I’m, like, quarter-way through? I want to finish the first run-through before I go back and tackle that issue, so maybe I’ll still consider this halfway. Or not. I have no clue. Math and writing don’t always sync up.

The mask is going along great as well, but I have come to a screeching halt as I realize that the rivets I have are too long for attaching the thicker leather pieces to the suede. They’re fine for the harness that I’m going to make for the phoenix breastplate, but after testing some scrap leather I’ve discovered that nope, they’re not going to work for the mask. So back to the drawing board–or rather, the craft store.

Later on today I’m going to finally start piecing together the steampunk pants for my husband’s Cyclops cosplay. Since I’ve hit a brick wall with the mask, I really have nothing else to distract me.

Gods, I hate sewing pants.

Taking an Internet/revising break right now. Have to get these things done as well. Sure, there’s more time on the “deadline” I’ve given myself for the book, but it’s also just as intensive as the cosplay. Perhaps not as physically intensive, but if I get stuck on this I can’t just go to the other room and stare at the pattern instructions to visualize how the difficult part is supposed to go together. Wouldn’t it be nice if authors could do that? Just buy some formulaic patterns for their novels, find the right “fabric” and “thread” and just pin the pieces to each other & throw them into a machine that puts the finished project together….Well, I guess some authors kind of do that. Hell, I’m kinda doing that. Dystopian setting, main character, love interest(s), conflict, action, resolution…Never mind lol

Don’t get me wrong; it’s still hard work. Creation of any kind is tough. You’ve got to balance, edit, build, break down, add, erase, etc.

I guess I should get back to cosplay soon. Those two steampunk outfits are far from halfway over….

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.

15875196_1236450506447126_1613101784346622645_o

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

Cosmetic confusion

Primer. Shadow. Foundation. Sealer. Huh?

Okay, so maybe I’m not totally clueless when it comes to makeup, but I definitely need some help when it comes to my next cosplay. I want to rock that Dark Phoenix, and to do that I’ve decided I need some kick-ass eye makeup.

My problem? This is apparently more complicated than I first realized. I’ve been told I need primer as a base to make the shadow last longer, then something to seal it after to get it to hold. Say what?

Makeup is pretty much the only thing left for me to get for my steampunk Dark Phoenix. I’ve gotten all the costume elements I need: hat, fabric, thread, leather, the breastplate. I do need to get the corset boning, but I like to order that once I’ve gotten the corset mostly made, because then I know the exact length I need (so I can order by length & not have to cut & cap the ends myself). So that leaves the makeup.

I have a particular look I want:

phoenixmakeup

I’ve found false lashes that are similar (not quite exactly like this, but will work), gold gel eyeliner, black eyeliner, black shadow, and brow liner/powder.

But primer? Highlight colors? What means this? I have no clue.

I’ve ordered some samples from a makeup company on Etsy (Dollipop Cosmetics–only have heard good things about them) for shadow to play with color & see what I can get that’s close to the above pic. As far as applying the false lashes and finding a primer that’s appropriate, I have been querying my cosplay and drag queen friends for advice.

I also might get some colored contacts to get that fire look to my eyes as well. Blue kinda doesn’t go with, well, anything I’m going to be wearing for this cosplay lol Something like this is what I have in mind:

fire-colored-contact-lenses

That would kick ass. Just need to make a leather mask to cover the lower half of my face (thus placing emphasis on my eyes) and figure out the makeup. Easy peasy. Not.

I’ll get it figured out by May. I can do this.

I think.

Off of work, back to play

Yep, it’s time to focus on cosplay again! I’m off work today, so my husband and I are going on a day trip with my parents for shopping. We got a ton of cosplay play money for Christmas, so we’re going to make use of it by buying supplies to start out on leatherworking.

I’ve never done leatherworking, so this is new territory. I need to practice practice practice, then practice some more. Then make awesome things for our steampunk cosplays. Easy peasy, right?

Okay, so maybe not so easy. But I’ll figure it out. It’s what I do; play around with stuff until it works. The best way is just to dive right in sometimes.

We’ve gotten some advice from a more experienced friend on some basic things to get to start out, and I’m definitely going to be asking the workers at Tandy Leather what their recommendations are. Better to ask someone who knows the best place to start out than to jump into more advanced projects head first. I’m an idiot some of the time, but other times I clue in to common sense.

It’s going to be a fun few months getting these cosplays ready for Phoenix Comicon this year. Can’t wait to show them off! 🙂

Bad timing

Why is it that when I have to clean up my sewing mess I tend to get the urge to sew?

I have company coming this weekend, so the craft room must be transformed back into the guest room that it’s supposed to be. I spent about an hour this morning sorting and organizing a few things in there, but it’s only the smallest of starts to a big project. I had to take it easy because I had a flareup yesterday, and I didn’t want to aggravate anything.

But now I want to start on the pants for steampunk Cyclops that I cut out weeks ago. Grr.

I also have been on a writing kick lately, except that writing kick is what caused the procrastination on the cleaning. Why must the muse start talking to me when I have other things to do?

I guess that’s the way it goes. Murphy’s Law and all.

Hopefully starting next week I can sew again. Except we’re going out of town after Thanksgiving. And then there are the weeks leading up to Christmas. But after all that….

Guess after this weekend I had better get my happy ass back to sewing. 😉

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……