Sunday, 14 August 2016

Another small troop

Yesteday I did another mini-troop. The FFG Nordic Championships in Star Wars boardgames took place in Uppsala and they had requested pilots for the X-wing tournament. I went there and suited up in my pilot and walked around the room where they were playing. To be honest most of the players were so immersed in the game that they didn't even notice me, but it was still fun. One thing surprised me though. My experience with the Star Wars fandom is that it's quite gender equal, or at least that there are always other females around, This time though I was in a room with around 70 other people, and I was the only woman.

"100 000 crewmen, and yet not a single woman"
I think these two last troops I've done show the variety of reasons on why I troop. The concerts in Avesta and Grängesber was for a chance to show up in a region where it's never been done before, trooping at this event I felt was important to show that SW fandom is all inclusive. The 501st and Rebel legions have a bit of reputation for being elitist, due to the fact that we have high standards and are proud of our costumes, but for me personally I love everything that has to do with SW, this is just a form of fandom that I've never been involved in. I hope that showin up at pure fandom events like this can help in showing that it doesn't matter how you express your fandom.

And the game looked pretty fun, especially when I heard that my favorite pilot, Tycho Celchu from the Star Wars books and comics, is in the game and goes under the nickname "Psycho-Tycho" due to his insane piloting skills.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Ghostbusters cosplay

Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected places, and sometimes it's just the time and company that feels right. I'm not a Ghostbusters fan, I've never understood how the original film can be so popular. It's an ok film, but I've just never thought it was a great film. I did grow up with the Ghostbusters cartoon on TV and I had a Ghostbusters boardgame, that I don't think I ever finished since it took several hours to play and we usually stopped Before reaching the end, so it's still a bit of my childhood.

When I heard that there was going to be a new Ghostbusters film I mostly felt that it was a bit unimaginative. When I heard that it was going to be female Ghostbusters team I though that sounded great, and then just watched all the internet fanboys go crazy with male entitlement. I finally saw the film on Saturday, and in general I think it's a good popcorn flick. I enjoyed it, but nothing I would become a fan of. Still after having seen it ArtyAnna posted on my FB that we need to make a GB team, and I thought that was a great idea.

One should also not underestimate the fact that it was so nice to finally see a character in my own bodyshape, Melissa McCarthy's Abby, and that I won't have to hide what I look like to make the cosplay. There are Three of us now that are making a GB team, and it's such a nice feeling to keep in contact, discussing references and then decide together on what should do, instead of just working by yourself. First we are just aiming for the uniform, any hardware and gadgets will wait until there are more available references.

Hopefully we will be able to receive your call in December

Sunday, 7 August 2016

A quick jersey dress

This week I started with reorganizing my stash. I simply took all the fabrics out, and then sorted them back in. I took the chance to get rid of quite a few meters of poly satin and organzas. One thing I noticed is that I had a couple of jersey fabrics. I have probably bought them with the plans to make something to wear everyday, but nothing has happened. Since most of my regular wardrobe consists of jersey dresses I felt that I should come up with a basic pattern, and then it shouldn't be too hard to move the fabric from the stash and into my wardrobe as an actual dress.

I decided to use an old dress pattern from the sewing magazine Ottobre Woman. It's the same pattern that I used for my Star Wars coctail dress and comes with a few variations on neckline. Now I went for the most basic, called "Old-school teacher". Since the fabric I had was jersey I ignored the zipper and simply cut the back bodice piece in one, I also didn't use any lining but made a facing around the neckline.

The skirt was just straight panels that I pleated into the waist, instead of the shaped pencil skirt that's in the original pattern. What I really like with this pattern is that it's shaped with two underbust darts, I think they are very flattering and easier to get right than princess seam darts.

I felt that in this plaid fabric the dress really said "old-school teacher", which is great for a basic dress, but I still wanted something more fun. I took a look in my ribbon drawer and took a piece of by now quite worn satin ribbon. I made a basic ribbon flower, by simply making gathering stitches along and edge and gather it together. To cover the hole in the middle I could finally use two fabric covered buttons, they were a strange gift after a seminar about tourism. Everyone got one button in quite a strange fabric. I got two since one of my coworkers gave hers to me "after all you sew you can maybe do something useful with it". Finally after 8 years I have used them.

I think that the flowers bring a bit of fun to the dress, but I haven't attached them very securely so I can take them off if I change my mind.

The whole dress took around 2 hours, so now I have a basic dress pattern to use. It will also come in handy for my next Star Wars costume project, but that's only in the planning stages at the moment.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

A quick Star Wars troop

Earlier this spring I was very happy when the Nordic Legions got a request to appear at a concert with some Star Wars music, what made me happy was that the concert would be in Avesta, so for the first time I would be able to troop a short distance from home. I of course volunteered to coordinate us and contacted the orchestra. The orchestra is a small semi-professional orchestra and they were actually going to have two concerts, one in Avesta and one in Grängesberg. Unfortunately the date collided with NärCon so it was clear from the start that most of the Nordic Legions' members within driving distance wouldn't be available. In the end it was me and Ingeli who were there on Friday, and I went there myself on Saturday.

 The concert in Avesta was in a venue called Verket, and it's so cool. It's an old ironworks, built in brick and with the furnaces still there. Nowadays it's the host of a yearly art festival, that's quite a big. Me and Ingeli complemented each other as X-wing and TIE pilot and had some fun. I even managed to find some pieces of art that matched my costume.
Bad lightning and no supporters meant that these were the only pictures.

On Saturday the venue was Cassels in Grängesberg. This is a very special building, built in the early 20th century, in fact modelled on the Bank of England in London, it has some wonderful acoustics as well. I had loved to wear my Amidala in these beautiful surroundings, but I talked with Ingeli about it and we agreed that since I was going to be alone it was probably best to wear my most iconic costume, so I took out my old classic Leia.

It turned out that was a good idea. Due to some missteps in my planning and with the traffic, all of a sudden I just had 5 minutes to get into costume! Three of those minutes were spent on the hairbuns, and I also had missed to bring enough hairpins I think I had a total of 6 with me. All in all I'm still pretty satsified with the look of my buns. I did waste one of the hairpins to pin up the hood though, so that most of the hairbuns and the back of the head would be covered.
I did the same thing as on Friday, but I would say that this audience was smaller and older, so I got less recognition. I think the most common comment I got was "you're beatiful, what are you supposed to look like?".

Still the orchestra was happy that I was there, and over the two days I managed to collect around $150 to Barncancerfonden (the Children's Cancer foundation) just by standing with a bucket so that people could put some spare change in it.

On the way home I took the chance to combine two of my nerdy interests and visited the minehads in Grängesberg. Grängesberg used to have one of the biggest iron mines in Europe, but it was closed down in 1989.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Tudor/Elizabethan Leia

My most fun costume that I did for Celebration Europe in London was the Tudor/Elizabetan Leia. I meant for it to be an Elizabethan costume, but it ended up more Tudor when I tried to mesh Elizabethan with Star Wars. The inspiration for this costume came when I was in London in April. At that time I was simply put quite worn out and I didn't have any inspiration to sew at all. Still when I was there and had the chance to go fabric shopping with another Star Wars-costumer, and then came home to the hotell and watched the BBC Shakespeare 400th anniversary gala,  I just felt that it would be so suitable to mix the fact that it's a Shakespeare anniversary year with Star Wars Celebration taking place in London. My first idea was pretty simple. I would use my 16th century undergown, since it was white, and my 16th century shift, and then I would buy a cheap ruff and add my Leia belt. When I came home the project started to grow though, and in the end everything was made from scratch.

The under layer is a shift of cotton voile with pleated ruffs around the neck and wrists. I was not going to make a full boned farthingale, so I put my two 1950's style tulle petticoats on top of each other, and that gave a nice enough volume. The petticoat is three lengths of satin cartridge pleated to a wide cotton tape.

I did not have any historically accurate goals, and all the materials are wrong. This was going to be a cheapish costume so the satin for the gown and petticoat was the cheapest I could find, ugly, slinky polyester. Still the hems and the pleating is all handmade, it simply looks so much better.

For the gown I started with my 16th century bodice I made earlier this year. I lengthened the front to give it a point though. The bodice lining was made in two layers of cotton/linen fabric. I then made boning channels on most of the back and the front.

I added two rows of lacing holes to the front, and yes I made them by hand. It's not my most beautiful work, but the function is there. Even if there was boning channels all over the bodice I only put actual boning in some of the strategic places on the front, like around the lacing holes.

The fit was nice and smooth in the back without boning, and I more wanted to give the illusion of a fully boned bodice. Also since it was a fun and non-accurate costume I wanted it to be as easy to move in as possible. There was enough boning that I didn't need to wear a bra under it, and the front was straight. All the boning was reused boning from when I have slaughtered my worn out corsets.

The next step was to put the outer satin layer on top of the lining. It shows that even with a dreadful fabric like this it's possible to get it wrinkle free if you are careful with having the layers line up with each other.

The edge of the front pieces got a piece of plastic boning and hooks and eyes so it could be closed over the lacing.

To finish the bodice and skirt part of the gown I added a silver lace to the neckline and the front, to hide the small amount of gaping that was there. I had a big problem finding any suitable trimming, in the end I bought some white lace and sprayed it with silver paint. The skirt was once again three lengths of satin cartridge pleated and sewn to the bodice edge.

The next step was to make it more Star Wars-y, and for that I added the flared sleeves and hood from Princess Leia's classic white gown. This is what turned the dress into more Tudor than Elizabethan, but I felt that the sleeves really neded to be flared to make it look like Leia.

The headpiece was really fun to make. I found this tutorial for an Elizabethan headdress, but instead of using buckram and millinery wire, I shaped it with worbla. This was the first time I did something serious with worbla, and it was fun! It was so much fun that now I'm already wishing for a heatgun as a Christmas gift ( for this project I borrowed the heat gun from work).

After I had made the worbla frame I simply covered it with scraps of the white satin and some silver braiding. Everything was done with the help of hot glue. I finished off with adding two combs to it to hold it on to my hair.

The final touch was a long, cheap Pearl necklace that I added a silver Rebel pendant to abd my old Leia belt. As you can see the petticoat and gown is just calf length, so that I could show off my white Leia boots as well.

Overall this was a really fun project, and I'm very satisfied with the final look, and how I could cheat the bodice to look like a 16th century bodice even with a flimsy poly satin.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Star Wars Celebration round up

I'm home after Celebration Europe in London. I will be honest and say that it wasn't my best Celebration. I don't know, it was what I expected, but nothing more. I still had a great time though, and I love Celebrations and I'm really looking forward to the next one. Two things that helped bring down the feeling was the lack of panels. The main panels were super awesome, but I missed the interesting smaller panels that you can slip into and listen to people really talking about the minutiae of Star Wars. There was a Star Wars archaeology panel, but I missed it due to the Cosplay Contest. I will probably make a separate post on the cosplay contest, when I can find more photos from it, since I didn't take any myself. I don't have any photo of myself for example.

Here is the write up day by day

Friday was mostly spent with costume contest preparations. I was happy that I did have time to get changed and take part in the running of the Hoods.

This photo, with yours truly in the biggest beard, biggest moustache and smalles ice cream maker, was posted on the official SW Celebration account. The running was a lot more exhausting than I thought it would be. Sure it's in slowmotion, but the venue was hot, and I was dressed in winter boots, a big wig and a moustache. My glasses was totally fogging up. It was superfun though, we photobombed en masse, and got photobombed by Ray Park as well, and were up on the Star Wars live stream scene, I can't find a video of that though. My outfit was even noticed enough for someone to make a meme of it.

On Saturday I was on a panel about international Star Wars fandom, talking about how you can start your own fan clubs and what can work and not work. It was all about the aspects of fandom that aren't about costumes or collectables so I chose to go in my Greedo dress. I added some buns, but I didn't get them to look that great. Also my own hair has faded a bit too much compared to when I bought the fake hair.

The panelist from the US, UK, Belgium and Sweden
The panel meant that I missed the legions photoshoot since that was also on Saturday morning, but I hadn't brought any approved costumes with me, except for the handmaiden, anyway.

For Saturday afternoon we had dedided to try and get a group of us with TFA costumes to meet up. Unfortunately that didn't go as planned, so at the time and place where we had set up, only me as Leia, Jazz as Poe and Jokke as Kylo showed up. They did play up the TFA scene between Kylo and Poe, and it ended up on the fan tribute at the closing ceremony.

The photo above is a screen grab from the Youtube video and you can see me in the background as Leia.

Things got a bit awkward when I tried to ask about where Daddy was. Then Poe had to leave, but we found some of the other TFA people though. I think this is probably my favorite photo from CE

It's all about love in the Skywalker-Solo family
We took a stroll on the floor as well, but people only wanted photos with Kylo/Rey and our Nien Nunb, who was the most popular of all!

In the evening it was the 1force bash, which was a party for members of the 501st, Rebel Legion, Galactic Academy and JediNews. It was held at Madame Tussaud's, and it was great seeing the place. At the same time it wasn't my kind of museum, so it's not something I would have liked to spent Money on, if it hadn't been for the fact that I was at a party with a bunch of great people.

I was more interested in the Royals than the celebrities though.

Finally on Sunday it was time for me to wear my Shakespeare Leia. I'm so satisfied with the costume, it was warmer than expected though, I guess that's what you get for using polyester satin.
Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, thou art my only hope
I had been lucky to get a time slot for "Trial on Tatooine" a virtual reality prototype on Sunday though, and in order to do that you need to wear a headset/goggles and headphones, so that totally ruined my hair. It was my second highlight of the con though, it was so cool standing on Tatooine and yielding a lightsabre. I went back and changed into the Greedo dress for the rest of the day though.

For the next Celebration I have decided that it's not worth trying to pack a lot of heavy and complicated costumes, so I will see how light and easy I can make it. The only way I'm going for a big costume is if I can get into a coordinated group of some kind, since being a group of costumers is a lot more fun than being alone on the floor.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Costume plan for Celebration Europe

Tomorrow Celebration Europe starts and here is my costume plan.

Friday will of course be dedicated to the Cosplay Contest, which means the Gold Handaiden costume. I'm not going to walk around in the handmaiden, only wearing it at the pre-judging and the contest itself.

I'm also hoping that I will have time to don my Willrow Hood costume, especially now when I made a mini ice cream maker, inbetween the pre-judging and the contest.

On Saturday I'm going to be on a panel about non-costumed international fandom, so out of costume I'm going to wear the green with Greedo dress.

After the panel it's time to change into TFA Leia. We are a group of people with TFA costumes that are going to meet up and have some fun in the afternoon.

For the evening I'm changing into party Leia.

Finally on Sunday I'm going to wear my main new costume. It's been a really fun project and I'm going to post about it after CE, but here's a sneak peak.

It's a Tudor/Elizabethan princess Leia to pay homage not only to it being a Star Wars Convention, but also the fact that today is a Shakespeare anniversary year. I was aiming for Elizabethan, but it ended up a bit more Tudor than I planned, it's closest historical inspiration is probaby around the 1550s/1560s.

If you are in London and see me, please come and say hi!