Saturday, 3 December 2016

Mon Mothma outer tunic

The Mon Mothma outer tunic was a bit of a challenge. Or rather I definitely overthought the construction. In the end  went back and decided to do it as simple as possible.

This is the original costume. Looking at it there are two features that I felt were really important, and both those features were confusing. In the middle of the sleeve there is a front from the hem and to the fold, but it doesn't continue all the way up to the sleeve. Then the tunic itself is clearly square, there are no rounded corners like on a poncho for example.

The whole tunic doesn't have any visible seams, except for the small sleeve. That meant that I had to find a fabric that was wide enough to provide full length sleeves, even if I just folded the fabric and cut a hole in the middle. I used a wonderful linen/rayon blend, after turn in the washing machine it's wonderfully soft, with a texture of linen but not as many wrinkles as a pure linen.

I started by simply folding the fabric in half.

Then I folded it in half again, but in the other direction, and cut out an angular neck opening. The neck opening is in a diamond shape so no rounded corners.

To get the visible seam on the sleeve I made a dart at the top of the sleeve and pressed it flat.

The neck opening was strengthened with a piece of cotton tape.

The big challenge was to get the hem straight. In order to look straight it needs to be shorter at the sides than in the middle though.

Then it was just to hem all the sides, make the fold in the sleeve and tack it in position.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Mon Mothma undergown

Today I finshed Mon Mothma's undergown.

It's nothing specially complicated. I used my most simple jersey bodice pattern and my standard sleeve pattern that I just lengthened. The skirt is simply a full width of fabric gathered to the waist. It's not the most flattering, but it's just an undergown. Since there is quite a lot of fabric I stabilized the neckline by binding it with bias tape. As a bonus I know have a gown to wear if I ever want to dress up as a gingerbread woman.

The problem with having spent so much time looking at the reference photos is that of course you realize that a lot of the assumptions you had made were wrong. I have ordered new fabric for the outer tunic, since I just couldn't stand my first choice. I wanted something that was a lot more drapey.

The good thing with ordering new fabric is that I have some time to figure out the outer tunic, it's a lot more complicated than I first thought.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Cosplay contest news

First of all the three participants in Nordiska Museet's Cosplay <3 Folktro Contest have been announced.

Looking at the participants it's clear that I didn't have a chance, they are really on another level than me when it comes to working with different materials and also propmaking. I could bring my sewing experience into it, but these people can make something different to what I would have done. I'm really looking forward to following their work and see the results.

They have also opened up the applications for the Star Wars Celebration Cosplay Contest. My experiences at the cosplay contest in London has made me not interested in taking part in future contests. Sure the short time on stage was fun, but it made me miss basically all of the Friday programing and it wasn't worth it.

Good luck to all who are about to enter any contests, I'm more and more realizing that I'm not really up for the contest part of cosplay, I prefer being on the floor and then just admiring those who do compete.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Mon Mothma jewellery pieces

Tonight I started on the jewellery pieces for Mon Mothma. A first look at a reference picture and reading the Rebel Legion standards made them look fairly straight forward.

A necklace consisting of two dull gray twisted cords, with a round, silver pendant, detailed as it appears in the movie, suspended from two smaller, twisted cords in the center. The necklace should be attached at each shoulder and end with the gray cord wrapped around a small, domed object, such as a button, with single strand of the large gray cord around the back of the collar.

I would do the main pendant as a solid piece and then somehow attach the cords to is, and the round things at the shoulders could be anything dome-like. All painted silver.

Then I got hold of some reference pictures in higher resolutions and started to realize that there's a lot of things that are not correct in that description.

 The main thing is that the pendant is not silver, and it's not solid. The silver appearance comes from the fact that the silver cord is twisted through the pendant. Where the silver meets the "branches" of the tree or twig or whatever it is, there is a clear contrast. Instead the colour of the pendant blends with one of the light gold cords.

As for the colour of the shoulder pieces, well that's harder. If you see the grey thinner cord coming up towards the piece there is once again a difference in colour between them. The dome looks to be closer to the wider cords in colour, but it might also be that they are being reflected back since the dome is quite shiny.

This detailed photo also shows that the thinner cord goes up and circle te top of the dome, and that the dome has a small red bead on top of it.

With that information I started on making the pendant.

I measured out a ring and heated a strip of worbla with a heatgun until it was soft. I pressed the strip together to give it a twisted look and attached the ends to each other.

I then put on the center bar. As you can see the outer ring got distorted by the heat from the heatgun when I attached the center, but that's easy to fix when all the pieces have been attached.

I then attached two strips to form the arms/twigs or whatever they are. I looked at it and was not happy with the result. It felt too big, and the arms were too narrow. So I started over and redid it all but smaller.

This time I was much mor happy with the pendant, so I just let it cool down while I formed the shoulder domes and beads in fimo clay.

Then came the issue on what paint to use. I feel as if it's some kind of light gold or brass colour, but definitely not silver or dark gold. I looked in my paint collection and in the end I used metallic gold, mixed with some off white paint. To give it both a more grey colour and more sheen I finished them off with a transparent silver paint. The beads were painted with a nail varnish.

Now I'm off to the Rebel Legion boards to argue that the jewellery is not silver...

Thursday, 10 November 2016

The difference is in the details

I've decided that for the Rogue One premier I'm going to make Mon Mothma's costume. Mon Mothma shows up in Return of the Jedi, and her costume is in the Original Trilogy costume book. For Rogue One we saw her already in the first trailer, and it seemed to make people really happy online. At first glance she was easy to recognize because it seemed to be the same costume, but of course there are enough differences in the ROTJ costume and the R1 costume that it will not be possible to combine them, even if 95% of people will think it's the same.

If we start with this side by side shot we can spot a couple of differences between them. The R1 Mon Mothma, to the left, has a bigger collar, and the collar has piping between the outer fabric and the facing or lining. That silver piping is a big difference. The necklace that she wears is also different. The cords that hold the pendant form a a frame around the R1 version, but they simply go behind the pendant. The R1 Mon Mothma's bigger cords go further down towards the waist, and are made of a shinier cord than the ROTJ Mon Mothma.

The sleeves are also quite different. (both pictures from RL member jedibarriss)

The top is the ROTJ one, the bottom from R1. Looking Close at both pictures I get the feeling that the R1 costume is made from a lighter and more drapey fabric than the ROTJ one. In the middle of the R1 sleeve it's obviously a seam, while the sleeves of the ROTJ Mon Mothma look to be cut in one with the main piece. The ROTJ sleeve has a simple fold about half-way up. The R1 one also has the sleeve but it's also pleated up at the shoulder. The two round emblems that hold the cord are also different. The R1 one button has some kind of pattern on it but is flatter, while the ROTJ one is higher.

So yes, the costumes are very similar but with enough differences that I can't combine them. My plan right now is to make the ROTJ costume, since there are still more references for it. I don't think I've seen anything on what the R1 costume looks like from the waist down. Also when I bought the fabric I did it with the ROTJ costume as a reference, and it's too heavy for the R1 costume.

I also find it a bit ironic that when I finally find a costume with the exact hair colour that I'm currently using, then it's a costume with short hair. I still need to get hold of a short wig, since I'm not going to cut my own hair off for a costume.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Comic Con Stockholm report

Comic Con has turned into my favorite Swedish con. I really like that there is so much going on with panels, different exhibitors and a lot of cosplay. Unfortunately I missed all the cosplay competitions because I was either working in the Nordic Legions' booth or in the case of the World Cosplay Summit qualification had to leave to catch the train back home.

I was stupid enough to sign up with Three costumes, Amidala, Endor trooper and X-wing pilot. The reason for that was that I had the chance to do booth duty with matching troopers. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of me as an Endor trooper, together with the other trooper. I did use the vest option for the first time, and I actually think I prefer it compared to the camo jacket. I really want to repaint my helmet though before I use it the next time.

My Amidala is big and cumbersome to get into, but I finally got the chance to troop with a Qui-Gon Jinn.
I had some serious issues with my hairbags and hair donuts. You can see that they look almost like Mickey Mouse ears. Thankfully the con was held close to a shopping mall, so after this stint in the costume I ran off and bought a soft headband that I attached the hairbags too, and it made it easier to also attach the hairballs in a correct position.

They looked much better the next day, when I also took the chance to conquer Westeros and sit on the Iron throne. It was too small for my skirts though, so I preferred spending time with Hello Kitty instead.

I even got a new tiara from her.

I got nothing from Jabba though.

I spent the mornings in Amidala and then I switched to my X-wing pilot. I was really excited about my new boots. They are a pair of proper German military boots, but they are way too big in the feet so I will have no problems putting in some extra gel soles in them to make them even more comfortable.

I feel really short when I look at this photo though.

I had a great time at the con, and at the aftertroops when you just sit down with a great bunch of people and have fun.

As I said I didn't get the chance to see any of the cosplay competitions, but some of the best cosplayers shared their changing room with us so I got to see some really amazing costumes anyway.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Far and Away concert, Falun, 20161028-29

It was finally time for me to do an actual troop in my own hometown! The regional symphonic orchestra, Dalasinfoniettan, had a sci-fi and fantasy-themed concert called Far and Away, and the Nordic Legions were invited. I was happy to do the troop, unfortunately due to some health and personal issues I was the only Nordic Legion member that could attend. Still I have quite a few Star Wars-costumes, so I drafted one of my nieces and dressed her up in my jawa costume. So there were at least two Nordic Legions costumes there. I also really enjoyed having some quality time with my niece and go on a concert with just her and nobody else in the family.

We arrived and got dressed up in a small room that was provided for us. Then we simple milled around until people started to arrive. The organizers had encouraged people to come in costume and there were a couple of them around, including a Lolita and a steampunker. There was a photo wall, so we mostly stood there so that could people could take photos of us.

Since it was in my hometown it was also fun to run into people I meet on other occasions than costuming/cosplay events. Nobody seemed to be surprised that I was there though.

This for example is the chief of competition for ski jumping in Fagersta, and last Saturday we both attended some ski jumping events in Stockholm. She also had a friend with her in a really nice Star Trek uniform, but I didn't get a photo with all three of us.

A jawa was of course perfect for the spooky almost-Halloween evening on Friday, and she scared a few in the audience when they arrived.

This is also a good example of what I like with being a costumer, and that is making other people happy. These people were dressed in at least parts of my costumes. The jawa was the full costume, then the boy had borrowed my Endor trooper helmet, vest, jacket and blaster. His father had borrowed my Endor Leia poncho and made quite a good Endor Luke.

As for the concert. It was divided into two parts, the first was themed space and the second was fantasy. Our region can't afford to have a fullsize symphonic orchestra and that unfortunately meant that especially for the space music they had chosen smaller themes, rather than bombastic pieces. For example from Star Wars they played Yoda's theme and the Binary sunset music, rather than Main title or Imperial March. Overall I felt that the second act, with the fantasy music was better, probably because I also recognized more of that music. I did get some real goosebumps though, and that was whenever the soprano Sabina Zweiacker was on stage. Her voice was lovely and she has that rare ability to be able to switch and sing both operatic and non-operatic, she had great diction even when she sang in various constructed languages.. Some of what she sang was music that I had never heard before, but I've known been listening to it a lot after the concert.

Since this a concept concert that's been performed by quite a few orchestras in Sweden it's possible to clips of them, just search for "Sagas", "Score" "Far and away" or Sabina Zweiacker. Apparently her signature song has become The Dragonborn comes from Skyrim, and I really liked this song.

I also loved the encore, which was a small aria that's a full orchestration and translation into Italian from an aria in Final Fantasy VI. One reason why I loved it is probably because it's clearly inspired by one of my favorite arias "Caro Mio".

The biggest goosebumps come from her version of the Rains of Castamere/the Children. Unfortunately I couldn't find a good online version of this, but this gives you an idea of what it was like.