Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Come to ArCon Sommar and the Dalarna Cosplay Championships!

This weekend there is ArCon Sommar, which is the first try of having a local convention in Falun. This is a small voluntarily run event, nothing commercial and I don't think any sellers will be there. ArCon is club that works with game culture, and included in that you have all kinds of computer games, e-sport, tabletop games, figure games and cosplay. It is the Cosplay Dalarna meetings on Tuesdays that have made ArCon interested in arranging things for cosplay as well, and when they planned ArCon Sommar there was a wish to have a day for cosplay.

ArCon Sommar takes place August 12-14 (Saturday-Monday) and it's Sunday the 13th that is focused on cosplay.

I'm going to have a talk about "What is Cosplay", host a workshop showing off different materials and techniques that you can use, talk about fandom fashion and finally present the Dalarna Cosplay Championships. All throughout the day I'm hoping that there will be plenty of opportunities to meet up with other cosplayers and network.

If you are in the area I would be happy to meet you too!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

First look at The Last Jedi - Leia

Blogger is usually good with saving stuff, but this post was mysteriously deleted and I've had to rewrite it. Well here goes.

Of course I know myself well enough that I was sure that I was going to try and do something for the premiere of The Last Jedi in Decemeber. Then the Vanity Fair cover with Carrie Fisher as Leia was released in the spring, and I fell totally in love with the costume.

I haven't taken a serious look at the costume, except being scared of how to create the cloak without any visible seams, until now though. By now some other photos of Leia has emerged.

There are some serious differences of the cloak though. I'm going to call the first one the VF (Vanity Fair) version and the other the grey version. The grey version has a collar that is a lot smaller, the fabric also shows an almost striped or checkered texture. My initial guess is that it's a basketweave fabric. To make it even more mysterious there is this photo showing a large collar, like the VF version, but with a seam that's not visible on the VF cover.
Personally I think that there are two versions of the cloak out there. One that was used for the VF cover, and it's quite pssible that the photo above is from the photo shoot since Mark Hamill is standing in the background. I can't be sure that this cloak will even be in the film. The other version has been shown in photos from the set though.

This grey version with its smaller collar is a lot more straight forward. The only tricky part might be the collar, since there are no seams visible it must be cut in one with the front pieces, with possible just a center back seam. I do have a shrug pattern that's cut like that though.

When it comes to what fabric it's made of. My first instinct was actally to make the VF version in neoprene, it would be incorrect but could give that smooth, but still structured, shape. The grey version with its basketweave pattern could not be made from that material though. Just on a whim I searched for black basketweave wool and stumbled upon this fabric.

From b&j fabrics
It is black and has that distinctive pattern. It's not wool though but a silk and viscose gazar. I had never Heard of gazar so I did a bit of googling on the term. It's a very stiff silk that was inventend by Balenciaga in the 1960's to get a fabric that was suite for very structured garments. One of his most famous pieces is this one seam wedding gown in silk gazar.

One seam wedding gown, Balenciaga 1967
Doesn't the drape and sheen of the fabric look similar to the VF cloak? And wouldn't it be likely that both coats are made of similar fabric, gazar, even if one has a pattern to it? I'm pretty convinded that both cloaks are made of silk gazar, but with a price tag of $130/yard I'm not prepared to buy it and make a cloak out of it until there are more detailed photos. And not until there is a concensus on what colour the costume actually has, since we can assume that especially the VF version but probably all photos have had some colour editing done to them. My first version, before the film is out, will have to be made in something else, I'm thinking some kind of thin cotton or wool basketweave fabric that can be interfaced with something Heavy to give it structure.

The gown she's wearing under the cloak seems to be fairly simple.
A soft longsleeved gown with around neck, with a keyhole cut, gathered under the bust and with a belt of the same material. It's also possible that the belt is just govering the gathering and doesn't go all the way round the gown. The fabric looks quite dull but it's not transparent. I'm thinking that some kind of chiffon or similar would be good for it.

Now if she could only turn around so that we can see the back of the hair.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

NärCon round up

So it's time to post my NärCon photos. I had a blast at NärCon, it was much better than the last time I was there. I had the feeling that there were more people in my own age there, not just teenager. It was also great to hang around with Tom from Cosplay Dalarna, so I was never alone. In the end I didn't go to a single panel or workshop, but spent all the time trooping or walking around in the area. These are just a few of the wonderful costumes that I saw.

Elin Cat Jacobsson in her fabulous Lady of the Mine costume

Tom as a Fallout vault dweller

A great Maui from Moana/Vaiana

Carolina (Meline Cosplay) at the J-fashion show

Anna (ArtyAnna) at the same show

Me celebrating second Place in the pokemon Cosplay walk-on contest

A perfect Tinker Bell

Sara (A costuming engineer) in her steampunk outfit

Henrik (Pilerud's cosplay) in the Benny costume he won the cosplay masters with

The Borlänge contingent from Cosplay Dalarna

Even if the e/R ship is not something I agree with, I was happy to see some Les Mis cosplayers

Our Cosplay Dalarna meetup

And finally some of my favorite Bellossom photos from the weekend. I spent most of the evenings in this costume, after I trooped in my jawa and pilot with the Nordic Legions in the afternoon. The fun thing was that since I walked around with Tom, well nobody wanted to take photos of us together. They either wanted a photo of him as a Fallout Raider, or me as Pokemon, but not both of us.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Bellossom outer gown

I've come back from a great time at NärCon, but before I post about that I'm just going to add the final part of my Bellossom cosplay.

I started the outer gown by making a top from the Butterick 6134 pattern. I made some Changes though in that I made it a bit bigger, and shorter. That allowed me to pull the top over my head so I didn't have to worry abut zippers or other fastenings. The top was made from applegreen poly chiffon interlined with a nude poly lining.

The fit wasn't important since it was supposed to be a very loose gown anyway. I can really recommend this pattern, since it has raglan sleeves it so eas to put together. The original calls for it being unlined, but I have preferred to put a lining into it both of the times that I've made the pattern.

After that it was simply a question of pinning the remaining chiffon fabric and sew it on at the bust. I pleated it rather than gathered it since I think pleats looks so much nicer and gives a better drape as well.

My handstitching weren't quite up to scratch though and now when I've unpacked the gown I can see that some of it has come undone, so I will need to fix that before I wear it the next time.

It really is a costume that's hard to pose in, since it looks so much better when it's moving. I loved to just twirl around in it.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Bellossom hairflowers and shoes

The next step that I finished for my Bellossom has been the hairflowers and shoes. The shoes were really simple.

I found a pair of very cheap fabric shoes in cream with embossed flowers on them. I simply spayed them with a layer of yellow paint and then I took a fabric marker and filled in all the flowers on the shoes.

The hairflowers were a bit more complicated though. This was my first try of using a material called fosshape. It's a feltlike thermoplastic material. Meaning that it feels like fabric, but when you heat it up it becomes hard, it also shrinks and I found it a bit hard to predict how much it would shrink. It depended on the heat.

I started with cutting out five petals for each flower.

I sewed the petals together and placed them over a deep plate to give them a bit more shape. I used a heatgun on a low setting to shape the fosshape. 

After a while I turned the flower and the deep plate and went over it so that both sides had hardened. 

The flowers were harder, but still quite flimsy so I added a piece of buckram in the middle to give it a more stable centre part.

I then tried to mold the centre pod of the flower over a light holder with but it didn't work. As you can see the fosshape started to curl upwards on its own, rather than downwards even if I tried to force it down.

For the second attempt I instead made a cylinder of the fosshape and with the help of a plier I could get it to curl up around the light holder.

Here are the basic flowers, I'm really happy with the right one.

I then used spraypaint to paint the flowers, and finally I simply sewed the yellow centres to the base flower. 

After having used fosshape I the best used for it is if you have a frame that you want to have covered, and that will be covered with yet material. The surface of the fosshape, even after having been heated, was still quite fuzzy and felt-like. I did a test flower first where I used an iron to heat it, and then I could get a smoother surface, but I also got markes from the iron. It's very lightweight and there was no problem painting it, but I think it will be very hard to make it into a smooth and clean finish. Like other thermoplastics it sticks to itself when heated, but it doesn't melt into and bond together, and it was not enough to just have the stickyness to keep two pieces of fosshape together. It's possible to sew through the fosshape after it's gotten hard, but use a very thin needle since the holes will be visible. I think the best way of using fosshape is as alighter version of buckram, and instead of using hot water you use a heatgun to shape it. 

Then I needed to fasten the flowers to my head somehow. I wanted something that was adjustable and could be used both with a wig, or with a caul or piece of fabric covering the head. Now for NärCon I'm planning on using a green veil, but I also have a green wig for future use. My solution was to use magnets.

I glued two flat pieces of magnetic metal to the underside of the flower.
Then I sewed 2x3 small neodym magnets into a simple cotton headband.

Me wearing the headband.

The flowers are held in Place by the magnets.

The last thing I did with the flowers was to fill the centre with some scraps of chiffon to hide the red bottom and make it a bit more organic. 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Bellossom cosplay

Sometime in the winter at a Cosplay Dalarna meeting we started talking about cosplaying pokemon figures. I don't really know how it all started, and I'm not in any way a pokemon expert. I do play Pokemon Go, but that's everything I know. Still I was thinking about going to NärCon and wanted a simply and comfortable cosplay, similar to my Rarity cosplay. I looked around for different pokemons and found Bellossom.

I figured it would be a simple thing, make a vintage inspired yellow and green dress and add some red flowers in the hair. Then the time went by and the project grew, the more time I had to plan it. When I found out that there was going to be a pokemon cosplay competition at NärCon I realised that I would not be happy with just a simple summer dress. 

There are a few things I like with Bellossom and that I want to emphasize in my version. One big thing is that Bellossom is quite chubby, I didn't want to show off much skin. After googling for Bellossom cosplays for inspiration I thought that too many of them were a bikini top and a skirt, with a bare mid section. My plan is definitely to start the skirt all the way up at the bust, and unlike most other costumes I'm going to hide my body under the skirt and not show off any waistline at all.

The first step to the cosplay was to make a big underskirt that can give the main dress a lot of body, and make sure that it will sway when I move.

Enter the organza monster, it was even worse than my 19th Century snowball monster.

 I really didn't have a plan, but I had 10 m of green organza and 5 meters of yellow organza that I cut into strips and sewed together.

It got to be a very long strip of fabric. If I redid I would not have sewn all the pieces together but gathered each by itself and added them one by one.

Now when I sat and handgathered it all I felt that I was in serious risk of "death by fabric". Still since I didn't have a plan when I had gathered it all, it only was enough fabric for 2,5 rows of ruffles.

When I made my 16th Century hat and guards to the undergown I cut up a wool blend skirt, for this project I added the ruffles to the underskirt from that wool skirt. Instead of making a waistband I added two straps of ribbon to it to make it into an underdress instead of an underskirt. This will also help with making sure that everything is smooth from the bust and that there is no waistline.

On top of the organza ruffles I've added around 30 individual chiffon pieces, cut into pointy edges at the bottom. For all this it should be said that I've only zick-zacked the edges of the chiffon, I have not had the time or will to make a better finish to all those meters of edges. Now I have a big underskit with a lot of swaying motion in it, but with all the fabric on it it has also ended up fairly heavy.