Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Presenting Nordic Reel Icons

When Henrik and Anna had their panel about cosplay at NärCon they presented the Nordic Reel Icons initiative. In a way it's a branching out of what the 501st and Rebel Legion do, in that the goal is to have screen accurate costumes, and use them to work for charity. I think it's easier to just paste the description from their site:

We are a non-profit organization of people with great looking, screen accurate costumes that likes to dress up and do good! Reel Icons consists of well known characters from many different universes and span all ages.
Reel Icons often works together with it’s Star Wars counterparts, The 501st Legion, Rebel Legion and R2 Builders Club, to collect money for a variety of charity organizations. We dress up in our costumes and appear at conventions, exhibitions, childrens hospitals, birthdays parties, company events and more to show our love for the characters, games, films and TV-shows.

Rather than profiting from our appearances, the money we collect is donated to charity. 

Since Nordic Reel Icons was launched last week there aren't many members yet, but they are ready to accept applications. I don't have a suitable costume for this, but it will definitely make me open up to make more pop cultural costumes, now when there is an organisation and a venue for them. 

Find out more at the Nordic Reel Icons web site http://reel-icons.net/ - or the Nordic Reel Icons Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/NordicReelIcons

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Närcon July 24-25 2015

So it's time to summarize my first experience with Närcon. Närcon is usually said to be the biggest cosplay event in Sweden. It takes place for four days in the summer at the University campus in Linköping. I first heard about it last year and thought that it sounded interesting. I got a reason to go when the Nordic Legions were asked to provide Star Wars characters for the background of the Nordic Cosplay Champiomships. Now I saw this as a fun chance to try out some of the more pure fun parts of cosplay, and that's why I decided to make a My Little Pony cosplay.

I arrived in Linköpimg on Thursday. The train ride was pretty funny. That was my first day of summer holiday so I was dead tired and fell asleep on the train. When I woke up 2 hours later the whole train felt like itbhad filled up with hairstyles in all imagineable colours and a lot of bulky bags. Anyway I didn't go to the con that evening, but just went to have some food with legion members in Linköping.

On Friday the weather was lovely and I decided to go to the con in my best cute Star Wars outfit.
To be honest not even the other legion members saw that I was wearing a SW t-shirt, but people still stopped me for some photos. I did feel like I fitted in with all the Lolitas and J-fashionistas that were there.

I realised that NärCon seems to be a lot about just showing off by walking the 1 km between the two buildings were things were taking place. Since I have no clue about games/manga/anime I hardly recognized any costume, but it was still inspirimg to see them all. I missed taking pictures of an almost perfect Viserys from Game of Thrones though.

Most of Friday was spent finding the room where we were going to get changed and waiting for our rehearsals. We had a very small part where we just came in with the prizes at the end.

I really recommend watching the whole Nordic Cosplay Championships, it was broadcast live on Swedish television and is available on SVT play. Both the opening act and the interval act are really impressive. I'm planning to watch it all when I come home, of course being backstage means that I hardly saw anything.

Here is the gang from the NCC. Members of the Nordic Garrison, Nordic Base, a Nordic Youngling (Sabine), Swedish R2-builders and a group of singers and dancers.

The competition didn't end until 1 am, so I was pretty tired on Saturday. I still went to the con at around 12, and herebI discovered a big difference from the cons I've been to earlier. At Celebrations for example there are things going on from the opening. At NärCon people werw still asleep at 12. To me Närcon felt more like a music festivaö than a con, and there is programming all through the night. People are sleeping in tents and it's really quite like a big Youth Camp. I definitely felt like one of the older people there.

Anyway at 13 my friends Anna and Henrik, Pilerud's cosplay and ArtyAnna's cosplay, had a talk about cosplay as more than just a narrow definition, so I went there. They also announced an exciting cosplay initiative, but I'm going to post about that later. Then it was time for the Brony meetup, and the reason why I had gone as Rarity. The meetupneas mostly people standing in a room singing MLP karaoke and taking pictures.

There was me and another Rarity. I had hurt my knee getting off stage the night before so I had to wear my sneakers instead of the cute high heeled shoes I had planned. I had also forgotten Opal, Rarity's pet cat, but otherwise I was happy with my outfit.

Some other ponies that were there.

Then it started to rain, a lot. Even if I wasn't in SW costumr I still hooked up with the troopers. They definitely needed assistance to get a non-waterproof Boba Fett and a cold Slave Leia from one building to the next.

Of course some fun photo opportunities also happened, like when Rarity decided to decorate one of the trooper's blaster.

I thought it looked gorgeous, but claimed that it wasn't according to imperial rules or something.

When it started to rain the con also started to feel even more like a festival. Everybody huddled into the  two buildings, and it got quite trashy. I guess that's a really big difference from a con that is run by professional staff and one that very much relies on teenage volunteers. By now all my fellow troopers started to drift away. I stayed for a fashion shoe with Japanese street fashion and then I went back to the hotel.

So is this a con I'm going to get back to? To be honest I don't know. It's always fun going to events, and this very much felt line a cosplay/nerd culture sanctuary. At the same time it's definitely targetednto a younger audience and an audience with other fandoms than me. It's quite a long journey for me to get there and it will probably depend on my mood if I think ot's worth it or not.

Friday, 17 July 2015

MLP cosplay, Opal is done

All the mane 6 in My Little Pony has a pet. Rarity'a pet is the cat Opal.
And of course I wanted to have her with me. I went to ebay and found a white fluffy toy for quite  cheap.
It's actually a Disneyland exclusive for one of the kittens in Aristocats. Now I love Aristocats so it did hurt a bit to cut off the pink bows. I got the big pink one off in one piece though so I can reuse it.

Then I had some wonderful purple trim that's been in my stash for too long. I did have some turqoise beads but they were too big to fit around the neck, so I went with some clear ones instead.

Then it was just to attach the neckband and make a little bow for the top of the head and sew it on.
So at least Opal is ready, now I just need to finish my costume.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

I got a Liebster award

I'm very happy, and humbled, that I've been nominated for a Liebster award. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that someone finds my blog interesting enough to nominate me. Thank you Nancy-Raven's attic

General Rules of the Liebster Award
Here's what I need to do to accept the Liebster award
1- Thanks the person who nominated you and link her blog - see above
 2-Display the award on your blog - see above
3-Answer 11 questions ask by the person who nominated you
4-Provide 11 random facts about you
5-Nominated between 5 to 11 blog 
6-Create a new list of questions for the people I nominated
7-List the rules in my post
8-Tell to the nominated people they receive the award and gave them a link to your page
Here are the questions from Nancy-Raven's attic.
What is your favorite costuming event , futur or past ?
Of the ones I've been to it's definitely Star Wars Celebrations.
Which skill do you wish to have or do not control very well?
I'm useless when it comes to working with hard materials. I would love to be able to create my own jewellery or accessories out of all the materials that are out there (sintra/worbla/clay/ and so on)
Silk or art silk?
I don't want to sound elitist, but I've fallen in love with silk. It can be tricky to work with, but it's just so beautiful, both to look at and to the touch.
What is the thing you didn't like about sewing and costuming ?
I hate that it's so judgmental, it's so easy finding faults in both our own and others' works. 
Are you in a costuming group official or not?
I'm a member of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion, Svenska 1800-talssällskapet, Svenska 1900-talssällskapet and "Skapa historiska kläder och gör något kul" on Facebook.
What is the fabric , item or accessories you wish to buy but never did because of the budget?I'm a firm believer that it's impossible to have too many shoes, and if I could I would love to have historically correct shoes for all my costumes.

Where and what is the event of your dream? It used to be Dragon*Con, but nowadays I'm more and more hoping to be able to go to Costume College one day.

The movie or tv serie you love more then other because the costumes are a candy for eyes? I love historical dramas, but one film that I'm very conflicted about, but still watch just because I love the costumes is Gone with the Wind.

When did you start to blog and why?
People were simply asking me to post pictures of my costumes, and I felt that the best way to do that was to make a blog.

Why did you choose sewing and costuming as a hobby?
I like dressing up, and I have a sister that is really good when it comes to sewing. When I started to come up with the idea of creating my own first Star Wars costumes it felt natural that if I wanted to do it then I would of course sew them myself. I had sewn some clothes already when I was a teen, with the help of my sister, so I never thought much about other alternatives if I wanted to dress up.

Post 11 random facts about yourself
Some of you reading this might now this, to some others it might come as a surprise

1. I used to compete in ski jumping
2. Once upon a time I could play the violin good enough to be a part of the Limerick University Orchestra
3. I've lived in Sweden and Ireland
4. I've studied both Gothic and Old Irish
5. I can get annoyed when people don't realize that there's a difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes (hint, 1 is not lifestyle-related)
6. One day I want to refurbish my kitchen to match a tea container I've gotten from my grandmother
7. Civilian airplanes are much more fascinating than military airplanes
8. I name technical stuff (wifi-networks, computers and so on) after the fandom I'm currently enjoying when I need to set them up. 
9. I can't draw or paint anything better than stick figures
10. I hate spring (and it has nothing to do with pollen or allergies, I just don't like that season)
11. I sometimes have problems fitting my full name on a line when filling in forms.

The questions I would like the nominated people  answer are:

1. Which is your favorite fashion decade?
2. What unexpected skill have you developed because of your costuming hobby?
3. How long does it take you to go to a fabric store?
4. What do you have in the background while you are sewing?
5. Which is the most common colour in your costume wardrobe?
6. Have you ever thought about taking part in some kind of costume competition?
7. Have you given names to your sewing machine or dressform, or any other tool you are using to make your costumes?
8. How many costumes have you made?
9. Do you use wigs or your own hair to create different hairstyles?
10. What is the longest you have worked on a single project?
11. How big is your stash?

I would like to nominate

Monday, 13 July 2015

What to do for The Force Awakens?

With just a couple of months to go I really need to start thinking about what costume I should make for The Force Awakens. And I need your help with this.

As I see it the choice comes down to Princess Leia or Rey, and here I try to list the pros and cons for their costumes.

Princess Leia

Not much has been shown of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, so far this is the best picture I've been able to find of large parts of the costume. The Behind the Scenes clip that was shown at SDCC had a few frames of her head, so it's probably possible to figure out what the hair looks like.

It's Leia, and she is one of my favorite characters
The costume is made for an older women, so more forgiving for my figure as well
It's fairly simple with just a jumpsuit, vest and belt as the main components.

No detailed photos yet, but they might start to emerge closer to the premiere
I have no idea what it looks like below the knees
I would need to style a wig properly
There would be a lot of guess work


A lot of detailed photos out there
It's already been done really well by some fans
I'm closer to her age, even if I'm not a teenager anymore, than Leia
If I do the mask/hooded version I wouldn't have to worry about hair

More expensive materials
I will need to do leather work
I don't have such a nice figure as her
Maybe I won't even like the character

I'm not going to start any of these costumes straight away, but I have to start searching for materials, especially if I'm going for Rey, pretty soon.

So what do you think I should do

Monday, 6 July 2015

Visit to the local medieval fair

Medieval fairs are big in Sweden, probably due to the popularity of the Medieval festival in Visby that's been going on for quite a long time by now. Nowadays it seems as if every place with a remotely old house also organises a medieval fair. There are both larger and smaller ones, and the quality and actual medieval-ness of the fairs vary a lot as well. Up here in Dalarna there is the big fair in Leksand in May, which is a really good fair and in fact one reason I haven't been there for many years is  because I want to have something proper medieval to wear when there.

Now this weekend there was a small one in Borlänge, and I decided to go there. Even if I don't have any medieval clothes I still wanted to go in costume. So I decided to go for my old ballgown that was very much a copy of Maria of Habsburg's wedding gown from 1520.  I wore it with my 18th century chemise under, which was still probably the most accurate thing I had on. At the last minute I also pinned a piece of black/gold lace to act as a brusttuch.For the hair I siimply put it in a ponytail and teased it to give it some volume before covering it all with gold hairnet that I have.

I think this an example of  basically not being accurate in any way, but it still gives a pretty good early 16th century look. And I was still more accurate than a lot of people and vendors there.

There was some fun entertainment there as well.
A group of jugglers that did some pretty amazing things, the group is called Mareld.

There was also a group that showed off viking and early medieval battle skills. That really makes you realise how tough and hot it was to fight back then. None of them could do more than a couple of minutes before having to rest.

After the battle demonstration me, my sister and nieces, actually stopped on the best renaissance place in the area, Ornässtugan, and had some food there. It's a wonderful café, I really recommend their Gustav's plate if you want a nice summer lunch. By then I had taken off the gown though so I only wore my linen chemise and a pair of shorts. I love that linen chemise. Really it was 25 degrees warm, and there is nothing more comfortable to wear than a loose linen garment.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

HSM 15 Challenge 6: Out of your comfort zone

So my grand plans for this challenge, to handsew a self drafted pet en l'air, didn't come through, but I still managed to at least finish the challenge in a way.

Drafting an 18th century bodice is definitely out of my comfort zone. I prefer using finished patterns, and the only patterns that I have tried to drape myself have been rather loose garments. In order to create a basic 18th century bodice, that I would be able to use for almost every kind of upper body clothing of that century I would need to make a tight fitting pattern

I started with the instructions from "Creating historical clothes", for a basic 18th century bodice (p. 137), I did modify the pattern according to the instructions for a bodice 1770-1785. I chose this later simply because my "desert rose" stays are ca 1780, and they are my most wellfitting stays so in all probability they will be the stays that I'm going to use for most of my 18th century clothes.

This is the pattern directly from the constructions. I did notice immediately that I must have made something wrong with the strap, since it was set too low on the shoulder and also too narrow.

I cut out this pattern in some cheap fabric, but with very wide seam allowances. I sewed it up, and could say that the back fit nicely, but adjustments needed to be made to the front. The main issue was the strap and an ugly wrinkle that formed a bit above the bust. The wrinkle was taken care of by making a dart that took out some of the excess fabric.

For the strap I simply made it more straight, rather than angled. There were also a couple of minor adjustments, even with stays I'm not a perfect cone shape so I had to add some width at the waist. I noted all the changes necessary on the pattern, cut off the seam allowances, and then used the pattern to cut the next version out of more cheap fabric.

Then I realized why I had had to add more width at the waist. I simply had been too lazy when lacing up my stays. When I took the time to lace them up more properly it was actually a bit too big. I pinned the front together though and was quite happy with the fit.

So I marked a new seamline where I had pinned it in front, and then I cut off all the seam allowance and extra fabric.

And now I have a basic 18th century bodice pattern, and now I'm actually inspired again to use it to actually make a garment with it.

The Challenge: 6 Out of your comfort zone

What the item is (and why it was out of your comfort zone):
A basic 18th century bodice. It's out of my comfort zone since it was the first time I tried to drape a basic bodice for a tight fitting garment with no ease.
Fabric: 1 m of really cheap cotton fabric from IKEA.
Pattern: Drafted according to instructions in "Creating Historical Clothes".
Year: 1770-1785
Notions: none
How historically accurate is it? Back in the days it would probably have been more draped than drafted, but the result is an accurate pattern.
Hours to complete: Around 6
First worn: Not used yet.
Total cost: 0

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Next project

So it just happened that this year I'm going to NärCon, the biggest cosplay event in Sweden. I was tempted to go there last year, but since I don't really feel at home with the anime/manga part of cosplay I didn't know what I would do there. Well this year I'm treating myself to a weekend of fun, and if I don't like the convention I'm happy to go and explore Linköping, since I've never been there.

Anyway for this convention I realized that I wanted a costume that's more comfortable and made for summer weather. That really disqualified all of my Star Wars costumes. I've also felt a bit uninspired lately, so I felt that I needed a pure fun project, where I don't need to obsess over accuracy. What to do, what to do.

Then I realized that there was a character that would fit right in, would be fun, and I feel very connected to.

She likes cats

She's from one of my favorite childhood toys/TV-series, even if the revival is better

She wears red glasses

She feels at home in a mine

She's a seamstress/fashion designer

She's a drama queen. Ok I hope I'm not a drama queen, but it's so fun playing out ALL YOUR EMOTIONS, which means I can go all in on the play part of cosplay.

Who it is?

It's Rarity from My Little Pony of course

And yes, whenever I'm working on a costume deadline I always make sure to play her Art of the Dress

Now things have started to arrive in my mailbox, but it's still a bit of a challenge to turn myself into a white unicorn with purple mane.