Leblanc Prestigious – The Making of Part II

The coat!

Acually that part was not as hard as I thought it would be. For most of my costumes I use a basic pattern of a blouse. Same in leblancs case. This is the one I use:

bu7993
you can buy it for example here:
http://www.classypatterns.com/product/burda-7993-cute-boho-hippie-top-shirt-blouse-ruffles-4-styles-sewing-pattern-size-6-16
In general I made very good experiences with the patterns of burda. They are not too expensive, easy to use and they have a big variety.

So this was my base of black fabric:
Two parts for the front
and very important because of the red line on the back – I also cut the backpart in two. for a blouse normally you would have a onepiece at the back.
I lenghtened all the parts a bit according to my reference pictures.
Then I did the same with red fabric cause in some pics you see her coat lined with red fabric. I liked that a lot so I decided to line everything.. haaaard work. But here’s a tip: Since the entire coat is surronded by bias tape, you just have to do a FAKE LINING 😀
You just have to cut out the same pieces in red as you did in black and sew everything together. This is how it looked after sewing with sewing and adding biastpe.

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The small piece of fabric with the two buttons on the back is just a rectangle that I surrounded with biastape as well and then sewed it on at the 4 edges.

The sleeves were not a big challenge, I just had to add the additional pice with the red buttons.  Looking at the artworks will show you, that the pieces are a bit bigger there. I tried it.. and didn’t like it 😄
So I made the whole thing a bit smaller and added only two buttons.

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after the base of the coat was done, I added it to the corset. To get the right fit, I sewed it together on one side. On the other side I added some velcro to the coat and the corset.

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Next step was the – how I called it – leg rag 😀 I put everything one and used a meaure tape to get more or less the right size. After I had  cut that piece added red fabric on the back and sewed it together. the red line around the piece is just a looooooooong piece of the same red fabric. I added that one with a tight zig zag stich.
The flower I bought in one of these stores for decorations and added that one with hot glue (hot glue ftw!).

To keep everything in plave I sewed the back part on my coat. On the front edge I added this slim piece of fabric that you can see in the reference pics. To fix that on the panty I used velcro again.

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And then there was the red pattern… oh my, that was pain in the a** 😀 I made a pattern of papar first. It took me about 3 trials go get a size and shape that I liked.. then I cut it out with a small scissor and pinned it on the fabric. I used chalk to mark the outlines and removed the paper. and then it was painting time… all I used was a small brush and a glass of fabric paint. I use a German brand called „Marabu“.

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The rings on the top of the coat are made of wood. I bought them in an art supply shop and painted then with acrylic paint. They are sewed on with thread in a fitting red.

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Make sure to stich your finger. No cosplay is perfect without some blood sacrificed by the cosplayer! lol

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Was was a bit of problem first was keeping the two edges over my chest together. therefore I added a clear plastic thread (usually used for self-designed jewelery) and a snap on the other side. it worked so well!! I can only recommend that method 🙂

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the biggest challenge was of yourse the collar… it was not the shape I was afraid about but finding a tecnique to give that huge monster a good stand. Between the black fabric in the back and the dark rd one in the front I added that lining I already wanted to use for the corset but was too hard in the end. For the collar it was PERFECT!
I already suggested that the lining wouldn’t be enough. So after I added the red bias tape around the collar I used a really thick metal thread that I slided into the opening of the bias take on both sides of the collar. I also added bias tape to the neckline of the collar and added also some thread there as you can see in the photo below. then I sewed the collar onto the coat. After a lot of bending the whole thing finally had the right shape!

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And then it was painting time again! Since I couldn’t the the complete pattern on one of the artworks, I kind of designed the pattern myself. I took my chaulk and began to draw on the collar 😀 After an eternity I finally was satisfied with the overall result and started to paint – again with only some fabric paint and a brush 😀 Same goes for the other side of the collar.
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Voila! the coat was made! In actually only one week where I had only the evenings left to sew. I was so done. But also very proud of the final result 🙂

 

 

Up next: props!

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Leblanc Prestigious – The Making Of

Hi all!
After the making of of my Asuna costume was a big help for some of you out there I decided to do that for another of my costumes. This time I will show you how I made my latest costume – Leblanc (PRestigious skin) from League Of Legends.

Step 1 – Choosing the costume
A friend of mine wanted to do a LoL costume and asked if I would like to cosplay with her.  After some reseach on the characters, I listed my top 3 characters/outfis. I listed Leblanc cause I thought she would match my type nicely – I feel most comfortable when I cosplay more the elegant type of character and I think I can pull of this time best of all (in contrast I’m for example totally not the cute girl type).
My final decision was influenced by the amount of MONEY and TIME (please always mind these factors if you want to avoid a huge catastrophy XD) I would need to get all the stuff done.

 

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Step 2 – Searching for materials
Most of the times I go for cotton fabrics whan I sew my costumes. They are always awesome to work with and they are washable and ironable. When I went to my favorite fabric outlet I planned to buy some thick cotton fabrics with a nice structure. For the coat I wanted a more viewable structure than for the corset. Touching a fabric before working with it is something very important for me. I get a better feeling how the costume will turn out in the end when I get my hands on the material. So I avoid online shops unless there is an opportunity to get samples of the fabrics before buying. Always with me: a reference picture!
Tip: It really doesn’t matter which reference pic you use… if you use an original one or a one that is ‚only‘ a fan art version. As long as you personally LIKE the colors you see!
I normally use more than one artwork as reference and just combine what I like most from all the pics. In the end it’s your costume and YOU should be happy with it.
As you can see on the picture below I chose a slightly grey-ish fabric for the corsage (I didn’t like white because the contrast to the the other colors was so big), a thick black cotton for the coat and the – like I named it – leg rag XD, a nice bright red for the lining of the coat and the red lines around it and a darker red fabric for the insode of the collar.
As you maybe recognize in the photo the right side of the bright red fabric has thin white stripes on it. But since the color was so perfect, I decided to use the left side of the red fabric. It’s always worth it to take a look at the left sides of the fabrics as well!

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In total:
3m black cotton fabric
1,5meter grey fabric
3,5 meter bright red cotton fabric
70cm dark red fabric
1,5m interlining for corset and collar
50cm elastic band to sew the band that se’s wearing around her leg
1 meter of velcro
1 zipper for the corsage (had one at home)
clear snap buttons

Later I bought for the details and the staff:
1 glass of red fabric color
1 plastic flower
3 bigger buttons for the corset
4 smaller buttons for the sleeves – had these one at home
2 buttons for the backpart of the coat.
5 sheets of craft foam
1 glass of red and golden acrylic paint for the shoes
2 wooden rings for the details on her coat
1 meter of clear thread (used for jewelery)
3 meter of strong wire (3mm thick)

1 medium sheet Worbla’s Finest Art
1 bottle of woodglue
1,75cm roundwood

1 pair of red patent leather high heels
1 pair of white cotton gloves
1 zylinder hat
1 blue straight wig
1 package of stockings (for the stockings she is wearing on her left leg)
1 panty with shaping function (I wanted to have the perfect fitting in the end and for me that was the best option)
1 pair of support tights
1 pair of red contact lenses (yes, I chose red, explenation will follow later in the making of)

All in all I spent about 250 Euro for this costume.

Step 3 – Sewing

Before you start sewing you should always plan your steps. Don’t just start anywhere, think about what would make sense to sew first and what you need for several parts. Also think about patterns!
3a) The Corset
I started with the corset. I used a simple pattern for a corset without plastic bones. I wanted to get the right shape with interlining.
I copied the pattern on my fabric and the interface and lenghened it around 10 cm since I am quite a tall girl. I have to lenghten almost every pattern.

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I sew everything together and tried to iron the interlining on it… and I didn’t like the result at all 😀

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It was way too stiff… so I removed all the stuff and just used a second layer of fabric. And it was perfect!
I sewed in the zipper… a turquoise one since I didn’t have a white or grey one and also didn’t want to spent even more money on the costume. But you wouldn’t see the zipper anyway at the end, so I just used what I had at home.
To get the right shape of the bottom of the corset I put on my pants and the only stiched-together-with-needles-corset and drew on the shape with a pencil. then cut it and added the bias tape.

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I used a special tool for the black bias tape. I was not too keen on buying some bias tape at a store since I wanted to use the same fabric that I would use for the coat. It worked brilliantly! I can definitely recomment that tool!

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After I tried the corset one more time (I try everything a hundred times before sewing everything) I finally sewed the bias tape around my corset.

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At some artworks you see a thin slightly darker line below the bias tape. Because I think „the more details – the better“, with a dark grey thread I sewed this line on my corset.
All that was left to do was adding the three buttons. I chose to add only three since I liked that look a lot more than the version with the 7 (or so) buttons from in-game.

And the first part of the costume was dooooone!

corsage 5

Up next: Leblancs coat. So stay tuned 🙂

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Photoshop Tutorial – Beginners Level

I am a cosplayer for 7 years now. I learned so much during this time. Not only my sewing, crafting and posing skills increased, I also made some big steps forward regarding photography and retouch.

If you want to take a look at my work please see:

http://www.facebook.com/butterflydreams.cosplay

First of all I want to say a few things about how I do Cosplay photo shootings – as a cosplayer and as a photographer. Since I know both sides pretty well, I thought it might be interesting for you to read what I think is important and what I appreciate during shootings.

For me it was quite difficult in the beginnings of my life as a cosplayer to get good pictures. I barely knew people from the scene. And the ones I knew were on the same level as I were, so I didn’t learn fast, because there were no people who could give me tips about making pictures, let alone editing them. Seven years ago, when I started it was also much harder than it is today to find good tutorials or tips regarding cosplay photography online. It is unbelievable how fast cosplay grew in the last 7 years. When I started I had to learn really everything by myself. But even if it took me YEARS to be on the level I am now (which is still not very high), it was the best experience I could get. I made a lot of mistakes, tried a lot of different things out and sometimes had a damn hard time solving difficulties. But you learn from nothing better than from making mistakes and trying several methods in sewing, crafting or photographing. Now I know exactly what I want, what methods I like and which methods I don’t want and what I dislike.

Personally, as a cosplayer, I like most of all doing pictures with my friends who are also cosplayers. Because if you know how it is to wear a costume and how hard it can be to bring a character to life and what problems you might face during doing your make up, creating the “perfect” look, how much you can love a costume which you sewed with your own hands or while posing, you treat your models different and also edit your pictures in a different way in the end. I had of course also very good experiences with photographers who are not also cosplayers and I like some German and also some international photographers a lot! They do a good job, are always nice, friendly and respectful. I love to work with them.

But I met also others that didn’t have any respect of the costumes or the wishes of the cosplayer himself. Also I had photo shootings where I did not even get one picture in the end. Or I worked with photographers that took 50 pictures of me, but edited and uploaded only 1 or 2 in the end, without saying a word about how the other results were, what was wrong with them etc.

Of course I try to be as polite and friendly as possible when I take pictures of other cosplayers, especially because I had some bad moments during photo shootings myself. And this is what I think is really important when you photograph others and also what I appreciate when being the model:

I appreciate when photographers show me the results on their camera every 10-15 pics. Even if the pictures are technically super professional, the angle perfect, the light awesome… there are two people who should be satisfied with the photos. None of us cosplayers likes his face in every angle (for me personally it’s my nose. I try to hold my head in a position where you can’t see too much of me in profile, but since I don’t stand in front of a mirror while posing, I often can’t correct it until I see the final picture). And sometimes the photographer thinks the picture is perfect, but the cosplayer doesn’t like himself in the photo. And if you communicate, you are able to maybe redo a shot where the cosplayer poses a bit different or hold his head in another position. That way there is a bigger chance that both of you will be happy in the end =)

And as already mentioned: It is a good thing to show respect for the cosplayer and the hand made costume he/she wears. If you have a good idea for a picture but the cosplayer feels not comfortable with it after one or two tries or if there is the chance that the costume could be ruined while doing a certain pose, don’t force a picture. And for all cosplayers out there: If you feel uncomfortable with a pose for whatever reason – say so! You don’t have to do everything just to make the photographer happy. And if the person you are taking pictures with is reputable, then he/she will understand. I think all serious photographers will agree with me here =)

Same goes for the editing – communication is the key! Before editing pictures I normally show ALL THE PICS to my models and they choose for themselves which pics they like and what I should edit for them. Additionally to these pics, I edit some more that I especially like (if they were not already selected by my model). I ALWAYS ask my models if they are satisfied with my editing. If they don’t like something at all, I try to change it. And if one of them says that he/she doesn’t like a picture at all, I won’t upload it, which fortunately happens very seldom. Not at least because of the communication during the shooting. But most cosplayers are so grateful if you give them the opportunity to decide for themselves what pictures they would like to see online and in general for letting them be part of the whole process.

In a lot of cases I also edit the pics friends took of me myself. Or – other way round – I give all my Raws to my friends if they want to edit the photos themselves. That is something most photographers would never do, and I totally understand that. For me this also only works when there is a lot of trust and I would also never give my RAWs to people I don’t know super super good. But I wanted to add that just that you can see how cosplayers do photo shootings with their friends =)

But really: communication is the key and we cosplayers highly appreciate it if you let us be part of the whole process. I personally made very good experiences with following the tips above  =)

BUT NOW! Forward to editing pics 😉

I never change my pictures too much. I personally prefer to search for nice and fitting locations and just do slight adjustments to light and colors afterwards instead of removing whole backgrounds or something like that. But that is really a matter of personal taste and who knows… if my skills with PS would be not so lousy, maybe I would edit my pics a bit stronger 😄

So this tutorial is really perfect for beginners! It is fast and you don’t need any special skills regarding PS =)

I decided to do a little tutorial and show my ways of changing photos, because I profited a lot by tutorials made by other cosplayers and photographers and I think it’s always a good thing to share your work, even if you are not a pro in what you do. We can all learn from each other, no matter how skilled we are.

So let’s start! I chose a picture from one of my latest shootings with Calssara. (This was one of the shootings that I mentioned where I got all the RAWs in the end and edited everything myself. Thanks a lot to Calssara for taking all the nice pics =) )

Our location was not super fancy and also the light was kinda weird… The pictures turned out quite pale and yellowish. But I liked the angle, my face and my pose. I chose this picture exactly because of that: it’s nothing really special. You could do such a photo nearly everywhere. But even if your location is not super special and the light is far away from perfect, as long as you like yourself in it, everything is fine and you can rescue the rest of the picture with only a few minutes of work. And I so like it after I did a bit of retouch. It is one of my favorite shots of the day =) Here you can see a before and after:

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I always take my photos as raw files (and so did Calssara here). Raw files contain more information about light/colors/other picture information, while jpgs are already automatically slightly changed. So if you have the option to take your photos as raw files – you can choose that option in the menu of your DSLR (and I was told that some bridges offer that option as well, just check your manual if you are not sure) – you should do so.

I work with PS CS6. But I mostly use basic functions, so every version will do (you can get CS2 for free online). And now good news if you consider buying the newest version of PS: you don’t have to buy it once for a huge amount of money anymore. Honestly… PS always has been ridiculously expensive. I bought it while I still was studying and I got a nice discount because of that. I would have never bought PS for over 1000 bugs. Now Adobe uses a kind of a subscription model with the Creative Cloud. You can pay monthly now and subscribe for the programs you need. And I think their price for a PS subscription is totally fine, it was something around 20€ as far as I can remember. Ok, enough of this, let’s start with the tutorial already 😀

If you open a raw file in PS you will first of all see a kind of a tinier version of Light Room that will look like this:

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Unfortunately I installed a german version so you probably won’t understand too much from the pics 😄 But I will mark everything you need in red, so you should be able to follow. The options you can see here are all about light and contrast and white balance. Just start playing around with the options. There is no right or wrong in editing your picture, you should just like it in the end =)

I thought cool colors and a crisp look would look good on that picture, so I changed the white balance and added a bit more blue and violet, I added a bit more color contrast and I personally like to bring out the depths and blacks more. When that was done it looked like this:

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Every set of pictures needs a different and individual retouch. Depends on the series, the character, the atmosphere you want to create. Sometimes a bit more yellow in the pics looks better, sometimes blue… just experiment! You can see how easy you can redo your steps if you don’t like what you see, so don’t be shy and try everything out =)

Next step for me is the corrector brush that you can see marked red in the picture below.

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That tool is really awesome! You can change different parts of your photo totally independent from others. The changes are only applied on the places where you use the brush and you can add new options and changes to every new brushstroke. Adding a bit of color and darkness to the edges of the photo always gives it a bit more dynamic and brings out the model a bit more. Especially when the location is quite “empty” as in this picture it performs miracles. I thought a slight touch of violet would fit nicely. When I finally liked the result I opened the picture in PS. Choose the option in the middle to transport it into PS.

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Then I only do a bit of beauty retouch. First I get rid of the dark circles under my eyes and other imperfections by using the red marked tool. Just select the area you want to correct and pull the chosen area to a place with lighter and smoother skin. PS will blend the two areas together. You can do the same with imperfections on the floor or on walls or wherever in your photo. In this case I had to get rid of some duck poo on the stairs 😄

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After you did this, the next step will be making the skin a bit smoother. Select the lasso tool you see marked red on the picture below. Then draw around the face. Since we have to leave out the eyes from the selection anyway, you don’t have to include them in your selection. After you did this, click on the tiny symbol above that says “substract from selection”. Once you clicked it, you can mark parts in the area you chose before – this will remove these parts from the selection you made. We want to select the mouth and nostrils here. I will explain the reason later =)

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If your selection is complete, then press “ctrl” and “j” to create a new layer. This layer will change only the area of the face that you have chosen before with the lasso. Then go to “filters” above and choose what you see in blue on the picture below –gaussian blur.

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You will see a new window opening. Select something between 50 and 60 pixel and press OK. Your picture will look quite terrible now… But we will fix that! 😄

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Next step is reducing the opacity. And here is a tip, especially for beginners. I know how awesome it is in the beginning when you find out about all the cool features Photoshop has to offer. But it is as with most other things: less is more. Don’t overdo it. Faces can look unnatural and flat so easily if you use too much blur. I like a fill opacity between 20-43% depending on the picture. On some portraits you can use up to 45% and it will still look good. But I also have some portraits where I used only 19% and it was already enough. Just be careful with this tool. Next step is adding a mask over the layer – also marked red. Just click the tiny symbol =)

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And here is the explanation why we left out eyes/mouth/nostrils from the selection. With using the Gaussian Blur we spread the pixel in the chosen area. When they spread, they spread also a bit beyond the lines of your selection. But of course we don’t want to spread them there. We want to have crisp eyes, nostrils, lips and hair. Only the skin should look blurry. With ignoring these parts from the beginning, and selecting really only the skin, we are now able to get rid of the excess pixel in exactly the sections we left out by using a mask and the brush. Choose the brush tool and paint with black over the areas you want the pixel to vanish.

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We are almost done =) The last thing I do is bringing out the eyes more. Use the dodge tool on the left that I marked red. This will help you to brighten up colors. To get the right range of colors that you want to brighten, you have to choose the “midtones” in the options you can see marked red. You can also brighten up highlights if you want to. Therefore you just have to choose “highlights” instead of “midtones”. It’s nice to brighten up the whiteness in the eyes, but don’t overdo it! I personally don’t do it, I always have the feeling it looks a bit too unnatural, but everyone has a different taste there. Also select a low fill opacity so that you can build up the result. I like something between 7 and 11%. Now I brightened up the eyecolor respectively my colored contact lenses. See the result below.

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Next part is darken the shadows. Therefore select the burn tool and select “shadows” in the bar on the top. Use a fill opacity of 7-11% again and brush over the parts in and around the eyes that you want to stay out more. For me these were lashes, pupil and the circle around the contact lense. I also sometimes use this tool to darken my make up around the eyes a bit. Below you can see the result.

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And we are DONE =)

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If you did this procedure a few times you can do all the steps in 5-10 minutes, depending on the photo. That is really not much and makes such a big difference as you can see in the before/after picture.

I hope my little tutorial helped a few of you. I know that what I do here are really the basics and on a beginners level. Nevertheless I think for people who only just started to photograph or started to work with Photoshop or also for people who don’t have much time for editing this could maybe be a nice solution… =)

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Asuna Yuuki – The Making of! Part III

Okay, I know the last entry was millions of years ago, but there were some really big things going on. Beside all the costume work I had to do I managed to get the most awesome internship on this planet!!  It’s in the city of my dreams, in the branch of my dreams and in the job of my dreams. I am so unbelievably happy *A* But of course it was quite stressful, cause I had wanted to prepare myself really well which needed a lot of time. And so I had no time for writing blogs. Gomen nasai v.v

But now off to more Asuna making of! In the last entry I told you I wanted to show you how all the smaller parts were made. So we will start with the long white skirt she has there on her top!

For the skirt I used a pattern of a simple, quite wide skirt. I made it even wider, because I had no idea what size would look best. And remember: rather use more fabric and shorten/tighten instead of using to less and redo anything if it does not fit properly. As you can see in the picture below, my skirt was way too wide, and I had to cut off about 10-15cm.

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But the skirt was the easiest part of the whole costume ;D

So let’s go on to the socks! First of all I made a pattern (as mostly always). I took the measurements of my leg and drew then on newspaper to get the shapes. Then I transferred everything onto my fabric. I took two layers of my stretch fabric! Then I sewed everything together and tried it. Of course was too wide. I expected this, because I took the measurements with a non stretch measuring tape. And if you use stretch fabric, you always need a smaller amount of material. So I used pins to get the right wide and then sewed it again. The red part is painted like the other red detail on the costume, which took forever -.- But I really like the outcome!

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I personally really love painting things onto my costumes. I always get the cleanest and prettiest result with a brush and some liquid color. But everybody has to work out his own method for this. I have friends who hate to paint, because their results never get clean, so they use other methods like ironing something onto the fabric (another great method, that I want to show you someday =) ).

I did EXACTLY the same for the gloves! So I will not explain this in detail. The only difference is that I sewed some lace on the upper and lower part. On my reference Asuna don’t have a real lace that is sewn on. The gloves are a one piece with a pattern on the upper and lower end. But I really do love lace! It looks so pretty and clean and crisp. And the lace I found had little crosses on it and that just fits so perfectly to asunas outfit, that I just had to buy it *_*v

Now the shoes and the big armor!

The material I used is called Worbla’s Finest Art. It is similar to Wonderflex, but you also use it as modeling clay which I think is a big advantage! But First of all I had to bring my basic shoes into the right shape. I painted the sole white, cut off the buckle and made the upper a bit shorter. I used hot glue to fix it!

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After this I had to do some Worbla action 😉 What you need are some patterns (the white paper that you can see in the pic below), some craft foam and two layers of Worbla’s Finest Art! And then you just do what you see in the picture. You make a sandwich with the Worbla and the craft foam and then heat it with a hot air gun (don’t use a normal blow-dryer! it won’t get hot enough with it. Or at least you would have to blow-dry the material for hours until it’s got the right temperature 😉 ). The foam helps to get a smoother surface. After the parts are melted together I gave them the right shape. For this part I formed it over my shoes. Then I put the front and the back parts together with the hot air gun. The glue Worbla contains is very strong, so you don’t have to worry that the parts fall apart after you heated them once and melted them together. Then I added the details and that is basically the whole magic 😀

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After that work I painted it with 9 layers of gesso ( a white primer), then sanded everything and then I added 3 layers of acrylic paint over it.

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Exactly the same I did for the chest armor. So I will not go into detail. The only difference is, that the order of things I did was a bit different. I started with one layer of Worbla and formed it over my mannequin (she has quite my measurements). Then I cut out the basic form. I placed this first layer Worbla again over my mannequin and put the mannequin down on the floor. Asunas armor is really thick! So I used modeling clay go give the armor the right thickness and most important of all: The form it has!

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Then I let it dry for 3 days – leave it on the floor!! After it was dry I added a layer of craft foam and then the second layer of Worbla! And voilá!  Then I did the same steps as with the shows: added the details, used 10 layers of gesso, sanded and painted it and this is how it looks like:

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And I am sure some of you will ask yourself: how does she get into it?! The little part in the back is removable. And since Worbla is a bit flexible I can squeeze myself into it^^. I used Velcro to close it. But use a STRONG glue for adding the Velcro to the Worbla 😉

And now one of the most annoying things about the costume: these red sleeve things. I needed half an hour to make a first pattern on newspaper. Surprisingly it fit quite perfectly 😄 so I made a second and more accurate one on paper.

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Then I transferred it onto my golden and my red fabric. For the golden fabric I added a bit more for the seams, for the red I did not because it had to be a bit thinner. And then I sewed everything together!

What I changed are the golden stripes inside of the red fabric. I used only golden yarn to get really thin lines. I think it suits a bit better to my lace and my type. Oh and on the reference and in the anime the color looks more yellow/orange. I personally think gold suits better… it looks a bit more adult and kinda “royal” which suits very will to the rest of the outfit. So I chose gold =)

For the little crosses I used Worbla again and fixed it with hot glue!

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And now that was it… That is how I made my Asuna costume! Wow… only three parts and it’s done. But I need 12 Weeks to finish that costume of a hell…I had a lot of problems as you could read in the Blogs before but finally could manage them! And my costume is finished… I can’t believe it…

And next weekend it will be finally the time when I will wear the complete costume *_*v

As always: For regularly (almost daily!) updates and progress please follow http://www.facebook.com/butterflydreams.cosplay

 

Have a nice evening together!!

Blackbutterfly

 

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Asuna Yuuki (Sword Art Online) Cosplay – The Making Of! Part II

Hi there!! Finally I have time to write my next Blog =)

This time we will take a closer look at Asunas Top of DOOOOM 😄 Guys, really… this was one big horrible overkill. But after some really hard hours of work I made it! Let’s take a look how I managed to get it done.

As I told you in the last entry I finally decided to work with a pattern for a simple blouse. I wanted to place a zipper in the middle and then sew the middle part separately and lay it over the zipper. What I changed about the pattern were two things. First I excluded the button border of the blouse. Without this I had two parts that looked exactly the same, so that I could sew in a zipper in the middle. The pattern looks like this:

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I drew all the parts onto my fabric. The second thing I changed was the width of the shoulders. The next step was lengthening my pattern, because Asuna has this longer bit on the left side of the costume and the very long bit on the right. I did not measure anything, I just drew it quite long to have enough fabric for building the form. And drawn onto my fabric the parts looked like this:

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As you can see I made the parts longer than actually needed. But as I mentioned before, I like to use a bit too much fabric than having to less in the end. Having too less will cost you even more fabric, cause you have to redo everything AND add more material.

After cutting them out I stitched everything together with pins and then sewed the parts together. I tried it on so that I could see where to sew it tighter (I had to tighten the costume about 5 times… wtf?! XD). After this was done I placed the zipper into its place. And I already tried to build the triangle-form at the end of the zipper. I left everything pinned, because I needed the middle part first to see if the angle of my triangles is actually right.

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But before I did the complicated part with the piece in the middle of the top, I worked on my collar. I took the measurement from my neckline to know how long my collar has to be. I kinda guessed about the height… I personally have a really long neck, so I made the collar a bit higher than shown in the reference. I drew a pattern and cut it out twice, then sewed the two pieces together (right side on right side) and turned them inside out.

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Then I pinned it onto my top.

Now it was time for the middle part. I put everything I got so far on and stood in front of a mirror. With a measuring tape I tried to get the length that I needed. I wanted to crate the middle part not too long, so that I wouldn’t look like a dwarf with short legs, but not too short either to retain the slightly excess length from the reference.

After I got my measurements I drew a pattern. Then I used the same method as with the collar – use the pattern twice, sew the parts right on right together and then turn it inside out. Therefore I left the triangle on the top of the part open and sewed this part after I did turn everything.

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I placed the finished piece with pins over the zipper and adjusted everything then I sewed in my zipper and sewed the collar on my top. Next step was fixing the middle part onto the top. I sewed it on the top at the right side and placed snaps at the other side. With this technique I am able to put everything on and out very easily and without help =)

And then there was the most annoying parts of all… getting this DAMN PATTERN into my top. I did this without any technique and just stared to draw all the triangles with a pencil on my top 😀 And when I finally liked what I saw I cut off the remaining fabric. What I tried next did not work… I first wanted to seam everything like you normally do – turning down the fabric and then sew it. But because of the tiny triangles the result was not clean enough for my taste. So I placed my top onto my fabric and drew a line along my pattern and created an “extra seam”. I again sewed everything right on right and used – again 😄 – my inside out technique to get the cleanest result!

FB

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And then I painted… I painted FOUR DAYS LONG!!! I used a color that is made for clothes and fabrics (you can get it really everywhere and it comes in glasses). To draw straight lines I used a ruler and a pencil. I only marked some tiny little points and the rest I painted on free hand… of course I made some patterns for the crosses first, but then again only used a pencil to sketch it out and painted the rest free hand.

Well… and four days later it finally looked like THIS:

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Hell yeah!!! 😄 I worked for over one week at this part of the costume. Normally I sew a whole costume in one week -.-

But in the end I think it was totally worth all the time and work and the swearing 😉

In the next entry I will show you how to make all the single parts of the costume. Like this red-golden sleeve-thing, the skirt, overknees and the white sleeves =) And then we are almost done O_o damn.. it took so much longer to sew than it seems 😄

I really hope you enjoyed and that I maybe could help some people out there who want to cosplay Asuna as well =)

For regularly updates and progress please follow: http://www.facebook.com/butterflydreams.cosplay

 

Much love! ❤

Blackbutterfly

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Asuna Yuuki (Sword Art Online) Cosplay – The Making of!

And finally we reached the first part of my Asuna making of! I did a lot of WIP pics the last weeks and days and I hope that you will find this interesting/helpful/funny (funny cause you can be sure that I will swear vilely XD).

So let’s get started!

And I think it is the most useful to start like I did –sitting hours in front of the picture and thinking about “how the fuck shall I sew that god damn unrealistic thing?!”. The first problem was the construction of the costume. The questions were where to put a zipper, where to add darts for the right fitting and how to do the proportions. My reference is an artwork of Asuna that looks like this:

asuna_yuuki1

As you can see here, there is only ONE dart shown… and this one is in the back of the whole outfit. But you could also add two darts at the left and the right side of the middle front part. So this would make three darts… at totally NOT handy places for adding a zipper in one of them… and totally not handy for a nice fitting.

Then I thought about adding darts at the sides… not only for a zipper, but for a better fitting. I was terribly afraid to get no good shape without darts at the sides of the costume. Beside I had no idea how to make a pattern without seams at the left and the right side. So after more thinking I decided to sew the costume with seams at both sides! For me personally a good fitting was more important than using the original (totally god damn unrealistic!! ) seams. So one problem solved!

The second problem was the zipper dilemma. Now that I knew I would add seams to the sides I was thinking about placing a zipper at the left side (cause she has that long thing on the right). But then I was guessing the zipper would be too obvious if I would place it on the left side. I personally like it when you don’t see it at first sight. Adding one in the back was not a very good idea either. It would be too obvious again, not very handy because of the collar and too complicated to put it on without help with a zipper in the back. I don’t like it if I need help from 3 people to put my costume on 😄

And then FINALLY…  I had a real good idea! Yay!! When I was thinking about which pattern I should use, I decided for one of a blouse and then suddenly everything was clear! I would add the zipper in the front and would place that middle part over the zipper. This way you only see 8 cm of the zipper and it is very very comfortable to put on!

Great! So before I started even sewing that hell of a costume I needed 2-3 hours for construction plans -.-

But since that was done I could finally start sewing. And of course I started with the skirt. Asuna is wearing a box-pleated skirt. There are two different ways of pleated skirts: the one Asuna is wearing and the second possibility is a knife pleat. I can tell you, you need way more fabric for a box-pleated skirt than for one with knife pleats. With this skirt I started like I do with every pleated skirt: the waistband. I prefer a broad one, because my waist is a lot thinner than my ass and I don’t get a good fitting around the hips if I use a waistband that is only 2-3cm broad. I place every waistband directly under my waist. That gives your legs a longer look.

So this is how a pattern for my waistbands looks like:

aAsuna 6

Pretty simple huh? ;D

I take my measurements from where I want to place the waistband and draw the measurements on my fabric two times (for front and back). Leave space for the seams on the top and on the bottom. Then cut is out and sew it together on one side. Leave the other side open, cause you have to add a zipper there. You can already seam the top of the waistband and place the zipper. And it will look like this:

Asuna1

Asuna2

Next steps are the folds! And that is one the silliest jobs I can think of (beside of sewing ruffles. OMG how I HATE sewing ruffles!!). You start with cutting out with a straight piece of fabric that is as broad as you want it to be. Depends on how long your skirt should be in the end. I normally need 32 cm for the right length. But remember what I said earlier: don’t be too stingy when it comes to using fabric. It is better to make it a bit longer and then shorten it than having a too short skirt in the first place. And for a box-pleated skirt cut out a looooong piece of fabric! I needed 2,70 meters for that thing and I am wearing famous size 0 >_> So calculate a quite large amount of fabric when buying it!! Your piece of pleates should be as long as the bottom on your waistband (cause you have to sew it together there ;D). But the piece does not have to be a one piece, you can sew lines of fabric together (then you don’t have to buy 3 meters of fabric. It’s enough to buy 1,50 – 2 meters and then sew pieces together) After doing that you can already seam the bottom! If you have to shorten later you can do this on the top of the skirt. If the seam is done you can add the white ribbon onto your fabric.

And now you have to fold and fold and fold! How broad you make the pleats is totally up to you and your body measurements. On my reference you can see 3 pleats directly in the front and then a half on each side. So I tried to get a similar result as on the reference. Hold the pleats in place with pins.

Asuna 3 Asuna3-2

After you got all your pleats you can iron them! Best way is to iron them with steam. But be careful with steam! Concerning the components of your fabric steam can melt the fibers! Especially when you use a ribbon made of satin like me. So best is to use a kitchen towel between the fabric and the iron.

Asuna 4

After ironing you can sew a line over the top of your fabric to keep everything in place without pins.

asuna 5

And finally you are able to remove all the pins and sew everything onto your waistband!  Sew in the zipper and violà!

Asuna7

And with this the first part of my Asuna costume was done! Next step in my next blog will be the top of doom =.=v

I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Of course you can use this tutorial for every other box-pleated skirt you want to do!

And as always: for regularly updates and progress please follow http://www.facebook.com/butterflydreams.cosplay

See you soon!!

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Excursus – Crossplay!

And there I am again! Now that was fast, hm? 😀

I do this little interlude because I was asked to give tips about a topic that is called “Crossplay”. For those who have no experience with Cosplay: Crossplay means dressing up as character of a different gender. So it’s about girls dressing up as boys and the other way round.

I will talk about girls dressing up as boys, because this is what I was asked about and it is way more common that boys dressing up as girls. But if some of you want me to give some tips about that, too, I will do so =)

Before I start I want to tell you: I never did a Crossplay myself! So I can only tell you what I think could be important from all the crossplay pictures I saw. I don’t know if I will ever try it… but there are some really cool male anime characters out there… who knows 😀

Oh but I cosplayed  a very boyish girl! Haruka Tenoh from Sailor Moon! Since she dresses up very boyish and is taken for a boy in the animation I at least have a tiny bit experience in make up/wig styling/posing.

First your planning depends on what type of guy you want to cosplay. Is he a really cool man or is he one of the characters that are called “bishi”? Bishi is the short word for Bi-shounen. Shounen is japanese for Boy and the word means the boy is more a feminine type. An example for that can be Ciel from Kuroshitsuji or Anri from Adekan. The other type would be Kamina from TTGL or something like that 😀

But since the girl who asked for help will cosplay a more bishi-type of guy, I will give a few tips for that!

The outfit she wants to do is a very good start for cosplaying such characters, because you can hide a lot of things! It is a wide hooded sweater and some kinda normal black pants. You might know it. It is a version of Matryoshka from Vocaloid. And this is the character she wants to cosplay:

http://aquawouldbeself.deviantart.com/art/My-utau-new-version-316732687

It is a character she created and I thought it would be good to show you a picture so that you can comprehend what I am talking about.

For cosplaying a girl I would have said: shape the jacket a bit, so that your bodyshape is more visable and the whole costume looks more feminine. For cosplaying a boy I would say the opposite! You can leave the sweater wide! Clothes for boys and men are never tight around the waist and the shoulder part is mostly a bit oversized, because it fits the natural bodyshape of a guy more. And to get closer to a boyish shape you should sew your Sweater more like a boys one =) So go and take a look at the clothes of your dad, brother, boyfriend or whatever and use them as reference.

Same goes for the pants! Pants for boys and men are never totally tight so that you can see a nice round butt like with girls pants. They are wider and with not so much shape around the butt. You should sew your pants like that, too, because you want to cover your hips and give them a slimmer look. Just like boy’s hips.

Since I don’t know exactly how tall the character is I can’t say anything about the proportions… If he is still quite young and a more cute type (for me he looks like that =) ), then you can take one of the advices I gave in the last Blog: sew everything a bit wider so that you look a bit shorter. If he is more adult and cool then you can sew everything a bit tighter (but not too much as said above).

What I think is totally important for cosplaying boys is a good wig and the right make up! It makes such a big difference!! Mostly the hair of male anime characters look layered and kinda messed up. And that is really easy to create because you don’t have to work so accurate. You only should keep an eye on the right length of the hair. If it is a bit too long it can easily look too girly, which you want to avoid.

In case of this special character you have to do this bandage over the right eye. It is always hard to keep such bandages in the right place. So what I would recommend is 1. Wear it UNDER your wig if possible. So if you don’t see anything of the bandage over the hair on your reference picture, this is a way to get everything in place! 2. Sew the bandage at different parts with just some tiny stitches. That prevents the layers from slipping away. 3. If you want to play safe you can use a bit of spirit gum to glue it onto your skin at some places (forehead, cheekbone).

And now my favorite part: MAKE UP!! (I’m so looking forward to do some blogs about make up!). You definitely should use make up, even if you cosplay a boy! Use concealer and foundation to give your skin a more even look (that is important for these bishi characters, because they have a slightly feminine touch). Don’t use blush or anything like that! But you can use a bit of brown eye shadow to give your face a bit of extra shape at the places where needed. Take a picture of the character and just try to recreate the shape of his face. Use the eye shadow where you think shadows are needed. You could need several times of trying to get a nice result, so don’t give up after the first or second trial! Doing such things the first time is always difficult =)

For the eyes I would recommend natural colors. Beige tones and brown tones are a good choice. Especially for the character I am referring to. Spare the highlighting part! Normally you highlight a bit under your brow bone and in your inner corner. But that would give you a very feminine look that we don’t want to have. So just use a natural eye shadow on your lid and a slightly darker one around your eyes. You don’t have to use mascara! It will work fine without and give you that boyish look. And the lips are important, too! Use a bit of concealer to cover your lips. You don’t have to use too much, you just want to bring your rosy lip tone a bit more down 😉 In addition you can use a bit of brown eye shadow on the inner parts of your lips. That gives a bit more shape without overdoing it.

What you can definitely not skip when putting on your costume is binding your chest. I heard that it is really uncomfortable but indispensable…

And what you really should practice is posing! Boys have a completely different posture! Mostly they are more like sunken in shoulders or leaning cool against a wall. What you should avoid is enhancing hips or breast or everything that is girly. Same goes for facial expression. Try to practice a smile that is not totally “kawaii” haha. Stand in front of the mirror and try!

Ok… That is all I can think of at the moment concerning the Bishi-type 😀

Of course everything always depends on what character you are cosplaying. And there are characters that look extremely girlish, like Ciel. Of course there you can use a colored make up and a bit of mascara if you want. Or if you want to cosplay a type like Sebastian from the same series you can use eyeliner instead of eye shadow. And of course Posing is different for every character, too. Every character needs special make up, wig styling and posing, just the same as with cosplaying a girl!

The best tip is: try everything at least once before you will wear the costume at a convention. You will be more confident with your costume if you are really satisfied with the result =)

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The perfect look!

Hey hey out there! Since my last blog took nearly forever I decided to start with the next one very soon ;D

As I promised, I want to talk about one of the most important things about your costumes (I get the feeling I say this every time I write a new blog XD). It can influence the look of your Cosplay very much and makes your whole body look more like the characters – proportions!!

We all know how different character designs can be. There are series where the characters look quite natural compared to normal human beings, but there are other series where the bodies are kinda abstract, with extremely long limbs or something like that (Code Geass, One Piece a.s.o.). And if you want to cosplay such a character you often can’t take over the design 100% originally, because the costume would just not fit your body. That is one of the “extreme” situations where you have to adjust nearly everything to get the right form for you.

Another point is: We all have different body shapes and everyone has to know for him-/herself which parts he/she wants to enhance and which not. And even if the character wears a wide blazer, but your waist is one of the favorite parts of your body, don’t be afraid to give the costume a slightly different form! In the end YOU should look good and feel comfortable in the costume. And often a human would just look ridiculous if you would sew the costume exactly like the original (examples will follow). So finding the right proportions for your own body is as important as finding the right proportions for the character you want to cosplay. And somehow you have to bring these two things together! To get the desired result you should think about three things when planning your costume:

  1. The right fabric

The type of fabric you use can influence so damn much!! Here is an example:

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I did this costume in 2011 together with a big group. We talked about fabrics we wanted to use for the costume. The basic of the costume is a body and normally you do bodies out of jersey, stretch vinyl or anything that is a bit elastic. For me it would have been no problem to use such a material, because I personally have a thin waist and a flat stomach. But one of the girls said that she would like to shape her body a bit and that she would not feel comfortable in a very elastic fabric, cause you could see  a bit of her “not so perfect” parts. So we bought a fabric with no elastic material in it. I can tell you it was a pain in the ass to sew, but it made a BIG difference concerning the whole body shape indeed. It felt like everything was just “at the right place”.

So if you want to shape a bit, don’t use too thin and too elastic fabrics!

And a tip for all the girls: support tights!! I personally wear them with every costume! The difference is amazing! Your tights, butt and whole legs will look so much more even! And you can get them very cheap via internet or in local drugstores =)

2. Techniques for sewing

Beside the right fabric you should think about the right techniques for sewing your costume to get the result you like.

A good example for that are strapless tops or dresses! Sooner or later most girls have to sew something like that ;D This is what I personally think about when doing such a top or dress:

–          I want to give my body a good shape

That means for me in most cases, I need to fake concerning my breast size! 😄 I want to have a slim waist and a good fitting.

–          I want the top/dress to stay in its place!!

Actually it is really hard to keep a strapless dress in place and you don’t wanna make all the guys happy, do you? 😉

So these thoughts bring me to the following: For such tops and dresses I use quite a thick fabric like twill or a fabric that is even a tiny bit thicker. But don’t use a fabric that is too thick, it is hard to get shapes in there 😉 With twill or something like that I am able to shape my waist and my stomach. If you want the whole thing to look kinda corset-like, you can use iron-on interfacing. It makes your top stiffer and I personally have the feeling, that it stays better in place with it.

So next part: breasts! :DD For the fitting it does not matter if you have to stow your bra with cotton like me or not. Important is, that you have enough space for your breast! A strapless top or dress slips easier when it is too tight on the upper parts, because your breasts won’t have enough space. And that makes the top slipping cause they push everything down. So sew it tighter around the waist and the chest, but not too tight directly over your boobies. For managing that, always take your measurements when you already wear your super-push up or whatever you wanna wear under to give your boobs the right form/size/look.

Aaaand don’t forget to move in your costume! Don’t just stand in front of the mirror, you will walk stairs at conventions, lift your bags up from the floor and hug your friends. Be sure that you are able to do this with your top or dress!

That was just one example and like this I think about every part of my costumes. If you are very confident with your body/breast size or whatever, then you can also use a elastic material like jersey! It is all up to you and what you want to do with the look of your body =)

3. Doing character proportions!

So after the “get-your-own-body-in-shape-part”, we move on to how you can change the look of your body to look more like the character without looking silly 😉

I have two really good examples for you – these costumes were totally hard to make for me because of strange proportions!

First I wanna show you my Cosplay of Euphemia li Britannia. If you watched/read Code Geass you know what the problem with the characters is – extremely long limbs! Not that extreme like in One Piece, but enough to make the production of the costume difficult.

So this is the original and my version next to it:

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What you can see is that I changed the length of the top and the skirt. If I made it like it is in the picture, I would have looked like a dwarf with the shortest legs ever. But of course I somehow wanted to give my outfit a look that is similar to the original design of the character.

To make my arms look a bit longer I made the sleeves long enough to cover almost my complete hands. I made the corset longer, too, but then changed the length of the skirt so that my legs would not look so short. I think that I still look a bit too short, but if I would have sewn the skirt longer or shorter, the relationship of skirt and corset concerning size/length etc. would have looked weird. So this is the best result I could get for me and my body 😀

But I have to tell you: Since everyone has different body shapes and proportions you have to find out for yourself how you have to adjust a design to make it fit you. Try out different lengths – remember what I told you last time: always cut out the pattern longer or wider, you can always shorten/tighten! So try everything on several times and use pins to try out different lengths.

Second example is one of the worst things I ever sewed! It killed nearly all of my nerves when it came to proportions. Angel Lily/Yuri Tanima from Wedding Peach… If you take a look at the original version, that the character has like 70% legs, 28% upper body and 2% ass lol

So the problems were: 1. Make my legs look as long as possible, 2. Make the skirt as tiny as possible to get the look of the original version but don’t show everyone my butt 😄 and 3. Get the breastplate on the right place so that the distance between this and the skirt is as close to the design as possible.

And this is the result:

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The skirt STILL looks quite long! But to give my legs a longer any my upper body a shorter look, I had to place it at my waist and to make it long enough to cover only just my butt 😄 and the distance between my waist and butt is as big it is. I can’t change my body measurements, so I had to deal with a skirt that looks a tiny bit too long 😉 so with a skirt beginning around the waist and ending directly under my ass, I solved the problem with longer looking legs and covering my butt 😀

To get the distance of breastplate and skirt as small as possible I placed the golden belt a tiny bit above the skirt (and not directly on it) and the breastplate a tiny bit lower than I would have normally. With that I got a result that looked not too strange on my body, but the proportions are closer to the original that way.

Okay these were a few examples how to deal with characters that have very strange body measurements! Of course you have to solve these problems your own way, because we have all different bodies and shapes.

But here are some things that always work, no matter how your measurements are:

–          Short skirts beginning at your waist makes your legs look longer (good with nearly EVERY costume, cause anime girls normally have hyper long legs)

–          Longer sleeves or tops make your upper body and limbs look longer (good for characters from Code Geass, One piece…)

–          Wide skirts ending under your knee or at the calf makes you look shorter (good if you want to cosplay doll like characters like Shinku from Rozen Maiden). Same goes for pants!

–          Wide and short tops/sleeves make your upper body look shorter

Hm… so that is all what I can think of at the moment 😀 If you have any additions or questions feel free to comment! =)

Oh and I already started to make pictures for my documentation of sewing a whole costume! =) The next blog will show how to do the pleated skirt of Asuna Yuuki from SAO (quite popular at the moment)!! I’m so looking forward to it! Hope you do, too =)

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Patterns for the win!

Hey guys! Long time no see! Sorry for being so late with the next blog, but work was a little bit exhausting the last weeks. Many colleagues were ill (as typical for this time of the year) and I had to work a bit more than usual. And yes… I was lazy, too. I admit it 😄

In the last blog I promised I will get a bit more concrete and stop these huge overviews. And since I already said I would like to make this blog kind of chronological, this is the step that comes after the planning: creating a pattern for your costume. It’s a very important topic that can be a bit difficult, especially for beginners.

There are three main possibilities (at least I only know those three XD) how to get your pattern done and I would like to show you these options.

  1. Doing a pattern yourself

Personally I use this method only for creating very special parts of my costumes. I really have no talent at all in making patterns on my own and I admire all the Cosplayers without professional education who manage to create their own patterns. So unfortunately I can’t give you many tips concerning this point 😀

But I can at least tell you how I do some of these special/small parts on my own. For me making patterns myself only makes sense for parts of the costume which have very special forms so that it is impossible to find a ready pattern (or at least one that I could change) somewhere in the retail trade. These are for examples complicated collars or special skirts or headpieces.

For making these patterns I use normal newspaper and very cheap fabric. Nearly every online shop sells these fabrics consisting of 100% polyacrylic for 2-3 Euro per meter here in Germany. And I’m quite sure that it is the same in the US or wherever around the world. I use cheap “throw away fabric” first, because I like to know if my newspaper-pattern actually works on fabric, too. And of course I don’t want to ruin the limited amount of fabric I bought especially for the costume. (A little tip by the way: it may cost you some extra money, but when doing your first costumes it is always a good idea to buy a bit more fabric. Especially when you buy fabrics at a fabric market like I do and where it is impossible to get more of the same fabric if something went wrong while sewing)

I want to show you the process with two examples I did in the past =)

First one is a very easy “neckholder-lapel” (don’t know how to call that thing :D) I did for my Halloween costume this year. I sewed a simple corset with a zipper on the side and wanted to pimp it a bit. So to create a pattern for the lapel I first took a tape measure and tried to find out the length I needed. I placed the tape measure around my neck like a neckholder and wrote down the length. If you got the length, add 3-4 cm for the seams you will need (never add to little! You can always shorten it, but never make it longer again 😉 ). The good thing about this pattern (and most patterns you will do as a Cosplayer) is: the lapel is completely symmetric. So you only have to draw half of the lapel and then you can flip the pattern (that makes it more even)! So I took half of the length I needed and drew a simple line on a piece of paper. Next step was guessing how broad I wanted everything to be. Since I did not have an original version like I have when doing special Cosplay-costumes I just started drawing! And when I finally liked what I saw, I cut it out. It looked like this:

Image

Next step was drawing everything on a cheap piece of fabric. I stitched this onto my costume and it did fit perfectly! (Unfortunately I have no pic of this step, I always threw the fabric away immediately XD)

Then I drew everything on the artificial leather I wanted to use. And sewed it onto my corset =) To make it look more clean and “real” I drew the pattern on my leather two times and sewed it right side on right side together. I only sewed the side with the collar-form together and left the straight part open. Then I turned it inside out and sewed it together at the straight part. Then I fixed it onto the corset. And this is how it looks like in the end:

Image

Since I think it is always a bit confusing with just pics and writing… I’m thinking of doing a youtube video for parts like these… do you think it could be useful for you??

Second example is a really complicated collar. It was for my costume from strawberry panic. Here is the reference:

http://i26.servimg.com/u/f26/15/66/01/79/zzzfl-10.jpg

Now that one was really tricky! I first made the standing collar. That was very easy… then I took a tape measure to get the circumference of the standing collar. And from that point on it was just trying and trying and trying 😀 I used triangles and rulers to get a more or less symmetric form. I drew everything onto newspaper, then again on fabric and when I stitched the fabric onto the standing collar I fixed a bit of the form. Then with this piece of fabric I drew a new pattern on a piece of paper and that is how it looked like:

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Then I did exactly the same what I did with lapel. Took the pattern, flipped it to get the symmetric form, took my pattern twice, sewed it right on right side together, turned it inside out and then sewed everything onto my standing collar. And voila! It was such a horrible work!! 😄

And like this you can do patterns for collars, little sleeves or if you have the talent you can do patterns for your whole costume like this. (the inside out method you only have to use for collars or sleeves if they have to look very clean, of course you don’t need to do that with a skirt or something like that :D) My tip: If you don’t have the slightest idea how to start – just start!! Don’t think too much. I got my best patterns only through a loooot of trying. If it does not fit like you want it, then do it again… and if necessary again. Use newspaper, cheap fabric, whatever works best for you. And just start trying =)

Another possibility to do patterns on your own is using the clothes you already have in your closet. That is indeed a very nice alternative if you don’t have to sew something too difficult. I personally used that method for sewing very simple dresses or T-shirts out of jersey where I did not have to add any darts. You just have to transfer your piece of cloth onto a sheet of normal newspaper. If the sheets are not big enough, use a bit of tape to put two or three sheets together. Then you can transfer this pattern onto your fabric. For me personally this method is not precise enough (especially when I have to do more complicated forms and when I don’t use elastic fabric) and I never got perfect symmetrical forms with that… or it is just because of my lack of talent that I mentioned earlier 😀

2. Using ready patterns you can find in the retail trade

That is what I am using 50% of the time! I love the patterns you can buy. Cause they are perfect! They are symmetric, they always fit and they are easy! I personally have a total neurosis concerning symmetry and I always want everything to look as perfect as possible (You know Death the Kid from Soul Eater?? That is ME! lol) . So the best option for me is to buy a ready pattern!  I find it totally useful especially for difficult forms like lapels at blazers (school uniforms often have these and of course it looks better if you sew a real lapel and not a “fake” one 😉 ).

I personally never take a look into the instructions of these patterns. They show the exact technique how you can sew with the patterns like a professional. And that contains steps I don’t need for my cosplay-costumes. For example iron everything after every step or the directions in that you should sew the seams. I think if you have just a little bit of straight reasoning, then you know what parts of the pattern you need and how to sew them together.

And before you start thinking “omg, that looks so complicated and I never had a bit of straight reasoning and my visual thinking is bad as hell!” let me tell you: I always thought that about myself. But it is really not hard to deal with these ready patterns! The only thing you need is a bit of patience and time. And maybe the internet to look up one or two terms you find on the pattern. But it is really not hard, I promise! And a tip: always stitch everything together and try it before you sew everything together. That saves you from unstitching seams which costs a lot of time… and nerves 😉

3. Doing patterns kinda half by yourself 😉

And this is what I am doing the other 50% of time! I always use ready patterns for the base of my costumes. The problem with ready patterns is, that they of course are created to sew clothes you wear in everyday life. Means: clothes with normal forms. And we all know how the clothes of anime characters look like 😀

The ready patterns are really a great base for all the strange dresses or blouses the characters wear. But of course you have to change these patterns a bit to get the forms you need. I want show you an example:

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Here you can see Saranda from Infinite Undiscovery. I made the whole dress with a pattern for a simple blouse 😀

So first I transferred the blouse on my fabric (of course I did not make the front part out of two pieces as I would normally do, I made the front to fabric fold). Then I lengthened the front and back parts in an A-form like I thought it would look good for the dress. If you don’t know how wide you should draw a pattern: rather draw it wider and too tight. You can always tighten if it is too wide for you, but never widen your fabric again 😉

Tricky was the form of the dress around the hips. You see that it is a bit like winded… so I tried to draw the form on my fabric. I widened it on the parts where I thought it would make sense (haha), and then stitched it together. I had to change the form a bit about two or three times until I got it like I wanted. Then I sewed everything together.

After that I had to get the form on the upper part. So I put everything on and drew in front of a mirror the neckline onto the dress.

And that is basically how I do most of my costumes. Use a pattern and change it into the form that I need 😉 I’m thinking about doing a small documentation for the next costume I sew, so that you can see a bit better what steps I take to create my costumes. =)

Hope you enjoyed this Blog and sorry for being sooo late with this entry ;D

Next Blog-topic: Proportions! 😀

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The early bird catches the worm!

I considered that it might be a good idea to go on with my blogs in kind of a “chronological way”. So since I wrote about choosing a character last time, this entry will thematise the next step: how to start with the most essential part of cosplay – planning your costume!

What I can totally recommend is taking time to establish a good plan! Especially if you are a freshman. I personally plan a lot of costumes months before a convention and create something like an annual program. But I admit that it can be very hard to follow that advice. I often catch myself doing exactly the opposite! Of course you can’t always plan a whole year beforehand. And often there are conventions you want to attend quite spontaneously – of course with a new costume 😉 My tip in such a case: search for something easy! If you only have one week left for sewing you don’t do yourself any favors with coming up with a complicated costume. Choose something easy like a simple school uniform or a small dress. Same goes for the guys, but here please forget the part with the dress ;D Another problem could be, that your cosplaygroup or – partner cancel something and you have to make a new plan in a very short amount of time.

But all these cases are exceptions. In most cases you are able to plan your Cosplay properly!

What your planning for a costume should definitely include (from my experiences):

  1. Money!
  2. Time
  3. Fabrics
  4. Patterns
  5. The sewing part
  6. Details/Weapons/etc.

Point 1: Money

Ok first point is the most important for me. You have to realize that Cosplay is a damn expensive hobby! It really depends on your personal ambition if you want to have a totally accurate costume or if it is not that important for you to have exactly the right colors, all the details and best materials. I know that there are totally different types of Cosplayers and if it is not important for you to put so much time and effort into your costume and you just want to have fun with Cosplay, then everything is great and you don’t have to waste so many thoughts about money!

But I can tell the ones who want to work with “perfection” (I know a Cosplay can NEVER be perfect, cause nobody has the body of an animecharacter and you have to change proportions, further artworks can differ a lot and it is almost never possible to get the “perfect” color. For me “perfection” means: “as similar to the original as possible for me and my possibilities”), your costume will hardly never be cheap 😉 I was shocked about one of my latest costumes… I did a very “simple” version of Euphemia that you can see here:

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Now to show you the costs:

White fabric for top: 23 Euros, White fabric for underskirt: 7 Euros, Orange Fabric: 16 Euros, Green fabric: 5 Euros, Yarn and fabrics: 7 Euros, Shoes: 15 Euros, Contacts: 20 Euros, Wig: 50 Euros, Make-up: 15 Euros = 158 Euros!!!

And I have to say: I already got really cheap fabrics from a fabric market with outlet prices. It is not always that bad, but it can happen like this if you have to buy everything new.

But I also want to show you a very cheap costume – I didn’t want to scare you too much with the costs ;D This here is Persephone from Castlevania – Portrait of Ruin:

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Blue fabric: 6 Euros, white fabric: leftovers from other costumes, wig: 18 Euros, shoes: from the panty costume I did before, contacts: 10 Euros. Zippers and yarn: 3 Euros. Make-up: already got it from my Miku Cosplay. The most expensive part was the Vacuum with I think 40 Euros. So the whole costume was about 77. That is damn cheap for a costume with such a big accessoire!! =)

But as you can see most costumes, even if they are “not that big”, will be between 70-120 Euros. For big projects you have to calculate of course more. My most expensive was the Dark elf from Lineage II with 300 Euros:

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Point 2: Time

And after a lot of examples concerning money, here comes the next point: TIME! I don’t even have words for how important enough time is! I made tons of costumes kinda “last minute” and they turned out nice… But if you have enough time you can do all the details really properly, do wig and make up tests your results will get so much better and it is an awesome feeling to walk around in a costume that you like 100%!  It is bad to walk around with a costume from which you think “oh my, if I only had one day more this could have looked so much better”.

What you should always remember: if you have to order something from oversea, always calculate more than the promised 2-3 weeks. And if you are super unlucky your wig, shoes or fabric will end up at the custom department which costs even more time (and money). Finding the right fabrics also costs a bunch of time. Some materials and colors can be so hard to find. I often had to color the fabric myself in the end. So calculate more time for this, too.

Most important are the right patterns, forms, proportions and a clean look of a costume. So you should spend enough time for the sewing phase, cause there can be more problems than you might expect. But more about the sewing later!

And beside the practical part of getting a better and cleaner result, having enough time is also very very relaxing for your nerves 😉 Cons are stressful, but it gets worse if you arrive there after sewing the last 3 days and nights. And your face and skin will look much prettier too if you are relaxed!

 

Point 3: Fabrics

I already mentioned that it can take a lot of time to find the right fabrics and colors. And that is, because nice fabrics are really really important for a good costume. It always depends on ones personal taste what the “perfect” fabric is. It really does not always matter if you take cotton or jersey or leather or whatever. It depends on your own interpretation of the costume! But what is important is quality! Try to avoid cheap looking and very shiny looking fabrics. I know good fabrics make your costume more expensive but it will definitely be worth it!

Same goes for colors. As I said colors can vary from picture to picture. Choose the reference you like the most! And if you are not able to find the type of fabric you want to use in the right color, then you have the possibility to color it. It is very easy and I got some great results with coloring so far! How that works in detail I will explain in another blog (this one already got way too long ;D)

 

Point 4: Patterns

Every Cosplayer has different methods for using patterns. Some use bought patterns from Simplicity, Vogue, Burda etc., some use their own clothes as reference and some create their patterns on their own.

I personally prefer working with bought patterns that I change a little bit. They are more accurate than everything I made on my own so far. But you have to find your own style! I know a lot of people who go crazy when working with bought patterns. I personally have no talent for doing patterns on my own, I just mess everything up.

But a tip if you want to create your own patterns: the key to a costume with a good form are darts! Put them everywhere where they are needed. You want to have a costume that fits like a second skin. I often add several darts into my bought patterns to make my costumes fit better. But it can be tricky sometimes. For exampleI needed HOURS to sew the tiny apron of Persephone (the costume you saw above). The proportions were quite hard to create and I had to work a long time on the placing of the darts.

I mentioned the proportions several times now. They are SO IMPORTANT! In one of the next Blogs I will show you some tricks to get the right proportions. But what I already can tell you right now is, that this is the best way to change the look of your body and to look more like your favorite characters. So you should take your time to get a good result here.

 

Point 5: The sewing part

Take your time for this part of the costume! The sewing part can be hard. There could be difficult seams, annoying zippers or yards and yards of ruffles that take forever! I personally need ages for the sewing part cause I always want to get a clean result. I recommend patience! If you don’t like a seam you did, then unstitch it and redo it. I promise you will be more satisfied! And if there is a day when nothing works, then stop sewing and start over again the next day or the next week. I had moments where I wanted to throw everything out of my window. And to sew with anger never ends good.

Also: don’t start with the first available part just because you feel like it. Try to find out what would be clever to begin with! For me it is almost never good to start with small details. I first have to get the proportions in the right places. If I do it the other way round I mess up the form of my costume. I personally like to get the big parts done first before doing small stuff like collars. But you have to find out yourself what works best for you and you create your own system for sewing.

 

Point 6: Details/Weapons/etc.

For me this is the most difficult part of every Cosplay. Because I have no talent for crafting!! And it is very hard for me to find the right materials and to consider what would work best. So I have to plan these things as early as possible. What I learned from my experiences is the importance of trying several things before you wear it together with your costume at a convention. If you have to place some armor parts at your costume walk around at home after you did it. Move in everything. And move strongly! You will not tiptoe at a convention! The convention will be full, you will have to use stairs, maybe hurry sometimes. Testing that can prevent your costume to fall apart in the middle of the convention! And yes that is an experience I also made ;D

I thought about giving tips concerning materials, but I guess this is the wrong Blog for doing so. Because you can use nearly everything to create details and it depends on what you want to form. Your options go from foam rubber to thermoplastic material to small things you can buy at your local hardware store. What I can recommend is keeping your eyes open! You can find materials for Cosplay in the strangest places and situations!

And also: search for tutorials! There are such a lot great video or photo-tutorials that can really help! =)

 

 

Wow… these overview blogs are so huge 😄 I am sorry for being unable to keep it short and I promise to write more specific ones soon! But I think such overviews are necessary to show how complex Cosplay actually is. I never thought you have to care about so many things when I started with my first costumes.

I hope you liked this entry even it was freakin’ huge 😀

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