Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Brisnova

I know it’s the new year already, but life has caught me by surprise and I’ve been rather busy of late. So busy in fact that I have yet to post about a couple of events that I attended towards the end of last year. The first – Brisbane Supanova. It’s our biggest convention in Brisbane and one that I attend every year. 2016 was no different. It was a weekend of catching up with fellow cosplayers, taking photos, browsing the shopping hall and trying to stay cool. Nathan Fillion was probably the biggest draw card in terms of celebrities. I would have loved to get a photo but I refuse to spend my entire weekend in line. His panel line was bad enough – snaking around several times and down three halls of the centre. Not my cup of tea. But it is an event that I love to cosplay for.

The convention begins on Friday afternoon and runs through to Sunday evening. It all started out at 1pm on Friday. I took myself into the city in my brand new costume. I didn’t have time to make a big costume but I did have the time and energy to throw together something a little cult – A Beauty School Dropout Angel from Grease. And I was lucky enough that my bestie dressed up as Frenchie to match. The most stressful part of the costume was waiting for the rollers to make the headdress arrive (Australia Post took its sweet time about it). It was an incredibly comfortable costume to wear and even though be slightly obscure, we were recognised by other attendees. It’s definitely a costume that I will be bringing out again.


Come Saturday, the heat had set in for the weekend. Spring had decided to treat us with an early weekend of heat and humidity. Makes for a lovely time when you are trussed up in costume with layers of fabric, undergarments, wigs and makeup. Again, my bestie and I teamed up for the day and dressed as DC Bombshells. Gael Storm as Cheetah and myself as Black Canary. They’re certainly fun costumes to wear.



Lastly, Sunday rolled around. This time, we dressed as Disney Princesses – Aurora from Sleeping Beauty and Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I have to say, I love cosplaying as a princess. There is nothing like the look on a little kid’s face when they realise that their favourite princess is standing in front of them. It’s a good feeling. And it was certainly a day of hugs from children.


But at the end of it all, we quickly slipped into some regular clothing and hit Coffee Club for dinner on the way home. It’s become sort of a tradition for us to stop for a good meal after the convention before heading home to crash into bed. And before we know it, the next convention will be upon us. I really should get to sewing.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

How to: 1890s hat

Back in June of this year, I made a new 1890s boater style hat. This one was made out of some lovely turquoise cotton velveteen that I had in my stash. Fortunately, throughout the process, I took a number of photos to show how exactly I made it. And thus, we have a photo tutorial. I should mention straight up, that this is entirely sewn by hand.

1. First off, inspiration image

2. Next up, creating the pattern:

2a. I found a saucer from the kitchen that I liked the size of to be the top piece of my hat. I traced around it.

2b. I then drew another even circle around this for my hat brim.

2c. I measured around edge of the sauce with a tape measure to work out how long the crown should be. I drafted it up as a straight strip and cut it out in paper too.

2d. Once I had all the pattern pieces cut out, I lightly taped them together to test the size, shape and fit of the hat. Yes, I did put this on my head.

3. Pattern Pieces. I then cut out my pieces in buckram, my fashion fabric and mull layer. For the mull, I use a bamboo wadding that I picked up at my local fabric store, but you could use anything. This just give the hat a nice padded finish and helps cover the buckram nicely.

The buckram layer and the mull layer are cut without seam allowance (accept for an overlap on the hat crown), but I added approximately 1.5cm of seam allowance when cutting the fashion layer of the fabric. Make sure to cut two of the brims in the fashion fabric and mull.

4. Creating the hat frame:

4a. I first stitched the hat crown together to make it the right size to fit the top.

4b. Then I whip stitched hat wire to the edges of each piece - around the outer edge of the hat brim, the outer edge of the hat top and both edges of the crown.

4c. I then sat the hat top on the crown and whip stitched the top to crown.

4d. I then tacked down mull layer over every piece of the hat. I also whip the two edges of the brim mull so that they cover the wire edge as well as the edge where the hat top joins the hat crown.

5. Covering the hat

5a. I then stretched the fashion fabric over the top of the hat and pinned it in place on the sides. Next was to stitch this down with a tight back stitch, removing the pins as you go.

5b. I then lay one layer of the hat brim fabric over the brim frame and pinned it in place. I folded it over to the other side and used a hell of a lot of pins to pin it in place.

5c. Next was to stitch this down to the mull layer with a whip stitch. After stitching, I also snipped in between the stitches to help the fabric lay flat.

5d. I then smoothed over the other side of the brim with the fashion fabric and pinned it in place. Next was to tuck the raw edges under so that the hat edges match and pinned (with many many pins again) in place.

5e. Next I stitched the edges together using a straight whip stitch so that the tiny stitches when pulled disappear as much as possible. These stitches need to be close together to get a good finish.

5f. With the edges of the brim matching, I snipped into the seam allowance of the fabric through both layers.

5g. I then pinned in the fashion fabric hat crown with the raw edge folded under. The centre back is also folded so that you have a clean edge to stitch.

5h. Again, tiny straight whip stitches join the seam.

5i. I then folded the bottom of the hat crown to the inside of the hat and stab stitched it down through all the layers. 

5j. Next is the really fun part. I pinned down the hat brim to the inside of the hat. You want the seam allowance of the brim fabric on the inside of the hat. Then I stitched it down with a stab stitch. I warn you, this is rather awkward. 

5k. I then cut a length of cotton twill tape to fit the inside of the hat. I whipped this in place on the hat brim. You won't be able to see this when the hat is worn. Historically, hats weren't lined in fabric, but you could choose to line yours with a hat crown stitched to a hat top in a cotton and whip it into place where I stitch the twill tape. This is easier (and lazier) to do. 

6. Decoration. The last step is to decorate your hat as you see fit. One thing to remember, historically feathers and flowers were both used, but never together. I did have feathers in my stash to match this hat but I decided I wanted to go with the berries look. I had these in my stash and accompanied them with some white flowers. 

The hat then just perches on your hair. I like to go for a jaunty angle. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

OzComicCon hits Brisbane

The next major event that I attended earlier this year was Oz Comic Con Brisbane. It’s a wonderful con to be a cosplayer at – there are panels, photobooths with photographers available, various backdrops to pose against, some of our Aussie cosplay personalities and a repair station. The organisers have really tried to include cosplayers in their planning process. Plus it’s a wonderful con and there are so many amazing costumes on show. Not to mention the cosplay competition which, if you win the Australian leg, will get you sent to the US to compete. Our Aussie winner from last year, Major Sam (and yes a fellow Brisbanite) actually took out the championship with her amazing Sikozou Necromancer Juliette.

Some of my fellow cosplayers:




Unfortunately it turned out to be a swelteringly hot September weekend, which made costuming quite the challenge. It’s only a two day con, but I spent quite some time in the lead-up flip-flopping about what I was going to wear. I had one brand new costume lined up but was planning to re-wear the other day.

In the end, it turned out to be a bit of a Disney weekend. First, I pulled out Periwinkle from Disney Fairies to wear on Saturday. It’s one of my cooler costumes and I love wearing the wings with it. My bestie Gael Storm quickly threw together a Rosetta as well so that we could pair it up for the weekend. And while she was working that afternoon and night, we did manage to find some time to take a few photos in one of the gardens around the carpark. I’m particularly in love with the ones that I snapped of her Rosetta.





Then on Sunday, I joined a group of fellow cosplay ladies with our mash-up cosplay of Hogwarts and Disney. Or Hogney if you prefer. Basically we each chose a Disney character and sorted them into a house. My love of Lottie from the Princess and the Frog made me desperate to turn her into a Hufflepuff student. I put my own spin on the uniform and made a 1920s style slip dress out of linen and velveteen. Paired it up with a blouse and tie, cloche hat and topped it off with home puff robes. I adore how this turned out. And we got some great group photos by the amazing Rebecca Burton.



All in all, I had a fantastic weekend which inspired me to get cracking on more costumes. Unfortunately there was only six weeks until the next one and my original plans were a bit too ambitious with me working full time. But I did put together something new. All in due course.