Thursday, June 13, 2019

Minako Aino

I still haven’t gotten back into my good blogging habits.

A few weeks ago (in May) I decided to attend the Madman Anime Convention in Brisbane. Cancelled plans meant that I could actually go, and of course that meant that I wanted a new costume. Enter a frantic week of sewing, because yes I made this decision late on the Friday night a week out. I dug myself out of bed on Saturday and headed straight for my fabric stash. I had chosen to do an outfit of Sailor Venus (a casual one).

    

My fabric stash proved on point and I was able to pull out five pieces of fabric perfect for my plans. I needed to get together a t-shirt, a tank top, a skirt, a petticoat, necklace, hairbow and wig. I started by drafting up my patterns. Thankfully these were all simple pieces so didn’t require a whole lot of technical challenge. I started with the t-shirt and cut into my stash of white cotton lycra. Of course the first t-shirt I made has the wrong neckline, so I quickly fixed my pattern and cut out another one (to be later sewn on Monday evening after work).

   

I then stitched my skirt and petticoat. It wasn’t until I was almost done and I tried it on that I remembered the skirts might be too long, so I hacked off what wasn’t needed and rehemmed them, leaving the waistband hand-sewing and closures to later. I generally try to focus on getting my machine sewing done on the weekends. I then made the tank top (twice, because the first one didn’t fit right). I’m still not happy with the tank top and am planning to re-make it, but it just goes to prove that you really should spend the time doing a mock-up. The final piece to make was the hairbow. I cut up some pieces of red linen and made the pieces, adding some wadding into the top part of the bow to keep it structured.



Unfortunately I had to work on the Sunday, so it was a lost day for sewing. But in the end I managed to scrape it all together in time. And thankfully my wig was a previous cosplay wig restyled. I’m rather pleased with how the costume came together and it just proved to me that when I put my mind to it, I can get this stuff done in no time. (Doesn’t mean that I have started on the next project though).

  

As for the event, it was small but a vast improvement of the Brisbane anime conventions I attended years ago. There was a good range of sellers, and artists section where I spent most of my budget and entertainment. I went with my brother, and we were done after about 2 hours. I do think though that they are on the way to something great. We ended up grabbing Vietnamese for lunch afterwards before heading back to my brother’s apartment for an afternoon of gaming.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Comp Insanity

I may have rocks in my head.

Over the weekend I signed up to participate in the Bernina Cosplay Competition run through the Cosplay Collective. The comp opened in October last year and it’s only now that I am signing up? What is going in my head?! But I’ve put my hand up to commit to this thing and I’m certainly going to give it a crack.

As for what I am making… After a lot of back and forth, I finally narrowed it down to Padme’s Pre-Senate Kimono Gown from Star Wars Episode 1. Shocking movie, but the costumes are impressive.


When I first decided on this one I thought it might be too simple. But then once the research began I realised that I am biting off a lot more. So far I am in the collection phase. I started off doing all my research:
  • Finding reference images (screencaps, exhibition photographs)
  • Searching for other cosplayers who have made the costume (What did they do? What went wrong? What worked well?)

I then broke down the costume into its numerous components and made myself a shopping list. Hello bullet journal. Next up, I started hunting around my favourite fabric websites for supplies. There are a few elements that I will be able to use fabric from my stash for which does help bring down the costs. Next on the list though is ordering my notions, and decorative supplies (beads, embroidery threads, hooks, worbla, fabric dye). Then there are the purchased supplies such as makeup, wigs and wefts.

But while I am waiting for all of that to arrive, I need to make a start on drafting up my patterns. I’ve selected two from my pattern collection: one is a Kimono costume pattern and the other is a straight sleeve pattern. Come this weekend I really want to make a start on drafting my patterns and get my mockups cut out. From there I will be able to sew them up and make any adjustments. How the first mockup turns out will determine if I need to mockup a second time (or third etc). For me, it really depends on how close I am to the final version before I made any more changes.

Right now, online shopping it is…

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Catchup Time

It has been some time since I last posted on here. All I can say is that life changes. I haven’t done a whole lot of costuming since I last posted. In fact in 2018, I only made three new costumes and one of those was simply finishing one that I had started two years prior. It’s not that I gave up sewing, in fact my wardrobe is a testament to that fact as I have spent rather a lot of time sewing up general clothing (for work and the like).

So to catch things up:

In September I attended OzComicCon. Things were a little crazy at work as I was acting in another role, and packing to move house at the time and I didn’t have the inclination to make anything new. So I polished off a couple of my older costumes and wore those: my Beauty School Dropout from Grease and my Ravenclaw Uniform and Robes.
   

Then came Supanova in November. Still acting in another role at work, but finished moving house, this time I managed to whip up a new costume. Based on artwork by Savannah Alexander of human form pokemon (Gijinka), I dressed as her 1930s style Ivysaur. I had originally planned to turn the plush toy into a bag but he was just too cute to butcher.

  

Since then, I have only been working on my own outfit sewing. I spent quite some time making new pieces to take on my recent trip to Japan. I was there for three and half weeks in March. Now, I do plan to make a start on some new Cosplay projects.

I also attended Supanova on the Gold Coast this year. It was a few weeks ago in April, and as I was freshly back from Japan I didn't have time to whip up anything new. So, time to pull out a previous costume, I wore my Saber Lion.

  

After moving my stash of fabric twice recently, I definitely want to have less of it next time I decide to move house. So, my goal this year (and in those to come) is to sew up the fabric that I have there. Everything that I made for Japan came from my fabric stash, so that’s been a bit of a blessing. But I have big rolls of fabric tagged for historical costumes and large chunks of fabric for cosplays.

On top of it all, I have been trying to downsize the rest of my stuff. Moving house really hits home that you have too much stuff. But part of this are my costumes. I have some that I am still attached to, but they don’t fit anymore. Is it any wonder when I made them five or more years ago? Health issues and weight gain, plus the general changing of my body shape means that these costumes just don’t fit me the way that they were made to do. So, I have slowly been listing onto my Etsy store. I plan to go through everything again and pull out the ones that I have been hanging onto despite not being able to wear them.

So despite not costuming for the last few months, I have been busy enough to keep myself going. But stay tuned because more costuming is to come.

Monday, October 8, 2018

150th Anniversary Parliament House

Last month I also attended the 150th Anniversary of Parliament House in Brisbane. The day was marked with a celebration and tour of the original parliament building. Still in use today, the building is a beauty from its’ era. We were invited along by the organisers to provide a bit of ambiance to the event – wearing gowns which would have been worn when the building was originally opened. It is an incredibly beautiful building and I’m glad that I got the chance to see inside. It’s not normally open to the public so it was indeed a special occasion.

For the occasion, I wore my late 1860s Early Bustle. I made this gown a while back, but didn’t have many photos of myself in it (the occasion when I debuted it, I was two days out of wisdom teeth removal surgery and a puffy little chipmunk.) It was lovely to be able to wear the dress again and actually take photos this time.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Jazz Picnic at Old Government House

I haven’t managed to get out to many events this year, in cosplay or historical, but when I saw that Jazz Age Picnic was being held at old government house in Brisbane, I knew that I had to attend. I gathered up my re-enactment group (and my mum) and we organised a venture out in our 1920s finery. The day turned out to be beautifully sunny and warm (not strange for Brisbane winter). We all turned up and spread out our picnic rugs, laying out our sweets and savoury picnic treats and pulling out the teapot. I do somewhat regret dragging in my teapot – the next day my arms were very sore from lugging it from the car to the venue.

I had originally planned to wear something existing in my wardrobe, but as I was on two weeks of annual leave, I decided that I would whip up something new to wear. The Tuesday before the event, I was sorting through my fabric stash to find some fabric and browsing the internet for inspiration. I picked an original tartan dress to try and re-create. I drafted up the pattern, did a quick mock up and made some pattern changes before cutting out my fabrics. I thankfully had the perfect assortment of fabrics to get the look I wanted. A day at the sewing machine, and couple evenings of hand-sewing and I had my outfit ready. It’s made of a wool blend grey plaid with a red stripe, and trimmed with red linen. I added red velveteen trimmings in the form of a belt and necktie to finish off the look. I love the masculine suit influence in the design which is so typical of the era.


All in all it was a lovely event and I am glad that I made the effort to attend.


There was also a photo booth on site that we got to play with for free...