Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pretty, pretty Samara

I made a post about Samara's costume last year and nothing has changed with that, but this time I used 3-D gel from Mehron to create the decayed effect instead of Erikeeper. I'm not sure what to think about the product really. The gel felt sticky even after I fixed it and the white cake make-up I used didn’t stick to it too well. The instructions recommended that the wished color should be mixed to the gel in liquid form, but of course I didn’t have anything for the purpose. And I had skin colored gel. Transparent one might have been better.

I think I’ll give the gel another go on Halloween with a new character... What? Did I say I'd take a break from costume making..? I don't recall doing so...

Here are some photos from our well hunting day with more typical, scary-Samara! All photos are taken by Yoki.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Costume cross-section- Barriss Offee

In our version of Barriss’ costume there is seven different pieces; cape, scarf, cowl, dress, belt, shoes and lightsaber. I’ve seen other costumers and cosplayers with different solution. Some have done separate shirt and skirt or cowl attached to the cape itself. You can’t really tell how the costume is constructed when it’s on, so I went on with a way that was most suitable for us and my way of costume making.

The cape fabric was something we really searched for. Finally we accepted this synthetic fiber mix we found from local fabric store. It has velvety or brushed cotton type surface, but the inside looks like what you would use in a shell suit. Gladly, the printing emulsion worked on the synthetic fabric. We used a stencil roughly a size of an A4 sheet and used pearly blue and silver opaque colors from EMO-tuotanto. Needless to say, the process took days! Still it was bit faster than printing Luminara’s cape.

The cape is pretty much straight pieces of fabric. The back is gathered to eight large folds, which I sewed on a shoulder panel. The front is double layered and lifted from the front to the tip of the shoulder and sewed on place. The hood is patterned rather freely, it’s supported by iron on backcloth and the whole thing is lined with black acetate. The cape has hidden hook fastening on the front.

The scarf is actually my old “pashmina” scarf I bought for few pounds from London. I just cut it in half and thus sacrificed it to cosplay goddesses.

The cowl is sewed from leftover pieces of the cape. It fastens with hooks on the back of the neck.

The dress has four different fabrics on it. The top layer of the shirt is made from two crinkled and detailed tricot fabrics. As a lining is used lycra tricot on the bust in two layers to prevent transparency. The hem is made from heavy knit fabric with 5% elastane to ensure decent fall and flow. To make the look on the middle section of the bust according to references, I sew pin tucks for more detailed look.

The hem is half circle as the upper part of it is more or less like a tube. I sew the shirt part and hem part separately and joined them as a last step. If I wish to change the hem, the cut on it is slightly lower than the reference because in my mind it fitted Yoki’s physique better, then I can do it easily without having to seam rip the sides.

Yoki made the belt buckle from pulp board, craft foam and some yarn. Here is a link to a post she made about it. The belt is made the same way as Luminara’s; with brown pleather on top and awning fabric on the back to give support. Barriss’ belt is little darker than Luminara’s, so I used a sponge to rub dark grey acrylic paint thinly on the pleather. It actually worked really well. The acrylic set on the pleather nicely and didn’t crack even if I tried stretching it.

The black boots were found from same second hand shop as Luminara’s. There are five decorative buckles on the sides and reasonable heel to walk. Price for the boots was something ridiculous, like ten euros.

The lightsaber Yoki made from pulp board tube this time from plastic wrap container, craft foam, putty, black electricity tape, silver spray paint and finally screws and plaster buttons as details.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Samara's search uploaded

Long time, no upload on our Youtube channel... Until now! Almost after a year of the completion of my Samara costume, I put on my best decayed make-up and headed out with Yoki in hunt of wells.

What if Samara lost her wells? Head here and find out!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fembot business is serious

Our Decepticon costumes could be labeled as lightweight costumes, but when we headed out with our photographer Karan on a sunny June afternoon, the amount of fabric in them felt too much. I’m just happy that we didn’t turn out all shiny and sweaty in the photos taken that day!

But the heat did affect us and it is truly visible in the photos taken that day… The sun must had melted our brain a bit, because almost half of the shots were… well, I just questioned whether I should post them or not. But then again, some of them just too funny! Random craziness and Karan’s snapshots from us.

Too sunny... And why is Princess Megs picking Lady Screamer's nose?

Stick 1, Megatron 0.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Armor from craft foam for Ivy

Craft foam must be one of the most versatile materials there is when it comes to cosplay. I’ve used it before on Mayuri’s hat structures, in Sasori’s puppet body to imitate wood and for leathery look on Luminara’s waist cloth and armguards. And in one or two costume projects I’ve used it in details. But when I started to brainstorm our costumes for WCS preliminaries, I came to realize that I would build armor for my character entirely from craft foam. Thankfully, Ivy only has pieces of armor on her arms and shoes, but never the less; I was in for a challenge.

Even if I hadn't done any myself, I had read about making craft foam armors. This craft foam armor making tutorial is one of the firsts I bumped into years ago and I think it's possibly one of the most referred one out there. The steps on the tutorial are almost the same with how I made my armor with few differences on materials used.

One thing about Ivy’s armor is really convenient; all the pieces are more or less symmetrical. If you look at the upper arm piece, it looks the same whether you look at it from the front or the back. With the forearms and upper arms I could make one pattern and use it on either arm without problems.

And with patterns I started the project. After I has sketched the armor based on references, I used regular paper to define the sizes and shapes of the armor pieces. Everything else was rather easy to do, but for the breast plate I asked Yoki to aid me.

I traced patterns on 2mm craft foam and supporting parts of the breast plate from 5mm craft foam. Behind each craft foam piece I glued slightly smaller piece of fiber fabric, sturdy cotton stiffener used in upholstery. This gives good support to the piece itself and will prevent bending better than regular fabric would. Inside the breast plate I used cups from old bra. This made the whole construction process lot easier, because I already had right shape and size to build the armor on.

Breast plate details.

Some of the armor pieces required few layers of foam for details and rims. Some of the details on the references don’t seem to be as raised as others, so I used thick paper to achieve the look for those. In the arm pieces where armor flares out as in the upper arm and the wrist of the forearm I used plaster tape and putty to hide the seams which were necessary to create the wished shape.

There are some sharp angles on Ivy leg armors. Craft foam tends to reverted after bending, so some heat is necessary to forge it. I used hot-air blower to warm up the foam before pressing the folds on the ankle and shoe parts. I also used heat to create the knuckles on the hand plates, curves on the forearms and the plump on the upper arm. You don’t need to heat the foam long; few seconds with hot-air blower will make the foam moldable.

After gluing the raised pieces, back support and sanding the putty smooth, I applied few coats of gesso on each piece to seal the foam. Lastly I made a glue-water mixture and applied it with a brush to harden the surface. The glue also works great to create glossy finish for the piece.

As primer I used grey spray primer from Prof. The paint I used was silver chrome finish from Bravo Spray. I also planned to age and weather the pieces with acrylics, but the time was against me. Well, something to do before next wear!

The small brooch details could also be counted as part of Ivy's armor. I cut the base shape from pulp board and sculpted the shape from modeling material similar to Das modeling clay. After I let the thing dry, I gave it few coats of glue-water and painted then the same way I did the rest of the armor.

The fastenings on the armor are pretty much elastic band and Velcro. I glued the tips straight to the base shoes with Erikeeper. If you glue Velcro straight to craft foam or any other smooth surface it will not hold that well. I solved the problem by backing the Velcro up with something, this time to scrap tricot I had lying around. The fabric will give the glue nice surface to grip on.

In short, the hand plates fasten to the gloves with Velcro, the forearms close with Velcro, the upper arms hang on with elastic band, the breast plate fastens to the dress with Velcro from the sides, the rings on the ankles close with Velcro and the ankle plates you hardly saw me wearing at Tracon, because they were uncomfortable as they could be, also fastens with Velcro. The brooches hold on with safety pins glued on the backsides.

I’m rather happy how the armor turned out if the shoes are not counted in. Before I’m going to take Ivy to any convention, I’m going to redo the whole leg set and pay more attention to patterning the tips of the shoes. I also need to pad the heels themselves. They are too big for me, which made my walking look like duckling steps.

Few bumps on the road; trial and error with hand plates.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ivy and Yoshimitsu at Tracon VI

Here are some photos of our characters that I found from our cameras after Tracon. The photos are either from Saturday or Sunday. Most noticeable difference is my legs; on Sunday I tossed away the shoes I wore at the competition, because they were utterly uncomfortable. Few of my toes are still numb from wearing them. I also wore regular lace tights on Sunday.