Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cosplay Christmas Ball with Wednesday Addams

In mid-December I surprised myself by attending to Cosplay Ball at Helsinki thanks to lovely Shewon who kindly shared her invitation with me! The Cosplay Ball was a sort of a Christmas party organized by local hobbyists, but with costumes and different sorts of ball and historical dances.

Before I talk about my costume of choice I shall raise my glass to the organizers and thank them for the lovely and exiting evening, which hopefully will turn into an annual event! It’s great to see enthusiastic and active people who make things happen and actually turn ideas to functional concepts. Even if the schedule didn’t hold and things changed bit on the way it really didn’t bother anyone. The overall atmosphere was joyful and relaxed.

And all the costumes! The organizers had set a dress code; smart dress, cosplay optional. There were lot of official costumes but also recognizable characters in formal attires. I myself thought about taking Diva with me, but having to travel by train to Helsinki and back set some limitations. I bet the dress would have been in terrible condition if I had stuffed it in my backpack. I ended up crafting a version of a character (in one evening, crazy business). I call the costume as a version, because I didn’t replicate the design directly from the reference material. Instead I used different features of the characters clothing ands appearance to create the look.

The character I chose was Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family. I absolutely love Wednesday by Christina Ricci!

The dress was moderately easy to make. I used matt polyester with teeny bit of elasthane and for once I made a dress without lining it. Instead I used a petticoat to give the hem some volume. I used traits of Wednesday’s signature dress to define the fit and the lengths of hem and sleeves. The details I also picked from the movie dress; button list on the front and white collars. I found old lace collars my mother had used when she was my age and decided to use them as part of the costume.

I wanted to make a prop to go with Wednesday. Marie Antoinette would have been wonderful to have, but with the time I had, I just had to abandon it. The first idea after the doll was a poison bottle. That was a good idea, but when I was raiding third pharmacy trying to find green food color I sort of regretted my decision. Christmas coming, green food color… Duh!

Finally I was able to find one jar with a helpful employee. She noticed that the expiration date had gone months ago, but it was fine by me. I just noted that I was not going to use it on anything edible. I got a weird look, but in the end I bought the product for half of the price.

The bottle itself I snatched from Yoki’s shelf, but in the end I found out that it was actually my prop bottle from the time I still LARPed. The bottle itself wasn’t waterproof thanks to the half crumbled cork. I couldn’t just color water, which was my original idea. Instead I made gelatin, poured it into the bottle and let it set on the refrigerator overnight. The result was really odd looking green wiggly… content.

The wig I had was bit thin to split on two braids, but I managed to pull off the hair style somehow. I was just happy that I even got a somewhat suitable, long, black wig! Everything happened in such short notice, that I really didn’t have time to buy anything new for the costume, except the fabric.

Contact lenses I also happened to have from previous projects and shoes I got from my mom. They were her dancing shoes, but thanks to our lovely dog who decided to sharpen her teeth on the pair years ago, I was able to snatch them for costuming purposes.

Altogether, I really enjoyed the ball! The atmosphere was great, my costume turned out fine, I even got recognized and I didn't miss my train home. The only shame was that I had to leave early, just before the disco started. Dancing and meeting other cosplayers out of con environment was a good mix indeed. All the people who I chatted with; you made my evening! Here I insert smiley faces and rows of hearts, even if that might be little out of character!

Photographs: Kyuu Eturautti
Cosplay and model: Hiron/ Casualty Cosplay

Friday, January 17, 2014

Eleventh Doctress photoshoot 2/2

The Doctor is fun, curious and kind.

A traveller...

... only with all of space and time.

Photographs: Karan
Cosplay and model: Hiron/ Casualty Cosplay

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The year is 2014. The place: Cosplay workshop, naturally

When year 2013 was almost over I thought of writing an overview of our cosplay year, but then the busy schedule at work with normal Christmas hassle got in the way. For me 2013 was precious with Eurocosplay qualifiers and finals, but I also had quite productive year altogether.

I made four new costumes, finished and debuted two that I had started the year before, competed solo for the second time in my life and enjoyed the hobby more than ever. Yoki crafted two costumes based on her original designs, competed in an original creation class and was picked for Hall cosplay competition, had to make some sacrifices to cosplay goddesses in the form of hair and varied one of her previous costume designs for two different events.

Year 2014 seems to start with a nice buzz. The first convention is closing in and for us that is Desucon Frostbite at Lahti. We are attending only on Saturday and Sunday and will bring two costumes each.

I have been making a costume from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and will hopefully finish that for Saturday. Yoki is still pondering which costume to choose.

On Sunday I was thinking of wearing Amira with one new, major addition… You can’t imagine how happy I am about this… I’m going to have Karluk portrayed by Yoki!

Amira is a character who can support herself just fine, but Karluk being her counterpart and companion I thought it would be ideal to have him around. I carefully introduced the idea to Yoki, saying that I would make the costume myself and she wouldn’t need to worry about that at all. Other that wearing three layers of clothing... and contact lenses, which she just simply hates… But she agreed and I’ve been making Karluk’s attire from the back cover of the second manga issue for few weeks now.

I’ve enjoyed the sewing process a lot! Making Karluk’s costume really brings back memories from Amira, because the materials and some of the techniques I use are pretty much the same. With Karluk I’m making less by hand, but will embroider details on the under shirts and the hat. I’m trying to keep the embroidery styles different, since Amira and Karluk are from different regions. The designs on Amira’s clothes are more or less formed from lines. For Karluk I’m using organic designs and shapes filled with color.

With Karluk I’m also using my freedom as a costume maker to alter and to interpret the costume design. There aren’t many colored illustrations of Karluk and I think the cover art I’m using is the most reliable one there is. I’m combining the clothing details from the chapters and also historical aspects to create the set.

The biggest issue was finding green wool(ish) fabric for the outer robe, chapan. It felt like no one has middle blue or green wool this winter. Gladly one old corner store with its ancient fabric collections saved us! The stripes I sewed from blue and red wool with white yarn details. It took me about three evenings to make the jacket, which was surprising since I thought the decorations would take forever. I think the projects last year really had a positive impact on my sewing technique!

The under garments were the first to complete. I made trousers and an undershirt from linen with embroidered collar. Then I made the long tunic with pin-tuck panels on the edges and on the cuffs. The tunic I made from fine wool mix with nice, silky finish.

The hat is also on its way. I’ve actually made one hat already, which was part of my performance at London Comic Con. Sadly, it wasn’t the style needed so I ended up making a new one. Which is great, because I really do love hats!

Right now I struggle with finding a suitable wig for Karluk. If I can’t find one soon, I’m probably going to dye one from my collections. But next to that and the boots I have under construction, the costume looks quite good!

Death and Karluk are the first new costumes of the year. I have few ideas for upcoming projects and hopefully will debut them both this summer. For the fall we have a pair cosplay coming up from Yoki’s Varjella. I also would like to finish a project I’ve been dragging with me for almost three years now…

Finally, I would like to wish you, my fellow hobbyists a great and productive year 2014!