Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

New Akatsuki undies

The material I chose for the undies is 100% polyester, even if it looks like cotton. The fabric is also really elastic. Moving around and doing low, open poses is well enabled. Even with stretch I placed hidden zipper in the side seam. Our previous ones where tricot and they had rubber band inside high waist piece.

I used was regular trousers pattern for the pants. I left darts for tight fit on the hips, took out some looseness on the thights and knees and flared the legs out. Without the shin guards or leg warmers, which ever you prefer, the pants look like cropped hippie jeans. When you tuck them inside the shin part they look great!

Nothing much to say about Deidara’s belly shirts. Like every Deidara cosplayer out there and pretty much everone who have read Naruto, I wonder why he wears one. Ignoring the questionable fashion taste, the upgrade is complete!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Video upload: Christmas special

Behalf of myself and Yoki, I wish all the best of Christmas! Casualty Cosplay's Christmas special is now viewable on Youtube.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Present pants

Happy birthday, Yoki!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Three shoots in one bang

We have planned a photoshoot for holidays with our favorite duo up to date; Sasori and Deidara. We still aren't quite sure, which day it’s going to take part though. Even if we don’t shoot outside, the weather dictates the matter. We need sunny or at least bright weather to have a clean looking footage. With our second interview clip we were behind the planned schedule and our camera didn't like it. The “interview part” looks dark and unclean, because we had to work with artificial lights.

Next to following weather forecasts we have made scripts for three different sets; Akatsuki interviews, Sasori-Deidara moments and Christmas special. However, the Akatsuki interviews needs to be tweaked a little. Our memory was bit off with some details on Sasori's and Deidara's plots. I have also been combing and tuning our wigs after they went through a lot with us, rolling down the stairs for example. I can’t do much with Sasori’s wig; I will need Yoki’s head for it, but Deidara’s ponytail I have tried to upgrade. Emphasis on the word “tried”.

The wrapping around the ponytail can’t really even exist. Thank you for giving me a headache with your design, Kishimoto.
This far I have tried three different methods with the wrapping and finally I think I have a solution. I need to cut the ribbon and wrap the short pieces separately around the ponytail. To get as close as possible to the reference picture, I couldn’t think of anything else. I even tried to use hilt wrapping instructions as references, but quickly came to a decision that it wasn’t helpful at all. Honestly, I didn’t know there were so many individual parts involved in it!

By the way, have I ever mentioned that I have a soft spot for cheap fabrics? I ended up buying the perfect fabric for Akatsuki pants… and for Deidara's belly shirt. The old ones are starting to rip apart and the color doesn’t appeal anymore. With this rate we might end up redoing these guys in whole. The progress this far surely suggests so.

Welcome for holidays, Yoki! You might end up wearing new pair of pants! No worries, only 3,90/meter.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How we afford cosplay

We have been cosplaying as a duo from 2006. At the beginning we tried to keep cost of the costumes minimum. Because of that, we do not look at the photos of our first cosplay willingly. We look at them if we would like to have a good laugh. But to put it short, we had horrible wigs, cheap fabrics and well… the make-up collection wasn’t something we could be proud of. We even tried to make Yoki’s eyebrows white with potato flour! And the second round with Hitsugaya's eyebrows wasn’t that much better, even if we used white eyeliner. Yoki looked like Santa Claus without a beard in photos! Yoki promised to take our first cosplay as the next topic on her transmission videos on Youtube... which makes me rather scared. If interested in the horrorful first time, keep an eye on Yoki transmissions!

Now we do pay attention to all the things we lacked with out first cosplay. Of course we try to make wise purchases, hunt for discounts and pay attention how much we can spend. Quality is usually expensive, but generally well worth it. I also try to sew our costumes so that there isn’t “something like that” solutions in structures. This hasn’t yet affected to us affording cosplay, but we might someday sell our old costumes and I wouldn’t ask money from them if I didn’t know that they are worth it.

Yoki is a university student and I’m working in clothing industry. Because Yoki obviously has smaller income, I put bit more into cosplay from my own pocket. But not everything, because we have afforded almost half of our costumes with bottle money! I must admit that we have gotten bit lazy with picking up bottles these days, but in the beginning of our cosplay career we did costumes purely on bottle deposits. Now we have about 70 euros left from last summer to be used in the current projects.

To feel like I’m not using only my paychecks on cosplay, I take commissions every now and then. I’ve done normal clothes next to ball gowns and things that you can’t find from stores, like a custom cow bathrobe. Currently I’m making an outfit for “feminine Kakashi”. It’s going to be a masquerade costume for the celebration of last day in upper secondary school.

Then we have our parents. Usually they steal material or hotel bills secretly and pay them or offer some “lunch money” for conventions. They sometimes even come along to photoshoots to act as drivers or assistants. They usually have no idea what we are doing, but turning the camera to right direction or patting your shoulder when you are going berserk, is more than enought. Who wouldn’t love supporting folks?

Every year we try to make a plan for our costumes based on how much time and money they need. Last year we did only one duo, because we had Snowtrooper still in the making and our summer was full of other activities. Next year we are going to break a record; we have planned three duos. One of them is nearly finished. For Snowtroopers we have nearly purchased all we need. We only need to construct few components, put the whole set together and debute the bastards (warm feelings, no?) . For Luminara and Barriss we have also bought almost half of the fabrics already. I almost wanted to put up a party, when I realized that we only need to buy one wig! It’s a blessing money-wise.

When we plan our cosplays we also take in consideration the wigs, contact lenses and supplies we already have. It can bring down the cost significantly. One way for me to think that I use less money is to buy stuff in a whim, like glues, clays and tools. I always try to have all the basic stuff needed in some point of the costume making process in stock.

And sometimes to afford cosplay, it's wise not to think about how much money you have spent on it already.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Moonlit Mireille

In "Moonlit tea party", which is eleventh anime episode of Noir Mireille is wearing white men’s shirt. How convenient! I just happened to have one in my closet! Months ago I found a perfect tea cup from flea market and started to wonder if I should scrape together the tea party outfit. And yesterday I did. It's not much of a cosplay, but a nice snack in this current costume silence. I could have chosen a better occasion for the photoshoot, which pretty much contained me, camera, tripod and a cup of tee about 5 AM. Creativity doesn't ask for the time or the place!

With the shoot, I got an opportunity to see how the styled wig looked with contacts, fake lashes and make-up. The wig is years old, bought from Estonia. It's rather good quality, thick and easy to work with. Tangles fall from the wig with ease or then I just have the patience to comb wigs properly these days. The photos came up nice, even if the lighting was dim and I used my new camera first time with tripod and timing. But the atmosphere mediates. I really tried not to make it sleazy. Well... bed room sets are always sleazy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Height issues

The six years elementary school lasts here in Finland were horrible for one of the tallest girls in the class. For lunch the class had to line up; short ones first, tall ones last. Sometimes the best bread had already run out when we tall girls got there. The boys were midgets compared to you. You couldn’t ask anyone to dance the slow songs in the disco and you really couldn’t have a crush, because it would have looked ridiculous if you walked hand in hand.

How I view my height today is quite the opposite. I'm comfortable of how tall I am. Me over fifteen years ago didn’t appreciate it, now I kind of love it. Still it took long time to change the way of thinking about a thing you really just need to accept at some point. With cosplay we take in consideration my and Yoki’s height when we choose characters. Usually it comes along rather naturally, we don’t over think it. As a duo we try to respect the height differences, even if we don’t match the heights exactly. Few of our planned cosplays we have dropped unnoticed because of differences were really off. These have been pairs, in which I would have cosplayed a character who is significantly shorter than Yoki’s.

I personally think that I would look really silly, if I even tried to cosplay some cute, little moe character, especially if the character is perceived as a cute, little moe. Some characters have such a strong image, that fighting against it seems futile for me. As an opposite example I must bring up Samara, who is a little girl killed at young age. Still I had no problem cosplaying her, because next to her scary looks the height simply didn’t matter that much. The height usually comes along, if it’s a descriptive feature of the character, like in cases of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist or Allen Walker from D.Gray-man.

In animation and comics, preferably in Japanese ones height usually connects to age and gender. Tall characters are typically male or/and adults. This has probably caused us to crossplay a lot; I’m 174cm or 5.7 feet and Yoki is almost 169cm or about 5.5 feet. Only recently we have found female characters that we can cosplay and feel comfortable in with our bodies. There are strong ladies with a real body out there, sisters.

It doesn’t bother me to see two meter tall Luffy or short Kakashi. We don’t follow the characters sheets slavishly and twit others for not following them. But I must admit, that height issues gets to me sometimes. This happens when I see a great, accurate cosplay. I admiringly slide my eyes from nicely styled wig down to hand embroidered jacket, ribbon decorated velvet pants and BOOM! Dominatrix platform shoes! Like wee-tee-ef! Height is not that important that it should ruin a great ensemble. The illusion is more likely to break because of unsuitable shoes than ten missing cents. Again I call for proportions and self-esteem whether you are missing or having too many centimeters.

You can wear any color on your hair you like or change your eyes with a flip of the fingers. But one thing you can’t subtly change is your height. If I were to add any height for a character I would do it if I can hide the what ever I’m going to use to lift me higher. This would work great with long hems or capes. Or use heeled shoes which would resemble the characters footwear or fit the period of time or the spirit of the series. Photography offers many ways to fool the eye. With cropping, angles or taking the composition with many characters in consideration you can do miracles. If the feet doesn’t show pretty much anything can be used, like a stool to fake height.

So yeah, for a person who really doesn’t think about height, thinks about it awful lot. Doing accurate is a lot of fun. Still there are many things about cosplay you can stress out next to height, which really is something that you can’t do much about… other than stress of course. Height is a perspective thing to say the least.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Costume cross-section- Samara Morgan

Samara Morgan is the main antagonist in the American versions of The Ring movies. I made the costume based on the first movie, I haven't even seen the other. The costume itself I designed based on both versions of Samara, human and un-human.

Samara was my second "solo cosplay", primary constructed for Halloween. I'm hoping that I'll get a change to wear the costume again, preferably in convention. The reactions Samara brought up were just priceless. I have few ideas for cosplay videos, but they are on hold until spring. How warm I was to make this costume, it... or I won't endure -15 °C (5 degrees) and tight height of snow.

Main piece of the costume is Samara's worn out and mossy dress. It’s made from white flannel, lining on the bust is beige acetate and hem lining is white cotton and dark grey batiste. The hem has three layers and it’s heavily pleated on the waist. Hidden zipper is placed on the side. On the back of the bust is an open pleat on the whole height of the piece. The belt is separate. I dyed, or preferably messed the fabric when all the pieces were cut with antique grey fabric dye from Dylon.

Double lining to give the hem some poof.

The torn out look I achieved with scissor ripping. The way I made it happen must have looked suicidal. I don’t even know how to call the way I used my scissors. It was aggressive and maniac, I ripped the fabric the same time I cut it, which made the cuts look irregular and messy. I also cut my fingers, so not the safest method out there.

Samara's dead version doesn't wear socks or shoes, different from the mental house outfit, but I ended up doing them for the Zombiewalk at least. With them I could wear thick stockings underneath, but still be loyal to the characters looks. The socks are made from bamboo knit sown to a tube. I placed the seam on the back, because Samara is rarely viewed from that angle. The socks went through same kind of dye progress as the dress.

Shoes I wore, were just regular ballerinas. I actually found perfect shoes for Samara, but didn’t purchase them because I thought I would never wear the costume again. I might possibly go and buy them now when my mind has changed. If I wear Samara in conventions, shoes would be more that practical.

The wig I used for Samara was originally bust length. I made wefts from left over kanelon to make the hair longer. Bangs I pulled aside with pins to get closer to Samara's look. The make-up is combination of glue, toilet paper, white, grey and black cake make-ups, dark eye shadows and attachment powder. To keep warm, I constructed sleeves with all the previous. As a base I used bamboo knit.

Glue-paper parts of the make-up after I ripped them from my face.

I estimate that I used approximately fifteen euros for this costume. I only had to buy the flannel and a tube of glue for this project. Everything else I scraped together from my fabric storage and closet. But realistically, it would be easily over seventy euros; wig 20-30 euros, make-up 15 euros, fabric for lining, zipper, other attachments and dye ~25 euros. And if I had bought the shoes, it would be plus 10 euros. Originally I planned and chose the costume so that I could benefit from all the stuff I already had and to be honest, I really like the outcome.