Some Thoughts (Days 553 - 561)

I haven't posted in a while, but I don't really feel like giving a full run-down of my progress right now, so here are some thoughts that have recently run through my head while working on something.

Sometimes when I'm working on something, I like to imagine writing a tutorial about it or explaining it to someone as I'm working. I find it helps me think clearer about what I'm doing.

There's nothing quite like the feeling of doing a massive cleaning of your sewing space after completely finishing a large or particularly difficult project.

When I finish working on something for the night, I find it satisfying to take all of the pins from the magnetic holder and put them back into the pin cushion. It makes the work feel completed.

Iron-On Vinyl Notes

I'm hoping that I'll come back and edit this to make it make more sense. Right now, it's just notes to help me get through the pricess of applying this stuff for the first time.

I bought my iron-on vinyl from Specialty-Graphics.com. I bought two different types, Sister EasyWeed Stretch and Siser EasyWeed Extra. "Stretch" is used to put on stretchy fabrics, mostly sports jerseys, and "Extra" is used for nylon, leather, and "other tough fabrics."

Instructrions from Specialty-Graphics.com:
Sister WasyWeed Stretch & Extra

• All designs must be cut in reverse
• Weed away excess material
• Preheat garment on heat press for a few seconds to remove moisture and wrinkles
• Position EasyWeed Stretch design on garment
• Cover with a Teflon sheet to prevent scorching

Stretch
• Peel HOT or COLD
• Heat apply at 305°F for 15 seconds, MEDIUM pressure

Extra
• Heat apply at 320 degrees F for 10 - 15 seconds, LIGHT pressure
• Peel HOT


My Notes:
Sister WasyWeed Stretch & Extra
• Can be cut with normal scissors.
• Use pin tip to help peel the plastic off (especially when hot).

Stretch
• Can draw on the shiny side with permanent marker before ironing onto fabric (shiny part gets peeled off).
• Difficult to cut shiny-side-up because light reflects, can't see the lines you drew to cut.
• Iron on shiny-side up.
• Wait until cool to stretch/pull/move.
• Highest heat setting on my iron (LINEN/MAX).
• Don't over-stretch (doesn't stretch as far as dance/bathing suit fabric).

Extra
• Some stretch, but causes warp. Can be fixed with ironing.
• Crumple fabric while hot to create very light weathered effect.

Dai Gurren Dan (Day 552)

This is a little late, but a couple of days ago, the leader of the Gurren Lagann cosplay group that I'm in hosted a get-together at her house. The intent was to watch the Gurren Lagann movies and work on cosplay. However, we are the worst group of procrastinators, so very little got done.

I brought over a ton of my sewing stuff and worked on my Yoko shorts. I thought that they were almost finished, but then I realized that I altered the pattern wrong. The good news is that it was fixable, and I know exactly what I did wrong, so I know what not to do next time. Of course now, I've given up on making shorts entirely, they're always a nightmare.

The rest of the group started working on Kamina's cape. It's really simple, but it looks glorious.

Of course, we ended up not watching either of the movies. We started to watch one, but then we decided to wait for someone. Then we realized that there wasn't enough room for everyone to sit around the computer, and we couldn't watch it on the TV for whatever reason, I don't always understand technical talk. We're going to try again this week.

Shorts (Days 548 - 554)

I'm trying ridiculously hard not to procrastinate on my Yoko cosplay, because I'm with a group, and I don't want to let anyone down. Also, I have to plan for the convention itself still. It's a little stressful, to be honest, which I think makes me work on things less, but I am getting things done on both fronts.

A friend hosted a meet at her house where I got some stuff done. Then I finished my shorts at home. I really hate those things. They look alright, but they were so hard to make, and I still don't think they're perfect, so I hate them. I still need to get the right belt, which at this rate, I'm not going to find.

I also made as much of the bikini as I could with the materials that I have, which wasn't much. I cut out the main breast pieces and cut and sewed the top strings (the ones that go behind the neck). I didn't cut and sew the bottom string because it's red, and unfortunately, I don't have the red fabric that I need. My friend that hosted the meet got the same fabric for the cape (in red), but I forgot to take the scraps on Saturday, so I can't do anything.

I also cut out the cardboard pieces for Yoko's communicator. I can't finish it because I don't have the vinyl to cover it. I would probably have it if JoAnn's carried it in orange. Dunno where I'm gonna get that now, I can't even find it online.

Finally yesterday, my boyfriend ordered the fabric for my jacket and the iron-on vinyl for all the details on things, because I'm really now on cash. After I sell some hats at Kin-Yoobi, I'm going to pay him back, but I really am ridiculously grateful. Now I just hope I have enough to cover the rest of the vinyl and the zippers that I need.

Yoko Stuff (Days 543 - 547)

So, yeah, I got my Yoko wig, and I still love it. A friend of mine tried styling it, to almost no avail, but I'm gonna give it a shot with my favorite hang-it-upside-down-and-hairspray-it method.

I started on my shorts, altered the pattern (which took forever) and cut out all of the pieces. I also stay-stitched both layers to each-other, so that I can work with them without them sliding everywhere. I figured out that, with the stretch fabric needle, I don't need the special elastic string (much the the dismay of my wallet). It's fine though, considering I couldn't even thread the elastic string through the stretch needle because the string was too thick.

The fabric swatches that I ordered also came in, they were my choices for my jacket fabric. After careful deliberation, I chose one, now I just have to order it. I'll also be ordering four or five different kinds of iron-on vinyl for all of the details. Part of me is really looking forward to using it, the other part of me is terrified of accidentally melting my fabrics. I'll be doing test iron-ons on all of my fabrics.

I decided that I want to make Yoko's little orange communicator thing as a cell phone pouch. Shouldn't take much time/fabric/money, since it's small and simple, and I'll have a place to put my phone, since apparently the pant pattern that I got doesn't have pockets, and I can't be bothered to alter it any more than I already have. In the show, the communicator's mouth opens up to reveal a screen, but I'm not even getting that fancy with it, I may just even make a cover for a cell phone pouch that I already have (assuming my phone fits in it).

It's Here! (Day 542)

I woke up to my Yoko wig being delivered today! It's gorgeous, I love it. It's a little small (and heavy o.o), but bobby pins remedy that (except the weight, holy cow). I threw together a "closet Yoko" for teh lulz. The only things in this photo that are a part of the actual cosplay are the wig and the chopsticks. Also, this photo does not show the color well at all. It's a dark red-orange. I bought it from fashiongarden300 on eBay. I'll do a full write-up later.

EDIT: Here is a picture of the color of the wig and the chopsticks.
On a side-note, relating to the first picture, yes, as I'm sure I mentioned before, I do have my naval pierced. I have been keeping an eye out for flesh-colored or clear naval rings, as I can't take the ring out for more than an hour without it starting to heal over. However, if I can't find one, or if they're just ridiculously expensive ($20+ is ridiculous for a ring in my opinion), I'm just going to wear the smallest, least noticeable one that I own. If people have a problem with that, well, that's just too bad.

Trying... (Days 540 & 541)

I'd like to try to get back into daily blogging again, and it should be easier since I have my laptop back (it was busted for a while). Of course, my lack of blogging and my lack of cosplay accomplishments are directly related. When I don't blog, I don't realize how much I'm not doing, so I continue to do nothing, and when I do nothing, I have nothing to blog about, so I don't blog! It's a vicious cycle, really.

So. Yeah. I've done nothing. I'm still waiting on my Yoko wig and fabric swatches. Still haven't touched the fabric for the bikini/shorts, though I did look at the pant pattern that I picked up. It's pretty cool, it has three separate patterns for three different sizes of pant (petite, average, and curvy), which it probably why it cost about seven bucks. I can't decide if I want to modify the pattern at all. It's for high-waisted pants, while Yoko's shorts are actually low-rise, but the overall shape is the same, and I don't want to ruin that.

I also still haven't decided what to do with the bikini top really. Feh. Yeah. That's all!

More Yoko Stuff (Days 534 - 539)

So I finally bought the fabric for my Yoko bikini, which I also decided that I'm going to try to use it for my shorts also. If it doesn't work, well, then I'll have some nice swimsuit shorts to swim in. I also bought a pattern for pants, which I'm just going to shorten for shorts. I bought a needle for stretch fabric and stretchy string (which I found out is just very, very thin elastic) too. I haven't actually worked on anything yet though.

After rigorous searching online, I came across Fabric.com, which, while having the least creative name I've ever heard, turned out to be quite useful. I browsed their faux leathers (mostly poly and vinyl blends) and found two colors that might work for Yoko's awkward-colored purple-brown jacket. Luckily, you can order fabric swatches from Fabric.com relatively cheap ($0.75 each + $1.50 shipping), so I ordered one swatch of each.

My Yoko wig was also just shipped, and I am eagerly awaiting it, I just hope that it's good quality. I'll write more about it (where I bought it, what price, etc.) after it arrives.

I also bought yellow chopsticks for Yoko's hair. I really like them a lot, despite them being a little more rounded-off than I had originally hoped for. However, they looked stained yellow, as opposed to painted, so you can still see the natural wood grain on them, and they don't look harsh or too bright.

So, I need to buy fabric for the jacket and boots and iron-on vinyl for the boots, bikini, and jacket. I also need to find a belt and buckle, which I would just make myself if I knew where to get loose square, metal studs. I also need to decide how I'm going to make the bikini, if I want to go for the underboob, sideboob, or cleavage. I think I can only get two out of the three. I'm actually thinking of going for the cleavage and sideboob, but I'm worried that that will make it look too much like a bra, plus I'll have to spend more money buying push-up pads. It's looking like the bikini will be the last thing that I make, haha. Or I might just end up with three of them.

102 Cosplay Questions (originally from Cosplay Kobo)

100 Questions About Your Cosplay Lifestyle and Manners

There are no right answers to any of these questions. Quite a few can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no", but there are at least three more ways to answer any one of them. Of course, every answer has its reason and every reason has a story. Our goal isn't to pass judgement, but to get you thinking about these questions. If this questionairre starts a dialogue on manners, then we've done our job.

General Cosplay Questions

1) What's the best part of cosplay for you?
The entire creation process, from choosing fabrics and materials to putting a finished garment on. (And of course the positive attention at cons is nice too.)

2) Do you use the term "kameko" ("camera-kid")?
Never heard of it before now, but nope, and I don't think I will either.

3) Do you read event catalogs?
Like the little booklets that come with your badge at most conventions? Not usually. I'll scan them for interesting events that I may not know about, or read about the special guests, but I'll only read the whole thing if I get bored at the con.

4) Do you rsvp to events?
When I am able to, yes.

5) Do you want to attend more events? Or are you content to remain in your local area?
I always want to attend more events, but I never have enough money.

6) Do you use color contacts?
Nope. Sometimes I want to, but it's a money and hygiene thing.

7) Do you make your own costumes or do you buy them?
I prefer to make them, but I have bought parts (t-shirts, jeans, etc.).

8) Do you stick to one genre?
Nope!

9) Do you think that when cosplaying, one should stick to the genre of a given event?
Nope.

10) Does it bother you when people break genre?
Not at all.

11) Does it bother you when people know nothing about the series they're cosplaying?
A little, but only because it sort of discourages conversation.
"Oh, you like this series?"
"No, I just like the outfit."
"Oh, well it is a [cute/cool/whatever] outfit!"
-nowhere left for the conversation to go-

12) Does it bother you if people only know a little about the series they're cosplaying?
Not particularly. I prefer that people at least read Wikipedia or watch an episode or too, but it doesn't bother me if they just started the series and decided that they liked a character right off the bat.

13) Does it bother you if people are familiar with the series, but have no affection for the character they're cosplaying?
Ehh, again, not particularly.

14) Does it bother you if someone else is cosplaying the same character you are?
Nope. If they look better than I do, then, yeah, I get jealous, but I"m generally good-natured, so, no, it doesn't outright bother me.

15) Do you like posed shots?
Yes.

16) Do you like candid shots?
Only if they're in-character.

17) Do you think cosplaying characters from adult games or pornographic material is in bad taste?
Only if the outfit itself is explicit and there are children/pedestrians around. Otherwise, as long as you're covered, I don'r care.

18) If there's a problem at an event, do you jump to conclusions about the parties involved?
Depends on the problem, but, yes, if people are causing problems, I do make assumptions.

19) How many times do you cosplay in one month?
One or two.

20) Do you go to photo shoots?
Occasionally.

21) Have you ever been included in a cosplay CD-ROM?
No.

22) Is casual cosplay okay?
Yup, as long as the cosplayer doesn't have a rotten elitist attitude.

23) Are you okay with your face appearing on the internet?
Sure.

24) Do you find yourself thinking people are "too old" for cosplay? How old is too old?
Some people are too old for cosplays of specific characters, but not cosplay in general. On a similar note, some people are too young for specific characters too.

25) Do people who walk around in gothic lolita fashion bug you?
Nope.

26) Do you think Chinese dresses count as "cosplay"?
Not unless it's a specific character, otherwise it's just fashion (and can still be worn at cons, in my opinion).

27) What bothers you the most about cosplay?
The elitists in the community and people who ruin other people's fun (in any way). Oh, and the expense.

28) Do you think it's important to be "in character"?
Only for photos. It's thrilling to see cosplayers in character, but it's difficult and sometimes awkward to pull off, so I never expect it.

29) Does it make you nervous to be eyed by regular visitors at a public event?
Not nervous so much as awkward, but as long as there's at least one other person around in cosplay, I'm alright.

30) Do pre-scheduled cosplay appearances by popular cosplayers annoy you?
I've never heard of this, but it doesn't seem like something I'd get annoyed at unless they were loud and obnoxious.

31) Do you tell other people your best locations for shoots?
I don't have any spectacular shoot locations, but if I did, I would definitely share them. I always tell the location (if I remember) of shoots that I have when I post the pictures.

32) Do you put on your makeup before your wig or after?
Before. In the fashion industry, makeup is put on before hair is styled so that the hair doesn't get messed up by the makeup or from having to be pinned back. But I do put on my wig cap before makeup, to keep my hair out of my face.

33) Do you know a lot about the series' you cosplay?
I make sure that I know the basics at least (a quick Wiki search usually gets me started), and I always read or watch at least some of it, but it doesn't always stick in my mind. So if you ask me "Remember when [such and such] happened in [such and such] an episode?" I might not always know what you're talking about, even if I watched it twice.

34) Do you wear costumes only once or many times?
I wear them until I get bored of them.

35) When you've decided what costume to do next, do you share that information with other people?
Yup. It's warranted me a lot of hate a couple of times, but after editing a few privacy settings on my facebook, I feel a lot more comfortable sharing.

36) Do you want to be in cosplay magazines?
It'd be nice.

37) What's the most important part of cosplay for you?
Same as my favorite part, of course, the creation. It doesn't bother me when people buy costumes though, as long as they have fun in them, but I feel like other people are missing out on the fun of creation sometimes.

*~*~*~*~*

Event Participation Questions

38) How active are you cosplaying in your own community?
I try to be very active, but this is a difficult question for me, since I don't really feel like I have a defined cosplay community. I'm just sort of everywhere in my area.

39) What do you wear on the day of an event?
Cosplay, of course.

40) Do you eat lunch on event days?
Yup.

41) Do you eat breakfast before attending events?
Definitely, otherwise I feel sick all day.

42) How long does it take you to change?
Depends on the costume, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

43) Do you think it looks geeky to attend an event with a big SLR camera?
This is a silly question. NO.

44) What camera do you use? A compact? An SLR?
Little point-and-click digital camera.

45) Are you afraid of cameramen? Are you cool with them?
Cameramen are fine as long as they don't get too personal.

46) Are you one of the first to line up to get inside?
Ahaha, no, I hate getting up early.

47) Do you not mind showing up late?
Not usually, no.

48) Do you have a small after party or a huge get-together?
Neither. I go home and sleep.

49) Do you like karaoke?
Nah, just not my thing.

50) Are you tolerant of bad singers?
Not really, no, haha. But I also don't attend karaoke events, so that solves that.

51) Do topics unrelated to animation and manga bug you? Or do you think it's okay to talk about anything at all?
Free speech, buddy, talk about whatever you want.

52) Do you eat lunch while inside event areas?
Sometimes.

53) Can you handle the cold?
Nope, I get frostbite.

54) Do you buy doujinshi at events?
Nope.

55) Do you make doujinshi to sell at events?
Nope.

56) Do you have a group that participates in group events?
I chill with the BAC, yeah =D And then I have my cosplay buddies for just hanging out in general or planning group things with.

57) Are you a member of a cosplay circle/club?
B.A.C. (Bay Area Cosplay)

58) When the event is over, how late do you stay out?
I usually go home right after.

59) If a new face approaches you at an event and takes up a few minutes of your time, are you annoyed?
Only if they're obnoxious is some way, otherwise I'm always glad to meet new people!

60) Do you go to cosplay dance parties?
Like at-con dances? Yeah.

>b?61) Do you think your Layer status is higher than others if a lot of people want to take your picture? Does it bother you not to have your photo taken as much as you think you deserve?
I have no idea what "Layer status" is, so... No?

62) Do you get jealous of other cosplayers having a lot of pictures taken of them?
Yes.

63) You're asked for a picture but have something else to do, do you refuse?
Only if I'm in a hurry or eating.

64) When you take pictures of people at events, do you give them all copies of the prints or data?
No, but usually just because I never see or hear from them again. If they asked, I'd give them to them.

*~*~*~*~*

Photo Shoot Questions

65) (at a studio or shoot) Do you give a copy of each photo to all of the participants in it?
I'm not the one with the camera at photoshoots, but assuming I was, I'd send digital copies to people that I could get in contact with.

66) How do you approach photo shoots? As a chance to gather with friends and goof off or as a meeting to take nice pictures?
Both.

67) Are you particular about how you look in the test shots before the shoot? Do you mind how you look in general?
Yes and yes. If there is going to be photographic evidence, yes I want to look good!

68) When you take photos, do you prefer shots from the front or odder angles?
Both.

69) Are you bothered by recieving lots of photos? Are you happy?
I love getting lots of photos. =)

70) When you take photos, do you photograph only people you know personally and like? Or do you look for other people with great costumes to photograph too?
I take pictures of costumes or characters that I like. Which doesn't always even include my friends, haha.

71) Do you wander around to meet people at events or do you keep to your own group?
A little of both.

72) How many photos do you usually take with your own camera?
Usually I forget my camera, but at the last event, I have maybe 100 pictures.

73) How many photos do you usually take for others?
None. I'm a selfish photographer.

74) Do you mind if people resize or crop the pictures you've taken to make them look better?
Nope.

75) Do you crop and resize pictures others have taken for you?
Rarely, but it has happened.

76) Have you ever set up a photo shoot by yourself?
With just me and a photographer? Yes.

77) Do you check shoot information beforehand?
If there is any.

78) Do you like it when there are a lot of people in the shoot area? Or do you prefer small events?
Both. It's nice to get pictures with a lot of people, but it's easier with just one person.

79) What size (how many people) is the best for a shoot?
I wouldn't really know, most shoots that I do are just me, but I'd assume maybe around 4 people.

80) What time of day do you like to take photos?
Afternoon. I'm not a morning person, and night shoots are difficult (or so I hear).

81) Do you prefer indoor or outdoor shots?
Outdoor, the lighting's better.

82) Which do you dislike more - hot weather or cold weather?
Cold weather. It's harder for me to hide when I'm cold.

83) Do you know any cameramen?
Indeed I do =)

84) Do you eat in the photo area?
Yes.

85) Do you like taking parts-shots? Or do you dislike them?
I don't know what parts-shots are. =/

86) Do you retouch your photos?
No, but usually the photographer(s) that I work with does(do).

87) Are you annoyed by people who don't retouch their photos?
Nope.

88) Do you use reflectors?
I've worked with photographers who use them before. They can be annoying because the light gets directly in your eyes, but if the photographer is cooperative and sensitive to your pain, they can produce amazing shots.

89) Which is worse ~ breaking the rules and getting great pictures, or following them and getting poor ones?
Breaking rules to get good pictures is worse. Usually rules are there to prevent people from getting hurt or to prevent things from getting damaged. There will always be more opportunities to get cool pictures, I wouldn't want to risk getting kicked out of somewhere for a photo.

*~*~*~*~*

Friend Questions

90) Why are your friends your friends?
Because they're awesome people who share similar interests.

91) If you hang out for one day, do you consider yourselves friends?
Kinda, I guess. Depends on the situation. If we make plans to hang out, sure, we're friends, but if we hang out for a while at a con where we just met, then you're a potential friend.

92) Do you give copies of your photos to others?
Digital copies, sure.

93) Do you want to make more friends?
Well, duh.

94) Do you at least remember the names of people you meet at events?
I'm lucky if I remember people's first names.

95) Do you find yourself adjusting your behavior to that of the character you're cosplaying when dealing with people dressed as characters your character knows?
Only if they initiate it.

*~*~*~*~*

Home Page/Websites

96) Do you recieve permission every time you post a photo of someone else online?
Not for facebook, but I try to if it's for my blog. If someone asked me to take a picture down, I would. I have plenty of others that I can use.

97) Do you get angry if a foreign site links to your page? Or are you flattered?
I prefer them to ask permission, mainly because I'd like to know what sites I'm supposedly affiliated with.

98) Are you happy to get mail from Layers overseas or does it scare you?
I don't know what "Layers" are! D=

99) Do you try to increase your web sites' contents/hits? Or doesn't it matter to you?
I try a little, but I'm afraid of becoming obnoxious. I mostly blog for myself, but getting readers is cool.

100) Do you not particularly care who links to you? Or do you ask people not to link without permission?
Already kind of answered this. I prefer people to ask permission.

101) Do you credit the location or studio when posting photo shoot images?
If I am capable, yes.

*~*~*~*~*

Final Question

What do you think people who have "good cosplay manners" are like?
Do:
Ask permission for photos
Be aware of your personal surroundings

Don't:
Talk badly about other cosplayers (to their face or behind their backs)
Bother people who are eating or in a hurry
Block other people from taking pictures
Stalk people for pictures
Get a big head
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