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25 February 2005 @ 07:17 pm
Yes, I have been working on stuff...I just haven't finished anything new. And even so, there's that annoying issue of not having a digicam. Bleh. Anyway...

Three more rounds of stenciling, and my sashes will be finito. I've been waffling like crazy on what to use for the gold strips on them. I was thinking of making my own bias tape out of a nifty gold crepe satin that I bought especially for that purpose (it was difficult to find good quality yellowy gold synthetic satin...believe me), but then I decided that I would probably be better off just buying 1/2" metallic gold premade bias tape. I was leery of this stuff because it's that glitzy metal gold color and I thought it looked too '80s MTV, but so many other people seem to use a similar product for their costumes and it always seems fine when it's on some other fabric. It would have been really spiffy to find 1/2" gold fusible bias, but I've never seen any wider than 1/4". D'oh. At least temporary spray adhesive should make this tape similarly easy to work with. I would have wanted to sew on the fusible anyway because I'm anal like that.

I want to order more metal for Randy's leg armor, but I can't decide whether or not it's worth my while to pay Online Metals to cut up the squares for me. On one hand, the cutting fee would be an extra $225, but it would probably take me a while (on the order of AT LEAST 10 hours) to measure, cut, and sand the squares myself (spiffy as my snips are, they do leave tooth marks along the edge of cuts in metal close to their capacity, and 16-gauge aluminum is definitely up there). They might bend in the process and need to be hammered. I wouldn't even have fun doing this work - my (failed) efforts to make squares out of stainless steel were boring and annoying as all hell. I don't mind cutting the bands for the back of the armor myself because that will only be a handful of cuts and edges to sand, but do I really want to sit there and snip and finish square after square after square? I don't think so. Heh, it looks like I made up my mind after all. Good thing that I only make 1-2 costumes a year.

After all that stupid fussing with the surcoat pattern I traced from Randy's shirt...I decided to scrap it and just modify the vest pattern that came with the colonial men's costume pattern set I bought a while ago for the basic jacket. I had better feel better tomorrow so I can get back to work on that.
Current Mood: groggygroggy
aitai on February 26th, 2005 01:13 am (UTC)
your cosplay stuff sounds like it's going well! i've recently had a lot of time to work on my stuff as well ^_^ i think i finally have all of the fabric i need for my outfit. i finished making the bodice armor (i even managed to line and add a concealed zipper. i've started pinning the gold edging to the surface...i got two kinds of ribbon for the job. for the thin edging that outlines her armor, i got 1/4 inch wire edged metallic gold ribbon and for a more decorative ribbon beneath the breast plates, i got a 1/2 inch embroidered ribbon. it's looking pretty nice so far ^____^ so excited! also started making fake metal plates from vinyl that i painted several time with acrylic paints mixed with fabric medium. also found a really awesome fabric that seems to have a lot of stiffness to it, and some heavy interfacing, the combination of which i hope allows the skirt part to remain gently flared even with the weight of the vinyl on it. in any event, i'm super excited about otakon and seeing your outfit.
The Heavy Metal Matador: feliciarydain on February 27th, 2005 02:48 am (UTC)
EEEEEE! *dance dance dance* Your stuff sounds like it's coming along very nicely, too! Hooray for linings and hidden zippers! (I'm probably going to use a hidden zipper to close my waist sash. It's too small to pull over my hips, and putting snaps in it wouldn't work too well.) Was the zipper difficult to put in? I hope you can find some way to post progress pictures soon. Are the fake metal vinyl plates working out well for you? If the skirt droops under their weight, it might help to put boning in the hem. You can get plastic cable ties at a home improvement store that will work for this purpose and not cost very much. (For the record, if you're making a corset or something else that's really fitted, I wouldn't use anything other than genuine steel boning because the plastic stuff will deform over time or even melt. It should be fine for getting your hem to flare, though.)

I'm all excited for Otakon as well. ^_^ How's Thar's outfit coming? Is your mom going to tag along with us? I continue to be pleasantly surprised at how complacent Randy is at the idea of being made up and getting fake hair glued to his face and having to wear several pounds of armor around his waist all day. I'm happy that Amy will be going, too, and she might be staying in the same hotel. I can't wait to see you guys and wander around in a giant posse of ancient Chinese w00tness. There was some talk on cosplay.com about a DW photo shoot, but my thread on the subject is dead. I'll revive it closer to the con.
aitai on February 27th, 2005 03:13 am (UTC)
thanks for the boning advice. the only experience i've had with boning was the plastic stuff and i wanted to break everything around me from working with it. i ultimately abandoned it after hours of frustration. i'm having trouble getting an evenness of paint coating on the vinyl, so i'm still unsure if i'm going to end up using it after all. what i really need is spray paint that has fabric medium *in* it. regular spray paint would just flake off as the fabric deformed. i didn't find the zipper difficult to work with, but the zipper i'm using is one that doesn't come apart the whole way (it's like a pants zipper in that the bottom is anchored in the fabric and then the fabric opens into a V-shape as it's undone.
thar hasn't started on his outfit, although i did find an awesome pattern for his coat during one of hobby lobby's pattern sales. he says he plans to do the bulk of the work from may onward since that's when he actually has time to work on it. i don't think that mom can come now - she said that she realized that she has some sort of conflict with a quilting guild trip she's going on. i was a little bummed (because i woulda liked to have seen her pang tong) but it'll still be fun anyway. i'd love to meet up with other DW cosplayers for a photo shoot.
arafel on February 26th, 2005 04:53 am (UTC)
Your cosplay sounds so awesome, I hope you can somehow find a way to post pictures! I'd love to go to Otakon just to take a photo with you and your other DW cosplayers. (Sadly, not planning on it this year; the ppl I normally go with are either not going or planning on bringing ppl I'm not interested in.) It makes my jaw drop every time you mention making armor.

Bias tape is the best cheat ever created. I think that the gold lame' stuff is just fine, as long as it's used as an accent and not as a major component in the overall composition. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
The Heavy Metal Matador: feliciarydain on February 26th, 2005 07:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks! We should get our camera back in April at Randy's mom's wedding (as long as his brother remembers to bring it with him)...but if worse comes to worst, we'll at least get pictures from Otakon. Our friends will have their cameras, and I'm sure we'll wind up on at least one major photo gallery. And I should have a picture of the wig next month because Katie always sends a picture for approval before she ships the merchandise, so you'll get to see my foofy brass barrette. Yay.

I'm glad you're so impressed with my ventures into armor. ^_^ Honestly, because I'm getting someone else to cut my metal for me, this is actually a pretty simple project. Of course, I'll have to take care with cutting out the leather and poking all the holes in everything so it will line up properly when riveted together, but that's pretty standard work. The toughest task so far was finding the weird-sized pop rivets I needed (and admitting that it will probably be better to go for a hefty materials bill over being frustrated for hours...grargh). I would eventually like to learn the more sophisticated metalworking that involves heating up metal, beating the crap out of it over some sort of wooden form, hammering out the dents, and then sanding the crap out of it to produce a spiffy shiny finished piece, but I don't have the time or patience for that right now. After this year, I think I'm going to not allow myself to get sucked into any more difficult cosplay groups so I'll be able to leisurely work on this stuff when I want to.

It's a bummer that you can't make it to Otakon. But we'll definitely be wearing these costumes again in the future, so perhaps we can meet up at another con. Another friend has been pestering me to go to Ohayocon for a while, so maybe next year... =P

Bias tape is indeed awesome. Unfortunately, this stuff does seem to be too wide to turn the tightest curve on the sashes perfectly smoothly and I can't get 1/4" instead because that would be disproportionately skinny, but I found some tips for dealing with trim and curves that will at least help me sew that part neatly. And at least only one small section will need to be pleated...it does fit well around the more gentle "swoopy" curves.
arafel on February 27th, 2005 03:08 am (UTC)
Argh, I'm so jealous reading about all your DW blather, wish I knew you guys better so I could invite myself! :D How much do you think you'll have spent on the outfits by the time you're done? I do hope you'll go to another con with the Zhang He so we could take a photo! Are you affiliated with any large cosplay groups? I wish there was one around here. As it stands, I'm eyeballing making Diao Chan's outfit from DW5, plus my friend put a bad idea into my head to make plushies.

Ohayocon was definitely a good time. I'd be looking at AnimeNEXT myself if it didn't coincide with the dates for the F1 US Grand Prix. How far a drive is it for you out to the East Coast cons? (Incidentally, how close is where you live to Mill Hall? I have to go to Mill Hall in April. Sigh.)

Thanks for the link. Will definitely come in handy. Yay for cosplay! ;)
The Heavy Metal Matador: feliciarydain on February 27th, 2005 04:03 am (UTC)
Actually...if you want to go and you don't mind sleeping on an air mattress or something, I don't think anybody in our room (me, Randy, aitai, skurtchasor) would mind. None of the floor space is claimed and we decided to have a Happy Fun Friends Party w00t Room this year anyway, so adding a person wouldn't be a problem at all. And I will certainly be Zhang He again and again in the future. I'm actually hoping that he will become a signature character for me. ^_^ "I...defeated an OFficer!" *handflap*

I've definitely spent at least $500 so far. With the rest of the stuff I need to purchase, the total bill will be $1000 or more. At least that will have been spread out over about a year and I don't have any other expensive hobbies, so it really isn't too bad.

Nope, I'm not affiliated with any groups. I don't even know if there are any around here. There's an anime club at Penn State, and some of my local friends are into sewing and crafting, but that's really about it. I would like to make more DW costumes (a Zhu Rong for myself, Zhang Fei's DW5 costume for Randy because that's his other favorite character and the costume is nifty looking and doesn't involve any horrendously difficult armor like the DW4 one), but I won't put a time limit on them so I can relax and have fun.

Otakon is the only East Coast con we've been to, and it's about a 3 1/2 hour drive. If Ohayocon is in Columbus again, it will be about a 6-hour trip. (I drove there from State College several years ago. It wasn't a bad drive at all. Go to Pittsburgh, get on 70 W, be bored for a while.) Judging from the random map I just pulled up, Mill Hall is less than an hour from here. (It's before Lock Haven, which is 30something miles away.) When will you be there? I'm busy two weekends in April (family stuff...weeeee), but if I'm around, perhaps we can meet up. I should have something else done by then other than Randy's gold pimp pants. =P
arafel on February 27th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
we decided to have a Happy Fun Friends Party w00t Room LOL. I have no idea what you mean by that, but the image makes me giggle. Where are you staying?

Isn't part of the Con Experience sleeping on the floor in someone else's sleeping bag and throwing your back out for a week? *grin*

I think that going to the USGP will eat up the vacation time I could use for Ota anyway, but I do appreciate the invitation. What cosplays are you thinking of bringing besides Zhang He, or is that enough and more than enough for the weekend? (And how are you going to handle that whole bare chest thing without violating decency laws? ^_^)

Ohayocon seemed well-contained in the Columbus Hyatt last year, so it's likely to be there again. It's a fairly large space, large enough that it was double-booked this year with a Christian ministry group - that made for an interesting dynamic. It sounds close enough to you to be a worthwhile drive, esp. with someone to help you split the driving duties.

What other cons have you gone to?

Re: Mill Hall - I'll be out there on business sometime in the spring, since there's a chemical manufacturer out there who we have to audit. We were supposed to go in Feb., but it didn't work out. That's just as well; I had visions of snow. I'll let you know - certainly it would be more fun to have dinner with you and talk about cosplay than to have dinner with my coworkers. Not that I dislike my coworkers, but the one I'm going with is not one of my favorites. >_<

Good luck finishing your barrette!
The Heavy Metal Matador: feliciarydain on February 27th, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)
Happy Fun Friends Party w00t Room is basically a doofy way of saying that it'll be a room with a social atmosphere. If it were just my and Randy's room, it would be a more private room and it would be weird to have a third person crash on the floor...but since we're already sharing the room, adding someone else would just be fun and not weird. I hope that makes sense. =P

I have exactly one costume in my collection (a Berserker Rikku that I didn't manage to quite finish before ACEN, but I wore it anyway), and it needs some improvements before I wear it again. With two elaborate costumes to work on, I doubt I'll have time to get to that before Otakon, so I'll only be wearing Zhang He (and I'll probably just wear it on Saturday because that's when everyone else is dressing up in their DW stuff). I'm doing the default DW4 costume without the deep right armhole (I'd worry about popping out of it and I think the top looks better symmetrical anyway), so my breasticles will be securely under wraps. The leotard I got even mashes them down enough that I might not have to bind them at all. Hooray.

I've been to Otakon 2001 (one day), 2002, and 2003 and ACEN 2004, and that's it. I wanted to head down to at least Saturday of Otakon last year, but I got sick. We went to ACEN last year because a bunch of our friends in Illinois wanted to go. It was fun but crazy crowded, and the trip was rather expensive because we opted to fly.

I'm actually done with the barrette. I probably forgot to mention that I sent it off to Katie a week or so ago and I got an email from the tracking site saying it was delivered. D'oh. I could use some luck with the fabric dyeing, though. ^_^ I'll be doing that later today if my giant pile of cotton twill decides that it wants to finish drying. I get to scrunch two yards of it in a bucket, pour in the dye and requisite fixer, and cross my fingers and hope that it comes out variegated but not garish. I'm also hoping that Randy, who just went on a business trip to Chicago, will be able to meet up with his brother and get the camera back! Pictures gooood!
arafel on February 28th, 2005 08:25 pm (UTC)
Nah, that makes sense regarding the room. It's a pity mine own other half would rather poke his eyeballs out with a stick than go to a con - you're lucky that yours dresses up with you! Fangirls of Zhang He X Xiahou Dun yaoi are going to loooove you guys. XD

Berserker Rikku is quite an undertaking. I swear, FFX-2 was made just for the cosplayers - there are so many outfits! Pretty Pretty Dress-Up Magic Go!

How large of a DW group is planning to be at Otakon? There were a fair number last year who were gathering as the Soul Calibur shoot was winding down. With the release of DW5, the cosplay interest will probably crank up higher. That's one of the nice things about Otakon - it's so big that lesser-known cosplays end up with a reasonably-sized representation. My friend jaina was disappointed that her Fuu cosplay from Samurai Champloo went largely unrecognized ot Ohayocon, but at that time, the DVD had only just come out and the sample set was small.

Never done any boob binding. It sounds uncomfortable. O_o

I don't know if you're a big L'Arc~en~Ciel fan, but if you weren't, then IMHO you didn't miss that much at Ota2004. I think most of the money went to bringing over the band, and as a result, the guests weren't too exciting. We watched more anime in our room, since the stuff in the video rooms wasn't exactly new, either.

Sorry your dyeing didn't work out as anticipated. But, I'm looking forward to seeing your wig! w00t!