Saturday, November 5, 2016

Learning how to be Legit

Let's see if I can make this post mostly photos.

Because in 2016, I put together two cosplays -- each with only a minimal amount of Duct Tape (eep!)

The first taught me the value of sewing in a timely manner. The second was my foray into Damn Massive Props (DMP).

Let's begin with the sewing project -- a continuation of a previous cosplay, though you might notice a few key differences...

Weiss Schnee from RWBY

I kept the weapon from a few years ago (though I had to re-cut one of the hilt details after basically leaving the blade in a machine shop for two years...note to self, Adafruit has some damn good LED wires...the thing still lit up!!) so the challenge this year was a legit version of the Weiss outfit.

Legit because I was cosplaying with these lovely ladies, and I needed to make sure my outfit was worthy of their presence

There ya go. The RWBY ladies in full force.
Luckily, the lovely lady cosplaying Blake also happened to have infinite patience with a sewing machine. And people learning how to properly use a sewing machine (haiiii).

Through many nights at her place listening to KPOP (BTS - Dope made many an appearance) I got this outfit finished.

True to form, it was not all from scratch. I certainly saw no need to sew a white camisole shirt when there were several available in most women's clothing stores. Instead, I focused on tailoring a few pieces to my character -- and my body.

If nothing else, I learn time and again that costumes you make for yourself actually fit you. Cosplay-wise, this is a huge benefit both for comfort and the overall look.

The jacket needed to be constructed by hand. It was kind of a bolero sweater, except it had a lot more structure. I began with an actual bolero (white), and ran it through its paces -- cut off sleeves and added my own, added a collar, inserted lining, sewed on some lace, and put in details like the tiny buttons.
Emblem on the back was painted on with a lasercut stencil

During this process, I discovered...the magic of fuseable fabric (for the collar), the wonders of an edge stitch on a sewing machine (for when hemming just seemed silly), better technique for hemming lace on curved edges (still working on it, but this time I was more patient), and the magic of fabric dip-dye (you need a large stock pot you do not mind losing forever, but the results kind of speak for themselves).

The skirt was far easier to make, since there was no lining involved and the overall shape is pretty simple. Again, fabric dip-dye was essential in getting the proper gradient of color (Weiss has a fade from blue to white). It was recommended to me at AB 2014 that I use airbrushing to achieve the gradient, but once 2015 rolled around I found out that...airbrushing is kinda expensive. And I am still a cheap cosplayer. So.

Maybe in the future, it will be a worthwhile investment, but for now...

Where is the duct tape, you ask? Look no further than the little pouch right there. All duct tape. And still incredibly functional. See? Still an engineer.

Boots were as simple as fabric covering and strategic sewing/sealing with duct tape. Again, stiffening fuseable fabric was a god-send for making this work. I actually used some boots I bought many years ago for a Mireille cosplay (Noir, for those 90's connoisseurs) as the base for Weiss's footwear.

I don't have the heart to take the boot covering off. Sorry, Mireille, but I don't think you are coming back.
This cosplay endeavor was punctuated by many trips to the fabric store, by weeknights at a sewing machine discovering the wonders of BTS, by time cracking up with these lovely ladies as we all learned how to correctly use said sewing machine, and a little bit of time in a machine shop to fix damage done to the aging (but functional!) blade. All it all, it showed the benefits of patience with doing things the right way in a sewing context. Also the benefits of cosplaying with these wonderful ladies (

Oh, and the real benefits of a photographer. A cosplayer's best friend. See for yourself below!

We're going on an adventure!!

Lighting. Such lighting.


Ruby gets it. Weiss needs a bit more time.

Be on the lookout for RWBY Season 4 outfits -- hopefully debuting at Anime Boston 2017!!

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