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Last Post on This Journal [Jul. 24th, 2009|09:22 pm]
Well, this is unless I change my mind about the whole name change thing.

Long story short;  Sexycosplayer was sort of a running joke about 5 years ago.  I re-established this journal as a cosplay journal. But I just don't like the name.

I will be changing it instead to "Mutive". Same journal, different name. New posts will be there instead.  (http://mutive.livejournal.com)  So if you want to continue reading, please read there or friend Mutive.

Mutive means changable.  I like it for costuming, as to me, costuming feels like a constant shift in colors, patterns, characters, and perspectives.

So please read there.  I finished up the Malygos tutorial on that page.  (Light up costume, come on, you know you want to see how I did it!)  Otherwise, this will probably be my last post on this journal.

(Note: You can also read about my personal life at http://mahkara.livejournal.com Not that I'm sure why you'd want to, but the offer is there...) 
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Hmmm [Jul. 24th, 2009|11:29 am]
So, I hate my LJ name.  I'm not sure why. I just do and am getting to hate it more and more all the time.  Curious whether it is worth changing it over to a new one.  Considering "Mutive", which means "changable", perfect for costuming, no?

Worth it?  Yes? No? 
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Batik Jacket - Sewing Part 2 [Jul. 23rd, 2009|08:50 pm]
Time to finish up the jacket. I'll try to post later with Mom wearing it (as I'm sure that she'll be a very cute middle aged lady in a flamboyant orange jacket). Until then, you'll have to content yourself with sewing instructions.

Well, if you care to click the link...Collapse )
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Batik Jacket - Sewing Part 1 [Jul. 23rd, 2009|08:33 pm]
Wow, so we've already done all this work and still haven't sewn anything. Isn't this about sewing?

It is, but there's a lot of prep work done before sewing (all that "Measure twice, cut once" stuff. Trust me, it is also "pin twice, sew once". It's a pain to undo stitches, even with a seam render.)

I'll divide this into two parts as I took a LOT of pictures. Nothing differentiates them other than that I didn't want to put too much on one page. So if interested in very basic sewing, read on!

Some very basic sewing under the cutCollapse )

I'm going to break here, mostly just to avoid overwhelming any possible readers. I'll resume right after this in sewing part 2.
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Batik Jacket - Interfacing [Jul. 23rd, 2009|08:21 pm]
I am going to post way too much today as I won't be able to remember exactly how I made the jacket tomorrow. Still waiting for Mom to come home from her vacation so that I can make her model it. ^_^

The first post will be on putting in the interfacing. It's pretty easy to do, but may seem a little odd if you haven't sewn before. (I know that interfacing threw me the first few times.)

So if interested, read on!Collapse )
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Costume Pictures [Jul. 22nd, 2009|08:37 pm]
Maly is done! The batik jacket is done! And I'm too lazy to post either. So I'll give you this instead. :) Note: If there's any interest, I'll post one next on how to pose. This will probably be friends only, if I do post it, as I'm not sure that I want really bad pictures of me on the Internet. Well, um, more than there already are, anyway...

If you're like most costumers, you will eventually want awesome photos of your costumes. There are three ways to do this:

Read how behind the cut!Collapse )
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When Costumes Go Bad [Jul. 21st, 2009|06:28 pm]
This weekend, as I went to get photographs of my Soridormi costume, I picked the staff up out of the car just to find that the lighting wire had fallen off the staff. This was then compounded by dropping a shoulder, just to have one of the spikes fall off (it landed on the tip of the spike when it fell, so not really a surprise that it broke) and having the chain that holds up the top fall off.

Eeek! Photo shoot is over, race home and cry, right?

No. Costume failure is part of wearing costumes. It’s an unpleasant part, but one that we should all be prepared for with repair kits and a calm head. Here are some easy ways to repair costumes on the fly.

We’ll divide them into two sections: “Long term” and “short term”.

Long term refers to when you have a few days to fix a costume. Assume you’re at a convention. You unpack the costume after a long flight just to find out that something is wrong with it. Eeek! But at least you have a day or two to fix it before you have to wear it. So then you can fix it “properly”, the way you would at home. Well, provided that you have the necessary tools…

Obviously at a hotel, a thousand miles from home, you’re not going to have everything that you would in your sewing room. (Unless you over pack badly!) But these are some of the things that I would recommend bringing to make repairs.

1) A needle, thread, and scissors. This way you can sew things back on that fall off (like buttons), as well as mend seams, tears, and little rips. You won’t be able to completely redo a costume, but at least a button falling off won’t be the end of the world. The scissors are also useful for removing frays.

2) 1 minute, quick dry epoxy. This is absolutely vital if you’re working with something hard that just might fall apart (like the shoulders, or most body armor or costume weapons). While you’ll need to give this 24 hours to set, it’s at least fast to apply. So if your shoulders fall apart, you can put on the glue, hold it for five minutes, then leave it in your room to dry while you have fun. The outfit will be wearable by the next day. I absolutely love Loctite’s version, which does the mixing for you. (And thus saves the mess. Not such a big deal at home, but incredibly handy when on the road.)

3) Elmer’s glue. If you have a wig and the spikes fall apart, or start getting mushy, you can glue them back into place. This takes a bit of work, but is preferable to having a droopy wig.

4) Stain remover. While you have to be careful with this, it can be a lifesaver. Same for dryer sheets, which can make things smell better AND remove deodorant stains.

OK, so maybe you caught the problem quickly and could just merrily epoxy it up and let it dry. But maybe you were REALLY unlucky and caught the problem 10 minutes prior to the masquerade, just before you were about to go on stage. Double eek. What do you do now?

Don’t panic! Ensure that you have with you:

1) Dryer sheets, to get rid of deodorant stains (not that you’ll see them on stage, anyway, but why risk it?)
2) Safety pins. Perfect for fixing a problem like a strap falling off at the last minute when you don’t have time to sew.
3) Hot glue. It won’t hold for long or tremendously well, but it’ll do in a pinch until you can find a better material for attachment!
4) Needle nosed pliers, to fix protruding wires, boning, or just to repair jewelry.
5) A travel steamer, to remove wrinkles. (I finally broke down and purchased one. Great investment as everything always wrinkles, and irons often aren’t very good for costumes with lots of non-cloth parts.)
6) Spirit gum, for keeping the clothing glued to you and/or re-attaching prosthetics. Double-sided tape always works if you don’t have prosthetics.
7) Bobby pins. The perfect way to keep hair under a wig and/or in the style you’d originally intended.
8) Extra wig caps, nylons, fishnets, etc. if you wear them as part of a costume. It’s almost a guarantee that one will tear or otherwise disintigrate.

This is a partial list. Examine your costume before departing, and try to figure out what is most likely to fail and be prepared. This may take a bit of time and extra money, but it’s much better that than spending 100 hours on a costume just to not even be able to wear it. And while some cons do provide emergency costume kits, a lot won’t, or will but won’t have what you need. So it’s best to be prepared with extra spangles, beads, buttons, and glue.
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Batik Jacket - Cutting [Jul. 19th, 2009|07:16 pm]
Still stringing lights in Malygos. So far, it looks absolutely awesome. However, it's not quite done yet, as I need to figure out exactly where to put them in so that they look best, then figure out how to permanently attach them to the fabric. (Or maybe I'll just keep them safety pinned in. Eh, what's the worst that will happen? Why do I ask these questions? I always find that the answer is horrible...)

Anyway, as I ponder the horrible fates of lights in Malygos, I have been working on a very simple sewing project. Essentially the back story is this:

My mother found a gorgeous batik (or English wax) fabric a while back at a market. She wanted something made out of it. She settled on a very simple jacket pattern, then begged me to make it for her. As my current sewing machine is a present from her, I kind of owe her...

So, a very simple, unlined cloth jacket is my current project. I'm going to turn it into a very simple sewing tutorial which means:

1) I will take pictures of virtually everything I do

2) If you're a beginner at sewing, this should be helpful as I will go in extraordinary detail and point out what is seen as so obvious to advanced sewers that they rarely note it on patterns (but that you need to know to actually make an outfit work - note, some of these "seem obvious but aren't" observations come from watching friends who are learning to sew try to make garments. They often miss things that to me seem like no-brainers because they've never sewn before. This has led to garments that fall apart or just look shoddy. Then when I ask them "but why didn't you do...?" they note that the pattern said nothing about it.)

3) If you are not a beginner sewer, this will all feel painfully obvious, and thus this will probably be boring to read, so I'd recommend against it. Unless, of course, you just adore my writing style or are having an even more boring day at work.

Easy Sewing, Take 1!Collapse )
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Costume Pictures [Jul. 19th, 2009|08:30 am]
 So...met with the first of a series of photographers to get professional pictures of Jaina Proudmoore and Soridormi.  So...debating...

Should I post pictures before I've actually shown the costumes anywhere?  Or wait until I've shown them?

It seems sort of bad form to show the pictures prior to showing the costumes. Then again, it's not as though there's this huge overlap between my blog readers and people at Blizzcon, so does it really matter?

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Shoulder Materials [Jul. 17th, 2009|09:58 pm]
I became bored today and decided to look up alternative shoulder creation techniques (why not?).  One thing I noticed is that the majority of tutorials use either clay (Super Sculpty) or craft foam as the primary ingrediant. A few use paper machie.

I am a huge fan of thermoplastic, and would not recommend any of these other materials.  I'll rank some of the properties that one wants out of shoulders, and how clay and craft foam compare to plastic.

(Note: Listing from worst to first.)


Craft foam:  Craft foam is known to be a material that, at best, lasts for only a few wearings.  This isn't universally true, but it's not exactly what I'd call a durable material.

Paper machie:  Same for paper machie.  You can wear it a few times, but it'll start looking pretty ragged by the third or so wearing.

Sculpty:  It will last nearly forever, but is brittle. So it's great until you drop it.  In fact, to give it any strength at all, you basically need to use some kind of wire (usually chicken) under it.

Thermoplastic:  The Jaina shoulders were SAT ON by someone after I stupidly left it on my couch.  They still look perfect.  'Nuf said.


Paper machie: Heavy, hot, and uncomfortable. Not good.

Sculpty:  Again, I prefer not to feel like I have a yoke around my shoulders...

Craft foam:  Light, and would be comfortable except that I'm not sure how these would even hold a shape.  Seriously.  They are just flat pieces of foam.  Which is fine and all, but you'd have to do something really funky to the outfit to get them to stay in place.  Which probably would not be comfortable...

Thermoplastic:  The Jaina shoulders weigh virtually nothing.  Even the Soridormi shoulders only weigh a few pounds, and most of that is due to the spikes, which have a clay in them.

Ease of use:

Craft foam: I still have no idea as to how you'd make this a shoulder that stayed in a curve.  (If anyone knows, leave a comment.)

Sculpty:  I've used it before, but it's really not fun.  You need to use a wire mesh, then coat it in clay, then recoat a few times, etc.  It takes forever and I haven't gotten great results.

Paper machie: Like Sculpty, you need a base.  I guess that you can make one then drap, but it's a pain.

Thermoplastic:  It took me all of an hour to make the forms for Jaina. And only because I didn't know what I was doing.  I could mass produce these.


Craft foam: Only a few dollars a sheet.

Paper machie:  This may be cheapest, as newspaper and flour are close to free...

Thermoplastic: Not cheap, but not horrible either, seeing as you could make a full set of shoulders from a sheet (maybe $15-$30?)

Sculpty:  Last I remembered, it was a few dollars a pack...which doesn't sound bad until you realize how much you'll need...


Craft foam:  You're kind of stuck with a big strip of foam.

Paper machie:  It forms big and bulky well.  I could see this working for certain types of shoulders.

Thermoplastic:  It basically forms big shapes.  You could probably put a shape under it and it would form to it, but it would have to be sort of a big, rough shape.  You could always attach a shape on top of it, but the material itself only drapes as well as cloth.

Sculpty:  This is absolutely perfect if you need a very defined, detailed shape.  This is probably the only time I'd recommend using Sculpty vs. thermoplastic - if you need a lot of relief work on the shoulders, but they're small enough that the brittleness and weight aren't major issues.


Thermoplastic:  Unless you're in a major urban area, you'll have to order online.  This is the one major downside.  Then again, this is what the Internet is for!

Sculpty:  Available at most arts and craft stores.

Craft foam: Available virtually anywhere.

Paper machie:  In your home, invading your kitchen.

So as you can see, other than in very special applications, I'd use theroplastics, as they're just so light and comfortable and durable, not to mention easy to work with.  The difficulty of ordering online just isn't that great, and not being in pain for an entire convention is priceless!

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