Monday, September 14, 2015

Post-PMX and the start of Australian Movie Month!

Australian movies, here I come!

Or rather, many movies in general.

Things have been winding down since coming back from PMX! It's crazy to see that I'm finally working on my way to update and get things rolling. I think that in many ways, it was an eye-opening experience for me.

I don't really need to begin with the same old story that work, school, and life had been so overwhelmingly busy that although I have been productive with cosplaying, I really haven't sat down to reflect upon how much I work at things. The benefit to that is really living without the necessity to blog, to simply live and keep on going forward, but another beauty of life is also looking back at posts and absorbing those good spirits and remembering all of the great things you can accomplish, even against all odds.

PMX for me this year was probably one of the hardest conventions to get enough time to get things done for how I wanted them to be. For starters, I had great plans with my friends, but just as they have their own concerns, the closer you get to the con, the more realistic you see your chances of finishing your projects with them. Unfortunately one by one they had to bow down for this time. One of the biggest conflicts had been the schedule change. PMX is my autumn convention, so I usually know to get settled into school, and then when things are lukewarm, just before the holidays, I can enjoy it. Last year, I was super happy to attend that convention as an opportunity after recovering from my really horrible sciatica. This year, it was like recovering from severe overworking.

Without needing to say more on the matter, my job situation had prevented me in more ways than one from not just having time to sew, but actually have opportunities for sleep, proper rest, and other essentials. So by the beginning of August, I had begun losing hope that I wasn't going to get any time to finish anything, and I made a last minute decision to remain at the job position I am currently at.

But I did manage to get PMX off for that weekend, so I focused on finding time in between everything to start getting my projects done. My two plans had initially been Luna from Sailormoon, and Yasuho from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, with Yasuho being my masquerade cosplay.

Although I'm all for masquerade, this time around I was very nervous about joining a collaboration skit, and lacking the proper time to get anything done.

Yasuho's little progress collage.

Within a few days before, I started working on Yasuho. I had gathered materials for both early on, but to sit and sew had been a whole different ball game. Mostly everything on the top had been nearly completed by the first night however, and I managed to make it easier to apply without compromising the trims and other additionals.

The skirt as well had been a simple circle skirt, although I prepped it to hold up about thirty roses along its hem and skirt fabric, which I am super happy with. The flowers were then attached and left to dry for most of the evening in an open environment. I had to make sure they didn't fall to the force of gravity.

A busted Utena-inspired prayer circle.

I think the true highlight of this costume however had been my artsy collaboration with my sister, who helped decorate a pair of shoes for me to glitter around the convention.

I absolutely adore these things.
So about three and a half days before the convention, I thought about how I wanted to finish Luna, or at least something that brought my joy to wear. I had skimped out on cosplay events to go to this convention, in a summer of very limited days off if any, and I wanted something to show for it.

Deep down, I felt a little sad that my friends had to drop from our Sailormoon idea. Even though I'm accustomed to finishing costumes alone most of the time, I felt like maybe I had pressed my hopes solely too much on it, and I found it hard to envision me wearing my costume and not seeing my friends in theirs. The joy was sharing our trio together.

So a few posts ago, I had mentioned that I had begun rereading Fushigi Yuugi. Although I thought I would cry, I didn't, but I felt rather satisfied with myself in an odd, tranquil sort of way. I thought that of all manga, I would be overcome with nostalgia and an existential pondering of why I felt this way, but I felt actually like it soothed a part of me that had been very hurt from all of these recent experiences.

Although the manga's a far cry from what Watase's writing or any modern "classy" fiction is, the story has always been meaningful to me. I certainly interpret it in a different way now in some areas, but very similarly to my core as my twelve-year-old self did the first time she picked up the manga. And in all these years, Miaka has had a special place in my heart.

Thanks to a kind and supportive friend, I sat with my thoughts and played around with the idea of switching my cosplay to something that right now could feed into those good feelings of hope, courage, and happiness. My instant thought was Miaka, because while her Suzaku no miko outfit from the anime isn't a huge, detailed project, it's beautiful in its own way. I instantly felt this emotion to do it, and I saw myself feeling so happy in my costume, no matter what.

In about twenty minutes, I found my supplies in my fabric stash, and began working on the red robe. I felt as if someone had taken me by my shoulders and let me soar through the night with my sewing. By morning, I had worked on both cosplays, and had made a note of what materials I'd need.

My lineup (although I didn't get a chance to wear Momoko for this event!)
 I went with a darker red shantung for Miaka's robe, since I had recently seen some of the images from the Fushigi Yuugi musical. I'm digging more than anything Yutaka Kyan, but that's a different story.

Although it was kind of a risky move, I went straight into the Joann trims thinking that I would find exactly what I needed for Miaka's neckband, since I gravitate to using trims at any fun possible moment. I went ahead and found this really neat trim, which I placed an underlayer of gold satin. Then on the side added another trim, and not seen here, midnight blue ribbon to give it that contrast.

I am the queen of retarded mirror shots.
So I finished pretty much adding the neckline and then all of my ribbon. I managed to have just enough to get all of that properly sewn in, and the result was really awesome!

Where I usually hang my costumes because clearly my background sets are on point.
 Already I was beginning to get excited about wearing Miaka, but my next process would be making the under robe.

So I followed the same robe pattern I had used for her robe, but it took me a little more to figure out how I wanted it to look like and give it that billowy effect but achieving two major requirements:

  1. It needed to have some drama on the bottom.
  2. It needed to have some opaque because I'm too embarrassed to go full sheer.
So I redrafted my pattern and split it on the waist into a top and half bottom of the robe pattern. I then cut out three layers of the bottom of each skirt panel: one of chiffon, one of icy organza, and one of a cream-colored peachskin I had leftover from a previous cosplay. I sewed the three layers together, then attached the front and back of each panel. By the time I got everything done, the top was made of the same peachskin so that it wasn't sheer, but the bottoms were made of individual layers that covered from the lower waist, but had drama on the bottom. I then serged all of the pieces, and the hems.

As you can see, it gives out the effect of having these billowy skirts, but I'm comfy on the inside, covered, and I still achieve the same outcome I want to make it accurate.

 With more ghetto goodness, I then tested out the under-robe without the sleeves yet with the robe, and was pretty happy with how the bottom looked. It has a bit of a train, which I like, but at the convention, it wasn't too much of a hassle to bring up whenever I walked around the convention floor.

So mind that this had been in about....three hours away or so from Day 1. I was pretty much posessed to finish this cosplay to wear for Sunday (Day 2) before changing into my masquerade cosplay for that evening. I then quickly drafted my sleeves, which I had some prior experience with on Kougyoku, yet I overlayed a very glittery organza into my sleeves so that they have some sparkle and texture, but none of the glittery goodness smeared all over my cosplays. Then I made the ruffled collar by folding over long strips, basting them, and then pulling at their ends to make some gentle ruffles, and then were serged and topstitched over to hold.

 This is probably one of my favorite cosplays ever. Even just from collecting my progress shots, I was astounded at how much work I had gotten done, and much more evenly paced, than other projects.

I wrapped up most of the fabrication by completing my bow and sashes for the evening, and then got ten minutes for some shut-eye before prepping in Kaoru.

As usual, being a complete goober.

I probably had less than half an hour of sleep in on me for the past days, but I was over the moon about my cosplays and going to the con that I really just went for it. Although I had other cosplay plans beforehand, I tossed most of them out for this con to really just get what I could done in a short time, and I feel like I really made the most of my time.


 This is me being a complete goober and at a loss for words for meeting Hikami Kyoko for the first time ever, after telling her what a huge Wedding Peach fan I am. I was in near tears. She was one of my huge reasons for going to the convention. She was so sweet!

So after my hurricane of vindication and shoujo magic tears, I got home after a very fun day at the convention. Although it was a small convention, it's definitely on the relaxing side, which is much welcomed! There's not a lot of conventions who have that sort of aura just because they are located in big cities or people put so much tension on them that you forget the fun of it. After all this time, it was so great to just wind down and get to be in costume, eat yummy food, and blissfully dream about those magical grills.

So my little interlude goes to Yasuho ~ so to go fast-forward for a moment, I have yet to have a picture of me as her! I took some, but the experience was way too fast for me to stop and see what I have in my photo stash. Needless to say, masquerade was super fun, and it was great kicking it together!

So when I got home, I got back to work to finishing up Yasuho, who needed application on the flowers mostly. Then for Miaka, I had most of the fabrication done but needed my accessories, so I took a quick nap and then got to work on my crown.

I had this assortment of earrings, hairclips, pins, buttons, and a load of other gunk I collected just for this project, so one by one, I began figuring out how to make an ornate version of her crown. I also fished out my brown bun wig, which is actually a wig for my Katase Shima cosplay, but it has a new purpose now.

The crown is actually comrpised of two long, conjointed and double-backed strips of craft foam and were covered with gold bias tape I had left over from Caster, which gave it a nice, metallic effect. Then I took a hairpin (the glittery white piece) and attached the center gem over it. The hairpin has large teeth so it can stay put in my wig, and I secured it by attaching another back one just in case. I then added rows of the pink gems, and then the two side pieces are made of earrings with gems attached on them. Not featured is the front cornice, which was made of a hairpin modge-podged and then repainted in gold to complete the look.

I am shocked that it actually looks like a crown. It's very lightweight, and it's well secured on both ends.

The battle station in full swing.
Here's a little breakdown of some of the clips and pieces used. The flowers have clips and I replaced them with lighter colored ribbon, since that pink was as bright as the sun baby from the Teletubbies, and I didn't wear the matching earrings this time around because I had to change into Yasuho.

So once again, lacking any time to sleep, I got all ready in my cosplay, and got a quick but victorious snapshot of my full Miaka cosplay!

Suzaku no Miko reporting for duty!
 I have yet to have pictures of the full cosplay, but I'm beyond words happy with how much fun I had being in this cosplay. Words can't express the experience of making this and seeing it well-made, durable, and accurate to what I wanted it to look like in my dreams. Not to mention, being that gluttonous but lovable little shoujo for the day.

In many ways, she made my convention, because while masquerade happened (which I shall report as well too!), my magic was having the chance to sew something I truly loved and brought me back to why I cosplay.

Coming back from the convention, I reflected a lot that everything had happened so fast. Most cons tend to come like that, because it's so easy to be wrapped in all of the important and realize how little time you have left to sew. But it's really true when they say that you can make your lemons into lemonade, when you truly believe in it.

Because I would really like to get into plans of another convention before Anime Los Angeles, where I have a skit in the brew with the friends, I have three new plans to work for the next couple of months as I get my rhythm going. I definitely want to finish Luna, and then I am making Kururu hopefully for Akiharabara Expo, as well as my Rose Witch project! I am super excited for her, since she will blend a lot of work I have done over the past few months!