Thursday, March 19, 2015

Naka-Kon 2015

I spent the weekend out at Naka-Kon, Kansas City's Anime convention.  While anime is not really my thing, I've been involved with this convention in one capacity or another for going on seven years now, so it's always held a warm spot in my heart.  The con has been growing by leaps and bounds lately and this year, they had over 8500 attendees - and that's without counting hundreds of badges handed out to staff and volunteers and guests and vendors and press...  So yeah, it's gotten kinda big.  I went out on Thursday night and helped out with registration, and took the opportunity to wear my "angel and devil on my shoulder" bobble head get up.  Yes, that's Captain America and Iron Man.  No, you shouldn't have to ask which is the angel and which the devil.

After I went home on Thursday night, I got the itch to make up this yukata that I'd bought a lovely water lily cotton for something like $1.99.  It was one of those "simple" projects that I always meant to do up, but never seemed to get around to and I found I was just annoyed with myself enough to power through it.  From sketching out the pattern and doing my math (had to get creative with the cutting layout, as I only had 3.75 yards to work with), the whole project took just under six hours to complete.  But as I was approaching that third hour, disaster struck when I realized that I had cut one of my front panels upside down.  The left front panel, to be precise.  The exact panel which should be folded over on top of the right in a properly worn kimono.  Cue minor bits of swearing.  However, genius idea struck.  See, the major faux pas in wearing a kimono wrapped right over left is that wrapping a kimono in that fashion is how the dead are traditionally dressed for burial.  Soooo, I decided to be a ghost.  And let me tell you.  Googling for pictures of Japanese ghosts for makeup ideas at four in the morning does not prepare you for a restful night of sleep.  But, a lovely You Tube tutorial was found and all was well with the world.

People seemed to fluctuate between staring and being unable to make eye contact.  And let's be honest here.  I scared the crap out of myself whenever I wandered by a mirror.  Creepy veiny eye bruising aside, my wig was BLONDE!

Creepy bottom-lit cosplay photoshoot for the win.

Saturday was eaten up as a workmanship judge for the cosplay contest.  I swear, workmanship is my favorite kind of judging.  I get to see all of these amazing costume up close, and then they TELL ME HOW THEY DID IT!  I am still amazed by all that can be accomplished in the world of faux armor, and got several ideas for painting techniques that I hope to one day take advantage of.

photo credit to Satoshi Inoue

I always have trouble deciding what to wear when I'm judging a contest.  There's a part of me that thinks that need to "wear my credentials', but sometimes hard to balance.  It has to be a costume that I can drive to and from the convention center in, as well as comfortably sit in for hours, and that eliminates pretty much all of the corseted costumes.  I don't want to wear anything that has lots of makeup or body paint when I expect to be fondling other peoples' costumes.  And at an anime con, I'm always afraid that the historical garb would be completely lost on anyone.  So, kimono it is, then.  I ended up over-sleeping on Saturday and just threw on my hand-painted haori jacket over street clothes and had to make do with that.  Felt a little odd being the only non-character, unwigged person on the judging panel, but perhaps I got lucky and they all just thought I was super confident, or something.

Now I just need to find myself an anime character that I can make a cosplay of for next year.

edited to add on 3/06/16: basic kimono pattern manipulation to accommodate wide hips.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sideless Surcoat - Historical Sew Monthly Stashbusting Challenge

Building on the generic Medieval fantasy costume that I started working on last month, I made up a relatively straight-forward sideless surcoat.  Went the easy route and again brought out the Burda 7977 for this instead of using one of any number of fabulous tutorials that are out there.  The goal here was to bang something out quickly so that I could show off the kirtle at Figments & Filaments here in Kansas City next month.

I was already planning to avoid buying anything new for this project, so it fit in nicely with the Historical Sew Fortnightly Monthly challenge for March which was "Stashbusting".  I found a five yard section of wool suiting that had a subtle brown and tan twill weave to it that I picked up at a steep discount eons ago with the notion that surely I could use it for something.  Thems dangerous words right there.  Well, to make it a little less 'shiny suit' and a little more Fourteenth Century, I serged the raw edges and dumped the lot of it into the washing machine on warm, and dried it on medium heat.  This resulted in an every so slight bit of felting which softened the overall hand and color nicely.  The contrasting was done in black silk velvet that was leftover from my Queen of Hearts project, and plus the thread, that's all there is to it.

Lol.  My neighbors must think we're so weird.

Not sure why it's riding up like that in the back.
Must have caught on the belt I'm wearing over the kirtle.

Another shot at that paternoster and the decorative edging on the sleeves of my kirtle.

You can almost tell in the close up shot above, but for the velvet, I just laid out the pattern pieces and cut strips about four inches in from the arm hole openings.  The velvet was sewn to the WRONG side of the arm openings, then folded to the outside, encasing the seams.  I then top-stitched about 1/4" from the edge, then again about 3" in from the edge and trimmed off the excess.  The top stitching largely gets lost in the pile of the velvet, so I didn't think it detracted from the historical look too much.  To finish those raw cut edges, I just used black silk thread to whip stitch and short intervals all the way around.  The collar and hemline were treated in much the same way