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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Red Skirt

Red Skirt

This Lolita skirt was made following the instructions from Gosu Rori volume 7 from the skirt on page 11. The lace is applied to all the seams and the front and back panel has some delicate pin tucks which I think stand out better with my colour choice.

Difficulty: Easy - Medium
Total Time: approx 6 hours

It is hard to explain the actual shapes of the pieces for this skirt. There is a thin band for the bottom with the lace attached, but the rest is made out of pieces. The zip is in the side (though on the pattern the zip is supposed to go in the back - I thought it was wierd having an extra seam in the back when there was a perfectly good seam that could take the invisible zip in the side, so I moved it)

First the front and back pieces are constructed. The pin tucks are sewn in the front, then the two pieces are joined and the seam covered with the lace that has satin ribbon threaded through. Next a wide panel is gathered and the front and back sides are sewn together and attached to the gathered edge. Then the whole lot is attached and the side lace is sewn over the seam as you see in the first picture, which just needs a trim, then the bottom frill and the waist band attached.

Construction Progress

The bottom frill is attached after the lace is sewn. The lace has already been gathered slightly when you buy it so all you have to do is sew it on. Make sure you get a nice cotton on cotton and not one that uses shiny polyester thread on the design. The material is gathered until it lines up with the skirt and then attached with lace applied over the seam again, then the top of the skirt is gathered into the waist band.

Tip: Try to line up any joining seams on the frill or lace with the seams where the pieces join so that all your seams line up and you minimize any seams that may seem out of place.

The most time consuming part of this project is all the gathering, but the end effect is definitely worth it and this is a relatively simple skirt. I have left off the satin bows that the pattern suggests as well as a large material bow for the back as I felt these were unnecessary and liked the simplicity of this design.

Ready for waistband

Unfortunately no pattern for this one at this time. The magazine has detained instructions on how to draft these pieces and I highly recommend picking up a copy if you can. They retail for approximately $25 and contain patterns for approximately 18 whole outfits.

I wore this skirt with an Anna House blouse to a meetup at the Zoo on a 40 degree day, so a parasol was a welcome accessory.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dejiko Bells and Hat

DiGi Charat Group

Everyone’s favourite part of my Dejiko is my bells and it’s my favourite part too. The bells really do jingle!

To make them you need a couple of special tools, however they are fairly easy with a little patience.

The bells started life as a clear plastic decoupage ball – the kind you can get from many craft stores. They come in varying sizes, so you might want to take a small mirror and check their sizing against your head. I had many a strange look at my local craft store, which was very interested when they asked me what I wanted them for. Decoupage balls are designed to be taken apart, decorated and put back together, and they are quite strong and thick plastic.

I made my first cuts with a dremel tool which allowed me to position a jewelers saw and cut around the intricate shape. A dremel is a type of engraving tool which comes with a variety of attachments. I used a small cutting disk to make a couple of incisions. This allowed me to insert the jeweler's saw, which is designed for intricate cutting work.Carefully take the blade apart and insert it through the incision, then refit it quite tightly. It needs to be tight in order to cut through the plastic.

Cutting Ball

You can see in the picture that I have clamped a piece of board with a sharp triangle cutout onto a table. This allows you to position the half ball onto a steady surface. Moving the blade up and down, hold the ball carefully and turn it as you cut.

You can cut whatever shape you like as the jewelers saw will allow you to go around intricate curves. I used a traditional bell opening shape which looks a bit like a dog bone. When the cuts were finished I evened them off with some sand paper, while being careful of the finish of the smooth plastic. You don’t want to sand the plastic or it will show up in your paint job. At this time you can cut off the balls hanging tab which you can see in the left of the next photo as we won't need that.

Ready to Paint

I used folk art paint for its superior gold colour. This gold actually looks shiny as it has some kind of metallic powder which catches the light. The cheaper gold paints look brown and dull. To achieve a nice finish I had to do 3 or 4 coats. When the painting was done I used a small hand drill to put two very small holes in the side opposite the cut. You can find hand drills in hobby stores as plastic model makers (ie Warhammer) often use this tool. Using some wire, I suspended a real bell on the inside and formed a loop on the outside so I had something to thread the ribbon through. Then the two halves were glues together.

The hat was made out of polar fleece. I used a very basic shape for the ears and a 6 panel hat pattern. The eyes are simple ovals with a wide zigzag stitch like is used for appliqué to form the pupils. After sewing together the hat with the ears in the top seam, I pinned the eyes and carefully hand sewed around them. Just before stitching them closed I put a little stuffing inside to make them raised from the hat.

Dejiko Hat

I used blue ribbon to tie on the bells using a wide needle to thread it through the polar fleece of the hat just below the ears. The bells are held on only by the ribbons and the whole lot sits atop my wig without any pins or support. After several wears I have only had the hat fall off once.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Brisbane Supanova 2008

Fate/Stay Night Group

I have recently returned from Brisbane Supanova and now that I have caught up on some sleep I wanted to express how much everyone impressed me with their costuming this year. It was so fantastic to meet so many new people and talk (however briefly) about your costumes and experience and I hope some of you will find me and say hello!

As far as my costuming is concerned, you could have seen me running around in a commissioned Japanese school uniform on Saturday (and I got a lot of comments about being Sailor Moon for some reason), or as Dejiko on Sunday for which I still have several articles to write, especially after having a lot of questions about my bells and shoes. I am hoping to get those other articles up as soon as I can.

As one of the judges for Madman’s cosplay competition on both days it was unfortunate that there can only be a certain number of winners. The panel of judges had to deliberate quite a lot on some of the decisions that were made due to the high level of both costuming and performance; however in my mind everyone who got on stage deserved something for their time and effort.

For this entry I thought I would give you an insight into what a judge is looking for and how you can provide them with the best way to evaluate your costume and performance.

1. If you are performing a skit then please utilise the stage – centre front is good! Make sure you give everyone the best opportunity of seeing you.

2. If the judges are to the side of the stage (as we were during the more informal Saturday competition), then please make sure you walk past them. Don’t go too fast as we want to see your costume. If you are encouraged, stop and answer any questions and point out any parts of your costume you think the judges should notice.

3. Be honest if you did not make the costume yourself!! We like honesty and it doesn't necessarily mean you will be precluded from a prize.

4. If you are not performing a skit please make sure you stop and pose for a reasonable length of time. Practice poses that show off your costume, for example, if you have spent a lot of time on a prop or the back of your costume is noteworthy (wings, etc), then you might want to pose with that prominent. Choose up to three poses and stop long enough for photos.

5. Time and practice your skit. Usually there is a two minute limit for cosplay and skits which you should try to stick to. A shorter skit means that the judges won’t get bored, and boring the judges is not a good way to stick in their memories! You can say a lot in 2 minutes.

6. Keep it PG13. And to those Yaoi fans out there... I personally don't find Yaoi to be an entertaining skit!!! Please do something original.

After the competition is over, audience members may want to tell their favourite cosplayer how much they liked their costume or enjoyed their performance. As a costumer myself who has been in these competitions the positive comments are great to hear, but one thing I don’t like hearing is if I should have won over someone else or that you didn’t like the costume that won and thought your favourite should instead. The panel judges are chosen for their expertise in differing areas and have their reasons for choosing one entry over another.

You also don’t know who is listening or who you might offend with a careless comment about another person’s costume. The person you are talking to may be offended if you say you thought the costume which won was bad as it might happen to be their friend. There are ways of telling another person about your enjoyment of their costume without putting down others, and if you remain encouraging then we can hope to see the cosplay at these events reach new heights every year!!

A very big well done from me to every person who put on a costume for this year's Brisbane Supanova and a big thankyou to the organisers for putting on a fantastic weekend!!