Saturday, May 26, 2007

CosPlay: originality or recognition?


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POST ARCHIVED TO OLDER DATE BECAUSE MOVED TO MY NEW COSPLAY BLOG AND OFFTOPIC FOR THIS BLOG!

Me answering more questions on CosPlay forums:




If you head here , you'll see my website about the costume I'm currently working on. It's Lord Sesshomaru from InuYasha. I'm completely obsessed with this guy, so it only seemed logical I CosPlay him.

Well, it started out as me just planning a simple "CosPlay" costume. I originally planned just to do a quick, "once-over-look-like-the-guy" costume, like I normally would do for any other character. You know, the average type of CosPlay costume.

Than I started planning. And planning. And studying. First thing I realized, is that I picked probably the worst nightmare of a costume I could have picked to make. This costume, consists of a kosode, a furisode, a hakama, an 8 foot long "tail-thing", a suit of armor that's absolute hell to recreate, and all kinds of little weird details and things, that most other character would not have had. So I started writing up a list of all the things I needed, (which was the start of my website, BTW), and the next thing I know, not only am I planning this costume, but now I'm surrounded by huge library books on the history of Japanese clothen in the 1500's.

Next thing I know, my goal is no longer to make a Lord Sesshomaru costume for CosPlay.... no, now I'm going to recreate his entire wardrobe, including all 4 of the different costumes we see him wearing. Thing is, I'm not creating the wardrobe we see on the anime and mangas, now I'm recreating what he WOULD have worn, had he been a REAL lord in ancient Japan.

The end result of this is a costume that is going to cost me a fortune and take about 3 or 4 years to make, because I'm doing the whole thing by hand, including the embroidery of the 4 kimonos, and I'm going to do REAL metal armor, not foam or plastic or whatever, like I had originally planned. Thing is I'm still doing Lord Sesshomaru, but I've changed everything all around so that it'll be historically accurate enough for me to double it as a Japanese persona I can wear to SCA (historical reenactment) conventions as well.

My Lord Sesshomaru costume has gone from a CosPlay costume, to a historical reenactment costume fit for the SCA! LOL!

When I get done, it'll still be easily recognized as Lord Sesshomaru, but it'll be changed from the norm, not at all what you normally seen done by other CosPlayers, being less fantasy and more real and will more closely resemble a real nobleman's outfit than a CosPlay one.

So yea... I say go with originality. If you can still recognize that is was the character when you get done, than yay you! If not, well than, you've created your own character, and even more yay you!



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Patterns for Dagger Costume from Final Fantasy 9


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POST ARCHIVED TO OLDER DATE BECAUSE MOVED TO MY NEW COSPLAY BLOG AND OFFTOPIC FOR THIS BLOG!

I was helping a fellow CosPlayer find info for a costume today, and I ended up do way more research than I had intended to do, and well, now I have a post for my blog from it. So if any one out there is looking for the patterns to make Princess Garnet-Dagger from Final Fantasy 9, or any other character from any other video game, anime, or manga, that requires a pouffy sleeved blouse and a unitard, than here are the patterns you could use for it.

You can actually buy the unitard here or here.

That is not something most pattern companies are going to have. You have asked the right person for help though, cause I do theater and dance costumes too, and I know where to find patterns for those. KwikSew sells specialty dance wear patterns, and they have several different unitard patterns.

To make it, I would try using one of these patterns and alter the neckline:

KwikSew Pattern 3273

KwikSew Pattern 3052

KwikSew Pattern 2633

KwikSew Pattern 2722

For the blouse, that'd be pretty easy to find. A lot of companies have some like it. Here's a few that might work, all a a bit different, some would be a "reinterpretation" of the original look, but all would work:


KwikSew: Pattern 3065 or Pattern 3062

Simplicty: 3887 or 4177

McCalls: M5050 or M5469

Folkwear: #103

Vogue: V8032 or V8453 or V8289

If it was me, I think I'd use This one for the blouse, because I like this one the best: McCalls M5050

Of course, I could be thinking of entirely a different costume, and than none of this would be very helpful to you.



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CosPlay: To Use Patterns or No?


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POST ARCHIVED TO OLDER DATE BECAUSE MOVED TO MY NEW COSPLAY BLOG AND OFFTOPIC FOR THIS BLOG!

CosPlay: To Use Patterns or No?

My answer:

I actually do not cut out the patterns. I use the tailoring method of pin cutting. Which means I lay the paper on the fabric, and than use pins the "trace" the entire outline of the pattern to the fabric. Once done I can fold the paper back up and slide it back in the envelope. I than cut the fabric using the pins as a guide instead of the pattern.

This method is used by some French fashion designers, but it's not very common. I don't recommend this method unless you are quite advanced though, because it is very easy to make huge mistakes doing this.

I find it easier to use, because you don't have to mess around with all the crinkly paper, plus you don't have to cut off the other sizes in the pattern, thus you can reuse the pattern later, either on yourself if you change sizes, or for one of your friends who is a different size than you.

However, when you are just starting out, it is better to cut the pattern out instead.

If you want to reuse the pattern over and over again, than you should make a sloper. To do this you will need either some cardboard or some poster board, the same size as your pattern pieces. You use carbon paper to trace over the pattern pieces, and than cut them out of the card board, instead of cutting out the paper patterns. All fashion designers do this. It's very rare for a professional costumer to use a paper pattern, most of them use slopers instead. The reason is because a paper pattern is good of only 2 or 3 uses and than it's pretty much trash. Once the paper wrinkles, you'll find it pretty hard to make the pattern again and make the size come out right. However, a cardboard sloper can be used 30 or 40 times before it wears out. And if it's pattern they plan to do lots of, say a few dozen each month for the next several years, than they would cut the sloper out of plastic. Bridal shops usually use plastic slopers, because they use the same 3 or 4 patterns to make dozens of different gowns.

When using a sloper the cutting method is different though, cause you lay the sloper on the fabric, and than trace around the outer edge with a tailor's chalk. You never use any pins at all, and you only cut on single layers (not folded) of fabric, thus you must trace the pattern, than flip it and trace it again, if it tells you to cut on the fold. But not cutting on the fold you achieve a much better and more accurate fit.



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What in a costume inspires you?


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POST ARCHIVED TO OLDER DATE BECAUSE MOVED TO MY NEW COSPLAY BLOG AND OFFTOPIC FOR THIS BLOG!

Today I found a question which asks:

    What in a costume inspires you?

    [QUOTE=luckinspades;5180]Straight up. What aspects of a costume inspire you? The colours? The details? The potential? The challenge? Share.
    :questionmark:[/QUOTE]


Here is my answer:

There really isn't much that challenges me with sewing, because I can pretty much look at anything, draw up the patterns and make it. Oddly, this only works when making my own cloths, cause I know all my measurements and such. I just look and sew, I make a pattern if I need one, but I don't always need one. I've been sewing since the 1970's so, sewing is pretty much second nature to me now.

I do alot of hand work on mine. If there is a design on the fabric, I hand embroider it in. It there is no design, than I get thread to match the fabric color and embroider one in anyways. I go crazy nutters over adding tiny hand worked details.

[b]#1 love of character.[/b]

I only do characters I love; I really got to love a character to want to become them, look like them, act like them, etc.

[b]#2 gotta love the style[/b]

no matter how much I love the character, if I wouldn't wear their cloths in real life I won't make the costume, because I'm a life actor, I live in character 24/7, I wear my "costumes" every day, all day long, to me these are not costumes for me these ARE my street cloths, so I really gotta love the cloths before I'll wear them.


[b]#3 same as #2 only:[/b]

I will make cloths worn by a character even if I have no idea who the character is, just because I really love the cloths they wore; however when I do this, I do the cloths only and not the full character costume (no wig, no weapons, no makeup, etc,). In this case I'd be dressing like that character, rather than pretending to be the character.


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Thursday, May 24, 2007

CosPlay: Alter Garments? Buy Patterns? Make Patterns?


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POST ARCHIVED TO OLDER DATE BECAUSE MOVED TO MY NEW COSPLAY BLOG AND OFFTOPIC FOR THIS BLOG!

[QUOTE=treble_clef;2439167]I'm new to this, how do you get a pattern?

Do people just take an old t shirt apart and use it as a pattern? XD Or do you actually buy a pattern? Or make one up???
[/QUOTE]


It depends on what you are going for as an end result, and what your current skill level is. I've done all three methods you mentioned.

For Wonder Women, (in 1980) I started out with a red tank top, a blue bikini, and my grandmother's bracelets, and just altered them. It wasn't very accurate, but at the time accuracy was not my goal, so the end result suited the look I was going for. (Though it is my plan to remake Wonder Woman in the future and go uber accurate next time around.)

For my Renaissance Woman, (in 1997) I used a McCalls Pattern, combined with pieces of a Simplicty pattern, and than altered the two patterns to fit the dress I wanted to make. Which as it turned out was a huge dress of rose colored velvet, with 7 yards of fabric in the skirt alone! And 3 yards of fabric in EACH of it's huge triple pouffed sleeves. This was the biggest dress I ever made, and was made to be worn with or without hoops. It's very "Queen Elizabeth" in styling, and though it started out as a pattern, it in no way reselbes either of the patterns that were used to make it.

For my latest (and by far most advanced) project, I am not using a pattern at all. This costume is being "made live", it has it's own web site HERE, where I add updates as I go along. At the moment I have no photos of my work up, but the how-to instructions are mostly there now. I started this project in March (2008), and am doing the whole thing by hand, and in the utmost extreme in historical accuracy... right down to buying and using handwoven 15" wide silk to make the kimono and hakama out of, I'm even hand embroidering the fabric before I cut it out to make the costume, and making real battle armor (not foam or plastic).

So, in answer to your question about what you should do: It depends on what you want your end result to be, and how much skill you have in each area of your costume construction.

As for me, I started sewing back in the 1970's, I sew everything I wear, I sew stuffed animals, I sew dolls, I sew characters dolls to match my costumes, my mother was a seamstress and doll maker, and I took Fashion Design and Dressmaking (2 year course), and I spent a good 20 years studying the methods of historic sewing and ethnic clothing construction techniques. I also make my own patterns.

Long story short: It took me a long time to learn to sew using the methods I use. I started out simple, by editing store bought garments, than moved up to simple patterns, than to more advanced patterns, than to college training, and it took me many, many years to do it. I didn't just do it over night.

In other words in order to get to the point that you can make your own patterns, you REALLY got to love sewing an awful lot, because it takes a lot of time and paitance (and money) to get that far. Slow and steady wins the race.

Start out by altering store bought garments. It's the best way to get a good look at how garments are put together.

Find some one who can teach you to sew hands on. While you can teach yourself, you'll learn quicker, faster, and with fewer mistakes, if you've got someone there to help you along.

Start out with simple patterns. Sew Easy, New Look, and Simplicity patterns are all made for beginning sewers. Start with those companies first.

McCalls patterns should only be used if you already have some skill sewing, but can still be used by beginners.

Folkwear, Butterrick, and Burda patterns are quite a bit more advanced and should be avoided by beginners, but once you've sewed a few other items, you should have no problems using these.

Vogue patterns should only be attempted by advanced sewers, and even some advanced sewers complain that they are too difficult to use. Vogue patterns give instructions assuming that you know how to do French and Italian high fashion techniques, the reason for this being that they are designed and written by French and Italian fashion designers (Giovanni, Armani, Channel, Dior, etc).

Going without a pattern usually requires some sort of training; either college or an apprenticeship. Going without a pattern is not recommended unless you have very advanced sewing skills.



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My Kimono Silk For My Japanese Personas


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POST ARCHIVED TO OLDER DATE BECAUSE MOVED TO MY NEW COSPLAY BLOG AND OFFTOPIC FOR THIS BLOG!

My silk mania continues while I wait for my silk to arrive. Since I've gone from sewing up a fantasy costume for a fictional character to re-creating a historically accurate outfit for what he would have worn had he been real, I now find myself hunting down info on how to sew historically accurate Japanese garb. In doing so I came across this question posted on a blog by yet another person doing a Japanese persona:

    SCA Silk Road - To Those With Japanese Personas. What kind of silk do you use for your garb? I have a set of utility garb, consisting of linen kosode and hakama, but I haven't yet made a nice set of silk kimono to wear to indoor events (the linen getup is mostly for camping in the summer).


And here is the comment I posted in responce to that question:

I make mine out of historically accurate 15" wide hand woven silk, which I get imported from a dealer in Japan. It takes about 5 weeks for it to ship from Japan to Maine USA, so I have to plan for that amount of time too.

Japanese silk is utterly amazing: it's very lightweight, very soft, very buttery, and it looks like a thin batiste cotton, very few people would even know it was silk, because it's not what most folks think of when they think of silk! .... Japanese kimono silk, is not at all like the Indian or Italian silk which we are used to seeing here in the USA, which is shiny, slippery, and often too heavy to drape nicely. Also Indian and Italian silks are sold in 45" to 62" widths, while Japanese silks are sold in 13" to 18" widths (15" being the average), and that makes a big difference in how you actually construct your garments too.

To make them historically accurate while using 45" Indian silk, you'd first have to cut the silk into 15" wide strips and hem the edges, before you could start cutting out your kimono or hakama. For me doing something like that just isn't an option. I go all out when I want to be accurate. I know I can be a bit extreme at times too, because I also hand embroider my silk using ancient Japanese methods, and than hand sew my garb too! It takes my about 6 or 7 months just to make one kimono, because I get crazy over being all accurate about everything! LOL!

If I wasn't so strict with myself, I could use silk I could buy locally and sew and embroider by machine, and be done in less than a week. YIKES! I'm torturing myself, but I love it! I have so much fun hunting down this super rare type of silk and than once I've found it, I buy several bolts of it all at once (cause it's the same price to ship one bolt as it is to ship 5 bolts! and the shipping alone from Japan to USA is close to $100!) I figure, I've spent so much time locating the fabric, than dished out so many oodles and oodels of money to buy it (it's very expensive! I have to use bargain fabrics for my non-Japanese garb, cause I go for broke with my kimono silk!), so I figure I've invested so much in this cloth already, I might as well take my historical accuracy the whole 9 yards, right?

Weird thing about all this is, when I make my European or Early American garb, I don't give historical accuracy a thought! I just make whatever "looks accurate enough" out of whatever fabric I have on hand. I only go uber authentic when it comes to my Japanese garb. I guess I must like my Japanese persona better than my Euro or American ones!

Sorry for the long comment. I just got a bit excited being able to tell someone about my fabric hunting. I get so excited over buying fabric! I'm a fabric hoarder, btw! I'll never use half of the fabric I buy, but I always, see new fabric and it's like "Well, someday I could use it for something." so I buy it and never use it. LOL!






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Monday, May 14, 2007

Space Ship vs Star Ship


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What is the differance between a space ship and a star ship?

I don't know if this is considered "cannon" to the general sci-fi genre or not; or how it compares to other writers and what they do, but I write sci-fi and this is what I do for my own stories:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

shuttle crafts:

can only be used for short distance travel, much like an airplane, they carry at most maybe 30 people; they can leave the atmosphere to reach an orbiting ship; they can leave an orbiting ship to land on a planet; they can travel like a plane from one continent to another on a planet;


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spaceships:

large ships, can have a large crew of hundreds, but if need be could be run with only a handful of crew members; they may or may not have shuttle crafts on board; their travel abilities varies depending on the type of ship; small ones act much like large compacity shuttle crafts, while the large ones can orbit planets, and travel from one planet to the next; some can only go to the nearest planets, while others can go to the farthest planets in to solar system; they do not however leave the solar system


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


starships:

these are the same as spaceships in size and structure, but they are driven useing differant "fuel" methods than the spaceships, thus enabling them to travel to other solar systems... i.e. they can travel from one star to the next, thus the reason they are called "star" ships. Depending on the "fuel-method", some star ships can only travel to near solar systems while other can go not only to other solar systems but also to other galaxies; some can travel via a "portal drive", to arrive at far reaching galaxies in a matter of seconds



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inter-stela starships:

these are the biggest, most powerful of the ships in my books, they can carry tens of thousands onboard these giant mega ships; these are the same as starships, just bigger in size; in my stories, these are rare and hard to build ships, of the 12 built only 2 survived the test runs and remain in use, but are considered dangerous and rarely used; in my books they were built by the race of a dieing planet, in order to move the entire population to a new planet

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I have not personaly used the term star cruiser in my stories or books. However, if I did use it, this is how it would be used by me:




star cruiser:

star cruisers would come in many types and forms, but most often, a small ship used during war times; manned by a pilot and a crew of maybe 3 or 4 others; this small ship can't go very far, but it can go very fast, it is small and can move in and out of tight places;

if a transport type it would be used to get spies to where they need to go without being caught;

if a fighter type, it would be able to fire on delicate areas of large ships with pinpoint accuracy;

very very small single passanger ones would be able to be used on land, like a cross between a motorcycle and a hovercraft; these would be called land cruisers not star cruisers

big star cruisers would be passanger transports from planet to planet, and refered to as transport barges

a cruise-ship or cruise-liner, would be the same as a cruise-ship or cruise-liner on earth, only it would be a star-ship not a water boat; in that it carries tourists on pleasure cruises from one planet/galaxy to another; these would be big slow moving luxery liners


at least, that's what comes to my mind when I think of star cruiser


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Well, that's me and my stories, and how I define space-ships veres star-ships

I hope this helps

~~EK





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Welcome

Welcome to my writing blog! If you have visited before, than you will notice some changes, namely, that the theme has changed. My long time readers well recognize this theme: Yes, SHIVER is back, and I'm am now working on my pet project once again.

For those asking "What is SHIVER?". SHIVER is my ghost story project that has taken me several years to get written down, but is finally seeing an end in sight. SHIVER is soon to be published by The Twighlight Manor Press and has a planned release date of: October 2009. Watch for it!

NaNoWrimo 2008 is just around the corner and so this blog is rising from the grave to return once again for iit's third year as my official NaNoWriMo blog.

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About This Blog:

I Won in 2006I've signed up for this year's NaNoWriMo 2007 (my third year at NaNo!) and this is my blog for it, where I talk about my thoughts about writing, my ideas for NaNo, and the progress of my contest entry for this year's National Novel Writing Month contest.


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