Diving headlong into cosplay - Tactical Ninja
Jul. 15th, 2013
09:05 am - Diving headlong into cosplay
This weekend was supposed to be the weekend I finished the Magister Staff. But instead, first thing Saturday I dropped it and broke it - again. This is a signal to me that there's a design flaw big enough to make it not worthwhile persisting with. I haven't given up, but it needs a rethink so that's on the back burner for now.
Meanwhile, I was lamenting my midwinter lethargy, wondering why all of a sudden I'm sinking into poor discipline, bad eating habits, things I know will make me feel bad - to the point where I actually asked Dr Wheel to help me snap out of it. Then I realised, last Thursday was the anniversary of Mum's death. That winter of 2010 was one of the worst of my life, with everything spiralling out of control and my entire existence focusing around preparing for the inevitable in all those ways that you don't realise when you see the cosy pictures of family around bedside. The family around bedside is a tiny part of what goes into supporting the dying, and the rest of it ate my life and caused me enough stress so that after the funeral, I got sick enough to spend an entire week in bed. I'd been holding it together by a thread and when I didn't have to any more, that thread collapsed. I haven't been sick since, basically. So anyway, I realised that there's probably a part of me that responds to the depths of winter with a certain revisitation of that feeling now, in that way we have of nostalgically reliving things based on external inputs. I did it last winter too.
Anyway, now I've had this realisation and the anniversary's past, things should start to improve. And just to give that idea some impetus, this weekend was one of those unexpected inspirational ones.
So we were sitting around at Fidels on Friday as usual, when khaybee happened to mention that there was a scifi/fantasy con on in Wellington this weekend, and how cool it'd be if I took my staffs. I was a bit chary of this, because I'd feel dead weird wandering around a con in jeans and a shirt, carrying a magic staff. I didn't have a costume. To which khaybee replied, "Well you have 24 hours to put one together."
I don't think she realised at the time, but that was basically throwing down a gauntlet. I work best under pressure, and pulling together a Dragon Age costume in less than 24 hours sounded like just my kind of challenge. I woke up in the morning with an idea, did some googling, and by 10am I had a plan.
I originally wanted to go for Generic Ferelden Circle Mage:
But all that piping and complicated belting looks time consuming, and also I dislike that weird codpiece thing intensely. Then I thought "Hey, everyone loves the Tevinter robes!"
But well, it's winter. And nobody needs to see my undies really. Weirdly enough, the men's Tevinter robe doesn't have this skin-baringnes, instead having a long skirt underneath. So I decided to modify the Tevinter style with the double belts and brass rings and pauldrons, and be an apostate who's learned how to dress herself.
It took me about 3 hours to gather the stuff around town that I needed. Army surplus provided two belt blanks and a fantastic double leather pouch. Missy's Room (op shop) provided what could potentially be a hideous bridesmaid dress with attached train and off-the-shoulder sleeves. Global fabrics provided shot silk in gold/green and the fun fur (which is not the right colour but is the only long stuff they had), and Made on Marian provided trim, buckles, thong, leather dye, fixings and fastenings. I got home at 1:30pm and started hacking and slashing.
Sadly I didn't have time to photograph the process, but it went like this:
1. Dye all the leather dark brown and cut the buckles off the belts.
2. While that's drying, create the overtunic in gold by using a fitted, front-fastening singlet pattern and a bit of imagination. Add brown trim and buttonholes for lacing up.
3. Cut sleeves off bridesmaid dress until they are only about 2 inches wide.
4. Make belts by adding dog clips to both ends, poked through holes in the leather, which is folded back into a rectangular loop to hold it all. No sewing yay! Thread pouches onto one belt. They cross at the back and clip to a brass ring at the front and can be slipped on over the hips.
5. Make the pauldrons by cutting a half circle then draping, pinning, sewing and cutting more until they sit on the shoulders right. Add a couple of loops to a brass ring at the front. This slips on over the head.
6. Make a wee pouch from the same fun fur, ostensibly for my phone (or potions!), but mostly to add colour balance to the outfit. Plait some embroidery thread for a drawstring and hang off the belt.
7. Decide it needs bracers. Use the cut off sleeves from the bridesmaid dress and some of the silk, and some more imagination.
8. Add another pointless leather wrist wrap and an armband. Voila! Apostate mage!
My phone went off just as I was sewing the last bracer at 7:45pm - a text from danjite going "Can you get here in 20 mins?" Sure I can! Turns out I need help to get into this outfit because I can't lift my arms over my head properly to slip the tunic on while wearing the dress, but Dr Wheel was helpful. I got there, danjite was waiting for me in the lobby, we went up the stairs and basically straight out on stage for the costume contest. Hey Tats, welcome to cosplay! Anyway, here are some pictures of the finished article. The colour in the first one is a bit off and I'm hoping some of the many photos taken at the con will find their way to me. Or I could bat my eyelashes at pombagira again.. Anyway:
These were actually taken the next morning when I'd had time to do my hair in Ferelden plaits and put on a facial mark. I didn't have those on Saturday night and also I took the Enchanter's Staff, but apparently folks were impressed enough with my speed costuming that I won a prize!
I went back again on Sunday with Cold Blooded, and participated in several interesting lectures about medieval weaponry, characterisation in writing, and introducing people to scifi. Unfortunately my back started bothering me after all the sitting and I went home at 4pm. If I'd known there'd be a prizegiving (check your programme, duh!) I would have shown for it because I feel a bit rude getting a prize and not being there to collect it. However, the lovely and elegantly costumed danjite stood in for me (thank you!) and informed me of the goings-on - otherwise I'd be none the wiser.
Anyway, yes. Turns out I can pull off a costume in less than 24 hours, that is convincing enough that two people approached me going "Tevinter mage!" so it was recognisable. Yay again!
And for those of you who give your Warden Ferelden plaits, I thought you might be interested to see what she looks like when she takes them out at night:
Go on, admit it, you totally would.
So that was fun, and certainly got me out of my blahs and doing something with the enthusiasm for which I'd like to be known. I enjoyed myself and ran into a bunch of like minded people. Interesting that most of the costumers were into steampunk, and most of the folks who were interested in how I made my staff were men. The con was focused mainly on writing, but I guess if I want to see more costuming related stuff there, it's probably like every other thing I've been involved in - a do-ocracy. I wouldn't know where to start, but this has certainly lit my costuming fire again.
And now I know a bit more about medieval weaponry, I plan to first make a dagger, because all mages carry a dagger and I feel a bit bare without it. Then I thought I'd have a go at the Blade of Mercy (otherwise known as the Giant Sword of Overcompensation). It glows from within - can't remember why - but I think it'd make an interesting LED project.
Damn, more projects.