Tag Archives: Portal Productions

judar | day… something. let’s say twelve

I’m so sorry that I have not been updating! December is always really busy and with me working two jobs and going on vacation to bury my grandfather in the Philippines, I didn’t exactly have time to write.

Anyways, I did finish building the base for my wig!

 

I also painted them black. You can see how the first sphere has a flat back and while I did contemplate buying more foam and fixing it, I decided to leave it to give the braid some support against my back.

I didn’t take pictures of the next few steps because my hands were busy, but I did use thick thread meant to sew heavy fabrics, a long piece of wire, and hot glue to thread them all together. Then, I carved a hole at the top of the braid and glued in a few rows of wefts from a clip in ponytail to start covering the braid. I also took a section of those wefts and looped them through the base of my wig to support the braid.

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Tada! All covered up with that initial sections  of wefts. I’m sorry the pictures so blurry!

The wig I ordered still has a rattail of its own, which is braided in this picture and clipped out of the way, so I undid the braid and started covering the spheres with it to lend even more support.

Somewhere along the way, I lost support and now my braid leans a little to the left. :/ I can fix it later on, but it’s just annoying.

Glued and sprayed the rattail down until the fibers ended. I have to go and cut more wefts to continue covering all the bald spots.

In the meantime, I worked on his clothes and abs. I sewed in the elastic waistband to the pants but I know I’ll have to take them in later.

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I just love how they turned out! It’s a little awkward to walk in them because the crotch seam is so low but whatever.

I also made his choli. Initially, I wanted to put in my zipper in the side seam, but I don’t know why I cut open the center back seam when I made my pattern.

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I also need to taper in the sleeves. No idea why I didn’t even think about that before.

Then, I figured I’d start over on the choli so I could put the zipper in the right spot and taper the sleeves. Bought another yard of sateen and lining, but my pattern would not just come together. It was always too tight in the arms and shoulders no matter what I did. Clearly not an experienced seamstress’s work.

So I went back to my original choli, pinned the center back seam closed and tried it on with my ghetto binder that I also made that same evening. To my frustration, it fits without needing a zipper. I still have the option of adding darts and being able to pull it over my head.

Dude. Why.

I’m just going to taper in the original choli’s sleeves and sew the damn thing shut.

Still need to drop the neckline all the way around. Since I’ve made my binder, I can now figure how low I can drop it without it or any remnant cleavage showing.

I just want to be done with it.

I also went back and worked on his jewelry. I wasn’t particularly happy with how my bangles came out, so I bought a bangle bracelet in the Philippines to use as a curve mold and some spring hinges so I could snap the bangles on and off. However, my initial attempt using recycled worbla from the first batch were completely unsuccessful.

Nuds bought me a sheet of Terraflex and I’m going to roll those into bangles that can slip over my hand instead. I’m still going to use the spring hinges to make my necklace because there’s no other way for me to put it on.

I also found leftover Wonderflex from Azula. I can now make my wand without a 3D printer!

It also just occurred to me that Judar will use nearly every kind of thermoplastic available to cosplayers. The only one I don’t have is Worbla’s Black Art, but what on earth could I use it for in this costume?

Don’t give me ideas. Please.

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judar | day four

My C.diff cow poop piles finally dried. Yesterday, I went to flip them over but the three biggest piles were still damp on the bottom and I stuck my finger right in the middle of one of them right before I went into work.

Tip! It says right there on the canister, but acetone will clean up any expanding foam messes. I wish I knew that when I accidentally got some on the carpet of my apartment but it’s tooooo laaaaatttteeeee…

If you use acetone to take off expanding foam from your skin, do it over a sink and have warm running water nearby. When you rub the acetone on your fingers and take off the foam, you will need to wash your hands extremely well to rid your skin of acetone. Prolonged contact to any kind of chemical is not good and may cause chemical burns!

[Yes, I have a degree in chemistry. I do know what I’m talking about.]

Anyways, this morning, I was able to peel the three big piles from the wax paper. They were still a little soft in the center so I left them to air dry before I went to work. After meeting up with a friend, coincidentally to talk about getting started on a cosplay project of his own, I ate dinner and drove to the post office to pick up my wig!

It was really exciting getting the package. I’ve never had to pick up a package from the parcel locker and was giddy upon seeing the key in my mailbox. I knew I ordered a long wig and a long clip on ponytail, but seeing the box was surreal.

I opened it up when I got home and found a pretty present inside! Arda sent me a beautiful compact mirror with their logo on it and it’s perfect for touchups during an event! I will have to remember to pack it in my con box whenever I go out.

I pulled the wigs out of the box but left them in their bag to prevent them from tangling.

Then, I cleaned up my current workspace, sweeping the floors and mopping the tile. Luke left the box to his sewing machine at my house and I was going to throw it away but I taped it back together and decided to use it as my scrap bin instead.

My foam piles are flat on the bottom and rounded on top. They are much larger than the diameter I wanted but they are not spherical at all. In order to carve them into a sphere, I marked the center of each side as a point of reference. On all of my piles, the diameter marking I drew as a reference on the wax paper transferred to the underside of the foam and I also used that as a guide when carving the spheres.

Tip! As Malindachan pointed out, she used a box cutter as her main cutting tool. I did too, albeit a smaller one. In order to turn this weird pancake into a sphere, I always cut in tangental lines to my surface and moved a little bit at a time.

My first sphere barely hit the six inch diameter mark and the next two after that also barely hit their intended diameters, but I called it good enough. My biggest sphere was also my first one and I didn’t round the bottom at all because I was scared to loose too much foam from the carving process. I might leave it slightly flat just so it can rest comfortably against my upper back.

I got through six of nine balls in two hours before calling it quits. Some of them I will have to go back and continue trimming them down because they’re too big. I debated on getting another canister of foam to fill in the gaps on a couple of the spheres but I may not do that in favor of having a flat surface against my back.

In the morning before work, I’m going to see if I can finish carving the last three balls and get my braid ready for painting and stringing them together!

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I literally can’t even | naka-kon 2016 plans

A couple months ago, Luke and Nuds were chatting about competing in Naka-kon’s cosplay contest together and somehow or another, they bring up Tsubasa, one of our first projects together. In light of the skill set we’ve gained since that disastrous first attempt, the boys decide we’re going to enter it into the cosplay competition under the intermediate category because they’re not quite up to Master-level personally, and Laura and Sarah are entering Master-level with Haytham and Connor.

We’re chatting about it today and much to my surprise, they said they want to do an art book version rather than recreate the original costumes. Whelp. So much for being ahead of the game and buying all that crap for Syaoran last Monday. I’ll probably keep it and make it anyways just so I have one more costume in my box for me and Zwei to wear.

Luke finally settled on this:

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Which is one of my favorite outfits. So we started looking through the internet to see what other cosplayers have done with this particular set. We found a beautiful group from Katsucon a couple years ago but while studying the detail work on their Fai’s outfit, Luke saw an album on her page and said, “What is that? It’s so cool!”

Nuds and I looked at what he’s pointing at. To my surprise, it’s none other than Yunan from Magi: the Labyrinth of Magic.

The funny thing about Yunan is that Sarah and I always envisioned Luke as Yunan if we were to ever cosplay the series as a group. It would be either him or Ka Kobun to keep up with his Vic Mignonga spree.

We tossed around a couple more ideas–Nanatsu no Taizai, Arslan Senki, League of Legends–but Luke said again, “I want to be Yunan! He’s so cool!”

“I want to be Sinbad!” Nuds added.

I paused at this point. Do I tell them? Should I even encourage this? Why does it always seem like i pick our group cosplays when I honestly have had nothing to do with anyone else’s decisions?

Let’s talk logistics for a moment. Since it is just the three of us, we have to have a trio that makes sense. When considering Tsubasa, it was always going to be Kurogane, Fai, and Syaoran. However, as Luke pointed out, the Tsubasa group loses its impact when you’re missing Sakura. Therefore, for whatever project we picked, we needed to have a trio that could stand alone.

At this point, it makes sense given Luke’s insistence on Yunan to choose the era’s three Magi: Judal, Yunan, and Scheherazade. Nuds shot that down because he would have to be Judal and he doesn’t want to show his abs. I suggested that Nuds be Titus instead of Scheherazade but that was brushed off pretty quickly.

So I started thinking. How could we make this work? After staring at an image of the cast for a couple minutes, the idea finally hit me. We could do Sinbad, Yunan, and Judal because all three of them have some kind of long history with each other. Yunan raised the first dungeon and suggested Sinbad conquer it; Sinbad conquered the dungeon and is Yunan’s King’s Candidate; Judal raised a couple dungeons for the Kou Empire but Sinbad conquered them instead.

Magically, we all ended up getting what we wanted.

The next thing I know, we’re going fabric shopping. Luke bought bottom weight in hunter green and a linen look fabric. I insisted he get a lining for the pants at the very least to help make them last longer. We’ve got a ton of interfacing leftover from other projects that he can use. Nuds bought blue and purple suiting, and white linen along with gold bias tape. I honestly should have made him get a lining too but we’re a little too concerned with how we’re going to make this without making him look stupid in a dress.

The boys are going to be sewing their own costumes this time around with a little guidance from me with regards to patterning and construction order. Since I already have all of the fabric for Judal, I ordered my wig from Arda today and will get it some time this week. I’ll be using Malindachan’s tutorial as a guide but I will probably make a few modifications as I see fit. The last thing I have to decide on is how to make Judal’s jewelry but I will probably end up using rolls of Worbla and some kind of clasp for the necklace.

We’re doing Magi, guys. And I had absolutely nothing to do with this decision.

Funny how that works.

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c.c. [black lily] | day… something. thirty-five?

Oh man. December is always super busy for me but I have surprisingly been keeping on top of things regarding C.C. Maybe not as much as I should have but… there is only so much I can take before I go crazy.

I am pretty much done with machine work at this point. The only things left to sew by machine are ribbons for the front of the corset and the armbands. I also need to fix one side of the waist on the main dress because it’s like half an inch too long. Then… it’s hand stitching galore!

Finished sewing the binding on the corset and inserted the bands for the puff sleeve. Just need to adjust the creases of the ribbons in the front and figure out how I’m going to close it in the back.

I scrapped putting in a full lining in the skirt, having it be redundant with a trained petticoat. My attempt to make a ruffled petticoat as per Joshua Hart’s instructions [see his extremely helpful tutorial on his Facebook!] were an epic failure but it wasn’t for naught. Instead of making a removable baleyeuse, I stitched ruffles to the underside of my trained petticoat and put in the failed ruffled petticoat as part of the baleyeuse. It have me a good amount of puff in an otherwise late train. I could put in another layer of tulle/ruffles to help even out the flow a little better but I decided to first fix my cheap-ass crinoline.

Ugh. I should have been done with this dress by now and started work on Lelouch but honestly, it’s so close to being done, I just can’t stop now….

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lelouch [black lily] | day one + two

After the disaster that was C.C.’s corset, I knew I needed to take a break before I did something stupid. I had been putting off Lelouch in favor of finishing C.C. but now… it was time.

Sarah had a tailed coat in the closet so I took off C.C. and put it on my form. I had practiced draping on a summer blazer for Gou,but now it was time to see if I remembered how to do it. I draped muslin over the tails and started drawing with my pen.

To my utter delight, I had a perfect replica of her tails with the modifications to the front for Lelouch.

However, I forgot to add seam allowance and it was a little tight.

I redid my mockup with a 1-inch addition. It needed to be taken in at the center back seam but we decided it was okay to have the coat a little roomy to account for the layers underneath.

Then came the hardest part: the train.

Sarah wanted a cathedral train because of her tendency to trip, but we both knew deep deep inside that the coat would have a monarch train because of the way it drapes in Lelouch’s arms. We played around with extra muslin until we had a length long enough to drape in her arms and wide enough to get it through both arms. A little bit of pattern manipulation meant that I could cut one half of the coat out of a single piece of unfolded lining with darting to true it size and enough fabric to have a single seam running down the back.

Unfortunately, that meant buying more very expensive fabric.

One half of the back of her coat took three yard of fabric, meaning there is six yards of fabric in the back alone. I wanted us to make the most of pre-Thanksgiving sales and we managed to get another four yards of empire velvet and three yards of anti-static lining for $52. We discovered that velvet has a smaller width than lining (44″ to 58″) so we have to take in the lining  somewhere.

I cut out all the velvet pieces of the coat, sans the trim and collar, and was delighted to find my calculations were correct and I had enough velvet blocks to cut my missing pieces.

I still have to cut the last piece of lining and stitch the shells together but I’m ready to start on the collar, cuffs, and appliques!

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c.c. [black lily] | day sixteen + seventeen + eighteen + nineteen + twenty

A long time ago, a girl gave me a bag of materials she no longer needed. It was filled with beautiful trim, plush velveteen, and this strange stiff interface-like material.

That strange interfacing completely saved my ass for Rachel.

I’ve used most of it up and thought it would make a wonderful interfacing for my corset. While going about my weekly build research, I came across this strange material called buckram that used mostly in hats. It required water to mold it over a hat form and I knew it was the material given to me a long time ago due to an unfortunate accident involving Luke and a cup of water.

To my luck, the Stillwater Hobby Lobby carried buckram at a lower price than Jo-ann’s.

I purchased two yards, went home, and cut out the satin, lining, and buckram of my corset. Then, I spent the next day cutting the bodice out of lining. I always struggle with shaping and I still don’t think I got it right, but this is only acting as a support under the loose crepe+organza layer.

The next day, I sewed it each section together and layered them together. Instead of attaching boning to my corset, I sewed it to the lining of my bodice.. I had enough leftover from making my crinoline to put in six bones, but I’m think I need to add more boning to help shape me further. The only way this could have been better is if I used steel spring boning, but I am broke so whatever.

I also serged the crepe+organza bodice and attached the sleeves.

Finally, I could no longer avoid it. It was time to draft the dreaded bell sleeves.

I made four different mockups until I got one I was semi-satisfied with. I went back and forth about a lettuce hem before I just decided to go for it. Unfortunately, I miscalculated and ended up not cutting the edge of my sleeve on the bias. Whoops.

Luckily, I had enough test scraps to see what a lettuce hem looked like. It was exactly what I needed but… I didn’t cut my bodice and sleeves on the bias either.

I had enough crepe+organza to redo the sleeves, bell sleeves, and bodice. At this point, I decided to make the bodice separate from the corset.

Pinned everything up on my form and noticed with a little bit of horror that my corset sleeves are way too high on my shoulders. I now have to cut off the shoulders and reshape them to hit the tip of my shoulders instead. Because I have to add the flounce at the bottom of my corset, add lacing, and bind the edges with satin bias tape, I decided to stop working on the corset until my dress was entirely put together.

It’s so close to being done, and yet so far! T_T

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[cosplay guide] lucy heartfilia

Hiya! As promised, my guide as to how I made my Lucy Heartfilia cosplay!

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I tried to stay true to the costume but I may have taken a few liberties with it for time’s sake. This costume is deceptively simple and expensive, thankfully, I have a job that allowed me to create this.

Let’s go from the bottom up.

Boots

I already owned a pair of black boots and while they didn’t quite come up to my knees, I decided to use them anyways because it created the illusion that I was taller than I actually was.

Lucy’s boots actually have a fold at the top, like pirate boots. This is a minor detail most people ignore, but if you are a stickler for accuracy, take note!

Skirt

I used a royal blue bottom weight fabric from Jo-ann’s. Since I have a serger, I used it to finish the seams and prevent fraying. My one mistake was serging in white, instead of black! I will probably end up painting the threads to match later.

The question arose: what kind of pleats do I use?

Having grown up attending private school with a set uniform, I knew from personal experience that box pleats, while it makes a skirt look full, does not lend it self to flow and tends to lie flat against the body. On the other hand, knife pleats do give a bit of flounce to a skirt, but they all go in the same direction and if done incorrectly, will make it look like your skirt is constantly being blown to the side. Lucy’s skirt has a bit of a flounce to it, so I chose to go with knife pleats.

I bought two yards of bottom weight, cut my waistband from the fold, and serged the raw edge. I used a topstitch to secure the hem, but if I were to do this again, I’d do a blind hem stitch instead. Then, I made two-inch deep knife pleats, basted the top, and inserted my zipper on one side. From there, I measured how much fabric I needed to cut off, adjusted my pleats so that my side seam was hidden in a pleat, and serged the seam.

I topstitched the edges of the pleats down. It is very important that you topstitch your pleats! Not only will it give your skirt a bit of shape, it also prevents your pleats from looking like they’re blowing in one direction.

Finally, I took my waistband, double-folded it, and measured around my waist, leaving an extra inch at one end for an overlap closure. I folded the hems and attached it to my skirt like bias tape.

Belt

I found a brown belt at Target and bought it a size bigger so that it would sit slanted on my hips. Honestly, this was more a time issue and I’d make my belt as seen in the picture below because of issues I kept having with the belt buckle showing.

Whip

I tried to find a good whip at a Halloween store but had no luck. Instead, I made one! The handle needs to be covered with Wonderflex to build up the shape, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

I went to the remnants section and found black vinyl. You actually won’t need more than half a yard, depending on how long your want your whip to be. I sized mine based on how Lucy hold it in this picture:

Then I bought a package of 1/2″ thick cotton cord, found in the drapery section of Jo-ann’s.

I had a sponge brush with a wooden handle that I used as a base because it had a plastic insert attached to it with a loop inside the sponge. I cut my cord twice the length I needed, threaded it through the insert, and had the base of my whip.

First, I cut two heart shapes out of vinyl for the end of the whip and sewed them together, leaving an opening at the top. Then, I cut quarter-inch wide strips of vinyl down the long edge. I needed eight of these strips because of how long my whip was. I joined two strips together, leaving me with four very long strips.

Now it is time to start braiding! I secured the vinyl strips to the plastic insert of my paintbrush with painter’s tape and went in a braid-like pattern around my cord. It’s important to make sure you keep to the pattern otherwise your whip will not look right and it will not wrap around the cord. Pull the strips tight as you go.

When I got to the end of the cord, I stuffed it into the heart pocket and stitched the whole thing shut.

At this point, I spray painted the wooden handle and tape matte black because I was running out of time, but this winter break, I’m going to fix it with Wonderflex and add the brown loop at the end of the handle.

Shirt

Never before have I had such issues with a simple shirt. I couldn’t figure out what the shape of the neckline was supposed to be since it is different from the anime to the manga. I went with the anime version, which depicts Lucy’s shirt as being an zip up shirt.

My next problem was the blue stripe going across her shirt. In some pictures, there isn’t a corresponding stripe on the back. Again, I went with the anime, which does have a back stripe.

Then, I had to deal with the color. I didn’t want to add fabric onto to reduce bulk at the bust and I didn’t want any excess stitching either. My first attempt was to paint directly onto the fabric using a combination of fabric dyes, but I couldn’t get the correct color and there was a lot of bleeding. For my second attempt, I used matte velveteen paint in Royal Blue, which ended up providing the perfect contrast between my shirt and skirt.

Drew my pattern on my fabric for both the front and back, spread it out on my table, and taped the edge of my band down. Then, I painted it in my fabric paint with a sponge brush (coincidentally, the same brush I used as the base of my whip) and let it set for about an hour before peeling off the paint.

I’ve heard and gotten mixed things with peeling tape off so early. Some people say you should peel off the tape the moment you’re done painting as that will prevent any paint that crept under microscopic bubbles from seeping in and setting. Other say if you pull it too early, you’ll ruin the design and have to re-tape it anyways. For the most part, allowing the paint to set a little bit worked pretty well.

Then, I moved onto making matching bias tape. After my paint dried, I steamed it according to directions. Next, I cut my shirt out, serged the inside seams, applied my bias tape and zipper, and WALAH! I had Lucy’s shirt. My shirt needed to be taken in, so I put in darts at the front and back.

Wig

There are few things to know about Lucy’s hair. Depending on your skin tone, the color of blond you pick will be drastically different from one person to the next. Bright yellow blond looks absolutely ridiculous on me but on Laura, who is pale and Scotch-Irish, it looks a little less ridiculous.

I ended up buying this lovely wig from Epic Cosplay and it is their Theia in Caramel Blonde. I bought both the base wig and the short ponytail clip after discovering there was no way for me to pull the fibers up into a full looking ponytail without losing half my wig. Initially, I wanted to add in wefts to hide the exposed skeleton to give the impression that my wig was tied back in a side ponytail, but I ran out of time and ended up not doing so. I did, however, keep the excess fibers from when I trimmed the ponytail clip to length.

The Theia wig was a great choice because it was already styled like Lucy’s hair when it’s down but I wish I bought the Nyx wig instead because of the smaller skin top. Oh well.

Hair Ribbon

When I painted my shirt and bias tape, I also painted a wider strip of fabric. I cut it to shape, sewed it together, and inverted it before stitching the opening closed. Most of the ribbon is longer than it need to be to accommodate the ponytail clip, but I hide the excess ribbon by weaving it through the teeth of the clip. This also helps the knot stand up straight.

Keys and Key pouch

The key pouch is not really necessary but I knew I was going to make the Grand Magic Games outfits so I went ahead and purchased one for $5 on Amazon. It comes with a small keyring and contrary to popular belief, it does NOT fit all of Lucy’s keys. I tried. And failed. Miserably.

The keys were also purchased on Amazon and were a total steal at $20. I got the 22 key set, which actually includes anime and manga versions of some of the gate keys, and anime-only keys. You also receive the full Zodiac set and a keyring with keychain rings.

A word of advice! Do not try to be a smartass like me and use jump rings to attach the keys to the keychain rings to make them lie “correctly.” Honestly, no one is going to notice and the jewelry jump rings are not strong enough to hold the keys onto the rings if they snag on something. The keychain rings are included for a reason! I dropped four keys before a very kind fellow cosplayer picked up my Aquarius key at an event and helped me find two more.

I’m pretty sure I let out the most in-character shriek of horror at that moment.

Anyways, the lovely Rin let me borrow her Leo key until I get a new one!

In short…

I loved making this costume! It made me fall in love with cosplay all over again. Sometimes, especially after competition pieces, I forget why I invest so much time, effort, and money into the hobby and little things like this make it fun again.

Questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below or visit me on Facebook!

 

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