DIY Zelda Shekiah Slate

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With less then a month until the release I just cannot contain my excitement for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. 😀 So, in case any of you out there feel the same (or just wanna make a really great cosplay prop), today I’d like to share a great step by step DIY video for how to make your own Shekiah Slate.

You will need several supplies to make this excellent looking prop, including:

-EVA Foam
– Hot Glue Gun + Hot Glue Sticks
-Acrylic Paint (Orange, Black, Blue)
-Spray Paint (Gold, Brown)
-Scissors
-Xacto Style Knife
-Clear Plastic Tube
-Sand Paper
-Wood Filling Paste
-Tiny LED Lights
-Wire Cutters
-Electrical Tape
-Plastic Sheet

There are a few more tools you could get to help you make it easier, but as you can see by the materials list, this project is gonna take some time to make. Worth it though for the awesome prop piece you’ll have by the end. ^_^


Cosplay Crafting: Breath of the Wild Bow

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Yes, yes, I’m a sucker for any and all things Breath of the Wild right now. My excitement for this game is probably the highest it’s been for any game in at least the last decade. So, I wanna share with you other fans and cosplayers a fantastic tutorial that had been created for making your own Breath of the Wild style bow!

Made and designed by , this is one excellent tutorial on making Link’s bow as well as custom fantasy bows in general. The base bow they got was from Amazon and is not practical for hunting/shooting, but great for cosplay. Obviously metalic paint was used, but you’ll need to get your hands on craft foam (a cosplayer’s best friend) to make the added on guards at the very least. You’ll find the whole detail process here, and I highly recommend it if you were thinking about adding a new costume to your closet this year. 😉


A Demon of a Good Time

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Hello Sunday readers!

This week we are at MAGfest! The Music and Gaming Festival that takes place at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD is one of our favorite events of the year. It includes non-stop gaming, fabulous music, and wonderful geeky camaraderie. Every year has a different theme and this year’s is Castlevania so I figured we could take a look at some cool, appropriately themed crafts.

Many of the results of my search ended up on fuse bead art, which is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you have a rather large fuse bead color stash.

You can find the tutorial for this one at Cut Out and Keep!

You can find the tutorial for this one at Cut Out and Keep!

But I like to mix things up a bit and my first craft of choice has always been stitching. Hence, my love for this Castlevania stitched coaster from the Sprite Stitch Forums:

I haven't tried my hand at needlepoint in quite a while so maybe it's time to give it a whirl.

I haven’t tried my hand at needlepoint in quite a while so maybe it’s time to give it a whirl.

Or, for the more ambitious, this Pixel Hobby Dracula by Deviant Art user EveningEmma is super amazing:

That took a lot of dedication and patience!

That took a lot of dedication and patience!

Or if you are into the cosplay scene, this combat cross prop made by Deviant Art user weaselhammer would complete any Belmont clan costume:

To smite the shiny demons and vamps!

To smite the shiny demons and vamps!

I have a lot to work to do if I am to build up my collection of evil-bashing art, so I guess I better get onto it.

Stay crafty!

Laura


Closet Cosplay 2: Leia

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Its Rogue One premiere day here in Ireland! Like last year, I’m out to it in a casual costume. Last year I went as Han, which turned out to make the evening a heck of a lot more heart-wrenching, so I chose a character who I was fairly confident would not die in this movie, Leia. So here are some closet outfit suggestions from me to you in case you want to represent Her Highness on your way to the cinema.

The classic and easy option is her senatorial gown that she spends most of her time in early on.

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All white dress, white shoes, and a silver belt and you will definitely be giving a nod to the original trilogy’s heroine, especially if you add the classic Leia buns. But I’m more interested in another, warmer option out there- that of her Hoth outfit.

screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-11-33-31 White shirt and pants with an off-white fuzzy “Wampa” furred vest and grey boots and you’re done! The hairstyle for this will be a bit more difficult, with the long braid around the head, but this will keep me much warmer as I venture out into the rain that has finally come to Dublin.

Rogue One is looking like it will be amazing. Have a happy Star Wars week ya’ll!

~ eliste


Cosplay A to Z: Choosing a Commercial Pattern

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One of the things I think many beginner sewers have difficulty with is choosing patterns to sew with. For today’s article, I’m going to assume you’re working primarily with fabric for your costume.

Choosing a pattern can make your life easier or not, so today we’re going to talk about my 4 S’s of pattern selection.

Size
It goes without saying that size is important. Pattern sizing is not the same as fashion sizing, and so at a basic level, you need to ensure you are using the correct size. If your pattern size is the same as what you bought in a store, you’re probably going to have problems.

But in a more abstract manner, size is important in different ways. Maybe you don’t want perfectly fitting clothing. Maybe you want oversized clothing.

Is your character a cartoon with blocky features? If so, maybe you want to ensure that your pattern is going to be oversized to give that less human, more pixelated look. Some designs may be created that are made to hang large on a frame. Looking at the fit of the design on the model can help you get an idea about whether it will really bring your character to life in the way you want to.

 

Shape
Shape goes to the basic shape of a pattern. If you were to represent your costume in 2 dimensions, what shapes would it take?

If you’re looking for a skirt, the first question to ask is does this give the right kind of skirt? Is it a-line? Is it mermaid? Does it go in where you want it to go out? For instance, a short school uniform-type of skirt has a very different shape than a pencil skirt worn by the school principle.

If you’re wondering whether a pattern would give similar shapes, you can easily try drawing them out to compare.

 

Silhouette
Silhouette takes shape to a step above. It is about the lines on the edge of the body and the curves or straight lines they make that that point. You want to check that the pattern you choose gives you the same silhouette as a character.

For retro and historical patterns, you may find that the correct silhouette is not achievable without proper undergarments. For instance, the 1890’s saw the use of spoon-busked corsets. These are very distinct silhouette and corsets that use any other type of busk will not give the S-curve of the 1890’s corsets. Further, any clothing not designed for a spoon-busk may need alterations to accommodate a different style of corset.

The Victorian silhouette

The Victorian silhouette

I think silhouette is best explained by Jessica Rabbit. Any pink sparkly dress with a red wig will evoke the comically drawn Jessica, but only a specialised corset and dress will depict her incredibly tight waist and buxom features for an accurate silhouette.

 

Seam Lines

The last, but certainly not least, consideration is where to the seam lines lie on the pattern?
You can save yourself a lot of effort if you can find a pattern that has similar seam lines. It will be more easily alterable to gain the silhouette you want, as well as looking more like what the character uses.

I will caution that seam lines are not always a requirement for many costumes, but for some, they can make or break a costume. In some instances, seam lines can be the difference between a screen accurate costume and not.

For instance, while any black bodysuit could be used to represent Mara Jade, she is always depicted in the comics with very specific patterns. I had to adapt a bodysuit pattern to add these seams in and take extra seams out in order to get an accurate costume.

All four of these things may not exist in a single pattern. However, if you can find a pattern that has 3 of them, you’re going to have a lot less work to do to make it fit and look accurate than if you just pick the first jacket pattern you find in your size. You could choose the first jacket pattern you buy, but take some time, and you may find one that is not only 1940’s styled, but has princess seams.

There are thousands of patterns in existence, and combing through them can be time consuming. However, taking that time at the beginning of the process can significantly make the construction process later on easier.

~ eliste


Cosplay A to Z: Measure it out

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One of the fundamental issues with getting a good costume is starting from a good base.
If there is any sewing involved, that base needs to be accurate measurements.

Measuring a body is more tricky than many people realise. It is one of the first things they teach you upon stepping into the world of pattern making, and for good reason. We have pudgy bits that defy attempts to keep things where we want it, but without accurate measurements, it is difficult to know where to begin.

Here are some tips on how to get accurate measurements for your costumes.

1. Don’t measure yourself
It is a little known fact that you almost certainly cannot get accurate measurements of yourself by doing the measuring yourself.

There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, you cannot actually see some of the measurements to take- like your back. It is physically impossible without a multiple mirrors to be able to see what’s going on at your back. Likewise, one of the key things in measuring is that you are doing it accurately, and you cannot view where the tape is sitting on your back to ensure it sits straight/at the right height/etc.

Further, if you were to somehow set up mirrors to deal with this, you would have to contort your body in order to get those measurements. As soon as you move your body, you lose accuracy in your measurements. That is not to say that you need to be stock still, but bending arms or legs, twisting your head, all of these things will alter the measurements that get taken. So at the bare minimum, you will get better measurements if you get someone, anyone to take them for you.

2. Learn how to measure
Measuring is a science. You need to be precise. You need to keep using the same spots for measurements, and you need for it all to be harmonious.

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-11-28-19

Note that this person is actually measuring their waist wrong.

One of the simple ways of doing this is to add guides to your body. Tying strings around your waist and where your arms and shoulder meet can provide good guidances.

Additionally, there are little things you need to do like keeping your measuring tape level with the floor when you’re measuring, keeping your measurements all in one metric system (cm or inches, don’t mix), and

If you’re not sure how to measure, then look for guidance. Between the internet, books on garment making, and traditional sewing classes, you should be able to find someone out there to give you guidance in this respect. Even better, get whoever you are going to have measure you sit down and learn it too. I recommend finding a costume buddy, because then you can do it for each other.

I highly recommend learning in person. There is nothing that quite replaces being able to feel a shoulder bone or the divet in the neck. You can see it, but feeling it really puts it in your mind forever.

3. Learn where to measure
Most costume companies will ask for three things- your chest, waist, and hip measurement. This sounds easy, but this is actually not going to give you a particularly accurate costume.

The more information you have on your measurements, the more accurate a costume will be. These three measurements, while crucial, only give a basic understanding of what your figure is like.

They don’t explain that your waist is higher than most cause you’re only 5’ and while you might have a fairly standard sizing in these three areas you actually need that, but with about 4 inches lopped off the overall length. Further, if you’re a busty girl, it will be obvious from the other measurements that using the large bust measurement will make your costume way too large overall.

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This is the basic minimum that is needed IMO. But if you are drafting you will need more information than this. There are many guides like this that can be found with simple Google searches.

So you need to take all the measurements necessary to make your costume. This may be all the upper body alone, or it could include lower body. Maybe you don’t need sleeve measurements cause it will be sleeveless.

My word of advice is that it is always better to take more measurements than are needed. It is best if all measurements are taken at the same time by the same person, so if you think you’ll use the measurements a second time before re-measuring get everything you can before you lose whoever is helping you. At least if they do everything, if there are errors, they will be consistent throughout.

Like with learning how, the tools are out there. You just need to find them.

4. Don’t rely on old measurements
Got some measurements done in college 2 years ago? Great! But don’t just expect them to be the same now. If you’ve gained or lost 5lbs or more, your measurements will likely change. Even if you haven’t changed weight, exercise and diet can have changed how your body is put together.

In fact, even if your clothes still fit you, that is not a guarantee that your measurements have not changed.

My point is, if you haven’t had measurements in a while, then you should get new ones done.

Once you have all of your measurements done, make sure whoever is making your costume has all of them. Even if they only ask for three measurements, send them all. If they don’t use them, you won’t have lost out on anything, but if they do, you should get a costume that is as close to your size as possible.

Further, you can use this as a way to determine if a costume seller is really up to the standard that you want them to be. If you contact them and they are unwilling to work with custom measurements, that is going to tell you something and then you can make up your mind about whether it is worth getting a stock sized costume that you may have to alter to fit, or whether you want to hold out for someone who will make a costume that will genuinely fit you.

Happy measuring!

~ eliste


Humble Bundle – Cosplay Special

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Humble Bundle is a site we won’t mention often, but one that certainly deserves recognition. The company makes agreements with mostly game publishers and book publishers to get items it bundles together for a low cost that can then be purchased. Not only are these costs low, you can actually choose how much you want to pay for it. Seriously. Only have a dollar? That will get you some of the professional quality items. Notice I did only say some as obviously the more you spend the more you get. Typically only requiring a minimum of $10-15 to get all the items in that week’s bundle. So besides getting games or books for a very low cost, the humble part of this that part of the money goes to charity. There are actually sliders at the bottom that let you chose how much money goes to the publishers, charity, or back to the site. This also means you can pay well over the minimum and donate most of the money to charity. You can even chose which charity you want to donate to if you so wish.

 

So what does this site have to do with crafting?  Well normally nothing as the topics of the bundles varies often, and the video games tend to take the spotlight over the comic or book bundles they may be offering. Not so this week. This week they are offering a bundle deal on some excellent cosplay and prop making reference books.

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Paying even just $1 gets you ebook versions of Make: Getting Started with Adafruit FLORA; Make: Wearable Electronics: Design, Prototype, and Wear Your Own Interactive Garments; Make: Design for 3D Printing; Kitchen Floor Vacuum Former; and the Adam Savage Moldmaking Primer. That’s a crazy amount of knowledge for only $1. There are 2 other minimum tiers ($8 and $15) and you get not just that level but all the books at the previous tiers as well. So for a minimum of $15 you could be the proud owner of 14 books all about cosplay design that will help you make the best costume possible, while also making a donation to charity. It’s a crazy good deal; one I’ve already taken advantage of since books on prop making will certainly help with the various crafts I do.

The offer ends in 8 days from the date of this post (around noon EST on Oct. 26th, 2016), so you have some time to think it over. If you’ve ever wanted to make better props or costumes though, now is the time to get great professional resources.


Be Inspired!

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers!

I have realized that I have something special happening tomorrow and I thought I would share it with you and maybe spark some thought about your own crafting/small business. This is sort of a post about an artist I admire, but it’s also a post about finding your muse. As many of you know, I run my own business making corsets and I have been doing it seriously for about a year and a half now. I didn’t start from absolutely nothing and no idea, however. The skills I learned took time to hone and I’m still constantly learning new things, but what brought it all on was a passion for corsets – I have always found them beautiful.

Courtesy of Fajo Magazine

Courtesy of Fajo Magazine

This meant I would investigate what was available and who was making them. I found many that I enjoyed but the one that I became enamoured with was Dianna DiNoble, the owner of Starkers Corsets which is also found here on Facebook and here on Twitter. She is a little different from my own work in that I work a lot with off the rack and conventions where she has been doing custom and couture corsetry for over a decade. She very quickly became my muse – she created many amazing corsets and her work is just sublime. So how does this tie into something exciting happening this weekend? Well, I just found out she will be speaking at a convention happening in my city – and I have the chance to go listen to her speak.

Courtesy of Starkers.com

Courtesy of Starkers.com

I realized how excited I was the more I thought about it and even though I’m pretty darn good at what I do, she has been doing it for so many more years, and I have the opportunity to learn and possibly even ask some questions to this expert in an industry that really doesn’t have a lot of experts to offer in the same way that classically educated fields do. So I’ve booked my ticket and I’m all set to go!

What this made me think about in relation to other crafters and small businesses is this: I think it’s hugely important to have inspiration for the type of product/craft/business that you want to build for yourself. Thinking about it, I have a few of those that all represent different aspects of my business. Creatively? Dianne DiNoble is my inspiration. She has crafted a business that has grown and become incredibly well known both for design and craftmanship. Is she the same muse as for my business end goal? No, she isn’t. My goal isn’t to become a haute couture designer. So I have another business that exemplifies my end goal. Is this business the same as the one that I would like to personally strive to be? No, that is another.

Courtesy of Impact Instruction

I guess what my point is is that you need to look beyond the corporate businesses that are out there, and look past the mass production to find the things and the people that inspire you and try your best to learn as much as you can from them. Whether it be to find inspiration for designs, to build a business model, to set goals for personal growth. Whether you’re crafting to make money or you’re crafting for your own gratification,  you need inspiration and a drive to make you continue. Find those people who are doing the things you want to do and making the things that make you go “Wow!” and let them help you to find passion in what you’re doing.

Courtesy of Adventure In You

This blog features many amazing artists and people who are doing amazing things with their lives. None of it is easy, and so when you are not finding yourself inspired by what is in front of you, or inspired by the things you’re doing daily, return to the people and the artists who made you excited about it in the first place. Keep your passion for making alive and thriving, because more than ever we need to protect and nurture our artists. Whether they be young or old, casual or business, kitchen table or studio crafts, we can’t afford to lose the people and things that inspire us to flex our creative muscles.

Like I will be, this Friday, find something that makes you go “SQUEEEEEEEEEE” and remember that this is why you’re trying to craft your passion into art.

Keep crafting, Crafthackers!

~Megan


A Change is as Good as a Rest

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One of my never ending battles is the fight against becoming Burnt Out. This time last year I was suffering from it, and its back again this year but for other reasons. Things always come in cycles for me, and this is no different.

A lot of people don’t realise that crafty people can suffer from this just as much as anyone else, and it can be difficult to take the time you need to step back, find your groove and reconnect to what it is you want to do in life.

Burnt Out takes on a couple of forms for me. First among it is crafting burn out. I become exhausted by the need to finish things. Deadlines can be hard to stick to time and again, especially if you place significance on them. It can also happen because I’ve been crafting so hard that I forget to take a break, as one of our other bloggers discussed before.

I’m almost always reinvigorated from this type of fatigue by doing something else. Either not crafting at all and focusing on something altogether different, or by choosing to craft something else altogether. Right now, I’m burnt out on cosplay. I don’t want to look at the fabric that is already cut out and partially assembled on my chair. I don’t want to think about finishing the half-done shirt on my dress form.

I’m not the only one. I know several people who have been crafting non-stop for Dragoncon this weeken who are finding it daunting. There can be that moment when you’ve worked so hard, fought with your craft so much, that you just don’t want to see it let alone wear it.

Its important to remember that it is ok to take a break. Fortunately, I have nothing coming up for cosplay that needs doing. Even if I did, I think I’d still be avoiding it and doing what I have been- getting back to one of my loves, embroidery. Its a different kind of craft, but it is exactly what I need right now. The tranquil simplicity of placing threads soothes me, calms me, and makes me feel a little more in touch with my crafty side instead of the frenetic try on/try off of attempting to get items to fit.

Its also good for me to slow down right now, as my wedding is just under 3 weeks away. I’ll be taking a break from the blog for the month of September to get everything sorted and enjoy my time with my new husband, but I will be taking my embroidery with me. It has already helped reinvigorate me.

Have a great September, ya’ll. I’ll see you on the flipside.

~ eliste


Cosplay: When they’re wearing your outfit

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I was on a podcast and got asked a question which was actually a fairly good one. While it isn’t very crafty related, I thought it would be something to address because it has been one of the reasons that I’ve stuck around in this hobby,

Cosplay- the only time when someone else showing up in the same outfit as you is awesome. Running into someone else who is wearing the same costume as me is one of my favourite things. As much as I love running into Captain America when I’m Peggy Carter or Maku when I’m Korra, I love running into people in the same outfit even more. Why is it awesome?

 

To start with, it likely means you have an instant friend. You know something they like (cause they’re advertising it by wearing it), and you probably like it already yourself. That awkward “I don’t know what to talk about” moment? Not an issue. Even if you don’t become best buddies, you can talk about the source material, the character, and why you chose to wear that costume. You might find a new perspective on something you already love.

Secondly, you can now swap horror stories. Trust me, you both have them. Making costumes is never as straight forward as it sounds, and you can bond over how georgette is the worst fabric to have to sew and you wish you’d never found that interview where it mentioned it was the fabric used in the on-screen version.

Maybe there are things about your costume that you want to improve. Maybe you will notice something they’ve done on their costume that you really like and wish you’d done and since they are right there, you can ask them. Most cosplayers are quite happy to talk about their process and how they went about things. This is the best time to ask these questions.

Lastly, what gets more attention than just being in costume? Being around someone else in a similar costume. Groups always attract a crowd if you and friends put together a cast group that is one of the best way to ensure photographers get your photo. But if you want to get noticed for lots of photos, hanging out with a fellow in the same costume is just as good. What’s better than one Wonder Woman? Three!

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I find that these friendship tips still work even if they’re not doing the exact same version of a costume as you are. So even when I’m not wearing my blue suit, I adore running into other Peggys, no matter what outfit they’re wearing. Its all about finding like-minded souls, and wearing a costume is the most obvious way to shout out you enjoy a fandom. Rather than fretting about your own costume or going into comparisons, enjoy the camaraderie and friendship that you can gain when you both choose the same costume.

~ eliste