Wheeee~! (Day 456)

10:45pm - I'm so happy! I made moneys! Mom was babysitting her friend's son's dog, and I helped, so I got some of them money. Then Mom's friend bought $80 worth of hats from me. And I sold a hat online. My first online sale! Thankfully, the buyer was very understanding when I told them that it would be shipping late because the post office is closed most of the weekend (closes early on Saturday and closed all of Sunday). They payed immediately, but I told them that I wouldn't accept the payment until I shipped the package. I felt like that would be the polite thing to do. PayPal, however, doesn't care, and keeps bugging me to accept the payment. How rude.

I feel like this was a very good online selling experience, and I hope that there are many more this way. I'm going to try my best to be a good online seller and ship things on time as best as I can. Not leave people hanging, always answer e-mails promptly and clearly. You know, the good stuff, haha. I'm sure I'm bound to slip up and piss off a couple of people eventually, but I'm going to try my hardest to avoid that.

Anyway, I actually had to make one of the hats that was bought today (by Mom's friend). So I did sew today! It was just a Link (Legend of Zelda) hat, so it only took about 45 minutes to an hour, but I did enjoy sewing again.

I think I've been subconsciously putting off working on Franziska just because I don't want to work with that fabric again. It's horrible to work with, but so pretty! Ugh. One day when I'm feeling extra patient, I'll do it. Before AOD for sure still.

I'm also in the process of setting up a few photoshoots with a few different photographers. Not for cosplay, but so that they can help me learn how to pose and use facial expressions better. I'm really self-conscious, especially about my facial expressions, but I'm gonna have to get over that, haha.

...Or Not (Days 450 - 455)

1:20am - So I guess I'm still "almost" done with Franziska ("almost" is really a relative term here). Some time in the past few days, I decided that I was still not happy with my Franziska ruffle, and so I took it apart. Well, I took some of it apart. And now I'm super annoyed at it because it's fraying and I remember how much of a pain in the butt that fabric is to work with. It just won't stay still! Sliding all over the place..

Anyway, I think I figured out what I want to do with it to get it to be the right shape and such. I can't quite explain what it is that I'll do, I'll just have to try it and hope that it works.

Still haven't straightened my wig, but I'm hoping to do that some time in the next week or so. My grandma has been staying with us, and I didn't want her to have to deal with a random blue wig laying in the shower all of the sudden. I'd much rather wait until I have my bathroom all to myself again.

Almost Done (Days 447 - 449)

11:20pm - I'm actually almost finished with Franziska, which is weird, because the con's still not for almost a month. I finished the outer, long vest today, I'm annoyed at my hand stitching on the bottom, but it's not noticeable unless you're about two inches away from it. And if you're than close to the back of my knees, you need to back off.

All that's left to do is straighten the wig. If I was more experienced at dying wigs, or if I at least had another wig to practice on, I might give dying my Franziska wig a shot, but that's probably not going to happen. I am painfully aware that my wig is way too bright, and that it should be a duller, gray-ish color, but, bleh, I can't afford a new wig, and I'm afraid to dye the one I have. I'm hoping that the rest of my costume makes up for it.

Oh, and good news from AOD (Animation on Display), my boyfriend and I can both enter the cosplay contest separately, even though I'll be making both of our costumes. The catch is that only I'm eligible for construction awards on either of them, and I can only win one. So if I win a construction award for my cosplay, I can't win one for my boyfriend's. Which makes sense, I can't hog all of the awards (not that I think I'd win twice anyway). So now all I have to do if make my boyfriend's Magikarp cosplay and hope that our panel gets scheduled for Saturday so that we can participate.

So Much to Do, So Much Time (Day 446)

3:00am - I'm now going to start adding timestamps to my posts, mostly to make it easier for me to tell which days are accounted for, since I sometimes post after midnight.

I'm really impressed at the amount of progress I've made recently. I shortened my Franziska outer vest / cape thing (after five months or so, I still don't know what to call it), and I'm almost finished sewing it back up. The bottom of it is sewed except for about eight inches, where I had to turn it inside-out to sew the lining on and now have to close with hand-stitching. I had to open small holes in the top of the front so that I could get the yellow ribbon off to move up and reapply it after shortening.

I have to reapply the ribbon before I can finished sewing it, because I have to sew it into the top of the front (where I took it out before), and to do that, I have to be able to turn the whole thing inside-out, which is why the bottom has to stay open. I ran into to small hitch in the plans when reapplying the ribbon, the bottom of the vest is now shorter across (because it basically fans out at the bottom, similar to a cape or poofy dress without pleats). So when I went to reapply the ribbon, it took less across the bottom and folded at the corner sooner than I expected, which left a crease in the middle of the vertical stripe and the remains of the previously used Heat-n-Bond visible. I ironed off the leftover Heat-n-Bond, which, yes, made my iron sticky (I wiped most of the stickiness on the ironing board for now), and the rest was fine.

I kept getting distracted by the computer, though, so I stopped applying the ribbon and turned everything off so that I wouldn't get too tired and forget.

Also, I cut my thumb! With scissors! And it hurt! (duh?) Not sure what exactly happened, but I guess I snipped the skin on my thumb with the tip of the scissors. Weird thing is, I laughed at myself for about a minute before getting up to get a bandage. At least I know what an idiot I am for cutting myself. Also, I think the worst part is that it was with my fabric scissors, which I only use on fabric to avoid the blade getting dull, and now I feel like I have to get new scissors. Ah, well, I've also accidentally cut paper with them (the paper was hiding under the fabric), so I'm probably due for some new ones anyway. But first, pinking shears! I need them! I'm looking at this pair, they're nice and cheap. I just hope they work.

(For those who are unfamiliar with the term, pinking shears are a type of scissor that cuts fabric in a zig-zag pattern so that the edges don't fray. They're most commonly used for sheer fabric, but can used on pretty much any fabric. An overlock machine / surger, which I have, could substitute, but personally I'd rather not use an overlock on something that's going to be on the inside of a garment, as in, inside of the lining, and won't ever been seen. Plus, overlocking a bunch of stuff would add unnecessary weight, which probably wouldn't be too noticeable, but could add unwanted bulk to areas that should be flat.)

So all that's left to do for my Franziska costume before AOD is finish adding the yellow to the vest and sew it up and straightening my wig. When I bought the wig, it was relatively straight, but from sitting on a normal/short wig head, it's curled under and inward. I don't know much about the wig, having bought it hurriedly in the Dealer's Hall of Fanime and not getting any instructions with it (they barely sold it to me, were reluctant to take it off of the display). So I'm going to try straightening it with hot water. I'm told that you dip it in hot water ("hot" meaning burns to the touch, but not simmering or boiling), and then lay it on a flat surface. I figure the best place to do this would be in my bathtub, with a bucket for the water, and then laying it on the bottom of the tub, but my bathtub's kinda, well, not dirty ('cause, well, it's a bathtub), but it's got soap scum and stuff in it, so I have to clean it and then make sure that all of the chemicals are rinsed off before I'll be willing to put my wig anywhere near there.

More Ruffles! (Days 443 - 445)

My new neck ruffles for Franziska von Karma are finished! Well, until I decide that I want to remake them again, which I might. No matter how hard I tried, I could not get any of the fabric that I tried to mimic the exact shape that Franziska's ruffles are. I just plain don't know how to do that. Suggestions would be lovely.

In any case, I'd like to think that my result is a real-life equivalent to what Franziska's was intended to be. I'd like to think that, but I really have no idea. And what's worse, I can't find a single other Age 13 Franziska cosplayer to ask about this or even compare results with.

All of that being said, I think that I like my new ruffle better than my old one. I just like the material better, really (as much of a pain as it is to work with..). It's lighter and just looks more elegant, though, yeah, in the picture, it looks almost exactly the same as the old one. But I swear it's different!

I probably do need to mess with it some more to get the pleats to stay so that they'll have depth on-camera instead of being all flat.

Ahead of Schedule!? (Day 442)

I'm not entirely sure that the phrase "ahead of schedule" is in my vocabulary, and yet it's true. Since I finally decided that I'm going to wear Franziska to AOD, I actually started fixing her up. I needed to make a new neck ruffle because the one I had was too big and flawed in various technical ways, and I need to shorten the outer vest by about two to four inches. Shortening the vest shouldn't be a problem, since I'll just be opening up the bottom and re-sewing it. Now, if I had to re-do the arm holes or something, I might have a problem, but, nah.

Today, I began remaking the neck ruffle. I got as far as pleating and poofing the actual ruffle part and cutting out and hemming two sides of the part that goes around my neck. Throughout the process, I was reminded of how much I hate pleating, especially box pleats that are only two inches wide on a piece of fabric that just refuses to be a perfect square.

I also used a different type of fabric this time than I did last time. Last time, I used this lovely fabric that creased like paper, yet ironed out really well, and was rather stiff. It was sort of a cop-out to get the volume that I wanted. This time, after wearing the cosplay and seeing photos, I realized that it didn't need that much volume. So I returned to what was actually my original fabric for it. I found it in the section of JoAnn's where the fabric for suits is (the fabric I used for Franziska's vests), so it also mixes well with the fabrics I have and just makes sense.

I like the texture and weight of this fabric a whole lot more too, but it's a pain to work with. It's somewhat stretchy, so when I pinned it down to the ironing board to measure or iron it, I needed a bunch of pins, and yet it was still nearly impossible to get straight lines (which is how it refused to be square). It's also sort of slippery and clingy at the same time. It would slip against my fingers, but then cling to itself and it was hard to get it to fold the right way. It also didn't like the iron and doesn't crease easily. Yet once it does get a crease, it's hard to get it out.

I'm fairly certain that I'll be able to finish both the collar and the vest in two days' time, the only thing that's left to be determined is what two days I'll actually work on it. Then all that's left is to continue the hunt for a brown riding crop and black leather women's gloves. I actually found a brown riding crop online for only $5 (forget what shipping was), but I'm very suspicious of it, since their usually between $25 and $50.

More Link (Days 438 - 441)

I had a really clever title for this post earlier, but now I've forgotten it. Ah well, maybe I'll remember eventually.

SO! Over the past couple of days, I have actually been working on my femme!Link cosplay! The most noticeable progress has been that I took in the sides and brought up the hem. I had to toss my idea of using silver lace in place of chainmail because I just plain don't have the money. Though, besides that, I'm not sure how lace would look with the fabric that the dress is made out of. I'd have to search a while before I found something that would work. Because of this, I have decided to go back to the original design of the photo that I've been basing this whole thing off of, or at least with less alterations to it.

Because the color of the fabric is closer to the Twilight Princess version of Link, I'm still calling it that, but I've ditched both the chainmail and the leggings/tights/what-have-you. Getting rid of the tights wasn't so much of a design choice as it was cutting my workload practically in half. The fabric of the dress clung stubbornly to the tights and caused it to ride up. This wasn't so bad when the dress was halfway down my thigh, but since it's higher, anyone behind me would probably get a panty shot in about three steps. If I can get the money to make a slip or something that will go under the dress, I may keep the tights, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Since I'm still technically making the Twilight Princess version of Link, I decided to detail the bottom of the dress in the same way that Link's tunic is detailed. I can't decide if this was a bad decision or not. I'm using the sewing machine and a special stitch on the machine to make the designs. It's difficult, and time-consuming, and the result isn't exactly what I was looking for (too subtle) but it is cute, and it looks like it belongs on a dress, so I'm happy with that. I'm considering making a tutorial or sorts to show what I did, since it's hard to explain without a lot of pictures.

It has also been decided that I will wear femme!Link to the SanFransisco Cherry Blossom Festivale on April 17th. I'd like to be in the parade, but I never have before, and I guess it depends on who I go with (etc. etc.). I'm also hopefully going to be doing a photoshoot with foxberry during the summer! We're on the lookout for forest-y places in the area.

Days 433 - 437

I haven't done anything cosplay-related except for expand my Future Cosplay list.

I finished watching Season 1 of Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, which was refreshing because I haven't watched a new anime in a long time. But it also gave me ten or so new things that I want to cosplay. Also, I found a cheaper wig for Stocking! I... Don't remember the actual price, but it's cheaper! (And 10cm shorter, but whatever.)

The image on the left is the first outfit of Stocking's that I wanted to cosplay. I don't know if I'll do it first, but it was the first one I liked. It's from an episode where she and Panty were trying out a bunch of different odd jobs to earn money. The outfit shown was their first job as roller skate waitresses. My main setback with it is the roller skates. I'd love to get them, at least for a photoshoot, but that's more money that I don't have.

Oh Dear... (Days 429 - 432)

So I'm broke. Almost flat-broke. Embarrassingly enough, all of my cosplays up until this point have been funded by an allowance from my mom, and now she's not giving me allowance anymore. I'm considering selling back my Comic-Con ticket in order to have enough money for a weekend pass at Fanime. I'm also considering asking my dad to fund my entire Fanime trip, haha. He owes me back allowance anyway. >_>

So I've been applying for jobs left and right, hopefully I can get one, just for pocket money.

I've also decided that I really, really, really want to cosplay Stocking from "Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt." I haven't decided on a version, but I want to do a bunch of them, not only because I like a lot of versions, but also to re-use the wig a lot, because the cheapest one I found was $70. Meep. Also, I want her cat plushie!

Happy New Year! (Days 427 & 428)

Happy New Year everybody! I'm trying to be positive about it, but I'm a realist. I feel like this year is going to be basically the same as last year, but I am going to try and do my part to make it better (as opposed to "here's hoping it get's better!"). I've been feeling extra charitable lately, and I need to get rid of some stuff, so some time this month, I plan to donate a bunch of stuffed animals to a women's and children's shelter. I feel like that's a real way to start the year right and set the tone for 2011.

As for personal New Year's resolutions? I'm still trying to gain weight. I'm somewhat succeeding, but it's a really slow and difficult process. I'm still aiming for reaching my weight gold by the end of January, but it's not looking like it's going to happen, so I'm extending my goal some. By Fanime, I will be my ideal weight, though I'd like it to happen sooner so that, y'know, my costumes fit.

Also, my visiting family went home =[ I miss my cousin already. We were supposed to work on a cosplay for her, but, heh, we never did. We were too busy hanging out and being awesome. Ah well. Turns out she may not go to Fanime after all anyway.