Post-convention

It has struck me! The post-convention feelings that make you sit and stare at peoples photos of the con and wanting to be there again.

I'd actually made plans to write entry for every day at NärCon at the internetcafé they had there. When I arrived the first day of Närcon, thursday, and made my way to the computers there were a lot of people who just shouted "DIBS!" and held onto that computer the whole night. When I finally got one it was something wrong with the keyboard and I couldn't write ;_;
It's just not the same to try and recall everything afterwards but I'll do my best!
I'm no pro photographer so I didn't bring my camera to the convention. There are so many talented people documenting everything and a lot of it will be up at NärCons flickr-site so if you want to see good photos of the convention, go there! Of course I'll share the photos I've uploaded to instagram over the days and write about my first time cosplaying at a convention!
 
I'm so, so happy that we rented a car and drove to NärCon. Being able to roadtrip with friends and stopping for lunch whenever you feel like and not having to stress about keeping the time. Awesome.
 
I really didn't want to miss anything at the convention so I made a schedule for myself a couple of days before with the all the info I needed! The time, place and date of the movies, lectures and workshops I wanted to attend.
We stood in line to get in longer than it took to drive there but with good company, an umbrella and some water to cope with the sun and the time flew by! It was my fiances first convention so he didn't really enjoy cueing as much as meXD With approximately 5000 visitors, it's amazing that we got in in just over two hours.
 
I didn't have a lot planned on Thursday and Saturday since I wanted to cosplay those days so after we got into the area we left our things in the sleeping halls and headed for the convention. I booked a time at the photo studio to get photographed for the competition and then I got into costume! We actually stood behind four really cute Links when waiting to get in, probably from Four Swords and I found two of them when I was Ashei and of course we took some photos together! Here's my crappy mobile phone-shot haha!
 
 
I'll have a proper photoshoot in the woods with my Ashei cosplay as soon as I can! The shot taken in the studio for the competition hasn't showed up at NärCons site yet. I guess they have a lot to do right now when the convention is over but as soon as I can get a hold of it I'll give you a better look at the costume^_^
 
He's so happy to attend his first convention :3
 
I got out of the costume as soon as I had taken the photo in the studio because it was soooo hot and super uncomfortableXD I couldn't sit down, and i got blisters on my feet after walking around in the shoes for too long. The shoes was suprisingly comfy considering the heels and how much I walked around in it though. It wasn't that many people that recognized me but many came up to me and asked about her and really like my work so that was a really cool feeling!
 
 
Every cosplayer(and other people too for that matter) that I met and talked to was SO nice! I met these two a couple of times during the con in the cosplay workshop, at the contest and also afterwards, they won the price for best group!
 
 
This group of browsers were so cute! <3
 
 
When I complemented this guy for his choice of cosplay we agreed that more people should cosplay from Doukutsu Monogatari, so go and play the game if you haven't and get on it:D
 
 
I'd followed Emelie "Sedra" Bäcklins progress with her Dalek and even if I haven't watched Dr. Who I just love this. When cosplayers construct a costume where they really become the character is the best. I wish to accomplish that someday too! She won the price for "Best Idea". I thought she'd win the whole thing though!
 
Linnéa "Mitternacht" Karlsson had so many costumes with her to the con! I only took a photo of her Sonia from Dangan Ronpa. She was so cute ;_;
 
 
I really liked the opening ceremony, they had a video explaining how Närcon has grown from a small convention to the biggest one in all of the nordic countries and for someone like me that had never attended NärCon before I liked that you got some background story to it:D It started at 10 pm and went on for an hour and since I drove all the way from Stockholm to Linköping I was really tired and went to sleep afterwards.
 
 
I had planned lots of stuff for Friday since I wasn't cosplaying then. We slept until lunchtime and started the day with watching One Piece: Strong world. It rained a lot so we were drenched and freezing by the time we got to the con. Starting the day by just sitting down and watching a movie was really cozy while the rain was pouring outside. I had some time to kill between the end of the movie and the start of a lecture that I wanted to attend so we looked around the shops a bit and just hung out with friends.
 
 
I was a little early to Sabina "The Sabi" Mangals lecture about cosplay make-up so I waited outside and she was actually there so I got a chance to talk to her for a while before the lecture started and she was so energetic and happy! I felt like a sloth that morning after a long nights sleep and a movie so she woke me from sloth-mode haha! We talked a lot about the competitive side of cosplaying and had a lot in common about the way we view cosplaying as a hobby and a life-style. I had a great time talking to her and her lecture was packed with useful tips<3
 
 
Some League of Legends cosplayers got together for a shoot and even if I haven't played it I love the character designs so it was fun to see so many of them at once. Chrix design that cosplayed Vi won third price at the Nordic Cosplay Championship that was held later that night. I wanted her to win!
 
 
I spent a lot of time with Laxhmi Lundell these four days, she's a talented cosplayer that I look up to a lot and I had so much fun talking to her about everything from everyday life to cosplaying. Since she has competed a lot and also judged cosplay competitions I asked her all my questions and shared my fears and she soothed me with her knowledge :3 I took this shot when we were in the cosplay workshop. I helped her out since she had really bad luck with the wolf molds. All the paint peeled of right before the con so she had to redo everything! I'm so glad she finished it in time so we all got to see it on stage<3 She won the best craftmanship category!
 
 
I regret not taking a less shaky picture, but anyways, I met Josefin "Tennyo" Slorafoss a couple of times during the con and she was, just as all the other famous swedish cosplayers, super nice <3 She had commented on my facebook-page that she was excited that someone wanted to cosplay Ashei here in Sweden. She's cosplayed both versions of Midna and also Princess Zelda from the same game so I had looked forward to showing her my Ashei:D I was suprised that all the talented people that I met were so talkative and humble about their cosplays and that they were willing to share advice so freely.
 
 
This was one of the photos taken in the studio on thursday. On the day of the competition, Saturday, I had fixed some small things. The make-up was MUCH better and my hairline didn't look as wierd where the wig meets my real hair. Laxhmi shared a really good photo on facebook of me up on stage taken by someone she knows so I asked that person if I could use it here and on Cosplay.com until I get a proper photoshoot.
 
I think this photo is very Ashei :D photograph taken by Seb Yoshi Zingmark
 
Before the contest when I was getting dressed a seam in my pants broke! I rushed to fix the big hole and missed the rehearsal so I was very confused when I got there. I actually almost fainted backstage because I had forgotten that I wasn't supposed to wear the shape wear I wore on thursday. It was too tight and in the heat and being nervous I felt really sick! Laxhmi, one of my friends that I came to the con with and some of the staff there helped me get out of the armour so I could go inside to rest up, get out of that cursed shapewear and drink some water. I was number 63 so I got there just in time to get my costume on again and get up on stage. I'm so proud of myself that I pulled it off. I was still a bit shaken so I didn't remember afterwards what I did on stage haha! But my friends said I was awesome and made her (few) signature poses and I didn't fall or anything so I'm happy with it!
I watched the rest of the show. There were so many great cosplays, it made me proud to be a swede:D
Apparently a lot of the audience couldn't take the heat and walked away after half the show so I felt bad for those who walked up on stage then. They were really good at handing out water and going around with fans backstage but most of the audience didn't bring any water so they probably felt awful!
 
I actually got called in for an interview with the judges! They really like my paint job and how everything was put together. I got so many nice comments about my cosplay and that they looked forward to my future ones since this was my first! They were surprised that so many of the ones they called was first timers^_^
I had a really good time while waiting to get interviewed. The other cosplayers in the waiting room were just as nervous as me and we listened to good music and talked about the con and of course, the competition. Afterwards me, Laxhmi and Sofie Busk that cosplayed Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones(she had sculpted and cast a dragon in latex!) watched Late Night with NärCon and then I went to sleep so I wouldn't be too tired driving home.
 
 
On sunday we packed up all of our stuff in the car and made our way to the con. The only things on the schedule was the japanese street-fashion show and the announcement of the winner of the contest!
Sofie was modeling at the fashion show so I wanted to see her Cult party-kei outfit, so pretty*_* I really love that style so it was nice to see a fashion show with more styles than lolita.
Afterwards they announced all the winners and as I've written already, a lot of people I'd talked to and gotten to know won:D Unfortunately I didn't win anything but I'm just so happy that I entered and that I got called in for an interview.
 
I'll have to ponder for a while about what my next cosplay should be. Feel free to come with suggestions! I've made an album on my facebook page with cosplays I want to make in the future if you want to take a look:)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The finishing touches

I am officially done with the pants!
I'm so ridiculously proud of this. For me it's such an achievement to sew something as difficult as this(at least I think it's difficult) and just let my love for the character drive me to accomplish something I thought I'd fail.
 
The red fabric sticking out beneath the fur is there for comfort when I wear the leg armour parts:)
I actually ran out of the gold lining and had to visit Sundbybergs Textile Centre again the other day, and it was lucky I did because I found a perfect rope for the corset<3
 
I have so little left to do now, it almost feels sad, I'll miss working on this costume. It's been the only thing I've done on my free time for almost half a year now. But it's also a start of something I feel that I really want to continue with and I'm looking forward to all the new challenges I'll be facing with new exciting costumes!
 
 
 
Here's a small improvement I did on the sweater, making the lines more prominent. I used a black marker for this.
 
 
As I mentioned in my last entry I'm changing the corset. I've shortened it, and what I have left now is to make it a smaller size. Besides changing the corset I'll make the upper arm-piece stick to the sweater with my new best friend: velcro. If it needs even more fixing I'll use the press studs. That's about all I have left to do:D
 
I got this from my mom, it's so useful!
 

This is probably my last entry before NärCon, we'll see if I can borrow a computer there and put up photos of my favourite cosplayers and write a bit about my days, If I don't, you can follow me on instagram! my user is sabinamardenkrans :D
 
I hope to see you guys at NärCon! I'll be cosplaying on Thursday between ~ 6 pm and 9 pm for the photoshoot and of course on the day of the contest, Saturday for as long as I can endure haha! The other days just look for a tall girl with pink bangs and a happy face:D
 
 

Fitting

I had some hours alone at home today and got some necessary, but boring things done that mostly involved fitting and the likes. Sewing the pants was a real challenge but a lot of patience and looking at guides helped a lot and now I actually have a pair of pants that I've sewn myself! I didn't have the courage to try to make a zipper closing or button closing so I just took velcro haha!
Anyway, what I've done today is apply the fur to the pants, so now there's just the pretty golden details left!
 
 
Bad shot of the pants I know, I thought I'd show how they look on when they're completely finished!
 
 
I got some really good advise from my dude on how to make the sweater less warm. Since it's wool it itches as hell(super sensitive to wool) so I have to wear something underneath to not go totally insane when wearing it. The solution was an old shirt of his! But two layers of fabric, one of them being wool is reeeeally warm, so we decided to only have the cotton fabric under the corset and make it look like the wool sweater sticks out at the base of the corset. This way I can be comfortable and true to the character design.
 
 
The thing is, by doing this the corset was suddenly too big for me, since I had a thinner fabric underneath. Another thing I discovered when trying the pants and the corset is that the corset is too long, covering the belt and the fancy belt loops I've made! Not good at all. So now I've started to change the corset. As you can see in the picture I've lowered the shelves(left before, right after) and I'll also shorten it in the back and also making it a smaller size.
 

Changes

As you might have noticed, I've made some changes here! I've decided to change the language now to english since I've gotten some international readers(not many but hey, it's easier this way)
I still have to translate the buttons on the right side of the page and in my entries so there's still some work left. I'm going to focus on sewing the pants now and fix the rest on the blog tomorrow.
 
Goodnight!.
 
update: Now I'm finished with all the changes! The blog adress is still "mardenkrans.blogg.se" and I don't really know how to change that, and also the archive months are in swedish but I think people understand it anyway. If someone knows how to change these things feel free to share^_^
 
 

Pattern construction

I'll be honest now and admit how freaking stupid it is of me to choose a cosplay that has PANTS when the only thing I can is to sew zigzag and straight stitch, sew in clothing items that are too big and make other very menial things. I have never sewn a garment from scratch or used a pattern or for that matter constructed a custom pattern. Pretty stupid of me but I love challenges and to learn new useful things! Luckily, I have a mom who works with sewing clothes and other things and can give me a lot of help, and so I acquired the same pattern book that I think both Laxhmi Cosplay and Mitternacht Cosplay uses, correct me if I'm wrong!
With the basic pants pattern in the book and a looot of fabric so I can afford to make mistakes(already done wrong like a hundred times now), I'm working my way to a pair of custom made pants.
 
 
I've always wanted to be good at sewing but it has felt so boring since it never really works that well:/
 
 
The pattern in the book didn't work at all for my body type so I've redrawn the whole pattern.
 
 
Here's the pants! Most of my reference pictures are actually photos of my tv when I'm playing Zelda Twilight Princess. It took me exactly 6,5 hours to get to the point in the game where you meet her. It was wort the time though since I got really good reference material!
 
 
I love the fabric, it's perfect!

 
the backpockets work put the ones on front are fake because it seemed so hard to make real ones. I don't really need working pockets anyway. As long as it looks good it's ok for me:)
 
 
 
I've been looking like crazy for a matching leather string / rope to the corset but have not found anything good, so now it had to be that I crocheted a string which I then colored with diluted acrylic paint. Someday I will find the perfect string / rope and then I can change it. This will have to do so far, lucky to be able to crochet!
 
 
 
 

Up & Down

My perspective on time is like a rollercoaster! Some days I'm really calm and I feel like I'll make it in time and others I'm panicking and giving upXD Even though I've worked with this since November last year I still haven't had that much time. I can only work after 9 pm every day, and during the hour my son is napping.So I'm stressing out a bit right now. I haven't sewn the pants yet but I did try the pattern I have as a base in the cotton fabric. Everything was way off and I realixe that my body is totally unproportional. Wide hips and thin long legs is a wierd combination. Iäve modified the pattern a bit and will try it out tonight.

I took some photos while doing the fixing for the leg armor. Here I used velcro mostly attached with contact glue since fabric+fabric doesn't really work with superglue.
 
this part is attached to the rest with a piece of fabric as a sort of hinge.
Here's how it looks on the inside. The fabric is just an old cotton t-shirt.
 
I won't show more than this. Come visit me at NärCon  to see how it looks!:D
 
Here's the hairspray that i mentioned in the last entry that Mitternacht Cosplay uses.
It work really well but it smells like a bad perfume :/
 
the wig is styled! I just need to adjust the bangs a bit lower on the con. I'll solve the problem with the hair sticking out by coloring it with hair chalk
 
now to the fun part, I did a makeuptest! I need to cover up the eyebrows some more but overall I'm pleased^_^ The bangs are a bit too high up though.
 
The first time covering up my eyebrows and using lower fake lashes

I took some tips from Jaroukasamas tutorial, she's great at cosplay makeup!
 
 
 
 

Practical solutions

This is the only thing I've had a hard time finding tutorials on. How do you best make an armor stay on the body?
I decided to try some of my own ideas: velcro and snap fastener/press stud

What I've done so far is the fixing for the shoes and the neck armor.
I used some old brown fabric I had at home, secured the edges with wood glue and used superglue to attach it to the armor.
 
 
Here's how the shoes looks open(left) and closed(right). I need this little contraption to get the shoes on and off.
 
Tonight I'll fix all the parts that needs velcro(armor for the calves) and maybe style my wig with the hairspray that  Mitternacht Cosplay suggested!

Secrecy

Now that I'm done with a lot of armor pieces I thought I'd show at least one finished piece, If you wanna see the rest you'll have to visit NärCon or wait 'til I post photos after the con!

That said, here's a finished glove! Newbie cosplayer Sabina is extremely proud of herself<3
 
 
All the painting was done in this order
  • Silverspray as base
  • purple parts painted in two layers
  • coated everything in two layers of wood glue
  • green and silver paint mixed with water was rubbed on with a small towel
  • white details were painted in two layers
  • Dark brown acrylic colors mixed with a little water was applied on all edges and corners, then scrubbed off with a towel to make the dirt more realistic
  • took the same paint but without water and applied with a small pencil where I wanted to accentuate the dirt
  • white acrylics with water was applied as highlights with a big pencil
  • same white paint was applied with a small pencil where needed.
I've looked at a ton of tutorials and just tried everything so if you have some tips on how to make my painting process more easy, feel free to comment^_^
 
 

Bending foam with wedges

This is a tutorial on the basic techniques I've used to achieve the shapes of some of the armor parts, eg the upper arm piece or the corset. With these simple tricks I think you can do most things in foam that you'd normally do in thermoplastic-materials!
Here's what I used:
foam
målarfog(joint filler) och fogpistol(which you apply it with)
sandpaper
superglue
mask
scissors/cutting knife
cutting board
paper
lukewarm water
pencil
ruler
 
The things that aren't linked are things I already had at home.
 
The first thing you need to figure out is how you want the foam to bend,try on a scrap piece to see how long the cut needs to be, how many cuts you need and where they will be on the piece.
draw a line for the cut and use your scissors or cutting knife
by folding out the cut you can see how wide your wedge needs to be. the wider,the more pointy edge you'll get. If you want a softer shape you need many cuts with thin wedges in them. Write down the width at the top of the cut so you have it for later.
take the cuts lenght, and the measurement you just noted and draw a triangle on the foam that the wedge will be in.
cut out the wedges
apply glue on one of the cuts sides(I use super glue)
put in the wedge and apply glue to the remaining side.
As you can see, there's a small space between the thinnest part of the wedge and the cut. This can easily be fixed later with joint filler.
The other wedge was a bit too long, also easily fixed by cutting or sanding the excess away.
I'm sure you could use some kind of nifty tool for this but I like smearing the filler on with the fingers. This is how you can cover up that little hole and the edges that show between wege and cut. You can skip this part if you want too but it gives a nice smooth result.
take som lukewarm water and even out the filler while it's still wet. take some paper and carefully wipe off the escess water
Ta-da~!
 
Instead of glueing a wedge in a cut, you can remove pieces of the cut to make a round shape.
measure, draw and cut just like the previous technique
now cut out a triangle shape(just like the wedges look) in the cut
then you glue it together
with a lot of cuts you get a really nice round shape in a material that's not really supposed to get round!
This is how I made the upper arm-piece.
sanding to get excess glue away. That's why I use super glue, you can sand it!
Now you can draw out the shape you want and cut the excess foam. I decided to make a round tip.
on with the filler
 
By doing separate pieces in these two techniques you can make a lot! It was the talented Henrik Pilerud that adviced me to use joint filler for a flexible putty so go visit him and see how awesome he is!
 
Now I'll continue at my little station in the sofa, weathering some shoes:)
Bye!
 

Weathering

After a months "vacation" in the form of studying to get my drivers license, I'm now at home again working on Ashei. I passed the tests and it's now officially confirmed that me and some friends will rent a car and drive to NärCon with me at the wheel. It'll be so much more comfortable than trying to get all armour parts packed and transported on a bus or train. I really look forward to our little roadtrip to Linköping:)
 
I got home yesterday but I've managed to do a lot anyway! Now I'll put in the high gear and work my ass off to make it until 25th of july
 
Attached all armor parts to the glove. Glue gun is too hot, and superglue makes the fabric break(and burns as well) so I used contact glue for this.
Ready for weathering! Here you can see the pink parts on the hand, looks a bit off
 
With and without flash, first stage if weathering and highlights.I used acrylics in Burnt Umbefor this. The pic with flash shows the difference between before green hue and after since the blade is still silver^_^ I'm really glad I managed to get that green shimmer!
 
Since I got the question how I made the corset bend to my body I'll put up a little tutorial later tonight:)