December 22, 2014

Let's be pirate villains! - Team Aqua cosplay WIP post!

Hellou guys ~

Now I will do a complete progress post of my Team Aqua Grunt cosplay - from beginning to end! I didn't take a crapload of photos because most things I had to do were peruskauraa basic and not-very-interesting. But hey, without further talk let's get going, arrrh! >8D

Our Pokémon pirate villain reference,
aka male Team Aqua Grunt.
So I first started working on my Team Aqua costume on 28th July. Man, that's so long ago! I went to mom's place with Hasakitsuki because free fabrics we needed to check if mom happened to have suitable fabrics for our needs. Without much effort I found a good enough blue fabric that we decided to roll with for the Team Aqua pants and bandana; we wanted both to be of the same color, like on the reference. Next I took out mom's old pattern folders and checked through them in case there would be some close enough patterns that we could modify and use. Yeah, I'm lazy about drafting my own patterns. xD We found some generic pants pattern that we deemed suitable with some modification - aka widen the legs like hell (cuz they are evenly wide and straight on the reference) and skip the pockets.
When cutting the fabric we realized a horrible death was nearing us - we might not have enough blue fabric for pants and bandanas for both of our cosplays! D: After this knowledge infected our minds mom prioritized cutting out my pants first because they needed more fabric than Hasakitsuki's. Luckily after a lot of careful planning we ended up having just enough fabric after all! But it was a close call. The whole first day went into pattern searching, modifying and fabric cutting.

Cut out fabric pieces all over the chair, progress for the day.
If anyone wonders the bandana headpiece was cut out as a big triangle - we actually used another bandana that mom had made long time ago as a "pattern".

On 31st July we returned to sew at mom's place because mom's high-tech sewing machine is the best. On this day I zigzaged around all my cut out pieces and sewed together my pants to the point that they, well, looked like pants. Basically only the hemming of the pant legs, circle decoration designs and the elastic waist ribbon were left.
We had decided on using the fabric paint method to make the circle designs on both sides of the pants. Speaking of which, it was a bit of a search to figure out what the designs looked like but after seeing a few more references I could make it out.

Picture from the anime showing that the circles are linked together.
(also showing that generic Grunts have different hairstyles, wohoo freedom in wig choice!)
With the help of this picture and the fact that they are after the Pokémon Kyogre -which has similar linked designs- I figured that the pattern most likely is identical on both sides - basically just big white circles linked together by lines.
Except for working on the pants I hemmed all edges of the headpiece so that it'd look neat and crisp; the only thing left to do on it was to paint the iconic Team Aqua symbol. Mom gave us some white fabric paint -that had been lying around for years- and we took our almost finished bandanas home so that we could paint them at our apartment. After all, mom lives several kilometers away and she can't be bothered to drive us there every day to make cosplay progress, even though we were in a hurry. :'D

Just a photo showing how I folded the very edges
of the triangle (bandana) when I hemmed it.
We were ambitious and returned already the following day -1st August- and this time I finished my pants completely, save for the fabric painting of course. I started with making a sort of tunnel for the elastic waist ribbon to go through. Yeah, I couldn't be bothered to use buttons/zippers.. Because we had put extra centimeters at the waist -when cutting out the fabric- I could afford doing a 4 cm tunnel and so I did. I folded in the edge slightly for a neater finish while I pinned it in place.

Tunnel pinning in progress...
(feat. extreme camera color-rape! My pants turned turquoise!!)
With the tunnel pinned I went to iron it, because ironing things makes life easier. Then I just cut out a fitting amount of white elastic (2,5 cm wide) and attached one end to a safety pin. Oh, of course before this I zigzaged the ends of the elastic so that it wouldn't fray all over the place.

Best zigzag ever. xD Not.
But yeah, I used the security pin as a tool so that I could easily feel where the elastic was inside the tunnel and pull it forward, all the way around. The other end I held tightly outside the tunnel. When I got back to where I started (there was a gap of some centimeters that I didn't stitch shut on the tunnel so that I could thread the elastic inside) I took both ends of the elastic and sewed a straight stitch to unite them.

My method of doing it. Photo taken before I sewed the elastic ends together.
I also hemmed the pant legs. Actually my pants were like king size or something because there was too much extra centimeters added to the legs when we first cut them out. Mom went like "oh these will be short on you, let's add centimeters!" and I thought the original pattern looked too long to begin with. lol
So eh, I ended up double folding the hem with 5 cm each to get the finished pants to be the right length for me. Yeah, 10 cm off. Hahah..

Pant legs folded twice and ironed in place before sewing.
Even though the pattern was widened a lot and stuff my pants didn't turn out all kinds of weird and badly fitting. Actually I was surprised how easily it went. But yeah, with all the pants sewing done I took them home to paint them as well.

On 3rd August we biked to mom's place to make some progress on the shirts as well as go fetch some scrap pieces of the blue fabric so that we could try fabric paint on it and see how it behaves.
Earlier we had decided on using a stretchy white tricot fabric for the shirt and then make the stripes out of a similar stretchy fabric instead of painting the stripes because, well, that would take a lot of paint. But we noticed at mom's place that she had no stretchy black fabric so we had to roll with a very dark blue instead. Good enough, if you ask me.
We spent way too long cutting all the stripe pieces out of the blue-black and the white fabric and it was hellish because the fabric was alive; I swear you would have needed to hammer it in place or something when cutting because it went everywhere!

Sleeve pattern folded in half to make the dark stripe part of it..
We had counted the stripes on the reference pictures and done some calculations and I ended up with figuring out that I needed to have the stripes average at 15 cm width (excluding seam allowances) each. I also had to lengthen the very basic t-shirt pattern we used because it was both too short and not wide enough for me.
When I had cut out all the body stripe pieces -as well as the sleeve pieces- I just used mom's overlock machine and frankensteined them together into whole parts.

Marimekko Pirate t-shirt is taking shape!
Gotta love overlock seams <3 Quick and neat!
On 4th August I started the painting process of the bandana headpiece. I checked my references for the exact look of the Team Aqua symbol, did some measuring of how big I wanted it to be aka borrowed Hasakitsuki's forehead and started sketching free-handedly the symbol on some random advertisement paper. I cut it out and noticed that it wasn't perfectly symmetrical when you folded the symbol in the middle and compared left side with right side. I ended up just using the side I thought looked nicer and then just turning it upside down when I needed to draft the opposite side on the fabric. I also, of course, did some fabric paint testing on a scrap piece; turned out that this white paint isn't covering for shit! Bleh. Still decided to use it though. It's still free paint! Oh, and if anyone wonders the brand of said paint is Palett, it's bought from Panduro in Sweden several years ago.

Fabric paint test. It looked good.. until it dried.
(pic taken directly after painting)
Team Aqua symbol cut out..
.. and drafted in the middle of the bandana.
I kept adding layer after layer each time the previous one had dried. Well, at least the paint dried quickly so there wasn't much waiting time between painting the layers. I had to be very careful though because I was hand painting with a small brush; if I did a mistake even once on one of the layers it would have bothered me on the finished product. :C  Luckily I didn't end up with paint where I didn't want it and so 5+ layers later way too many layers the symbol had turned opaque enough to receive the sign of my approval.

Good enough. 8C
5th August we went to mom's place again this time with bus because biking blörgh and this time I finished my shirt; I started with sewing the shoulder seams and then attaching the sleeves to the garment - with the overlock, because it's faster. The sleeves went on without any problems and then I just sewed them closed (not the arm hole but yeah, you know xD) and all the way down the side seam on the same go.

Sleeves attached...
It's starting to look like something!
With the side seams closed I only had the smaller details to do and these finishing touches I did with the usual sewing machine. I first zigzaged the sleeve openings, the collar and the shirt bottom hem and then I went to do the hemming folds and ironed them (less annoying when you sew them down) and folded twice. I think it looks neater when it's folded twice because then you can't catch a glimpse of random zigzaged ends poking out from inside etc. But yeah, fold twice, straight stitch and go! BOOM! Finished Team Aqua Grunt shirt! 8D

Sleeve hemming in progress.
At this point the progress slowed down a lot because August was filled with anime events for us two and so we were traveling all over Sweden and Finland. We missed the original deadline anyway.
But I did manage to get my hands on some stuff that I would need for the Team Aqua cosplay during these stressy times! During Nerdcon on 16th August Hitsuyū went to fetch me some white fabric paint that was meant for darker fabric colors (turns out the one I had used previously was for light fabrics - no wonder it sucked!) while I was working in the con's cafeteria. Also on the beginning of September me and Hasakitsuki went into a Tokmanni store and found a cheapo 2-pack of black fabric gloves that we decided were close enough and thus bought

After half a forever of no progress finally -on 20th December- I drafted a big circle on some pattern paper. Said circle was of course for the design of the pants. I just took some measures to figure out the best size for the circle pattern and used a round candy box and the bottom of a bottle of gesso to draw a perfect circle, hihi. Later on the same day me and Hasakitsuki went to Jäätynyt Enkeli's place lack of space at home to draw the outlines of the circle design on the pants. It was quite rage inducing because obviously the pants were already sewn together and the elastic at the waist kept wrinkling the upper part of the pants and so, well, when you were drawing the last half circle on the top the elastic made horrible bumps in the fabric and just wouldn't stay flat! I ragequitted and drew the last circle half free-handedly and yeah, it turned into a potato. :< 

Ring design drafted on pants with pencil
The following day I returned to Jäätynyt Enkeli's place alone to start painting the pants. I must say that the new fabric paint made a huge difference! Now I only needed to do two layers to have a opaque white color! Note to self: Pay attention to if the fabric paint is meant for light or dark fabrics, it makes your life easier. So yeah, I just spread out my pant leg(s) on the kitchen table, shoved some newspapers inside the pant leg that I was about to paint first and started painting!

Painting in progress (first layer of paint)
Jäätynyt Enkeli gave me some assistance in pulling the pants at the waist elastic while I painted the design there and he also helped me paint a bit of the first few rings on the second pant leg, to speed things up a bit so that we had more time to play Monster Hunter afterwards.

One side completed!
Now everything's done! I just need to set all the painted areas with heat, but I'd rather wait 24 hours before I go put my iron anywhere. x) That concludes my Team Aqua Grunt progress post!

Team Aqua Grunt preview and possible photoshoot will come later! See ya!

December 11, 2014

Facebook Cosplay Page!

Hiya hello!

This is a few days late but I wanted to inform everyone although some probably know already that I've finally joined the bandwagon and made a cosplay page on Facebook! ^_^

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|★| https://www.facebook.com/ShiroSamuraiCosplay |★|
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Honestly though, for the longest time my thoughts were along the lines of "I'm not going to make a cosplay page on Facebook, noep. :C" but then something happened and here I am joining the flow, oops. xD
Oh, but of course me having made a Facebook page doesn't mean that my blog will become inactive, not at all! It's just that now I can be found in even more places! ;)

I hope you like me over there too to get updates through Facebook on my cosplay adventures, frustrations and successes! <3

See ya around! Bye!

December 4, 2014

Game characters I want to cosplay someday!

Hello hello cuties and coolies! \(^w^)/

Today I'm gonna do a post about some characters that my cos-making fingers have been itching to cosplay for a while now - yep, this entry will be solely dedicated to some video game dudes I've taken fancy on! :D Of course this doesn't guarantee that I will with 100% certainty do all of these characters (after all, interest can drop with time, as sad as it is) but it means that most of them I'm likely to make sooner of later and, well, honestly most of these have been on my cosplay list already for years without falling out.
So yep yep, follow with me through this post and see what cosplays might be seen on me in the future! ;) Oh and lastly, I admit that I get an extra motivation boost to go through and complete a cosplay when others are excited about the same characters/series or await the finished result etc! So hey hey yey, let's make the comment box sing and who knows, I might end up doing some of these earlier than expected! ~

So, what are we waiting for?
- Nothing, let's roll out the list! :'D

Characters are in no particular order.

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Game: Dynasty Warriors 5
Character: Zhou Yu

Ah, the Dynasty Warriors game series - Koei's popular hack-'n-slash franchise that has spread like wildfire and has as many sequels and spin-offs as I have hairs on my head. :D I must say that my first voyage into roaming the old battlefields as a Chinese war general was in Dynasty Warriors 3 and boy, was it fun!
Zhou Yu was one of the very first characters I played -if not the first- and he stayed as my favorite; I'm especially fond of his design on the fifth getup of the series and that's the one I'm the most likely to cosplay currently. I haven't played any Dynasty Warriors games more recent than the fifth, except for StrikeForce, and that's because I don't own the newer consoles.


Game: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Character: Prince Komali

Lately I've been playing and watching Hasakitsuki play The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and when we reached Dragon Roost Island on the second playthrough (I haven't seen most of the game, just the beginning and end so far - I know, shame on me) I instantly took liking for Prince Komali. Sure that most people would think that his child version is plain annoying but I liked him instantly and he has a wonderful character growth too. Also I can't help really liking his design and the Rito tribe -aka bird tribe- are the coolest peeps in the whole game, hands down! It doesn't help that I like birds a lot in general as well as characters who are human-looking with animal traits. Now to figure out how to make the beak-nose... nose-beak...


Game: Tales of Symphonia
Character: Yuan Ka-Fai

Tales of Symphonia has its place as one of my top favorite RPG's and I don't think that will ever change, at least not anytime soon. I loved playing through this game and its wonderful story back in the days and I still treasure the fond memories and would gladly replay it any day. In Tales of Symphonia there were many cool and likable characters and Yuan is definitely one of them! He stayed kinda mysterious and unpredictable for most of the game and you couldn't really put your finger on if he was truly a good or a bad guy. His design really appeals to me too and goddammit do I want to make that huge weapon, how could I not? I mean, just look at that piece of awesomeness! Too bad he's not playable...


Game: Tales of Symphonia
Character: Kratos Aurion (samurai outfit)

Yep, the picture above is from the game (and yes, he loves hair face censors) - I just couldn't find an official full-body non-game picture of him so I gave up. Yes, it's quite the hipser version.
Have another Tales of Symphonia guy! This time it's Kratos Aurion, the mysterious mercenary who has quite some secrets about himself stashed under his cold demeanor. I'll admit that Kratos was easily my favorite character of the playable ones and he kept that spot from beginning to end. But even though all of Kratos Aurion's outfits are among the ranks of either cool or cooler I settled on his Japan-only PS2 exclusive (someone correct me if I'm wrong) samurai outfit! Why? Well, besides the obvious clue that it's samurai style -and thus much to my liking- it's also because Jäätynyt Enkeli is a huge Kratos fanboy and wants to do said mercenary's other better known outfits and well, I'll never have the patience to make all those straps on his Judgment outfit anyway lol...


Game: Luminous Arc
Character: Kai

Okay, I admit - I haven't even played the game myself. *walks into shamecorner* Nevertheless, Jäätynyt Enkeli owns the game and has told me one thing and another about the story and what there is to know about Kai, except that we share the same name. :'D I know enough that he is a very silent guy who is protective of those he has a bond with in some way. Also he rarely gets angry and if he does it's because someone is beating his dearies to a pulp - then all hell will be lose and everyone dies. No, not really, but you get the point lololo. Oh and of course his design appeals to me on so many levels that it doesn't even need to be mentioned.


Game: Ōkami
Character: Moegami (gijinka)

Ah, Ōkami, one of my most favorite games ever. <3 There are so many cool and interesting characters in this game that I could probably do a whole post just for it, but I'll refrain from doing that now. xD One of my favorites in terms of design is Moegami, the Celestial Brush god of Inferno. He's a phoenix and man does he get my fingers tingling to design and make a gijinka/humanoid version of him!


Game: Monster Hunter Freedom Unite
Character: Auroros Ten armor set (High Rank Blademaster)

Oh god I'm totally sold for the Monster Hunter game series. Freedom Unite was my first touch into the drug that is hunting majestic monsters every day, every night. I've played over 1000 hours on Freedom Unite and I managed that even faster than on any other game and guess what? I'm far from sick of it; that should tell you how much I'm addicted to this series. 
There's several armor sets I'd love to tackle someday -when my wallet stops being anorexic and huge armors turn into a possibility- and the Auroros Ten is surely one of them! It's an armor set for High Rank male hunters in Freedom Unite who play Blademaster; Auroros Ten is made out of materials from the gigantic Elder Dragon known as Azure Lao-Shan Lung. It's very hard to make in the game but so worth it because the armor skills it provides are among the best there is!


Game: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
Character: Reyson

I'll admit that I haven't played many games in the Fire Emblem series but Path of Radiance is a great game! A bit hard though but some of the characters are really enjoyable so it more than makes up for it! Reyson -the third Heron prince- is one of my absolute favorites from the game and he has been on my cosplay list for quite a while now. His design is just so gorgeous - how could I resist the cosplay urges?


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...
I think I'll end this list now before it turns into a multi-kilometer post. :'D I do have more video game characters that I'm seriously considering, so keep an eye out for a second part of very possible future cosplay revelations!

That's it for this time! Moikka!

December 1, 2014

Three years of cosplay blogging!

Hello hello!


Oh my. Guess what? :'DD
It sure feels a bit unreal to realize that for exactly 3 years ago I created this blog.
Yep, it's my cosplay blog's birthday today on the 1st December! >w< *throws confetti around* I feel a bit bad for always completely forgetting about the blog birthday on all the earlier years, oops.. OTL No idea how I managed to do that, ahahaha...

I've learned a lot since I started writing in here, both how to write in a more entertaining/interesting way (I hope? xD) as well as having my cosplay skills evolve in all possible ways! :D
I also want to thank everyone who is following my cosplay ramblings - it means a lot, it really does. <3 I hope you'll stay around for a long time to come and remember, if you ever feel a need to ask me something, give suggestions or what-do-I-know then you can send me an email! My email is to be found to the left of the blog layout. :) I don't bite so don't worry!

I really don't know what to say ahaha, I'm just so happy about it all! 
Happy birthday blog!~
I hope I'll keep writing this blog for several years to come and keep on cosplaying too! It's such a fun hobby and I certainly don't want nor plan to stop anytime soon! Sure that it eats all my cash but screw that, yolo!

Oh oh! One thing more before I go!
I'll let you in on what's in stock for a near future! ;) When this blog reaches 200 followers I'll hold a second give-away -for all my readers- where you'll have a chance to win free stuff! \(^°^)/ It's not far away guys, we can do it! >8D


Jepulisjep, that'll be all for this time and let's enjoy the winter and approaching Christmas! Shiro Samurai sends the bye-byes ~~

November 23, 2014

Yukicon?

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the longer than intended silence (I didn't mean to semi-die :<) but I've honestly had no occasion to write anything on this blog and no notable cosplay progress either. :'( I have worked on some cosplays but it would be kinda pointless to post about them just yet. Real life has been all kinds of horribly busy and I've been running from Place A to Place B like a headless chicken. I'm quite stressed for the moment but hey, at least future has started to look like something now that things are starting to work out! Oh, and I totally went on a cruise too - which means that if you want to know about my hilarious Silja Line journey feat. geeky company and silly faces then check it out here!

But now let's move on to what I actually wanted to say a few words about - namely Yukicon. Most people probably know by now that Yukicon is a new Finnish anime convention that's held on the winter and -in this case- on 10-11 January 2015, aka the con that starts the next con year. Yuki? Snow? Noo there's no connection. So seemingly the con tickets were released on 20th November online and seeing how I was stuck in Helsinki with a cruising ship trip freshly behind me I had, obviously, completely forgotten about the whole ticket release. :'DD Oopsie, way to go! So well, earlier I happened to see that I had gotten a message from a con friend who asked me if I had managed to get a Yukicon ticket. She then also mentioned that the tickets had sold out in like 5 minutes.
...
*plays tape backwards*


Okay, okay, I have no idea how true this is.
But.
If that's the case then the earlier secret plans I had to attend Yukicon -which were pretty strong at some point- just got scrapped and thrown into the bin. No way I'd get a ticket now and even if I do I can't economically afford it anyway, unless magic happens. :C Earlier I really wanted to go to Yukicon because I haven't been to it before (then again first Yukicon was 2014) and also to lessen the winter con drought - I even had cosplay plans ready! But oh well, now that tickets are unavailable I don't even have to think about it if I'm going or not, so I'll be saving my money instead. Buah.

So yeah, tl;dr - Don't expect to see me at Yukicon. :(

Shiro Samurai out!

November 1, 2014

No more anime conventions for this year!

Hi!

First I wanted to say Happy Halloween to everyone! :D Secondly I wanted to mention that I've recently done a new post over at my lifestyle blog featuring a few quick Halloween/Fantasy make-ups I made. Please go take a look!

Also I've decided for a while ago that I won't attend Chibicon this year. I'm not very keen on traveling to Kuopio for such a small con. If it had been in Oulu -like previous years- then sure I would have gone, but now... bleh. :( I was also considering ConFusion in Sweden but it would have been too expensive for me right now, can't afford it. So yeah, that means I won't be seen in any more anime conventions until next year rolls in. Man, that feels so weird to realize...

That's totally me trying to get my brain to process the
"no more cons for this year" thought.
But fear not - this blog sure as hell won't activate hibernation mode just because there's no events coming up! I've actually already started working on a new cosplay and I have some other ones planned for next year! 8D A progress post should show up hopefully soon, hang on!

Bye!

October 24, 2014

I'm now on World Cosplay and Ask.fm ~

<~*-*~ Hello hello! ~*-*~>

Just giving a heads up and doing some shameless advertising that I've very recently created a profile over at World Cosplay, please go check it out and follow me if you like my cosplays! <3 I would be very happy if you did!


I know that my page at World Cosplay is currently a bit.. empty. But no worries! I'll fill it up with cosplay photos soon and fix a profile cover as well. Just hold on with the lack of fabulousness for now, I assure you it will look more appealing later!

Actually, I used to have a World Cosplay account back when the site was originally created (I was one of the first to join hahah) but I kinda didn't like how the site worked so I deleted my account. Also, most of my friends weren't there so that contributed to feeling lonely there too. But now I've noticed that a lot of people are there and World Cosplay is turning into this huge international cosplay site, so I decided to rejoin!


I also wanted to mention that I've joined the Ask.fm bandwagon as well! So all you lovely peeps can now ask me anything you like (nothing rude or in bad taste though, thanks!) over there and I'll try to answer!
You can find me here: http://ask.fm/ShiroSamurai >w<


That's all for this time! Ciao!