keskiviikko 8. tammikuuta 2014

Yukicon and Kyokai no Kanata

A new year has begun. Obviously it also means new plans and new costumes. Cosplaywisely year 2013 was great. Maria made more than 20 new cosplays and I too cosplayed more than ten characters. I'm not sure how many costumes I’ll be making this year but I do hope to find nice and awesome characters. Before that I promise to hijack this blog and write for it at least every other week if not more often.

                                           Maria (on the left) and me sewing our costumes

Fall 2013 anime season was a disappointment with less than three inspiring characters to cosplay and that greatly affects my cosplay plans. Thus I hope the winter season will be better and spring even better.  While the amount of cosplayable characters was low there were few great shows, namely still ongoing Nagi no Asukara and more-than-reference-anime Outbreak Company.  

  My haafu-eefu meido can't be this adorable

This season looks better. I quite liked already aired Space Dandy (I can't say same about the director’s earlier work Cowboy Bepop as I like complete stories more than episodic anime. And CB lacked characters and didn't use its potential.  Still, CB looks great even after 15 years.) and Shoji Kawamori's Nobunaga the Fool. Nobunaga the Fool reminds me of Studio Gonzo’s so horrible it is awesome series Glass Fleet. Kawamori was in charge of the mechanical design of the series. I'm anxiously waiting for Chuunibyou’s second season (tomorrow!!), Nourin and Toaru Hikuushi to begin. I also hope to find other great series to enjoy and even rave about. Maria will at least be watching Chuuni but doesn’t really know about other series.

New anime season, check it out!

Anyway, this post is about Yukicon's cosplays and a certain Kyoto Animation series called Kyokai no Kanata which after suspicion turned out to be a very cute and sometimes touching series. We both watched it and I dare to say, cried with it. Kyokai no Kanata, Kyokana, was very different from your everyday Kyoani-show. If anything it reminded me of Munto, the series I never completed (because one character annoyed me more than anything). Kyokana had excellent animation, it oozed from all that sakuga and making those few fight scenes obviously cost more than your average anime series combined.

Akkey, Hiro'omi, Mirai and Mitsuki

Despite excellent animation the series lacked something in the way characters were written. The heroine, Mirai Kuriyama, began as blobbiest moeblob that has ever blobbed KyoAni blob…show. Mikuru from MotHS would be jealous. After a while it luckily turned out that Mirai was half pretending (and half of that uguuiing was nervousness, wow I made a new word!) and became more serious if a bit quirky lead. The hero and also villain Akihito or Akkey (so clever foreshadowing, to call him demon) was your everyday schoolboy with glasses fetish and troubled past.  

The main couple had most character development and supporting characters stayed in background. Hiro’omi spent most of his time lusting after his imouto Mitsuki and imouto tsukkomied him. Maria’s favorite character was Akkey’s mother, who stayed mystery through the series. Her best features were funky and completely ridiculous costumes.

The series had somewhat good pacing. First two episodes seemed a bit cluttered but after that everything was smoother. I maratoned the series week before the last episode and that greatly affected my enjoyment. Watching weekly wouldn't have made such an impact. While there were imperfections and the last part of the last episode ruined the mood for me, I still liked the series very much. Of course episode 6 (idol episode with why always... ) was the best and Maria wants to cosplay from it. I also liked OVA ep 3 because of Hiro’omi.

Because naked Hiro'omi is always relevant

We both compared KyoKana to Chuunibyou and Chuuni just outshines Kyokana in about every aspect. Yuuta and Rikka’s relationship seemed more solid than Akkey and Mirai’s, Chuuni had more interesting characters than KyoKana and pacing was better in Chuuni. For animation, Kyokana was better but as it seems, Chuuni2 will have many well animated scenes. The theme however is the same: If we want to love, we have to accept the person we want to love.

We are participating Yukicon as cosplay contest judges with three other cosplayers. Because judging is hard and can take up to 10 hours per day we wanted to wear comfortable cosplays. I already had my Mirai costume from fall 2013 and Maria apparently had to make Akkey’s mothers chipmunk costume.  Hopefully we can have a photoshoot of said cosplays and post some pictures here.  These costumes are for Saturday. For Sunday I’m contemplating on Victorique from Gosik or Serena from Pokemon. Everything depends on the weather.

 So see you in Yukicon! Stay tuned for Desucon Frostbite (buy your ticket now and meet Yamaguchi "Inuyasha, Ranma, L" Kappei ja Megumi "Shinji, Haruka" Ogata)  plans and our first "It's Japan soon"-post!

maanantai 9. joulukuuta 2013

Appreciating anime: Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon

Maria is busy with schoolwork (correcting tests and such) so this post is written by yours truly. As the title says this blog entry is about appreciating anime. Today it will be about Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. It also doubles as our first super duper high school level awesome revelation about our first World Cosplay Summit costumes. 

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is an epic story about post-apocalyptic world where people have fled to space and when the space become a place not possible to live in human race returned. Unfortunately Earth is wasteland and dangerous so people live in all-powerful flying schools, have special powers (varying from archery to epic negotiation skills) and try to re-live mankind's history with the help of a book called "Testament". Somewhere everything went wrong and now Japanese people fight with Englishmen, Spanish Armada makes surprise attacks (by playing baseball) and no one knows what Italy and France are up to. To ensure the world peace (and to prevent destruction) Japanese school with their leader Toori Aoi have decided to take control of "eight armaments", big ass all-powerful weapons. Everything is backed up with an awesome OST so you should really watch the series (if you haven't already watched it).

When Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon first began in 2011 (my season 3 where?) I was anxious about the series. Due to lack of English translations I challenged my Japanese skills and began to watch the series without subtitles. That was an interesting experience because the language they use in Horizon is far from being easy (Something like Love Live! School Idol Project or Pokemon XY I can easily watch without subtitles). Characters talk and negotiate a lot and use different kinds of dialects. During the first episode I understood about half of the plot of the episode. This led me to put the series on hold for a while.

Then when the second season was airing I again remembered the series again and there were even official version of the first season available. So I began watching first season, loved it and watched the second season (loved it even more!).

Horizon consists of many levels of awesome. While it isn't the easiest series one to understand it offers enjoyment, a cast of around 60 to 100 characters, some of which are very well built, wide world to explore, and very serious themes concerning love, equality, war, peace, human emotion, and need to make the world to a better place. For a person who likes to learn about history it also offers many characters with the names of a real historical people. Some people may find the character designs and the amount of characters overwhelming but a more experienced watcher of anime will most definitely find Horizon to be a great series.  

When  I love something as much as love Horizon I just have to cosplay from it. If I had a lot of free time and unlimited amount of money (and awesome skills) I would cosplay at least 15 characters from series - from the best (reverse)trap Masazumi Honda to half-wolf Neito (Nate?) Mitotsudaira to megane-cutie Adele Balfetto. My non-cosplayable favorite is Kimi Aoi but making her hair (being Kimi-tier awesome!) would be impossible.

Kimi is being awesome here

During the second season of the series I found my favorite. The main idea of the second season is to get another armament back from Britannia and to achieve it Toori and his companions have to negotiate with Queen Elizabeth of England (yes, that Queen). The most important character of the second season is Elizabeth's twin, Mary Stuart (yes, that Mary Stuart) who just happens to be blonde girl with a blue outfit. With buttcape. Many dokis were had.

Mary is adorable and perfect

We had already planned to cosplay Horizon and the series was one of the candidates for the preliminary costumes. Unfortunately we lacked skit ideas for the series so we postponed our plans and made Melty and Maxima instead.  After we had won the prelims I had Maria to watch the second season of the series (she had already liked the first season) so that we could cosplay Horizon for World Cosplay Summit. Maria also found her favorite character and so the plans were set!

So here we are: presenting our first WCS costumes: Mary Stuart (ceremonialish outfit) and  Tomo Asama (ceremonial outfit).  Blonde Mary for me and blue-haired miko for Maria.

These lovely  ladies are for the parade and we are sure that hyperthermia will be our best friend. We are hoping to wear these in Desucon Frostbite (14.2-16.2.2014, do buy your ticket if you are over 18 years of age! This is a paid advertisement! Meaning that we pay to Desucon so we can advertise them.). Hopefully on Friday.

So, the first costumes are now out. Next time we shall be posting about our trip to Eurokangas (this is also a paid advertisement).

Ps. After I wrote the text, I just had to re-watch the series. It was more awesome than I even remembered. Deserves 10 out of 10 and A++ for an awesome OST (3rd season where? Deliver it already, Sunrise!).

keskiviikko 27. marraskuuta 2013

In the making part treux: The skit

Heidi: We think there are few really good rules when making a cosplay performace. We based our performance around these rules and around a certain bingo that I made before this year's WCS finals (for an IRC watch we had with other Finnish cosplayers). 
Picture by Tapio Matikainen
The rules are:

1st rule: There will be mistakes. Not even good rehersing can make sure everything will go perfectly. So you have to be sure that if a mistake happens you can cover it and no one will notice.

2nd rule: Be simple. If you base your show around symbolism only very few people will understand it. This is  why it's usually easier to choose an anime (/game/series) that you don't know thoroughly. This way you are able to be closer to your average cosplay audience. Of course it may mean that you are unfaitful to your cosplay resolutions but it really helps outsiders to understand your performance. Symbolism is okay when the series is very well known  but I wouldn't count on that.

3rd rule: Audience has attention span of 10 to 15 seconds. So after staying simple you also have to make things happen all.the.time. The shouldn't be any moment during which the audience could get bored. 2 minutes and 30 seconds of swordfigt/dancing/anything repetitive is boring. 

4th rule: Have fun. Really. It's all about having fun!

Maria: Melty and Maxima made it quite easy to follow all of these self made rules. Melty has  a very clear goal in the anime: she wants to make really really really good ice cream. Maxima as a more serious character works really well as her counterpart. Melty's only present in one episode of the anime and you don't see Maxima at all, so it was easy to keep the storyline simple when we didn't know too much about these lovely ladies.

We did try to keep these four rules in the back of our minds throught the whole process!

The Ideas

Heidi: Our main idea was "How can a trip to ice cream shop go wrong?". Melty, by a profession, is an ice cream maker who just isn't that good in it. She struggles, makes huge effort and tries to be the best but rarely manages to succeed. Maxima on the other hand is a soldier but as we all know, even the best fighters need their breaks. Best place for Maxima to rest would of course be an ice cream parlour.

Actually it could be said that our performance is about Murphy's Law: If everything can go wrong it goes wrong. So why don't we make all this going wrong flashy and nice. With some added ice cream.

Maria: We wanted to keep the basic plot of the skit simple and then add small elements around it so that there would be something happening on stage all the time. Those different elements or tricks aren't The Thing about the performance, the plot goes on even without them and even if some trick doesn't work, it doesn't ruin the skit.

Chemistry! Pic by Tapio Matikainen
So for example I had glitter on my cards and the cards floated between my hands and I flung my other cards all over the place when Melty's second ice cream test wen't wrong and so on. 
Dem cards. Pic by Matias Tukiainen
Heidi: After having a simple plot and making all these mistakes our third idea was to have very visible facial expressions as those can make the mood for the performance. I'm not avery good at making faces and always end up looking really silly but in cosplay skits those are vital point so I just go ahead.

Maria: Looking silly and not being afraid of looking ugly at some points is important in order for the audience to see anything and to get any of the feelings. Well the same goes for all the movements, they have to be exaggerated enough. Not too much, just enough. That's why I like doing skits where I don't have to take myself too seriously, it's okay to look like an idiot sometimes.

Thanks to Tytti Levänen for capturing my pout face :3

How the soundtrack was made?

Maria: Less is more when it comes to talking in a skit,  so we wanted to keep it to the minimum. Last time we did a soundtrack a year ago, I bribed my brother to do the short introduction we had then, this time I did one line for Maxima myself. Even though I listen to my own voice for like six hours a day at work, hearing it over and over again while recording the one line was so frustrating! And saying "ice cream" so that it doesn't sound like "I scream" is much more difficult than I thought. 

We thought that that one line was simple enough to be heard and understood but also essential to make sure the audience got the idea of the plot, even if they didn't see my floating ice cream cards. Or all the ice cream symbols everywhere.

Heidi: As Maria had the desponsibility of making props (sword and ice cream and such) I took the challenge of making a decent track for our performance. This was my first time doing that but with the help of Audacity everything went rather smoothly. Our track consist of.. I think eight different pieces of music that have been merged to a one simple track. As our performance was supposed to be something varying from epic to funny it was rather tricky to choose all the songs.

First tune used was from super popular Shingeki no Kyojin full first OP. As I have mentioned, I've an avid fan of Sound Horizon of few years so I wanted to have music composed by Revo-heika in our performance. The other pieces are from Shining Hearts game OST (for example Melty's own character tune) and epic battle music is from Chuunibyou demo koi ga shitai! OST. 

We mostly communicate via IRC, Twitter DM's and share our ideas through a cloud storage service Dropbox (use it, it's awesome!) When making the track I think we had more than 20 different versions of the track. It took us more than two weeks two find the great combination of music and effects (thought the track still isn't perfect).

While creating track is very important we don't want things to be boring so when Ilona once mentioned about making the ice cream -part sound like chipmunks in a helium dose... well, I did it. You may listen it here. Laughs were had.

Music and our wishes for the lights were sent to Tracon staff about three weeks before the prelims

Practising weekend also known as Camp de Lily / Liljaleiri

Maria: As we live 350 km apart from each other and even though keeping in touch and doing all the planning is easy with internet, we of course wanted to practise the skit together as well. We had this same kind of practise weekend last year and it was so much fun that I was thrilled to do it all over again! So Heidi came to visit me for a weekend in Kuopio a few weeks before Tracon and the preliminary.
We both love sweet things,so baking a cake was the right way to start the weekend. Then we talked, talked and giggled about our costumes, the skit and the feelings about the upcoming convention. 
Cake is never a lie!
Since the main stage in Tracon is huge, we wanted to practise the skit outside and here's a few pictures to prove that. 
Sorbet didn't join us in Kuopio so King Cid from Final Fantasy IX was there to take his place.

We practiced the skit for like... well, many times. It was great to first time really see all the movements together and hear the soundtrack connected to all the moves.  We didn't have all the right props or our costumes on, so we did a few adjustments after the practice too. For example I realized I would not be able to knee down with Maxima's dress, or atlest it would not look pretty, so I ended up buying a tall but small table thing form local flea market. (And I did end up kneeling after our performance while picking up all the cards I threw all over the place...)
Thanks mom for the practice place and those super fancy boots.
Heidi: After the Camp de Lily we had some two weeks time to finalize our own parts. Our perfomance is made so that we don't need to interact when we practise ( thought the practise weekend was needed for arragement of the stage). So I had my ow practise and Maria had her own and then came the prelims...

The Decisive Moment

Heidi: The day of the competition dawned sunny... well not really. Its was really foggy and I had to drive 120 km's to Tampere. I almost died. Other than that everything went very well.

Maria: We  brought all the props and stuff with us in the morning and placed them  to the backstage. So much love to everyone who helped us, we would not  have got for example the dry ice if we didn't have so amazing helpers. We didn't forget anything too important and nothing broke before the  skit. 

Heidi: I really like Tracon's main stage. It's big, but not intimidating and stage personel and cosplay organizers are all great, friendly and attentive to competitors wishes. Same goes for other participants (many laughs were had with other teams) and other cosplay competitors. Changing for costumes took like three hours for us and as the timetables had changed a bit, we were quite late for our judging. Luckily they were not mad at us.

Maria: After the judging we had our photos taken and practice time on the stage.It felt really weird to imagine the whole place full of people and to really for the first and the last time see if everything worked as it should with all the props and costumes. Or well we didn't actually test all the tricks during the practice, so there was some excitement for us too. We really would have liked to get on stage like straight away after the practice, but we had a few hours wait before the real thing. 

Heidi:  As for the final performance, everything went faster than we expected. Here's the video:

Maria: I'm still getting chills all over when looking and listening to that, even though you can't really see everything I'm doing on stage. Thank you so much PSUtube for uploading this one, and this video as well! If any of you readers have any video footage of our skit, we'de love to see it! Sent us a link! (And other contestanst, if you want your skits to be uploaded as well, sent me email, I'll contact you with these guys!)

For the future

Heidi: Now that we have gotten our skit on a video we can finally move towards new challenges. Our skit for WCS finals is already in the makings and 2 of 3 costumes have been decided. After our ideas have been accepted we will talk about the costumes and our trip to Eurokangas.

Finally we want everyone to have this. It may or may not be a hint about our final performance:

Click to enlarge!

sunnuntai 10. marraskuuta 2013

The making of Maxima Enfield

I should start with a quote from the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland to say how late I am with this entry! I haven't been playing any Pokemon like Heidi. Only game I've touched recently has been Candy Crush Saga and that's only to relax my mind before going to bed and not to think about all the upcoming exams, test and essays. Yep, a teacher can get stressed out about those things too, not just students! I have been trying to do something creative every now and then, for example you can check my halloween make up experiences here.

 But as a apology for being late with this update, I did try to find as much work-in-progress -pictures as possible. Hope you like it!

That's me as Maxima on stage, just if you've forgotten. Pic by Matias Tukiainen.
So far for the past five years I've had two principles while doing cosplay.  

One is not to use clip on wigs, because they just don't look right unless the character really has short hair and then twin tails or ponytail on top of that.  

The second one is to only cosplay characters that mean something to me. They don't have to be my all time favorite character ever, but I have to feel somehow connected to them, usually because I liked the serie or the game they're from. I have fell in love with a design and then got to know the characters many times, but so far I've always thought I really need to play the game or see the anime or read the manga.

And then came Maxima Enfield with her stunning design and broke both of these self made rules I had. It was totally worth it, not just because well, we won, but because I learned more about myself and about my feelings towards cosplay and the characters I choose.

Once again, Maxima and Melty.
It was last spring that Heidi first linked me a picture of Maxima (who I really soon named just Max or Maxi, because I'm lazy writing long names) and Melty. Just looking at the picture I felt like Maxima was just that kind of costume that I like to do and a really good costume for the preliminaries. I watched Shining hearts anime where Melty's super cute and so totally perfect match for Heidi. Maxima isn't in the anime and you can't get the games she's in from Europe, so I was really skeptical about whether I should or could do her outfit.  

It was the combination of great skit idea, hours of searching for every little detail I could find out about Maxima as a character and the fact that Melty and Maxima would make a perfect pair that made me say to Heidi after maybe a few weeks that we should go with these two ladies to the preliminary. 

That's not even my cosplay room but our living room so you can only imagine what the rest of the house looks like.
Reference pictures did cause trouble, there aren't that many good pictures and then in those few good ones the colors changed, ribbons width changed and so on. But this is not the first time I've just had to choose the pictures to go with and then trust my own vision of what will look good. 

I do have some wig heads that don't look as bad as this, but somehow I always end up taking pictures with this one.
I've done ponytails in the past, but just looking at this super long ponytail made me think how I'd lose my nerves trying to get it right and how nonfunctional it would be. So I decided to give clip-on wigs a try and with styling it turned out to be the best solution! Ponytail part was easy to comp and take care of and the short hair was just long enough that it was possible to style it in a way it gave the illusion of being a real ponytail, not just clip-ons. Now if I ever find a character that has this long twin tails, I have a wig ready, because it did come with two clip-parts.

I bought these boots during spring from flea market just because they were the right size (I have really big feet and finding good shoes cheap is usually a struggle) even though I didn't have any character planned that I would need them for. I cut them a little shorter, added some details, fixed a broken heel and did the lovely ruffles, and so they turned into Maxi's shoes.

It is warm and sunny in Finland, it really is! For a few days in a year. If it doesn't rain
Previously I've done big fantasy swords and axes that I've made from really light weight material. This time I wanted to use wood to make the sword look and feel more realistic. I stole...borrowed a piece of floor paneling wood (a piece you put between the floor and wall) from my mom-in-law. Didn't cost me a penny but when I sanded the white old paint from it for a day I did think I might have spend some money to buy the wood without any paint... Anyway, I used a small hand sanding machine and spent some lovely and warm summer days outside working to get the right shape for the sword. 

Made from Worbla finest arts.

I used gesso to prime the entire blade, sanded it down and then painted first with black spray paint and then with miniature paints. The handle was my favorite part because I got the change to use so many different materials. In some of the reference pictures the handle has shimmering light on it, so I wanted to add them. Using individual led light would have made it a bit harsh looking, so with some googling I found these perfect led light dog collars. I bought a few from ebay, broke them down, combined two of them and got just the effect I wanted. Well after adding some baking paper there in the middle I did. 

The handle is covered first with worbla finest arts. I was tempted to just paint it, but I wanted the surface to be even smoother and to get the shape just right, so I added paperclay, sanded it down and then used gesso all over it.

The tentacle dress was such a learning experience. In the end I think I did achieve the look I wanted, because I didn't want the bottom part of the dress to look too much like just fabric but not too motionless either. I had wires going through the dress and corset boning to keep it up with some help from siliconeshoulder straps. The lining is really pretty purple taffeta I found on eBay.  

My absolutely favorite part of the entire outfit was the front piece. I've never done embroidering by hand and I had no idea I'd enjoy it so much. I carried the embroidery with me for many weeks and worked on it while on the beach, sitting under the apple trees or listening to the summer rain. 

Hmm... what else... Earrings are made from Fimo and painted with silver paint. The gloves were surprisingly easy to make from really flexible artificial leather and with matching ruffles to the boots. My least favorite part of the costume were the brownish parts that go all the way to upper parts of my arms. They are made from leggings and look okay, they just didn't stay up as they should have, not with any double sized tape or tricks we came up with. But I did learn my lesson and next time I'll be sure to double check things like this. The leg parts stayed up really well because I sew them to my stockings in the morning.
A small cape and a huge bowtie.

Underwear. A real soldier lady has panties made from fake leather.
Oh and the cards! I had two different sizes, most of them with ice cream pictures, some with slogans or jokes or other pictures. And them some glitter everywhere.
Melty's ice cream had a light in it as well. The base is made from wonderflex.
The most common question I get is what I do with all the costumes after the competition or convention. I'm lucky enough that my mom lives near me and she has a big house so I've turned my old room there in to a cosplay storage. There's plenty of room for Maxima and her tentacles along side with Ultimecia's wings or Shiva's tentacle wig. I do like the idea that I might get some pictures of Maxima at some point though realistically I know I'm super lazy of organizing any photoshoots. I do love the costume and probably smile like silly everytime I see it and remember the good times connected to it.

More about those good times in the next update, when we'll tell you about our skit!

maanantai 4. marraskuuta 2013

The making of Melty de Granite

It’s November already which means that World Cosplay Summit is only 9 to 10 months away. Which of course means that we have been tardy with updating our blog and other social media sites. We can (of course!) explain this all. It’s becoming dark here in Finland and only thing I wish to do is to wrap a blanket around myself and cosplay Swadloon. And play Pokemon X which has been an awesome game (praise Goomy!).
This is Swadloon. Isn’t it cute and grumpy?

Anyway. We still haven’t been updating anything about our preliminary costumes so within 72 hours, me and Maria will be making our separate entries of said costumes. Then we can finally move towards the WCS and plan for buttcapes and which creperies we will visit the most.

I agree.

I’m a great fan of the original tsundere-kyara type. By this I mean characters who begin  as  angry, cold or even borderline violent but when the series progress turn into a more gentle and even affectionate (like certain red-headed girl from PEI and such). In recent years however tsundere archetype has lost its most important thing - transition - and now tsundere girls (and certain boy characters) are nothing but blushing and hitting bunch of unbalanced behavior.  Which I rather dislike as the softness should be permanent thing not something that comes and goes. Girl tsunderes usually share the same traits: flat as a board (and very insecure of it), lots of hair, small build and an ego bigger than Moon.
I like this

I don't like this (a Kuroneko is fine though)

My initial reaction towards Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan –anime series was a mix of amusement and disbelief. Character designs were cute as Tony Taka’s usually are and the theme of the series was funny: they bake bread and it’s a very serious thing (well, not as serious as in Yakitate Japan but that’s a different thing). But it isn't actually a very good series as directing is somewhat lacking and anime rarely manages to capture the feeling of visual novelish games (which Shining Hearts is). It still had few good themes in it and the whole package was enjoyable at least.

Buy our bread please!

The episode in which the character I cosplayed, Melty de Granite, appeared was the fifth of the series and as a character, she seemed to be a rather typical modern tsundere: always a bit angry but not really. Her violent outbursts were very mild and towards her loyal manservant (or rather floating… ehm… creature?) Sorbet. Not towards a poor guy with personality flatter than a doormat.  What got me into the character was actually Sorbet, not Melty herself. First I made a 1:1 plush of said flying butler-thing and after that the costume.

He is so adorable!

When WCS-prelims approached, we decided on these costumes as they are from series that isn’t too hard for the audience to understand.  Melty and Maxima also share a few similar parts of clothing (namely the capelet and gloves). So, while being very different, Melty and Maxima still work very well together). And with a nice idea for the skit everything was settled.
Maxima on the left, Melty on the right

Now I have told you everything about the series and motives behind the costume, so onwards to the most interesting part - cosplay itself.

My Melty has six different pieces of clothing:

-          dress (pink and black parts are sewed together)
-          small capelet 
-          socks
-          gloves
-          shoes

The dress, as mentioned, is made of two parts: the overdress and underskirt which have been attached to each other to ensure that the underskirt won't move anywhere. For the overdress I used some sort of party satin they sell in a local fabric store chain Eurokangas. 

This company. They also sponsored us a gift cards for fabrics fow WCS! This is a shameless advertisement!

I’m not a fan of shiny fabrics (aiming for the natural look even in cosplay) so I turned the fabric over and made the dress with wrong side up. I think I bought 1,5 to 2 kilos of the fabric which means around 5 meters or so of it. The underskirt is made of 5 meters of pink taffeta, 13 meters of horsehair braid (to ensure the fluffiness of the ruffle) and to support everything, there is 5 meters of non-bridal-kind of tulle under these layers. There is no zipper on the dress and wearing the dress is possible when the front ribbon is loosened. It wasn’t a very nice dress to put on. Really. Never again.

The hat and the capelet thing (keep?)  are made of same fabric as the dress. The hat is made of yoga mat that has been glued and then taped together. The initial size of the hat was much bigger than the finalized product but after thinking about moving around the convention center, I decided on a smaller hat (which is quite large still). The hat was then covered with black fabric and underneath of the hat with color changing lilac taffeta. On top of the hat I added a big hot pink bow and ribbon and self-embroided lace (as nothing sold in the fabric stores quite matched the reference pictures).  Then 3 meters of gathered pink taffeta were sewn under the hat. I really loved my hat and I think other people liked it too.  

The first version with my everyday boater hat
 Working on it... completed!

Small parts were actually the most hardest part of the cosplay. Gloves I made of stretchy stocking material and added lace (eBayed from South Korea, I think. Or from China) and pink taffeta ruffles on top of them. I have never liked making the gloves and those are my weakest point in cosplay. I appreciate those people who can make their gloves look good.

For the shoes I recycled an older pair of sandals I had bought for cosplay. Those shoes were absolutely perfect if you don't count the colour (beige) until I noticed that decorative straps were not as they were supposed to be. So everything had to be remade. The closuring mechanism for the shoes wasn't that well planned but with silicon tape and few other tricks they were able to stay in their supposed place. Accessories were mostly bought from internet. For the ears I used best ever latex ears made by Aradani Studios  and for fake earrings (I don't have any piercings so real earring were out of limits) I bought larger heart trinkets from eBay.
Not a quality picture

The wig was also a rather curious thing: white wigs rarely fit me well as my skin has yellow undertone which makes the combination of skin and wig very awkward. The "silver white" (search by these words in eBay) color was perfect for my Nordic skin color and I recommend it highly for anyone with yellowish skin. I combined two wigs for added fluffiness and the result was better than I expected.

I really don’t want to estimate the price of the costume so let's say it cost too much. After everything I can honestly say that it took around 80 hours to make this costume but as I made one bit there and another here,it didn't feel that long.

Now, have a meringues. Receipe is from Not Quite Nigella.


Thank you for reading (or watching the pictures, whatever). Now let's hope for Maria to post her entry!