just plain sara: March 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Is there a costume that you've done that was more stressful, time consuming and frustrating than you had thought it would be before you started? (Let's not count Amazonia, cuz I know that was a tough one)

The short answer is: Almost all of them are harder to make than they look. The suits I've made from PVC gave me surprise by ruining my needles. The vinyl would scrape off onto the needle. It made for much slower sewing and a lot of needle replacements; the machine sewing is usually one of the easy steps. Also, I hate making accessories like gloves. You'd think it's just stitching pieces together like anything else, but they are so difficult and I have to hand sew them. I'm terrible at putting in zippers and elastic which are in almost every suit too. Trying to add fur to Black Cat was also a complete bitch of a process and I was never happy with it.

NOTE: Questions that are mass spammed to everyone, rude or have nothing to do with me get DELETED.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Comic book conventions are ripe for spectacle, drama and just plain old good memories... Do you have any great "con stories?"

I have many great con memories. I prefer not to dwell on the unpleasant times I've had during con weekends (mainly they didn't involve the con at all but personal stuff while I was away). Great moments include: the Geppi Museum in Baltimore where I met the wonderful guys of @DynamicForces; Getting the opportunity to "booth babe" for Joe Sinnott in Pittsburgh and then for @loveandcapes in NYCC; I owe one of the best times of my romantic life to the Pittsburgh con; the CGS Supershow con and after-con hours are equally epic because it's the only place where I felt like I could mingle with the creators and not have that "line" of fan-creator between us.

NOTE: Questions that are mass spammed to everyone, rude or have nothing to do with me get DELETED.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Costume: Modesty Blaise

I added MODESTY BLAISE to my list after reading a volume of the old strips which was published by Titan Books. The DEATH IN SLOW MOTION oversize paperback was my first exposure to the character which I heard about from my relentless best friend in blogging, Bunche (The Vault of Buncheness).

I have often gushed about my love for the artists at ComicTwart, an exclusive collective of comic book artists that specialize in pulp styles. My favorite artist, Francesco Francavilla, happens to be among the site's members making it easier for me to stal.. I mean monitor, his latest and greatest creations. Recently on his own blog, he posted a picture of Modesty which was all I needed to move my plans for her higher up on my costume To Do List.

Naturally, Modesty Blaise is easily compared to the likes of Emma Peel and Honey West. I describe her as a female James Bond. She has the sex appeal, the connections, the trademark outfit which is enhanced by a vast wardrobe, great secondary characters that back her up, and of course, being British adds to the list of characteristics that make her a legendary super spy. There's no reason any woman in costuming or acting would not want to be Modesty.

Since I already have the pattern designed (a modification of the figure skating pattern I use for most things) it was not long to put this together. There was no color blocking, no special logo, no unusual surprises with the texture of the fabric either; it was one of the easiest suits I've ever made. It was less an hour to cut the fabric and four hours of sewing.

The rubbery spandex is actually not vinyl. It's considered a matte metallic which I got in New York City's Spandex World for $13/yard. For my size, it takes 2.5 yards for this pattern. (Description: Matte metallic coating on black nylon spandex, Care Instruction: Hand Wash in mild detergent, line dry, do not dry clean, do not use bleach or soak in chlorine, Color: Black, Content: 80% Nylon 20% Spandex, Fabric Weight: 6.4 Oz/Sq Yard, Stretch Direction: 4 Way, Usage: Suitable for special occasions and dance costumes,Width: 58-60")

The bullet belt I used just for these test photos came from Hot Topic during a recent shopping trip (around $20). The mock Equestrian boots have been in my wardrobe for a long time. I remember getting them in a boutique in New Hope, PA for around $40. The wig ($44) came from VogueWigs which I don't recommend as a supplier. Their customer service is terrible and they have no refund or exchange policy. The gun in these pics is my Colt Python .357 Magnum which is not at all the style of gun Modesty would carry but it's the only one I have and I felt one was needed even for test photos. I have black gloves somewhere but they're more like evening gloves than what I imagine Modesty wearing while on a mission. You can see how even a very simple costume can become expensive when you add each piece up.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CHEERIOS cereal mascot design contest for kids!

Ok, so there isn't much time! In fact, you only have until tomorrow!!!

We've heard you share stories about your creative kids and now we want to celebrate their talents! Tell your child to grab their pencils and create a drawing on this subject: "What would the Original Cheerios mascot look like? What would their name be? What superpowers would they have?" Three drawings will be chosen and turned into a comic book poster! [Please submit to our Facebook wall by Thurs. March 17th at 5pm central to participate.]


Saturday, March 12, 2011

New authorized Bettie Page documentary!

Visit AmberUnmasked.com for the announcement!

She is the original “Seducer of the Innocent” -- my new catchphrase describing women like me who feel it natural and empowering to enjoy our bodies for art and for pleasure. She is a role model. An icon. A legend. A mother to all of us in modeling. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Will we ever see "real size" models?

Tr├ęsSugar has a small news feature about the possibilities of real size models making their way to the runways and magazines. A study was done that shows that women buy more readily when they relate to the model in the advertisement.

But when exceptionally thin and young women who all resemble each other model clothes, it's almost impossible for an average-sized woman to tell how the look will translate in her closet.
A year ago, and in fact over the past decade, the fashion world has been criticized for its promotion of unhealthy models. The couture houses can claim that they have standards for BMI but there's a clear message on today's runway: Thin Wins.

Then when you think about the inundation of product marketing we are faced with, like snacks and meals and even coffee drinks that supply over a day's worth of calories in one serving, it seems impossible to live in America and meet the fashion world's expectations of beauty.

At my best, 400-800 calories per day and 5 days a week pilates/cardio/kickboxing schedule from two summers ago, I got as low as 120 pounds and never was able to get below it. I had finally reached the medical community's definition of "healthy weight" and BMI. I had more compliments on my photos than ever and my super suits actually fit the way they were supposed to. Now I'm back at a zaftig 137 and struggling every time I hear an art instructor say something about not being able to see this or that muscle/bone on me; mind you they don't mean to say it abrasively but what a preoccupied mind hears is, "You're too fat to be our model."

There are countless websites dedicated to the look of Thin Beauty and skeletal models/celebrities. Granted in today's already over-photoshopped world of imagery, anyone could be fooled, but for the most part, the photos are right from the real world. We just celebrated New York's Fashion Week and now it's London's turn. Talk Show host Alexa Chung has legs thinner than pre-pubescent girls.

Can we believe Gweneth Paltrow when she claims to have just downed a cheeseburger before donning her glittery Oscar gown? Um, no. I sure don't unless it also involved her chasing it down with a bottle of laxatives or "making up for it" with a four-hour cardio workout the next day. Most celebs do have to work at it and they have the schedules, nannies, trainers and paychecks to help them get there. It's their job to be "beautiful" after all.

From a more real world perspective, I face this every day. I'm very happy for my friends in costuming that have managed to achieve what I have not in their physical fitness goals. Some have launched into competitive body building even; but most just enjoy the results as seen in thousands of cameras at any comic book convention. Yes, I'm happy for them but I'm also crazy jealous because even back then in 2009, I jiggled and rolled when not sucked into spanx.

2010 NYCC
At some point frustration wins. Five days a week and starving plus the addition of very expensive pills, was still not enough for me to look like "everyone else." I've done the shakes, the pills, the cleanses and the colonics. Underneath the skin may have achieved medical health goals but the package was still never going to fit into the mold of proper costuming or modeling. Because of this, I've been debating about giving up the "superhero" side to my costuming in order to migrate into attire where body flaws can be hidden (like steampunk, pin-up, etc.) but I can't seem to let go just yet. All of the genres simply look better on fit people, like any type of clothing on the market whether custom or off-the-rack.

When it comes to superhero costuming, there's this looming fear of ending up on a Worst Cosplay list. Even if it's a list composed by some pimply-faced virgin that has never talked to a girl, I still don't want to make those lists.