just plain sara: May 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alternate Harley Quinn Gallery - just for con season

I've been squirrelling away con photos from the internet of alternate versions of Harley Quinn just because I'm fascinated by the fact that she's become so popular. In Batman Animated, she most typically wore what's considered her "traditional" full jester costume with a few rare moments as Dr. Quinnzell, Arkham inmate and bedroom moll.

Had I thought that I'd ever want to use these photos for a blog post, I would have paid better attention to where I found them. I detest when photos are not credited so it bothers me that I don't have all the credits here. If you know who they are or who took the pic, please comment and I'll make the necessary edits.

Without further adieu...

photo by Leonard Jinto

photo by Leonard Jinto

Jessica Nova
photo by Leonard Jinto

Animosity Cosplay

seen at London MCM by Comic Addicts

Riddle by Bryan Humphrey

And I guess to round it out, I'll show my "alt Harley" which was just what I had come up with to practice before making my final traditional suit. This suit is for sale and would make a great jester addition to anyone's Mardi Gras krewe. ($100)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Steampunk Fashion Show

photo by Janine Mary

My main purpose of attending the Steampunk World's Fair was to model for the incredibly amazing designer, KRISTIN COSTA in the fashion show. My partner in crime, Smashley was coaxed into modeling with me. There was one other woman that was roped into the experience by a friend. Suffice to say, most of the models were experienced whereas some of us were not and we managed to get up onto the catwalk, do our thing and not fall on our asses. Other models chatted away about Fashion Week and the last time they “did runway.” Um, yeah.. unless you count the fashion show I organized in high school and modeled in, I haven’t done runway work, ever. Babs from Event-ography has a magnificent gallery on flickr. One of my favorite photographers to run into at cons is Knightmare6 who uploaded the fashion show pics into a separate gallery from his other SPWF pics. Jessica Lilley's gallery is also up on flickr.

photo by Babs
My recap of the show is at my site but as you know, not all of my site is SFW but that article is.

I met some really nice models in the fashion show, especially Kat (not sure if it's Cat or Kat to be honest) who was guy secure enough to wear women's pantyhose and help me with my outfit.

Aside from the other problems this con had (and apparently there were a great deal behind the scenes), about four or five of the designers bailed on the fashion show! That's not only a disappointment to the attendees coming to watch the show but it put a considerable burden on the organizers. I understand the global attitude of the fashion designers was that this "was just a con" and not Fashion Week but unless there's an emergency, your lack of professionalism is not warranted. It may have been due to losing their vending space (see the linked article at my site) but they could have managed participating in the fashion show itself. It's the denouement of the weekend and for some attendees, it's the whole point in going.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spandex Guilt - When costuming loses its fun

While I truly applaud the effort of Viva London for showing the black and white compositions of these models without the use of makeup or retouching, I still feel that the fashion industry is promoting the "heroine chic" look of boney sunken-eyed young women. When, oh when, will a healthy body grace the runway?

Is it possible for some women to be naturally thin? Yes of course. But look around you at any venue: the classroom, the gym, church, the bar scene. Most of the ladies in my own social network are a size 6 (US) or higher. I know that arbitrary number probably means nothing to the men out there who are lucky enough to have measurement equate to their "size" in apparel but for women it's different; it's also different from one designer to the next.

Today I reluctantly stepped on the scale and sure enough, the lax attitude I've had this past year and the over abundance of alcohol have been contributing factors to me falling back into the "unhealthy" range. According to SHAPE magazine's BMI calculator (see image): "Your score indicates you have a unhealthy body fat." My BMI is 25.6 which I really didn't think was that bad.

SHAPE magazine has praised the "fit" look of Kelly Ripa on numerous occasions. I like Ms. Ripa. I find her funny and entertaining. But "fit" I do not. If any ordinary woman confessed to the workout schedule of Ripa, she would be immediately identified as anorexic and then told to medicate and seek therapy for the compulsive behavior.

I used to read SHAPE while I ran on the elliptical (followed by a couple issues of RED SONJA) for what is called "thinspiration." That's when a woman stares at images of bodies that are out of her reach to make her exercise harder and starve. That, plus vicodin had gotten me down to 120 back in 2009. Oh well, 20 pounds are back on after a terribly emotional break up and moving home where Mum cooks every single day and bakes usually once a week. Yeah, I eat now.

Why am I venting now? Because it's Comic-Con season. Everyone that dons the spandex and capes for the con floors are talking about getting into shape. Getting into shape is truly wonderful; I would only promote that. I'm not dissing the benefits of exercise. I do have a problem with the attitude that one should not appear in a costume because they don't look like they just walked off a Hollywood set.

Whether it's a fellow costumer, a fan or a creator, people need to step back and realize why someone puts themselves out there in a costume in the first place. It's supposed to be fun! If you have nothing better to do than call people fat or nitpick if their hair isn't the right shade of red, then you need to re-evaluate the situation. There's such hypocrisy too. There can be a hot blonde as Slave Leia and that's "great" to these shallow d-bags, but show a Rogue with 20 extra pounds and she's not safe from the trolls on the internet.

In a nutshell, if you see a costumer that you find does not meet up to your high standards, just be polite and don't even bother taking a picture. Don't take it just to post and criticize later. In other words, DON'T BE A DOUCHE. Be a fan.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Free Comic Book Day costumes

My full recap is at my site but here are the costumed highlights!

Jessica Collier as Supergirl

Cassandra Kain as Jubilee

Supergirl (Jessica), Black Canary (Ashley) and Power Girl (Amber)

Rogue (Rebecca), Jubilee (Cassandra) and Dr. Strange (Jesse)

Rebecca Walker as Rogue

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Street Style: Gabi of Young, Fat & Fabulous

This past weekend over brunch, a group of friends and I were discussing fashion (no surprise there) the subject evolved to fashion blogs and we started naming our favorites. We all had our iPhones, Driods and Blackberrys out so we quickly started googling sites to view each other's recommendations. Hands down the unanimous winner was Young, Fat & Fabulous. If you don't know, please get to know. Gabi Gregg is the blog's savvy and fashion forward author. Not only has she been featured on Vogue Italia's site, she's also MTV's Twitter correspondant. Don't sleep on this talent. Her style choices are to die for and she proves time-and-time again that women can look fabulous at any size! I've gotten so many ideas from her already. Click here for details on this photo's outfit.

Monday, May 2, 2011

CGS Supershow Costume Challenge - The Black Widow (Claire Voyant)

My plan was inspired by 24-Hour Comic Book Day. I’m had a booth where I constructed my Black Widow (from The Twelve) costume right at the booth and hoped to get it finished early enough to actually have some time wearing it. Since I couldn't do 24 hours straight, it was spread across the two days of the show.

I arrived in the nick of time on Friday with five minutes to unload my gear from the car. Ten minutes before the show began on Saturday, I turned on the sewing machine to make sure everything was ok. ERROR MESSAGE! Oh no. I started to panic. I told one of our hosts Bryan Deemer that things weren't working. Luckily, I just had to rethread the machine and it worked. The pre-party at Third & Spruce was great. That of course gave me a bit of a hangover for the project right off the bat so my hashtag on twitter was "#hungovercostume challenge."

First I stitched the interfacing to the collar and stitched the collar closed lengthwise just to get something simple out of the way.

Saturday was all about the bodysuit and the bulk of my day was spent in a frustrated struggle trying to get the spider logo appliquéd to the matte spandex. It seemed like it was centered but when was all was done, it's a little off. I used a ton of straight pins to hold it in place. I zig-zag stitched around the spider with black thread. I hated the way it was coming out. The zig-zags weren't wide enough or tight enough and since the fabric shifted every few stitches there were so many sections that looked pretty awful. But I formulated a plan. I covered the black thread with grey thread and a better embroidery style stitch. At first, I couldn't figure out why the grey stitches were coming out bad; changed the needle and problem solved so one spider in particular is a bit terrible.

I struggled for so many hours with just the spider part that I was sure I wouldn't finish the challenge. At a certain point, I knew that I was at least a few hours behind where I wanted to be. I wanted to have the cape started on Saturday but had to accept that I'd be lucky if the bodysuit was completed.

After the appliqué, I made the sleeves, another easy step to make me feel like I was accomplishing something.

Then I basted the two back pieces together and installed the zipper. The problem this is that once a stitch is placed and then removed, the holes show up in this fabric. I wasn't really concerned since this was the back of the suit and it has a cape. I would have been really annoyed if I had been making this for someone else. I'll have remember to use doublestick tape instead when I do the Huntress costume out of the same material. After the zipper was done, I stitched the remainder of the back bottom together.

The rest of the construction went without any problems: I had to attach the front piece to the back at the shoulders and crotch. Then install the sleeves and collar. The whole bodysuit was completed by 5:30 on Saturday giving me a couple of minutes to walk the show floor.

I was stressed and exhausted. I kept introducing myself to the same people because I was forgetting that I had met them. :/ I was stressed for other personal reasons too but please accept my apologies if I had one of those flake out moments with you.

Saturday night was all about the main party at Third & Spruce in West Reading. I got to be front row to see Kyle of Kirby Krackle sing a few of my nerdy favorites! Woohoo!

Back to the show Sunday. Very hungover. My booth also became the con daycare. I love that some of the kids were actually interested but most of them just wanted to know if I had free stuff; luckily I had leftover tattoos and buttons from Wonder Woman Day.

This particular plan was to make a single layer cape which I'm not a fan of. Capes look better lined because it hides the seams. This character's cape is supposed to be filmy and translucent. The lavender crepe material is also $21/yard. By not lining it, I was able to keep the cost down but then I had to accept that I wouldn't be totally thrilled with the final result.

I hemmed around the hood (which you can't see in any of the pictures). Then had to stitch the four panels together of the cape. This fabric wouldn't work with a clean overlocking stitch; I had to straight stitch the whole thing. The hood was a struggle to attach. I was tired, hungover and stressed. The gathering wasn't going well. I even topstitched the hood to try and make it look a little bit better. The clasp was the last part of sewing and I did it by hand. The length was way too long; I cut it a bit but it was still constantly stepped on and tangled in my boot buckles.

I put on the costume (the suit has a spot where it bunches in the back and should be fixed but I didn't care); donned the wig (another issue as the original long one looked awful so I went with a short one that looks nicer but is way too short); added extra black shadow since mine had been sweat off hours ago. Then toured the floor for a couple minutes before heading to the only panel I saw, the Quick Draw competition.

I think my total construction/sewing time was 10 hours. I'd have to go back and check my notes on how long I spent on the design and cutting/prep stage. The cape fabric was $70; black matte metallic spandex $13/yd *  2 = $26; grey spandex $8; interfacing, zipper, cape closure, etc. was probably around $10; wig $43 (plus the wig I didn't like $45); boots & tights were already in my wardrobe.