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CostumeCon 28 (2010) – Salvation?

September 2nd, 2008 No comments

Yay!

My secret network person who is making my wings said that I shouldn't give up hope just yet.  The helmet may not happen but I have a feeling I will get my wings.

I was pondering some of my other ideas and forgot to put one thing into the equation – will it translate on stage?

My concerns over whether parts of the armor should move to cover vulnerable areas probably won't show past the first couple of rows in the audience.  So it can be ditched.

The oddities of aerial combat in armor – since I won't be flying around it won't matter.

This reality check really simplifies the design ideas that I can now flesh out.  I have a few ideas that need sketching and then a hard look at whether or not they'll look right.

Since I don't have the wing back unit yet I can't completely design anything for the body.  Legs and arms are a different story, and I can work on possible ways for the body to look when complete.

When I get around to it I'll post some of the websites that discuss making cosplay* armor.  The process is quite interesting and some of these people are really good.  Not that I recognize any of the source material but the end result can be quite nifty.

* Cosplay.  The wearing of costumes at conventions.  ie – playing in costumes.  I didn't know there was a formal term for it because as long as I've been going to conventions there have been people wandering around in costumes.  I just thought it was a normal thing.  I guess it warrants it's own term.  Go figger.

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CostumeCon 28 (2010) – Potential Disaster

August 25th, 2008 No comments

Turns out the gentleman who is making my wings may not be making my wings.  He's working on a business of his own and of course that's far more important than my project.  No, there really is no sarcasm there.

So if there's no wings then there's no point in the rest of the costume.

Saves me a lot of work if that's truly the case.  But c'mon.  Wings!

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CostumeCon 28 (2010) – The Beginning

August 24th, 2008 No comments

Here's the deal.  I've been making costumes for a lot of years.  I've always loved historical costumes so those are what I made.  Not always completely historically accurate but I'll sacrifice some accuracy to make it look good unless circumstances don't allow for it.

Back at CostumeCon 21 (2003) I attended because:

  • It was close
  • My friend was on the scheduling board and decided I needed to teach some workshops
  • I was still making costumes

More than most conventions people wear costumes a lot.  Kind of goes with the theme, if you understand.  So for one evening I made a pseudo-17th century dress out of cheap pink fabric.  Bought a cheap white poly wig in the basic style and wore it happily.  I ended the evening chatting with a lovely bunch of ladies.  But an idea was born.

For whatever reason we decided to do a group presentation next year of "Marilyn Monroe Through The Ages" where we would all make pink dresses in the style of the time and end with Marilyn from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" – the iconic dress.  I think there were six of us at the time.  Everyone chose a time period.

Since I live near Vogue Fabrics – a fabric store that takes up a quarter of a city block I was tasked with finding enough pink fabric for all the costumes.  Some of these dresses take a LOT of fabric.  I found what we needed even though it wasn't perfect.  Everyone got their fabric and we had our basic instructions:

  1. Pink
  2. Silver trim
  3. Blonde wig/hair
  4. Cleavage
  5. Rhinestones

Not necessarily in that order.

Away we went.  The name of the project morphed into "Think Pink" and we had one person who had to drop out due to time constraints but she was able to participate as moral support, makeup and generally all-around fun.

CostumeCon is sanctioned by the International Costumer's Guild so any competition there has to follow the ICG rules.  One of our participants had achieved Master rank so the rules state you have to compete at the highest level in the group.  Most of us had never competed before.  Now we're being judged at the Master level.  Great.

Onward.

We all get our costumes done.  We spend the time before the masquerade (contest) getting ready.  Imagine six women hyped up on adrenaline, caffeine and sugar and then cinched into corsets.  It boggles the mind.

We compete, folks like us.  We win not only a contest award but an award from the local guild because we looked like we had so much fun.

OK – you've waited long enough.  Here was my entry:

My winning entry

Keep clicking on 'next' and you'll see the other ladies.  We asked them to photograph us in chronological order so that's how we went on stage for the presentation.

And in a very long post, that's how I achieved my Masters ICG ranking for Historical costuming.

But wait..

There's a Sci-fi/Fantasy category too.

I really haven't made any fantasy costumes.  Historical has enough quirks it has kept me amused.  But then I saw this costume take an award and be praised for the wings.  Pole-and-socket wings.  An idea formed…

Wings need to be impressive.  So I wanted mechanical wings that would open and close.  I won't give away trade secrets here but through my network of connections I had a set made.  Just the framework as I need to make the membrane and attach the feathers.  But they work.

At that time my interest in costuming waned.  I didn't have any reason to make the historical ones and no place to wear any of them.  So the costume idea languished.

Enter CostumeCon 28, being held just north of me in 2010.  The idea has new life.

Now I'm working on armor designs, since the overall costume is a jeweled warrior.  The feathers will be mylar to really pop under the stage lights.  Add on some armor and jewels and I'll be all kinds of visible.  Not exactly what you want in combat but just fine for presentation armor.

I'll post more about the actual design and construction as it happens.  But something occurred to me as I was rolling the armor designs around in my head.  Most combat takes place in two dimensions, so you can reasonably expect gravity and physics to help out with protecting some bits.  But once you take that combat into three dimensions it takes on a whole new set of problems.  Kind of defeats the purpose of armor if you raise your arm and there's an open spot the size of a softball in your armpit.  Ditto with behind the knees.  But I still need to be able to, oh, walk.

I'm debating about having sliding plates for at least one area.  Example – I raise my arm and a section of armor slides around to cover the now-exposed area under my arm.  Not that it is going to make this any more difficult or anything.  Oh yeah, and do I need a weapon or three?

Oh, and since this is bird-like I wanted the feathered crest on the helmet to be mechanical as well.  So now there's going to be a second component where the crest will rise up and then lay back down.

It's going to be interesting.  I'll say that.  And there's a very good chance that if I can make this all work I'll get my Masters ranking * and be done with competing all together **.

* Since I have a Masters in Historical I have to compete at the Journeyman level in Sci-fi/Fantasy.  Novice is the lowest level but they figure that skills transfer over so if you have a Masters in one you have to compete at Journeyman or Masters in the other.  I agree.  You can always compete at a higher level tho.  That's why I'm going to enter in Masters.

** At one delirious point I thought about trying to sweep the awards.  Best in Show for both categories as well as Workmanship awards in both.  But then I realized that I didn't want to put in that much work and that BiS is such a subjective thing that I'll never be certain that I can take it.  So I went back to whatever I was doing and put that idea right out of my head.

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