Ottawa Comicon 2018 Friday Pics

I kind of want to show the pictures of the costumes that I made after the pro photos come in, so that it’s possible to see what they’re supposed to look like before I get into the pictures where my kids aren’t goofing off. (Not that I mind the goofing off, but it does make it difficult to see what’s going on with the costumes.) But there were some other great costumes that we saw on Friday that my kids didn’t pose with.

My kids have no idea who this comic book version of The Wasp is, although I’m guessing many people these days at least have an inkling since the Ant Man and The Wasp trailers have hit. I was very impressed by the fact that although there had to be a lot of structure under the suit to secure the wings, her outfit was smooth and nearly seamless. This is a trick that’s difficult to pull off in real life.

This Gordon Freeman with a headcrab asking about the release of Half Life 3 made me laugh — especially since the headcrab has its own tiny coffee mug.

This tiny little Mega Man couldn’t have been more than four years old, and even so he had full-on armour and a blaster that lit up.

I believe that this was an original steampunk character. I was most impressed with her insanely complicated wig, and her gun that she’d made from scratch out of paper/cardboard!

This daring outfit is Ryuko Matoi’s battle costume from the anime Kill la Kill. Given how much skin is showing, it presents a lot of logistical challenges (and probably uses a lot of body glue).

This Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s novel series The Dresden Files was obviously based on the cover art, since he’s wearing a fedora (it’s an in-joke with fans that Harry never wears hats and actually rather dislikes them, but the publishers chose to add a fedora to the character on the covers as a kind of shorthand for a detective). I liked that his wizard’s staff and that Bob the Skull‘s eyes lit up.

And of course where would we be without a great Joker?

Robin Hood: Men in Tights

I’m still suffering from con plague, which in my case seems to mostly be a heavy-duty cold with severe sinus and ear pressure. I spent a good portion of yesterday and today huddled in bed, doped up on Tylenol Cold & Sinus, with the bedroom curtains closed because light hurt my eyes. It’s been miserable. Not surprisingly, sitting in front of the computer with its bright screens was definitely not happening. Hence the late posts.

So, on Sunday a group of us went as Men in Tights from the 1993 parody Robin Hood: Men in Tights. We originally thought we’d only get five or six people to go along with the idea, but in the end there ended up being twelve of us! It was so much fun. We were stopped every couple of minutes at the con so people could take group photos, and we were told that we made many peoples’ day.

Our group was missing some of the main characters, but we did have Blinkin (left), Robin (center), and Will Scarlet (right). And yes, if it’s not already completely obvious, many of our “men” in tights were actually women.

We took a lot of our photos poses from the Men in Tights dance number, such as “dance pose”, “manly men”, and “can-can”.

Oh, and “tight tights”.

The costumes were extremely comfortable, with the only real inconvenience being the pheasant plumes that would regularly poke into peoples’ faces. Exactly where you were poked depended on height difference.

Sunday was also Mother’s Day, so I think it was great that my mother and I were part of the same cosplay group that day.

Of course, we had to have a lunch break.

And then we had to pose as if waiting for the bus.

All of us spent a while in line to attend the Masquerade awards ceremony, where one of the Men in Tights won a Best Mask ribbon in her very first masquerade for her Luna Lovegood Lion Head (which she’d worn the day prior). We are all so proud of her!

Notes on costume construction:

– Tights: Any style from WeLoveColors in hunter green.
– Vest and Hat: Butterick 4574 pattern, using Galaxy Twill in Forest for the hat and Galaxy Twill in Chocolate for the vest (both available at Fabricland). We also added a collar to the vest.
– Shirts: Some people made their shirts from white broadcloth and the shirt pattern in Butterick 4574; others (like myself) ordered the White Jacobite Ghillie Shirt Long Sleeve from UT Kilts.
– Shoes: Since we went from a 5-6 men’s to a 13-14 men’s in size variance, we just went with whatever each individual could find that was close enough in looks (and comfy enough to wear all day on concrete floors).

I have to say, this cosplay was the best time that I’ve had at a con in a long time. It was a lot of fun having people over to work on their costumes, and it was even more fun to invade the con as a group.

And did I mention that I had a photo op with Matt Smith earlier that day? I was still in my costume at the time. When you’re getting your photo taken with a celebrity, you’re in there for like 15 seconds max, but in that time he did smile and say “Robin Hood!” approvingly, then pat me on the back. That was just the icing on the cake.

Weekend Costume Workshop

I spent two full days this weekend holed up with five friends in my basement trying desperately to help them get their Sunday ComicCon costumes finished. I don’t know how I ended up being the “experienced one” in this group, since I’m definitely no pro, but at least I had finished making the same costumes they had to make at least once already. While I coached my friends along, I did managed to get the dress for my Saturday costume sewn — but it still has lots of weathering to go before I consider it finished.

I dug out my face paints and makeup to do a few makeup trials. I’m decent at face-painting, but makeup is a totally different skill and I needed the practice.

It’s not horrible, but I think I can do better. My biggest lesson here is that I need some better eye shadows to create the look I’m going for, something with a lot more pigment. I’m going to have to go shopping this week.

Over the course of the days we had four sewing machines, a serger, a cutting table, an ironing board, and a painting table all in use, often all at the same time.

In the end, I think my friends got their costumes mostly done, or at least to a point where they could figure out most of the rest on their own. Some of my friends are returning tonight to complete their work, and others may be coming back next weekend.

Only 11 days to go…

(Oh, and I didn’t cook a single thing all weekend.)

ComicCon Costume Progress

Exactly two weeks until Ottawa ComicCon, and now is the time to start freaking out! I’m nowhere near done my costumes.

All right, Sunday’s costumes are mostly in the bag. The vests are hung up on the back of the chair here, along with the leggings. The shirts should arrive in the mail later today, and my mom is making the hats. So I think that I can safely stop worrying about that one.

A couple of days ago at Value Village, I even managed to find low shoes for myself and tall boots for a friend of mine who’s going to be in the same group. They were only $10 a pair! So I don’t need to make boot covers, and neither does my friend.

In the first picture, there’s a dress all cut out an ready for sewing on the table. That’s Saturday’s costume, which is showing progress, at least.

For Friday’s costumes for Thing 1, Thing 2, and I, I managed to find some second-hand toy tools and a fake knife that only need a lick of paint to look reasonable.

Really, it’s the Friday costumes I’m most worried about. Mine’s barely started, and Thing 1’s requires sewing with Spandex (which I have very little practice at). Why, oh why did I choose to do costumes that have so many fiddly little details? At least Thing 2’s dress is mostly done, as seen in the photo above… Yes, it’s supposed to look that shabby. I’ll actually have to weather it more than that once the last of the detail sewing is done. And if you can guess what it’s supposed to be, you’re as big of a geek as I am.

Well, I know what I’ll be doing all weekend.

Crumpets and Tea

Back in my old blog I posted all kinds of patterns I had designed, and I’ve been trying to slowly re-post them on this blog so that they can go back into circulation. So here’s en embroidery pattern that I designed back in 2014:

I would have taken new and better pictures, but I gave them away as gifts ages ago!

My younger brother is a huge fan of the 1995 movie Tank Girl. I mean, I loved that movie, but his fandom by far surpasses mine. I am all in favour of sarcastic embroidery, especially when it can be combined with practical objects. (This idea of pretty and practical is not new to me.) It’s not very often that I get a chance to embroider something for my brother –- he’s not generally a huge fan of embroidered items in general, and is often difficult to find gifts for. So for his birthday in 2014 I made him Tank Girl kitchen towels. The quotes are all from the interrogation scene.

These are commercially-made, 100% cotton tea towels (labeled as “premium flour sack tea towels” by Cantina), which I bought at $12.99 for a four-pack at Home Outfitters. They are 61cm X 91cm. I don’t think those specific ones in specific are available any more, but it’s possible to find something similar with a quick Internet search. Each towel that embroidered is actually two: one for the front, and another sewn onto the back to cover the wrong side of the embroidery. I chose the stitching colours of brown and brick red based on my brother’s preferences, trying to be fairly neutral so as to match his kitchen decor.

I also cross-stitched a coordinating fingertip towel for his bathroom, starting with a towel with an Aida fabric panel built in. They are available at most crafting supply stores (or online), and generally cost around $5.00.

So here are the patterns:


Click through for extremely large versions of these images which you can print to scale.

For the tea towels, I ran them through the washer and dryer a couple of times to shrink the fabric. I learned the hard way years ago to do this as it keeps the design from shrinking at a different speed than the stitching — which really sucks when you spent this much time working on something! It’s not as big of a deal with a mounted piece, but something like a towel is going to be washed over and over again. To transfer the pattern onto fabric, I printed them out to the proper scale to fit on my towels, then set the design underneath the fabric and used an embroidery transfer pen with the kind of ink that disappears when you wet it to trace the pattern onto the fabric. Then when I was done stitching, I just washed out the pen marks.

The cross-stitch pattern was transferred via the standard counting method instead of inking in the pattern first. I won’t go into the details of how to do counted cross-stitch here, but there are loads of resources online to teach you how, including a bunch of YouTube videos if you’re a visual learner like me.

You’re welcome to use these patterns I designed for personal, educational, or small business use! And if you do, please send me a picture. I’d love to see your work.

Last-Minute Costume

Some friends of mine had these great mash-up Halloween costumes this year, and they’d mentioned at a party this season that they’d like to upgrade them for a mini convention coming up this month. I’d like to say that they dragooned me into cosplaying with them, but I kind of volunteered. I’d made a similar costume before, how hard could it be, right?

I’m adapting two McCall’s patterns: M7225 (Misses’/Men’s Cape and Tunic Costumes) and M7229 (Men’s/Misses’ Nativity Scene Costumes). I don’t want to come out and say what it’s going to be just yet, because I’m not a hundred percent sure that I’m going to get it done in time. What I will definitely say is that it’s definitely not what the pattern designers had in mind.

I’ll be re-using some stencils from a few years ago and, if you know the movie that part of this costume is based on, these motifs might give it away. Even so, I’d be surprised if anyone can guess exactly what this mash-up costume will be. (No giving it away for those I’ve already told in person!)

At any rate, I think that this view will be my life for the next few days. I really hope that this costume turns out well; if so, I might be able to persuade my kiddos to do a group with me for the next ComicCon. Right now they’re talking Legend of Zelda instead, which I totally approve of, but it would be so much easier if I already had one of the costumes done this far in advance.

Ottawa ComicCon Day 3: Pro Photos

Day 3 of Ottawa ComicCon (Sunday) I went as a femme version of the Joker from Batman. This was my easiest costume of the weekend, since I assembled the pieces instead of making them. I bought the ugly purple ladies’ suit years ago at Value Village for about $10; I’m pretty sure it was originally a mother-of-the-bride dress from the 1980’s. It was too small for me at the time, but the outfit just screamed “Joker” to me, and I hoped that one day I’d fit into it. (Now it’s actually a little bit big.) I bought the wig at Audrey’s Costume Castle and it was the last one of its kind that they had in stock, so I don’t know the make or model. The striped hose were from an American Mcgee’s Alice costume I’d done years before, and the shoes were just ones I’d had in the closet. The bow and flower were all from Michaels. I thought final look would be more Jack Nicholson’s Joker than anything else, but in the end I think I looked more like the 1960’s Cesar Romero Joker. At any rate, I don’t think anyone was confused as to who I was supposed to be.

(All photos in this post by Richard Dufault Photography, also known as Open Shutter Photography.)