Sunday, February 7, 2016

Yaya Han 1st Release Fabric Review

I did a small and quick review on the fabrics the other day, but today I went back and checked out a few different stores and did a more in depth comparison of the Yaya Han brand fabrics to themselves and to some other similar fabrics.

My final judgement is a 3/10... (maybe a 4)...

The videos I have included are very brief and feature some of my own opinions and opinions of my cosplay partner as well as demonstrating the fabric. Let's start on the first one.


The metallic scales...

First...these are supposed to be a 4 way stretch...but when playing with the stretch they have a very nice stretch two ways, but the other angle does not appear to have a good elasticity.  I would give it a 3-way at most...

Most of the lycra/spandex/stretch fabrics are labeled as a 4-way stretch on all of the Yaya Han brand...but most of them do not have good pull/give-n-take.  I recommend taking careful measurements and maybe adding a little where necessary when using these fabrics.



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 The spandex and lycra all were metallic and several similar ones could be found for half the cost just down the end of the isle in the performance fabric.....and the cost? $29.99 a yard minimum. The most expensive fabrics go for 39.99USD.







 The brocades all look like run of the mill brocades, but there is one that is peacock feathers. The brocade is nice, and nicer quality than some of the super cheap brocades and are on 60" bolts rather than 45" or 50".




The stretch suede had nice texture to them but I will personally continue using micro suede or other suede at costs that are nearly 1/3 of what these are asking for. (I had a video taken for these too, but the file is much too large to upload. @A@)

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 The cotton twill was nice and thick but you can find other ones for more colours and are much cheaper. For example, Hobby Lobby has nice twill in a variety of colours for 9.99.




Disappointed as these fabrics are definitely not for new cosplayers looking to get fresh into sewing. Too costly for the cheap material and not all of them seem reliable for long-term wear and tear. If you want to try them, there are some decent materials out of the lot and you may find something perfect for you.

Final judging score: 3 / 10 (maybe a 4)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Battle Elsa

Battle Elsa

Debut: July 25, 2014





 

My original plans for Elsa was back in December 2013. I wanted to just make a standard, simple Elsa costume to wear to conventions, have fun and do shoots with. But when I sat down and started working out her design, I realized that I wanted to do something unique and different. A two month project turned into a 10 month project totaling at 1345 hours of work. I recorded my hours through movies and tv series (all the Hobbit and LotR marathons!!!). She went through 15 different designs until February, when I decided to take my armour making a little further. I had been seeing so many beautiful Elsa’s, but I really wanted to see what happened to Elsa three years later. I pictured her older, more mature but still fighting that little bit of fear. However, she was a Queen, and a queen is able to protect her people. I wanted armour. I wanted to create something entirely new that had not been done before with the new Frozen franchise. But I wanted a design that was practical, visually appealing and unique but still captured Elsa’s character. I wanted everything. A realistic frost effect (which I used ground glass for), airbrushed details, a lovely paint job, resin cast jewels, and I wanted to glitter like a crazy person all over. Elsa has been my most ambitious project to date.

The armour from top to bottom tells various aspects of the Frozen storyline. Each piece incorporates a theme from the film either obviously or subtly.


BRACERS:

The bracers have resin cast gems that are two different colours in my tribute to the film. The darker blue represents Elsa’s magic in the movie Frozen. Its darker because of her fear. The lighter gem represents the love she has for her sister.



CHESTPLATE:

There are over 250 (because I lost count and wasnt going to count each one again XD) individually cut and placed scales along the bottom of the corset and painted with white illuminating highlights. The painting has been done to give a “battle worn” impression. The jewels are resin cast. There is also a lovely tribute to the film again on the bust and sides. These are taken straight from Elsa’s coronation gown!


DIADEM:

One of my favourite pieces. This piece tells us how afraid Elsa is because of her ice magic. She hides from her sister because she is afraid to hurt her. The diadem’s shape around the face offers that sense of “hiding behind something”. and for my armour I wanted some of that element. Instead of going full blown helmet, I went with a diadem that could also be a crown instead. The snowflake center is one of the main flakes from the movie and I chose it because the element of ice is vital to Elsa’s character.


SPAULDERS:

I love spaulders. This is probably my favourite piece of Elsa’s costume. I wanted to have a very unique, icy and appealing design. I went with fractals along the edges because how much icier can you get?! There is also a nod to the Frozen movie in the upper spauler, which not only uses one of the Frozen snowflakes, but also has a fractal just below it that is roughly in a heart shape (I know it looks like a “V” but it isnt!). This heart is symbolic for the armour and for the movie, as it is representative of the “Love Thaws” theme in the storyline. Elsa’s love for Anna and vice versa made Elsa able to control her powers, and learn that she doesn’t have to be afraid. This was very important to me to put into the armour.


GRIEVES AND SABATONS:

Once again we are seeing the coronation design. From top to bottom (from knee to feet) we see a large snowflake, the coronation motif, and a smaller snowflake. These two pieces are painted in a rough, almost aged manner. It is completely different than the rest of the armour. This is because these two pieces are the turning point in Elsa’s life, where she decides that she should be who she wants to be. Yes, these are the pieces that represent “Let it Go”. The snowflakes encompass the swirls, showing us that her magic is powerful but also that she shouldn’t be afraid to be herself. Becoming Queen (the coronation design) but being discovered, she walks (or runs) from Arendelle in fear (the smaller flake), but rises in strength at the top of the North Mountain (the larger flake encompassed by shining star bursts).


CAPE vr 2:

Although my Elsa is ready for battle, I didnt want her to lose that classic Elsa. No matter what, she is still Elsa. The cape is not only iconic, but is a part of her character. For the cape, I wanted to change some of the design but also keep key elements. Such as the blue paneling in the center panel, the larger snowflake in the bottom center panel, and other mini snowflakes across the cape. This version of the cape uses glitter and diamond dust for the frost effects. The first version of the cape (still a work in progress) uses beads, glitter, and other elements to create the designs and is white instead of blue chiffon.


WIG:

The wig is an Arda Suzi lace front in Platinum blonde. I sewed in extra wefts to give length, thickness and a more realistic definition. Real hair has a mix of colour into it and is not purely one single tone. The wefts were Arda Ash Blonde that I sewed through out the wig on every 3rd line. Because my Elsa is older, I wanted longer hair.

The snowflakes above are cast in resin with diamond dust on them to give them a frosted look.






Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cosplay on a Budget!? No Problem!

How to easily budget your cosplay? Simple! Though it may take a little work on your part. Money is not easy and it does not just get dropped into our laps.

A lot of times I hear people say, "it's too expensive for me to cosplay," and I think to myself that yes, yes cosplay is expensive. But this does not mean that it has to be un-doable! Like any hobby or business, it takes budgeting and money managing to be able to enjoy doing what you love.  To be honest, I am not rich. I make minimum wage at a retail store and get little hours during the after-holiday season. I have bills and gas to pay. To get a general idea, I make about $42-$74 a week and $30 of that goes to gas each week. Occasionally I get lucky and make a commissions sale, but that is few and far between. I am saving up to move out on my own, get a new car and pay the rest of my tuition to graduate.

So how do I manage to afford to make my costumes?

Careful planning, budgeting, saving and sale-hopping!  I do occasionally get help from my wonderful Significant Other, but I do not rely on him for help nor do I expect it of him. So I try to manage my money in the best way that I can to be able to do what I love and still be responsible.  Not all of these may work for everyone, though.

So can you! Here are some tips that I find helpful:

1).  Save your pennies, nickles, dimes and quarters.

Saving your loose pocket change and random coins found around the house helps a lot. Not all of us enjoy carrying around loose change so why not store them away and save them? Over time, change does add up and can help take a chunk of cost out.

2).  Have something called "unbudgeted money".

Unbudgeted money is money you have stored away and do not include it in your budget. It is outside your budget. Say you have $100. Take out a small chunk of that and store the other away. Forget about it, that money doesn't exist. That is your important, non-spending money. You have limited yourself to XX amount of dollars to spend on whatever you want. The rest of it is to make sure that you can live.

3).  Stash $1 or more each paycheck.

If you can afford it, try to put away a dollar or so with each paycheck. A lot of people have bills to pay and barely make it from check to check, but sometimes .50 or $1 can be saved. This does add up, though it may take some time. I used to save $1 per check I got, which was how I used to budget.

4).  Coupons, coupons, coupons!

If you shop for your own fabrics, definitely check out the deals, the sales and the coupons! I ended up getting over $500 worth of fabric for projects for a year and spent only $170. This included notions! So check out the different deals and learn what stores take what coupons and how. Do they stack coupons? Is it additive or multiplicative? Do they offer student discounts or senior discounts or military discounts? Different stores do and offer different things. Some fabrics may be cheaper at one store than another. Shopping online can also save you money on supplies as well.

5).  Thrift shop.

Yes, thrift shopping is another great place to get cosplay pieces! Sometimes you may even find some nice sheets or curtains for fabrics. Maybe you can find that perfect prop piece or article of clothing.

6).  Group orders. 

Want to buy some worbla for a project but its too expensive? See about cutting cost down by finding some friends who would be willing to go in on a group order with you to knock off some extra bucks. Anything you can save is worth it. Group ordering also helps to cut down on shipping costs too.  Which brings me to #7....

7).  Order in bulk.

Sometimes you can get better deals by ordering more. When I shop for fabrics, it is nice to order a bolt because it can be a couple dollars cheaper than buying a yard or two. Sure there will be extra fabric, but future projects could use that fabric, so it is not like it will go to waste. It will save you that extra gas since you would not have to go back to the store and rebuy. Saves you additional tax and even keeps you from randomly shopping for other things. Sequins, beads, thread, etc tend to be a lot cheaper when you order in bulk as well.

8).  Recycle your stuff.

Recycling from a previous costume is perfectly okay! Why buy more materials or new pieces when you already have something that would work? Don't waste that extra cash on a new item you already have or have something similar of. Instead, recycle and alter what you have.

9). Have a garage sale or sell some of that extra stuff you don't want or need.
You have a bunch of things lying around? Old cosplay stuff you have nothing for or outgrew or are too big anymore? Random articles of clothing that you or your kids (if you have any) no longer wear? Set up a yard sale and get rid of some of that clothing, sell your cosplay stuff to other cosplayers, and consider places like pawn shops. Sure you may not make much, but this cleans up some space for you and puts some extra dollars in your pockets. Every little bit helps!

10). Trade!
Trade! If another cosplayer is trading/selling stuff, see if you have anything they may be willing to make a swap for. :)  Trading is a great way to connect and is also a great way to save some money. Beware of shipping though, since international shipping can be costly. See what all of your options are as far as trading.

11). Artistic? Sell some art!

If you have artistic skills, consider doing some art commissions here and there. You may find you really enjoy this and want to go further with it if you are not already! This also applies to people who want to make costumes on commission too. Just make sure that you get out paid commissions to people in a timely manner. DeviantArt is a great place to sell artwork. You can also check out cosplay.com or other cosplay sites, etsy or storeenvy for selling cosplay related commission services.

12). Sell prints.

I have noticed that this is a relatively controversial topic in my facebook news feed. Some cosplayers actually sell prints of their costumes as a way to make some extra money to cosplay or pay bills. I say do what you have to do! Selling prints is a great way for people to support their friends or favourite cosplayers while still getting something in return. As long as the images are high quality, you have permission from the photographer, you split the shares with the photographer (usually these types of things are worked out in advance), and your print is high quality on good photo paper. There are many artistic things that you can do with prints. It doesn't have to be prints either! It can be calendars, shirts or other merchandise. I understand the "against prints" arguments, but honestly prints are a great way to market, network and earn for the cosplayer and are also a great way for friends and fans to support the cosplayer(s) and photographer(s)!  Storeenvy and DeviantArt are good places to sell prints!

13).  Do some odd jobs.

Mow your neighbor's lawn, babysit, tutor part time. These tend to be great ways of earning some extra pocket money on weekend! And a lot of these actually pay pretty well. Wyzant.com is an excellent tutoring place if you are creditable, have some time and are pretty good at tutoring.

14). Sell your old textbooks.

If you have some of those old college books just laying around and you have no intentions of using them, consider getting rid of them. There are various places online that buy back listed text books or even amazon to sell your books to other students, teachers or collectors.

15). Cut back on eating out.

Eating out is expensive! Consider if you spend an average of $10 at McDonald's every other day. That is $30-$40 a week in fast food alone. Instead, consider eating out once a week and instead buy groceries. Groceries take you a long way for what you pay. A bag of potatoes can last you a week or two or more. Making homemade vegetable soup with tomato juice, vegetables and seasonings can last you a few days.Not to mention that eating from home tends to be much healthier for you than eating out. You are the one who gets to control what is in your food. Treat yourself every now and then, but try to not go overboard.

16).  Pay off your credit card(s) and don't use them often.
Sounds odd, yes, but credit card debt is common and expensive. For every payment you make you have an interest fee if you don't pay your card off all at once. If you are able to, pay off your card(s) as quickly as possible to avoid further interest fees. You also would not have to budget this money into your monthly expenses, so that is extra for you! Also make sure to pay your card(s) off on time!


I know that not all of these are feasible for everyone, and everyone has a different situation. Please keep in mind that these are just tips to help you out! :) There are a ton of different options out there that you can do. <3

Have fun and cosplay on!!!!~~~