Random project update post! Because I’ve been super slack this week! Really, it’s just been a bizarre week. I can’t wait for next Monday, when I can start from scratch and get stuff going again.
- The NaNo Outline: Going really well. I’ve done some decent work on my protagonist, getting her personality and past shaped out. I’ve decided on a tone/narration style. I have the first three chapters fully outlined, although I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock. But at this rate, I should definitely have an outline done before November 1st. Outlining this novel from a scene-by-scene perspective goes pretty fast, and I believe my word count will be swift to achieve because of the conversational style. It’s just the “meaning” of it all that will take some refining. Altogether, I feel this is going to be a quick write/revision. Paradisa juggles five main characters, a ton of new settings, world-building mechanics, and just….a lot of exposition plot stuff that requires constant rewrites. Wake is a straightforward book. Perhaps not for the reader, but for me as a writer.
- Paradisa: I did finish my revision/rewrite of Chapter Nine this week, which puts me almost halfway through the Draft Five revision. I’ve become more ‘used’ to my new work schedule, and I also have a shorter commute because some construction stuff has cleared up. So I’m making more time for writing, and I’m pushing past those roadblocks. Talking to Dad on his birthday (Tuesday) helped inspire me too, because it gave me someone to talk to about the book. Talking about my revisions really excited me about this project again.
- Gingerbread House: Oy, I am really not sure this is gonna happen this year. Maybe I should alternate cosplay and gingerbread every October. This year is cosplay, next year can be gingerbread, yeah?
- Speaking of Cosplay: I have some in-progress pics of my Gamora costume. It’s still in the early stages, but anyone looking for a tutorial might benefit from it. Pics and details are under the cut!
1. The first step in any cosplay is the pattern. I formed a pattern for Gamora’s top out of an old t-shirt. Here is the front of it pictured. Beneath that gray top pattern is the pattern for one of her pant legs. Now, two things about Gamora’s costume are worth noting – the fish net piece is not attached to the rest of her top. While both the fish net and the “halter piece” are sewn to the jumpsuit pants, they are separate layers. The halter piece is almost like a pair of overalls. You can shrug it off and just have the fish net underneath. When I actually start working on the fish net piece, I’ll talk about this more at length.
The second thing to note is that Gamora’s jumpsuit is made out of primarily two fabrics. One is black leather/pleather/leatherette. The other is a dark blue stretch denim that is really hard to come by. The pattern above is JUST FOR the denim part of her halter overalls. The leather shoulders/sides/back piece are a separate pattern. If you stare at pictures of her costume long enough, you can make a decent t-shirt pattern pretty easily.
2. Speaking of the denim…I’m not using denim. Here is my laundry list of fabrics and sources:
- 1 yard of Leatherette from Hancock Fabrics for her top
- This pair of leatherette leggings of Amazon.com for the leather pieces in her pants. The sides of her pants are leather while the fronts and backs are denim. I’m very happy with this pair of leggings. I cut them into the proper shape last night that I think will work fabulously. It matches the other Leatherette I bought too.
- 1 yard of blue-gray gabardine from Trim Fabric.com. This my replacement for denim. It has the right stitch pattern, but is a thin/flexible fabric. But as you can see in the pic, it is way too bright and blue for the jumpsuit, so I’ve had to dye it. If you don’t feel like dyeing fabric, this isn’t the right choice for you. However, I’ll talk a little bit more about the dyeing in a second. I think if you can come by a decent, inexpensive pair of jeggings or skinny jeans, that might work for you. Just remember that the top must match the bottom, so buy two pairs. Then use the fabric from one to make her top. I believe Trim Fabric sells a navy blue version of this fabric that may work better.
- 1 yard of dark black athletic mesh from Trim Fabric.com. This site requires $30 minimum on all orders so I figured I’d buy all of this at one place. The athletic mesh is for the, for lack of a better term, hemline of her cleavage. See the link above for the same picture. It showcases this hem nicely.
- 1 yard of dark crinkled black material from Trim Fabric. This is required for her knees. I know it looks leathery, but you can see in this huge pic that her knee material has some stretch/transparency.
- For the fish net fabric, I obtained a Fishnet Halter Crotchless Bodystocking from Amazon.com (Envy Body Shop). Not linking to that, cause I’m at work. But…yeah, I was pretty embarrassed to buy this. And I’m still not sure it’s going to work, because the fabric scrunches up when there’s not a person in it. But it has the right size of square, and I just couldn’t find anything this good, in black, anywhere else. It was also SUPER cheap and I have free Prime shipping, so I wanted to stick with Amazon.
3. Dyeing the fabric is no easy task. I would recommend a 100% cotton fabric if you can find it, or a fabric that is the correct color. My gabardine is a wool/polyester blend, and polyester doesn’t dye without some serious effort (and a disperse dye. Seriously, nothing else will work.) By far, the easiest way to dye fabric of any blend is to paint it with fabric paint or a pigment. Dharma and ProChem both sell some good ones. It doesn’t require heat (usually) or any special chemicals. Just paint it on and let it dry.
But you know me…I’m a dye chemist! This is what I do for a living. So I asked my boss about what he would do to dye a wool/poly fabric. Of course he recommended a disperse dye for the poly, but then he recommended a basic dye for the wool. While I have some basic dyes lying around, they’re only in red and brown. My only options in black are reactive, direct, and acid dyes. I should clarify that I am a paper dye chemist, not a textile dye chemist, which means the stuff I make is usually for paper.
However, wool still responds to reactive/acid dyes, so I dyed a swatch of the gabardine with it. I don’t know how I would have done this without a lab. I needed a big inert vessel that wouldn’t stain, some acetic acid (sure, home vinegar would work), a surfactant/dispersent/detergent (laundry deterg works fine for home dyers), and a thermometer. The fabric has to sit in the boiling dye bath for over an hour. It was pain, but this was how it turned out:
Fabric strip on top is the original, fabric beneath it is the dyed result. It’s not a profound difference, but it will work. Just taking a bit of that blue out is enough to make the gabardine look good against the leather. I’m dyeing the real thing today, and I really hope it works.
4. Accessories! Gamora has a few belt buckles and a plastic collar. I ordered a sheet of Worbla, which is expensive and I myself have never even used before, in order to make these accessories. Luckily, Worbla was very easy to manipulate. I traced the pattern on paper, then on craft foam. I sandwiched the craft foam between two layers of Worbla, heated it with a typical home hair dryer, and bent it to my will. Keep in mind that these are drafts though. I still need to manipulate that wonky neck part of the collar and reheat the buckles to define the details more. When I’m happy with these, I’ll gesso them, spray paint them and, in the case of the collar, cut out some pieces of sheet aluminum (using my grandfather’s array of workshop tools) and glue them into the collar. If you want a Worbla tutorial, you can find a ton of them online. Just Google “worbla sandwich method”.
That’s enough of my rambly cosplay sharing for this week! I’ll update you on more progress next Friday :D