Friday, January 28, 2011

Cosplay Basics : White Button-up Shirt

Photo by Stuart Conner
There are some skills and pieces that get used in cosplay over and over again. This segment highlights what some of these are and, in some cases shows you how to do them.

This week's cosplay basic is... the white button-up shirt!

This shirt can be used in hundreds of different cosplays, if only because of the proliferation of suited-up characters and the myriad animes that take place in schools with uniforms. I myself have used a white button-down in:

  • Death the Kid (Soul Eater)
  • Minori (Toradora!)
  • Jack (Harvest Moon)
  • Shinigami (Kyouran Kazoku Nikki)
  • My steampunk costume
That is a lot of bang for you buck out of one purchase. So, what are some things you should think about when purchasing a white shirt for cosplay?

  1. Go for shirt that is long-sleeved and buttons all the way up. This is the typical form that's shown in most costumes, so you'll get more milage out of it. Its easy to unbutton a shirt, its way more difficult to try and pin a shirt together. I speak from experience.
  2. Go look at thrift stores! The big format stores like Goodwill and Value Village may have exactly what you need. Don't be afraid to make alterations like removing a pocket or some detailing. Also, if it looks dingy, just toss it in the wash, it will often lighten up. If it doesn't, try some whitening agents. I'm a big fan of RIT's White-Wash but bleach will work just as well.
  3. Get one that fits: not too big, not too small. Check to see if it fits across the shoulders so that it will lay nicely, and make sure you aren't straining any buttons across the chest. 
That's all the advice I have for picking out a white button-up. Does anyone else have any thoughts? what are some basics in your closet?

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Geek Accessories: On the Town

    As I mentioned in my last post, and the reason I only posted once last week, was Video Games Live. Its a live symphony performance of classic and modern video games, and it hit Seattle on Saturday. I went with a group of fourteen people, and it was a total blast. Nothing is better than hearing lovely orchestral music accompanied by thousands of screaming fans.

    But, to keep this blog on topic, I'm going to show you the geek gear I took for the concert.

    First up is my first embroidery project:

    Shadow of the Colossus is the best game ever.
    I seem to have misplaced the tutorial I used for the bag, but this is the one I'm going to use next time. I did the embroidery myself by hand, and just sort of winged it. I used a combination of satin stitching and back stitching with a loop of two differently-colored threads. I used stabilizer on the backside, and traced the pattern onto the front with an embroidery pencil and a picture of the symbol I managed to find.

    But what's that other thing in the picture?

    Well, I guess I'll let you see....

    The Super Mario 1-up mushroom!
    Its the first project I've completed using my new membership! I've taken some classes at a local jewelry shop, and I bought some hours from them so I could use their shop during Open Studio. It was a bit of a rush to get into the shop before the concert, but I managed it! I am pretty pleased with myself. I didn't coat it with anything, so I'm looking forward to how it looks when the copper acquires a bit of patina, I think it will look quite nice.

    Now you may be wondering where that pretty background came from. Well, the place I was staying had this nifty little set-up I spotted while I was using their sewing machine. I just had to take advantage of it for my photos!

    I've seen something like it before, on the Strobist blog, but I hadn't managed to make one for myself that was sturdy enough or portable enough for my needs. Since they've left the bottom on this one its far more sturdy, which means you can store it more easily as well. Taking the top off also means that you can stick props in there more easily, like that lovely branch of flowers they had in there.

    I may be taking apart a box this week to make myself one!