2016 In Review

It’s been two years since I’ve written one of these posts. 2015 began spectacularly and ended horribly so it was hard for me to look back at the entire year and write about it. The rough patch that started in 2015 continued into the last days of 2016, but I look to 2017 with a cautious optimism.

In the spirit of that rare optimism, I want to not only look back at what I made last year, but I want to talk about why I’m proud of what I made. You might have noticed that I really struggle to be proud of my work, and that rings especially true this year.

I wasn’t able to make as many projects as I wanted, nor was I able to attempt the bigger projects I finally felt ready to take on. It’s been hard not to feel like I’ve been stalling, or falling behind in my craft.

But, looking back, I know the opposite is true because I refused to give up and I still found ways to grow and improve despite personal limitations.

That being said, here are the costumes I made this year and why I’m proud of them!

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Lilith – Fire Emblem: Fates

  • started in February, finished in March
  • Won Best In Masters Craftsmanship at Con-nichiwa
  • worn at Con-nichiwa, FanimeCon
  • highlights: custom-dyed wig, 100% self-patterned

Fire Emblem truly refuses to let me rest. I fell in love with Lilith immediately when I started Fates – adorable maid with blue hair who is also a dragon?? Plus an outfit I could reasonably crank out before the con? The siren call was strong.

With Con-nichiwa coming up, I knew I wanted to enter the masquerade – I would have to enter masters at SabotenCon later in the year, despite never winning overall as a Journeyman. I figured if I was going to battle it out in Masters I might as well get my toes wet at a smaller con.

I also knew I would have to make this cosplay as clean as I possibly could, but I also needed to bump up the wow factor a bit, which is why I decided to try my hand at patterning everything. I made my own bodice sloper, draped the bonnet, and patterned the puff sleeves from scratch. The good news is, all of that was much easier than I expected! The bad news is that patterning the apron was THE WORST. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever made to date, thanks largely in part to the lack of references.

Still, I went home with my first Masters award, so it was worth it! I take a lot of pride in detail work and in making everything as clean as possible, especially on “simple” costumes, so to have my craftsmanship recognized during my first time entering as a Master was a big highlight of my year.

Photo: Orange Slice Media

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Chuchu – SHOW BY ROCK!!

  • started and finished in May
  • entered in FanimeCon masquerade
  • worn at FanimeCon, SabotenCon
  • highlights: self-patterned, fabric and material choices

Despite having planned this group almost a year in advance, I had no choice but to make this in a rush. I’m proud to say that in spite of that it’s one of the cleanest costumes I’ve ever made!

Chuchu’s outfit in the series is super cute and easily my favorite, but it’s honestly pretty bland!  I took the idol/rockstar theme and ran with it when choosing my fabrics. I absolutely LOVE the sequin fabric and I’m so glad I found it (it’s not as tricky to work with as you might think!). I also put a lot of effort into choosing different shades of purple for all of the accessories – they still coordinate while adding a lot of visual interest to a costume that could have easily been very monotone. I’m really proud of and pleased with how all the different shades and textures come together. The more I cosplay, the more I love to stray away from pure accuracy and instead focus on my interpretation of what the costume should look like in real life – it’s so much fun and easily my favorite part of the creation process.

Photo: Black Beast Photography

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Pidge Gunderson – Voltron: Legendary Defender

  • started and finished in July
  • worn at Scottsdale Libcon, SabotenCon
  • highlights: first time doing inset corners, cosplaying with friends, getting noticed by several members of the VLD cast and crew

If you follow me on social media even a little bit then you know that my  heart and brain have been absolutely ruled for the past 7 months by Voltron – and Pidge in particular. This costume didn’t happen under happy circumstances, but it kept me sane and busy during a really rough couple of weeks. Fortunately, later in the year at SabotenCon I was able to assemble my Garrison crew and we had one of the most fun days I’ve ever had in all my years attending cons.

This was one of those costumes that I could have easily cranked out in a day or two if I were a person who doesn’t go out of her way to make easy costumes more difficult – but that just ain’t me. I spent a lot of time agonizing over colors and fabrics, and spent even longer getting my pattern just right. And then I made my life harder with fancy techniques like inset corners (which I’d never done before!) and stitching in the ditch. It was really important to me to make this as clean as possible and I don’t think I could be happier with how it turned out.

Photo: Orange Slice Media featuring my friends Ernesto and Nikki as Lance and Hunk

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Adventurer Class Nina – Fire Emblem: Fates

She technically isn’t finished, but I did wear her at Sabo for a bit so she gets an honorable mention for now!

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Circus Mami Tomoe and Ringmaster Kyuubey

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

  • Started in June, finished in September
  • Worn at SabotenCon
  • Won Best In Show at SabotenCon

I wrote a two parter blog about the journey of these costumes (part 1 part 2) so there isn’t much more I can say.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and I don’t even rank Mami as one of my best or even one of my favorite costumes. I pushed  myself to my limit and accomplished something I had dreamed of but wasn’t sure I’d ever accomplish.

Looking back I have a complicated relationship with this costume, but I’m damn proud of what I – and we – achieved and I hope it isn’t the last time.

Photo: Deegan Marie Photography

Back row right to left: Myself as Mami Tomoe, NyuNyu as Madoka Kaname, KaitoAIDA as Kyuubey, and LunarLyn as Homura Akemi

Front row: NyuNyu’s husband as Charlotte

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Star Butterfly – Star vs. the Forces of Evil

  • Started in 2015, finished in October
  • Worn at Phoenix Comicon FanFest

I’m so glad to have finally finished this! I originally started gathering materials in the summer of 2015 and worked on it a little bit, but most of the work was done in the days leading up to FanFest. Except for borrowing the wand (and a couple of cast off resin claws) from KnowOne’s Designs, I did everything from head to toe including making the leggings AND designing the custom fabric for them. It’s a fun and cute costume that makes other people happy too, and I’m proud of how it all looks together. I look forward to wearing it more next year!

Photography by Orange Slice Media

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Galaxy Garrison uniform Pidge Gunderson – Voltron: Legendary Defender

I told y’all 2016 was all about Voltron and 2017 is already no different.

Much like Pidge’s default outfit, this was another case of me making things harder. I put my inset corners skills to the test on the gold shoulder details which make the costume take twice as long and took ten years off my life. Still, WORTH. I have such a soft spot for the Garrison uniforms because of what they signify in the series, so I’m really glad I had a chance to make my own. I look forward to doing a couple of very special photo shoots with it very soon!

Photography by Spitfire Cosplay

I want to take a moment to thank you if you read this far! Doing this really did help me be more proud of the things I was able to accomplish this year. Please take the time in 2017 to be proud of yourself, too. ❤

If you enjoy my work as a blogger or cosplayer, please consider checking out the Cheapest Cosplay Patreon On Earth – mine. You can also show your support by sharing my blog posts! Anything and everything is always appreciated ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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