It might be preemptive to call CC35 the convention highlight of my year, but it might well have been. Because, while I didn’t get to attend nearly as many panels as I would have liked, or eat and sleep well, or take almost any photos… I managed to finish all my projects on time, enter not one but TWO contests, and run an imperfect but apparently successful panel/demo. And, as always, spend 4 days with my cosplay fam.
We arrived Thursday evening to have time to chill and prep for an early start on Friday. I didn’t cosplay during the day on Friday to save my energy (and outfit reveal) for the evening. I did hit up a couple of panels though, including the always entertaining “Costume Horror Stories” and “Vinyl Cutting” (the latter of which wasn’t relevant to my budget but was interesting as a higher-tech version of my own Freezer Paper demo). Then it was time to prep for the Single Pattern Contest.
My entry for the contest was using the coat pattern option (#M7025), and even though the “costume” was just the coat, I had decided to do some character and runway appropriate(?) hair and makeup which was time-consuming (but worth it). Luckily I still got to the greenroom on time and judging/photos went smoothly. I was really impressed by how elaborate some of the Single Pattern entries were, and was feeling pretty intimidated considering that my own coat felt very simple or too close to the original design once I could check out everyone else’s projects. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was thrilled to see someone else had picked a Marvel character for their inspiration - check out this Loki Coat!
In the end the runway/stage section went smoothly, although I had a hard time hearing the MC and could definitely have timed the “reveal” of my coat’s lining better. Regardless, it was fun and a nice relatively chill warm-up event before the Sci-Fi masquerade. And…. [drumroll, please]..... I won best coat!!! I was really, really shocked considering what everyone else had brought to the contest. I got to bask in the crowd admiration (hahaha) with friends briefly at the social before it was time to pick up Mr Stark and Little Stark and get them checked in to the hotel. We went back to the party, but sadly it was pretty empty by that point in the night.
On Saturday I had a similar plan to Friday - casual wear during the day (this time my twitch-quality Link cosplay) to get me through masquerade tech rehearsal and any panels I wanted to go to before changing for the sci-fi masquerade in the evening. In the end I spent the afternoon socializing and instead of going to panels, but nothing wrong with that. I got into costume a little earlier than greenroom call time to shoot with Dream Land Photography so I have some great photos of the finally-complete Cersei!!!
The masquerade greenroom was chaotic but ultimately everything got sorted out, as it always does. One of the cool things about Costume Con is that very few masquerade entrants are first-timers, so just about everyone knows the greenroom drill. I have to admit that workmanship judging was nerve-wracking, not only because this is Costume-Con, but because the judges really really had their game-faces on and when they didn’t seem impressed by what I thought were the best parts of my costume I panicked just a little. At least the stage portion went smoothly - better than I had expected (especially since I was shocked to discover that I would be entry #5 which meant that I didn’t have as much time to practice as I had assumed). The audience reacted well, and I could hear laughing as soon as the second track kicked in, so that was a big relief that at least some of the crowd knew the song well enough to know where it was going. So without further ado, my masquerade entry “Set the World on Wildfire” (video courtesy of Dan The Video Ninja, as usual).
Luckily, since I was so early in the show, I was able to join the Starks in the audience to watch the rest of the show! That never happens! Once the show was over I joined the line to return to the stage for photo ops, though this time I was at the end of the line (probably because I was coming from the audience instead of the greenroom hahahaha. Once that was done, I ended up chatting with a bunch of people in the hallway about my costume while waiting for the awards announcement. And at the awards…. I WON TWO! “Honourable Mention for Fabric Painting” in workmanship, and “Future Arsonist” award for stage!!! I felt so validated in terms of the hundreds of hours I put into painting, especially since the judges hadn’t seemed to like it at the time. I also hadn’t realized until the awards that one of the workmanship judges is the head of the ICG >_> oops/yay?
On Sunday Little Stark and I both dressed up as Ghostbusters, though sadly we didn’t get to actually spend a lot of time together clearing the hotel of spooks and spectres. I stopped by the Future Fashion Folio to see what people had made, and then took my Cersei dress and belt to the masquerade show and tell panel (where I got to hear praise from the judges so that was nice), and after that the rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for my stencil demo in the last panel time slot of the day.
As for that demo… we started late because the panel ahead ran long, and I’ve never tried to do a stencil in an hour before (the fastest I have done *without* teaching/answering questions is 90 min) so I tried to have as much pre-traced and pre-cut as possible. And while only half the shirt actually got painted I think that I effectively demonstrated the technique, and with minimal derailment. Unfortunately, I hadn’t actually downloaded my photo references to my computer and poor Kurumasha was left with the futile task of trying to get my laptop to connect to the hotel wifi so I could show other examples… and it never did. I felt worse knowing that the wifi had been working right outside the room in the hallway as I did my prep work. In any case, big props to her for trying anyways and helping out where she could. The demo had a full room and everyone seemed to take something away from it.
After that the evening was chill - I watched the Historical Masquerade for the first time and was happy to cheer on my friends who went on stage! I’m also glad to have a much better idea of what is expected of a Historical Masquerade entry now, just in case I ever decide to finish my “in progress” period costume and want to compete at CC38, (which will be in Montreal, as was announced after the show Sunday night! Yes, I have already bought my membership). The night wrapped up with a late but delicious sushi dinner and discussions about fandom, con-running, life, the universe, and everything late into the night.
I didn't get up to any convention activities on Monday - just packing up and saying our goodbyes and being unsure as to how I accumulated so many ribbons over <72 hours.
As I'm now officially "on hiatus" from conventions, it's probably high time to catch up on a few con reports, huh? Let's start with Costume Con 32. Words at the top; all the photos at the bottom.
This was my first ever Costume Con, because even though what I love most about all the cons that I go to is the costuming, when they're not remotely local to me it's difficult to attend. When Kaijugal and Sarcasm-Hime announced that Toronto had won the bid to host CC32 three years ago, I had grand plans for a really impressive costume... and as things are wont to do, those plans totally collapsed in on themselves. When it came down to it, I had nothing to enter in any of the competitions and not even anything new and cool to bring out for photos. But I pulled some of my favourite costumes from my closet to wear in the halls and headed out anyways.
Elemental and I arrived Thursday night thanks to a ride from Kurumasha. I was too late to pick up my badge, but luckily there was time to make a trip to the hotel pool with Kurumasha and Calamity before totally crashing for the night.
After getting my badge on Friday morning, I spent most of the day wandering the con out of costume. Ok, not completely out of costume, but close. I needed to assist with costume assembly and also do a fitting myself during the day so there didn't seem to be a point to cosplaying until after those were taken care of. The costume construction portion was prepping Kurumasha's "Single Pattern Contest" entry, which was a very literal interpretation of "using the pattern creatively". There were supposed to be several of us assisting but unfortunately the others got stuck in traffic so it was down to just 'Sha and I taping tissue paper to her XD. In the end, I wore my Alice in Wonderland costume to the Friday Night Social, and she won an award for her "Best Literal Interpretation" LOL. The social itself was fantastic, and every detail was monster/horror themed! Our local maid and butler cafe groups did an amazing job with everything. After leaving the social to get some pizza for a late, late dinner, my friends and I spent the evening hanging out and finishing last-minute details on our costumes... or in my case experimenting with Worbla (more on that in a future blog).
Saturday started with a hilarious (and informative) workshop about drafting bunny suit patterns ("bunny suits" like playboy bunnies, not like Easter bunnies XD) run by Gillykins and Gina G. (and friends). I wouldn't count on seeing me in a bunny suit anytime soon since the corsetry parts are way beyond my experience level, but it was a good learning experience and I came home with the beginnings of another pattern for my stash. Once that was done, it was costume time: Pepper Potts so I could hang out in character with KW Iron Man and Iron Girl XD.
I attempted one more event in the afternoon, a swap meet, for which I brought 5 bags of fabric and notions and only managed to get rid of 3 small pieces. That was disappointing. It seemed that everyone who stopped by the room was looking to get rid of things and nobody wanted to take anything home. Unfortunately, that's been consistently my experience at convention cosplay swap meets, so maybe they need to be marketed differently. *shrug*
After that was watching the masquerade, and I just want to say WOW. I've never seen such a consistently strong show, both in costume quality and staging. I did not envy the judges' job. It made me both glad that I didn't have the pressure of entering, but also disappointed that I wasn't even trying. Big props to all my friends who entered and even bigger to winners Calamity, Kudrel, Melting Mirror, Vickybunnyangel, Elemental, Melanie, and Iron Girl! (other thanks go to Kia and Gord for grabbing us awesome seats)
I had hoped to go to some of the room parties Saturday night, but since my friends and I decided to stay in the main room to wait for the judges' deliberations and because the awards ran so late, I missed out (or was too tired).
On Sunday my one and only real obligation at the con had me up bright and early. OK, maybe just early. I had volunteered to model for Andrea Schewe, who is a pattern designer for Simplicity, which meant i had to have my makeup and hair done and be at the greenroom far too early, in order to get into costume for the fashion show of some of Andrea's recent designs (which was the half-time show during judges deliberations for the Future Fashio Folio). Andrea is a really lovely woman and the costumes were so exciting to get to wear - I doubled up and got to wear both Galadriel's dress from The Hobbit and one of Cersei Lannister's gowns. As a Game of Thrones fan, I was particularly happy about that second one ~_^ I wish I could have kept Cersei... to the point of going out of my way to pick up the pattern recently even though I don't know when I would have the time to make it. Sadly, I had to return the dresses right away so I only have the photos of the Game of Thrones dress on stage, and the hall shot of Andrea and I.
After the fashion show, I had planned to wear my Goth Kim Pine costume but plans changed when I heard that Empress of Squee was going to be wearing her Cheshire Cat, because I wanted to try to get some photos with her. When I found her, to my delight, she was hanging out with Ani-BEE's Red Queen! how perfect??? No professional photos of the group, sadly, but I did get some awesome creepy 'out of character' pics with Eleventh Photograph. I went to the photography panels run by Elemental and Solar Tempest before getting ready for Sunday night's plans - Kurumasha's birthday party! (unfortunately this meant skipping watching the Historical Masquerade in favour of dinner and cleaning up our hotel room) The party was awesome, however, and a great way to wrap up the bulk of the weekend playing games and talking cons & costumes with new and old friends.
Monday was really chill after checking out of the hotel I wore my sloth kigu around the con, stopped in at the Game of Thrones costuming panel, registered for Costume Con 35 (which will be back in Toronto!), and generally socializing. When my friends and I did leave, we decided to continue taking advantage of having the day off by plaing board games at my place followed by a visit to the Video Ninja for our weekly Monday-night routine of watching Game of Thrones. Was a pretty good extended convention weekend overall and I loved getting to see so many of my friends again.
.... You may have caught that I mentioned Costume Con will be heald in Toronto again - we (well, more accurately the ConBravo team) won the bid for the next available location with write-in votes! So if you are at all interested in checking out a Costume Con but can't make CC33 in Charleston SC or CC34 in Madison WI (because the majority of my readers are also in Ontario), it'll be back in the GTA in 2017. Pre-registration is available now if you're ready to snag a badge really really early ^_^
And now, ont to the photos... almost entirely taken by other people. Credits labelled on each pic :)
There's just a few days left until CC32 and I am a mix of emotions about it. As I mentioned previously, I'm not making anything new which is really one of those "disappointed in myself" things. It's not really helped by seeing so many of my friends either posting progress photos or working on things in Google Hangouts - I've also been working on costumes the last couple of weeks, but not quite with the same commitment since my next deadline isn't for a while yet and I'm doing several things at once to boot.
So what have I been working on? In my last progress blog I mentioned working on bodysuits, and that's what I've been doing, although it's been a slow process. I have 3+1 bodysuits ahead, and I'm working on Midna first, though there's some simultaneous work going on for all. Unfortunately, all the suits require different patters and they all have to be hand-drafted so... I hope I'll be really good at this by the time I'm done. Progress pics of things so far below:
Also, spending face-time with friends:
and speaking of Costume Con... my cosplay plans are below. Aside from doing Alice on Friday, I don't have plans for which costume for which day. I'm not entering any of the masquerades, but I am going to be part of the Future Fashion Folio event on Sunday, modeling a couple of dresses for Andrea Schewe. I'm excited just because I get to wear the Cercei dress XD. I might not want to take it off LOL. Looking forward to sharing photos and maybe videos from the con once it's all over <3
Amaterasu (Imperial) 96%