If you read my 2019 wrap-up post, you'll know that I had a tough year creatively. A large part of that was wanting to do things other than cosplay, but having committed to the costumes and getting stuck in in-progress-purgatory. This year, although I'm starting out with these plans… I'm trying to place no pressure on myself to finish anything except Rosalina. My main goal is to finish UFOs, only start costumes I already have materials stashed for, and just take on less. I love cosplaying with groups and will always make efforts to join people when invited, but I have to get better at not pushing my limits this year.
...So here is how things look as of January
Rosalina (redesign by Dessi-Desu) is part of a sponsorship with Cactus Mafia, so that's top priority to finish ASAP. I'm close… it's mostly hand finishing and a couple of accessories left to do.
Mom/Grace from Umbrella Academy was supposed to be a simple, easy, basic sewing project which really ended up being more work than I expected (story of my life). The skirt is almost finished (I’m trying to engineer a simple hoop for the hem) but there’s some wig styling left to do and the shirt to sew. At least I don’t have to paint any more polka-dots.
War is almost done; I just have to style the hairpiece so I don't have to spend a couple hours styling my own hair every time I want to wear her. The wig fiber has been dyed, so I just need to get over the intimidation factor of building a fauxhawk from scratch.
Captain Marvel has been stuck in progress limbo for at least 4 years. It would be nice to get that done.
Milotic is another bigger-than-expected project… I just wanted to make a mermaid tail and change up the aesthetic of the Milotic gijinka I made a few years ago. It would be nice too be able to bring her to Yeti this year.
Espeon: again, I have had fabric for YEARS. I know Kurumasha has been working on her coordinating Flareon so Espeon might get started this year.
Basically I really want to finish the top row, and will be satisfied with any amount of progress on the bottom row. I'm definitely going to end up working on things not on the list though (including partnering with Stark for his new costume this year, and probably something for munchkin too).
Along with fewer costume plans, I'm making fewer convention plans too. I'm definitely going to Costume-Con 38 in Montreal, Anime North in Toronto, and Yeti Con at Blue Mountain. Kitchener Comic Con and Pretty Heroes are maybes because munchkin wants to be there. It would be nice to visit a US Con again this year, but budgeting for that is hard.
In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing lots of you this year!
I almost decided not to do a "cosplay plans" post this year... since I don't have any kind of studio space set up now, and life will get messy as we're planning to move again in the spring so I have no idea what my possible productivity will be, let alone my motivation... but I'm a sucker for tradition. Despite the mild negativity of that intro, and the rest of the following post, I do have the attitude of the title - this will be a great year... even if I don't get ANY new cosplays finished.
Choosing what to prioritize this year has been difficult... there isn't much that I'm really really itching to get to (at least, not as I'm writing). So I started with just carrying over the unfinished costumes I had on my list last year - because of how I organize my fabric, these costumes are at least accessible (vs. being in storage). So Gwenpool, Captain Marvel(s), Sam Sparks, and Nightingale are all back on the list.
I'm adding Princess Buttercup - it struck me only very recently that I never even thought to cosplay her, and as a life-long Princess Bride fan, I should.
From my long, ongoing list of plans are Tizzie from Rat Queens and Espeon by Cowslip - I have fabric/supplies for both of these, and since I know that Kurumasha is going to be working on her Flareon this year, I should probably do Espeon to coordinate.
Finally, Lycanroc Midnight Form... I don't have any actual design interpretation in mind yet, but it's likely that I will want to make an additional Pokémon costume this year, and Lycanroc is at the top of the list.
For a change of pace, I want to talk about the state of my "to cosplay" list for a bit. Last year, I was determined to finish more costumes than I added to the list... and I was somewhat successful. In actuality, I added many more costume ideas to my list than I usually do on a yearly basis, except I added them fully knowing I probably won't be following through, buying fabric and wigs, starting to sew and then moving on. But the ideas are still there, in case I find the perfect materials, or a group comes up and friends of mine want to cosplay, or there's a perfect convention/photoshoot opportunity etc. So, minus the costumes already mentioned above, here's what my actual list looks like right now (not differentiating between things I've already bought-in to and fluff plans):
Archer (Vice) - Pam Poovey
Bayonetta - Joy
Cybersix - Cybersix
Darkest Dungeon - Plague Doctor
Dragon Ball Z - Glacia/female Arcosian
El Hazard - Miz Mishtal
Game of Thrones - Ygritte
Iron Man - Rescue/Zombie Rescue
Journey - Traveller
Only Lovers Left Alive - Eve
Sparks Nevada - Ginny West or Red Plains Rider
The Wicked and The Divine - new/update Amaterasu - Imperial Phase Cover
The Wolf Among Us - Snow White
Thor Ragnarock - original design based on Hela
Thor Ragnarock - original design based on Loki's Norway outfit
Thor? like legit Thor?
Twilight Princess/Hyrule Warriors - Twili Midna
Undertale - Undyne
Vikings - ???
... plus whatever awesome new stuff I get into this year. That's how it goes - the list always gets longer, but at least I have finally stopped buying tonnes of supplies for costumes I never get around to making. One day my goal is to be like my friends who somehow manage to focus on a reasonable number of projects at once - and actually finish them.
As for conventions, I really don't know how things will go this year. I have tentative plans for Toronto Comic Con, Anime North, and YetiCon... but there are a lot of new factors I have to consider this year when attending cons so I'm not 100% committed to anything yet.
With the usual caveat that these plans will most likely get disrupted and delayed by real life issues or by new plans, here is what I would like the next year of cosplay progress to look like (in no particular order):
Priority A-1: Holtzmann, Rock Star Alice, and Cersei Embroidery
All three of these costumes are very close to completion. Depending on my health and a few other factors I can see myself finishing all three by the end of the month.
Priority A-2: Kevin
After having aleady made Holtzmann's jumpsuit, Kevin's should be relatively easy (and slightly less time-consuming, for what that's worth). I don't normally put projects which will be worn by others onto my list, but having him there should help keep me on track. I can't procrastinate too much on this garment, since the pattern and materials still need to be passed on to the rest of my GB squad.
Priority B: "Single Pattern" coat and Nightingale.
One old costume and one very new garment, both of which I want to have done for Costume-Con 35. The McCall's coat will be my entry for the Single Pattern contest, and Nightingale will be for the historical masquerade . . . OK, I don't know if I will enter the historical masq, but since I had the event in mind (for Costume-Con 32) 4 years ago when I started sewing, I figure having the deadline won't hurt.
Priority C: Sam Sparks, Captain Marvel, Gwenpool
Sam is a costume I started and set aside many, many years ago, and now Mr Stark is encouraging me to finish it, so maybe i should just get that one off my plate. I put Captain Marvel on hold in Oct 2015 so I think it's time to go back to her, especially with my friends' hype over the new Marvel Vs Capcom teaser. Marvel's gown will be fun to have alongside, and the only new-new costume I've added is Gwenpool, which will be my first experiment with using a sub-dye printed fabric for a suit!
And if I happen to actually finish those 10 costumes? You bet I have a list of 30 more just waiting for my attention. But let's be realistic here, there's no way I'm getting more than 5 of these done in 2017.
What about events?
I don't actually have many conventions planned yet. I'm doing Costume-Con 35, Anime North, and YetiCon for sure. I will be at FrostCon (in a couple weeks) with Cosplay for a Cure, and will probably be joining them for a handful of other GTA/Southern Ontario events. I would really like to hit up an AmeriCon again (probably NYCC since the fall is better timing for me) but the cost of travel and exchange rates will probably get in the way (again).
... and speaking of money: I've been talking about doing this for years, but I'm now at the point of really needing to get some of my storage space back, and I could use a few extra $$ in my pocket for some big expenses this year, so I'm going to be selling a bunch of old costumes and costume parts. Full sales posts will be coming up later this month, but as a teaser, some of the costumes up for grabs are Mrs Impossible and Triana Orpheus, Gabriel, Kim Pine, Dorothy, and Alice.
Here's to lots of fun costumes, actually meeting my goals, hanging with friends and making new ones, learning new skills, and all that other good stuff that comes from this hobby. Let's do this!!!
I can't believe we're at the end of 2016 already. October seemed to last a reasonable length of time but November and December have been a blur of work and cosplay and streaming and oh gawd why did I decide to make so many gifts for Christmas??? Oh, and spending the last 2 weeks being QUITE ILL. But let's not get bogged down in that too much.
It was once again an odd year for new costumes.
Flashback Tizzie was a "casual cosplay" which took far too much work to make and which only exists because Sha suggested wearing elf ears at G-Anime. I did at least get to start work on my actual Tizzie costume via the necklace (and also play with Worbla's TranspArt a little).
Weirdmageddon Wendy was another quick and dirty variant costume put together for my birthday party.
Rock Star Alice isn't technically finished, but since I've worn her a few times and the missing part is just a prop, she's added to the list. This Alice is an original design to go with the Rock Star Disney preincesses that the Cosplay for a Cure girls made. Looking forward to group photos as soon as my instrument is done.
Chihiro wasn't made by me. The costume was made by Kurumasha as part of our Anime North group cosplay efforts. Since I wanted to keep wearing the outfit, I added the wig and shoes so I wouldn't be a "generic bathhouse worker" while solo.
R had been in my to-cosplay for a while, and since Unplugged Expo was a week before Halloween this year, I figured it was time to crossplay again.
Luci and Ammy were both originally just makeup tests I did one weekend after picking up WicDiv. Both turned out so well that they each became a comfy, "low effort" costume to take to cons.
... and finally, Holtzmann. The costume I did because everyone was asking when I will do it LOL. "Fashion" version was for Halloween since it's more work appropriate than just about everything else I own, and I finished the uniform just in time to take to DTAC. There's a little more work to do on her, but since it's more than wearable, she has earned a spot on the list!
You might be thinking, that's a lot of casual/off the rack costumes, even for Mai Sheri, and you'd be right... but a lot of my effort went into still unfinished costumes (like Cersei, Alice) and a lot of the rest of my sewing energies went into costumes for other people.
That's right, I went back to my roots and made a new Pokemon hoodie (this time Blastoise for Mr Stark)! And a Wooper bathing suit (with tail/skirt) for Hikarimoro; who doesn't like water-Pokemon pool parties? I painted up a shirt and sculpted a pendant for The Video Ninja so he could be Baphomet for Kurumasha and I at Snailoween. And then there's my last project of the year: a kid-friendly costume of Princess Zelda from Hyrule Warriors (her Daddy is in charge of making the crown).
.... but back in January, I posted a plan for the year. let's take a look at that again, shall we? .... UGH.
On one hand, there isn't much to talk about here, but on the other, it does go to show how bad I am at sticking to my plans, and also how easily those plans can be set aside to play with new ideas instead. I'm sad that I didn't finish any of these costumes (or even touch most of them), but I am quite happy with what I did make this year, so there's that. I still haven't figured out a way to lay out my plans so that I stick to them though. Maybe in 2017.
......and with that, my workbench sidebar gets wiped clean!
My original plan for 2016 was to attend fewer convnetions than I did in 2015. And technically I did, but 12 cons vs. 13 isn't much of a cutting-back success story hahaha. I did go to fewer "just for fun" though. This year, most of my cons were volunteering - either as masquerade staff or with Cosplay for a Cure. Due to that, I also took a lot fewer photos and didn't write up blog posts for all of the cons.
Toronto Comic Con (blog)
Kitchener ComiCon (blog)
Civil War Geekery Con (blog)
Ottawa Comic Con (blog)
Anime North (blog)
Fan Expo (blog???)
Hamilton Comic Con
Toronto Fan Days Holiday Show (blog)
And of course, all the cosplay-related events like Free Comic Book Day, Mississauga Picnic (blog), Centre Island (blog), co-hosting a GoT trivia night, BrianCon36, Wine Parade (blog), Snailoween, Halloween, and I started a bad habit of cosplaying while streaming games with The Video Ninja (no comment. OK, more comments later). The number of cosplay events in Toronto continues to be crazy, espeically with the increase in geeky bar/food venues. *is still overwhelmed*
First off, there's all these other things that I made! (I sewed a whole bunch of Christmas gifts too but since there's not geeky, they don't matter)
I made five lumas for various charities/fundraisers, plus a Hawkeye one. Also, there's a selection of hats; Castle crashers, Pokemon GO trainer, and Link.
Unfortunately, the "Tutorial Tuesday" series I started last year didn't last very long, but on the up-side, the stencils and FX makeup ones were received very well, so I'm happy with that! I will do more tutorials if people ask and if I think it's something worth teaching.
Streaming has somehow become a thing this year??? Mostly because Dan the Video Ninja got himself all set up on twitch and after doing a couple guest-type spots I caught the bug. We started with the Yooka-Laylee toybox, then a pre-Halloween sit down with Costume Quest 2 (video isn't available but there are some highlights in this compilation), then I tagged along for a chunk of his Extra Life fundraiser. Now we're streaming a play through of Ocarina of Time, every Thursday night, at 9:30pm EST. If watching game streaming is your thing, or you want to bug us on chat while I Save Hyrule, find us at twitch.tv/dan_thevideoninja (or watch social media for the #JenSavesHyrule tag LOL). And if bite-sized edited down versions are more your thing, it's all getting a youtube edition, too.
While the discussion of where things are going in the future is the subject of my next blog post, I wanted to touch on just a few things here. Some big life changes are going to be happening in 2017, so cosplay progress and convention attendance are both going to be more unstable than usual. Along with that, though, comes the potential up-side that I'm going to be selling most of my older costumes - anything that I don't wear anymore or which doesn't fit. Sales posts should be coming before the end of Jan (and will be on all my social media feeds too)
Anyways, thank you to all my readers and friends and family for a fantastically supportive 2016, and I'm looking forward to the things we can do together next year.
While I'm still finishing up some of the accessories for my Holtzmann costume (making boot toppers, side shields for my glasses, and getting my hair done) and Mr Stark is still up to his elbows in proton pack assembly, I have managed to accumulate enough photos to open a new gallery page.
I wore Holtzmann out to DTAC this month with a special substitute "proton pack" made of a large (but probably not large enough) mass of tangled christmas lights and my old Crystal Entropy gun. Unfortunately, because I wasn't sure that the outfit would be ready until the last minute, I didn't book any photo shoots, but some lovely photographers nabbed great photos in the hall, and I should have more photos coming later thanks to an impromptu mini-shoot with Skyleaf Creations.
Looking forward to having this outfit at 100% (whatever that means for something with a ton of optional bits) in early 2017!
... and while we're talking about it, how about a collection of progress photos of the jumpsuit? I haven't done these progress posts on my blog lately (pics just go live to my instagram and FB pages) but I miss it a little.
Like I did last year, let’s check in on how I’m doing compared to my plan in January…
Now, just looking at that image, it doesn't seem good. I mean, just a couple of projects worked on and nothing finished???
While, granted, main cosplay projects Midna, Nightingale, and Captain Marvel have been more or less untouched, I've gotten a lot done on Alice and Cersei! Not to mention the unexpectedly large amount of time I spent at conventions and other events (which is time not spent working on new costumes)!
~Alice's whole outfit was designed and made, and although the wig needs a little styling work, she's been worn to a couple of cons already. The main thing which is slowing me down now is making her prop bass, because I'm not a props person. As of this writing, the base has been sculpted and base coat of paint applied, and I hope to get back to painting and adding hardware in August.
~I got a huge chunk of work done on Cersei's lions in June but I had to take a break because it's a very tedious and very large job. As soon as I get the hoodie (see below) finished, Cersei's embroidery is moving back up to the top of my priority list though.
~Espeon, Miz Mishtal, Captain Marvel Gown, and Journey are all no change, because they were only for after the top 5 are done XD
BUT, I did complete a long list of smaller projects, many of which were owed to various friends.Clockwise from top left:
~I completed a new (casual) costume - flashback Tizzie - which I blame Needle Panic for and for which I finally started to play with Worbla's TranspART
~Weirdmageddon version of Wendy
~Makeup tests/closet cosplay of Ammy, Badb, and Luci from The Wicked and The Divine
~A kid-size Pink Knight (from Castle Crashers) winter hat for Little Stark
~Character Lumas including Cosplay for a Cure, Hawkeye, and Luna & Artemis
~Wooper (Pokemon gijinka) bathing suit for Hikarimoro
~Several stenciled t-shirts for friends including the two shown
.... but that's just the stuff I finished.
Cosplays in active progress but not on my January plan:
~I'm currently sewing away on a Blastoise hoodie for Mr Stark (which I want to finish this week). Despite only having started work on it recently, it's been on my to-do list for over 2 years.
~The WicDiv closet cosplay thing worked out so well that I'm fleshing out Ammy a little into a wearable costume
~since some jewelry and accessories from Flashback Tizzie were originally intended for "proper" Tizzie, she's on the list. I have all the fabric/supplies for the costume because my original plan was to make her for Halloween, but at this point I think that would take a minor miracle. So... she's pending.
~surprise-new-thing-oh-wow, Gwenpool, because last week I won a dye-sub suit pattern from The Symbol of Hope, so why not? It'll be something new to experiment with since I've never worked with custom printed fabric before. Depending on how the higher-priority stuff goes, I might try to put her together for Fan Expo XD
Anything else which might show up in 2016? I've got wigs to work on for Chihiro and Pepper Potts; and a half-finished Sam Sparks costume which has been sitting in my apartment for far too long. Oh and another potential little project for fun, somewhat related to this. If you want to watch my random progress as it happens, everything is currently going to my instagram (and cross-posted to twitter and facebook). Hope you're all having a good summer and I'll see you again at Fan Expo!
Spring convention season is finally over! I’ve had time to unpack, although I still have lots of tidying up and laundry to do! As things currently stand, I’m taking a break until Fan Expo Canada - skipping Con Bravo and Otakuthon this year because I really need a long break. To be honest, if it wasn’t for Asgard Barbie coming up to Toronto and wanting to cosplay with me, FanEx might have been on that list too XD
So, without all those conventions, what is Mai Sheri doing over the summer?
...aside from working, because she’s an Adult™, that is.
1. Website updates!
2. Selling some old costumes! I need the space more than I need things that don’t fit anymore. I’m looking to get rid of most of my stash more than a few years old, including:
5. Play all the games!
6. Read all the books! (my bookshelf is so full of unread pages…)
I’m also happy to return to the monthly tutorial posts - please let me know if there’s a project you want to know more about!!!
See you soon with more of that website content as promised <3
My cosplay wish list is long. Very long. So, like last year, I'm going to post just the costumes that I'm most motivated and most likely to finish this year. I'm sure that this isn't how it's actually going to work out, but it always helps to start with goals.
Carrying over from last year, Midna and Nightingale are key, as is finishing off Cersei's embroidery by getting those lions figured out. I also really want to finish up Captain Marvel's costume, and the latest addition to my long, long cosplay list is an original Alice design to coordinate with my Cosplay for a Cure friends. Once those projects are all taken care of, then come the bottom row costumes... Espeon, Miz Mishtal, Captain Marvel (again), and Journey. And probably others from my wish list or which I haven't come across yet. I'm not even going to pretend to set deadlines for these things though, because I realllly don't want to push myself to burn-out again.
I'm planning (and hoping) that this year will be lighter on conventions for me than last year, despite that being a blast. It means my weekends become highly valuable and I don't get to see my non-con friends often :(
Anyways, I only have a few events confirmed so far...
G-Anime in Gatineau (January 22-24)
Civil War Geekery Con in Niagara Falls (April 16)
Ad-Astra in Richmond Hill (April 29-May 1) *not the whole weekend*
Anime North in Toronto (May 27-29)
Fan Expo Canada in Toronto (September 1-4) *at least one day*
And in the "maybe" or yet-to-be confirmed category: YetiCon, ConBravo!, and Otakuthon. Who knows how many others I'll end up at though! Unfortunately, no AmeriCons are being planned - sadly the exchange rate is just way too bad right now for it to be feasible. But that just means that my friends from the States should come visit us north of The Wall and live like kings!!!
This is part 1 of Cersei progress photos - with part 2 to be added once I actually finish the work! The slideshow below takes you though the steps of how I painted the embroidery on the sleeves and bodice of Cersei's gown. I have patience for lots of tedious work but didn't want to deal with real embroidery on this project, so I used acrylic paint and a detail brush to paint it on instead. To keep things even and symmetric I made adhesive stencils which I then painted inside.
Cersei's dress is a continual work in progress, and has been more and more complete each time I have worn it. The next stage is adding the big red lions to the skirt, and this post will be updated as that part comes along.
Cersei gallery page.
Welcome to a new feature from Mai Sheri Costumes: Tutorial Tuesdays! I don't know how often these will be posted, but I'm looking at once a month for now - it depends on what people ask me about and how much writing time I have available. I post lots of progress photos of my work, but occasionally I get asked for a more detailed description of how I made something, and I decided to turn the answers to those questions into proper write-ups!
Take Note: this tutorial is not necessarily the "right way" to do things, nor the "best way", but is simply how I went about it when I made my own. Anyways, on to the project!