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EDIT 7/6: Prices reduced on most items! Everything must go by next Wednesday! :D

Hi friends! I am moving to Dallas, TX in less than two weeks and am selling a HUGE portion of my collection (costumes, wigs, fabric, patterns, props, accessorie
s, manga, etc.) on Storenvy. ALL ITEMS MUST GO BY JULY 13TH. Please help spread the word! <3

tess.storenvy.com
tess.storenvy.com
tess.storenvy.com

<3 Tess
Hi guys! This past week Facebook purged all accounts with the word "Cosplay" in their name. I have heard that some people received a warning that this would be happening, but sadly I received no notice -- just an error page when I tried to load my Facebook on Tuesday evening. :C Apparently Facebook's goal in this was to force cosplayers to open a "fan page" through their personal account. While I can certainly respect their preference for everyone to use their true name, I do not have that option, being a teacher and public servant. Anything linked to my personal name, email, phone number, etc. is an open book for my school district, and though cosplay is not something I'm ashamed of, it's certainly not a topic I want to broach with my principal or superintendent. Therefore I've opened a friends-only account under a (slightly) more conspicuous name, and I've remade my public "fan page" here:

www.facebook.com/cos.tess
www.facebook.com/cos.tess
www.facebook.com/cos.tess
www.facebook.com/cos.tess
www.facebook.com/cos.tess

If you'd like to follow my cosplay adventures on Facebook, please click "LIKE!" I am in the process of rebuilding, so there isn't much content at the moment, but eventually the page will include all of the imagery you see here on DeviantART. I am not a fan (pun not intended, LOL) of the "fan page" format, but it is the easiest way for me to keep up with the cosplay-loving masses on DeviantART, specifically since I keep my account friends-only. If you are a close friend and have been wondering where my account has gone, you can friend me here: www.facebook.com/tess.cosplay If you are not a close friend of mine, definitely check out the fan page linked above! <3

On my end, I have been extremely busy settling into a new teaching position. I am still teaching elementary music and choir, though my new school is K-5, rather than K-4. (Not looking forward to those 5th grade hormones!) I'll be attending A-Fest next weekend in Dallas, TX and am really hoping to piece together Princess Bubblegum in time, though it will definitely be rather slap and dash, since my focus is TOTALLY not on sewing or craftsmanship at the moment. (I really hate that this convention is over Labor Day weekend because it's truly the busiest, most stressful time of the year for me!) Aside from Bubblegum, I'll likely be bringing Eternal Neptune and a few other costumes to A-Fest, though I'm being spectacularly indecisive as to which. (Opinions?) Let me know if I can expect to see you there, and what costumes (if any) you are bringing. I'd LOVE to work with a few photographers at this con, but sadly don't know many here in TX. If you are open to shooting with me, let me know and we'll see if we can't set something up!

Still have LOTS of Katsucon and Otakon photos to share, so expect more deviations soon! :3

-->--- Tess
Hi guys! I will be at Otakon in Baltimore, MD this weekend. If you happen to spot me, don't be a stranger! I love to be able to attach faces/personalities with your screennames here on DA. I have been working hard on 3 new costumes for this convention: a new Terra Branford based on artwork by Sakizou, Child Rydia from Final Fantasy IV, and Lightning's Aya Brea outfit from Duodecim Dissidia. I'll also be bringing Eternal Neptune.



Are you attending Otakon? If you are cosplaying, what characters are you bringing to the con?

-->--- Tess
First of all, a big thank you to everyone who congratulated me on my recent Daily Deviation! It was a very nice surprise to wake up to!

Cure. by cupcake-rufflebutt

"Cure" is a set of images from one of my favourite cosplay photographers, Jack Liu (alucardleashed), and I'd encourage everyone to check out his other work here on DeviantART! On my end, it's a really nice feeling to get one last little smidge of recognition for a costume as old and worn as Terra. I've received almost 6,000 messages over the course of the past few weeks and am steadfastly sorting through and replying to them, but it will probably be quite a while before I've completely caught up, what with DA's frustratingly spastic spam filter. If it's taking me a while to get back to you, just picture me shaking my fist at that spam-bot and have a little patience. :3

Secondly, a rant: Lately I have noticed an increased lack of discretion toward cosplayers, both online and at conventions. I am not the only cosplayer who has recognized and taken note of this. Over the past few months my list of blocked users here on DeviantART has grown exponentially, almost entirely due to lewd and unsavory commentary in my costume gallery. At conventions I no longer feel comfortable wandering around alone in costume and have had to go out of my way to avoid select photographers. Guys, bottom line: Just because a cosplayer is dressed as one of your favourite characters, posed semi-suggestively, or showing a bit of skin does NOT make it alright to pass commentary on her bust size or let it slip that you'd like to "have your way" (to put it politely) with her. Similarly, it is NOT alright to request provocative shots, ask that she exchange saliva with a fellow female cosplayer because OMG YOU TTLY SHIP THEIR CHARACTERS, or accost them physically with a glomp, poke, grope, or other form of unwonted affection. Now, certainly there are a few cosplayers (we call them "attention whores") who relish this sort of attention, but trust me when I say that the average costumer would far rather you compliment her workmanship than poo-poo all over her gallery with stinky little gems like this: "OMG ur sooooooooooo sexyyyyyyyyyy ifd totaly bang u." Bear in mind that costumers are artisans who wear their art, rather than display it in a gallery setting; we pose and dress as befits the character, not as a reflection of who we are as individuals. Please be respectful and kind in your interactions and NEVER make assumptions. (That's just good advice in general, though.)

I doubt that that this little public service announcement will do much to change the current trend of objectification in the cosplay world, but perhaps we cosplayers can collectively stamp out at least a few of the misconceptions surrounding our hobby. Thanks for reading!

-->--- Tess
Hi guys!

I owe you all a huge "thank you" for the comments/faves on my most recent Terra upload, "Cure." It was a bit of a shock to log in the next day and find over 600 messages waiting for me! I am still playing catch up, largely due to DA's ridiculous (ie, RI-DI-CU-LOUS) spambot, but I sincerely appreciate everyone's support. I have a backlog of TONS of photos from the past year or two to upload and hope to share those with you soon!

Now that summer is over and the school year is in full swing, I am finding myself once again torn between a desire to work on costumes but little-to-no free time to do so. (For those of you just joining me, I teach music to 500+ students at an elementary school, which obviously is a tremendous drain on both my time and energy levels.) My biggest professional goal this year is actually to not work myself quite so hard, take things a day at a time, and generally minimize stress levels. I am a nose-to-the-grindstone workaholic who takes delight in planning every second of every day, even if it means staying at work 3-4 hours late, so this whole "don't sweat the small stuff" and "roll with the punches" attitude is... different. Hopefully it will become a more natural process soon, as I'd really love to have my evenings free to work on some fun crafties and costumes!

This fall and winter I am planning on attending the Texas Renaissance Festival, as well as Anime USA (November 18th-20th in Crystal City, VA) and Katsucon (February 17th-19th in Oxon Hill, MD). I am hopeful to have at least one new costume for each event. Currently I'm collecting supplies for Kira from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal, Sally from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, Terra Branford from Dissidia Duodecim, and Eternal Neptune from Sailor Moon Stars. As always, I make no promises; these are simply the most realistic costume options for me at this particular moment!

Time for some sleeps. Thanks again for your support; take care, everyone! <3

-->--- Tess

PS: If you wouldn't mind keeping in touch with me via Facebook, you can find my public profile here: www.facebook.com/cosplay.tess By clicking "Like" at the top of the page you will receive all my convention and costume updates through your newsfeed. Thanks!
It's one week and counting until Otakon! Tomorrow morning I will be heading up to MD to spend time with my parents, and hopefully sneak in a little time (okay, a LOT of time) to finish up costume bits. XD Here are my plans for next weekend:



Friday 10AM-2PM - Amano Persephone (Greek Mythology)
SHOOT W/ NGMASTER @ ??? ||| SHOOT W/ SONJA @ 1PM

Friday 4PM-7PM - Tinkerbutt (Disney Fairies)
SHOOT W/ JOSEPH LIN @ 5:30PM

Friday 8:30PM - Twilight Sparkle (My Little Pony)

=================================================

Saturday 10AM-12:30PM - CG Terra (FFVI)
SHOOT W/ JACK LIU @ 11:30AM

Saturday 2PM-5PM - Rinoa Heartilly (FFVIII)
SHOOT W/ COREY @ 2PM

Saturday 7:30PM-10:30PM - Distant Worlds Concert + MEET NOBUO UEMATSU

Saturday 11PM - "Hipster" Persephone (Greek Bronanigans)

=================================================

Sunday 9AM-2PM - Chrono (Chrono Crusade)
SHOOT W/ COREY @ 10AM ||| SHOOT W/ LIONEL @ 11AM ||| SHOOT W/ JOSEPH LIN @ ???

Between my newest costumes Persephone, Twilight Sparkle, and Chrono, and new additions to Terra, Rinoa, and Tinker Bell, I'm super excited to get to the con and play dress up with my dearly-missed east coast friends! (Also MEETING NOBUO UEMATSU on Saturday evening will probably make this music teacher cry tears of joy!) Definitely let me know if you'll be attending Otakon and what your costume plans are. I love making new friends and it's always nice to put a face to a screenname. <3

And now, back to packing. Take care, everyone!

-->--- Tess
Hi guys! I will be attending A-Kon in Dallas, TX this weekend. My plans include:

Friday AM: Tinker Bell (Disney Fairies)
Friday PM: Rinoa Heartilly 2.0 (Final Fantasy VIII) w/ :iconhopie-chan: and :iconscore6:

Saturday AM: Tifa Lockhart (Final Fantasy VII) w/ :iconcaptainmiles:
Saturday PM: Mei Chan (Fullmetal Alchemist) w/ :iconcaptainmiles:

Looking forward to meeting new people, having fun times with friends, and taking lots of epic photos. I'm also celebrating my first week of freedom (yes, even teachers love summer vacation!) so it's awesome that I can kick off my summer with a convention. If you spot me, please don't be shy!

-->--- Tess
After spending the first half of my spring break in Orlando visiting my grandparents (and Mickey), I will shortly be off to Anime Matsuri in Houston, TX! This will be my first time at Matsuri and I'm excited to see friends and meet many new people. Additionally I will be judging the hall contest on Friday from 2-6PM, so if you have a costume that you'd like to show off (and maybe even win an award for), please stop by - We'd love to see your hard work! I will be bringing Luna (Sailor Moon), Tinker Bell (Disney Fairies), and one new costume - Mei Chan from Fullmetal Alchemist. If you spot me, please don't be shy!

-->--- Tess
KATSUCON 2011

I can barely believe it's been half a year since I made a costume or attended a convention! Fortunately Katsucon (February 18-20th in National Harbor, MD) is just around the bend and, with any luck, I will have a number of new costumes to debut. I'm in the process of working on Persephone (Greek Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld), based loosely upon Rgveta's beautiful artwork (rgveta.deviantart.com/art/Hade…). Even working from my new sewing room, this beast of a gown is consuming entirely too much space. I definitely couldn't have made something like this in my tiny former apartment! I am also hoping to sew the lavender atrocity that is Meiou Setsuna (Sailor Pluto)'s school outfit (i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk…),  as well as a cute pop fanart of Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" (i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk…). Regardless of whether I have time to finish the above, I will definitely be bringing two new "simple but fun" costumes with me: Annabeth Chase (i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk…) from Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Draco Malfoy (with special guest the Reluctant Dragon) from A Very Potter Musical (i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk…). To top it all off, I just commissioned a beautiful pair of Tinker Bell wings to wear with my Tink costume! I love my old wings, but they don't travel well and I've always wanted to own a pair of Angela's beautiful Fancy Fairy (www.fancyfairy.com) wings. I figure that since I have plans for new Disney Fairies costumes in the near future, it was money well spent. I cannot wait to prance around in them!

Here is my schedule:

FRIDAY 10AM-2PM: Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson) w/ finalmemories as Thalia Grace
FRIDAY 3PM-6PM: Persephone (Greek Mythology) w/ FireLilyCosplay as Athena
FRIDAY 7:30PM-10PM: Tinker Bell (Disney Fairies) w/ MANY LOVELY LADIES

SATURDAY 10AM-2PM: "Casual" Meiou Setsuna (Sailor Moon) w/ MORE LOVELY LADIES
SATURDAY 3PM-6PM: Persephone (Greek Mythology) w/ LOVELY LADY OVERLOAD
SATURDAY 9PM+ Draco Malfoy (AVPM) w/ (LOVELY LADIES) HARRY, RON, CHO CHANG, & SNAPE

SUNDAY 10AM+ "Pop Art" Ariel (The Little Mermaid) w/ YOU GUESSED IT MANY LOVELY LADIES

If you spot me, please do not hesitate to say "Hi!" I'm a little shy, but I love meeting new people, and I especially enjoy being able to put faces to everyone's screen names. Unfortunately my wonderful boyfriend CaptainMiles will not be accompanying me to this convention, but I am hoping to make lots of new friends and old acquaintances in his absence! Also if anyone is interested in photos, please let me know. I enjoy working with various photographers, and don't currently have any photoshoot plans for this convention.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

FEBRUARY FEATURED WORKS: RED

In an effort to "spread the love," I've decided to feature a few of my favorite DeviantART creations each month. This month's theme is red, which happens to be my favourite colour. Be it firey or subdued, love's flame or life's blood, a new lipstick or a pot of rouge, I just adore red.

. . Vesta . . by 3ddream :thumb60068806: EPIPHANY PORTRAIT by Jujika terra by kitei Salt Water by MichaelShapcott Theogony- Hestia by marcoso86

Thank you for inspiring me! :heart:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UPCOMING CONVENTIONS

:bulletgreen: Anime Matsuri (March 18-20th in Houston, TX)
:bulletgreen: A-Kon (June 10-12th in Dallas, TX)
:bulletgreen: Otakon (July 29-31st in Baltimore, MD)
  • Watching: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
I originally posted this to my Livejournal but sadly did not receive much feedback, so I'm extending it to my friends here on DeviantART:

So I mulled over "Halloween" costumes tonight. (I say "Halloween" because it's entirely unlikely that I will have even started my costume before Halloween, let alone finished it, and I would have nowhere to wear it on Halloween, anyway.) Regardless, it gave me the push to look into non-anime/game/manga/movie-related costuming, since frankly I'm just too tired of the pressure I put on myself where those genres are concerned. (It will always bother me that I'm not the thinnest or prettiest _______________, no matter how much I've accepted the fact that I'm not a tiny Asian girl.) Anyway, I was thinking I ought to finally try my hand at this gorgeous Persephone design:

Hades and Persephone by Rgveta

I've been wanting to make a gown for a while now, and I just love all the little details! Persephone isn't really the most interesting of the Greek Goddesses to me, but she's near and dear to my internet namesake, Demeter. (I originally called myself Demeter Tess when I started posting online, then shortened it to Tess.) Plus I love the idea of pomegranate photos. <3 Anyway, my main point in posting this was actually to enquire as to whether anyone would be interested in making this version of Hades (or, y'know, a similar version of Hades - I obviously understand if you don't care for every inch of this design) to wear with me? This design is definitely screaming several of your names to me, but I'm too lame to ask outright. I would be so unbelievably thrilled to have a Hades, though. Also, would anyone be interested in a Greek Gods and Goddesses group, perhaps for Katsucon? (Or a convention in TX, so as not to exclude my Texan pals?) Sadly this artist has not drawn any other mythological characters, but a search for any character on DeviantART will yield plenty of inspiration!

Let me know if you'd be interested, and maybe we can start plotting something epic. Pun fully intended, harhar.

-->--- Tess
  • Drinking: Sweet Tea
And so the week before Otakon is upon us, and every cosplayer on the east coast is chained to his or her sewing machine, hoping to crank out a masterpiece. This is the week in which our hands are spray-painted and dyed a veritable rainbow of colours and our fingers burned ceaselessly by angry glue guns and irons. This is the week in which I consume more coffee than I do the entire rest of the year, my apartment's carpet becomes encrusted with fabric scraps, thread, feathers, beads, and rhinestones, and an army of wig heads consumes every counter of my kitchen. Ah, Otakon.

I have finally settled my costume plans for Otakon:

Friday AM: Viluy (Sailor Moon) w/ Bitches 5
Friday AM/PM: Fire Nation Suki (Avatar) w/ Fire Nation Toph
Friday PM: Leonard (Big Bang Theory) w/ Sheldon, Wolowitz, Raj, and Leslie Winkle

Saturday AM: Luna (Sailor Moon) w/ Katsucon SMoonies
Saturday AM/PM: Amano Terra (Final Fantasy VI) w/ Eiko (FFIX)
Saturday PM: Tinker Bell (Disney Fairies) w/ Iridessa

Sunday: Charlotte Le Bouff (The Princess and the Frog) w/ Tiana

A few unexpected additions and a very full schedule, but lots of fun times with groups! Seeing as this is my last convention on the east coast for a while (I move to TX the weekend after Otakon) my goal is to spend time with as many friends as possible. <3 I had originally planned to finish General Beatrix for Otakon, but the rose embroidery has proven time-consuming, and there's no sense in rushing a costume of that complexity when AnimeFest is right around the corner.

Let me know if I can expect to see you at Otakon and what you'll be wearing, so I can keep an eye out! I tend to loiter in the fountain area, so that's your best bet if you would like to make my acquaintance. I hope to come back with a few more faces and personalities to match up to my friends here at DeviantART. :3

-->--- Tess
  • Drinking: Sweet Tea
"An error has occurred:
Couldn't post the comment, since the system thinks it's spam."


I have honestly had very few qualms with DeviantART in the 2+ years I've become acquainted with the community, but today I met their spam filter. This is one of THE MOST annoying features I have ever come across. (Essentially, if you post the same/similar comment too many times in a row, you get locked out of the system for 10 minutes. And after that 10 minutes, it doesn't just reset itself - If you pick up where you left off and repeat that comment again, it locks you out for ANOTHER 10 minutes. Rinse and repeat until your IP gets banned from the server for goodness know how long.) After reading DeviantArt's FAQ on the subject, it is apparent that the spam filter is aware of message length, time elapsed between messages, and WORDING. Now, it's that last part that gets me. If it is smart enough to detect repeated words, surely it is capable of being programmed to ignore any and all messages with the word "thank" in them. Because let's face it, the only time any of us stands a chance at getting caught in the filter is when we go through our feedback messages each day and respond with "THANK YOU!" or "THANKS!" It really rather bothers me that DeviantART is essentially disallowing my attempts at common courtesy.

Oh staffers, how about we take a break from the llamas and focus more on structural integrity? :C

-->--- Tess
As seen in the aftermath of a recent cosplay-related Daily Deviation:



I know I'm fighting an unwinnable war here, but it really gets my goose when I see people disrespecting my hobby. Goodness knows there's an awful lot of crap out there, but how are crap costumes any different from crap doodles? It seems to me that any genre should be judged by its best work, rather than its crappiest, and I have seem some truly PHENOMENAL applications of time, talent, patience, love, and artistry in the "Textile Arts" genre here on DeviantArt these past two years.

Clearly all of you must feel similarly - why else would you watch my costuming gallery? - but nonetheless, for the sake of setting the record straight, I'd love to hear your thoughts: Is cosplay art? Why or why not?

-->--- Tess
Hello everyone! Three important developments I'd love to share with you:

1) I have been offered a music teaching position at an elementary school in Fort Worth, TX for the 2010-2011 school year! I certainly did not anticipate being hired this early (usually music teachers have to wait until the very end of the summer to even be called for an interview), but am very relieved for my good fortune. Thank you to everyone who wished me luck during this stressful time!

2) This means that I WILL be attending Otakon, July 29th-August 1st! I am so relieved, as I desperately wanted one last chance to say goodbye to all of my convention friends. <3 My costume plans are haphazard, since I was totally NOT planning to attend, but it's likely that Tink and Luna will be making an appearance, as well as more Big Bang Theory silliness. I am making absolutely ZERO promises on these next two, but I'm going to start work on Beatrix and the Major soon, so there is a slim possibility one or the other (or both, if you REALLY want to hold your breath) will be finished for Otakon. Please let me know if you have any special requests for groups or photoshoots, since I am basically without any plans at the moment! On a separate note,  it is crazy for me to think that this will be my 7th Otakon. C:

3) Due to my impending cross-country move, I am in the process of selling a LOT of my belongings. Among them are DVDs, video games, fandom merchandise, and costumes. I have been posting them to my Livejournal account here: users.livejournal.com/piratess… Please let me know if you would like to purchase any of my things, and do check back frequently because I am adding new items daily!

Thanks for reading! I hope to see many of you at Otakon. :3

-->--- Tess
Updated 06/20/10: Two more questions posted!

Thank you for the questions in celebration of 40,000 pageviews! Here are my answers:

From gamefan23 :
"What got you into cosplaying?"
I loved playing "dress up" when I was a kid, and as I grew older I aspired to make my own costumes. Before I got sucked into anime/gaming, I was incredibly obsessed with musical theatre, particularly CATS. My very first self-made costume was for that fandom. A year or so later (in 10th grade) I began watching anime, and it took me until the end of my sophomore year in college to find out about cosplay. All in all, my addiction to cosplay was a long time coming!

From Bigpaw :
"What's your favorite color, drink, genre of music, genre of book, and type of weather?"
My favourite colour is red and my favourite drink is Pepsi, though I'm now trying to limit my caffeine intake. My favourite "drink" is an amaretto sour. As a music teacher I'm pretty open-minded about musical genres, so I listen to a little bit of everything. The genres I most enjoy at the moment are folk, jazz, and electropop. I don't read as much as I used to, but when I did I had a definite preference for historical fantasy ("Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell") and classic literature (Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, etc). As for weather, I love a breezy sunny day with temps in the mid 70s. Perfect sailing weather!

From gale583 :
"Has it been difficult for you to balance cosplay and con-going with your "real" life? Do you have any method to prioritize your costuming in relation to other hobbies and responsibilities?"
I like to keep it simple: REAL LIFE > cosplay. Now, I'll be the first to admit that when a convention is fast approaching, my focus on life gets a little skewed. However, I am much better about keeping myself in-check than I used to be. As an educator I can't allow myself to slip up and give my students less of an education than they deserve, simply because I am freaking out over when I'll find time to finish my Tinker Bell wings. Teaching has certainly thrown a lot of things into perspective for me, and I'm glad it has helped me to pop that "crazy little cosplay bubble" - y'know the one, where your entire life seems to revolve around cosplay and you'll just OMG DIE if you don't finish 8 costumes by tomorrow morning? Oh yeah, popping that bubble was the best thing I've ever done for myself.

From etaru :
"Will you be able to make it to Katsucon next year from Texas?"
I hope so! Let's put it this way: If everything goes well and I get another teaching position, I will have no problem whatsoever making it back up to the east coast conventions that I love so much (AUSA, Katsucon, Otakon). If things don't go so well and I have to work an odd job or two, it's likely that the only trips north I'll be making will be to see my family on holidays. I'm very much hoping for the former situation, rather than the latter. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

From iXdreamXofXsora :
"My question would be which of your outfits gets the best reception when you wear it, and is it one you expected to get a lot of attention or not?"
Good question! I've had two particular instances where a costume of mine has garnered a ridiculous amount of attention: The first was Tinker Bell at Katsucon, which is understandable given that she is an icon EVERYONE knows. Having little girls and their mommies flock to me en masse was absolutely incredible! The second, regrettably, was the silliest thing I've ever done in my life - a gag cosplay of Team Rocket with my friend sumredthings. (Forewarning: We are not Pokemon fans, it began as an inside joke but later evolved into an excuse to be horribly loud and pretentious, and we made our costumes in 5 minutes yet still managed to be semi-accurate.) Neither of us knew going into this that Team Rocket is, apparently, everyone's favourite obnoxious duo, so we were flabbergasted to find ourselves surrounded by the biggest herd of photographers and con-goers we've ever seen. We're literally cracking up in every photo because we cannot believe people are taking us seriously, LOL. So to answer your question, yes and no. Sometimes it's impossible to predict what con-goers are going to go bonkers for.

From BalthierFlare :
"How did you learn to sew? Are you self-taught? Do you know of good ways to learn?"
My mother taught me to sew when I was very young. She started me out sewing pieces of yarn through a sheet of plastic canvas with a kiddie sewing needle, then we moved on to cross-stitch. In middle school I learned to use a sewing machine, but it wasn't until I sat down to sew my first cosplay (Robin) that I asked my mother for an extensive lesson in how to make a garment from start to finish. In my opinion, the best way to learn how to sew is by watching someone else do it. There's much more to it than running fabric through a machine, so it's best to latch onto a friend or relative who's making something and assist them throughout the process of picking out a pattern, cutting out the pieces, pinning them together, sewing things up, and putting on the finishing touches. Start small - easy patterns with no alterations required - then work your way up the totem pole.

From LadyTerentia :
"Not attending any conventions this summer? Does that mean you decided for sure not to attend Otakon, or is that still up in the air?"
I am saying "no" to Otakon for several reasons: Most importantly, it's right around the time I will be moving, so I have no idea what I will be up to at that time. But additionally, I don't want to feel indebted to attend or let down if it's impossible for me to be there, and I certainly would hate to let down any friends who were counting on me for groups. Is there a chance I will pop up at Otakon? Absolutely. But my plans for late July are so shaky at this point, I can't even give that a percentage of likelihood.

From MindFall :
"What cosplay are you most proud of?"
An easier question would be "Which cosplays are you LEAST proud of?" Speaking as my own worst enemy, I can't say I'm entirely proud of any of my costumes. It's hard for me to look at my work without mentally ripping it apart. But if I'm to be proud of anything, I suppose it would have to be Blood Seras, because I tried quite hard to put a new twist on the design (being blood-covered as opposed to simply using maroon fabric). Of course the critiques came rolling in - this was back in the day when I allowed myself to meander coshate sites - and a lot of people were quite vocal in their dislike for my interpretation, but in the end I did what I set out to do, learned a lot in the process, and was pleased with the end result.

From DoctorEvil06 :
"What cosplay would you love to make? What cosplays are you working on?"
I'll come clean with you, I am positively DYING to make Rosa from the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV. I had originally planned to work on Beatrix from FFIX over the summer, but the more I play of IV and the more I stare at Rosa's deliriously difficult design (not to mention her hideous shoulder armor), the more enticing a project she becomes. The only costume I have under construction at the moment is "Explorer" Tinker Bell from the 2nd Disney Fairies movie, which I left half-finished after Katsucon. I'll be finishing that this summer, as well as embarking on my first bodysuit project (Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell) and whichever Final Fantasy lady I end up choosing.

From TETRAtheFROG :
"Have you always liked making clothes? And did you take any special classes?"
I actually am not a big fan of sewing clothing for everyday wear - I'm not that good! The things I create are good enough to be worn a handful of times for a few hours apiece, but no more than that. Cosplay is rarely, if ever, functional/comfortable/durable, LOL. And no, I did not take any classes on sewing, other than a few lessons on the sewing machine when I was in middle school.

From MissMayven :
"How long does it take you generally to make a costume? Or rather, how do you organize your time when creating a costume?"
I usually put more time into the planning process than anything else, simply because I like to get everything purchased/prepped beforehand so I can fly through the construction with little to no holdups. As for how long the construction process takes, it honestly varies from costume to costume. I've shat things out in one evening before, but the majority of my costumes have taken me 2-3 weeks to construct. For something more detailed like the Amano costumes, I try to give myself over a month. I consider myself a fairly slow worker compared to many of my friends, but I also am the sort of person that will work doggedly at one tiny detail for much longer than strictly necessary.

From n1njap1rate :
I was wondering if you use patterns or make your own?
Patterning is really not my thing, but I have gotten very good at altering existing patterns to fit my needs. Sometimes my relatives won't believe me when I show them what pattern I started with, because the end result is completely different except for the placement of the seams. Obviously there are instances where it becomes necessary to create my own patterns, but I honestly don't know how to do it, other than to cut out vague shapes and alter, alter, alter until I get a decent fit. ^__^; One of many sewing-related things I have yet to master!

If anyone has others they would like answered, I will happily add to this entry! ^__^

PS: I'm stuck on poll questions. Any suggestions?

-->--- Tess
  • Drinking: Sweet Tea
40K Kiriban - Ask Me A Question, Any Question!
I can't believe my gallery is nearing 40K hits! I typically don't do the "kiriban" thing, since I can't exactly do special requests - I already upload all of my best costume photos, and it's not like I can doodle or make a new costume upon request. But I really liked the idea etaru had for her recent kiriban, which was to take questions from her watchers. So please, feel free to reply here with a question about anything you want - costuming, fandom, life, advice, etc. I'll give you the best answer I can, then repost them all for everyone to read. (And please don't tell me to just get a Formspring - I like to know who's asking me these questions!)

Summer Commissions Still Open!
Also a little mention that I still have plenty of room for commissions this summer and beyond! I will not be attending any conventions this summer in order to help save money for my move to TX in August, and this will give me quite a bit of time to work on projects for other people. Definitely check out my commission information here - charming-maiden.net/commission… - and drop me a line if you would like a quote! <3

-->--- Tess
1. What was your first cosplay?
Robin Sena from Witch Hunter Robin. I wore her to my first convention, Otakon 2004.

2. Did someone get you into cosplay? Or on your own?
I got myself into it. Otakon's website mentioned cosplay, one thing led to another, and eventually I was browsing the Cosplay.com galleries thinking, "Hey, I could do this, too!"

3. What is your favourite cosplay?
It's hard to pick a favourite, but I have to admit my fondest memories are of Naruto. I worked really hard to make him accurate and well-constructed (seeing as the fandom doesn't have the best reputation), and it was just WAY too much fun being a little stinkpot. The shenanigans, oh the shenanigans.

4. Which is your least favourite?
Gaara & Shippuden Gaara. A nightmare I willingly inflicted on myself and my friends not once, but TWICE. :C

5. At conventions, do people compliment you on your cosplays?
Generally. Though oddly, the costumes that have gotten the biggest reactions have been my shittiest. LOL.

6. How many have you done?
Somewhere upwards of 50? I lost track a long time ago.

7. What are the top 5 on your list of "Want to Cosplay?"
1) General Beatrix (FFIX) - In Progress for Summer 2010
2) "Fall" Tink (Tinker Bell & the Lost Treasure) - In Progress for Summer 2010
3) Makoto Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell: SAC) - Planned for Summer/Fall 2010
4) Secret McSecret (Blah Blah Blah Blahblah) - Planned for Summer/Fall 2010
5) Summoner Yuna 2.0 (FFX) - Planned for Fall 2010

8. What female cosplay do you want to do most?
Right now I'm really psyched for Kusanagi, since I've been streaming GitS on Netflix. Her design is radically different from anything I've ever made, and I'm anxious to see how it goes. Plus almost all of my photographer friends LOVE the show, so I know i can count on super badass pictures.

9. What male cosplay do you want to do most?
Kiddy Chrno from Chrno Crusade. I have dreamed of making him for YEARS, and the time has never been quite right. Maybe one day.

10. What do you prefer to do, make or buy your costumes?
I make all of my costumes.

11. Your most memorable experience? What makes it so memorable?
Gag cosplaying Team Rocket with Kate. We threw our costumes together in maybe 10 minutes and were literally swamped at the convention. It made me realize, "WOW. This Pokemon thing is OUT OF CONTROL." (Apologies, but I'm not a fan.)

12. Your dream cosplay?
I honestly don't have one anymore. Every costume I make anymore is a little bit of a dream, since I never thought I'd have the skills to make half the things I do nowadays. Maybe Danielle's "Just Breath" gown from "Ever After?"

13. Is there a pattern in your cosplays? If so, what?
Final Fantasy? LOL, I'm absolutely taken with this series and I love the characters so much. I will not stop until I've cosplayed them all, I swear!

14. Your most recent cosplay?
Human Luna (Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon) and Tinker Bell (Disney Fairies). I don't think Leonard (Big Bang Theory) counts, LOL.

15. What do you prefer? Cosplaying in a group or on your own?
I don't have a particular preference. If all groups were low-stress, I would definitely pick "group," but unfortunately things rarely go smoothly.
TEKKO
Just a short update to let everyone know that I will be attending Tekkoshocon next weekend in Pittsburgh, PA. I am thankful to once again have the opportunity to judge the hall contest, so if you are attending the convention, please do stop by to show us your beautiful costume and perhaps win an award! I am not planning anything new, just two nice and comfy costumes - Suki and Amano Aerith.

TEXAS
Here's a surprise: I will be moving to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of Texas at the end of the summer! This is still a little shocking to me, as I am very close to my family here in Maryland, but there are numerous reasons why this move will be advantageous for my professional and personal lives. If there's anything I've learned over the past few years, it's that life is full of surprises - some sweet, some sour. I am hoping that this most recent surprise will turn out to be the former, rather than the latter. Please keep your fingers crossed for me as I search for a new teaching position!

FUTURE CONVENTIONS/COSTUMES
Due to the above, I honestly cannot say when or where my next convention will be. I'm taking this as a sign that it's time for me to relax and take a little breather from costuming, so I regret to say that I have no plans for new costumes in the near future. Fortunately I have quite a backlog of costume photos which have never been posted, so I promise to keep you reasonably entertained in my downtime. :3 As always, I am so appreciative of everyone's support and kind words over the past year! I feel very fortunate to have found a little niche here in this community of artisans who have more talent in a few fingers than I have in my entire body, LOL.

COMMISSIONS
I am now accepting commissions for the summer months of June, July, and August. I specialize in wigs, though I do take on the occasional accessory or sewing project. I do not commission weaponry or large props. At minimum, a very simple wig may cost $50, but custom-colouring, more advanced styles, and accessories (beads, headbands, hats) will add to the price. My most expensive wig commission to date has been $220, though more typically prices fall between $70-$120. Garment and accessory prices vary depending upon the materials and techniques necessary to complete your project. If interested in commissioning me, please either send me a Note via DeviantART or email me at lauren@charming-maiden.net. Please include the following in your commission request: Your Name, Email, Zip Code [or Country, if living outside the US], Project Description [2 or more pictures of character design + list of items to be commissioned], Budget, and Deadline. SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY, PLEASE!

Happy Spring, everyone!

-->--- Tess
So, who among my talented DeviantART friends might I expect to see at Katsucon in two weeks? I'm excited to get away for an extended weekend, see friends, and enjoy the beautiful resort! Let's keep our fingers crossed that the weather chooses to cooperate so that outdoor photos will be possible. My schedule is looking like this:

Friday AM: Tifa [FFVII]
Friday PM: Leonard [Big Bang Theory] - NEWLOL!
Saturday AM: Luna [Sailor Moon] - NEW!
Saturday PM: Tinker Bell [Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure] - NEW!
Sunday: Tinker Bell [Tinker Bell] - NEW!

I've been working on a handful of new costumes for this con: Human Luna from Sailor Moon, as well as two versions of Tinker Bell from the new Disney Fairies movies. I'm excited for Luna because it's been a very long time since I made a floofy, elegant costume, and Tink is just one of these silly whims that I really can't explain. All I did was watch the movies and, before I knew it, I was buying lime green stretch velvet and pondering which would make the better prop: a stretchy thing or a sharp thingie. XD A few of my friends and I are also doing "gag" costumes from Big Bang Theory, which we are probably more excited about than anything else! KITES HO!

Please let me know if you'll be attending, so I can keep my eyes out for you! <3

-->--- Tess
  • Watching: Passport to Europe
Nowadays the art theft plague seems to be circulating the costume community more than ever, and despite my best attempts to fly under the radar, it has been brought to my attention that I have an impersonator on SheezyArt. While I am in the process of resolving this situation with the moderators of that website, I thought that I ought to make a general post concerning my "homes" on the world wide web. As of now, you may follow my work at these three locations:

cupcake-rufflebutt.deviantart.…
Cupcake-Rufflebutt @ DeviantART

www.cosplay.com/member/18372/
Tess @ Cosplay.com

www.acparadise.com/acp/display…
Tess @ Anime Cosplay Paradise

DeviantART is my primary gallery and will eventually be the only location to hold ALL of my work [cosplay, photography, and otherwise]. The others I use in a lesser capacity. These three websites are the ONLY places to which I post publicly, and if you happen to find my ugly mug popping up repeatedly in another location [other than, say, the gallery of a photographer or friend] then I would appreciate it if you would bring it to my attention immediately.

On a more personal level, I'm not angry or upset about this in the least, only seeking to contain my work to a limited number of galleries. While I know art theft is no small deal to the DeviantART community, I also happen to consider imitation to be the sincerest form of flattery, and think it highly possible that my impersonator created their SheezyArt account with the intention of promoting my costumes, rather than defaming my character. So, in this particular situation, no wing men necessary. XP

I appreciate the concern and thank the person who brought this to my attention! Take care of yourselves, enjoy the season, and stay warm. Happy Holidays! <3

-->--- Tess