SP Snow White: Photoshoot #1

It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks in the Angell household. On top of my husband finding out he had to be in Korea another week, I had physical, massage, and counseling therapy, along with a meet and greet at a preschool with Tinker Fairy, a photo shoot, and then a talent show. I will get to the photo shoot in a bit, but let me start off by saying that even though I was busy, I felt like I was accomplishing something. What that was, I still do not know *laughs*.  I will be sharing about the talent show in my upcoming post so keep an eye out for that. It will include a video!!

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Cathedral Bridge, Portland, OR (Source: Google Images-Cathedral Bridge)

Wednesday, the 9th, I went out with my sweet, amazing cousin, and photographer, Jenelle Newton. We took a drive to Cathedral Park in Portland, Oregon for my photo shoot. I had this place in mind for this particular shoot for quite some time now. It has a regal elegance to it that is unmatched in the city. It’s a bridge that goes across the Willamette river. The towers across the road are giant cathedral like archways. This same look is underneath the bridge as well, hence the name Cathedral Park.

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Cathedral Park, Portland, OR (Picture by: Janice Angell)

We were hoping to be there at 2pm and work till 4pm, however we didn’t end up arriving at the park until closer to 3pm. This meant we only had one hour for me to get the rest of the costume on and make some magic happen. We probably should have thought through this one a bit more. Jenelle came prepared with some poses that I could do and a mirror as a prop. I’m so happy she thought of that cause that was a really, really neat idea.

We did a few shots up near the lamppost and the stairs that lead back up to the parking lot. No matter what, this park has some great backdrops for photography. Jenelle did quite a bit of editing and so did I. I changed some levels (brightness, contrast, shadows, and highlighting) along with adding some vignetting effects.

DSC_0062We then walked down to a weeping willow tree that sits right below one of the archways under the bridge. Weeping willows are one of my favorite trees. I keep asking my husband if we could put one in our yard, but honestly, I want one already grown. This was really a perfect setting. Unfortunately both Jenelle and I did not realize that my gold collar was lying flat. Because this is a “Snow White” the collar has to be standing up. We did poses with the gun, map, the spyglass and all my other knickknacks. Jenelle was great at creating poses that would work for this particular cosplay, even though she hasn’t even read the story yet. By the way… I am almost done with that and will soon be posting the finished work… after some editing of course.

From the willow tree we walked down below towards the train tracks. I was a little nervous about getting pictures on the tracks… but we really needed to. I mean think about it… Dwarves, mining, Snow White… it just fits! I don’t have the dwarves in my story, but I do mention them. As we were on the tracks we were very cautious and looking around quite a bit to see if the train was coming. It is an active track so I was a bit concerned.

While doing our thing there was a drone with a camera flying in between the trees on the other side. It was facing us and all I could do was just stare at it like “what do you want?”. Honestly it was quite hysterical. The sound of those things are a bit annoying, but I know someone who can get some amazing shots with those. Makes me wish I had one just so we could do some different stuff! What would’ve made this shot even better is fog!!  Pretty sure we will be utilizing one the next go around.

DSC_0090Near these train tracks is this giant cement housing which serves as not only a support for the bridge but also… well I’m not exactly sure what it is. I do know that it has doors that are being blocked by a metal gate. This picture was taken on a day that I took my kids with me on a scouting mission. If this looks familiar at all to you… then you either live in Portland, OR… or you have seen the show “The Librarians” on TNT. It’s a great show and features Christian Kane. He’s one of my favorite actors and also plays in Leverage. Both shows are directed by Dean Devlin and are absolutely fantastic! Anyways, this spot is used quite often for scenes in the show. I’m not sure if it is this side or if they have the same thing on the other side of the river, nonetheless it’s a great place.

Back on topic… we though the stone would make a great back drop for some of the photos, along with the crest emblem that is on the side of the structure. We also used the ledge for some great shots with the mirror prop. This involved Jenelle having to climb on the edge and trying to get a decent angled shot in the mirror. It took awhile but she got it.

Our next thing was to get some good shots close up. We wanted to do shots with the goggles and with my birdie on my shoulder (one of my favorite props). These turned out amazing and are some of my favorite shots. Don’t get me wrong, I love the full length ones as well, but these shots just seemed to capture Snow a bit more.

At this point it was already time to leave. We had so much more we wanted to do but never got a chance. Now we have better ideas for a second photo shoot which will be coming up, probably after Rose City Comic Con. Our next location will be at Edgefield McMenamins which has a very Steampunk feel to it. We will be bring the fog machine along to get some more action shots!

So there you have it!!  Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Again… Be sure to check out my facebook page and twitter for updates and conversations regarding current and future cosplays. Yes… I’m already thinking of and planning the next cosplay! We never stop thinking!!

SP Snow White-Part 3: Accessories

Steampunk is one of those genres/cultures that detail matters. That’s part of the reason I was extremely apprehensive about starting this cosplay. It had to be unique… but it had to also work with steampunk. The main outfit works well with the genre… but it needed those details to really make it work. That’s when I added in accessories. Each accessory has a unique part in the story.

Oh… did I not tell you?  I wrote a story about her! Don’t worry, you’ll get to read it as soon as I finish it. For now… here is a synopsis.

The Kingdom of Landel in the land of Aldoran was once ruled by fair a King; his daughter, Snow White, along side him. They were joyful and at peace until the King married. The new Queen sought to rule the kingdom on her own. After the passing of the King all that stood in the way was her step daughter… the most fairest in all the land. The Queens mission… remove Snow! She had a plan to conquer the kingdom… little did she know the true hearts of those that served the King.

Sounds a lot like the Original right? Well, almost. I mean she is Snow after all. However, in this story there is magic, potions, and deception! Forget the apple… it’s a thing of the past.

17015674_1449430778414064_3938004586006908426_oOne of the first accessories I needed to get started on was the hat which I made out of stiff stabilizer, red velvet fabric, a fake birdie, black head band and some gears and chains. The hardest part was making sure all the little details stayed on the hat and wouldn’t keep falling off. They did just that… quite often. I had to use a glue called quick-bond that worked better for metal. Here is the link to the YouTube video I made for the hat: SP Hat Instruction.

20170710_23043420170518_234324The necklace I wanted to make took a lot of tries and a lot of mistakes. Tip: #1 ModgePodge in a thick layer will crack, #2 Do not put Dimensional Magic on fresh ink, #3 Don’t get stressed. The drawing for the pendant came from a lady in my cosplay group I am in on facebook. I had asked if anyone could draw out a steampunk anatomical heart and she took up the project. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that she did cause it turned out amazing. The picture is on a base made out of baking clay. I tried using metal pendants but none of them were big enough. This pendant is what spurred quite q bit of the story line as well so it’s a very pivotal piece.

20170524_230212The bracer with the nautical compass was a little bit of a challenge. Trying to put a flat metal object on a small rounded forearm is not that easy. Luckily I have an engineer for a husband. He cut out two pieces of light wood that sat underneath the compass and took up the space between the base. I added a coil to give it a bit more steampunk flair but it was a last minute detail so it is not pictured until the completion.

20170521_163755The watch bracer has a particular part to the story. The hunter gives it to Snow to protect her. It makes her invisible to the Queen for a certain amount of time. When the clock stops the spell is no longer active and the mirror in which the queen uses to determine if there is anyone fairer than she, will know that Snow is alive. This brace involved a few layers of gears, clock face, and clock hands. The two glass bottles on the sides is what houses the potion to keep the spell active.

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Base painting!

On to the gun! Goodwill or any thrift store that sells toys is an amazing place to find cheap Nerf Guns. It doesn’t have to work, but you do want it to be the right look.

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Honestly I could’ve got a smaller one, but I really liked the revolver idea. I did a couple base paints with some Krylon spray (best stuff for plastic) but I ended up painting over that as well. One thing that is problematic is the paint you use to do the detailing with. I tried to used normal craft paint and it does not stick to plastic well, especially the metallic or chrome kind. It is definitely possible to accomplish, just be sure to do a few coats over it. When I mean a few… it may take a lot.

I added a few old O2 canisters from the little spray duster cans and put on some silver jar cap looking things. This allowed me to add a bit more in the way of aesthetics. I also added a scope. The scope made me very frustrated. The first time I did it I used wine bottle corks, painted them and drilled a hole through them. I then glued them together and added flat copper wire around each end and in the middle covering up the seam.20170526_221729 Getting the wire to stay attached to the cork and the corks themselves staying together was not working. So instead I cut the length I wanted out of a 1/2 inch pvc pipe, painted it and then added a couple pipe clamps to each end. Now the scope is a heck of a lot sturdier.

I unfortunately do not have a finished pic of the gun with the new scope, but once I get my photo shoot pictures I will.

Every steampunk character needs a pouch to hold whatever goodies they are in. So I made one for snow.

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20170521_163719.jpgIt holds the keys that belong to her heart. If you need to look back at the pendant for this… do so. It also holds some mapping tools and a few potion bottles… oh… and lets not forget a map of the Land! The leather pouch was my own pattern and it is hand stitched. Before stitching leather… be sure to make holes first. Much easier. Less painful. I also created the belt at this time so I could add the extra keys, a holder for the spyglass, and a place to hang the birdie in the cage.

20170521_204209The bird in the cage is done by modeling clay. I’m honestly surprised it has stayed intact but that’s good. The map, which is placed in the pouch, was something of my own design.

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I had never once made a map from scratch before, but I had to try it. I love how it turned out and I coffee stained it the night before the photo-shoot. However, when I got home and when to take out my belt… my map was no where to be found. Yep… that’s right… I’m making another one.

Right next to the bird cage is a strap that goes from under the skirt and attaches to the belt to bustle the skirt up.  At first this was going to be a mechanical piece. We were going to have a pulley system that I could crank and it would come up or go down. Despite our dozen efforts to get it to work, it was just not doing what we wanted it to do. Oh well. Sometimes you have to just move on when things get too stressful and change it up.

There you have it! A complete cosplay.

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There are still a few things I may be adding but it’s finished and I could never be happier.

Remember that these things take time. Do not rush yourself. Take it one step at a time and NEVER stress on something for too long. Take a break and do something else. Then see what you can do.

Keep a weather eye out… I hope to reveal some photo-shoot shots soon!  Take care and … live long and nerdy!

SP Snow White-Part 2: Sewing Construction

The dreaded act of sewing. Okay… it isn’t that dreadful, but some would think it is. I have done it enough that it’s not nearly as intimidating as it was when I was in High School. However, this cosplay was definitely the most challenging for the sewing aspects. It was great practice and now I know more then I did before I started it.

Let’s start breaking down the steps as to how I made the Corset, Skirt, and Jacket.

Corset:

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Corsets: a girls best friend or their worst enemy. Sometimes both! I’ve struggled a lot with even wanting to work on a corset at all, but I knew at some point I would need it. Better now and learn then later and screw up a chance of making something AWESOME! First I needed the pattern.

This is Simplicity 2172. The corset in this pattern had an upside-down v-shaped bottom. It was great for that style, but not for Snow. So my first step was to take the pattern from Simplicity, retrace it onto pattern paper and make the adjustments accordingly by adding a point instead. Although it’s time consuming, doing this is great and it makes it possible for you to customize patterns to work for you!

Because I have made videos of the corset and skirt I will just give you a few tips on each. One the corset, be sure to iron your fabric prior to cutting out fabric, and always… ALWAYS use the triangles that are on the patterns. They are very helpful in matching up seams. Also, with boning, use wire cutters. Do not be me and use scissors! Here is my link to the you tube video of the Corset Construction.

A-Line Skirt

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For the skirt I used McCalls M6911. I did not do the overlay or the design on the skirt… just the skirt itself. This skirt has a train and needs to be hemmed to fit you. I kept my train long and only hemmed the front.

Tips: Be sure to pin your pieces together with you sew. With long fabric pieces like skirt and dresses they can slip and slide a lot, especially if it is a sateen material. I used a flat matte Satin.

Here is the link to the YouTube Video for A-Line Skirt Construction.

Jacket:

I did not, unfortunately, get pictures or video of the construction. The pattern is again Simplicity 2172. There is a lining and I always suggest using a silky or satin fabric for the lining and not the cheap apparel lining. 20170513_213909The cap part of the sleeve I added the Red tear drop things from cut out felt. I sewed those on before I sewed the caps to the sleeves themselves. Again, be sure to follow all instructions in the pattern.

The collar was the hardest part. I cried and argued with my husband about how to draw out the pattern, what to make the collar with, and how to make it stand up. He was a gem and drew out a crescent/u shape pattern out for me. You will have to adjust  and measure for how big you want the collar. What I used was thick stabilizer. It’s the same type of stuff I made the hat out of, which you will learn in the next post about the accessories. It’s stiff but flexible enough to still be manipulated and shaped. I covered it with a Gold pleather (faux leather/plastic leather) and sewed around the edges. It stands up nicely and I love how tall it turned out to be!

I was so please to finally put on the whole thing, minus all accessories. It felt good and I wanted to wear it around the house all day! It is a rewarding feeling when you make something from the grown up and put your own spin on it!  Now get out there and make some magic!

Be sure to check back either tomorrow or Thursday for SP Snow White-Part 3: Accessories! 🙂  If you have any questions, be sure to comment and I will do my best to answer! Thanks for sticking with me!

SP Snow White – Part 1: Design

Never, in all my years of sewing, would I have ever dreamed about doing anything Steampunk related. Why? Well the culture for steampunk is quite unique. You get one thing wrong you may as well say bye bye to your cosplay career. Okay, so it isn’t all that harsh, but it is very specific to certain things and I really wanted to get it right. However, thinking that way made me stress out a lot and at times I didn’t even to work on it. I would stare at my designs and think ‘What am I getting myself into!’. My dear husband who is my supporter, my engineer, and the one who thinks I can do anything, told me I should just go for it and not worry about what others may think. So that’s what I did.

Before any good cosplay there comes a design. Whether it be from an already known character or one that is made up entirely by the cosplayer themselves. We call these originals, which is what Steampunk Snow White is. She is an original. She has her own story line, she has a unique to herself costume, and best of all… it’s the only one that looks like this in existence.

I started out by going through different pattern designs for steampunk. Simplicity Patterns has some of the best so I picked a few of them.

The first two patterns didn’t really fit with what I was going for, but I kept them for future uses (I have plans for more Disney style steampunk).  The other two I looked at more and tried to decide which one would best fit my character. This included drawing out and recoloring to come up with what I wanted.

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The first design was a basic recoloring of the third pattern. This was simple and easy to do and the color scheme was quite nice… but the more I looked at it, the more I felt something was missing. Now, I started this design process in October of last year. It didn’t stare at it every day or spend every waking moment trying to figure it all out. No. I took my time, cause I knew that Rose City Comic Con was another year away.

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 My next step was trying to figure out what was missing. I then decided I would go with out the short jacket, create a cape with collar, add short puffy sleeves, and give it a bit more of a steam punk flair. Note.. this drawing was not as good as my first cause I was rough sketching it while doing something else. 🙂  I showed this to my husband and he liked it… but thought it just wasn’t quite there yet. I agreed. 16708473_1431515353538940_7812896027988799963_nSO I thought… why don’t I mix a couple patterns. I liked the skirt from the first design so I wanted to stick with that.. but I did want something more cape like.

I was FINALLY getting closer!  I loved the jacket in the fourth pattern cause it was longer, like a cape, but still had steampunk flair… and it covered my arms! That was a huge plus. The corset is from the fourth pattern as well but the bottom would have to be changed to a point rather than the upside down V the pattern was.  I almost called this my final design but something was still off. I wasn’t sure if it was the coloring or the design on the skirt or the corset that was wrong, it just wasn’t perfect yet. By this time it was around May and I needed to start sewing and getting to making it as I only had a few more months left before RCCC 2017. So back to the drawing board I went. 16711868_1431515370205605_8912810837188683293_nMy husband was a huge help as he gave me ideas to help me think of other ways I could do this. One thing I did know is that the ruffle front, below the corset, would probably be the one fabric item I would want to throw out.. so that’s when I came up with this!

Although this design says “final” on it… it really wasn’t. However, it was a heck of a lot closer then all the rest. That’s when I started sewing and getting the big part of the costume done. Now i still wasn’t finished. There was a lot of steampunk details that I needed to add. The hat was one of the first things I created… but trying to do the veil was a pain in my butt. I decided not to do the veil which made it possible for me to add other little details to the hat. 20170608_085829Once I was finished sewing the corset, skirt, jacket, and collar piece I needed to work more on the detail. By this time it was around June… my kids would be visiting for the summer and we were about to go on vacation for a week in Kansas. I wanted to get the majority of all the detail work done before they arrived.

This was only a few details but it was finally coming to fruition. I had a bigger and better idea of what I was going to do, to really make this character come to life. The details were as follows:

Necklace with anatomic heart design
Leather belt with Pulley attachment to lift up skirt
Spyglass
Potion bottles
Chains
Nautical compass on Leather Wrist band
Leather wrist brace with clock on it
Gun
Leather holster for gun
Map

The more and more I added, the more excited I was getting about the finished product. I did not get it done before the kids arrived, like I wanted to, but I did finish it while they were here. There were some details that got changed, for example; Leather belt with Pulley Attachment to lift up skirt. We tried very hard to create a pulley system and nothing was working, so I opted for a leather strap that is on the inside of the skirt that comes out and up to the belt. You will see pictures of that later.

No matter what project you are working on Design is always an important step. Your finished product my not look at all like your first idea, but you have to start somewhere!

Don’t forget to follow the blog to stay updated with the next post SP Snow White-Part 2: Sewing Construction. Also be sure to like my Facebook page Angell Cosplay and follow on Twitter and Instagram for more updates!