Monday, 28 November 2016

Cosplay by McCall's Papillon & Manikin

Steampunk and Lolita Cosplay Patterns

Meant to post about this sooner, especially as I'm very excited to see yet another Lolita pattern emerge from McCall's. Just two patterns this time around. The first Papillon (I know them as dogs lol) is a Victorian inspired tailcoat and women's lined short coat. Manikin is a JSK with blouse and overskirt.


Papillon
Lined Swallowtail Coat and Lined Short Coat
M2084

Those interested in the Neo-Victorian fashion movement might be tempted to pick this pattern up. The pattern features a swallowtail coat, which I find very Jack Skellington-esque. It's a bit boyish for my liking but I figure that's the point. The short version comes in two different styles, with pleated ruffle and without, with side fastener or buttons. I quite like this short coat, I plan on making it for myself, hopefully out of a blood red velvet I've had stashed away for such a piece.



Manikin
Dress, Overskirt, Blouse and Bow
M2035

This pattern features a JSK with shirred elastic back, lace up over-skirt and blouse with bow. I really like the blouse on this, it's very feminine and delicate and has a Victorian feel to it, I can see more than just Loli girls buying the pattern for the blouse alone. The tiered dress is cute but I think the straps could be a bit wider as they seem awfully skimpy. While the over skirt is a good idea I'm not a fan of the execution, I think the back is what bothers me about it. I'm used to seeing them positioned with the lace up in the front of the dress, but more importantly it doesn't look like it fits on the model. It seems underdeveloped and tight, probably the most costumey aspect of the entire outfit. That being said I'm sure with some drafting it could be brought up to snuff. It's a cute pattern. Probably too sweet for my wardrobe but I want that blouse in black.

Conclusion

These are certainly more wearable than most of the cosplay costumes that have come out and I really appreciate that. I like this trend of feminine, Victorian pieces, but I'm going back to my fashion roots and where all my interests began so I have a soft spot for this sort of thing.

What do you think, my lovelies?

Best,

Friday, 18 November 2016

Too Different to Make Friends


Battling an Inferiority Complex and Low Self Esteem

I haven't talked much on here recently, I'm sure many of you must be thinking it's work, home life or illness. It's kind of a mixture of all three, but most importantly my social life was taking a turn for what I thought would be the best...but it nosedived as I should have known it would.

I had an old acquaintance reach out to me. We hadn't seen each other in years. I was super nervous but optimistic, yet somehow when I saw them everything in me shut down and I felt terrible about myself. I ruined the entire outing by acting like an asshat and saying the stupidest shit imaginable.

What happened here? It's difficult to summarize. There are a few major contributing factors, like who this person was to me, what they are now, and how different we are from each other. But more importantly it brought to light that I still struggle with an inferiority complex and I still battle social anxiety. If it wasn't for either of those things I probably would have made a life long friend and not fucked everything up. Then again, maybe I wouldn't have. Who knows, the opportunity is probably lost.

I have been in isolation for over a decade. After I lost a good friend to drug abuse, I entered into University and got on with nearly no one. That's not true, I made a few friends but they weren't the outside-of-school-hours kind. Even after graduation I've never managed to solidify a friendship with anyone new. The only person left is my friend Liz from the 9th grade and I rarely see her because we don't live in the same city.

I'm always very standoffish when you first meet me or catch me in social settings. I clamp up, sound like I'm snapping when I talk, or shut down entirely. I'm fearful of doing and saying the wrong things, which only inevitably leads to actually doing and saying the wrong things. That's irony for you, isn't it? I've been told to get out more and that practice will help me to overcome my social anxiety but in a city this small it seems laughable to think that would work. I've looked at meetups, none of it interests me, there's a lot of business and coding groups in my city. I found one group of introverts which only made me laugh at myself because I'm not actually introverted. I'm just different.

That word...different. I think the majority of bloggers in the Goth and alt scene can identify with my struggle of being different. You know how it is...Don't talk about your fascination with taxidermy to anyone. Don't tell them you listen to The Cure or Joy Division. When they question why you always wear black don't say it's because you're in touch with your dark side, tell them you have a black cat and don't like the fur showing up on your clothing. Or if you're really like me, don't tell them about your choice to not have kids, how you reject societal norms, and that you feel like a boy on the inside (watch the shit hit the fan with that one). 

Social anxiety has been the bane of my existence for ages. I've always put on this facade of who I am. My senior years in high school were possibly the only years I was being honest with people. As a freshman I had been trying to please everyone, constantly joking around and acting retarded. It didn't get me anywhere, just a lot of acquaintances who didn't see me as more than a joke or someone to fill in the gaps between classes. It was like that in uni too, only it changed into me being more of a crotchety bitch who was trying to deflect attention from herself. I met some nice people but I guess I was so guarded it never amounted to anything beyond the occasional chat. Now I'm so inexperienced socially I forget how to behave in public. I talk to people like cats sometimes. I'm not kidding! I don't even remember who I am anymore. Am I me, or am I my clothes? Does that even make sense?

I tried creating a workbook to review the self defeating thoughts that keep resurfacing, the qualities I think I might have, and those negative ones that I know I do. I think this could be a helpful exercise for anyone else who may combat feelings of inadequacy. Has it helped me? That remains to be seen. I've clarified a few things but I still don't understand who I am and how it relates to everyone else.


Overcoming an Inferiority Complex 

Make a list of your negative attributes.

Mine:
Self centred, igrnorant, uncultured, inexperienced, vulgar, avid non-conformist, judgmental, shy, low self esteem, brutally honest, negative

Can any of these attributes be corrected over time, are some of them exaggerations or untrue?

Am I self-centred? Probably. We all tend to be self-involved. If you're too selfless people walk all over you. I try to be more giving and outwardly interested. My vulgarity and ignorance is certainly something to be improved upon. I could swear less, talk dirty less and be more open minded. The best way to do this is to become a good listener and to think more before I speak. I could be more cultured and experienced if I only sought life experiences out, but finances and my location have made that rather difficult. The only way I've tried to overcome these barriers is by reading and trying to collect other people's experiences...it feels really fucking shameful when you can recall stories from friends but none of your own. Is my being a non-conformist a negative thing? That's deep. Maybe I reject a lot of things because of some internal struggle, like it's out of jealousy or something. Largely I'm not a non-conformist by choice, it just comes naturally and is certainly apart of my individuality and uniqueness. I think it's important to be unique. I'd rather that than being predictable and boring, so perhaps I'm being too hard on myself for being different. Shyness can be overcome in time but sometimes it's necessary to be shy. I need to stop being too honest and too open about everything, some things should be revealed over time. If I talk about the wrong things too early in a conversation people will believe that whatever it is I'm talking about is of the utmost importance to me because this is the first conversation, it's my first impression. I fuck that up a lot. Yet, there are some things that I think are important for people to know about me (this is good practice, you should try making a list of things you want people to know about who you are so you can be prepared for those first time interactions). I could also try to stay positive and change my attitude when I catch myself slipping.

What do I think is my biggest barrier to becoming socially accepted?

That is a hard question to answer, don't feel bad if you can't. I think this one takes some soul searching. My biggest problem is that I'm not receptive to socializing. I've conditioned myself to live without it and I've closed myself off from people. The reason I lost friends in university is that I didn't open my heart enough to being loved and supported. I'm fiercely independent emotionally. I act like I can do without even though I definitely can't (I might try convincing myself that I can, but the other day I said I would give up my art and everything I hold dear if someone would just "connect" with me on a personal level). I want to be more receptive, I have to determine the path to achieving that.

Make a list of positive attributes.

Mine: creative, unique, funny, caring, empathetic, sensitive, honest, trustworthy, supportive, emotionally intelligent, strong, driven, talented

This is always harder. Coming up with things that you like about yourself is likely going to take twice as long as the negative attributes list. Don't feel like that's weird, it's normal. It's also normal if some of these attributes conflict with your negative ones because we all have internal conflicts, we also over exaggerate our flaws. I'm self-centered but empathetic? Wtf? But I am. I am very interested in other people, I want to care for and support them emotionally yet I have difficulty unplugging from myself. I might talk too much about myself and not ask enough about them, although I do care to know them. Make sense? While these qualities are good I feel like the majority of them are not easily discerned by other people. There are things we know about ourselves that a stranger wouldn't. By randomly talking to me on the street you probably would not know that I am trustworthy. Some of these things are learned over time and the problem for me is that a lot of my attributes need time to be established. Someone would have to invest time in me to become aware of how loyal a friend I can be, therefore my first impression on someone needs to be freaking amazeballs. Hence, why I fucked up so supremely with my old acquaintance. He's not going to come back to find out more about me. I'd be very surprised if he did.

Analyze your self defeating thoughts.

Start with a self-defeating thought and then break it down with a positive affirmation. 

Example:

Self-defeating thought (A): "I'm not as good at art as Ladyfair is."
Affirmation (B): "But I'm far better at (x) than she is."

A: "I can never think of what to say. I'm stupid."
B: " I can listen and encourage conversation by asking questions. I can read to expand my knowledge or seek experience."

A: "No one is interested in what I think or feel."
B: "I cannot account for or intuit what another person thinks about me. I can only do my best and keep trying."

This next one is a hard one, it needs an affirmation to follow it but I feel it should also be further analyzed. 

A: "So-and-so hates me, I wish I had their acceptance."
B: "I should move on to find someone who values me."
^ If so-and-so does in fact hate me, and I'm not just over exaggerating something stupid I did, or internalizing something they said or did as an attack, then I need to determine why their acceptance is important to me. Who are they to me? What do they represent? Do I feel that knowing them can benefit me somehow? Can I find that benefit through other means (or other people)?

Every negative thought should be followed by a positive one. You need to find things you value in yourself and stop the cycle of self hatred, especially before you can make any real friends. Believe it or not, that negativity shows. It's in your mannerisms and your speech. Try practicing positive affirmations daily. You have to believe in them, though. If you catch yourself having a self-defeating thought acknowledge it as such. For instance, I struggle with OCD. I might think of setting my towel on fire. I know that I don't want to and that's abnormal, it's an aspect of my OCD and not a real belief of mine, therefore it's not what I really think. Your negative thoughts aren't real reflections of yourself, you're just having a shitty day, acknowledge them as shitty thoughts and replace them with affirmations. You might say, but Ladyfair, I really do hate myself! And that is such a fucking pussy emo thing to say. It's juvenile and unrealistic to believe that you have no good qualities about yourself. Find what they are and remind yourself about them daily. You have to change your thought process, that shit is not going to fix itself.

This is what I intend to do. I challenge my readers to do the same. Please share your experiences in the comments below. Next time I might talk about assessing your values and your ideas about friendship and socializing.

Best,



Saturday, 5 November 2016

Cosplay Accessories from Cosplay by McCall's

New Accessory Patterns

I recall perusing the Cosplay by McCall's social media sites and had seen a few suggestions regarding Cosplay accessories. I couldn't help but agree with other posters, we need more accessory patterns. Whether it may be hats, body armor, gun slings or garters, we need accessories! All too often I have found costume patterns that feature stellar outfits but less than stellar accessories (hats are the worst of it, they're so poorly drafted they seem like afterthoughts). Cosplay by McCall's has released the first of it's accessory patterns; Stash, Rove and Fatale. Let's take a look at them!


STASH
Belts and Pouches

I'm finding in my spare time my sewing doodles are leaning more and more towards a kind of punky, post-apocalyptic Tank Girl kind of thing. I have plans for making harnesses and such, so this pattern appeals to me. I have to say I'm not crazy about the waist belt. It's shaped in almost a garter kind of way, where it tapers into the ass and the hips. Kind of an odd design choice given that it's bulky and very masculine. It's not a sexy looking belt, however the skill level for this pattern is very easy and if you want to keep things accessible to the newby sewists simplification really is the way to go. I prefer the hip satchel...or fanny pack (hooray for the 80's). It's much nicer looking overall. I'm excited to make it. 


ROVE
Bolero Jackets

The bolero is a staple in many a wardrobe. This pattern reminds me of a few years back when Dieselpunk was a pretty big thing. You remember the military jackets and Lip Service's Gangsta Pranksta line (Google it). If you're itching to revive that look then this pattern might be for you. It features three different variations of the bolero, a mixture of cap sleeves, half sleeves, long sleeves, and a classic or mandarin collar.



FATALE
Collar, Shoulder Armor, Leggings and Crown

This one is kind of weird lol. It's more like a Queen of Hearts costume, although I'm sure the high collar could be used for other period costume inspired stuff. It comes with instructions on how to make the crown, which again, is decent if you're looking to make a Queen of Hearts costume. The pattern also features "shoulder armor" - new to me. It's a puff pleather sleeve with lace detailing that fastens around the chest. Neat, not necessarily my scene but okay. The "leggings" are more like footless stockings or leg warmers. They're thigh high and stop at the ankle, and it's a damn shame too because it's probably the only thing I'd make from this pattern but I prefer covering my feet. I like the cage detailing at the top and the fishnet panel is a neat idea. This definitely has a Lolita vibe to it which is not surprising because it was designed in part by Ichigo Black.  

Conclusion

I'm happy to see some accessory patterns emerging, I'd like to see more of them in the future! It's also good to see more patterns in the "easy" and "very easy" skill ratings. I feel like the other patterns in the catalog would be too complex and overwhelming for those looking to break into Cosplay, so these patterns would be a good introduction for beginners.

Thoughts?

Best,

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2016 in review

I wish I had some awesome stories to share, I've seen some cool stuff popping up in my blog feed recently. Sadly, my city isn't known for throwing wicked Halloween parades or parties. The museum's Fright Night is still going strong but it seems to get less and less interesting with each passing year (I don't know if the original organizer of the event ditched it or what, but fortune tellers and a DJ aren't much to hold my interest and you may recall I once explained it originally had a poetry slam, film with live band, live music all night, and a few other cool things that they for some reason retired). No, instead I stayed home and handed out candy, did nothing all weekend long except for sick up, draw and sleep. 

At my old house we had something like 100 kids each Halloween. The new house is located off to the side in a small city block that's nestled on the cusp of the city limits. It's not easy to find where I live. In fact, if it weren't for the condo sign most people wouldn't know it exists, and even at that you have to get right up on the driveway otherwise you'd assume it's a dead end. This, I'm sure, is what most parents thought as well. Because we back onto a big spooky torn up field and we're closed in with only one entry point, I feel that most parents would consider our condo community too creepy to allow their kids into. I had only 25 trick or treaters last night. I'm happy I chose to hand out two bags each immediately after I had only one trick or treater (and he showed up at around 6:30, most kids tap out around 8). Every kid had a Halloween costume on - stoked! But I guess when you have 100 kids to go through you're likely to see more kids without costumes, we also used to live in a very poor area, this new neighborhood is more affluent. The majority of my trick or treaters were girls, a lot of them were witches, one even used her hat to trick or treat with lol. I had a very adorable little girl, like little little, maybe six or seven, and she was a bloody bride. Lots of kids forgot to thank me afterwards but if their parents were around they made them remember, which was nice to see. 

We were both home sick this year, so I got to put up the decorations during the day. I never finished the wreath I planned on making, I had to hang a spiderweb on the door instead. I didn't even complete my terrarium I posted about earlier this month either. And I didn't finish my costume. The fairy costume made it to about 50% completion. I tried to do the wings myself and the stockings weren't big enough to fit over the wire. I was sewing a tutu by hand but it's so damn tedious I got fed up with it. I'll finish it this month just to put it away for next year but I'm over it. I spent nearly $70 on this costume, maybe more than that, and unless I'm going to wear it to a party I don't see the point in rushing it. Instead I wore my Bo Peep costume from a few years ago, it's super cute and looked great, fit me better than the first time too. I didn't get any pictures of it, but that's because my guy was too sick to sit upright lol. 


It was cold outside, I had planned on going for a walk but decided against it. Today will be much warmer, go figure. At least it didn't rain or wasn't super windy. I'm glad it's over, that's an awful thing to say, but this year I wasn't feeling it. Too sick to manage, maybe? I don't know. Even after I brought out all the decorations, watched all the Halloween shit I could cram into a month, it still didn't feel like Halloween. Don't get me wrong, we had fun. Me and my man watched Frankenhooker, she's totally rad and I love her goth platform mary janes. I invited the spirit of my friend into the home, hope she stopped by but didn't sense her, and if she was there I talked her ear off lol. It was nice to reminisce about her, this was always our holiday. I also ate pumpkin pie (we were huge fans of pie). All in all it was a decent Halloween, just not as outstanding as previous ones.

So, onto Christmas I guess. I'm going to take down the decor this weekend, haul up the x-mas boxes and leave them for another two weeks. I bought some new pink Christmas LED lights for outside to go with my Hello Kitty. I also got a new tree skirt of the tree which we'll do in gold and natural tones this year. And, I bought a classic white vintage porcelain Christmas tree in the summer, I hope to replace the bulbs with mostly pink ones. I would've done our Christmas tree in pink and silver - can you believe he'd allow it?! But after purchasing the tree skirt I really want to use it, so it's going to be a weird mashup of decor again this year lol.

How did Halloween go for you?

Best,

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