yamikuronue

Yami is the leader and costume designer/creator for Radiant Vanguard. She has a BA in theatre, where she discovered her love for cosplay.

Feb 042017
 

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it, viewers?

We sort of had an unspoken agreement to take a break in 2016, to let ourselves recover from the chaos. But it’s 2017 and the chaos isn’t ending anytime soon. The world needs fandom and steampunk and individuality now more than ever; I can’t promise anything like a regular update schedule, but I can share what I’ve done with you all.

This project isn’t a new one. Some years ago, we purchased a pair of hand towels from ThinkGeek reading “I love you” and “I know”. (Pause here to pour one out for Carrie Fisher, forever my Disney Princess). They resided in the master bathroom for some months before I received an embroidery machine as a gift. I knew right away what I wanted to do: create more towels with interesting couples to remind me that love isn’t always songbirds and springtime.

I created the first set based on the images you see here from the game Undertale by Toby Fox. If you haven’t played it, do so; I don’t want to spoil anything. I will say that Asgore and Toriel are a divorced couple, with good reason to be, and the portrayal was nuanced enough that I don’t entirely blame either party for the split. Note that Asgore’s image does not have a background; they are a matched set.

 

 

The patterns were made for my machine: a Brother PE-770, known for its low price point and large hoop size. If your machine has a smaller hoop, you’ll need to shrink the patterns; if it’s not a Brother, you’ll need to convert them to the appropriate format. Finally, I took advantage in some places of the fact that I was embroidering them on black fabric; the pattern may not be appropriate for stitching on white or colored fabric, as some places leave the fabric to show through.

 

 

Here is the download link for Asgore, and for Toriel. Let me know if you have any issues with the files; I have many versions lying around, and I may have uploaded the wrong one.

Stay determined!

Apr 302015
 

We finally got around to building Isaac’s shoulderpads for this convention. And it was a lot easier than we expected! We bought some wonderflex, which is a polymer material made by the same people that make the fosshape I adore so much for ears. It’s super easy to work with now that we’ve bought a heat gun.

Step one: Chaos made a mold out of poster board that fit his shoulders correctly and had the right amount of curl to it.

Step two: Chaos draped the wonderflex over the mold, heating it with the heat gun until it softened. It was super important here to keep the mold bent; laying it out flat would let it flatten out and not give the correct shape, so he ended up hanging it to keep the right bow shape. A more sturdy mold would have worked better, but we were experimenting here.

Step three: Now you have shoulder pads:

The spine, resting in my lap

The spine, resting in my lap

spine2

Edge-on view to show the bowing

So it’s time to cover them with something! We could have painted them for a metal look, but we decided to cover them in faux leather instead. I traced the posterboard molds onto the faux leather, added about half an inch all around, then cut four pieces. I stitched pairs together to make a pocket, then used hot glue to anchor them onto the spines (to ensure they curved correctly) and seal the seam.

 

Shoulder pad

Shoulder pad

I then took some more of the faux leather and, having measured the length from shoulder to hip on Chaos and cut out four wide strips. I then folded each strap in half, stitching it shut, then stitched the straps at right angles at the hip. Finally, I glued the tops to the shoulder pads (you can’t stitch through wonderflex).

strap1

The strap

 

Step Four: I stitched on some quick pockets so he could hold his wallet 🙂

 

Pocket

Pocket

I had him try them on over the robe from last year’s con:

 

Armor over the robe

Armor over the robe

Just like the spec… but way too ren faire. Not nearly steampunk enough! We ran out and scrounged up some other pieces in a last-minute shopping flurry. I think the result works well, don’t you?

Tadah~!

Tadah~!

Apr 282015
 

Laika’s ears have never worked when we arrived at a convention. So we’ve decided to redo her hat as a standalone item — complete with a soft circuit stitched in.

What’s a soft circuit, you ask? Basically, like a regular circuit, but with conductive thread in place of wires. Instead of pins, there’s pads, which I can stitch around with the conductive thread, to both hold the items in place and connect them. It’s actually pretty cool.

We bought an Adafruit Gemma, the smaller of their two wearable microcontroller platforms, and devised a circuit:

2015-04-02 17.59.07

Those aren’t sparks; that’s conductive thread catching the light from my flash

2015-04-02 17.59.23

You can see the circuits heading to the breadboard, where the servo leads are going to be soldered in

Unfortunately, the battery pack — a neat little job that holds two d-cell batteries — could provide enough voltage, but not nearly enough amps to power the Gemma and two servos. After doing some research, we purchased a rechargeable battery pack that could do plenty of amps — but not enough volts. So we also had to get a booster that would up-step the voltage to 5V, which would be enough for the servos. 

That got us almost all the way to where we wanted to go, but that’s when we discovered another problem: one of the two servos was misbehaving. Instead of going from 0 to 90 and back, it was rotating slightly backward, then rotating 180 degrees. Clearly that wasn’t going to work for the ears; however, we spent ages hunting down potential shorts, taking measurements with our multimeter, editing the servo library, and generally trying to figure out what was wrong before we finally figured it out: we needed a capacitor. The power draw from both servos together was just too much for the circuit.

But we finally got it working!

laika hat 2

Dec 252014
 

If you follow Epbot, you’ll know they’ve been doing a Harry Potter theme this year. Since we couldn’t have a tree in our apartment by order of the fire marshall, we decided to redo our living room into the Gryffindor Common Room 🙂

 

Nov 072014
 

As you know by now, the three of us decided on a Red Riding Hood theme for our costumes this year. Looking at the pics, you can probably tell what my least favorite part of my outfit was: that damned belt.

The Belt and Armbands

It all started with a pattern. Specifically, Butterick B5371. Oh, the image promised good things:

Specifically, the belt on the top left and the bracers on the bottom left. A simple little waist-cincher and matching armguards. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything.

Everything could go wrong.

That belt has the minimum amount of sewing possible. You’re meant to cut out the lining and outer fabric and fuse them with fusable webbing rather than stitch the edges. I can sew a straight line with a machine, but leaving the edges raw meant every wobble of my scissors showed. Plus, the fabric I picked didn’t like heat, so it was awful trying to get the webbing to stay.



You see the problem. :/

I picked a white lining, which I discovered was a mistake: the straps need lining to give them enough heft to close anything, but the lining totally shows, because unlike every other strap anywhere ever, instead of stitching the lining to the fabric right-sides together and inverting, you just fuse and pray.

The pictures you see above? Those are finished, according to the pattern. 100% complete. Yay belt. I couldn’t leave it like that. I did what I could, trimming the edges in ribbon and clipping some of the straps, but it still doesn’t look great.

Of course, that leads to the next problem: in a belt that wide, there is no tapering whatsoever. With my corset on, I have a pretty severe hourglass sillhouette. It just gapes badly.

Oh, and what’s with the straps being like 6 inches longer than the belt?! Blech. I had loose bits flopping about all day when I went to work.

Capes and Vests

The two capes, on the other hand, were MUCH nicer patterns from Fleece Fun. Funnily enough, the Woodsman is wearing their Red Riding Hood pattern, with a hook instead of ribbon; I wanted a floor-length cape, so I went for their Fast Hooded Cape.

These are the best cape patterns I’ve ever seen, and I keep coming back to them again and again. They’re free, they’re simple, and including printing and taping, you can knock out a cape in an afternoon. You do have to be a little careful when taping; you’ll need to trim the margins, though I like to only trim one side so I can overlap the other margin underneath the trimmed one when taping two pieces together. Otherwise, all is great.

The vest was McCalls 2447; I had Chaos help me with the math to upsize the pattern to fit him, making this now the vest that fits him the best. We meant to put buttonholes and shiny buttons on it, but the buttonholer is apparently made of witchcraft and dark sorcery, so we have to wait until the right moon phase to make the darn thing work 🙂

Axes

DSCN0929

Kae did this all on his own while I was at work 😀 He went and got some sticks, spray-painting them gold, which instantly made me think of The Honest Woodsman, definite A+ from me. He then used styrofoam blocks to make the axe-heads. That’s when he ran into a little trouble: he had some trouble finding the remains of our scattered paint collection. He decided to use Rub n’ Buff on the heads, but it took him some time to find our black spray paint to go underneath. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because he mentioned this to Chaos, who reminded him that spray paint melts styrofoam. Instead, he grabbed duct tape to make a solid surface and then painted over it with the Rub n’ Buff. Works for me!

Makeup

Chaos doesn’t like things touching his eyes, so he’s never worn stage makeup before. We were going to go for a minimal look, but after browsing minimalistic makeup tutorials with a Wolf theme, he declared that they all looked stupid. I convinced him to try the full-face getup, and it paid off 🙂

We used the following makeups:

  • Ben Nye cl-26 grey
  • Ben Nye cl-25 steel grey
  • Ben Nye cl-29 black
  • Wet n’ Wild a042 pagan angel lipstick
  • Wet n’ Wild 392a tunnel vision eye-shadow palette

I took a photo of his face without glasses and ran it through GIMP filters to make a basic outline of his face, which we planned out the look on. We were trying to emulate the look of a wolf’s fur pattern, which more or less worked; I’m definitely not a makeup expert, but it looked pretty good. Later we mused that furry ears or a tail would have completed the look.

And there you have it!

Nov 022014
 

I know things now, many valuable things, that I hadn’t known before

Do not put your faith in a cape and a hood, they will not protect you the way that they should

Red proud

And take extra care with strangers, even flowers have their dangers

woodcutter

And though scary is exciting, nice is different than good

wolf crouch

Now I know, don’t be scared; Granny is right: just be prepared

Hope your Halloween and Day of the Dead were spook-tastic! Now let’s get hyped for Into the Woods Christmas!

Oct 032014
 

Since we knew we wouldn’t have time to do the full costume, and because the Symposium’s theme this year is “Steam Wars”, we decided to make Isaac a basic green Jedi robe and then trick it out with accessories.

When searching for patterns, we narrowed down the choices to two: this excellent detailed post from SithariRog or this Instructable by MrTinkerer. We decided to go with the Instructable because it looked easier to adapt to Chaos’ plus-size frame, and because I hate math. Not that the pattern for the Instructable didn’t involve enough math already 🙂

We took Chaos’ measurements and jotted them down. I added an extra measurement for girth, since the model for the Instructable was built skinnier than Chaos is and I wanted to be sure the thing closed. I then attempted to map the measurements onto the pattern like so:

Image (2)

(Sorry for the wrinkles, it almost got thrown out before I scanned it).

Once we had the plans on paper, we used graph paper (and tape!) to measure out the pattern; I find graph paper helps me keep the dang measurements accurate, whereas a measuring tape often slips sideways and a ruler is too short. I guess a yardstick would work 🙂

By the time we had everything cut out, however, I didn’t feel confident at all about the size. So we went to Dollar General and bought some bedsheets — a cheap, quick source of fabric for prototyping.

Thankfully, it fit just fine, and we were able to stitch up the real fabric next:

A Boy and His Automaton

All done, and just in time for the con!

Sep 262014
 

Chaos got me to watch Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, a show about… well… it’s not really important what it’s about 🙂 The show’s all well and good, but I fell in love with this hat:

Tell me that’s not the most awesome hat of all time!

After months of rolling about my head, I came up with this sketch I like:

Image (3)

It shouldn’t be too hard. I have plenty of black slacks, so it’s just a matter of making a vest and round three at hat-making 🙂

Jul 082014
 

No need to adjust your television sets, folks, that’s a brand new domain name you’re seeing at the top of your screen. We can now be accessed directly at:

www.radiantvanguard.com

and

gaming.radiantvanguard.com

You may see some glitches as we complete the migration; feel free to leave a comment if something doesn’t clear up within 24 hours. Thanks!

 

PS: Feeling lazy? The old sites will remain as redirects, so no need to rush out and update your bookmarks just yet.