Beginner Sewing Hacks

This post is part of a series in partnership with Raleigh Supercon.

I know I have mentioned it before, but I am a sewing newbie. My first true cosplay costume, Arrietty, brought on several (0kay…a lot) of tears. I honestly wanted to give up. But just like anything else, sewing takes practice to get good at it. Even if you don’t have sewing goddess status, you shouldn’t let your lack of skills keep you from making some pretty epic cosplays. I managed to pull off Mrs. Potts from the animated Beauty and the Beast without using the sewing machine once.

My number one hack is stitch witchery, which is at almost every craft store.  Stitch Witchery is like sewing tape; you just lay it down between your fabric, apply an iron, and BAM! fabric is “sewn” together. For my Mrs. Potts costume, I added all the ribbon and china pattern to my skirt just using stitch witchery, and it is still holding strong. When you stitch witch ribbon, you will have to do two layers of ribbon so the stich witchery doesn’t show through.

My other top hack is the glue gun. Never underestimate the power of a glue gun. Glue guns are a thing of beauty. My Toad hat was held together by the strength of the glue gun. Just be careful with what fabric you use a glue gun on because the glue will seep through the fabric.

Another hack is more advice than hack, and that is to splurge on good fabric scissors. I use to think my mother was nuts because she was so protective of her fabric scissors. It wasn’t until I got my own pair that I realized why she treasured them so. Seriously, a good pair of fabric scissors makes cutting so much easier because they are so sharp and get a cleaner cut than regular scissors. Just make sure you maintain your scissors and only use them for fabric. I keep mine in their own container, so I don’t accidentally use them for something else.

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Categories DIY

The Only Pattern You’ll Need for A Beginner Cosplayer

This post is part of a series in partnership with Raleigh Supercon

One of the reasons I enjoy doing theater is the costumes. I love how putting on a costume can transform you into someone you have always wanted to be. Want to be a Disney Princess or Super Woman? Or heck a Jedi Ewok?  A costume allows you do to that. I have always wanted to live in an area where I could do cosplay because my costume wearing was always limited to Halloween and theater. I know that I will never be like Brittney “Chiki” Fischer from the FanDames Initiative, but that doesn’t keep me from having fun with cosplay. Seriously, her Disney cosplays make me swoon. The level of detail is gorgeous. You really should go check out her Instagram too @chikicosplay. The Frozen Anna with antlers is just amazing. (It really, really makes me want to finish my own antler headpiece project, which is so far the biggest cosplay piece I have attempted to make.)

Truth be told, I don’t have extensive sewing skills. I am working on improving them, but I have had a lot of cosplay success with McCall’s M7313 dress pattern. The pattern is very simple; the fact that the sleeves, top, and skirt are all separate pieces make the pattern extremely easy to manipulate.

Some ideas are:

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Categories DIY

Cosplaying: Do it for yourself, not the contest

This post is part of a series in partnership with Raleigh Supercon.

The cosplay contestants from PlayThrough Con

I saw the new Beauty and the Beast movie on opening night, and of course, I went in costume with a group of friends. We had a blast and ended up being featured on the movie theater’s Facebook page. And yes, we were the only five people dressed up in the theater. I will take any opportunity to wear a costume. I love dressing up, which is why I jumped to do my first cosplay at last year’s OakCity Comicon.

Our Facebook photo

Problem was I had never really sewed before. I am a wiz at thrift-find transformation, but sewing from scratch? Not my thing. I own a sewing machine, so at least I had that going for me.  Armed with YouTube sewing tutorials, I was determined to make something, especially since I saw that the con had a novice category in the cosplay contest. After racking my mind and look at all the patterns I foolishly (but cheaply) purchased when Jo-Anna Fabric closed, I decided to make an Arrietty costume from the Ghibli film The Secret Life of Arrietty.

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How to Balance Working and Blogging

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While the New Year brings a time of reflection and resolutions for many, Trae and I tend to follow the school calendar. We both work at a community college, so for us, the “New Year” starts at the beginning of each fall semester. Yet, at the start of this new semester, I find myself really wanting to focus on balancing my job and my blog. I consider my blog a job as well because while I enjoy it tremendously, the blog requires work in writing posts, taking pictures, doing social media, and the likes.

I really let my blog slide during the fall, and it was because I had gotten out of my blogging routine. Routines are extremely important because it allows blogging to become second nature. Some tips that I have learned from over a year of blogging are:

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Gift Ideas for the In-laws

in-laws-gifts

Christmas is just around the corner and that means time to buy presents.  The internet is full of gift ideas for husbands and wives, but what about gifts for the in-laws? If you are like me, you struggle to find good gifts for your in-laws.

My mother-in-law is hard to shop for. Very hard. I know everyone claims their mother-in-law is hard to shop for, but how many of your mother-in-laws have told you to return a gift because you need to save money? Yep. That has happened. It really made me understand why Trae had given up buying her presents by the time we had gotten married. My father-in-law isn’t much easier to buy for. He buys all his golf equipment and boating accessories from Craigslist or second-hand stores. He lives to find the best deal and his patchwork pontoon is proof of his deal-hunting abilities. So he doesn’t want us to buy anything that wouldn’t be considered a “steal of a deal.”

On top of that, they both say they have everything they need and don’t want any more clutter. As a result, I have had to get creative with Christmas gifts. My mother-in-law recently retired and my father-in-law will soon retire, and with the extra time on their hands, I have learned that gifts that involve an activity are the best ones. Some great gifts have been

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