The Genki 2013 experience

September 3, 2013

Genki was the first con I participated in for more than just 1 day. And I have to say, it was quite a different experience than my other cons because of it. It had pros and cons. It was fun waking up and seeing people prepare for the day by adding wigs and paint and huge dresses and heavy armors, but also hard work to sleep only 3 hours a night on an air mattress.

I also discovered new talents as a saleswoman! My friend, Michelle Louring, was selling copies of her books in Artist Alley, and since I was taking up much of her table half the time for emergency-costume-glueing, I thought I needed to make up for it by persuading people to buy her books. Dressed as cute little Chii, it worked pretty well, to even my own surprise!

Friday was a short day, and I just put on my Jeannie costume, which was very comfortable. Saturday was the long, big day, so I went with my druid. I took about an hour and a half to get ready – make-up, wig, lenses, clothes, pauldrons etc. 30 minutes into wearing it, one pauldron-buckle cracked, my pauldron started sliding off, and to save it, I bent over to catch it – sending my headpiece flying across the floor, cracking in one place and losing paint in another. Yikes. The wig made my head too hot to think, too. I got rid of the wig, spent about an hour and a tube of superglue (and some hot glue) on fixing my armor, and got it all to (more or less) work again. Pfew.

Sunday I was back in a comfortable costume (Chii). The fact that it wasn’t anything special meant that I could just relax and take pictures of the other awesome costumes at the con without worrying about whether I was posing well. I don’t think I will ever have a career as a model, hihi. There were so many impressive and awesome costumes, really nice people and also a lot of talents in the artist alley. I’m already excited about my next con! (and worried about having to wear a wig again >.<)

 

This Bernina was my 2nd serger/overlocker and actually the first (and only) brand new machine I have bought. It works quite good and it’s a bit less noisy than my old one, which is great. One thing I miss from my old machine: It doesn’t have free arm capabilities. I don’t follow rules when I sew, so I like to overlock on my sleeves when I’m making clothes, which is harder when you can’t fit the fabric around the machine, especially when making mistakes and accidentally stitching through wrong layers will ruin the whole project, because the machine cuts while sewing. But it’s a minor thing that I work around, and overall, I’m really pleased with the performance!

My next machine was a very fancy christmas gift from my dad:

Pfaff Creative Vision sewing /embroidery machine

I have wanted an embroidery machine for years, but they are both quite expensive (though, more and more affordable models are being released) and also I had no idea what to look for. I thought each machine had their own software, and so I thought it was also a thing to consider. But it turns out it’s not. And while embroidery software (to make your own designs) is a whole topic of it’s own, it turns out the machines are quite “simple”. This one functions both as a sewing machine and an embroidery machine, and I have used it for sewing a little bit, but for that purpose, my old one still does better – it has a more powerful engine. This machine struggles with e.g. webbing. But it doesn’t matter, because it’s a bit of a chore to convert it between sewing and embroidery (the attachment + foot + needle needs to be replaced, and different types of threads on upper-and lower thread), so I just use it as embroidery machine. And for that, it works great. It supports quite large hoops – up to 360 x 350 mm. (though biggest I have is 360 x 200 mm). The standard hoops that were included were plastic ones that work by squeezing fabric between inner and outer hoop and tightening it. But I fairly quickly upgraded to metal hoops with magnets, because I find it easier to align designs like that. It’s a preference thing. It’s a single colour machine, so you have to replace the thread after each colour. But I think it’s fine. Some projects require you to babysit it, while others you can just leave it alone. It depends both on the file, the fabric and the thread. There’s a lot to learn when embroidering, but it’s quite fun. I haven’t used it for cosplay yet, but most things that sit still long enough in our house gets embroidered.

The latest machine I bought is this one:
Brother Coverstitch CV3550 coverlock machine

 

This machine is quite limited in it’s use. It’s something inbetween an overlocker and a regular machine. It has one bottom looper, and up to 3 upper threads. And this version also has an extra thread that is kind of like an over-looper. If you have a t-shirt on, I’m pretty sure there’s an edge of folded fabric that is stitched with a coverlock. On the visible side, it’s usually 2 straight, parallel seam-lines and on the underside, it’ll be kind of looping around. That’s a coverstitch. I got this, because I enjoy making clothes for myself and my family, and it makes that a lot easier. But it’s overkill for most people and probably not that relevant for cosplay. I just felt like splurging a bit and buying myself something nice. I did buy it used, though, because I figured I would get one that had all the possible features (including free arm for easier sleeve stitching).

So that’s basically all the machines I have! I would like to add one honorable mention, though:

 Husqvarna 5710 sewing machine

 

This was my very first sewing machine! My grandmother had it before me, and it’s from somewhere between 1976-1982 (I don’t know exactly when) It was actually a nice machine, but when I first got into cosplay and realized it was something I wanted to do a lot, I wanted something a bit more quiet with more features. But this machine isn’t gone. My mother-in-law didn’t have a sewing machine, so I brought it to Lithuania and now she uses it for little repairs and such. It makes me happy to know that after all this time, it still has a purpose and it still works just fine. Those old Husqvarna machines are work horses, and if your budget is small, go look for this kind of machine. The machines that were made back then were so simple that they don’t break that easy, and they were made with quality materials, so they last forever. They may not have lots of fancy seams, but my first Druid cosplay was made mostly with this red machine.

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