ColossalCon 2011 Live Blog – Styling Cosplay Wigs 101


It seems like the panelist was just roped into doing this panel so she didn’t really prepare. That means it’s going to be a Q&A session. I have zero experience with wigs so I won’t really be able to explain anything discussed in further detail – I’m basically just making a transcript of what the panelist is talking about.

For styling don’t use gel since wigs are not the same as human hair. Hair gel will destroy the wig since the chemical reactions will make the wig into a big unworkable mess.

The best way to de-tangle a wig is to use fabric softener.

It takes a long time but it’s very effective. Spray diluted liquid fabric softener over the wig and then work section by section using a hair dryer. A straightener can ruin the wig if the wig is not heat resistant.

It seems like a lot of things can be fixed using a hair dryer.

A question about the price of the wig versus the quality. No matter how much you work with a $5 wig it won’t ever look as good as a more expensive wig. You should spend at least $15-20 on a wig. The price will go up if the wig is thicker which is necessary for up-dos.

Some of the best wigs? Disclaimer: advertising – Arda Wigs, Epic Cosplay (recently merged with Epic cosplay is more expensive but feels closer to human hair in terms of weight and how it drapes.

A parted wig can be difficult since you’ll be able to see the netting if you don’t do it correctly. Parting a wig is more difficult that it seems. One method is sewing more hair to the underside and is a long difficult process. Another method is to buy extensions and put cheese cloth and then make it into a weft, pull it in half and then sew it on to make a “cover”.

For the wigs with huge buns one method is to use a headband underneath the wig with wires poking through that goes into styrofoam shapes covered in more hair.

Freeze spray and Got2B are good for making gravity defying hair structures. Sometimes you can use diluted Elmer’s glue which works similar to freeze spray – the only downside is that it takes a lot longer to dry.

The recommended dye for wigs is sharpie diluted with alcohol sprayed on. That’s something I’ve heard and seems to be the most popular method.

A site that might be useful: Katie Bair

Use hair cutting scissors but they will get worn down faster because you’re cutting through plastic although knowing that hair contains hard keratin I would say that it would be somewhat be similar.

Before you start on your wig you should have a plan of what you’re going to do so you minimize the chances of messing up. If you need tutorials you can check on or DeviantArt (usually has more images).

The most complicated wig the panelist has done is the one she’s working on right now which is a character from Harvest Moon: Tree of Tanquility. She says she’s spent over $100 already and isn’t even close to being done (talk about commitment!). Again you have to figure out what’s realistic otherwise you can get a wig that’s really really heavy.

For washing wigs you should use warm water. You can also use certain products like wig shampoos. After washing it you should just hang it up to dry. It’s not recommended to blow dry it since you could lose fibers that way. Proper wig care is important and if you keep it on the wig head, etc. you shouldn’t have to wash your wigs very often.

If your head is big you could potentially sew elastic to the wig cap or use the waist part of pantyhose.

For long wigs like Jam from Guilty Gear you could use pool noodles and then make a sleeve of hair that goes over it. Be sure to not use more hair than you need on your costume.

Sometimes you’ll have itchy wigs which can be remedied with some lotion and making sure the wig cap covers the entire area.

The panelist has also used hot glue for areas where spiky hair is needed but it won’t stay in place when styling it.

If she had more advance notice about hosting the panel she was going to go and get a wig and do a live de-tangling to demonstrate. The de-tangling method was the aforementioned fabric softener method.

One of the audience members said that she uses steaming for styling the wigs. She also warned to make sure to get clear fabric softener for blond wigs or else it could get tinted.

Teasing the wig is basically tangling it purposefully to make it big. Tease it on the inside/underside so no one can see it and it looks good from outside.

Be cautious about ordering from China because the shipping times can be very long. While it may be cheaper it could take months to receive. She says that she had a good experience from TaoBao (Chinese eBay) and would recommend it.

Well that wraps up the panel. It was somewhat disorganized but there was a lot of good info in there.

Colossalcon 2011 Live Blog – The Closest Fit


Let me begin by welcoming everyone to this year’s live blog of Colossalcon. I apologize for arriving a bit late but not to fear – there’s still a lot of the convention to talk about. Unfortunately the other writer, descent, could not make it due to car troubles and not being able to procure a ride so I will be doing it solo this year. I just got my brand new external flash in the mail yesterday (Nissin Di622 MkII) so I’m excited about getting some use out of it for this convention. Also, I’d like to thank Colossalcon for providing me with a press badge. Alright, now on to the content!

The full name of this panel is “The Closest Fit – Finding a pattern for your cosplay.” It deals with making patterns for unconventional designs found in cosplay material. There’s only so much in the real world in terms of patterns so often you will have to find patterns that are similar and alter them. There’s a total of four female panelists running it.

In terms of patterns, you want to start by taking away all the fluff and get down to the basics of the costume. For instance, take away the bows and the fluffy stuff and you’ll end up with a dress. You then look for a pattern that is similar to that dress and then attaching the additional aspects of the costume. That way you won’t end up at the end of the day going “Oh goodness I’m tied up in a giant bow.”

Also, don’t always think you need a new pattern for every new cosplay. A lot of the time you’ll have everything you need from previous cosplays, whether it’s parts of patterns or an entire pattern. You can always recycle patterns and most patterns are fairly compatible.

At this point they discuss the measurements of patterns since your clothing size and the pattern size often don’t match. You should look on the instructions for the pattern for the measurements particularly the given sizes for the finished garment. When in doubt make it larger since you can always take things in but you can’t really add more fabric. People will often have different sizes for different parts of the body (i.e. bust size or hip size) so you should pay attention to that. One tip is to cut out the largest size pattern you need, pin it and then use chalk or a sharpie to follow the lines as they fit you. As far as the sizing of the pattern goes, two different brands of patterns may have different sizing.

As I’m sitting here I’m now wishing there were more panels on the props side of cosplaying.

They also emphasize the importance of getting lots of reference images. I stressed the same thing for my plastic model panel last year and it applies to a lot of crafts. One thing to be careful of is to remember that you’re making it for yourself so don’t get distracted by the character’s physique. “Anime characters ALWAYS look good – it’s disgustingly true.”

There’s a question about the skirt for Aqua from Kingdom Hearts and the panelist suggested looking at Victorian era or saloon style clothing. She once again breaks down the costume into parts for ease of construction such as making the skirt such that there’s a piece of it that goes across the front. The white “belt” will cover it so it won’t even be seen. Also, with patterns you can always just use part of a pattern – there’s no rule that says you have to use the entire pattern.

Another tip is once you find one color of fabric that you like, match the other colors to that fabric; don’t try to match every single color individually to the reference material.

“If you can make the big piece you can always add the little pieces.”

There’s a question about Estelle from Tales of Vesperia. For large floating shoulder caps you can use a material that’s similar to styrofoam or use stabilizer. Looking at it I would think you could put some sort of wire support at the edge of it. Oh, another good suggestion the panelist had is to use velcro or something similar to reduce as much of the weight as possible that way it’s not the full weight of the fabric. “Boning is your friend.” I guess that addresses my thought of using wire support.

Coupons are your friends. Sign up for mailing lists since they often send out the occasional coupons. I did this for my Roy Mustang cosplay where I waited for the 40% off coupon to buy all of my blue fabric.

The last few minutes was discussing the business side of things, such as if you are commissioned to make a costume. Often you will have to be more deliberate about fabric choices based on the available budget. You can’t do a full brocade costume for under $100 – at least it would be hard to find someone willing to do it at that price. It comes down to talking to the client about the expectations, the budget, and how much time you’re willing to put in.

Roy Mustang Cosplay

Roy Mustang

Note: This is meant to be an archive so I won’t check this site as much. I now have my own personal blog over at pandamajikhobbies

Have you ever wanted to make your own Fullmetal Alchemist military uniform? I will detail exactly how I made my own from scratch. I will prove that you don’t need a lot of experience (this is actually the first thing I’ve ever sewn by myself) and you also don’t need fancy things like commercial patterns and dressforms. I drafted all the patterns myself so if you are attempting to make your own make sure to get your measurements correct. First off I want to thank AndSewingisHalftheBattle for all the info they had on how to make the uniform. I used it as a guide and made a few adjustments and improvements along the way.


Jacket – the jacket will give you the most trouble by far. It’s quite boxy in shape and has an overlapping front panel that had a fold down rectangle. There are two epaulets, one on each shoulder. The cuffs fold up and have a V-shaped slit in them.

Pants – fairly regular looking slacks except that they appear to be a bit wider at the bottom where they tuck into the boots.

Butt cape – this is what everyone else calls the thing that wraps around the waist and goes all the way down to the shins. Open on the front and the back has a long slit running from the bottom up to about 1/3 of the way down from the top.

Boots – there’s some debate on what type of boots they wear. All the source images I found showed the boots as being totally smooth meaning there are no laces.

White gloves – not much to say here. Find white cotton gloves that fit, nothing fancy.

I have a link to the PDF file of the pattern I drafted so make sure to check out that file. Just scroll down a bit to find it.

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Ohayocon 2011 Pictures

Finally got the pictures processed and uploaded. We made the decision to keep all of our convention pictures on Flickr.

Here’s a direct link to the set.

[flickr-gallery mode=”photoset” photoset=”72157625987267400″]

Ohayocon 2011 Review ver. descent


Lights never seemed to go off in my room, so I had to make my own little sleeping capsule to get some rest...

Hello everyone! It is as good a time as any to make my way back here and get busy again. Forgive any minor bits of craziness, suffice it to say that I just finished watching Madoka Magica Episode 3 and I am still a little shaken (coward desu). Like my friend pandamajik  I am just getting finished with a busy week after returning from Ohayocon 2011. I can’t tell you how excited I was to make it back for another go around this year. Ohayocon 2010 was actually my first convention experience in the months after I truly “discovered” anime and manga for the amazing art forms they were. What was also special about this convention was that it was the first time I had the opportunity to share my passion for Vocaloids with other fans by running my own panels. It still leaves me baffled how much has changed for me in the past year…just 12 months ago I was wandering around Ohayocon ’10 in wide-eyed shock at the spectacle of 10000 anime fans and cosplayers, recognizing almost nothing and really just along for the ride. Flash-forward a year and I actually know my stuff a bit when it comes to recognizing cosplays and can easily discuss a whole variety of topics with other con-goers.  Even more amazing is that this time last year I didn’t even know that things such as Vocaloids and one insanely cute Vocal-android by the name of Miku Hatsune even existed…my how things change!

After the jump I will be discussing my thoughts and opinions of Ohayocon programming, my own panels, and the con overall. I didn’t have a good camera on me this year but I do have a few pictures and videos taken by my awesome friends to share as well. There was lots of fun to be had this year but there was also a number of concerns as well, so I will do my best to address all of them. Please feel free to add your own comments at then end!

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Winners of Ohayocon Skit Disqualified….4 Days After?

Browsing through the Ohayocon forums I noticed a thread titled “Performance Announcement, A skit has been disqualified.

I had to do a double take as this seemed like an odd thread to pop up days after Ohayocon ended. I thought this surely must be a joke or something. The post by the staff read as such:

It has come to our attention that skit number 6 in the masquerade did not show up for their rehearsal appointment. That is the Gurren Lagann skit that won best performance in the journeymen division. According to Ohayocon rules all participants must attend the rehearsal or be disqualified. The judges were not notified that this entrant did not show up for rehearsal and were not aware of the fact that they were competing under a disqualified status. Also it has been brought to our attention that the skit that was featured during the masquerade had been modified from it’s original format that had been pre-judged. The fact that the performers were using microphones instead of pre-recorded material made this possible. We apologize to any attendees who found found certain aspects of this skit rude or offensive, what was performed was not the same skit that was pre-judged and approved for performance under our guidelines. So with that said we are officially disqualifying the skit and revoking their award status. Since there were no other entrants in the journeymen division the award shall remain vacant as there was no other competition.

We apologize again for this incident and hope that it does not ruin your opinion of the Ohayocon masquerade.

Below we have quoted several of the rules for clarification.

Thank you,

The Ohayocon Cosplay Staff

“Performance Rehearsal is at 4:30P on Saturday and is mandatory. Doors will be locked and no further participants allowed in at 4:35P. Participants failing to arrive will be DISQUALIFIED.”

“Participants will be expected to perform exactly how they intend to at the Masquerade.”

“This is an all-ages convention, so your actions and speech must reflect that. The rating of the material in the performance should not go much over PG/ TV PG- bordering on PG13. Actions, dress, or mannerisms that would not be allowed on a public street must be avoided. Specifically, the following must be avoided: explicit sexual gestures, nudity, and explicit swearing (i.e. Seven Forbidden Words of TV). Think about your material as such- if you cannot perform it for a first grade class or your grandmother’s friends- you probably need to tone it down. The Ohayocon Masquerade is an all ages event and there will be very young congers in attendance. Violating these rules will disqualify you and possibly result in being escorted off the premises.”

“Feel free to surprise the audience, but not the Cosplay Staff. If you are planning something “unique,” you must petition the Cosplay Coordinator IN ADVANCE to get it approved. ”

– posted by strangeknowledge on 2/2/2011, 4:24 PM

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Ohayocon 2011 Review ver. pandamajik


art by Robert DeJesus

Ohayocon is billed as the largest anime convention in Ohio, drawing in just over 10,000 people last year. Last year was my first Ohayocon so I was expecting this to be as fun and awesome as it was for me last year. I pre-registered for a weekend badge but was not able to get to the convention until around 10 PM Friday night, meaning I didn’t even get to roam around until 11 PM or so. The reason I got there so late is that I was stuck in anatomy lab for medical school until 6 PM.

How this review is going to work is that I’m going to give a day by day explanation of things I did with some comments thrown in and then at the end I’ll have a general discussion section (makes this sound almost like a lab report for school or something).

We’re not affiliated with Ohayocon or any convention for that matter. We’re here to make unbiased reports. That means there will be criticism. It also means there will be compliments on things so don’t think we’re just being mean. With that please enjoy reading my review of Ohayocon 2011.

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Cosplay – Get ready for Fullmetal Alchemist


First off, Merry Christmas everyone!

Like a lot of people out there I’m spending my much needed break doing something to give me a break from all the studying of the last semester. A few months ago I got asked to join a Fullmetal Alchemist group with a few friends and I kind of put it on the back burner since I didn’t really have the time to work on it while school was going on. It was suggested that I go as Roy Mustang since I “have the hair for him.” That’s totally fine with me since he’s my favorite character out of the whole series. I find both Ed and Al to be a bit annoying at times. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the story; I just found their characters grating at certain points. On the other hand Mustang always keeps his cool and also who doesn’t like playing with fire?

I’m taking pictures throughout the construction process so once I get everything done I’ll put together a more thorough write up of the process. I’m taking a lot of cues from “And Sewing is Half the Battle” site as well as reading about general sewing tips. One of the keys to doing a good job with any project is to do your research. I’ve spent much of the past week on research and only a day or two on actual construction. I’m done with the pants after much struggling with attaching the zipper. As for fabric, I found some nice royal blue bottomweight fabric from Jo-ann (they call it Canvas Target). It’s actually 30% off right now, but you can find a 40% or 50% off coupon for even more savings.

Some Vocaloid Pickups and Announcement


We finally have some excellent hosting! Thanks to a recent server transfer masterfully orchestrated by pandamajik we will finally be able to bring you AnimeInsights unencumbered by month-long outages, slow load times, and a blogger interface that was enough to almost scare me away from posting entirely.  This is definitely big news as we will finally have a chance to bring you reviews of the Winter Anime Season much easier, and I will also be publishing a look back at the very exciting fall season I have enjoyed. Vocaloid posts will of course continue, but most importantly it will give us an opportunity to cover Ohayocon (which will be attending AND participating in) the way we want to. But for now lets take a look at another group of interesting selections from the wide world of Vocaloid….

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AnimeInsights Now Has Real Hosting

Big news for the site – we have moved from our free hosting at X10Hosting. We are now paying for hosting through CertifiedHosting so we hope that means the site will run much smoother. We had a lot of issues with our previous host which is one of the reasons we pretty much ground to a halt in terms of posting. Between the constant and random site suspensions, the slow load times, and breaking of our site when they did server moves, we just got fed up with it.

After a couple of mistakes which led to at least one reinstall, the site is now up and running. There may still be a few minor issues here and there so if you spot anything please let us know and we’ll fix it as soon as possible. We’re really excited about this move and hopefully we’ll start posting regularly again.

Make sure to double check your bookmarks if you had us bookmarked. Our old site was hosted at If you had us down as then you won’t experience any changes.