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Character: Original Steampunk Madam
Designed, created and modeled by Yaya
Photography by Anna Fisher [link]

I'm seriously in love with this photo by Anna Fisher. She went through a lot of effort to book space in the Juliet Supper Club in New York City and this was shot on the last day of New York Comic Con.

I made the Steampunk Madam costume a few years ago for Anime Weekend Atlanta, as a collaboration with Danny Ashby of Outland Armor. You can read my construction notes and see more images here: [link]
The opium pipe is antique, the hat is a loaner from the high end hat makers at The Blond Swan [link] costume designed and made by me, and the brass fan was made by Danny Ashby [link] The Madam is a character in Danny's Steampunk world, and I think this shot really summs her up. :D
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Thanks, Kevin Green, for shooting with me! It was hard to find a suitable location for Daenerys, so we just looked for a secluded spot without people in the background.

What to say about this costume... the character is Daenerys of House Targaryen, from the book series "A Song of Ice and Fire", which the TV Show "Game of Thrones" is based off of. I've been a fan of the books for about a decade now, and have planned to make a Dany costume since the first time I read the series. She is and has always been the character I love the most, and relate to the most.

Those who haven't read the books may not get my costume, but this is simply my personal interpretation of the character Daenerys, and I tried to be as accurate to the major descriptions as possible, such as the golden silver hair, silver bells and braids, purple eyes, the colors of the dragon, and costume materials/elements.

To explain a bit about the costume:

I always knew that I wanted to dress in Dany's iconic Qartheen traditional dress from "A Clash of Kings", 2nd book in the series, but for a long time debated how to pull off the look without it being offensive. Women in Qarth wore airy silk and/or lavish samite dresses baring one breast proudly, which reminds me of the breast baring fashion of the ancient culture of Minoa. Literally, breasts (aka WOMEN) were a symbol of wealth and power, not just sexual objects. Daenerys in the books (Minor spoiler! Skip if you want!) loses just about everything and puts all her stakes into the city and people of Qarth, who crown her and acknowledge her sovereignty. To pay respect to them, she dresses in the traditional gowns - a young girl near alone in the world brave enough to expose herself to a city full of strangers, and she does it with dignity and pride.
The feminist in me just loves that about her, and it's always left an impact on me.
So no matter what, I wanted to make the Qartheen gown.

I pulled inspiration from the books (obviously), the wedding gown in the TV show, various artworks of Daenerys and my own fantasy artwork style and costuming taste. I thought lavender would really suit the silvery golden hair and the silver accessories, and I wanted the gown to flow because Qarth would have been a sweltering place to live in, and also because summer cons bear similar climates. So a slight color changing chiffon it was! I made the gown in 2 layers so it wasn't see-through bwaha, and there was a bit of a debate which chest strap to omit O_o. I truly think that there is no universal rule which side to expose, so I went the right side - in line with Valyrian Resin's licensed Daenerys statue [link] and the artwork of Dany on Wikipedia [link]

Also, I am right handed and holding the dragon was much easier with my primary hand.

So the dragon came about because I needed something to cover myself with, in order to be legal in public lol. I meant to sculpt a dragon but 2011 turned out to be INSANE so I bought a dragon statue and altered it with the help from Chris Donio and Brian Boling. Chris and Brian cut the beast apart and repositioned the legs and tail, re-sculpting the details and filling the piece for more durability. Thank you both for all the help! I painted the dragon and had to pick which of Daenerys' three to represent. Drogon, the black and red dragon, is the strongest of the three, but black shows every imperfection and would have looked odd on my very light costume. I thought green would complement the colors of the costume the best, so I made the dragon into Rhaegal!

I should add that the dragon was strapped onto me so I didn't have to use any hands to hold him, rather the cradling pose was for show. And as an extra extra precaution, I wore pasties.

As for the rest of the costume - I made a waist cincher after I found a silver dyed leather hide that still had the fur patches on it. I thought it was so interesting, luxurious yet raw looking that I had to spurge the $80 on the hide. Thank you, Kathy of God Save The Queen Fashions [link] for letting me use her industrial machine to sew the leather.
I also wanted a belt and arm bands so I bought upholstery fabric and various trims and forced it all through my machine (breaking several needles along the way). I spent an evening decorating the pieces with beads and chains.

The wig was two wigs sewn together and it has a lace front for a more natural look. I braided a lattice work into it and sewed more beads and bells into it, so I jingle when I walk :D

The necklace is of Indian heritage because Daenerys as a newly crowned Queen received gifts from all different empires and cultures. Her accessories were diverse and I wanted something decorative on my neck.

For Dragoncon I plan to add more details to the costume, now that I've worn it once and see what's missing. It was an amazing experience to meet GRRM himself as well as the cast of "Game of Thrones" at SDCC. I will make a separate blog soon about the experience, but leave you for now with a shot of Emilia Clarke and me - Dany x 2! [link] She was so kind and gracious to her fans and I really appreciated the opportunity to show her my costume. <3

More photos coming soon, sorry for the mega long description. XD

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I somehow never uploaded this photo to my DA! It's only one of my all-time favorite photos of one of my all-time favorite costumes. *derp*

I have had this Peacock costume idea for a long time before I saved enough money to buy the feathers and materials to make it in the summer of 2007.

I kept my eye out for any fabrics that could work with this theme and ended up going on a hunt in the LA fabric district for a two-toned taffeta. what I found was gorgeous, green on one side and purple on the other. In various light the fabric changed in the shades of green, cyan, blue and purple, matching the color scheme of a peacock eye feather perfectly.
I took some time sketching out silhouettes and where I wanted to used the feathers as embellishments. I ended up deciding sewing a custom patterned corset, a cropped jacket with wide sleeves and upstanding collar, and a fitted mermaid skirt that flared out at the knee. The skirt has a peacock tail attached to it in the back, in the folded up resting position. I went to a Nature Center to chase and photograph real life peacocks to gain the proper reference for how the feathers lay on the birds.
I used multiple kinds of peacock feathers for this costume - several hundreds of peacock tail feathers with eyes for my tail and throughout the outfit; a number of tail swords for the beaded belt and jacket collar; and multiple yards worth of thickly overlayed peacock herl for the fanned collar of my jacket and sleeves. Each eye feather was fitted with a green Swarowski crystal before attached as embellishments to the costume itself. I debated for a while what head-accessory to create, from a retro hat to crown to feather fan, and ended up sewing a tiny hat from a made-up pattern and adding feathers to it. My wig was an old wig that I restyled and curled... I hope to do something better in the future.

The photos are taken by David Ng, and you can see the full costume gallery here: [link]

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See the full gallery here: [link]

I made this costume in March 2008 - as a long term CLAMP fan, I suppose it was only a matter of time before I cosplayed Yuuko XD. I loved this design specifically for the butterflies.

Construction:
I got a heavy black poly/wool blend for the kimono, and a beautiful burgundy silk for the lining and ruffles. After sewing the outer layer but before putting in the lining, I appliquéd about 14 or 15 butterfly shapes onto it. The pattern for the butterflies was just free drafted - I cut them out of a yellow fabric and after spending a few hours stitching down the edges neatly, I got to paint the details onto the appliqués for the next night and part of the morning lol. I remember watching a whole season of CSI while painting the butterflies, and it became quite the surreal experience. O_O
As the butterflies dried, I made many yards of ruffles and also did my own gold trim for the costume. Stitched it all together with the lining and a big part of the costume was done. I love the fabrics I scored because they are almost wrinkle free, no matter how much I shove the costume into a suitcase.
The waist cincher is made of a burgundy pleather and I plan on remaking it soon. The material was bought in a rush and is not very sturdy. The cincher has a fake lace up front.
Lastly I worked on the wig, which took some engineering. The main problem was balancing the weight of the extension loops on my head, but in the end it worked out great and I can bend over and sway my head without things shifting. The bat crown and hairpieces are made of styrene plastic that's been heat formed.

Photo by Paul Tien

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Preview shot from my recent photoshoot with LA Fashion Photographer Aileen Luib.

The outfit I'm wearing is the original Peacock costume I designed and made. I also did the hair (well, wig styling) and makeup. For those who are wondering about the gold lips - I used MAC Amber Lights eyeshadow mixed with clear lipgloss ^_-

I really adore the haunting melancholic quality of this photo. From Aileen's portfolio I could see her unique and soulful point of view as a photographer and I was excited to shoot this theme with her, since I don't have many of these types of images in my own portfolio.

More coming from this shoot!

Visit Aileen's website, her work is so beautiful! [link]

Here is her facebook too: [link]

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More photo collaborations with Benny Lee of Emanon Designs!

Retro Space Girl costume designed and made by me, also modeled by me

Photography and post-processing by Benny Lee :iconemanondesign:

Benny did such an amazing job with creating the outer space environment for this shoot. I am really blown away!

Costume construction notes: The idea of doing a space girl has been floating in my head for a while before I made this costume. I love old sci-fi movies ala The Day The Earth Stood Still and Barbarella. For my ode to retro futura, I drafted up a bodysuit and made it out silver PVC vinyl. It's fully lined in a comfortable stretch material, and I added pink trim all around the edges and keyhole. I also made my own trim by stretching spandex over batting - yay puffy retro futuristic trim!
The belt, arm warmers and leg warmers were the finishing touches. I lost my cute pink boots from the original shoot, or I would have used them over the flimsy leg warmers. I'm considering getting more vinyl and making boot covers. The wig was bought locally and I poofed up the back for a beehive look. The headset came from Target and I used a nerf gun which I painted pink and silver to match.

More photos and info on the costume can be found on my website: [link]

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After a few warrior women-esque uploads, how about a flirty fun image?

This shot was taken during Otakuthon in Montreal where I made a guest appearance in August. The event was so well run and I felt incredibly welcome. I met a lot of great cosplayers and photographers, including James, who grabbed this charming photo on the roof top of the event building. Yes, they have a garden on the roof.

Character: Female Wizard - Granado Espada
Costume made and worn by Yaya
Photo by James Park [link]

More photos of Wizard and construction notes can be found on my website here: [link]

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New costume debut! The theme is my original design of the Absinthe Fairy - and it's been on my to make list since 2004.
I got a hold of some Absinthe from the Czech Republic back in 2004 and have really enjoyed this delicate yet powerful green drink since. The myth is that when one drinks enough Absinthe, not only will one be intoxicated, but hallucinations can occur as well - hence "chasing the green fairy".

I've always wanted to do a photoshoot with this theme so finally, now that I have the costume, this may happen soon.

The outfit itself was made from 90% of materials and supplies I had at home already - after all, I've been collecting materials since 2004 lol. All the jewels and beads are glass, I picked them up on a China trip a while ago. I made all the patterns for this costume and spent 3 days on creating the whole thing, only because I didn't have any more time allotted for personal costume making this month. Hence the outfit is a bit rushed and there are some things I'd like to change/add on for the future.

As for the pieces I did make - the wings were sized to fit inside a suitcase and I'm kinda glad they are small enough so I can maneuver easily at a busy convention environment. They are fabric over a wire frame, and embellished with sequins, crystals, glass beads and scattered LEDs that light up a nice Absinthe green. In these shots the lights blend in but I hope to post some darker shots soon where they show up better.
There are also LEDs in the cage for the skirt, and fiberoptic lights in my hairpiece.
The underbust corset/bra are made of layered fabrics that I texturized with various stitching techniques and they are also beaded and embellishd with feathers.
The collar piece and wristlets, and shoes all match as well with similar adornments.
The skirts are made of many layers of fabric pieces that I did a rolled hem on. My serger was getting super hot by the last piece lol.

Photos taken at Fanime 2011 by Paul Tien. Thank you for the quick turn around on the shots!
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Thanks, Kevin Green, for shooting with me! It was hard to find a suitable location for Daenerys, so we just looked for a secluded spot without people in the background.

What to say about this costume... the character is Daenerys of House Targaryen, from the book series "A Song of Ice and Fire", which the TV Show "Game of Thrones" is based off of. I've been a fan of the books for about a decade now, and have planned to make a Dany costume since the first time I read the series. She is and has always been the character I love the most, and relate to the most.

Those who haven't read the books may not get my costume, but this is simply my personal interpretation of the character Daenerys, and I tried to be as accurate to the major descriptions as possible, such as the golden silver hair, silver bells and braids, purple eyes, the colors of the dragon, and costume materials/elements.

To explain a bit about the costume:

I always knew that I wanted to dress in Dany's iconic Qartheen traditional dress from "A Clash of Kings", 2nd book in the series, but for a long time debated how to pull off the look without it being offensive. Women in Qarth wore airy silk and/or lavish samite dresses baring one breast proudly, which reminds me of the breast baring fashion of the ancient culture of Minoa. Literally, breasts (aka WOMEN) were a symbol of wealth and power, not just sexual objects. Daenerys in the books (Minor spoiler! Skip if you want!) loses just about everything and puts all her stakes into the city and people of Qarth, who crown her and acknowledge her sovereignty. To pay respect to them, she dresses in the traditional gowns - a young girl near alone in the world brave enough to expose herself to a city full of strangers, and she does it with dignity and pride.
The feminist in me just loves that about her, and it's always left an impact on me.
So no matter what, I wanted to make the Qartheen gown.

I pulled inspiration from the books (obviously), the wedding gown in the TV show, various artworks of Daenerys and my own fantasy artwork style and costuming taste. I thought lavender would really suit the silvery golden hair and the silver accessories, and I wanted the gown to flow because Qarth would have been a sweltering place to live in, and also because summer cons bear similar climates. So a slight color changing chiffon it was! I made the gown in 2 layers so it wasn't see-through bwaha, and there was a bit of a debate which chest strap to omit O_o. I truly think that there is no universal rule which side to expose, so I went the right side - in line with Valyrian Resin's licensed Daenerys statue [link] and the artwork of Dany on Wikipedia [link]

Also, I am right handed and holding the dragon was much easier with my primary hand.

So the dragon came about because I needed something to cover myself with, in order to be legal in public lol. I meant to sculpt a dragon but 2011 turned out to be INSANE so I bought a dragon statue and altered it with the help from Chris Donio and Brian Boling. Chris and Brian cut the beast apart and repositioned the legs and tail, re-sculpting the details and filling the piece for more durability. Thank you both for all the help! I painted the dragon and had to pick which of Daenerys' three to represent. Drogon, the black and red dragon, is the strongest of the three, but black shows every imperfection and would have looked odd on my very light costume. I thought green would complement the colors of the costume the best, so I made the dragon into Rhaegal!

I should add that the dragon was strapped onto me so I didn't have to use any hands to hold him, rather the cradling pose was for show. And as an extra extra precaution, I wore pasties.

As for the rest of the costume - I made a waist cincher after I found a silver dyed leather hide that still had the fur patches on it. I thought it was so interesting, luxurious yet raw looking that I had to spurge the $80 on the hide. Thank you, Kathy of God Save The Queen Fashions [link] for letting me use her industrial machine to sew the leather.
I also wanted a belt and arm bands so I bought upholstery fabric and various trims and forced it all through my machine (breaking several needles along the way). I spent an evening decorating the pieces with beads and chains.

The wig was two wigs sewn together and it has a lace front for a more natural look. I braided a lattice work into it and sewed more beads and bells into it, so I jingle when I walk :D

The necklace is of Indian heritage because Daenerys as a newly crowned Queen received gifts from all different empires and cultures. Her accessories were diverse and I wanted something decorative on my neck.

For Dragoncon I plan to add more details to the costume, now that I've worn it once and see what's missing. It was an amazing experience to meet GRRM himself as well as the cast of "Game of Thrones" at SDCC. I will make a separate blog soon about the experience, but leave you for now with a shot of Emilia Clarke and me - Dany x 2! [link] She was so kind and gracious to her fans and I really appreciated the opportunity to show her my costume. <3

More photos coming soon, sorry for the mega long description. XD

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Uploading more shots to round out my gallery. I need to stick my costumes in folders but it's such a daunting task as I have so many...

I love Marvel and X Men, and the 2nd live action movie was my favorite out of the bunch. Plus I totally dig Kelly Hu's outfit, especially the black jacket/corset hybrid and the adamantium claws.

I made the jacket, which was interesting to say the least, what with the leather ribbing and quilting and full corset lace back. I had to pattern it out myself and it took 2 days to sew together. I spent hours on just the sleeves alone.

Brian of BountyHardware.com [link] made the adamantium claws for me, they attach straight to my fingers and are sized to each of my nails.

I was wear contacts for this shoot as well.
You can see more info and photos of this costume on my website: [link]

Photo by Benny Lee :iconbenny-lee:

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