…And Sewing Is Half the Battle! is happy to present a variety of panels and workshops at conventions or anywhere we’re wanted, on costuming topics ranging from wig styling and found-object costuming to makeup and jewelry-making — and non-costuming topics ranging from literary analysis to dance instruction to animal training! Since we’ve had many requests for information on the programming we offer, here’s a master list of presentations by “…And Sewing Is Half The Battle!” (We add new ones occasionally, so check back.)
These programs include a slideshow-style visual presentation, in-depth discussion of the topic, hands-on samples/demos and Q&A. They can fit either a one- or two-hour time slot (two hours preferred if expected attendance is greater than 20 people). These programs are free.
- THE ART OF FOUND OBJECT COSTUMING (1 to 2 hours) – It’s a common dilemma: You want to cosplay, but you don’t have much cash. Or you don’t have access to a sewing machine, and wouldn’t know what to do with it if you did. Or the con is in two days, and you don’t have time to make something from scratch. Sound familiar? If so, this panel is for you! We’ll show you costumes made for less than $10, plus discuss character selection and how to build a complete costume out of things you have around the house.
- INTERMEDIATE & COMPETITIVE COSTUMING (1 to 2 hours) – So now that the cosplay monster has nibbled your toe, you’re ready to step up your game with more complex costumes, and perhaps enter a masquerade. We’ll talk about improving overall craftsmanship, finding and modifying patterns, altering your physique to better resemble your character, perfecting details, and impressing the judges with your presentation.
- WIGS FOR COSTUMING (1 to 2 hours) – The best wigs look like real hair — even if impossibly colored or improbably spiky. But it can be hard to find the perfect wig for your fantasy costume or to replicate that style which has never existed in real life. Your wig is too long, the wrong style, not curly enough, or the wrong color? Need to make that cheap wig look better and last longer? We can help!
- PROPS & ACCESSORIES FOR COSTUMING (1 to 2 hours) – Nothing defines a character like a signature weapon or a unique piece of jewelry, but props can often be more difficult to find or create than the fabric clothing of costumes. Don’t let your amazing costume be brought down by a bad prop, when for just a few bucks you can make something that completes your look! We’ll cover the pros and cons of various construction materials, as well as help you save money and recycle materials.
- MAKEUP FOR COSTUMING (1 to 2 hours) – No costume is complete without appropriate makeup! Makeup can make you truly resemble your character and look better in photos. Learn how to look more masculine or more feminine, give yourself enormous anime eyes, create alien prostheses, or add special effects. We’ll show you what you need and how to achieve the effect you want.
- COSPLAY PICS 101: POSING IN COSTUME (1 to 2 hours) – Want to look better in your cosplay photos? Want to make quick hallway snapshops look as good as a staged photoshoot? It’s possible with a little posing practice! Come learn the secrets of creating flattering and dynamic poses for any character.
- FEATHERWEIGHT ARMOR (1 to 2 hours) – It’s possible to make great costume armor without investing in metalworking or risking toxic chemicals! We’ll cover alternative armoring for historical and fantasy costumes, using a variety of inexpensive, readily-available materials.
- COSPLAY ON STAGE: PRESENTATION AND PERFORMANCE FOR COSPLAYERS (1 hour) – Join stage veterans and award-winning performers for tips on perfecting your masquerade presentation. Doing a walk-on? Learn how to pose like your character and make the best use of the stage area. Doing a performance? Learn how to script a memorable skit, block your moves, involve your audience, and more! All experience levels welcome.
- INTRO TO HISTORICAL COSTUMING (1 hour) – Want to get started in historical costuming, but not sure where to begin? Want to give your fantasy costume a touch of realism? Journey through history’s wardrobe with this primer on identifying clothing trends, appropriate fabrics and period hairstyles.
These programs include a slideshow-style visual presentation, in-depth discussion of the topic, hands-on samples/demos and Q&A, as well as a project to complete during the workshop and/or group activities. There is a materials cost associated with these workshops; the cost listed is per participant (up to 20 participants per workshop).
- BEGINNING AND FOUND-OBJECT COSTUMING (2 hours; $10) – You want a better costume, and you don’t want to break the bank — this is how you get it. This panel covers found object costuming — it’s not just junk you throw together! — and simple cosplay projects, as well as the art of character selection and making what’s in your closet look newly fabulous. You’ll make a simple fantasy tunic to wear out.
- WIGS FOR COSTUMING (2 hours; $10) – The best wigs look like real hair — even if impossibly colored or improbably spiky. But it can be hard to find the perfect wig for your fantasy costume or to replicate that style which has never existed in real life. Your wig is too long, the wrong style, not curly enough, or the wrong color? Need to make that cheap wig look better and last longer? We can help! Also, you’ll make your own custom-styled clip-in extension!
- PROPS & ACCESSORIES FOR COSTUMING (2 hours; $10) – Nothing defines a character like a signature weapon or a unique piece of jewelry, but props can often be more difficult to find or create than the fabric clothing of costumes. Don’t let your amazing costume be brought down by an aluminum-foil-over-cardboard sword, when for just a few bucks you can make something that completes your look! Join us for talk about how to make good props on the cheap, and how to make better props for a bit of investment. We’ll cover the pros and cons of various materials, and you’ll make small hall-safe weapons to take with you!
- FEATHERWEIGHT ARMOR (2 hours; $10) – Did you know it’s possible to make great costume armor without investing in metalworking or risking toxic chemicals? We’ll cover alternative armoring for historical and fantasy costumes, using a variety of inexpensive, readily-available materials. You’ll also make a piece to take home yourself.
- MAKEUP FOR COSTUMING (2 hours; $10) – No costume is complete without appropriate makeup! Makeup can make you truly resemble your character and look better in photos. Learn how to look more masculine or more feminine, give yourself enormous anime eyes, change your ethnicity, create alien prostheses, or add special effects. Workshop includes instruction, demonstrations, discussion, and hands-on practice using high-quality theatrical and special effects makeup.
- COSTUMING: PRESENTATION & CHARACTER (2 hours; $6) – You’ve spent hours and hours creating the perfect costume, but somehow it doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves. Or you have only a quick found-object costume, but you want to make it seem like much more. Both of these challenges can be met with solid presentation! Learn how to comport yourself in character, from movement to speech to gestures: Walk like a man or a woman at will. Change your age or your personality. Also, we’ll discuss live performance, and how to write a skit or presentation that will become a crowd favorite.
- WINGS & THINGS (2 hours; $20) – Many fantasy costumes include non-human bits. We’ll discuss hallway-friendly wings, larger wings for stage use, realistic working wings, and other animal attachments such as horns, tails, and more! Learn what makes the difference between a cheesy costume and a striking accessory. Finally, you’ll make a pair of hall-safe wings to wear out and enjoy.
These programs include a slideshow-style visual presentation, audio/video clips, Q&A, and (quite often) large quantities of candy. These events are free.
- NAME THAT SEIYUU! (1 hour) – Think you know voices? Name the Japanese actors behind your favorite characters in this candy-driven game show!
- OPENING SEQUENCES – BAIT & SWITCH (1 hour) – Remember when you saw the amazing opening sequence for that new series? Remember how promising it looked? Remember how annoyed you were when the show turned out to be terrible? So do we — which is why we’ve gathered the best, worst and most misleading opening sequences for you! (Warning: May contain spoilers for shows you aren’t likely to watch anyway.)
- SUPER-HYPER-ULTRA-MEGA-ABRIDGED GUIDE TO ANIME OF THE 1990S (1 hour) – If you discovered anime in a year beginning with 2, chances are you missed some of the most defining series of American fandom. But never fear — even if you don’t have time to watch Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, Slayers, Rurouni Kenshin AND all 200 episodes of Sailor Moon, we can still help you avoid making n00b mistakes. After this panel, you’ll be able to recognize cosplays, understand reference jokes, and sing along with Zankoku na Tenshi no TE-ZE like all the other fanboys and girls.
These presentations fall under the “educational” header, but we promise they’re also fun and entertaining! These events are free.
- JAPANESE FOLKLORE – AN ANIME, MANGA & FILM PRIMER (2 hours) – What’s the difference between bakemono and ayakashi? What are those little creatures that show up in your favorite anime? Get the most from your anime and Asian cinema experience when you understand the cultural background! Learn the basics of Japanese mythology in this folklore primer, and see examples in action with video clips from popular anime series.
- A PARENT’S VIEW – WHY DOES MY KID HAVE GREEN HAIR AND CAT EARS? (1 hour) – Parents are often (justifiably) mystified when it comes to the strange hobbies their children become involved in. This panel addresses some of parents’ most common concerns about conventions and fandom, from the perspective of a Real Live Parent (accept no substitutes)! Also included in this presentation are a brief history of fandom as we know it, a list of anime terms every parent should know, and helpful resources for parents to stay informed about their kids’ interests. Questions and discussion are welcome!
- GANKUTSUOU – THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO (1 hour) – The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, is an extremely famous and influential novel that has been reimagined in various forms: cinema, television, and now anime. But when it was published, it was shocking, sensational, and downright scandalous! Join us for a discussion and comparative look at the original work, various film and TV interpretations, and the anime. We even have rare film footage that you won’t see anywhere else!
These workshops don’t fit under any other category, but they’re still fun! There is a materials cost for these workshops; cost listed is per participant.
- GAMER JEWELRY – MAKE A D6 BRACELET & EARRINGS (1 hour; $8) – Show your geek pride! Make a D6 bracelet, earrings, or combination to wear out. Variations and creativity encouraged!
- RETICULATED COIFFURE – MAKE A FANCY COMB AND SNOOD (1 hour; $8) – Want to add a Renaissance touch to your costume or everyday garb? Make a fancy beaded comb and snood for your hair.
- BEASTMASTER – THE ART OF ANIMAL TRAINING FOR THE REAL WORLD (2 hours; $20) – Pet training is seen everywhere, but what works in real life? Why does every national veterinary and behavior organization publicly advise against popular TV techniques and recommend a more scientific approach instead? Join professional trainers for training you SHOULD try at home. Learn not only the how, but the why, from multi-certified, internationally-known instructors. Includes live animals for practice and materials to take home!
- LEARN TO DANCE THRILLER! (2 hours; free) – Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is an iconic dance, and always useful — and you can learn it. Yes, you! This tutorial is specifically for novice and less confident dancers (experts are welcome, too!). Your instructors are TAGteach-certified to help you achieve your best with the most fun possible