Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cosplay Commission: Strange Land Costuming (Attack on Titan)

Hello all!

Note that all the opinions in this post are my own and yours might wary.

For not that many days ago I went to fetch up a package from town that I've been patiently and eagerly waiting for since I took a commission in May 2014. Yes, this time -like the title suggests- I commissioned something from Attack on Titan, namely the missing parts for my Levi cosplay. You see, before the commission I already had the scarf, shirt, waist skirt, pants and boots and so I was missing the cloak, jacket and belts (harness). This is what I needed to commission so I went to Cosplay.com and asked the community there after commissioner recommendations in the Attack on Titan cosplay thread, as it was an Attack on Titan costume that I needed in the first place. It didn't take too long before I had one member suggesting me to contact Strange Land Costuming (aka CapsuleCorp at Cosplay.com) as this member told me that they have good quality costumes, fair prices and that they also listen to the buyer's suggestions and wishes, which I find very important. Sounded good to me so I gave it a go and took contact with Strange Land Costuming. I gave my first costume information to Strange Land Costuming the 14th May 2014 through e-mail and he always kept me updated about the costume progress, delays and other changes in the schedule that were of importance to me, right up to the day I got the costume. I, of course, also informed him about my con changes and such that would affect the deadline date and shipping. He always tried his best to answer me fast and asked me about material preferences and such, explained things well and just overall a very kind, pleasant and understanding guy to work with. The costume was finally done on the 17th July and I picked it up on 30th July, just a few days after it arrived in town.

My original deadline for the costume was July this year -as I planned to have it on Närcon 2015- but since I didn't attend Närcon the deadline got changed to the end of August, as I had plans to go and debut Levi at Tracon XI. However, the winds of change blew over my head recently and I sold my Tracon ticket, as I realized I just won't have the money for the con and I have way more important things coming my way now in August that I really need to focus on. Yeah, no Tracon for me this year but I got my costume and that's all that matters now!

Here are some photos of me wearing it and my thoughts about it. The day after I got the package I tried everything on, piece by piece, to see what each piece look like on their own and then finally I put on everything.

Note: I'm not wearing the full Levi costume as I'm doing this to only show the different parts of the costume that I commissioned.

Photographer: Shiro Samurai

Front view of harness.
Side view of harness.
Back view of harness.
How the upper part should sit if I hold it up.
Zoom on legs.
Chest part, front.
Back view upper part.
The first piece I tried on was the harness and holy banana cake! It took me waaay longer to put on and figure out were each belt was supposed to go and connect than I thought! I can say that I have stared enough at the character references to know were they are and go and such but when I was about to put the costume on... let's just say that my brain started to smell like burned plastic.
The harness came in two parts, upper part and lower part and to connect them you had to wear a belt and connect both parts "links" to the belt. I think dividing it in two parts makes it easier and more comfortable to wear?

Pattern-wise the harness is well thought out, but that's about all the credit I can give, sadly. The upper part sits well on me but the lower part -especially those belts going around the legs- are lower down than they are supposed to be, making it so that the lower part is basically unwearable for me. Also one of the buckles wasn't sewn on at all, which I found weird. How can you miss that? Even if it was a simple miss it felt rushed and/or unprofessional. When it comes to the belt material choice I would have wished for a more sturdy fabric choice, this to make the whole harness look more steady and keep itself better in place, especially when it has metallic buckles which weights it down in some areas, so you need to have weight elsewhere balancing it out. The fabric (fake leather-like fabric) is of the thinner sort and has a very soft white underside, while the fabric itself feels more smooth, cheap and floppy-ish to touch. It is not as rough and doesn't have the same weight as leather-like fabric overall. I am disappointed with the fabric choice.
I would have also wished for the same color on both sides of the fabric. Why? Because the white underside of the fabric is easily showing as it turns and twists more than I want it to. Aside from the measurements that are off -which is understandable in this type of commissions when you would need to have the client nearby- I still think Strange Land Costuming did an overall good job on the harness, at least on the planning - but the execution fell a bit short because of fabric choice and wrong measures. The commissioner described the materials and all but somehow I didn't expect it to be like this. Oh well, maybe it had to do with the amount of money I was willing to pay for the materials? Anyway, I would have wished for more material pictures in general.

If I can somehow fix/change the belt fabric to a more sturdier one and move up the lower half of the harness -while still keeping the structure intact- I might be able to make it the way I want - but that would be troublesome. But seeing how things are I would either have to remake so much of it that it would be just as good to buy a new harness elsewhere or redo the whole thing from scratch.

Harness score: 3/10

Front view jacket.
Back view jacket.
Zoom on back emblem patch.
Shoulder and emblem focus.
Pocket.
Now to the jacket, which I gotta say is the piece I personally think was the most successful of this entire commission. I can't really find anything on the jacket that I would have wanted another way around. It fits well, the length is just right, the color is what I wanted it to be and so is the fabric, with the right feel to it. Patches are really nice especially the one at the back (all my YES <3) and overall sewing is clean and looks professional. No complaints or thoughts of improvement, brilliant work is all I can say!

Jacket score: 10/10

Front view of cloak.
Side view of cloak.
Back view of cloak.
With hood on.
Zoom on back emblem.
Button close-up.
Hem seam inside.
Hood inside.
Hem folds inside.
Last but not least is the green cloak that the Survey Corps soldiers wear in Attack on Titan. The cloak has the right length and just the right color in my opinion and the big emblem patch at the back is just so pretty to look at. It looks very well done! I do personally think that the sewing work on the cloak's inside seams could have been a lot more clean and proper though; it looks rushed to me (maybe he was in a hurry?). I can't really explain what I mean with "clean" look but always when I sew hems and such, I first sew around the desired part with zigzag to prevent the fabric from fraying. Then when I'm done with the zigzag, I fold the fabric in twice, like 1-1,5 centimeter each fold and then I just sew it down. If it goes well, the hems and such will look really nice and clean. This is something my mom (who is very familiar with sewing and has sewn a lot during her life) taught me early in my cosplay making; this is one of the first things I learned. If this explanation of mine just sucks and is alien to you, just take a look at the pictures in this post, when I'm sewing the arms, and hopefully you understand what I mean. Since some of the uglier seams will show easily I am a bit disappointed, as I was expecting more from this commissioner after having seen some of their more advanced costumes. Even I could have done a cleaner sewing job...

Cloak score: 6/10

Everything on, front.
Everything on, back.
All in all I'm a bit disappointed with the overall quality of the items and the money I paid for it - two of three items were either unwearable or weren't quite up to my expectations. The jacket is seriously the major saving grace of this commission. When it comes to the cloak I might want to fix the seams on it, so that it will look better, but the harness is a lost case - I will have to either sell it or use it for scrap materials because I can't wear it like this. There also seemed to be some misunderstanding along the way because I got sent the waist skirt thingy, even though I clearly stated that I didn't need it in the beginning.

When I picked up the costume from town I got customs on it which -almost- ruined my day. I had to pay 713 SEK (about 84 $ or 75 €) and I just wanted to kill something afterwards. This is NOT the seller's fault as he can't control the customs without doing anything technically illegal.

Commission summary:


Name of commissioner: Strange Land Costuming

Commissioned item: Attack on Titan Survey Corps outfit. Includes: green cloak, harness, waist skirt, jacket.

Timeline: I took contact on 14th May 2014 and costume was shipped during the 17th July 2015 and it arrived in my country the 29th July. Payment was split in smaller sums so I didn't pay full price up front.

Experience with commissioner: Commissioner always answered as soon as he was able to. Very friendly, flexible and easy to work with. He always informed about costume progress and delays.

Would you commission from this person/company again? Yes.

Final score: C

1 comment:

  1. I really like reading this review it takes on all the good part and the less. Also it looks good all off it. I really like the colour of the jacket and the green cape. And they got really good embroidery marks on them too nice size and fit for the clothing. Keep it up and it will be fun if I can see it in real life someday too. =D

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