Me as a Bajoran!

Me as a Bajoran!

It was so much fun to do a Star Trek alien this year! I had the pleasure to meet Spring Schoenhuth, who was the jewelry designer for the Bajorans on DS9, and I bought one of her beautiful ear cuffs for Friday at Norwescon.

You should definitely like Springtime Creations on Facebook, because she is amazing! She took this photo of me. The prosthetic I used was older, so I had some issues blending it, but the other prosthetic I put on my friend went on beautifully! Its a Woochie prosthetic that we can get at my shop, Lakewood Costumes. I attached it with Spirit Gum, blended the edges with latex (both from Mehron) and then we put regular makeup over it. Mine is cream cuz my skin tone was super different from the prosthetic. I think it turned out great though!

New Project: Cesi “Doc” Eirriss

So here we are! lets start on the journey that is my next project!

I’ve always wanted to be a Twi’lek from Star Wars. Oola is one of my favorite characters (I have her tattooed to my shoulder in fact) but as much as I love to dance, I’ve never wanted to be mostly naked and covered in paint. Its purely a vanity thing, I don’t dance professionally so I don’t have a dancer’s body, and having body paint all over me to rub off slowly as the day progresses makes me cringe. Nudity doesn’t bother me (I was in the Rocky Horror Picture Show as Trixie for years after all… burlesque is awesome!) its just not how I want to walk around a convention, especially with small children on the floor.

So when I saw Nikki Ordo’s Darth Talon at Emerald City Comic-con:
Nikki Ordo Darth Talon Emerald City Comic Con

I was inspired to actually read through all the bios of the Twi’Lek face characters, and go for it. Keeping the whole “AVOID FULL BODY MAKEUP” in mind, Cesi immediately jumped out at me as a favorite. She can be green (the comics vary but her figure is green) like Oola, and she wears the ever-so-lovely flight suit of the Rogue Squadron! (One of my favorite book series)

Now, not sure how familiar you are with the Rebel Legion and the 501st, but they are groups of people that base membership off of how accurate your costumes are compared to at least 3 approved sources. (Think movies, comics, books, encyclopedia’s, TV, etc.) So, most of the time these guys are great about posting tutorials and pictures! If you want to make a Star Wars costume, a SERIOUS Star Wars costume, these are the types of people you should interact with. Especially if you are thinking of joining one of these groups, you will need to know the criteria they are looking for when you work on a costume. It will save you a lot of headaches later.

What I have decided to do with my costume so far:
1) I’m going to sew a set of orange coveralls from scratch
2) well… actually… I think the first thing is the only definite so far. lol.

After looking through the tutorials on the Rebel Legion website, I’ve ordered about 30 feet of Silver Grey 2″ strapping from http://www.strapworks.com/Flat_Nylon_Webbing_p/fnw2.htm (even with shipping its less than a dollar a foot). I also haven’t decided how I’m going to make my lekku yet, it will depend on cost and what looks the best. If its not too much, I might commission them from another friend who makes that sort of thing, but if its over 300 dollars, I will sew a pair. (I want this to look good, but I’m not crazy…) I like to make as much of my stuff myself as I can, but if the rubber/latex lekku look better, I’ll go that route.

So what I need to do then:

1) Find and purchase orange twill fabric for coveralls (I already ordered a pattern, a men’s coverall pattern from Kwik Sew) And then figure out all the modifications I need to do for it, based on the photo references and tutorials.
This site has orange twill: http://www.bluedesertco.com/twill-fabrics/twill-orange.htm
The price is pretty good, I will probably go that route.

2) Find and purchase off-white nylon for flak vest (I already bought 1/4 inch black irrigation tubing and 14 gauge plastic-coated wire for the ribs on it) and helmet liner over the head

3) Buy hardware for vest, buckle for straps, and Velcro for coveralls/belt/straps, as well as any other items needed to sew everything, such as orange thread, zippers, etc

4) Buy black boots that fit my calves!!!!

5) Help my costuming partner Joey make the chestbox and helmet with vacuum-forming and paint. Plus get any hardware I need for it, like tubing. We have to make the helmet from scratch, so I bought thick blue insulation foam that we can cut, glue into a stack, and then carve into the shape I need. Twi’lek helmets are funny shaped!

6) Figure out Lekku ASAP so that we can get the helmet and liner fitted correctly. This also means finding makeup to match the green color I choose, whether its brighter or a more olive.

7)Need to buy gloves

Seems like a daunting list, but I don’t expect this costume to be finished before Halloween. I want to do this right, and that means it will be a slow process. Some of the scariest bits of this for me is delving into pattern making, because so far I haven’t found a pattern for the helmet liner she wears on her head.

Weeee! Progress photos will be along, I’m sure!

How do I Cosplay?? Third installation: Materials

How do I Cosplay?? Third installation: Materials

At last, the long awaited third installment! YAY! (Picture muppets flailing here)

Now, I love getting things on the cheap. I live partly on Army disability (Hooah, and all that junk) and a part-time costuming job (which is the coolest job ever!) but I in no way make zillions of dollars. That being said, I want you to remember my favorite cliché.

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

I can hear someone saying “but I found ____ for ____…” ZIP IT! There are always exceptions. We get it. Occasionally, if you are very lucky, you will be planning a cosplay at the perfect time of the year to get exactly what you want for cheap. But then there is the rest of the time. And the rest of the time might mean paying a little extra for that item that will really make your costume SING.

There are some things you can’t go cheap on. Your costume will fall apart because you used hot-glue instead of sewing and reinforcing with wire, or the way you want a fabric to drape won’t happen because you purchased broadcloth instead of silk. The quality wig will be thicker, more realistic, and will probably be able to have some styling too, rather than the cheap one that is slowly shedding all over your house, costume, and everything else.

Only YOU can decide which corners to cut in a costume. Some things only you will see! But then there are those costumes where there is nothing to hide, and everyone will KNOW. Especially if you are wanting to compete! Give yourself enough time to accumulate those materials slowly, and it won’t break the bank. But if you’ve left something to last minute, don’t be surprised if you are losing gemstones or your collar refuses to stand up the way you want it to. Some things you learn only be testing materials, and you need to give yourself time to do that. TIME MANAGEMENT! My Harley costume was an intense 30-40 hours of actual hands-on work, but months in planning and accumulating materials, plus makeup and material tests. (AND I STILL HAD A MELT-DOWN! WOO!)

So where do I go for materials? I don’t compete, so if I want to pull off a costume, I try finding clothing that can fit a costume at my local thrift stores first. The photo above is me as a sexy version of the Mad-Hatter for a group costume, and the orange coat I’m wearing was one of those amazing lucky finds for $5.00. That won’t always happen, but serendipity is a beautiful thing. If you are competing though, you will want to make as much of that costume yourself as you can. (Please, PLEASE give credit to the folks that you get to help you on the pieces you don’t make yourself. It is important to honor the people that the judges don’t see!)

I hit local fabric store’s second, especially if I haven’t found a dress or other item that I need as a foundation outfit that I can alter. I pour over patterns, and find one with a silhouette that is as close to what I want as possible. If there are no patterns that fit what I want, I search online to see if someone else has done the costume, and if there is a tutorial or ideas on how to do it. I am one of those people that find it very hard to visualize and make patterns without a guide. If you can draw up your own patterns, go for it! I am not one of those folks. I combine patterns, change them, add to them, whatever I have to do to get the result I want. When I did Harley, I cut the pieces meant for folds with a bit of extra on one side instead, because of the half red/half black look I was going for. When you alter, take into account how it may change the size of the garment. You may want to invest in some cheap fabric that you can test a pattern on before you cut into the fabric that cost you $15-50 a yard.

My next step is wandering my fabric/craft store and touching all the fabrics. Go ahead. Do it. They may stare at you after a couple hours of picking up each bolt and draping it around you, but if they are asking 10 dollars or more a yard, test that sucker in the store. If the people that work there know your name, so much the better. You can buy fabrics online too, so if you find something you love inside a store, but its honestly outside of your price range, don’t be afraid to wait and search online for it. You can find fabric on Etsy, Ebay, Craig’s list, and lots of fabric specific sites. There are even sites that will MAKE a fabric for you, if you send them a picture of the pattern you want! HOW BOUT THAT??? Check out: http://www.spoonflower.com/welcome, they have some amazing prints, as well as taking custom orders. Be careful of copyrighted images though, buy licensed fabrics when they are available.

I do historical re-enactment, so I buy natural fabrics like wool, silk, and linen a lot. Linen I buy at Fabric-store.com or at local fabric stores when it is on sale. One of the suit companies near me has a yearly dock sale and sells remnants, I was able to find yards and yards of wool for cheap! Search your area for outlet fabric locations like that. Silk is great from silkbaron.com, but there are usually at least basic colors available at your local fabric stores.

Don’t forget your other materials for sewing. Thread, zippers, buttons, interfacing, elastic, drawstrings, embroidery floss, yarn, rope, polyfil stuffing… there are so many different things you can use in a costume. Sit with your pattern and write a list down before you go to the store, you don’t want to be in the middle of sewing and realize you forgot something! Don’t be afraid to play with new materials, buy small bits of it and play with it. MORE TESTING! YAY! (And you thought you were done with school…) There are some materials (Like the skirt I made out of cards) that have nothing to do with cloth. You can do amazing things with cardstock, paper, wire, and more. Find these items at local craft stores.

When I need leather bits, I buy my materials from Tandy’s. Fur (when appropriate, like it is for historical costumes) can be found there too, as well as local taxidermy shops and occasionally private sellers who raise animals for that purpose. I try to use faux fur as much as possible in cosplay however, because it is usually easier to clean and keep long-term. Fur and leather, being natural materials, will eventually fall apart. That is the nature of the medium.

Then you start traveling down the paths that I haven’t trodden yet. My favorite instruction manual for armor so far is Kamui Cosplay’s book “The book of Cosplay Armor Making” (a $5 dollar download!) and she has one for painting too! She goes over Worbla and Wonderflex in detail, and since I have not (yet) built armor, I will defer to her expert opinion on the matter. There are also many tutorials online for EVA foam, craft foam, and other materials.

I will tell you reader, paint in cosplay is its own adventure. There are so many types! For painting my gladiator shoes for my Harley Costume, Kryolan’s vinyl paint worked wonderfully, didn’t rub off onto the bottoms of my feet during my 10 hours wearing them (they were sandals and my costuming partner Joey painted the entire shoe) or flake off of places where the straps bent when I walked. GLORIOUS! Keeping materials in mind, it is important to read labels whenever you are buying paint, and when you can get samples, do so, and test test test! if you are painting vacuum-formed plastic, buy plastic-bonding paint! It won’t flake off or crack like regular spray paint will on the more flexible plastic pieces. I also recommend clear top-coats for armor and modding weapons (Nerf guns look so much cooler when they aren’t neon orange). When you seal it the paint won’t rub off on your palms or the rest of your costume, as well as lasting longer in general.

I think I’ve beaten this dead horse to death. hehehe. Just remember, give yourself enough time to order hard-to-find-locally materials and TEST! Use coupons whenever possible! Borrow from friends when appropriate! Goodluck on your quest for the perfect materials, and stay tuned for the next installment, which covers the equipment I use!

Faun, Emerald City Comic-con, Saturday, 2014

Faun, Emerald City Comic-con, Saturday, 2014

So I was a faun on Saturday of con, and I really loved my makeup! (I didn’t want to take it off!)

I used this youtube video to do my makeup, using Paradise Black from Mehron instead of lipstick for my nose and upper lip (It stayed all day with no touchups needed!):

I also wore Satyr Legs and hoof shoe covers for my lower half to have goat legs. The Ears and horns I’m wearing come from http://www.Badgersden.com, a site that specializes in LARP stuff! The pincurls I put my hair in the day before for the Harley costume I left in overnight, and it made my hair beautifully wavy and curled for the next day.

I wore a steel-boned corset from Daisy Corsets that I purchased from my shop, Lakewood Costumes. It was wonderfully comfortable and flattering! I also wore my pointy teeth from Foothills that I got from the shop as well, because I feel like all the fey have a dark side to them. 😀

I had such a great day.

Maude and The Dude of Emerald City Comicon, 2014

Maude and The Dude of Emerald City Comicon, 2014

So we did it! Finished our costumes, went to the convention, and had a blast! My hubby is dressed as the Joker, dressed as the Dude. Purple Bathrobe, yellow V-neck undershirt, checked shorts dyed purple, white tights, yellow/purple/green socks. He has a long sleeved white shirt on, green gloves, and a green wig that I trimmed to the Dude’s shoulder-length, and he put green Mehron liquid makeup in his beard, mustache, and eyebrows. We used Clown White oil-based makeup from Mehron for an authentic clown look. I painted the black mask around my eyes with Paradise black from Mehron, after I had powdered and set my oil-based makeup. I used an invisible lipliner and then a matte red lipstick from Wet & Wild. (That way the lipstick wouldn’t bleed into the surrounding white!) He is carrying a bowling bag filled with gag-items like a rubber chicken, a rubber fish, and a bang gun. The carton of milk he has is a joke one that “moos” when you turn it upside down. He painted the rims of his sunglasses purple too. His last, and I think best, touch, a stack of joker cards printed with the literal words “The Joker” on them. In red marker on each he hand-wrote “abides.” If someone recognized his costume he would say “Pick a card” and when the person did, no one failed to laugh or smile.

For my costume, I tried to echo the silhouette of Maude’s dress as much as possible. I acquired a red and black magic bicycle deck and created the look of the squares on her skirt by making an overskirt with them.

I wanted to be able to sit down in my costume without bending the cards, so the card skirt is detachable. I used the left-overs of the bias tape used on the straps of the dress to go around the seam of the waist. I used snaps to keep it in place. There is a row of black chain-mail links sewn to the bias tape, and then each card has holes punched in the corners and more chain-mail links hooking them together. I laid out the cards carefully, so on the skirt the red portion is backing the black, and the black portion is backing the red.

Joker and Harley

I’m wearing a 28 inch long blonde wig, braided into long pigtails with black and red ribbon wrapped in them. The Viking helmet I’m wearing was painted black and red with plastic bonding paint (but the helmet is made of some weird material, so it didn’t bond properly. In the future, I may create my own helmet from scratch, but this worked for what I needed). The horns are detachable so it was easy to paint without touching them. I burned holes into the tip s of the horns with my stencil maker, and then pushed hot glue into the holes to anchor the pom-poms. I added glue and pressed them into the horn until they felt secure. I wore small men’s gladiator costume shoes, painted red and black with vinyl paint. The paint is from Kryolan, and I found it at Autozone. It was wonderful, and after it dried it wasn’t sticky. It didn’t rub off onto my skin during tests or later onto the black tights I wore. The day of I wore black tights with red fishnets over top. In the future I might just sew a red and black pair of tights for myself to continue the half red/half black look. But here, in this picture, you can see my legs:

Sharctank lebowski mashup photo

The bowling ball chest pieces were the vacuum-formed clear plastic I showed in earlier blog posts, painted on the inside with red and black plastic bonding paint. I peeled off the inside layer of protective covering, but I left the outside on until I was completely finished messing with the costume. A belt sander was used to even up the pieces. I used my stencil maker (Its like a sautering iron with a very fine-tipped point, I bought mine from Joann’s for about 18 dollars) to melt tiny holes all along the outside edge, and then I hand-sewed pieces of red and black elastic with ruffly edges along it to give it a finished look. I attached more of the elastic between the two pieces to make a place for snaps to be sewn, so that I could securely attach them to the dress. I also attached two hooks to each piece, one at the side of the bust line and one on the shoulder strap at the top. I might add a second hook at the top, on the other side of the strap, just for a little extra stability. After pulling off the covering plastic WOO did those pieces shine!

I made the chest and cards detachable for the simple reason that I couldn’t ride in a car with them on the dress. A seatbelt wouldn’t have worked properly, and I would have destroyed the cards. I’m VERY glad I made the dress that way! To attend panels and sit down I had my hubby unlink a couple cards in the back so I could sit, so that wasn’t a real problem.

I’m sad, I forgot my trident (pitchfork really, lol), but in the end I’m glad, because the convention was madness! I got bumped into a lot. I’m very glad that I didn’t wear this costume on Saturday. Funny enough, quite a few people misunderstood my costume, but it was mostly the younger con-goers. I doubt they had ever seen the Big Lebowski, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I’m glad we did this! I only wish we could attend Lebowski fest this year, because Jeff Bridges is going to be there!!!!