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I've always loved theatre and costumes, but first got interested in cosplay when my parents asked me to chaperone my younger sister to a Con and she insisted we all get dressed up. I originally did easy costumes cobbled together from bits and pieces I bought at charity shops (e.g. Misa - white shirt, black skirt, long socks and shoes all bought from eBay) or bought custom-made from eBay, but in the last few years I've started making my own. My biggest achievement thus far has to be my light-up Gantz costume, which I made entirely from scratch (bar the catsuit). This year, I'm going to give props a go as well - I like to set myself a challenge!

Last online 5 years ago

West Midlands

Joined: 15th Jan 2012

Completed costumes: 21

Photos uploaded: 61

Progress journals: 18

Events attended: 9

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Ok, so I'll admit it now: the sword was made my by fiancé. At some point, I'll get him to do an entry explaining how he made it properly, but this is is as I understand it.

The hilt is a bicycle handlebar, with some plastic piping used to form the core of the blade. He covered it with expanding foam, used a craft knife to shape it, and then covered it with wall-filler, to fill any gaps and smooth out the surface. He used a craft knife to shape the design in the hilt and the gem setting, then we coated it in two or three layers of silver acrylic (poster) paint. The handlebar would be difficult to paint, given it was textured, so I just coated it in a layer of silver duct tape. We've used clear worbla filled with resin for the stone. It's just drying before I paint it, then we'll hotglue it into place on either side of the hilt.

Here's a picture of the sword as it started out (bike handle and pipe); completely filled, smoothed out and with the detail sculpted; with the first layer of paint; and finally, complete except for the gem.

The last few months, I've been struggling to get the gems to work. Using the clay mold failed miserably - the resin just wouldn't set properly. Then, finally, CosCraft started stocking clear worbla! I made a version of each gem in fimo clay, cooked it in the oven to make it hard, then shaped the worbla over it. Once the worbla was cooled, I filled it with clear resin, let that dry, and then smoothed the edges with sandpaper. The breastplate gem is probably a little large, but I don't have time to re-do it. I've fallen way behind with all of my cosplay-making!! *panics*

I've painted the back of the gems with standard children's acrylic paint (aka poster paint). I used a sparkly red for the tiara gem, and a mix of a pearlised pale blue and a darker sparkly blue for the breastplate gem. Once the paint dries, I am going to put some reflective card on the back of them, and then attach them to the costume.

In other news, the sides of the tiara have been getting a little weak, so I've redone it in normal worbla and given it a couple of coats of the same gold paint as the rest of the armour.

At the same time as I'm making this, I also need to make my fiancé's Ling Yao cosplay and his Link costume. So, rather than cut yet another pattern, I decided to use Link's tunic pattern for all 3 and just adapt it. For Lan Fan, this meant shortening it by rather a lot. I haven't bothered to take it in, as the armour over the top will take care of that. Besides, I'll be wearing it in the summer, so I might be grateful for a bit of air room. I've cut it as a tunic and I'll be sewing the sleeves on separately, then hemming the edges and neckline at the end. So far, it's been a really quick task - about 10 minutes with the sewing machine >(^v^)<

Gauntlets are finished and painted. A word to the wise - the paint cracks a little when they're bent/straightened, so it's better to move them as little as possible between painting and wearing.

So, I moved on to the choker, shoulderpieces, belt. Yesterday, I was drawing a template for the cape on plain, medium-grade, wallpaper. As I was considering what material to use for the remaining bits of armour, it occurred to me that the wallpaper is stronger than fabric, but more flexible than foam or cardboard - perfect for a choker and belt, which need to bend easily around my neck and waist.

I measured around my neck, then added a bit extra for overlap. I cut the choker about an inch wide. It only needed one coat of paint (yey for time-saving!), then I set it aside to wait until I've made the cape. Once the cape has been cut and hemmed, I will be attaching it to the choker for wearing.

The belt was more tricky, as I needed it to sit between my waist and my hips. I measured around my hips and cut it to fit that size. As it will be hidden by the cape at the back, I can attach it to the dress and then cut any excess off so it will be a sort of trapezoid shape. It needed two coats of paint, just to hide any brushstrokes from the first coat. I'm toning up for some of my other cosplays *coughLanfancough*, so I'm going to leave attaching the belt to the dress until nearer Kita, in case I need to take the dress in at all.

For the shoulderpieces, I put my dress on, and my fiancé measured and drew the shapes onto wallpaper. Once he cut that out, we just reversed it for the other side. He cut both pieces out with a little extra, so that I can hotglue them onto the inside of the dress. I'm giving them two or three coats of paint, then I'll draw the detail in with black pen and hotglue them on.

Not much I can do until tomorrow, now. I've made a polymer clay mold for the gem for the tiara and filled it with resin, but that will take 24hours before it's dry and I can paint it. (Remember, always brush the inside of your molds with mold-remover so the resin doesn't stick to the mold when it dries).

I'm trying to sell my house, so had to take a break from cosplay while I redecorated and all that stuff. Now, I'm all registered for Kita and sewing like a madwoman!

The dress now has a zip (yatta!). The breastplate and tiara have been painted with gold acrylic paint - the same stuff that kids use for painting at school. It went a little bit see-through, even after several coats, so I've painted the back with one coat as well and that seems to have done the trick. I've also given one of the gauntlets two coats of paint. It will need one more coat, then it'll be done and I can move onto the other one.

I've done a template for the cape. In the cartoon, you never see how it's actually attached on her costume, but I'm going to attach it to the back of the choker. To work out the proportions, I checked out a few reference pics. It's hard, because in most of them the wind is moving her cape, but it looks like it falls to her mid-thigh. I'm not sure how wide to make it, so I'm going to try cutting a few templates first and then cut the fabric after I find the right template. Must remember to allow room for hemming, though!

So, I decided to take a break from the dress for a bit.

The gauntlets were pretty simple - a template made out of newspaper (a bit of trial and error to get the shape and size right), then cut the final versions out of thin foam. I hate feeling things loose around my wrists, so I opted to make the gauntlets with a bit of an overlap so that I can glue velcro to them and fasten them tight rather than leaving them a little loose and slipping them on over my hands.

The tiara was more tricky. I opted for a three-piece process - two side pieces (the "feathers") and a central piece (the thin bit across her face). First, the central piece. I drew the bottom line of the tiara, where it comes down into a point. Then I did a bit of compromising between the (rather variable and often downright odd) proportions used in the cartoon and adapting it to work on my face. I left it curving round towards the back of my head - this will be useful later!

Next, I used a plate and a bit of freehand to draw the side piece. I cut out the side piece templates in newspaper and stuck them to the central piece where it reached the side of my head (in front of my ears).

I cut all the individual pieces out in foam, and it's now ready for each individual piece to be sealed with pva glue and painted before I finally attach them all together. The attached picture shows them after one coat of paint. As you can see, they'll need a few more coats before they're finished!

So, I've cut the skirt out in fabric, sewn all the pieces together, hemmed it, gathered it and sewn it to the bodice. Luckily, I tried it on before putting the zip in, as it turned out it needed taking in at the back and darting down the bust. So, I did that and then put the zip in.

The first "fitting" also identified I'm going to need to take the neckline down quite a bit, so the plan is to do that after I've lined the dress rather than take the neckline down and then have to alter the pattern for the lining. The original pattern includes boning, but I'm not sure whether this dress will need it or whether it might get in the way of the breastplate, so need to have a play about with the dress and the breastplate before I actually fix the boning on for good.

I've made the template for the breastplate already. We taped a piece of newspaper to my torso, then my boyfriend drew the image on. To get the proportions right, he used reference points from a picture of She-Ra (for example where the centre of the top "leaf" should be in relation to the neckline and where the lower leafs should sit in relation to the belt/waistline). I'm going to cut it out of thin foam, then wait until the dress is lined and the neckline fixed before trying the breastplate with the dress.

The original dress has a very low back. Given the practicalities of wearing this type of dress in real life and the fact that I have a very small bust, I decided to adapt a pattern which I already own - "Style 1982". I love this pattern. I've already used it for Lust and Doll.

I raised the waistline so that it sits on my natural waist, rather than on my hips, and I'm going to shorten the skirt. So far, I've cut and sewn the bodice in white polycotton.

Next steps are to cut out and sew the skirt in white polycotton, do the same to the lining, attach the skirt to the bodice and sew in the lining. Then, it will need boning, interfacing and a zip to finish it off.

Well, the oversuit and neckpiece look ok once they're on. A bit of bodytape might be needed to keep them 100% in place, but they look good enough. Discovered a problem with the catsuit, though - it stretches OUT ok, but not UP! I'm long-bodied, so the result is that the crotch seams are beginning to come undone. Solution: attach some pvc underneath the seams (stretching the right way), so that if the worst happens and the seams rip, I'm not going to flash anyone. Hopefully, the extra strength provided by the pvc should hold everything in place anyway. I haven't got time or money to buy a new catsuit now!

The lights...may or may not be complete. Some of them seem to have worked ok, some of them don't. I need to spend a bit of time finishing them off and working out how best to attach them to the rest of the pieces of the suit.

I've bought my gloves, so once those arrive I can start work on the gauntlets. That'll probably be a job for next week. This week, I'm going to try to complete the boot covers, sort out the lights, and work out how I'm going to create the textured/riveted effect around the base of each of the lights.

If I have time, I'm going to make the gun (probably won't open, though). I'm leaving the holster until I know whether or not I'm making the gun, because that will decide how I make the holster. Think I'll be working right up to the wire on this one!

So, I bought the catsuit, and I've set to work on doing the first part of the "oversuit" - the body with the central oval cut out.

I've used thin pvc for this, which has a serious advantage in that it doesn't need hemming. It took a few attempts to get the pattern right, but I've managed to cut out front and back pieces, seam them at the crotch and hips, then the bust and overarm straps fasten with poppers. I need to cut the oval out, and then sew the suit in place on the catsuit if necessary (depends on how much it gapes after I've cut the oval out).

Over that, I've got a small bolero-style piece which is seamed at the shoulders and will fasten at the front, underneath where the lights have to go.

To do the gauntlets, I plan on buying black gloves and adapting them, so next piece to do will be boot covers for the shoes.

Shorts: done. A pattern adapted from a pair of hotpants and some red spandex was all that was needed for these. They do still need the belt adding, but that can wait. I'll use gold satin for the belt, as my local fabric shop doesn't tend to stock gold spandex.

Top: The pattern for this was adapted from a crop top that I own. Again, red spandex formed the base of the top, with gold satin added at the sleeves and under the bust.

Gauntlets: Measured around the lower and upper parts of my forearm, and worked the pattern out from there. I've made them fingerless, with just a hole for my thumb.

Still to do: Boots (got a pair I just need to spraypaint red and gold); lights in the gauntlets and top (will be a doddle compared to my boyfriend's IronMan suit with all the toys); lose a bit of weight so I can strut my stuff comfortably all day.

Well, as I said in my previous entry, this costume looked gorgeous but needs a little work. I've reduced the collar so it no longer reaches my ears, simply by cutting it down to the stand and then back-stitching the stand to join the two pieces and make it tidy. I've had another look at the reference pictures, and she actually has a rosette on her hat, not a bow, so I'm going to change that, and I've bought a spare wig as this is one costume I plan on using for several cons. So, all that's left is to paint the boots all the way up, trim the spare wig and take the skirt and waistcoat in if necessary - oh, and buy the gloves. Other than that, all done! \o/

Making good progress with this. The straps have been attached to the bodice, and I've made the sleeves and attached them to the straps. I've sewn the buttons down the front (but may need to tidy them up if I have time - they don't look very even to me at the moment). Now I'm working on making the cuffs and adding the trim to the front of the bodice. Then I can get started on the skirt! :D

Well, since I last posted, I've bought some reading glasses that look almost identical to Will's, which I'll wear with contact lenses. The wig has arrived, but will need some styling on the day (must remember to buy some more hairgrips!). The trousers have changed - I bought a man's suit dirt cheap from eBay and the trousers fit beautifully and look much better than the ones I already had. Unfortunately the jacket (which was the main reason I bought the suit) is about 4inches too long, so I'm going to borrow a jacket from my sister instead. The tie I'm borrowing from my husband's wardrobe. So, the only thing left to do is make the deathscythe! Yey!

It looks pretty good, actually, for £50.

The colour is spot on
The skirt, waistcoat and shirt are all the right length
The colour matches my boots (more a plus for my boot-painting skills, though, I suppose)

The collar is a bit high and will need reshaping
The sizing is a bit big so, as I plan to lose wait before Ame, I'll need to take in the skirt, waistcoat and coat a bit
The coat isn't quite long enough - but it's close enough!

In addition, I need to sew the bow onto the hat (it's currently attached with a safety pin), and I've discovered I need to trim my wig a bit more - the fringe is still a tad uneven. But at least this is one costume that's almost there!

So, so far I've bought the fabric for the sleeves, and the fabric for the skirt. First: step, dying the fabric for the top and skirt.

I've used Dylon Machine Fabric Dye in 02 Lilac, with approximately 1,150 grams of cotton. It's come out ok - there are some lighter patches where the fabric was creased in the machine, and it's not quite the right shade, but it's close enough. So, now I can get started on the putting the sleeves together and then work on sewing the "feathers" onto the skirt.

So, my first attempt at making my own cosplay. No-one could say I'm not ambitious!

Going to use a corset-style top I've bought from eBay as the base for the bodice of the dress. It's white, so I'm going to dye it lavender, add straps, lace trim, the ruffle and white stripes. The sleeves and cuffs I'll make separately and sew to the straps.

I have a hoop skirt I wore under my wedding dress. Planning to sew the "feathers" directly onto the skirt in two layers. As I am doing this as a two-piece, I can't have the ruffle at the back attached to the ruffle on the top, so I'm going to make that separately and attach it with poppers.

Cheated and bought these. And the wig.

Hmmmm, we'll wait and see how much time I have after making the dress before deciding whether I'll make these...

I'm using a pair of black suit trousers I already own. They aren't great, but I can get another pair if I can afford them after I have the rest of the costume, if I have any spare cash. Can always justify them as I'll use them again for work! Lol.

So far, I've got:
Wing-collar shirt
Glasses (wearing my own. Not perfect, but they do mean I can see without squinting!)

Still need to get:

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