Labyrinth Cosplay: Week One 1/2

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I don’t usually dig the 1/2 thing, like Lion King 1/2, but this is technically not week one since I started a little bit before last week, so roll with it.

So what have we accomplished so far.

Goblin King

 

jareththegoblinkingI found the fabric for my shirt. It’s so shiny. I’m excited/not excited to start working on that. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be perfect because only the collar shows. That’s this week’s project. Other than that, my wig came in. I have mixed feelings. It’s a little dark. But it seems like the wigs either come in too dark or too light. What I’m more annoyed by is the length. It’s way too long on top–another common problem with Jareth wigs. I’ll probably have to take it in and have it trimmed.

My third crystal ball came in, so now I’m going to start practicing some new tricks.

Sarah

On a positive note, all of the jewelry pieces for Sarah are done. I’m so excited about this. I like to consider myself artsy, but jewelry making was just never something I excelled at. Cosplay has given me a chance to really test myself. I re-created the earrings, bracelet, and the necklace that Sarah wears in the film. The necklace was a real challenge. My sister wanted to order it, but I just wasn’t happy with the ones online. For 70 dollars, they really skimp out on the beads and they are more “inspired” by as opposed to being replicas. For probably the total cost of $20, my sister now has a replica that I think is pretty spot on. Let me know if you find one online that is more of an exact replica. I know that’s pretty egotistical, but I’m a stickler for detail.

Hoggle

I cut the fabric for Hoggle’s vest. I had a hard time finding a fabric that has multiple colors. I don’t like painting fabric. I think this one looks great. I also almost finished his shirt. All i have to do is ad the grommets and ties at the neck.

On another note, my sister purchased a baby doll for Toby and ordered him a striped onesie. It’s coming along. I’m hoping to have the Jareth shirt done this week and maybe the vest. More next week.

 

 

Next Cosplay Officially Underway

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In March, my city is having a con. I believe it’s being held in a ballroom or some form of reception hall, so what better cosplay than Jareth and Sarah from the Ballroom scene of Labyrinth.

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With David Bowie’s death in 2016, it seems like a good time to honor his memory with a cosplay of one of his most iconic roles.

Even though the movie was made in 1986, the year I was born, I didn’t watch it until I was almost thirty. The first time I watched it, I remember thinking what a great cosplay this would be, particularly the ballroom scene.

So I will be cosplaying as the Goblin King. My sister will be Sarah, and my son will be Hoggle. I was hoping he’d go as Toby, partially for the easier costume, but he’s 8, so he’d be embarrassed to be a baby.

I have roughly two months to complete this cosplay. It will be particularly time consuming, requiring wigs, mask, sewing, props, etc. The costumes are elaborate. The dress and jacket are glittery and diamond encrusted. Everything Bowie is glittery and shiny, like a diamond in the ruff.

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Once again, I want to make as much of it as possible instead of ordering it.

The Wow Factor

We always like to have a wow factor. For this cosplay, it will not be enough to look like Bowie, but I must be able to play the part. We are going to learn how to dance and I will learn how to perform all of his crystal ball tricks. This is known as contact juggling.It takes several years to master it, but I’m hoping to be good enough by the con to at least do several tricks well. I’ve seen many cosplayers carrying the crystal ball, but none of them juggling them. So far, I have two balls and a third is in the mail. I’ve been practicing for about a month now, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. I love learning new things, so this is exciting for me. I think it will come in handy at birthday parties or while I’m waiting at the dentist.

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I haven’t started sewing yet, but I found patterns for all of the costumes. The dress, believe it or not, was the first one we found. It is almost perfect, requiring few alterations. I also found a pattern for Bowie’s jacket. I already have the boots and pants. I could not find a pattern for a shirt with a jabot or a pattern for my son in his size that I could use for Hoggle. I finally found some online. For Rylee I will modify a pirate pattern circa 1986.

My hair is the right color for Bowie, and I wish I was brave enough to cut it, but my hair grows so slowly, I went ahead and ordered a wig.

I am brave enough to do the makeup, however. It will take some practice to get it right.  here’s round one.

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My sister was going to order the jewelry pieces but I made the earrings and the bracelet. I’m still struggling to make the necklace. Jewelry making is not one of my specialties. I think these turned out good. Not to brag, but I think of all the bracelet replications, mine is the best. I’m a stickler for detail and selected beads in the right color and shape. It’s harder than you think to find beads the right colors though.

 

That’s pretty much what we have done so far. It’s not a lot, but we’re trying to settle on fabrics and purchase those so the real work can begin.

Why I Cosplay

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So as you all know, my blog is where I share my passions–mainly writing (though lately my post haven’t been about writing so much). Right now my greatest passion is cosplay.

What is Cosplay?

Some of you probably cosplay yourselves or at least have heard about it. I’m really not sure what the etymology of the word is, but I know it has “play” in it. It means costume play or something of that nature. I like to call it adult pretend, though children can certainly cosplay as well. It means something different to everyone. Cosplay may be synonymous with weird to some of you who are no doubt looking for the unfollow option on my blog.

Cosplay gets a bad rep for being considered some sort of adult dress up where those who participate are in some sort of stunted state of adolescence or refuse to grow up.

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None of that is true. It’s not just dress up or pretend, it’s a creative outlet and a way of expression.

What Type of People Cosplay?

You’ll find all kinds of grownups, some serious adulting types even. A doctor, lawyer, or insurance agent by trade could be Batman, Iron Man, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Gandalph, or Hermione at a con.

Whatever they do for a living, your typical cosplayers are artist, nerds, geeks, dye-hard fans, actors, etc.

Let’s look at some of my favorite cosplayers.

thgJoshua Dart: Thranduart: Here is an example of a man who took a character and made him his own. He has celebrity status for his Thranduil cosplay. He is the perfect example of cosplaying from the inside out. Not only does he look like the character, but he acts like him. While he still cosplays as Thranduil, he has also cosplayed as Nick Wylde, Woody, and he’s currently working on a new project. You can follow him via Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about him and his cosplay, read all about him in my blog interview here.

14702315_10154198864517955_4740621950542902139_nElysia Vaughan: I met her at my first con, and now I see her every year. The first year she won first place in a costume contest and rightfully so, as she made her costume the year we ordered ours. We won second place, but she certainly deserved first for her Predator cosplay. I wish I had a photo to share, but I can’t find it. She was very friendly and willing to share information about the process of making her costume. She really inspired me to try my hand at making my own. She made it sound easy. I always look forward to seeing her and learning more about her as a person instead of just a fellow cosplayer.

Even some famous people have cosplayed, even if it was just to disguise themselves at cons: Masie Williams, Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Hiddleston, and Henry Cavill. Chances are, if you see someone just wearing a spider man mask, they’re a celebrity in hiding.

Here are a few of my favorites who, sadly, I don’t know their names:

Why Cosplay?

 

There are many reasons to cosplay. Many of us just want to share a passion either for a fandom, a character, for makeup or costume art, or something else that can be expressed through the art of cosplay.

Yes, I just called it an art. And it is. It involves certain skills in arts, crafts, engineering, mathematics, textiles, etc.

I’ve always loved art: theatre, painting, drawing, crafting, textiles, music.

Cosplay gives me an outlet to do all of these things. I get to work with wood, fabric, makeup, do crazy hairstyles, create, and act. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to escape the stresses of normal adult life.

I’ve been doing this about three years now. The first year, we literally had a month before KokomoCon. I wasn’t going to do it but my sister wanted to. A month doesn’t give you time to make your own costume (or so we thought), so we ordered them. There are a lot of websites if you’re interested in ordering costumes, wigs, or costume accessories: Etsy, AliExpress, Amazon, and Ebay to name a few.

I did make the crown and we painted the ears. That first year was experimental. I wasn’t confidant enough to sew yet. I didn’t believe in myself and I hadn’t discovered I’m awesome and can do anything. We decided to be the Mirkwood elves from the Hobbit. Making the crown reconnected me to the artistic side of myself that had been on hiatus. It also reminded me of theatre, which I hadn’t been a part of since Highschool but meant to get back into. This got me involved in local theatre the following year.

My next cosplay started off as a theatre role. As some of you may remember, I was the centaur in the Lion, the Witch & the Wardobe. After spending over a month working on it, I decided to take it to the con. I learned how to sew a little in high school but this costume told me how to apply what I learned to go above and beyond: creating something they don’t make patterns for. I also learned a lot of shop skills from creating the body and learned to work with mediums I’m not that experienced with like foam. I used parts of my brain I didn’t even know existed, and I’m a lot more savvy than I gave myself credit for.

This year I went as Lagertha from Vikings. This cosplay has a special place in my heart because I feel like we all went as characters we can identify with. I hate to say it, but my kid probably relates to Bjorn. He’s a boy who’s parents split up and he struggles with accepting that while learning new responsibilities as he becomes an adult. I’ve always identified with Lagertha. She’s a protective mother who still has dreams outside of being a parent. Her ex screws her and so does every man she knows, so she becomes a fiercely independent lady boss. I’d say Kylie went as Porunn because she’s a bit wild, independent, and wants to be free.

For this cosplay, I learned to make chain mail, wooden swords, shields, and lace leather. It was fun and daunting at the same time. And we learned something we didn’t think possible when we started our Mirkwood elves cosplay–you can get a costume done in a month. I just don’t recommend it.

For our next cosplay we’re giving ourselves a little more time. I’m going to be The Goblin King from Labyrinth. Again, a lot of sewing involved, and glitter, so much glitter. But all our cosplays must have the wow factor, and the educational one, so I must learn how to do all of his crystal ball tricks. I’m not sure how long it takes to learn how to contact juggle (well) but I have several months to get good enough, so I’m going to try. My son decided to be Hoggle, which will give me practice doing a creature mask, possibly with moving mouth and blinking eyes. My sister will be Sarah. The ball gown should be a bit of a challenge, but I’m up for it.

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Do you cosplay. Share some photos. Why do you cosplay? Who have you been? Who are you planning on being this year?

Ready to Raid: Our finished Vikings Cosplay

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Six weeks and 300 hours later we finally finished our Vikings cosplay. We were literally working until 11 pm the night before the con, but everything was ready on time. We had so much fun though our arms are tired from carrying around our shields all day.

For starters, I want to show you our finished costumes.

Here is my son as Bjorn Ironside. He was so cute. He had so much fun with his ax he even broke it before the end of the night.

This is my sister as Porunn. We had a lot of concerns about this costume, but I really like how it came together. We were able to find a Simplicity pattern for the belt and the armor. We also finally figured out what was going on with those gauntlets. We really enjoyed our time being shield maidens.

Lastly, here is my Lagertha costume. It took three days to finish the armor and lacing in the chainmail. Thank goodness I took three days off before the con. On the plus side. I got all caught up on Reign while working on this. This is my favorite cosplay so far. I love the hair, the armor, the chainmail, the colors, especially the shield. I can’t wait to take this one to Indy con.

We had so much fun at the con. There were some really cool costumes, even a guy dressed as the Oxyclean guy. I’m afraid I don’t have a picture.

He spared no expense

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Go Joe!

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The Force Awakens

One of the highlights to the con is the costume contest. Guess who got first place for group costume.

Just wanted to share some highlights from the con. Thank you are for following. For those of you who were following my post on how to build a centaur costume, I will try to finish that next week.

Vikings Cosplay: Final Week

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With five days left before the con, this will be my last post until after the event. Just wanted to update you all really quick on what we got done … and still have to do.

Shirts Complete

All shirts are finished. This took longer than expected after embroidering and embellishing, but I think they look so much like the character’s outfits. Here are some side by side comparisons so you can see how we matched the fabric and details.

Here is Rylee’s shirt, and what I’ve completed of his vest so far. As you can see, the shirt is the same color and similar pattern, and we found a vinyl that replicated the square pattern of Bjorn’s vest. All I have to do is clean up some raw edges and put the grommets in the front and his vest will be done.

This is the best picture I could find of Porunn’s shirt without her armor. I’m not sure if you can see, but we matched the color of the fabric. Even though the sleeves and collar will be hidden by the armor for the most part, we did recreate the look, complete with the trim. We like to capture the nuances of an outfit, even the parts you won’t see.

I couldn’t find any pictures of Lagertha’s shirt without her armor. I actually had to pause the show to see what it looked like. This gives you an idea though. Embroidering the lines on the shirt took forever.

Armor and Gauntlets

I’m sorry to say I didn’t pause to take pictures of our progress so far. All of the fake leather is cut and just needs sewn. Above, you can see what Rylee’s looks like for his Bjorn costume. His is almost done. Kylie and I are finishing our vest this week. We did start our gauntlets over the weekend. I don’t have a picture of Porunn’s gauntlets, but I have  a pic of a partially finished Lagertha vambrace.

These were so fun to make, but it took five hours to get this done, and I still have one more to do!

Other than that, our swords are done, and I’m sad to say, it was late so I didn’t take any pictures.

What’s Left

With five days left, I’m not sure if we’re ahead or behind schedule. We still need to finish our armor, gauntlets, and Kylie’s belt. Other than that, we would like time to make scabbards for our swords. I may or many not have some more chainmail to link.

It does and doesn’t sound like a lot in the grand scheme of things. Each item just requires so much individual time. That’s where the worry comes in. But I’m still optimistic we can get everything done on time. I have some days off this week to get everything done.

I can’t wait to post pics after the con. Please let me know what you think so far and wish us luck.

Vikings Cosplay: Week Four

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Skol!!! Week four went by so fast, but we did get a lot done despite having a busy schedule. I’d say we’re about 70-80 percent done at this point.

We added some final touches to our shields: some black tacs to cover the staples and leather on the handle to cushion our grip. Going to be carrying these around all day. Don’t  want blisters.

Sewing Progress

Rylee’s shirt is done. Here he is posing with his ax.

Kylie’s shirt is also almost done. I just need to add the collar, but I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s a simplicity pattern, but I can’t understand what it wants me to do. Luckily I have sewing friends who can help me out. If not, I’ll wing it. It should be done this week.

Here’s what it looks like so far.

My shirt is still a cloth heap lying on the floor. I cut out the front and back and that’s it.

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I did, however, find the perfect cloth for the trim and a clasp that looks almost just like the one she wears.

No Pants, No Shoes, no Cosplay

pantsPants are done. That was the goal this week. Everyone has their shirt, pants, and shoes ready. Technically I’m behind because I didn’t finish the shirts, but that shouldn’t take long this week. All I had to do was fix a snap on Rylee’s pants. Kylie bought hers, so that eliminated some sewing. Mine were the only ones I had to sew, which is great, because I don’t like sewing pants. I didn’t even understand the directions, so I tossed the directions aside and winged it. Just used a jeans pattern and omitted the zipper and pockets. If you remember from my last post, I don’t do zippers. I’ll do anything to omit a zipper. I didn’t have to sew my pants. I could have bought them, but I saw a fabric that looked like her pants in the show, so I just had to give it a shot. I’m glad I did. I think they turned out great, and they fit good.

Swords

This week I really wanted to paint them, so I finished sanding and shaping and putting wood filler in the cracks and nicks. We ran out of time to paint them last weekend, so I’m planning on doing that this week. I’m really happy with these. I’ve never made anything out of wood independent of a shop class. I think they look great. What do you think?

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Chain mail

Still working on the chain mail. I try to work on this a little every night. So far I’ve gone through two spools of wire–going on three. The front skirt is done and the shoulders. Just need the back skirt and the chains for the gauntlets.

This week we’ll be working on the vest and gauntlets. Should really see the costumes come together. Join me on Facebook and Twitter for more updates, or stay tuned for next week’s update.

 

Vikings Cosplay: Week Three

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Let me just start by saying, this was not a fun week. We ran into some snags and realized things are coming along slower than they should. With only three weeks before the con, we need to start wrapping up some of our projects. But let’s not focus on what didn’t get done and focus on what did.

Shield Wall Complete

We are finally ready to make our shield wall. Bosses are attached and edging stapled in. All they need are something round to cover the staples.

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Swords

I’m really proud of how the swords are coming along, except how long they’ve taken to make. I was really anxious to make weapons, and I debated whether to make them out of foam or PVC before settling on wood. I’m really glad I decided to go this route instead of buying something from a Halloween store. Sorry I forgot to take pictures. I will next time.

It’s Sew Time

So, I’m finally sewing. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Turns out, most sewing machines are the same, so it didn’t take me long to figure it out. I modified a pattern to avoid having to use a zipper. I DON’T do zippers. It turned out great. I’m using the children’s Rey pattern to make Rylee’s shirt and leather vest. I took an 8-piece pattern and turned it into a 5-piece pattern by attaching several pattern pieces together that should have been separate. This eliminated so many steps–and the pesky zipper. His short is almost done. I just need to add the grommets and lacing and it should be done.

I forgot to take a picture of it, but here is a picture of the fabric. Just look how well this matches Bjorn’s shirt  in color and pattern.

I know that was kind of a short update, but just didn’t have a lot of time to take pictures. I’ve got to get back to sewing. So hopefully more to show next week.

Vikings Cosplay: Week Two

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Two weeks down: four to go. So what did we get done this week?

Well, let me start by saying this was a tough week; I used tools I haven’t touched in over fifteen years and tried some I’ve never used before.

Let me start off by thanking my friends for loaning us some of their tools and letting us use their shields as reference. I bought you a new 1/4 drill bit because I wore out the one you gave me.

Also I wanted to thank my son who has  been eager to help this week.

 

Lastly, I want to “thank” the cats for all of their “help.” Laying on the fabric and biting my chain mail rod and knocking stuff off of my work desk is shaving hours of time and layers of stress from this project.

So everyone pitched it, and I think it shows.

Preparing to Sew

Yes, preparing is progress. It takes me a week to “prepare” a sewing project. Aside from buying the fabrics, patterns, and thread I have to literally psych myself into it. I hate reading patterns and sewing. Just hate it. It’s nerve wracking and tedious–probably like surgery, I imagine.

You might think I’d be less stressed sewing shirts, vest, and pants after sewing a centaur costume. I mean, at least there are patterns for shirts, right. You won’t find a centaur pattern. I had to make it out of a tablecloth. Believe it or not, this might be more daunting because I have to sew three shirts, three vest, three sets of bracers, a set of leg bracers, and a pair of pants. Luckily my sister bought a pair of pants for her and Rylee. While I’d like a majority of this project to be handmade, it doesn’t all have to be. This will save me hours of work, and the pain of sewing pants.

On a happy note, the fabrics we got are wonderful. I forgot to take pictures so I’ll share in a future post.

Shield Wall: Almost Complete

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Last week we cut out the shields. This week we cut out the hole for the boss as well as drilled the holes for the handle and the boss. We also got to the part I’ve been looking forward to all week long: painting. I love to paint. The colors of Lagertha’s shield are so bright and contrasting: that green with the black. I love it. Went through a lot of tape to get the lines straight. I can’t wait to see it done. Sis is still completing some final touches on hers so I don’t have a picture of it yet. Rylee’s shield is done. He even helped paint. He had a lot of fun. It’s been nice having little projects he can help with. I hope he learns a thing or two about wood working, painting, and sewing by the time this is done.

Weapons: Almost Combat Ready

Last week, along with the shields, we cut out the swords and the ax. This week we started shaping them. Bare in mind this is with minimal power tools, so we’re shaping them mostly with hand-sanding, an electric sander, flush saw, chisel, and file. Honestly the electric sander is almost useless. The swords still need another week’s worth of work, but the ax is finished, painted and waiting to be assembled. I’ll try to share a better picture. This was taken at night without flash, because I turned off my flash for some reason.

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That’s our progress so far. Other than that, still working on chain mail. Technically we’re on schedule, except for the chain mail. I’m falling dangerously behind. I should have had the other sleeve done by Sunday. Oh well, I scheduled off an extra day this week to get ahead (or catch up).

Stay tuned for next week’s progress. This week I start (pause for dramatic effect) sewing.

Lagertha Cosplay: Week One

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Well, all year my sister and I have been teasing a great top-secret cosplay idea. The only problem: we didn’t get it done … or started. With weekly doctor appointments, our mother’s passing, and getting her condo ready for the market, there just wasn’t time. Not to mention all of that procrastination.

So last minute we decided to do a Vikings cosplay. My sister will be Thorunn, Porunn (whichever), my son will be Bjorn, and I will be (the fan favorite) Lagertha. I think it’s really ironic that once again, my son is playing the role of my son–only last time I played the role of father (Thranduil). And once again, he’s playing the role of my sister’s boyfriend–or would-be boyfriend.

For the record, we did not choose Vikings because it would be “easy” just “easier” than our other idea. To be honest, if we’d wanted easy, we’d have bought bed sheets and made Kylo Ren and Rey costumes … not too late to do that.

Vikings is just an awesome show and what better time to create a Vikings cosplay than right before the second half of the latest season. So excited to see Lagertha and Aslaug battle it out for Queen. Hoping Bjorn joins the plot this season. lol

Our Raiding Party

vikings-bjornSo, obviously my kid looks like Bjorn, and he’s my son, so who he was going to be was no debate. I wanted him to go as kid Bjorn at first, but to be honest, big Bjorn’s costume will be easier than the child’s costume. And he gets an ax.

imagesMy sister and I really liked the character Throunn. We’re probably the only fans of the show who do. Not sure why. She’s a fun character with an awesome hairstyle (sis already has the shaved head). She’s a slave turned free woman exploring her new found freedom, which makes her a little wild and reckless. Sadly, the fans hated her and the producer wrote her off the show, which happens to almost all of the children and women characters I’ve noticed. Ironically enough, this will not be the first time my sister has cosplayed as a truly despised character. Two years ago she went to Kokomo Con as Tauriel, the controversial OC for the Hobbit trilogy. While we loved her, she was simply detested by die-hards. So it seems my sister is drawn to a certain type of character. Can’t wait to see how she pulls this one off.

Obviously I chose Lagertha.  Mostly because I can relate with her. She’s a single mother and a fighter who tries very hard not to put up with male BS, but gets screwed anyway, and has a hard time getting the respect she deserves. Personality aside, I love the intricacies of her hair and outfits. And there were a lot of outfits and hairstyles to choose from but I’m going to do this one from Season 3.

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Goals

One of our biggest regrets with the Hobbit cosplay was that we didn’t personally make the costumes. At the time I didn’t have the confidence to sew. It had been almost fifteen years since I’d taken sewing class (and I wasn’t very good. My teacher let me pass for “effort”). I gained a lot of confidence building the centaur costume (completely and utterly by hand), so I feel like there isn’t anything I can’t do.

Sidenote: for those of you who think you’ll never use what you learn in shop class or home economics, if you want to cosplay, you will. It’s been fifteen years since shop and sewing class, but I can’t believe all the instant recall I’ve had while working on this project. I’m glad I took theatre, shop, and sewing in high school. A lot of people said I was wasting my time, but it turns out, I have some useful skills. (Also, as an adult, if you want to eat, take cooking class. Just saying).

Obviously we have our work cut out for us with elaborate hairstyles, wood working, leather working, sewing, and making chain-mail. It’s going to be slow going, but with five weeks left, I think we’ll be done in time for Kokomo Con.

Progress

So, after a week of settling on concepts, we finally made a solid week of effort.

So what did we get done?

Our swords, shields, and the ax are all cut and ready to be filed, sanded, and painted. The swords themselves took an entire day to cut out (I was still getting acquainted with the jigsaw), but the shields and ax we cut out in two hours after work.

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I have one sleeve of chain-mail finished (don’t judge unless you’ve done this). I can’t feel the tips of my fingers anymore. To clarify, I didn’t order a chain-mail shirt, or even chain-mail links. I am making my own links and linking them together one by one. There are many ways to do this, but I prefer the method where you attach them on a rod like so. There is a video on YouTube that shows this process. I made the thing to hold the rod out of PVC pipe. It took all of five minutes to make. As you can see, it is portable, sturdy, and adjustable. (you can put longer or shorter rods and pipes in the top and bottom to make it longer or shorter depending on how long a chain you need to make.

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Next week I hope to get some sewing done. Thanks to friends and family who deserve more than just an honorable mention, I have a sewing machine to sew the garments. It was absolutely free so I’m going to take very, very, very good care of it. Their kindness saved me time and hundreds of dollars, which helps a lot because leather (even fake leather) isn’t cheap.

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I’ll be sure to share photos and updates on my blog, facebook, and Twitter as the weeks go by. Stay tuned for next week’s progress.

 

 

Be the Centaur of Attention (Part Two)

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One of the complements I keep getting for my centaur costume is the sculpting. It doesn’t look bulky or unnatural and it moves realistically. Not only does it look real, it feels real. Because I use foam instead of chicken wire, it’s warm and soft like a living, breathing, creature.

Most of the centaur costumes I found online were framed with either chicken wire or layers of foam that were carved into shape.

This isn’t how I did it. Not to toot my own horn, but I think my way is easier.

Ready to learn how I did it? This post will be dedicated almost entirely to how to sculpt your centaur costume.

Making the Legs

Remember how I said to put off glueing the pipes on the legs. It is now ok to glue the PVC pipes together.

Now that the legs have a skeletal frame, they need some meat.

I used a 1 inch poly foam that I bought from Hobby Lobby in a giant roll.

I used the paper outline as a stencil for the foam so it would line up with the pipes and cut out four pieces (two for each leg). I then put one piece of foam on either side of the PVC pipe legs (like a sandwich) and stuffed those into panty hose. You were probably wondering where that was going to come into play. This gives them a curvy appearance and holds the foam together without glue and shapes them without having to carve.

After that, I used some stuffing to round out some of the places even panty hoes couldn’t make curvy.

I did the same thing for the body, cutting out foam pieces shaped like the back. I cut holes in each piece so the middle pipe would go through and hold them in place. I cut about four of these. You could even use a solid block of foam, but this was cheaper and made it lighter, because I just filled in the space between with stuffing.

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After this I glued the PVC on the frame together.

Attaching the Tail

Now is the time to add the tail–well, part of it anyway. Remember the plastic tube. I ran a wire through it so that I could attach the tube to the PVC pipe, but also to make the tube bend. When I add my hair later, the wire can be bent so the tail can be bent up to give  it a more realistic look.

Making the Harness

I’m actually going to dedicate an entire post to this in the future. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because this was a lot of trial and error, so I’ll have to make some doodles. The concept comes from a security harness–like for climbing mountains. We’ll come back to this.

Sculpting the Body

After this, you’re ready to build up your body. So why didn’t I use chicken wire like everyone else? I did at first, but I didn’t like it. It made it too bulky. So after three nights work, I tore the chicken wire off.

After much banging of my head and laying on the kitchen floor sobbing and moaning, I decided to put batting around the frame (not the legs) and stuff that with polyfiber stuffing to fill it out just as I did with the legs. The batting is optional, but it helps the stuffing stay in place. Here is a picture below of the costume with the batting and the panty-hoes-covered legs. As you can see the harness will be attached around the foam underneath the batting.

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The stuffing, as I’ve mentioned before, makes the costume lighter and lovable. The kids at practice could not stop touching it, just like a real horse. If I’d used chicken wire, the costume would not move as realistically and it would feel fake. I got extra points for realism. It was a treat for the kids, which made it worth all the hard work.

Covering the Frame

After this came my least favorite part: sewing the body. I bought three yards of fabric  to cover the frame from legs to front. Since there aren’t any patterns for centaur costumes, obviously, I bought a plastic tablecloth to make my own. It was based on the pattern you might find for a stuffed animal. I did not want a seem on the back, so I designed my pattern so the seam would be on the bottom sides,  but for simplicity, you could follow the concept that is used for stuffed animals, which includes a back seam.

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Once I cut out the fabric, I put it over the body and pinned it in place. Once it was pinned in place, I then sewed it on the machine. This was probably the most challenging part because I’m not a good sewer.

Important note: I was able to pin it and slide it on and off the body because I used a 4-way stretch fabric. Originally, I was going to use a 2-way stretch fleece. This would have made it harder to sew and hinder the movement of the legs.

I chose to use a 4-way stretch fabric in a polyester/nylon blend. This way the fabric would be less likely to tear or move unrealistically. It can also be stretched onto the frame so that all the sewing can be done on the machine, limiting how much handsewing you’d have to do. Not only can it be stretched on like a pair of tights, but it can be removed for mending or washing.

Jo-Ann Fabrics has a new cosplay line of four-way stretch fabric. This is great for making super hero costumes. I wish they’d had this while I was working on this project. Oh well.

I left some extra fabric in front so I could tie the costume around my waist; this held the horse body flush with my own body. I just tied the extra fabric in a knot; nothing fancy. Don’t worry, the knots are hidden by the next step.

I sewed a very basic fur belt to hide where the costume attached to my body. I literally just used a safety pin to fasten this in place, but you can use snaps or Velcro. I used the same color fabric to sew fetters for the legs and for the front legs to hide my shoes. I sewed elastic in these so they slide on and off. I didn’t want them to be permanently attached to the costume so that they could be removed in the event I need to wash or fix it.

Attaching the Tail

Remember the tube for the tail? I left a hole in the fabric for that to stick out. I tied a wig to it to create the tail. You can pick up a decent wig for 5-20 bucks. Fall is a good time to get them because most stores will be carrying them for Halloween. The wire that I ran through the tube made it possible to bend it so the tail would not drag.

So this is the costume so far. Next week I’ll try to post the DIY harness. After this the final steps are putting the costume on and making it walk. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. For those of you who are in the process of creating your own costume, I hope this helps. Let me know if any of the steps needs more clarity or depth.