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.

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.

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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.

 

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.