Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Ghost of Halloween Past

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dragoncon 2008 Round Up - The Rest

Pete and Receptionist Triana were new, but these are all costumes I'd worn before. A couple of them do have new wigs which is almost like wearing a new costume without putting forth any effort whatsoever! Almost. Or not really. But still, wigs are yay!

Lady Au Pair from The Venture Bros.

Triana from The Venture Bros.

Molotov from The Venture Bros.

Illyria from Angel

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Venture Receptionist Triana

I used a pattern for the dress, but I had to alter it because I wanted a stripe down the middle of the dress and I wanted short sleeves instead of long (with a stripe on the bottom.)

The biggest hassle with this was the collar. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over unfinished ickiness sticking up visibly behind the collar. I finally did it in reverse of how the pattern said to do it, which was much better. But it still had some unfinished edges that I ended up having to pin under at the con. Part of the final problem was definitely my incompetence. I sewed it too far up on the bottom of the yoke and probably not far enough down on the top. And the other part was just that the way the pattern was designed was super annoying.

I also made one of the sleeves too small. Basically, I suck at sleeves.

It took me several tries to figure out the logo. I tried fabric paint and I tried attaching fabric to interfacing and then cutting it with an Xacto knife. That did not work AT ALL. And finally my friend said, just iron it on. At which point I introduced my head to my desk because duh. (Also, when you're printing out your iron ons, remember that you have to reverse the image. Because I did not remember that until after I'd printed a couple sheets out.)

The logo came out really well, but there was a problem with the ironing on because that lighter blue fabric was a hideous polyester suiting and I set the iron really hot to make sure the logo transferred, but that actually MELTED THE FABRIC since polyester is basically plastic. It left some little white marks and things on the fabric, but they weren't TOO noticeable. Sewing that fabric was a huge pain in the ass too because it kept getting snagged. I would be sewing along and all of a sudden the needle would catch and it would snag and I swear it was not because I'm incompetent, it was the FABRIC.

To make the little hat, I cut out a piece of interfacing. I thought I bought the fusible, but it wasn’t (argh!). But it was the super thick kind, so once I realized it wasn't fusible, I just made a little covering for it out of the blue fabric. Like a toilet paper cozy for your head. I sewed 4 bobby pins to the back of it to keep it in place.

The hands free phone part is the microphone that came with the toy guitar I bought for Stormer. Seriously, if you're a costumer or a crafty person never throw anything away. You might think it was the wrong fabric or the wrong wig or the wrong paint, but it's actually a future costume. Anyway, I painted the accents on that aqua. I couldn't find aqua spraypaint, so I had to use acrylics which was scraping off if I looked at it too hard so I coated it with nailpolish to try to set it. It lasted okay, but there was still a little bit of scuffing.

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Pete White

This is all modified. I bought a (giant) white double-breasted jacket at Goodwill. I cut out the lining, and took it in on the sides and on the sleeves. Replaced the white buttons with pink buttons. Turned the double-breasted part under and sewed it in place to make that gloriously 80s neckline.

I also bought some hot pink lining fabric, and I had planned to re-line the jacket. But I really don't know how to do that, and I didn't leave myself enough time to experiment with failure so I just left it a total mess on the inside. (If you can't see it, it doesn't exist!)

The pink parts are a pair of leggings and a sleeveless turtleneck I got at Goodwill. I turned the turtleneck around backwards and slit the seam to make the mandarin collar.

The shoes I bought on ebay, but they didn't have a buckle on them. I wanted a bigger buckle than what I ended up with, but that was the only square buckle I could find at any of the hobby and craft stores around here. I spray painted the buckles gold, and cut some strips of white vinyl, attached the buckles to the vinyl and then glued it onto the shoe. It held up pretty well, but was peeling up a bit by the time I got home so it probably would have needed re-glueing if I'd worn it longer.

The pin I made out of sculpy and wire. Then I spray painted outer edge of the sculpy gold. Painters tape is basically the best thing ever if you need to get some kind of straight edge or use more than one color or otherwise exert some control with spray paint because it's pretty good about peeling off without damaging the stuff underneath. (Although I did have a hugely frustrating experience trying to paint some boots for my failed Captain Liberty costume that proved sometimes the tape does pull up paint from previously painted surfaces.)

In terms of albino makeup, I basically just went for white. I'm already very pale, so I bought the palest foundation I could find on the cheap. (Nyx 01 - Pale). The white mascara on my eyelashes is also Nyx. I tried to highlight it with blush to give it some pinkyness, but I was pretty cautious about that so it ended up still being mostly overwhelmingly white. I also used an ivory highlighter on my cheekbones, brow bones, bridge of my nose, etc. to try to give all that white a bit of dimension. None of this really shows in pictures, but it made it look a little less weird in person. I found that completely covering my lips with foundation to make them white looked really scary so I let a little of their natural color show through but covered them enough to make them mostly blend in. The eyebrows are glue and acrylic paint.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

They're Not Just For Freshmaking Anymore

If you do any costuming you know that seams are going to pop, and the heels are going to randomly fall off your shoes, and you're going to forget some vital part of your costume at home. It's the number two rule of costuming. (The number one rule of costuming is no matter what you need for your costume you won't be able to find it while you're making the costume, but three months later it'll be everywhere you look.) So costuming disasters are inevitable, but are you going to give up and not wear the costume just because you forgot to bring your pants? No. You're going to take your paperclips and your chewing gum wrappers and probably your eyeliner pencil and MacGyver the hell out of that sucker.

Case in point. My friend put together a Dr. Girlfriend costume the day she was wearing it. Her pink suit had no buttons. She was going to cut some out of construction paper, but I said, "Wait! I have Mentos in my purse!" A couple pieces of double-sided tape later and voila.


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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lady Au Pair

This is the first time I've sewn a costume completely from scratch. Usually at least some part of what I wear is bought and/or modified. But on this one everything between my knees and my neck I made myself. (I'm a little bit proud.)

Of course if you look too closely at the back of the dress, one of the seams is noticeably askew. But luckily the apron covers the biggest mistake. Also, I realize they should be 3/4 length sleeves. I planned to do them that way, but then I made the puffed part of the sleeve too small and didn't realize it until they were already done. There was no way to fit another layer of fabric under there without redoing the sleeve, and at that point being screen accurate seemed less important than not having to do more work. Oh well. (I'm still proud!)

Here's the hat.

Bought it on ebay. Stripped it down. Spraypainted it. And then added my own ribbons and flowers.

The murderous moppet has already been introduced.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Eyebrow, Youbrow

So you say you're planning to wear a pink wig but skip the light fandango, mister! Your eyebrows are not pink! No one has naturally pink eyebrows! Oh dear. What to do? If you're like me (lazy and poor) you probably don't want to bleach or dye your eyebrows to match your wig. Especially because chances are you're only going to wear your wig for a day or two. And when you take it off to go back to work or school or some other place filled with people not wearing stormtrooper outfits, what the heck are you going to do with pink eyebrows?

To that end, here's a cheap and easy way to temporarily change your eyebrow color. It's not the most natural look ever, but it works and it's something anyone can do. I do think it'll work best if you have thin, groomed eyebrows. I don't have the ideal brow for this myself. My eyebrows are somewhat thick and dark, and I was trying to turn them white. So I think the fact that this worked reasonably well for me despite all that means it would work quite well for other people.

What you need:

Elmer's School Glue - This is the standard Elmer's glue you used on all your school projects when you were 8. (Some of you probably also ate it, which is okay because it's non-toxic. Though not especially nutritious.) Make sure it says washable on the bottle. If it DOESN'T say washable it is THE WRONG GLUE and you should NOT put it on your face.

Acrylic Paint - Any brand is fine. Feel free to mix colors to tweak the shade just like you would if you were going to paint something other than your facial

What to do:

1) Put on your other makeup first. I tried this a couple ways, and it worked better when I didn't put it over any makeup at all. So if you have the option of not putting makeup on the area around your eyebrows, that's what I suggest. If you don't have that option, just make sure to put any other foundation, eyeshadow, or body paint on before you do your eyebrows.

2) Cover your eyebrows in Elmer's Glue. What I did was squeeze a line of glue right onto my eyebrow and then spread it with my fingers. A paintbrush would also work I think. Don't worry about the glue getting stuck in your eyebrows. If you got the right glue, I promise you it will wash out with soap and water. You'll want to cover your eyebrows completely, but don't overdo it. Try not to go onto the skin around your brows too much, and try not to coat them overly thickly. The thicker you lay on the glue, the less natural it's going to look. (But note you DO want to cover them completely because you want the paint on the glue not on your actual hair.)

3) Wait for the glue to dry. Think 10ish minutes. If you did more than one coat of glue it may take a bit longer.

4) Brush the acrylic paint onto your eyebrows with a paint brush. Again, a lighter touch is better. Since I do have thick brows and I was trying to go from black to white, I tried really slathering it on at first to cover all the black. But I think it's ultimately better to have a little bit of the old color showing through than to have a solid, plastic looking mass of glue and paint. You want to cover the old color, but you also want to limit yourself as much as possible to the hair itself without spreading out to the skin around the brow. Basically you still want your eyebrows to look somewhat like they're made of hair, and if you go too far overboard they won't. Once you're happy with it, let the paint dry. It should take less time than the glue.

And that's it. Your eyebrows are now a whole new color!

5) When you're ready to return to your normal citizen costume, wash your eyebrows with soap and warm water. (Cold water is okay for this too, I just think warm water is nicer.) You may have to comb through your eyebrows a bit with your fingernails to get all the glue out, but I've done this a couple times and I promise you will not have to shave off your eyebrows. Washable glue. It WILL wash out.

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