Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
We decided to do this cosplay because Sam Jones and Melody Anderson are going to be at the Greater Austin Comic Con in June. It was actually Seth's idea. I mulled it over for about 24 hours trying to figure out if I could pull this off in the very little time I had after Wind in the Willows was over minus the three weeks we were going to be in London. I decided that Yes, I had the time and since it would be AWESOME, we're doing it. I love this movie! Rob is going to be Ming the Merciless, I"m going to be Aura, Seth is Flash, Sarah is Dale Arden, and Sylvan is Dr. Zarkov. This time around the kids are the good guys and we're the villians.
Amazon Smile and Prime membership is an amazing tool that I highly recommend! The first thing I did was order the Flash shirt. That was the easiest thing to find. Dale's dress and jacket combo was much more difficult since people don't really design business blazers sexy, red shirt-waist dresses for children. I came across the red gloves while shopping for driving gloves for Toad for WITW. They were only $22 and they're real leather in a size 2X. The taira wasn't a perfect match, but it's something I can add to. Both the boys are in khaki pants, not a problem, but Sylvan needed a plaid shirt for Zarkov and a khaki jacket/shirt combo with lots of pockets. Goodwill here we come.
So I made this, this morning, using Photoshop and sent it to Walgreen's for printing on nice, glossy photo paper. I had to significantly lighten Topol's face as well as the grey ground behind the NASA title, so that it would print out at the same value as it looks on the screen.
The build Process
Ming and Aura I'll have to build. Ming's stand up collar is going to be a little tricky, but it's something I've done before for Queen Anne in Three Musketeers. My version will not have 100 pounds of bugle beads hand-sewn on it however. Stay posted for more photos and updates as I go.
This week I started on my bra. To prep, I had to go buy a new bra from Target, it was beige. That was a chore. I hate bra shopping and I hate wearing them and especially underwire ones, but that's what this character required. ANd to make matters worse, they didn't have the
band size I needed, so I had to buy a bigger one and then take it in at the side seams. The bra is getting covered in two different fabrics. First a white/gold paisley print, and then a gold sequined mesh fabric. I hand stitched the gold all the way around the bra. I didn't bother to cover the hooks and eyes tab because the cape will completely cover the back. I still need to finish all the hand stitching and then have a little fitting.
So I did that and even though I was very careful to only top stitch and to leave room for stretching, I clearly didn't allow enough stretch room and now it's too tight around the band. I'm going to need a band extender.
Now that I'm back from the UK, I've finished all the hand stitching, cut and stitched the skirt, added the elastic, rigged up the necklace as a belt. I still need to stitch the wings to the front and back of the bra, then use snaps to attach the cape to itself around the back of the bra straps and underneath the wings. I'm going to use the rest of this week to finish up Aura and then start on Ming next week. It was rough this week with still being jet-lagged and having so much catching up to do with the kids and the general state of the house and work that I'm only getting two or three days in. We'll see how hot it gets in there on Friday with no A/C.
I still need sandals (i.e. shoes that I can actually stand in on a concrete floor all day long) and to rig up the tiara I bought to actually stay on my head. I'm thinking elastic. I have some great earrings, but they're broken so I'd need to get new backs to glue onto them.
Thursday I ran those errands. Joanne's had the earring backs and a bra extender that I needed. I also bought some gold glitter corrugated cardboard paper and a cheesy Fourth of July kid's headband to use as a base for the spray of gold that shoots up from the crown. And I went to Payless and bought black wedge sandals that I can hopefully stand up in all day and painted them gold. Two coats of base acrylic yellow and two coats of metallic flake gold acrylic and to finish, two coats of clear coat. As for the earrings, a little E6000 and those posts are back are on for life.
Friday it was 78 when I got there at 9 and it just kept getting hotter. I used the rest of the gold lycra to make the cape. I sewed channeling in the top and ran a piece of elastic through, then sewed snaps onto both sides so that It snaps around my bra straps. Then I sewed snaps from my shoulder wings to the top of the cape. So now those three pieces all connect nicely and hold each other up. I still need to hem the cape once I figure out how much of it is going to drag on the floor in my heels.
I ended up cutting off the selvage from the cape hem, and then hemming it 3 inches and people still stepped on it at the con. The shoes were fine for the first three hours of standing and then I was done! We sat to have lunch, then we continued to sit at the Flash Gordon panel, then we stood in Doug Jone's line and then we left. I wouldn't say I was in excruciating pain, but it wasn't pleasant, and even the two hours of sitting didn't reset my feet enough to do anything more than meet Doug Jones. With all that being said, I'd still like to add a bunch of crystals to the shoes.
So here's the stand up collar I made for Three Musketeers and here's the necklace that Shanna made for it. I'm using it as a belt for Aura.
Rob came in for a fitting today and while he was there I patterned the collar. I still need to true the seams. I have to hem his gown and fix the sleeve hem on one side. I need to make a sleeved cape for him as well as a V-shaped belt. I have a belt that I can use, it just needs to be added to. He's already shaved his head and bought Just for Men gel to dye his facial hair.
I started making his cape Tuesday. I found a pattern, Simplicity 9887 which is a group of patterns for tunics and capes that are supposed to look like LOTR. I went with view A cape (no hood). The yoke is supposed to be a seperate piece, but I just pinned the pieces together before I cut them out of my fabric. I folded under the CF edge about 6 inches before I cut those pieces out. The sleeve pattern was missing, so I had to draft that first. I got all the pieces cut and serged and got the two backs and two fronts pinned and stitched together. I left the sleeves out so that I could add the layers of gold fabric to them before I set them into the armholes. And I'm going to have to make shoulder wings too that will either get set in to the armholes before the sleeves or be added on top. Not sure how that's going to work. Anyway you look at it, I've got a long two days of work ahead of me. Tomorrow I promise, there'll be photos.
So here's what I got done today. I added the gold trim to the CF opening of the cape (in a previous life it had been a shower curtain) and hemmed that. I added a different gold fabric to the sleeves for trim (cut on the bias just like the sleeve pattern), and then attached the sleeves. I started making the giant shoulder wings out of men's suit shoulder pads, and have them covered in felt, but still need to cover them with the fashion fabric (gold taffeta and gold mesh) and attach them. The cape still needs to be hemmed, have it's gold trim added to the hem, have trim added to the belt, including this awesome tassell I found. Then there's the small matter of the giant V collar and halo assembly, as well as the red star in a gold circle applique that will go on the back. I've decided there's really no room for another one on the front. When I got home I discovered that Rob had shaved his head and dyed his facial hair.
The star applique was a many-staged yet simple process. I found an eight pointed star clip art on google image search and printed it out and the right size. I used geometry to cut a larger than the star circle out of the gold taffeta backing fabric and the gold mesh I used to make the shoulder wings. I backed the whole thing with muslin and zig-zagged on the smallest setting all around the circumference. I cut the star out of the glitter lycra and fusible interfacing and ironed it to the gold circle, then zig-zagged around it on the smallest setting. Lastly I cut another smaller circle for the inside out of the same gold taffeta and mesh and fusible interfacing and ironed it onto the star, then zig-zagged on the smallest setting around that. To attach it to the cape I ironed it on with fusible interfacing and then used a straight stitch to make it permanent.
Making the stand up collar was neither simple nor straightforward and the whole process wasn't begun until 9pm the night before we were leaving for the con. It took exactly 3 hours to get it patterned, cut, shaped, and covered in glitter lycra. Here's how I did that: I made a pattern out of muslin with a CF opening and a hole big enough for his neck with no seam allowance. I cut it out of L200 foam and then cut in where the lapel breaks from the collar about 2 inches. I used a heat gun to make it lay on the mannequin in the right way and make the collar stand up. I used hot glue to turn the collar edges that I'd cut in at a 90 degree angle to the lapel and then glue them down onto the lapels. I didn't get any photos of that process because it was already late and I'd lost the precious air-conditioning that I need to function. Then I had Rob help me and I sprayed the front of the foam with adhesive and attached the red lycra. That part was pretty nerve wracking, but the adhesive and lycra were fairly forgiving and let me pull up sections and stretch them out again so there weren't any wrinkles. Once we got the front covered, I cut out a backing piece from the gold taffeta and spray glued that on. then we went home at midnight, considering it a job well done.
The worst part was the next morning when I had to then hand-sew the edges of the gold onto the red so that it wouldn't come off when the glue crapped out. Even though I used a curved needle which I highly recommend, it still took another 3 hours because of the adhesive making my needle sticky and also having to go through the foam. My hands were really arthritic feeling by the time I was done.
So we got to the con and it was fine, except that the collar didn't have anything to keep it closed or on straight. Also, it clearly needed more trim. So once we got back, I found 12 yards of gold sequin trim that was on sale for 75% off because it was damaged. it had clearly been stored in a hot place for too long and the sequins had melted in a wrapped around the card position so that when you unwrapped it, they ribbon had regular humps all down it. The "damage" was easily fixed with a hot iron running over the back of the fabric while stretching it out flat. What a bargain! I added the sequins around both shoulder wings and all around the stand up collar. All of that trim had to be hand-sewn on which I did at home on July 4th during the day. It took seven hours with a curved needle and sucked worse than sewing the backing fabric on, because I had to sew on both sides of the sequins! After all that the collar still wasn't standing up as much as I wanted, so I added another row of sequins to the top and sides of the collar on the edge. I started sewing in the middle of the top edge and went down the sides to where it met the lapels. Once there, I pulled the sequins very taut and turned the end under like an L bracket and stitched it down to the lapel and that pulled the whole thing further forward.
Things that I did that aren't visible to make the whole thing work better: I added hooks and eyes from the cape to the tunic so that it wouldn't slip down off his back, one at the CB and two on each of the side seams. I also added two snaps on either side of the CF opening of the cape to the tunic for the same reason, but lower down on the chest. After the con, I went back and added snaps from the collar to the shoulder wings to keep it from spinning around his neck every time he turned his head. The belt velcroed to itself but because Rob has a tummy it wouldn't stay up in the right place, so i added snaps from the belt to the tunic to keep it around his middle without falling down.