Poshmark: A Closet Cosplay Review

Bombshell Cheetah

I decided I wanted an easy, COMFORTABLE, walking around cosplay, so I assembled another closet costume. As a foil to last year’s DC Bombshells Wonder Woman, I dressed as Cheetah this year. As you can see, it’s not perfectly matched, but I feel it is a good representation of the character.

 

dc_comics_bombshells_cheetah_statue_600_555525bad196d8-95007016

First, a list of items, top to toe:

  • Pith Helmet, $20.75, Forestry-Suppliers.com
  • Goggles, $25, purchased at Con
  • Necklace, $5, made from parts purchased at Michael’s
  • Shirt, $6 + $6.95 S&H Poshmark
  • Bra, $22, purchased at Kohl’s and covered with animal print fabric
  • Gloves, $10 + $6.95 S&H Poshmark
  • Sash, $5 made from fabric purchased at JoAnn’s
  • Skirt $8 + $6.95 Poshmark
  • Socks, $3 clearance at Target
  • Boots, $25 + 6.95 S&H Poshmark

Adding everything up, it is $157.55, which yes, is kind of expensive for a closet cosplay, but I can justify it by saying I can still wear a lot of this every day or for other costumes. As a side note, Cheetah normally does not have a bag or any sort of purse, and I needed something to keep my stuff in, so I got a pouch. I’ve been having some issues incorporating it smoothly. You can see I have a regular belt underneath my sash to keep the pouch on, but everything keeps sliding around. Still working on a solution there. I did not include a rope, knife or binoculars, partly as a personal choice and partly because I didn’t want to deal with peace-bonding anything.

SHOPPING ON POSHMARK

If you are not familiar, Poshmark is a new and used clothing web site where people can buy and sell what they are not using in their closet. Originally it appears to have been for designer brands, but everyone sells everything there now. Normally I like shopping at thrift stores. You can find some fun and unexpected things there. But I was looking for some very particular things, so it was much nicer to be able to shop from home and use the filters to find clothing in my size.

In a nutshell, a seller puts up an item in their store with all of the specifics. You purchase via PayPal or ccard. Poshmark holds the payment. The seller then has 7 days to ship it. If they do not ship it within that time frame you can cancel your order. They do not get paid until you confirm that you have received the item in good order. All shipping is $6.95 (unless you bundle, or there is a sale on shipping). I appreciate this policy because there is a certain amount of security in knowing you can get your money back easily. It’s easier to deal with in that respect than some place like eBay or Etsy.  I attempted to buy those boots from one seller, but they never replied or shipped them. So I cancelled – it was just the click of a button – and found another pair from another seller on the same site.

That brings me to another point: some sellers treat Poshmark like it is their job. Others post and then forget about it and don’t log back in for weeks or months at a time. At least you have some protection for your payment. My gloves arrived wrapped in tissue paper with a thank you note. The boots were jammed into a manila envelope. One particularly curious thing about the site is that you can leave “love notes” for sellers who do a good job, but the public cannot see bad reviews. It appears that the trick is to check the number of sales vs the number of “love notes,” and if those numbers don’t add up then they may not be great.

Poshmark has also morphed into a social community, which frankly I don’t really have time for, but it’s cool if you are into that sort of thing.

In conclusion:

Pros:

  • Ease of use, convenience
  • Secure payment

Cons:

  • Sometimes inconsistent sellers
  • Shipping costs can add up
  • Unable to see negative reviews

I have some clothing for sale on Poshmark myself, @enchantingerica, and will be adding more soon. I haven’t sold a darned thing yet.

Note: Steve Madden boots are crazy uncomfortable! I was actually limping for several days after the first con I wore them to. I added insoles later, and that helped, but seriously, if you buy them go a 1/2 size up and add insoles.

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Published in: on October 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bombshell Wonder Woman Cosplay, Part 2 – Experimenting with Thermoplastics, Trial and Error

bracer in the white

I am very new to thermoplastics. If you are not familiar, I’m talking about Worbla, Wonderflex, EVA foam and craft foam. I decided for this first project I would start small, and try a few different mediums. Trial and error. Mostly error. I promise I was not drunk when I did this, just not very experienced.

BRACERS

I decided to make my bracers out of craft foam, mostly for comfort. This is the kind of foam you get at the craft store for kids’ projects. It’s super cheap and easy to manipulate. Remember: your wrist is smaller than your forearm, so you will actually be cutting out a trapezoid, not a square. Measure twice, cut once!

The next step was to find a pattern online that approximates the pattern on DC Bombshell Wonder Woman’s bracers. I am not very good at freehand drawing, but I’m pretty good at tracing. I was able to find one on Bigstock, and it was actually meant as a graphic notebook doodle. Now, how to get the picture on to the foam? I only have a black and white laser printer. “But wait,” I thought, “laser printers heat set the ink onto the paper, so maybe if I use an iron I can partially transfer that on to the craft foam.”

bracers transfer

Um, kinda? Also, craft foam shrinks a little when you apply heat. Oops. Gotta use low heat. I’m going to say I would not recommend this. It would probably work better with an ink jet and that special transfer paper. I used my task light and squinted a lot, and I managed to trace all of it out with a black ball point pen. The pen leaves an indentation and mark, so you have a textured effect. Great! But, I was using the thinnest sheets of foam, and the pen was leaving an impression on the back side. Hmmm… better add another layer of foam on the inside for stability. Luckily, hot glue is the perfect adhesive for craft foam. This would be a good time to form it around your wrist. Use the iron to heat it a little and you can wrap it around your wrist while it cools. Remember, the inside layer will need to be slightly smaller than the outside layer! Just like a racetrack! I just glued it in and then trimmed the excess.

bracers tracing pattern

At this point the edges looked like crap, so I needed to put edging on it. That’s just strips of craft foam glued on. No biggie.

bracer parts

bracer in the white

OK, it’s pretty much assembled the way I want it. Now I need to paint it. Always prime first! I just used gesso, because I’m an art school dropout and had a bunch left over. I understand you can also use Elmer’s white glue. Or possibly, if you have a well-ventilated area, Plastidip. But gesso worked fine for me.

bracer primed

Then I just added a couple layers of silver craft paint, and dry brushed with black to give it some depth.

bracer painted

Then I added Velcro strips to the inside with hot glue.

WWbracers-inside

bracer image

I actually think they turned out pretty well, in spite of my issues. One thing that puzzles me though, is that over time the indents where I traced with the ball point have turned a sort of yellowish color. I may have to repaint.

BELT BUCKLE

This was pretty detailed. I got an image of the buckle online and started making a pattern based off of that. I used several types of plastics, and it did not turn out like I would have liked. But I will probably re-make it at some point. This is more of a cautionary tale I guess.

belt buckle image

First I made the base, which is just an oval. But the oval also has a raised edge. I made an oval out of Wonderflex. Then I thought that it would not be thick enough and I ended up adhering a piece of craft foam on top of it. That was a mistake, because the craft foam is easily marred. Then for the raised edge I cut out a strip of Worbla and wrapped it around the outside. It turned out very uneven. I have since received some very good advice on this, and what I should have done is just to keep the Wonderflex base and cut out an oval in Worbla, like a picture frame, and adhere it on top. Next time.

belt buckle base-1

 

For those of you who are not familiar with these materials, Wonderflex and Worbla become self-adhesive when exposed to heat. Wonderflex on only one side and Worbla on both sides. Worbla can be molded like clay. Use a heat gun to mold it. There are tons of YouTube videos that can explain better than I can.

I made the eagle entirely out of Worbla. I actually cut out two basic shapes, then I carved out the second shape and adhered all the bits on top of the basic shape for the details. There were tweezers involved. Also, I ended up molding the eagle head a lot with clay tools because that was just the only way to do it. It’s tiny!

belt buckle cut out

belt buckle eagle finished

I have read, and seen tutorials, indicating that you can prime Worbla without needing to sand, as long as you put the primer on thick enough. You are supposed to use wood glue. This advice is inaccurate. My buckle ended up being highly textured, and I wanted it very smooth. I may try to use Plasti Dip over my existing buckle, or I may just sand it if that doesn’t work. Anyway, that did not work for me.

I painted the base and the decoration with gold craft glue, sealed them with some sort of sealant I had lying around (I’ve moved since then so I probably don’t have it any more). I then glued them together, and then glued the whole thing to a $1 elastic belt I found at a thrift store. The belt was secured with Velcro. Is there anything Velcro can’t do?

belt buckle finished

I actually think it didn’t turn out too badly, especially from a distance. I will certainly make modifications to it before the next time I wear it though.

I didn’t go into any great detail on technique here because I’m not an expert. There are tons of experts on YouTube and other blogs who can take you step-by-step through the process of working with these mediums. One of my faves is Kamui Cosplay. I’m just telling my story here.

OTHER PROPS

Additionally you will notice I have my magic lasso at my side. This is utility rope I got at the hardware store. Interestingly enough, when I bought this it was con season locally, and Batman was in line ahead of us. As he left, the clerk turned to me and said “you don’t see that every day!” Well, actually…

Also, why is it so hard to find plain red circle earrings? I ended up getting them off of Etsy. My wig was also from Etsy.

My next entry will be my struggle with boots, approximately whenever I have spare time.

Bombshell Wonder Woman Cosplay, Part 1 – The Closet

WW full costume editI’ve been Wonder Woman since I was about 6 years old. This picture shows my latest costume, Wonder Woman from DC Bombshells, and the costume my mom made for me when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I guess you could say I’m a fan.

In this post I’m going to show you how I put together the fabric portions of this costume. A lot of this is closet cosplay, with modifications. My posts assume that you have a basic understanding of sewing. I apologize in advance that I did not have as many pics as I would like.

THE SHIRTWWshirt-finished

I had this red button up shirt that I used to wear to work. And then I didn’t because I didn’t really like it that much anymore. It was from NY&Co. It still fit, I just didn’t really wear it anymore. This was a great opportunity to give it a second life.

The first thing I did was add the logo. I found one online, then sized it in Photoshop so it would fit on my shirt. I traced it out in tailor’s chalk, being careful to note how it would look with the buttons in place. I ironed on interfacing to the inside for stability, and just sewed over the chalk in a satin stitch. I made the logo in black, and then outline in yellow, as indicated in the original art.

WW shirt applique 2

WW shirt applique

This was a long sleeve shirt, so I chopped off the sleeves just above the elbow (because that’s how long I wanted it!). I added fake cuffs at this point. That just required measuring around the sleeve and making a rectangle that was the right length and width, plus seam allowance. I added interfacing to the cuffs so they would stay rigid instead of falling down. Then I just folded over 1/4 inch to finish off the edges. Easy peasy.

WWsleeve-inside

In its original form, the shirt had a pretty standard collar and buttoned all the way up, but the costume needed a white collar with a plunging neckline. So I faked it. I cut out a piece of white fabric the same size as the existing collar, added 1/4 inch, and just covered it.

WWcollar-inside

Then I tried on the shirt to approximate where I wanted the lapels to land. They are just two triangles, stitched on over the button section. They end at the point of the “W.”

WWcollar-outside

And that’s about it for the shirt!

THE SHORTS

WWshorts

This was the easiest part of the whole costume, because I just bought the shorts from PUG. It’s not as easy to find high-waisted shorts as it should be, and not as easy to find patterns for them as it should be either! I found star buttons at the fabric store, and then I found a piece of scrap denim in my vast collection of fabrics to create a loop, put Velcro on each end, and there you have a place to put your lasso. Done.

THE HEADBAND

headband-finished

This was an interesting piece of engineering, because as the Rosie the Riveter-type headscarf is drawn, it defies logic. A square kerchief will not have the tie next to the pointy part. So I basically made a headband and added a triangle.

IMG_2191

I measured around my head, noting the way it would be positioned. I also noted where I wanted the star/triangle portion to sit. Cut two, stitch wrong sides together, turn right side out, finish ends, top stitch. I added Velcro to the ends, ironed on a purchased red star, and to complete the illusion, cut out a small piece of fabric to create the tie at the top of the headband. That is actually a separate piece.

bombshell-wonder-woman-poster

Most of the sewing is straight lines or zigzags, and all of the measurements are just my specifications, or to fit the shirt. There is a bit of variation to the DC Bombshells art, so I don’t feel compelled to be perfect. There is no exact way of making this, depending on who is drawing that issue. I will have 2 more segments for this costume: props and boots. I will finish this approximately whenever I have time.

Published in: on June 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Harley Quinn’s Mallet for Raks al Assaya

IMG_2040-Edit

Photo courtesy Douglas Klettke

Con season is upon us again, although there’s never a bad time to cosplay. In December Bad Weather Burlesque had a FAN-tastic theme show, wherein I did a Saidi-inspired Harley Quinn number. I had just taken a Saidi workshop from Jasmin Jahal and I LOVED it! When you love two things they often have a lot of crossover. If you’d like to see the whole costume you can check out how I made it here.

The great thing about this method is that it is pretty easy to build, the materials are easy to find, and if you whack someone in the head they will only be mildly irritated rather than concussed. It’s also pretty light, so carrying it around won’t be taxing.

Want to make a mallet of your own? Here’s what you need:

  • 1 wooden dowel, 3/4″ diameter (depending on the size of your hand), approx $2
  • 1 roll bubble wrap, large bubbles, approx $16
  • 1 roll red duct tape, $6
  • 1 roll black duct tape, $6
  • 2 sheets red duct tape, $2 each
  • 2 sheets black duct tape, $2 each
  • Hot glue and gun
  • Scissors
  • Saw (for cutting down the dowel)

 

Materials

Materials

 

My first concern was that for Saidi Raks al Assaya (dancing with a cane) my prop has to be light enough to swing it around and still control it. I also needed to make sure the head of the mallet did not whack me in the leg while I was spinning it. So I checked the clearance between my swing radius and my leg, both with length and diameter. The weight can shift so that the mallet turns sideways. If you are not dancing with this prop you may disregard this note and make it as big or small as you like.

Don't hit yourself in the leg

Don’t hit yourself in the leg

Apologies here, as I did not take a lot of pics during the process. At this point I secured the roll with a couple of pieces of red duct tape to keep everything in place while I did the ends. Learn from my mistakes here, as the ends will be very bumpy if you do not put something flat under your sheet of tape. Cut a circle from something that is at least the thickness of cardstock and put that underneath your sheet as you stick it to the end. If your mallet is larger than the sheet of duct tape you may need to use multiple pieces, or just use the tape from the roll. I do the ends first so that the edges of the duct sheet can be covered and secured by the tape. At this point wrap the red tape around and around and around the roll to cover the whole thing. Be careful to overlap so no bubble wrap can be seen.

Bumpy

Bumpy

Not bumpy

Not bumpy

Add a stripe!

Add a stripe!

At this point you should have what looks like a red cylinder. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHICH END IS UP, because we are going to affix our harlequin shapes to the ends. You want to make sure it looks good when you are posing with it so the harlequins shouldn’t be all kittywampus with respect to the handle, or each other. This is where duct sheets are extra handy. Draw out your pattern on the back side of the duct sheet, cut them out, and carefully stick them on. I actually just cut squares from the grid pattern and turned them sideways. If you want further embellishment wrap around a line of black duct tape near each end.

If you prefer, you can skip down to the handle part first and then come back to the decorations. Doesn’t really matter.

Lots of little pieces of tape

Lots of little pieces of tape

Now we are going to add our handle. If you are actually using this to dance Raks al Assaya, measure from the ground to about 2-3 inches below your navel if you keep your elbow in when swinging and cut the dowel to that length; or if you raise up your elbow then cut to whatever length is comfortable. Wrap the dowel in duct tape, alternating red and black. I made it striped by cutting a lot of small pieces and wrapping them around one at a time. If you want to try to wrap it at an angle, best of luck to you. That did not work for me with alternating colors. Important to note: if your hands get sweaty the duct tape can get slippery. Alternately you can wrap the handle in ribbon and just glue it down with craft glue. Make sure to cover the end too so it looks finished!

Finesse the handle in

Finesse the handle in

At this point that whole “which end is up” thing becomes important. Find the bottom center of your mallet head and mark it. Then get a pair of long scissors or a long thin knife and stab it a bunch of times to make a hole for the dowel to go in. Keep your movements straight up and down and be careful not to stab through the other side of the mallet head. Test the depth by sticking the dowel in the hole you’ve made. If it is too tall, keep stabbing. Or you might have to re-cut your dowel. This part requires some finessing. Once you are happy with the connection get out your hot glue gun, set to high, squeeze some glue into the stabby hole, then quickly stick the dowel into the hole. The high temp should cause the bubble wrap to melt a bit and you’ll have a really secure hold.

Give it a twirl, you’re done!

 

 

Published in: on February 24, 2016 at 10:40 pm  Comments (2)  
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