Category: Sewing

Bombshell Wonder Woman Cosplay, Part 1 – The Closet

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.

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CONvergence 2012 Highlights

Finn and Jake meet Fionna and Cake!

What a busy month! Kicking things off for July we went to CONvergence 2012 in Bloomington, MN. Super fun as always! In the above picture Finn (don’t know this guy, but he was a good sport) and me as Fionna from Adventure Time. This turned out to be a surprisingly popular costume as I had several people ask to take my picture and also ask me “what time is it?” Also, while I was walking back to the CON from the DQ across the parking lot I heard some guy yelling “Finn! I love you Finn!” and I realized he was yelling to me! I think that was a first. Since I talk about crafts and costumes on this blog, here’s my costume breakdown: Shorts, tights and shirt are all from JCPenney; hat from Etsy.com (I had to add some wires because the ears were too floppy, and sewed in blond doll hair because my hair is dark red/brown); shoes are Sketchers; Backpack and Cake made by me. It was really challenging making a round backpack, but I found that if I approach it like I would sew the shoulder of a sleeve it really helped a lot. Cake is one of my best creations. She’s just a huge feltie. I’ve had some practice with these, and I fashioned her from a picture I found online. I have to say though, I like how this guy made his Jake, because it was a lot less bulky and hot, I’m sure.

So on the subject of costumes, while at the CON I purchased a new corset, hat and sparkly scarf and wore it all on Saturday. This did not culminate in the costume I anticipated due to a very thick crocheted top and a large, yummy meal at India Palace on Saturday. So, what am I? Futuristic saloon girl? I don’t know. The skirt is from a thrift store and the boots by Lane Bryant.

Uncategorizable

I think we managed to get into almost all of the party rooms.

Par-tay!

Friday I think our big highlight was making it to the Jews In Space party room in time for the Shabbat blessing and matzo ball soup. Good stuff. Unfortunately I did not get a picture of Optimus Prime wearing his tallit. We also really enjoyed the Ochaya tea room, partly because it was comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, but also largely because we like to say that Paul has the T-virus.

The Ochaya

We also went to the Worship The Goddess room so that Paul could worship me, of course. We met a satyr there. He was cheeky.

Worship the Goddess
Cheeky Satyr

The Ghostbusters 911 room was pretty impressive with all of their gear, although I don’t remember the uniforms being this sexy.

Gonna bust some sexy ghosts!
Vigo and Paul

And of course we couldn’t miss the Burlesque show at Stand Up Records! They even had Boylesque by the Goblin Prince.

Jessica Rabbit
The Goblin Prince gets ready for the ball

My favorite of course would be Smiling Lune bellydance. Hourly shows all night Friday and Saturday!

Not your mama’s bellydance!

There were loads of fun costumes too:

Cap and the chorus girls
The Tardis
Dancing Robot
The two Moiras – they didn’t even know each other but showed up to the American Horror Story panel!
Jawa and Sandperson doing Yoga

And toward the end we all sort of felt like this guy:

Too much partying

So a fun time was had by all, and we can’t wait until next year, when the theme is the British Invasion. I’ll have to come up with a really good costume in my spare time.

BONUS – Test your geek cred:

  • Who is Optimus Prime?
  • What is the T-Virus in reference to?
  • What is a Tardis?

If you know the answers to these questions you should go to the CON next year. If you don’t, you should also go to the CON next year because it’s super fun anyway!

 

Elevensies

I was recently tagged by Karifur for the Elevensies meme. So in keeping with my Spare Time theme, I’m going to give you eleven spare time adventures I have tried:

1. Bellydancing! See here, here and here. Thank you Roxanne Gritt for the pic of my latest performance!

Enchanting Erica performing with Bad Weather Burlesque at the Erotic Art Show. Hosted by the Red Raven.

2. Sewing – I constructed the coin bra and harem pants in the above pic.

3. Photography. I don’t get a chance to do this as much anymore. I miss it a lot, but I only have so much spare time! Check it out here. NSFW!!!

Heavenly!

4. Scrapbooking.

5. Soapmaking. I had to give this one up, so I buy hand-made soap on Etsy.com.

6. Papermaking – that was particularly short-lived.

7. I went back to MSUM and took art classes several years ago. I prefer photography.

8. NaNoWriMo – I have completed two novels and given up on two novels.

9. Collecting art by local artists.

10. Travel – this also combines with photography, but I have a separate web site for travel.

Paul and Erica, Seville, Spain, 2011

11. Fused glass – Actually, I start that in earnest next month. Wish me luck!

Bonus twelvsie: BLOGGING! Sure, you’ve read this blog, and my dance blog, but did you know I also blog about less than truckload freight transportation? It’s a gripping read.

And now for Kari’s bonus questions:

1. In retrospect, what hair and/or fashion trend do you most regret following? Was it caught on film? Neon. It was the 80’s, and I only bought one shirt. My dad probably has a picture somewhere.
2. What is the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? Did you like it? Probably beef tongue. Good flavor but the texture was hard to get used to.
3. What would YOU do for a Klondike bar? Not much.
4. Whistling: awesome or annoying? Annoying
5. Rock climbing, deep-sea diving, or spelunking? Rock climbing, if the rock was not taller than me.
6. Blanket Forts or Snow Forts? Explain. Blanket fort – I live in ND!
7. Who would play you in the Lifetime TV Movie of your life? Monica Bellucci, because then my husband would totally watch it.
8. Would you rather have a TARDIS or a time machine made out of DeLorean? (If you had to click either of these links, go to the back of the class) Tardis
9. Can you drive a stick shift without dropping the transmission on the road en-route? Yes!
10. Which movie do you most wish you could un-see? Battlefield Earth
11. DisneyWorld/DisneyLand: Magic Kingdom or Overrated? We went to Disney World for our honeymoon. It rained a lot. Epcot was fun. The lines are too long for rides, which over too fast.

So now you know a bit more about little ol’ me. Coming soon: How I made that coin bra! To be published when I get some more spare time.

Zombie Felties Update

Zombie Pirate rises from his adorable coffin
Zombie Pirate rises from his adorable coffin

It’s that time of year again, and I’ve been sewing up an adorable army of the undead. Last year I reviewed the book Zombie Felties and made the Classic Zombie. That pattern had a difficulty rating of 2 skulls. This year I made a Pirate Zombie (pictured above) at a rating of 3 skulls, and the Zombie Kitty at a rating of 1 skull.

Zombie Pirate and Book
Zombie Pirate and Book

I actually felt that the Pirate was a bit easier to construct than the Classic. I concede that may be because I had a little more experience in making them at that point, but I also noticed there were fewer beads involved in the Pirate’s construction, and I think all the little bandages on the Classic made it a little fussier. I did not have the right size red bead for the Pirate’s eye, but I did have on hand some red sequins and a red seed bead. I’m pretty happy with the results. That was my only real substitution, apart from the hook, which is just a piece of bent wire. Super easy.

The Kitty was appropriately 1 skull because it was very easy to put together. The photo in the book does not reflect this, but there is a drawing on the following page that depicts the eyeball collar decoration as being bloodshot. I used a fine-point sharpie to add the red squiggles to the white bead. I did not use pale green felt as directed in the book, because I couldn’t find any. I think the gray works just fine.

Zombie Kitty
Zombie Kitty

Speaking of the actual felt material, there is one consistent piece of advice I would give for making any of these: try to find eco felt. It is made from recycled plastic bottles and it is more firm than regular felt. I wouldn’t use it for anything really cuddly, but for decorative purposes it makes life a lot easier. The Zombie Felties projects involve lots of teeny-tiny pieces of fabric, and with lots of handling the felt can start to come apart. Eco felt will not fall apart when cut into tiny pieces.

Since it is nearly Halloween I expect my next project will be a costume. I hope I can find some spare time!

Steampunk Softies – Craft Project and Book Review

Steampunk Softies
Steampunk Softies

Well, of course I had to pick up this book when I saw it in the store! Those craft retailers know the trends, and our weaknesses. Steampunk Softies is a new book by Sarah Skeate and Nicola Tedman. Many of you may be familiar with Sarah Skeate from her book Zombie Felties, which I also reviewed here. This book contains eight different characters/patterns, and includes very detailed instructions. The authors also include tips for how to modify some of the materials to make them look more authentic.
The first thing that you have to accept is that you will never, ever find the exact elements to perfectly recreate these dolls. And they tell you upfront in the introduction that you will have to make substitutions. This was actually a great exercise in creativity and making the doll your own. I was skeptical at first, but ultimately this was a lot of fun. I really had to look at craft items in a new way to achieve the look I wanted.
I chose to make Marveletta O’Houlihan. This decision was based mostly on the fact that she appeared to be the easiest doll to make. The materials and equipment list was very daunting, and to be honest I balked at it a bit. There are 37 individual items listed, including 4 different kinds of adhesive. Personally, I think E-6000 is the only adhesive I need, and it was the only thing I used. As a craft hoarder, I used this project as a personal challenge to purchase as little as possible and to just use what I had on hand. I’m sure you could easily spend $50 trying to assemble everything you needed. I say this because you can’t buy single bugle beads or 4 square inches of fabric at a time. So if you do one of these projects, try to work with what you’ve already got.

Constructing Marveletta
Constructing Marveletta

The body is assembled first, then the head piece is sewn on, and the collar covers the seam where they meet up. For the main body you are supposed to use a suiting fabric with a narrow pinstripe. The only appropriate fabric I had was brown, and I sewed pin stripes onto it, which they also recommend in the book if you can’t find what you need in the store. They are helpful with recommending substitutions here. For the hair they recommend a stretch woolen fabric. I did not have anything of that sort in my fabric collection, but I did have a fuzzy sweater with a hole in it that I planned to throw away. Lucky break there. I found working with the stretchy sweater really difficult, especially because the pattern has a lot of unusual curves that just didn’t keep their detail. But that’s just what I chose; another type of fabric may work better. I used muslin for the face and that worked out just fine. The face detail is drawn on with a marker, so I recommend that you do a test with the fabric and marker you choose before you do it for real on the final product. You have to hand-sew the stretchy hair fabric around the face in a kidney-shape with a blind stitch and that was probably the most difficult part of the whole project.

Opera Glasses
Opera Glasses

The next bit is the one that can either be really frustrating or really fantastic. Here you have to assemble her opera glasses and handbag. The body of the glasses is supposed to be a funnel-shaped metal blind pull weight, or similarly shaped bead. The handle is part of a handle to a tea strainer. Obviously I’m not going to go around town looking for a single blind pull weight, and if I hacksawed our tea strainer my husband would be a bit miffed because it is actually in active use at our house. Besides, those things are kind of expensive, at least too expensive to buy just so you can cut them apart. This is the point where I had to muster my creative energies and figure out how to make this work. My secret weapon: Sara Cura. Whenever I get to the Twin Cities area I stop by a little bellydance shop called Sara Cura, which is located in Dinkytown. The proprietor frequents estate sales for vintage jewelry and buys it in lots. These lots often contain broken and mismatched jewelry, which she sells in little bags for $4. Finally, this has paid off for me. I constructed the glasses from two funnel-shaped beads (purchased especially for this project), and two pearlescent beads from a broken necklace. For the handle I dug out an old bangle bracelet that I didn’t like, cut it and straightened it. I liked the texture of it and thought it would work here. All of this had to be glued together.
The handbag consists of beads and a charm I already had in my stash, and it is connected to the opera glasses with a chain from another broken necklace. The handbag is supposed to be attached to the body with a round-end safety pin, but I couldn’t find any. Instead I used a dangle earring finding. Her hair jewelry is an earring that had no mate.

Marveletta - both versionsMarveletta – both versions
Marveletta close up
Marveletta close up

As far as my review of the book, the instructions were very detailed and there are lots of drawings and photos to help you figure it out. I think that the patterns could be very adaptable to different kinds of dolls for whatever occasion. This could be a lot of fun for  a craft hoarder, but if you have not amassed a ridiculous amount of oddball craft items over the years it could be particularly difficult or expensive to pull this together. Ultimately, the only things I purchased especially for the project were plastic pellets (for fill) and the funnel-shaped beads. With the massive supply list at the beginning I did go into this project thinking that there was no way it was practical. But it really forced me to use my brain, and that’s always a good thing. I genuinely feel inspired by the project and I look forward to doing another in my spare time.

Hosting a Con Suite

After Decor
After decor, view 1
Before, view 1
Before decor

I’ve been trying to get some inspiration for running a con suite, hospitality suite, whatever you want to call it, for CoreCon 2012, but with little luck. When I Google these keywords I don’t get many useful hits. So in the interest of community service I’m going to blog about the suite that The KEEP put together for CoreCon 2011, in case anyone else out there is looking for ideas.

The KEEP (Karen, Eric, Erica, Paul) hosted our first ever suite this year and I think we learned a lot from the experience. And it was a total blast. We sort of went halvsies on Friday and Saturday nights. CoreCon’s theme for 2011 was “Myth and Magic.” In the spirit of this theme we chose “Tea and Tarot” for Friday. As the name implies, we served tea and did free Tarot readings. On Saturday we ran “Sword and Sorcery Sinema” which, once again, speaks for itself. Then again, after seeing Lou Ferrigno throw a bear into outer space, maybe it doesn’t.

We came up with the idea of a circus sideshow tent theme for the room decor. This required a lot of engineering. We ultimately built a rectangular frame out of 1/2 inch PVC pipe and draped it with muslin. We dyed the muslin (two 50-yard bolts) red and gold. It seemed to fit both circus and movie theatre ideas. We had originally planned to plant the upright supports in buckets filled with sand or gravel, but once we set it up another solution presented itself: we tied some supports to chairs and also used the loveseat in the room to keep everything sturdy and in place. Additional support was provided by masking tape. We had originally thought we’d drape very long lengths of muslin all the way across the top to make the room seem more tent-like, but the weight of the fabric was too much and we had to modify the plan. Half-inch PVC is very bendy. We draped two lengths diagonally across the top. I think it actually worked out really well. We also used a lot of large safety pins to keep everything in place. One of the best things we had was silicon tape, which we used to keep the pipes in place on the joints. That stuff rules! Additionally, for Friday we put posters on the wall that were printouts of vintage circus posters from circusmuseum.nl. Doing this on the cheap, I covered some foamcore boards with decorative wrapping paper (blue and gold, alternating) and then used double-sided tape to attach the 8.5 x 11 prints I’d run off with my Canon printer (which ran out of ink just as I was doing this of course!). On Saturday, Karen and Eric replaced them with movie posters. There are some really good resources online for that stuff.

Before, view 2
Before, view 2
After, view 2
After, view 2

To our surprise, we got the most compliments on our floor. At CONvergence 2010 we attended a panel about running con suites. One recommendation made was to buy self-adhesive painter’s plastic for the floor to protect against spills. As renters of the room we are responsible for paying for any damages. I think the plastic paid for itself almost immediately when, while having dinner before we opened, a slice of pizza took a dive onto the floor. Thanks to the great advice we received, it was a non-issue.

One issue we had to overcome was the shape of the room. Even when we got dimensions and a drawing we really had to check it out for ourselves. It was really a strange shape – I think it had 6 or 7 different angles, plus a small entry way. This ended up working out OK because when we made the frame a rectangle it left small alcoves we could use for private Tarot readings. On Saturday we removed one section of the frame and set up a movie screen in its place.

The CoreCon volunteers did a LOT to make our lives easier during the con. When we arrived the king size bed had already been removed. That was a huge help! Then they provided trash cans and bags and came around to empty them regularly. Less for us to worry about! We are very grateful for the support we got from CoreCon organizers.

Overall I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out. The main thing I think we should do differently for next year is to have more variety of snacks. We mostly had animal crackers (circus theme) and popcorn along with our tea and Kool-Aid. I don’t think we’ll ever do alcohol. There’s just too much expense and risk involved in that. Besides, there are plenty of other rooms who already have that covered.
So next year’s Con theme is The Apocalypse. We plan on working within that theme, but are not sure where to go with it. So far our Friday plan ideas (nothing in stone here) are Thundarr’s Cabaret, or The Atomic Church of Vectron. The main problem here is that the only things I know how to do in terms of entertaining others are bellydancing and Tarot reading. Thundarr’s Cabaret would require us to recruit a number of other reliable people.
Any suggestions? Lay them on me!