Star Wars Rey Cosplay – Outfit

As soon as I finished my Rey wig, I started searching for fabric. I happened upon a forum where someone had posted the fabrics used in the movie (though I can’t find the link anymore). Using that information, I tried to find fabrics in creams, ivories, and pale olives in the same fibers – or as close as I could get. I knew that I may have to do a little weathering and/or dying to get the right look but I wanted to start with as much off white as possible.

First: capris. I purchased a pair of yoga capris in a light gray rayon/spandex fiber. It’s the wrong fiber type (Rey actually wears silk capris) but the drape in the right flow. (I originally made capris from silk dupioni but they didn’t drape right.) The gray was a little to bright for the rest of the outfit so it took a bath in some tea and is now a more dingy gray – which is perfect. They are super comfortable to; I may end up living the entire summer in those pants.

Second: shirt. I made the shirt out of jersey knit in a sort of ivory color. I used Burda 7742 for the base. The collar piece I did modifying the sleeve placket for an Archer shirt, then took an extra strip of fabric to finish off the color. For the sleeve caps, I took excess fabric, pinned it on, cut until I liked the shape, then stitched. I left the sleeve caps unfinished since it appears as if Rey simply cut off her sleeves in the film.

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The shirt is a bit see-through, but I plan to wear a tannish tank top underneath. Plus the sash will cover up the important parts.

Sash: originally the sash was going to be made of ivory rayon challis, but I soon realized that – like the pants – while it was the proper fiber the drape and feel was all wrong. Instead I used ivory cotton gauze (originally for the arm wraps). I cut the gauze to 1/4 its width, french seamed 3 of the pieces together, then made a narrow double rolled hem on either side. I made a single rolled hem on the short edges to keep from fraying during the dying process (these stitches may come out later). The french seams are strategically placed so that one is on the right shoulder seam of the shirt and the other is on the back near the waist (to be hidden by the belt).

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Arm wraps: I originally intended to make the arm wraps out of jersey knit and gauze so that I could just pull them on. That didn’t quite work since 1) gauze isn’t very stretchy and 2) I used the gauze for the sash. Instead, I headed to my local drugstore and bought elastic bandage. It had the right look and stretchability. I thought it would take way too long to constantly wrap my arms, but after a test run that took less than 2 minutes it wasn’t so bad. There’s a little bit of restriction in my elbows but nothing horrible. It’s kind of like wearing compression sleeves and, I’m sure, after a bit of movement it will be fine.

Now for the hard part: dying and staining. To get the sweated in look, everything was placed in a dye bath of tea and/or coffee. I used tea bags to sponge on stain near the shirt collar and underarms. Then did an all over dying for the shirt and sash in coffee to get a more yellowed color. More dying in tea for a deep set in stain. Then finished with pearl grey RIT dye for a worn look; the sash went into the RIT dye the longest for a deeper, dingy-er looking stain while the shirt went in for just a minute or two for a dirty look. The above image is the before picture; you can see how everything is just very white and pale.

And here’s the after photo.

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I am quite happy with the way everything turned out. Dying fabrics is one of my least favorite activities crafting wise so I’m quite pleased with how everything came out.

Next, the accessories – or at least the most essential ones.

Star Wars Rey Cosplay – Wig

I have been a Star Wars fan since I was a kid. I was born the year after Empire Strikes Back was released, but I didn’t actually watch any of the original movies until I was a pre-teen. There was a point in my life during which I could recite verbatim every line in the original three movies. Like everyone one, I am not a fan of the Phantom Menace but I do like Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith – but only due to Ewan McGregor portraying my favorite character, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Now that The Force Awakens has been released, I am falling in the love with the series all over again. I have been told by a few of my friends that they can picture me cosplaying Rey. I haven’t actually seen the movie myself (stupid motion sickness), but I’ve read spoilers and do – from what little I know – enjoy her character.

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2016 is the year I take a break from cosplaying to focus on other activities, but Claire Fraser was already on my to-do list. I needed a simpler cosplay for those few cons I am attending. Rey seemed like the best bet: simple to construct (save for the staff), simple to wear.

First part: wig. I used my Peggy Carter wig from WigIsFashion for Rey’s wig. I love Peggy but will likely not wear her in a cosplay in a long while, so to save funds I styled her wig for Rey. It turned out to be not only the perfect shade of brown but the perfect length for all the buns.

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It was a relatively simple process. First, I combed back the wig, gathered a small piece at the front and top, and tied it off with a small black elastic band. This would be the little gathered piece at the front of Rey’s head. Then, the rest of the wig was divided into three equal sections to serve as the three buns. Using black elastic bands, these sections were tied off, then partially pulled through to make the loop. A small section of loose hair from just under the loops was wrapped around the black elastic bands then secured with bobby pins.

Two small curly sections were left free just in front of the ear parts to simulate the wispy strands of Rey’s hair. And that’s it! I find a curly wig better for styling than straight wigs. If anyone is looking to replicate this style, I recommend a curly lace front wig no longer than 20 inches in length (any longer and you’re have too much extra fiber to contend with).

Currently my fabrics are on their way so I will hopefully soon get to making the actual outfit.

 

Peggy’s Red Dress

When I set out to cosplay Peggy Carter, I didn’t ever think I would make her red dress from Captain America. I had no occasion or place to wear such a dress to. But it’s Peggy and I love her, and I love her in red. Plus I figured just in case I do have an occasion I should have a dress ready.

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The dress is made of red polyester suiting with (of course) red stain for trim. The pattern is a modified Simplicity 2648 (this pattern is discontinued and I had to get it through Amazon).  The only changes that needed to be made were the sleeves and the pleats on the hips.

IMG_8742I followed the pattern pieces of an A cup and curvy. I added the sleeves from Simplicity 1687 and added satin trim to them. For the collar trim, I used leftover blue polyester lining to draft a pattern but cut out the pieces from satin. I wished I had made them a little more narrow but didn’t realize how wide they were until I started photographing the dress.

For the hip pleats, I took the side front skirt pattern piece, cut a diagonal into it, and then created a large curve in the space to the fabric needed to make the pleats. (I wish I had pictures to show, but I forget to document my process while I’m actually doing it.)

IMG_8744I like how the skirt and hip pleats came out. I have leftover red fabric and am contemplating making a skirt of it for work.

This dress took a little longer than I expected. I originally intended to add lining to the dress to give it a better finish and a smoother drape. But the added lining made it difficult for me to properly use my arms when fully zipped up. Also, I had first used a different sleeve pattern that I realized was better suited for slightly stretchier fabrics resulting in even more limited motion in my arms. I spent an entire morning ripping out the lining and top to make a new top with new sleeves that fit a lot better.

The shoes were acquired off eBay; they are a smidge brighter red but nothing too obvious. The belt was acquired off Amazon. I actually bought three skinny belts for this dress: one bright red, one metallic red, and one light burgundy. The bright red came first and did not match any of my fabrics or shoes. The metallic red is a beautiful belt but a touch too vibrant. The light burgundy ended up being the perfect choice; I figured it would but don’t mind having additional belts in my wardrobe.

I got a lot of help from adriuh via Instagram on this dress. She had already made her own version and was gracious enough to help me when I had questions. She showed me the pattern she used as a base, the draft on Pinterest of how she did the pleats, and even shared her setting pattern for Peggy’s curls and waves. Honestly, without her help I’m not even sure if making this dress would have ever occurred.

So my second Peggy Carter cosplay is done! I think next I’ll work on my blue and red dress from the tv series since it’s my favorite.

Project Rebirth Agent Carter

Agent Margaret “Peggy” Carter is one of my favorite female characters. I loved her from the start in Captain America: The First Avenger; loved her even more in Marvel’s Agent Carter. Peggy is really what got me going into the vintage fashion. She’s my inspiration not just in fashion but also in life as she is a strong, confident woman. I love her blue suit in Agent Carter and have plans to cosplay the outfit at HeroesCon this year. But before that I wanted to cosplay some of her Captain America uniforms.

I decided to start with her Project Rebirth outfit.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER

I made a few changes to the outfit since I had plans to used some of the pieces (mostly the skirt) as a work skirt as well. I chose colors that could still pass for being a uniform to keep with the style.

IMG_7983 FixedI used Simplicity 3688 for the skirt. The skirt is made of brown polyester suiting and brown polyester lining; it’s a slightly brighter brown than the uniform skirt but not bad for work. The pattern has extra seams in the front and back which I opted to keep.

The shirt is a short sleeved button down I made using an old pattern in a tan/beige stretch poplin. Unfortunately the pattern was designed to not button all the way to the collar so it’s a little tight up there. I have an alternate white long sleeved button down shirt I bought a while ago to use every now and then. Peggy’s shirt appears to be white but I made a beige alternative. I also made it short sleeved so I could wear this cosplay in a Southern summer without killing myself in the heat and humidity.

I don’t remember the pattern number, sorry to say. I have a lot of button down shirt style patterns and do not recall the exact one I used.

The tie was made using olive green suiting and black polyester lining. I used Sweet Shop Sewing’s free tie pattern. It was really simple to make but somewhat long. I have to tuck it into the skirt so it doesn’t show. The only thing I omitted was the little tab to hold the back of the tie, but it’s not necessary for my needs.

Originally I had planned to use olive green twill and dark green polyester lining with brass eagle buttons and make the jacket myself. However, I made a mistake in cutting the pattern pieces out. I told myself not to make that mistake and I went ahead and did it anyway. Instead of buying more fabric and potentially making the same mistake again, I found a vintage Eisenhower jacket on Etsy. The Eisenhower jacket is the model for Peggy’s jacket; the only difference is most Eisenhowers were made with the buttons and waist belt going to the right (Peggy’s go to the left which is the more feminine style). It was one deviation I could live with for the sake of my sanity. The only thing I had to do to the jacket once it arrived was add the brass buttons…

IMG_7986 Fixed…or so I thought. Since the Eisenhower was a vintage and used piece, it had some damage. The seller did mention damage in their listing but was not specific in details. Most of the damage was confined to the sleeves with tiny holes in the shoulder and upper arm areas. Also the sleeve edges were worn and had holes. The most significant hole was on the left sleeve around the elbow area. I didn’t worry myself over the tiny holes since they weren’t too noticeable. The sleeve edges I managed to fix by shortening the sleeves to a more appropriate length for my shorter arms. The hole on the elbow was more problematic; I managed to sew it closed but it’s still very visible. Since I don’t plan on entering any craftsmanship competitions with this, I can deal.

Also the shoulders are HUGE on me despite this being one of smallest sized Eisenhowers I could find. =/

The shoes are from B.A.I.T. Footwear (not shown), the company that makes Peggy’s shoes from Agent Carter. The style is Roberta in tan. I had to go up in size since I have wide feet so they are a little long but oh so cute and fairly comfortable. They are not the exact shoes, as I need shoes with straps (I don’t walk well in heels without straps to hold them on). But they are brown and vintage inspired, which is appropriate for Peggy.

IMG_7988The S.S.R. pins and airsoft gun (also not shown) are from sellers on eBay. They are the perfect props, and the airsoft gun looks just like a Walther PPK – the type of gun Peggy (and James Bond) use.

So, my first Peggy Carter cosplay is officially complete. Next up is her red dress, which I already have all the materials for. 🙂

Building A Peggy Carter Wardrobe

In my Going Vintage post, I mentioned that one of my current role models is Agent Peggy Carter played by the lovely and talented Hayley Atwell. One of the things I absolutely love about Peggy is her sense of style. Since I’ve been attempting to go more vintage in my wardrobe, what better way to get inspiration than to start with Peggy.

So I have plans to make her iconic blue suit but I am having difficulty finding the appropriate blue color fabric in the right texture. I also have plans to make some of her Captain America uniforms but some of the pieces do not exactly translate to a teacher’s wardrobe. Since I love many of her pieces from Marvel’s Agent Carter, it just made sense to reproduce similar pieces.

A lot of Peggy’s pieces were either actual vintage pieces or custom made for the show. Other than the shoes and make up, there’s no way I’m going to be able to acquire screen accurate pieces. So the challenge would be to make them as close as possible. Challenge accepted!

One of the pieces I really love is her blue and red dress she wears midway through the first episode.

ZLu5UhcThis is one of my favorite pieces from the series and probably the closest to what I currently have in my wardrobe. I am fairly certain the original was made is a polyester type fabric but I plan to make mine in scuba knit for stretchability.

Next are her two suit jackets from the finale episode, Valediction. One is a dark blue plaid with an equally dark blue belt…

agentcaWhile the second is a dark blue stripe with a brighter toned blue belt.

agent-carter-finale_article_story_largeThe two outfits seem to use the same dark blue pants and shoes but the jackets, shirts, and belts change. They looked so similar with shirts having similar collar structures that I originally thought they were the same outfit. I’m more partial to the blue plaid one so that’s the jacket I’m likely to make first.

Speaking of plaid jackets, her red plaid jacket from the end of Time and Tide is just gorgeous and eye catching.

peggy carter in red plaid blazerThe costume designers of the show have stated that her skirt here is brown, but I think a dark navy would be more appropriate and work just as well.

Her green wrap dress coat from the Iron Ceiling is also a favorite.

1536x2048The skirt has a nice swing to it. I think this is one of the few non-red, white, and blue outfits Peggy wears but I still love it. Wrap dresses work for almost any body type, especially my pear shaped figure.

There is of course her vintage blue and pink dress from the interview at the Griffith scene.

agent-carterThis is going to be an interesting challenge getting those pink stripes to line up.

Of course Peggy also has a number of silk shirts. I can think of at least five different styles she wears, most of them made of silk. Silk is expensive these days so I will probably use it only sparingly, making most of the shirts out of polyester, shirting, or poplin. The upside of making so many shirts is I will have plenty to wear for work.

agent-carter-pilot-hayley-atwell_article_story_largeLast but not least is the red dress from the bar scene in Captain America.

ca003I have no idea when this dress will be worn but it’s nonetheless beautiful and I want it.

My plan is to have at least two of these outfits, the blue suit with red fedora, and one of Peggy’s uniforms done by the end of the year. Since I’ve already made a pair of blue pants, modified a red fedora, and have all but a uniform jacket done, I think I am well on the way there. 🙂

Next thing I need to do is get comfortable wearing a red lip and make up. =/

Elsa Ice Dress

Halloween is five days away! What are your plans?

Normally I don’t dress up on Halloween. I work as a science teacher; most days are spent either teaching labs or prepping for said labs. My cosplays are not exactly lab friendly as you might imagine. This year Halloween is on a Friday. I don’t have classes on Fridays so dressing up is kind of a wasted effort.

BUT! My city is kind of small and the downtown businesses still do trick-or-treating for the kids. So I thought this year I would take the opportunity to dress up and walk the streets, without having to worry about getting home in time to get ready for work the next day.

I told myself I wasn’t going to make Elsa’s ice dress for a good long while because it seems like EVERYONE is making one. I love Elsa – I practically am Elsa – but I didn’t want to be known as one of those “weird Frozen obsessed people.”

But then I saw the new season of Once Upon A Time…and I fell in love with their version of Elsa, played by the lovely Georgina Haig. While I love the costume design in the movie, there are elements on the OUAT version I also love. Since I decided to cosplay Elsa in her famous ice dress for Halloween, it was a good time to figure out how to combine elements.

I am in love with the concept art by Brittany Lee so I took most of my references from the Art of Frozen book.

frozen6-small-1024x787What I love most about movie Elsa is her gorgeous sheer cape and the shape of her dress. At lot of cosplayers make her dress very straight (which is perfectly fine) but I love the slight train she is supposed to have. I also love the look of falling icicles in the skirt. I managed to find fabric on Etsy that mimics the skirt (which saves me a lot of heartache in searching and failing in my local fabric stores). I also managed to find – much to my delight and relief – another seller on Etsy who was selling pre-printed cape fabric; saves me the time and frustration of figuring out how to get the design on. (At one point, however, I do play to make a longer cape which means I will eventually have to figure out all those designs. Not today though.)

Screen-Shot-2014-08-24-at-8.36.31-PMWhat I love most about OUAT Elsa is the simplified sleeves and the bodice. While the sleeves lack the X shaped design on the elbows and the neckline is more simplified, the fabric is much more sparkly by nature. Again, I found sparkly stretchy fabric on Etsy so all I have to figure out is the neckline (Do I want a string of rhinestones to make it easier or hand bead the neckline? Decisions.) What I love about the bodice is the transition between round rhinestones at the top to the more icicle like look at the bottom to blend with the skirt. The costumers of the show seem to use the same fabric for the bodice and skirt. Mine is different so I plan to make the same transition with rhinestones in two sizes getting less and less dense towards the bottom.

I also love the much more simplified braid in OUAT so my wig is a whole lot easier to style and manage. To make the wig, I started off with a Dany style wig from Arda Wigs in the titanium blonde color. I sewed in wefts from another blonde wig (that surprisingly had fibers of the exact same color) to make it a little longer and fuller. Since Dany is a single length wig, I made a few long bang cuts but then opted to braid those in to better match OUAT’s style. The rhinestone snowflakes are 6 rhinestone buttons either attached straight to the wig or to blonde colored bobby pins.

imageThe bodice is made using the same pattern as my Elsa coronation bodice, Simplicity 1499 (I have plans to make Anna’s coronation bodice with the same pattern; it’s so universal). It’s made in three layers: one layer shimmery teal blue lame fabric, one layer non-stretch white twill (to stabilize the lame), and one layer cotton fabric with Frozen print. There is light boning and a lace up back. Unlike both movie and OUAT versions, I opted once again to make the bottom front rounded rather than pointed. I used the rhinestones to create a transition like effect; more rhinestones at the top and gradually decreasing their numbers to the bottom.

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The skirt is a shimmery light teal viscose material. Originally I had intended to make it part of an underdress. However, once I was finished it was difficult to zip the dress up past the waist because of all the fabric. Since the bodice goes below my waist, I opted to turn the dress into a skirt instead. It’s difficult to see, but there is a slit on the right side that goes to just above the knee – like Elsa’s slit. (Also, it’s really difficult to photography the skirt fabric; it’s so pretty and shimmery but just doesn’t show up well in pictures.)

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The shimmery top is made of a semi-stretchy material with blue metallic threads woven in. I modified a raglan sleeve top to get the shape I wanted. Unfortunately for my first run the top looks great but is a pain to get on and off without contorting my body and over stretching the seams a little. I also could not add on the pretty chained rhinestones otherwise I lose the stretch factor. I plan to remake the top in the same material but have a back opening (non-accurate but easier on and off).

The cape is attached to a length of teal bias tape then attached to the bodice by 8 snaps. It goes to just under the arm; my second cape I intend to come up around the bust, which is more accurate to the movie’s version.

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My shoes (not shown) are a glittery blue jelly wedge heel I got from the UK off eBay. They have a Mary Jane strap and are surprisingly comfortable despite how they look. They are not accurate but Elsa’s shoes would fall off my feet without the strap…if I don’t fall and break my ankles with the stiletto like heels.

Overall I am very happy with the outcome. There are some parts accurate to the movie, some parts accurate to the show, but a bit of it is my own interpretation. I’m really glad all the colors, fabrics, textures, and designs mesh very well. I can’t wait to wear it but I’m slightly nervous too. I don’t want to disappoint any child with my version of the costume. =/

Margaery Tyrell Dress

Lately all I want to make are Game of Thrones cosplays.  As impractical as they are for everyday life, they are gorgeous in construction.  One of my favorite characters, as you all know, is Daenerys Targaryen.  But, as I began to watch season 3, I started to really like Margaery Tyrell.

It kind of helps that I simply adore Natalie Dormer as Jaime Moriarty in Elementary.  😉

I cringed at Margaery’s clothes from season 2 since most of them were a bit too revealing in the front for my taste.  But her season 3 outfits, while still a little revealing, are less so – and mostly in the back.  The dress I really fell in love with was  the one she wears when she is consoling Sansa Stark after Sansa’s engagement to Tyrion Lannister.

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The open sides and not-so-low neckline were appealing to me, as was the design of the top and rose belt.

I crafted my dress using McCalls 6941. The skirt was kept basically the same, but the top was modified using a muslim mock up to be cropped, have a closed back, and a closer to the neck collar.

I used baroque satin for the skirt. It is my least favorite satin to work with since it is cheap and overly shiny, but it was the only satin that came in the color I wanted. To tone down the shine, I used the back. Margaery’s skirt is two layered but I didn’t want to deal with excess weight since this is being worn at an end-of-summer con. Instead, I have a separate cotton underskirt whose only purpose is to make sure I don’t have an unwanted silhouette when the light hits the skirt just so. The waist band is made from a teal colored cotton velveteen.

The top is made from upholstery weight fabric in a tan blue pattern and blue cotton lining, also trimmed in cotton velveteen. Margaery’s top has a criss cross pattern on the back, but the back of my top is simplified; I didn’t want to deal with the frustrating of figuring out the criss cross. It closes in the front with four hooks and eyes. The skirt is attached to the top by two heavy duty hooks and eyes.

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The rose belt is made freehanded style using worbla and acrylic paint. The paint is in colors bronze (for the rose), gold, and silver. Two primer coats of Mod Podge gloss spray, 5-8 coats of paint, then finished with 4 coats of Mod Podge to seal. I purposefully omitted the gesso and sanding priming step most cosplayers use when working with worbla; I wanted the knobby, uneven look, as if a real rose and its stem had been dipped in metal. The belt attaches to the top waist band with three blue satin ribbons hand sewn to the top.

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I was really enthusiastic about making this dress – that was before I started work on Elsa. After I finished Elsa, my motivation just stopped. It was a struggle to finish Margaery in time. It’s not 100% up to my acceptance level but it’s function, fits, and everyone can recognize it.