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 (I originally made capris from silk dupioni but they didn’t drape right.)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.

 

Outlander Claire Fraser Part 1: Chemise

I’ve been attending the Carolina Renaissance Festival for the last 10 years, ever since I moved into the area where I could easily attend without a long drive or overnight stay. Ever since my first attendance, I’ve always wanted to go in costume. But I’ve never had an appropriate costume. Sure I could wear any of my previous cosplays to Halloween weekend. But Ren Fest is in a field and they open rain or shine (except on extremely stormy weather); muddy fields and cosplays that aren’t washer friendly don’t really mix. Also, I didn’t want to restrict myself to Halloween weekend to wear costumes.

Then I fell – literally fell – into the Outlander fandom. The truth is I’ve always wanted to make historical costumes. Early period costumes have always been fascinating to me. I absolutely fell in love with the costumes Caitorina Balfe wears as Claire Fraser and wanted to make one. Which one would I start with though? In my early research I found out very quickly that finding appropriate tartan patterns was going to be expensive, so I opted for a “simpler” outfit I could easily find wool and linen in appropriate colors. I decided on her “hunt” outfit since I liked the colors and the knitted capelet. Also Claire rewears the bodice many times, and wears the same (or similar) woolen brown overskirt in other outfits.

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Even though Outlander is historical fantasy, I wanted a costume that was somewhat period accurate. That meant having all the pieces: chemise, bum roll, corset, petticoat, bodice, pockets, stomacher, and overskirt. So many layers, but I was willing to do it. Knowing that the fit of the bodice and overskirt was largely dependent on the underlayers, I decided it was best to work from the inside out. Thus, step 1: chemise.

Originally I made a chemise out of white muslim and Simplicity pattern 2777 with some modifications. When I was nearly done, I realized that this was going to be too much fabric underneath all the other layers. I could use this chemise for some other, less layer inducing project but not this one. Back to the drawing board.

I ended up remaking the chemise in a much lighter cotton gauze. Since this was going to be the layer underneath everything else, it was going to be subjected to the least amount of scrutiny. So instead of using a period appropriate pattern, I ended up modifying Simplicity 1317 instead, to both get a good fit and cut down on bulk. I added 3.5 inches to the front and back middle folds, increasing the overall width to roughly 47 inches. Since 1317 is a shirt, the hem was lengthen by an extra 17 inches.

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The seams are French seamed; this seemed the best way to go since sergers didn’t exist in the 1700s. I could have used my serger – no one will see the chemise – but I wanted to try to be as accurate as I could. The hems are all finished by hand using a whip stitch.

t purchased enough cotton gauze to make two chemises since this was the layer closest to my skin and was likely to get the “funkiest.” One chemise had an improvised V-slash neck added to the front and the other had eyelets. The V-slash one is not very neat; it puckers at the bottom V edge. But considering it will be hidden beneath everything else and is the spare chemise, I’m not overly concerned.

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Now that the chemise is done, next step: corset. Or bum roll. Probably the bum roll since it’s easiest and I already have a pattern and materials.

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. 🙂

Daenerys Targaryn Season 3 Dress Cosplay

I spent most of this past June watching Game of Thrones season 2. I don’t have HBO so I must wait until February 2014 to watch season 3, but that hasn’t stopped me from finding clips on YouTube and searching the net for pictures. As one might have guessed, Daenerys Targaryen is one of my favorite characters (along with Arya and Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister). I was asked by my friends to go to Anime Weekend Atlanta this year and bring a kpop cosplay I wore to Animazement but what else would I bring? I haven’t watched/read much anime/manga in the last year so either I would bring a Clara cosplay or something new. Something new I thought, but a new Clara or…and then I found images of Daenerys’ season 3 blue dragonscale dress outfit.

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Okay, sure, why not? I’ve never done anything like this before but how hard could it be? I’ve been sewing/cosplaying for 10 years so this will be easy.

Uh…oops.

The pants took me a day; the ring, necklace, boots, and wig took me a total of 20 minutes to order from eBay, Etsy, and Aliexpress. The wig took 3 tries and 30 minutes to braid. The dress…just about stressed me out.

Let’s talk about this dress, shall we? First, I had to make a mock up because there were absolutely no patterns I could just modify like I always do. It took two mock ups to get right using whatever fabric I had on hand. First mock up involved simply cutting out the pieces I needed from two patterns and throwing them both onto the dressform.

imageOnce the two patterns were pinned together, I took a Sharpie and drew out the curves I wanted before cutting the pattern to pieces and making a second mock up.

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I like to joke that I make the second mock up in Lannister red but the truth is that was purely an accident (it was the only spare fabric I had big enough).

The second mock up still needed some work before I finally cut into the real fabric. I originally planned to dye the fabric to the correct color, but it came out too light. I ended up purchasing an indigo blue medium weight linen from an online retailer specializing in Renaissance fabrics (the fabric I dyed ended up becoming the lining piece).

Once the main dress was completed, I started work on the embroidery. I got lucky and stumbled upon the website of Michele Carragher, one of the costumer embroiderers for the show. On her website, she explains the process of the dragonscale and how there are actually three versions of Daenerys’ dress. Since most of my reference images were of the second dress, that’s the one I went with. I followed Michele’s simple tutorial for the dragonscale but had to make up the rest on my own.

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Once the embroidery was done, all that was left was to piece it all together. Here’s the finished result:

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The whole process took me over a month to finish. It really shouldn’t have taken that long since I am currently on summer break from work until next week. But I had to keep talking myself into working on the dress. I kept thinking I was going to ruin everything and didn’t want to waste all my work. One of my friends, Ali, who is also a Daenerys cosplayer, had to keep feeding me words of encouragement. In the end, I love the result. I hope to wear this for an on location photoshoot before AWA so I can work out any kinks. But it is going to be epic and I am so proud of myself for doing this.

Next I think I’ll backtrack to season 2 and work on Daenerys’ Qarth dress. More challenges await with that one.