Crime Scene

I absolutely love true crime television shows, movies, documentaries, and books. It runs in my family a bit, too: my sister has a degree in Criminal Justice, and my oldest niece is a police officer. I just love the whole process of investigating a crime, gathering evidence, tracking down the culprit, and seeing justice served. I love the mix of science, psychology, and good-old critical thinking and observation skills.

That said, I stopped in to Ax-Man Surplus in spring of 2015 to see what sort of treasures I could find. Ax-Man is a store that sells random crap. That’s the best way I can describe it. I found a bunch of other awesome things that day, but my favorite was a roll of “Crime Scene Do Not Cross” tape. I bought it, and I had no idea what I planned to do with it except maybe hang some up somewhere for the hell of it. Impulse buy, I guess.

I can’t remember if it was the same day or a few days later, but I came up with the idea to make a crime scene costume. No, not a dead body – a costume of the crime scene evidence. The idea blossomed and I had an exact vision for how I wanted it to look, but every time I tried to explain it to people I just got odd looks and a reluctant, “…uh…okaaaaay…” response. Sigh. I’m not very good at explaining the weird ideas in my head.

The base of the costume was just a very simple black sleeveless dress that I bought from Kohl’s, I think. I could have made that myself, but I didn’t want to bother with it since I knew I’d be doing the rest from scratch.

I bought some red confetti dot fabric (basically a metallic red fabric with red foil dots) and cut out a giant blood splotch shape and hand-sewed it to the dress. Because the fabric was so odd, I didn’t want to risk ruining it with attempting to use my sewing machine. Once that was sewn, I sewed a 1/4″ red sequin trim around the edge of the blood splotch. This was hand-sewn because sequin trim is the spawn of the devil and there is no easy way to sew this stuff on. Believe me.

Once the dress was done, I started to work on the head piece and shoulder piece. The head piece started as a plain headband that I bought at a craft store, and then I made a giant bow out of the crime scene tape, mixed in tons of red tulle and netting, and even attached some actual spent bullet casings to the whole thing.

The shoulder piece was made similarly with a crime scene tape bow and red netting and tulle, but I added on some red rhinestones and bought a toy cap gun (which I then painted black and covered with black glitter). The whole piece is detachable so I can wash the dress.

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I made jewelry as well. The necklace is silver chain with actual spent bullet casings (in aluminum and brass) with red crystal beads. I made earrings as well, which are made with spent bullet casings, red crystal beads, and red tri-cut seed beads. (I forgot to take a photo of those, so I’ll add one later.)

The rest of the costume consisted of a pair of yellow tights with black fishnets layered over them, a pair of black boots, and makeup that included bright yellow eyeshadow.

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With my boyfriend Dane, who dressed as a red panda.

I think the end result was pretty close to how I imagined it.

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When I wore it to a party on Halloween, I won third place at a costume contest!

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Jedi Belt Pouch

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I finished making a little pouch for my Jedi costume, since I needed something to carry my phone/cash/random stuff that wasn’t a purse. My plan was to hang it from the belt I made, but since that’s just fabric, it wasn’t sturdy enough to hold the weight of the pouch with items in it. I dug out the belt I use for my Catwoman costume and I think that will do well. It looks okay, I think! I hid the buckle under the pouch, so hopefully nobody will see it. If anything, this will be a temporary solution until I come up with a better plan, or find a better-looking glorified fanny pack that goes with this costume.

Scarlet Witch (Age of Ultron) – Marvel Comics/MCU

I love Scarlet Witch so much, and for a long time I’ve wanted to make her classic costume from the comics, but I could never find the right pieces for it. Back when they debuted the concept drawings and announced she would be part of Avengers: Age of Ultron, I got super excited because 1) Scarlet Witch was going to be in an Avengers movie, and 2) I really, really loved the modern take on her costume. Because her costume is essentially a normal outfit (no spandex bodysuit!) it was a lot easier to track down the different pieces.

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Let’s get to the breakdown of the cosplay!

Jacket: I bought the jacket off of fjackets.com, which is where I bought my Poe Dameron jacket as well. Like the Poe jacket, the sizes run really small and a 3X fits more like a large. Thankfully, I don’t have to zip up the jacket, so it’s fine. It came with the black gauntlets, but that ended up being a hurdle later on…

Gauntlets: The gauntlets that came with the jacket were made from real leather, but they were TINY. I’m a bigger gal, but my wrists and forearms are actually pretty small, and I couldn’t get these things to go further than just above my wrist. I also noticed the zippers were in the wrong direction (if I wanted to go for screen accuracy). So, I had to make my own. I bought some black pleather fabric from Joann’s and decided to use the zippers in the original ones. I didn’t have a pattern, so I just winged it. I’m really happy with how they turned out! In the photo above, the photo on the left is what the gauntlets looked like that came with the jacket. The second photo is a screen capture from the film. The third photo is my end result.

Wig: I bought a Scarlet Witch-style wig from eBay, and it’s surprisingly decent quality for just under $20.

Dress: The black dress is a kimono-style dress I bought from Target several years ago. It looks nothing like the one in the film, but…”meh, close enough.” I bought a cranberry red lace-trim camisole to wear under it.

Boots: The boots are a pair I’ve had for several years that I picked up at JCPenney (originally for a Joan Jett costume I wore for Halloween) and loved them so much that they’re a staple of my wardrobe. They no longer sell them, unfortunately, or else I would buy 20 more pairs so I never have to worry about wearing out my current pair.

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Knee-Highs: These were tricky, because apparently the company that made the ones worn in the film doesn’t sell them anymore. I ended up taking an old pair of black knit leggings and cutting off the legs and just took my scissors to them to make giant holes. I bought a pair of knee-high nylons and made runs in those (sealed with clear nail polish to keep them from getting too shredded). The leggings are tucked in to the tops of the knee-highs.

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Jewelry: There’s a lot of jewelry in this cosplay! There are two necklaces: one is a Kuchi coin on a silver chain, and one is a really weird ribbon/chain necklace with charms on it. The Kuchi coin one was easy – there’s a seller on Etsy who sells the pendants. It’s really pretty, and I wear it as regular jewelry even when I’m not cosplaying Scarlet Witch. For the other necklace, I bought some antique bronze-finish 3MM chain from Michael’s. I had some medium blue 3MM satin ribbon already, so I didn’t need to buy that. It was really difficult to tell what sort of charms were on the chain, and with all of my research on the internet, it looked like it was a big donut-shaped pendant of some kind (likely metal or stone?), a smaller (1″ or so) coin or disc, a dark green stone with gold trim, and a round medium green stone. I used a 12MM round green aventurine bead on a gold head pin for one charm, an 8x12MM green onyx bezel with gold trim for the other charm, a Burmese coin with a hole drilled in the top for the silver disc, and a 1 1/2″ steel washer from Home Depot (painted with metallic acrylic paint to give it more of a weathered look) as the main “donut.” I put it all together and I think it looks pretty good. She also wears many, many rings, so I just dug into my jewelry box and picked out the coolest-looking ones I had.

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I’m actually really happy with how it turned out, especially for a “meh, close enough” type of cosplay. Eventually I’ll make a classic Scarlet Witch cosplay, but that probably won’t be for a while.

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With my friend Paul (dressed as Fry from Futurama) on Halloween 2016.

Rebel, Rebel Princess Blaster

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I finished my Rebel, Rebel Princess blaster this weekend!

As you can see in the above photo, the blaster (which is just a Rubie’s Costume Co. prop) was white with orange accents. I received a tip from a friend who also painted one of these blasters and he suggested that I lightly sand the blaster with a fine-grit sandpaper and wash it with dish soap before painting it. Apparently paint doesn’t seem to adhere to the orange areas very well. I also used a little acetone nail polish remover to try and get some of the orange paint off of the blaster. I didn’t get all of it, but sanding it down definitely helped.

Then, I painted the blaster with two coats of DecoArt Americana Gloss Enamels acrylic paint in Shimmering Silver. This paint has really good coverage, which surprised me. I’ve had issues with metallic acrylic paint in the past where they paint on really streaky. Then, I added the glitter by painting a small area with Mod Podge and sprinkling glitter over the painted area and shaking the excess off. I repeated this process until the entire blaster was covered in glitter.

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Looks pretty glittery and fantastic, yeah? Only issue is that glitter pretty much exploded off of the dang thing every time I touched it. I was covered in glitter. The floor was covered in glitter. My cats were covered in glitter. (Not that this is a bad thing, but…)

This was remedied by spraying two coats of Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic spray, and then painting a layer of Mod Podge Extreme Glitter (mixed with a fair amount of the same silver glitter I used on the rest of the blaster). The acrylic spray held the majority of the glitter in place, and the Mod Podge really helped keep the glitter adhered to the blaster (and, by using the Extreme Glitter version, it added some nice iridescent sparkle, too).

When I debuted my Rebel, Rebel Princess costume a couple of weeks ago, I had only sprayed one coat of acrylic spray over the blaster, and it was still exploding glitter everywhere, so hopefully this final process will help seal everything in. I’ll find out this weekend when I wear it at MarsCon.

Jedi Robe!

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I finished my Jedi robe this weekend for my Kaiya Liin (original Jedi character) costume. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I may add a lining at some point, but I think it looks good for now. I used a heavy suiting fabric for it, and I’m concerned it might get super hot at cons, but we’ll see. I used Simplicity pattern 5840 (style B) and it was really easy to follow. The robe looks a little more fantasy than Star Wars, but I’m okay with that.

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The plus side is that I’m pretty sure this robe could be used for other costumes in the future. Currently, my cats are using it as a fort. It’s a good thing I have plenty of lint rollers.

Upcoming Event: MarsCon 2017

I’ll be attending MarsCon 2017 from March 3-5! On Saturday at 4:00 PM, I’ll be part of a panel called “Star Wars Costumes: Beginner to Advanced” along with a few of my fellow Minnesota Force members.

Tickets are still available for MarsCon, so I hope to see you there!

My tentative costume lineup:

Friday: Original Jedi Character (Kaiya Liin)
Saturday: Rebel, Rebel Princess (Princess Leia/David Bowie)
Sunday: Poe Dameron

Rebel, Rebel Princess – Princess Leia (Star Wars)/David Bowie

2016 was a tough year for a lot of people. For me, three of my heroes passed away – David Bowie, Prince, and Carrie Fisher. I’ve seen the mashup of Princess Leia and David Bowie in artwork before, but I really wanted to take my own spin on it and turn it into a costume. My goal was to blend the two as much as possible.

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The Dress: I bought two kinds of fabric for the dress – white Sew Classic Knits Jet Set Fabric and Glitterbug Foil Dot Mesh Fabric in white, which were both purchased from Joann Fabrics. I bought eight yards of the white knit fabric, and four yards of the foil dot mesh fabric. For the construction, I basically followed P&S Costume Creations’ tutorial. The fabrics didn’t particularly get along with my sewing machine, so much of the dress was hand-sewn. That slowed me down a lot, but I’m glad I did it because I think I would have ruined the fabric otherwise.

The Belt: The belt was made from two layers of white faux leather fabric and glued together using E6000. The “plates” were made from a sheet of silver glitter Darice Foamies, and the “buttons” were made with 1 1/8″ wide cover buttons. Everything was glued in place with E6000. I loosely followed P&S Costume Creations’ belt tutorial.

The Boots: I bought a pair of silver Ellie Shoes Go-Go Boots.

The Wig: I bought the Leia Classic wig from Arda Wigs in “Dark Copper Red.” The buns were secured with six Goody Spin Pins in each bun (three large and three small), and then wrapped in a hair net to keep everything tucked in place. I’m not going to lie, it took me so many tries to get these to look decent. I basically followed this tutorial from Sew Corellian.

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The Blaster: I bought this blaster and sanded it down with a fine-grit sandpaper and painted it with two coats of DecoArt Americana Gloss Enamels in Shimmering Silver. Then, I used Mod Podge to adhere extra fine silver glitter to the entire blaster, and sealed it with a few coats of Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic spray.

The Leggings: I bought a pair of World of Leggings white leggings. They’re sort of light a legging/tights hybrid, which worked out pretty well for the costume.

The Makeup: Unsurprisingly, I used a lot of products. I used a stick of good old Elmer’s glue (the kind that goes on purple but dries clear) and followed Beautylish’s tutorial for blocking eyebrows. I also used foundation and powder for that process. Then, I used my normal concealer and translucent powder for the rest of my face as a base. I used various shades of pink and purple from NYX Cosmetics’ Ultimate Shadow Palette in “Brights” for the shadowing on my temples, cheekbones, nose, and eyelids/eyebrows. I used the white eyeshadow from the NYX Cosmetics’ Avant Pop! Shadow Palette in “Art Throb” for the highlighting. I used my usual black eyeliner and black mascara for my eyes. The lightning bolt was done with NYX Cosmetics’ SFX Creme Colour in a mix of “Red” and “Orange.” The blue line was made with NYX Cosmetics’ Slim Eye Pencil in “Electric Blue.” I used black eyeliner in-between the red/orange and blue. I used NYX Cosmetics’ SFX Setting Powder to seal everything. Lipstick was MAC Cosmetics’ Lady Gaga Viva Glam lipstick, but it’s been long discontinued (yes, I’m still using lipstick that’s seven years old). I basically followed this tutorial from Maskworld.

Everything ended up looking pretty good, I think!

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Pretty sure I could kill off a bunch of Stormtroopers and then be ready to rock out by 9 PM with this look.