Rebel, Rebel Princess Boots

Even though my Rebel, Rebel Princess costume is still a fairly new build, I’m already working on a V2 after wearing it a few times. One of the things I wanted to change was the boots. The ones I bought initially worked just fine, but they weren’t very comfortable. I hardly ever wear shoes with heels, so those boots were awful for walking and standing in. So, I decided to make GLITTER BOOTS!

I ended up buying a cheap pair of white boots off of Amazon. I figured if the process didn’t work, I’d be out $15 and some glitter. I’m always a little skeptical of cheap shoes, so I wasn’t sure what I’d get when they arrived. Thankfully, they were pretty much what I expected:

While I wouldn’t wear these boots on a daily basis (they’re not super high quality), they will definitely work for costumes. In fact, if I ever make a “normal” Senatorial Leia costume, I’ll probably buy these again.

The first thing I did was remove the buckles. The buckles around the ankles weren’t attached at all, so I just slipped those off. The top buckles were easily removed with a seam ripper. I ended up saving the hardware just in case I can use them for another project. Yay, recycling!

The next thing I did was tape off the soles with ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape to protect them from painting and glittering. Then, I began the process of painting the boots silver with DecoArt Patent Leather paint. I bought two bottles, and I’m glad I did. It took several coats (I think five?) to get some decent coverage. If I wasn’t covering them in glitter, I probably would have done several more coats just to make sure there was solid coverage (and would probably need three bottles of paint total for that). It also took quite a while for the paint to dry and lose its tackiness, so the painting process took several days since I’d do one coat right after work and then a second coat later in the evening. This is how the boots looked after the painting process:

You can see the very attractive blue tape on the soles. FASHION.

Now, for the fun and messy part: GLITTER!

IMG_5566

I basically followed the same process I used for glittering my blaster. I used regular Mod Podge as my adhesive for the glitter by painting a section with a coat of Mod Podge and then shaking silver glitter onto the section. I patted it down lightly and then shook off the excess glitter. I repeated the process until both boots were covered. When all was said and done, the boots weren’t the only things covered in glitter. So were my desk, my carpet, my clothing, my cats…

I waited until the base coat of Mod Podge dried and then used two coats of Mod Podge Extreme Glitter (mixed with a little of the silver glitter) to seal the glitter. The nice thing about the Extreme Glitter Mod Podge is that the glitter is iridescent, so not only does it sea in the silver glitter, it adds an extra dimension of sparkle.

When the Mod Podge sealing coats dried, I removed the blue tape. The boots were complete!

I wore the boots for the first time at AniMinneapolis for the masquerade. Fearing the worst, I brought along an emergency glitter repair kit with me with a little of the glittery Mod Podge, a small vial of glitter, and a paintbrush. Luckily, I didn’t need to use it for the 8 hours or so I was wearing the boots.

That said, the boots did suffer some damage from wear. It’s interesting how there are tons of tutorials online about how to glitter a pair of shoes, but nobody really shows what happens after you wear them. I think if you glitter a section of a shoe or glitter a pair of flats, there isn’t as much damage. But, these are knee-high boots that are kind of slouch-style, so there are a lot of folds and creases to consider, so I don’t think there’s a surefire way to avoid cracking. Here are photos of the “battle damage” from wearing the boots:

For the piece that actually peeled off of the boot, I just used fabric glue to reattach it. For some of the smaller cracks where the white boot showed through, I used a silver Sharpie as a base instead of messing around with paint again. Then, I just used the same glittering process as above on any areas with cracks. I’m pretty sure the repair process is something I’ll have to do with each wear, and that’s fine. This isn’t a costume I wear all the time so it’s not a huge problem. The plus side is that even if there is cracking, the boots are so glittery that nobody notices. Also, the gown is long enough to cover the majority of the boots, so it’s not totally obvious.

Advertisements

Kaiya Liin (Original Jedi Character) – Star Wars

img_4881-2

When I received my lightsaber as a birthday gift in 2016, I decided I really needed to create an original Jedi character so I had an excuse to use it. I mean, obviously.

The nice thing about creating your own character is that you can do whatever you want, and it’s up to you how “canon-compliant” it is. For me, I knew two things: 1) She had to have an orange lightsaber and 2) She had to be badass. I started off by looking around on different websites for patterns, and found one on McCall’s website that looked really cool – M6941, which is a pattern for a tabard, skirt, and belt. It’s pretty much a fantasy-type costume and I wasn’t sure how well it would translate to a Jedi costume, but I risked it anyway. I also bought Simplicity 5840 for the robe.

kaiyaliin

From there, I created a concept drawing of how I wanted the finished costume to look. Granted, the drawing isn’t very good and I totally forgot that the robe had sleeves, so it’s a little off. But, the basic concept is that the tabard would be grey and orange, and the skirt would be black and orange, and then I’d wear black leggings, black boots, and have a black robe. Icing on the cake is the orange lightsaber! My character is named Kaiya Liin, and while I’m still developing her backstory (I mean, come on, I have to know who she is before I can “become” her, right?) she is a Jedi investigator (despite looking kind of like a Sith) from Coruscant. And, anyone who knows me knows that of course I would pick a planet where the name means “glittering or sparkling.”

Because I hate myself (apparently), I decided to use silk for the fabric on the skirt and tabard. I did find some gorgeous silk (the orange and black were purchased from Joann Fabrics, and the grey silk was purchased from SR Harris) and the colors were exactly what I wanted. I bought grey, black, and orange cotton broadcloth for the lining. The robe fabric is a black suiting fabric that has a little texture to it, and I bought that from SR Harris as well.

I had to modify the tabard pattern quite a bit for a few reasons: the pattern has a circle cutout on the back that looks really cool, but is totally impractical because my bra band would have been completely visible. So, I omitted that completely. Then, I had to adjust the pattern size-wise because the largest size wasn’t quite big enough for me in certain areas. I ended up having to cut out some of the pieces twice and ripping out a ton of seams and re-sewing things. Needless to say, it was frustrating. Sewing silk can be a beast because it’s so delicate and it sheds everywhere.

I sewed the lining to the outside layer, but then had to do sort of a quilting stitch along the seams so that the outside layer didn’t poof out away from the lining, so that took a lot of time because I had to hand-sew it so that the stitches weren’t visible. When the tabard was done, I was so relieved. The main issue after it was finished was that the neckline was so deep, I ended up having to wear a tank top under it.

After the tabard was done, I began working on the skirt. Initially, I thought the skirt wouldn’t be big enough, so I made the pattern bigger and after all was said and done, the skirt ended up being too big in the waistline. Whoops. So, now I get to wear it with a safety pin to take in the waistline a little. Good lord.

The belt pattern wasn’t quite what I wanted for my costume since it definitely had more of a fantasy character look to it, so I just decided to make up my own pattern. Again, I apparently hate myself. I started with doing little panels with the orange silk and made knife pleats (first time doing that and it looks alright, considering I had no idea what I was doing) and then used some pleather fabric and some of the black lining fabric to create a belt. The intention with the knife pleats was to kind of give a nod to the sleeves on some Rebellion and Resistance jackets. Despite ¬†not using a pattern and totally coming up with everything as I went along, I think the belt turned out pretty cool.

The robe was really easy to make, which was a relief after having so many issues with the tabard and skirt. The only issue was dealing with the panic I had because the pattern called for 7 7/8 yards of fabric and I was only able to get a little over 7 yards (I bought whatever was available on the bolt). Luckily, there was enough fabric and even some to spare. The only modification I made to the robe was rounding off the sort of “tail” of the hood, since that didn’t really look right for a Jedi robe.

The last two pieces I made were a pouch for my belt and a necklace. The pouch was another completely free-handed project, and the intention was to have it hang from the belt I made. Unfortunately, because the belt I made is just fabric, it couldn’t hold the weight of the pouch even with nothing in it. So, I decided to just hang it from a leather belt I had already (the same one I use for my Catwoman cosplay) and just decided to opt for a double belt.

img_4898

The necklace is made from a large lava stone (basalt) that I acquired several years ago. I loved it, but never found a good use for it until I started working on this costume. I just thought Kaiya needed jewelry of some kind, and lava stone seemed extremely fitting for her. If you believe in healing properties of stones, lava stone is a grounding stone used for calming emotions. In folk remedies, it was given to soldiers to help calm them during battle. I paired it with a few silver beads and kept it very simple.

16300057_10154200571053038_53195089399018836_o

My lightsaber was already amazing, but since I knew I’d be going to cons and other events (and potentially some outdoor events), I decided to buy an orange day blade for my lightsaber, and then program the blade color orange (oooooh, double orange!) and the blast and clash color pink. That way, my lightsaber would always look orange.

img_4873

For my makeup, I used three different shades of orange eyeshadow: Kat Von D Metal Crush Eyeshadow in “Doce” and Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow eyeshadows in Tangerine and Copper Red. My grey lipstick is Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid in “Sinful Stone.” I absolutely love the grey lipstick, but the coverage isn’t very good and it comes off too easily, so I might need to find a different brand.

img_4852

I debuted my costume at MarsCon 2017, and while the costume fits oddly in certain areas, I think it looks pretty good and it’s actually really comfortable. The robe is incredibly warm, so I probably won’t wear it for very long when I’m in warmer conditions (like crowded cons or summer events).

One issue I had was with the pouch: once I put items into it, it just started looking kind of lumpy and odd (which makes sense, because it’s just made out of fabric) so I actually found a great vendor at MarsCon called DaVinci Scientifica that sells leather steampunk accessories, and they had a perfect hip belt/pouch. I bought it and I’m so glad I did, because it looks amazing and is incredibly comfortable. The best part is that I can swap out the pouch for a different one (in my case, I’ll probably need a slightly bigger one). I can’t recommend them enough – they had such cool stuff! Anyway, that’s what’s nice about creating your own character – you can change things however you want.

I’m happy with how this turned out, especially since this was the first time I made a costume based on an original character. I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak this costume as time goes on, but for my first version, I’m happy with it.

Lightsaber!

15875187_10154148980768038_4757702719312353210_o

For my birthday last year, my boyfriend gave me my very own lightsaber. I was like a giddy little kid when he gave it to me. He programmed it with the brightest colors he could configure, and put a bunch of awesome sound fonts on it so I could switch between different saber sounds. He put a lot of thought into what I’d like (and he nailed it) and it was the sweetest gesture…and now I have the most amazing lightsaber!

Mine is the Hero tier Fury saber from Saber Forge. What that means is that I can switch between nine different blade colors (which I can configure) and five different sound fonts (which I can also configure) and adjust¬†what colors appear when the blast and clash functions are used. I can also edit how sensitive my saber is to different motions. Basically, I can make this lightsaber do whatever I want, and it’s awesome.

The plus side to being able to configure it is that if I want to use it for different characters, I can change the blade/clash/blast colors however I want, so it’s really versatile. For my Kaiya Liin costume (my original Jedi character), I wanted the blade color to be orange, and the clash and blast colors to be pink. I was able to do that (as you can see in the above photo), but with just a twist of my wrist, I can change to a completely different color set.

I also bought an orange day blade which looks really cool when the saber is off, but looks even cooler when it’s on. The pink clash and blast colors look really awesome through the orange blade.

Basically, I can’t rave enough about this lightsaber, and I highly recommend Saber Forge if you ever want a really fantastic quality saber that looks amazing.

I’m really excited to debut my Jedi costume on Friday at MarsCon!

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.

12191379_10153128003783038_2474995573120813191_o

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.

22705665951_6aa63fd91b_o

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

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

22601847096_990ffe8181_o

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

Jedi Belt Pouch

17016814_10154277249663038_4596360132333493985_o

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.

Rebel, Rebel Princess Blaster

img_4656

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.

16251768_10154177090518038_6063486979504691785_o

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!

img_4852

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.

img_4853

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.