Cosplay Conversation: Randie Allen Wagner

My name is Randie Allen Wagner and I live in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Facebook: Randie Allen Wagner/Randie Allen

Insta: @starcomplexcosplay, @randieallen

Website:  StarComplexCosplay — coming really soon!

YouTube:  Starcomplex Cosplay (tutorials coming soon)

 

 

After much thought about which cosplay to feature, I decided to go with Beatrice from the manga Umineko Higurashi  (When they Cry).  Beatrice is known as the Golden Witch.  We get to to watch her grow up in this series which gave me an opportunity to use items created for multiple cosplays of this particular character.

 

The inspiration came from the wig.  We were visiting our favorite local anime store in Colorado Springs (Rainy Day Anime). They had just received a new shipment of wigs so I grabbed one in a strange yellow color because I hadn’t used that color yet.  My daughter (and model) immediately said “You have to do Beatrice”.  I  immediately commenced research collecting any image I could both from the web and the actual manga series.  I also watched the anime just so that I could see how the cosplay would need to move and to study Beatrice’s characteristics..  I also decided that this would be a good opportunity to compete in a cosplay competition.

 

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

 

From start to finish about 6 ½ months.  I really wanted to have the time to plan this out.  I needed fabric, I needed tools, I needed all the stuff!

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge with this cosplay was the copper detail work!  After running many tests on different types of fabric, I knew I wanted it to be be shiny to really make the flames and scalloped trim around the skirt, the sleeves and the bodice stand out.  The only fabric I really liked for drape and color of the dress was a rayon taffeta.  Getting that to behave was a fun ride..  I also decided to make the center section of the cosplay as a corset.  Instead of sewing it into the cosplay, I made a separate piece that held on the front with Velcro (yes I said Velcro) so it wouldn’t move.  I really like being able to make things that can be worn by different cosplayers so any corseting I can do, I will.

I had done prop work before but this cosplay gave me an opportunity work with new materials.  I discovered the wonders of craft foam, thermoplastics, sculpting clay, you name it I was game.  I even tried gold leafing the prop pipe.

What was your budget?

I set a budget of approximately $300.00 – this isn’t particularly high but I always have a stash of extra things (fusible facings, boning, threads, etc.)

 

Approximately how much did you spend?  

That depends on who you ask!  I got most of the fabrics locally (the white cotton for the bell sleeves and neckline was easy, the taffeta I purchased at a chain store with a 50% off coupon and bought all they had which was around 8 yards at $5/y.  The burgundy chiffon was purchased at a local big box store for $1.50/y and I bought 7 yards). Thermoplastics can be pricey so I went with heat form sculpting clay for the pipe.   I purchased the wig for $20 and bought a second to make it thicker.  So technically I spent about $175.00.

Then, I decided I really  needed a semi-industrial straight stitch sewing machine so tack on a quick $750.00.  (I called it my Mother’s day gift so I don’t think it counts?)

What special techniques did you use?

 

Turning the copper lame into usable fabric.  It does not stretch (even on the bias) nor does it like to stay together (it’s woven with nylon and real copper) and is not at all heat resistant!  I purchased the copper lame fabric online.  I bought 5 yards, folded it incredibly straight and basted it on my sewing machine, I then cut 3 inch strips and fused it with a flexible fusible interfacing to give it stability without changing it.  I then mitered those strips together and folded them in half and ran them through a serger.  I hand sewed all of the copper fabric onto the cosplay and then heat pressed it down with a fusible quilting tape to make it curve.  Remember the fabric melts…

 

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?

I sewed this right up to the minute it walked.  The cosplayer (my daughter Chloe) walked the runway in the cosplay competition.  Seeing that gown float across the stage and the character come to life was just mind blowing.  The wind hit that full skirt and she appeared to be floating.  Noise stopped as she twirled all the way down the competition stage.   Yes, I cried.

 

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

I would’ve started the props and the copper work first.  I spent a lot of the time facing the taffeta so it wouldn’t fray and building the sleeves and (they’re actually stuffed with batting).  Any cosplayer will tell you it’s never perfect.

About Cosplay in general:

To me Cosplay is an art form with limited rules (not applying to competing of course).  It’s a collective group of creative people expressing themselves in a way that makes them confident, it makes them powerful and in many ways and  it makes them invisible to the “outside” world.  After you’ve been to a few cons (conventions) you recognize people.  They are in different cosplays than the last time you saw them, but you know them.  It’s such a fantastic family like group to be around.

How often do you Cosplay?

I create one new piece per convention.  So – 3 main cosplays a year. I’m now planning on doing a main cosplay with different looks (like with Beatrice, I made the main gown costume and the skirt for the younger cosplay) I used the same wig for both. The items in the younger Beatrice cosplay came from a local thrift store during a .99 sale where I got the jacket, white shirt, vest and necktie and simply changed them to work.  I think they called that a Two-Fer cosplay?

Main cosplay events in Denver start in late February (AnimeFest, Wasabicon) and go through to September so there’s time in between to tweak and add other elements.  (DCC is July 4 weekend and NKD Labor Day Weekend). There are many anime and movie events and other small gatherings throughout the year.  One could cosplay full time (and many do) with the right scheduling.

How many cosplay do you do?

This depends on the con.  If it’s a 3 day and I’m attending all 3 days, then it’s 3 different cosplays.  If I’m only going one day, we’ll choose one for that day.  I just go into the cosplay closet and rotate.  Many cosplays are created from current anime releases or movies.

What do you want to make next?

After much deliberation and voting Rohan Kishibe was chosen from JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part IV.

Favorite cosplay moment?

Princess Jellyfish from NDK 2016.  I like to create things that people recognize but wouldn’t necessarily think to do.  Walking into the main convention hall and being surrounded by fellow cosplayers is an amazing experience.  It’s like being famous.  It’s family and friendship all rolled into one.

Favorite fandoms to follow?

Game of Thrones

Ouran High

Black Butler

Gudetama is my hero.

 

What materials do you like using?

I love working with very difficult fabrics.  It’s like I get to remake them in a way that I would want them to be.  They don’t always cooperate.

 

What materials do you want to try?

I recently purchased a rechargeable hand tool and heat gun so I’m looking forward to working with heatable materials (thermoplastics, clay and foam).  I created a cosplay emergency kit for travel and would like to create a portable cosplay tool kit as well.

I’m currently obsessed with resin casting and silicone appliance making (for face pieces and cowls) and have started researching those (there are classes in my future)

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

Thermoplastics and heatable foam.  They can be pricey depending on where you purchase them.  I could spend 4 hours in a large home improvement store looking for tools and  materials so it would be nice to have a one stop shop to get them all at one time.

What techniques are you dying to learn?

I want to make a full face cast mold so that face and head pieces could be done accurately.  I will probably have to stick my face into a mold at some point!  For now I just use my styrofoam heads and my wig form.

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Cosplay Conversation: Mandy Schnecke

 

Name: Mandy Schnecke

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Facebook: Dins Forge Cosplay

Instagram: @dinsforge

 

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?

This cosplay is a character named Ophelia from the Nintendo series Fire Emblem: Fates! For this costume instead of doing her default outfit, I decided to create her reclassed Sorceress outfit from the cipher card because I wanted to challenge myself! I made a couple of modifications to the design including the color of the characters hair and the crown. In the game, Ophelia’s father is a prince from another kingdom so I chose to make my wig blue instead of blonde, and I used chose to give her the Crown of the Exalt as a throwback to that lineage.

I chose to cosplay Ophelia because she and her father Owain are my favorite characters in the series!

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

I would say that it took me about a solid month to put together Ophelia.

 

What was your biggest challenge?

Fantasy costumes can often be a challenge to bring to life because they aren’t really created with practicality in mind, they’re just made to look cool. So for me patterning was the biggest challenge, especially when it came to the body suit. They were actually created to be like a pair of legging that extended up my torso and tucked under the band of my bra. A lot of time went into drafting them so that there were as few visible seams as possible. Since power mesh can be delicate to work with, one of the other interesting challenged of the bodysuit was top stitching the pleather diamonds on without ripping the mesh. They actually had to be made twice since I accidentally tore a hole in the mesh initially trying to top stitch them down.

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?

I went into this project knowing that I wanted to compete with it so I didn’t give myself a budget for this project. All of the elements of the combined (two wigs sewn together, over 250 individually set Swarovski crystals, resin embellishments, feather trim, etc.) I spent around $550 creating my costume.

 

What special techniques did you use?

One of my favorite techniques is satin stitching, which I was able to use in quite a few spots on the costume including the veil, hip guards, tabard, and collar.

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?

To me, one of the most satisfying parts of this costume was the cape. The base is a stiff suiting that started as a half circle that I modified to look more like wings. From there I sewed down lines of feather trim on both the inside and the outside of the cape.

 

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

I would completely redo the collar piece. I wasn’t really satisfied with the way it sat and I would have liked to add some additional applique on the front, since everything I added on the back was covered by my wig.

 

About Cosplay in general:

How often do you Cosplay? 

Very frequently. Right now I attend about 5 conventions a year in addition to doing location shoots.

How many cosplay do you do?

Oh gosh haha! Between the ones I’ve made and the couple that I’ve bought, about 50.

 

Series: Bravely Default Characters: Ringabel (myself) and Edea Lee (Grace Somerset ig: rage.and.roses) Photographer: Anna Lam

What do you want to make next?

The next big costume I’m working on is a character named Lydia from the podcast The Adventure Zone!

 

Favorite cosplay moment? 

One of the most special cosplay moments for me happened at Anime Central 2017. I’ve been a huge fan of the book series Percy Jackson and the Olympians since I was in middle school and I managed to organize a group of friends to cosplay it with me. We had about 18 characters from Camp Halfblood, 5 from Camp Jupiter shirts, and 3 Hunters of Artemis. All of the camp shirts were custom designed and made using heat transfer vinyl and cut out using a Silhouette. This series meant a lot to me growing up, and it made me unbelievable happy to have so many of my close friends get together to make this dream group come true.

 

Favorite fandoms to follow?

Fire Emblem will always have my heart, but right now I’m very in to The Adventure Zone and My Hero Academia!

 

What sewing machine do you sew on?

I sew on a Husqvarna Viking Rose 600, and my serger is a Janome New Home.

 

What materials do you like using?

I love working with peachskin, matte satin, and velvet.

 

What materials do you want to try?

I’ve always wanted to try working with leather.

 

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

Velvet haha. I love it but it isn’t always the easiest to work with.

 

What techniques are you dying to learn?

I’d like to try more projects that involve pieced seams in body suits. I got to work with this technique while I was working on the under suits for a Voltron cosplay, but I would love to try more complicated designs in the future.

Series: Bravely Default
Characters: Ringabel (myself) and Edea Lee (Grace Somerset ig: rage.and.roses)
Photographer: Anna Lam

All of the profession photos are taken by Anna Lam, here are her pages:

Website https://www.bananzers.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/bnnzrs/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/bananzers/

 

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Cosplay Conversation: Beth Grimes

Name: Beth Grimes

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Facebook: facebook.com/silentbeth

Instagram: victrolavixen

Twitter: @victrolavixen

Cosplay Affiliations: Probable COSplay

 

You have an unusual twist when you cosplay. Tell us about it.

I have made detailed screen-accurate cosplays, but I love doing mashups and puns.    It started last year with Purple Rey (a play on Prince’s Purple Rain and Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens).   It was such a hit I decided to follow it up with Garth Vader (Garth Algar from Wayne’s World dressed as Darth Vader), then this year’s Edgar Allan Poe Dameron (The famous author plus Poe Dameron, dashingly handsome pilot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens).   I have a list of more ideas to tackle as I get the time and resources!  I can’t wait to do more!

 

What made you choose to cosplay puns?

I am a nerd and a comedian.  I love combining those two worlds.   I’m a circus clown, and as part of that community my friends and I are constantly coming up with visual gags/jokes to use in shows or to amuse ourselves.    Essentially this is a continuation of a thought process from clowns and comedians from way back- a hundred years ago or more.  Circus clowns during the 19-teens through the 1960s would have made costumes like this based on current events or celebrities at the time to get laughs as they strolled down the track during parts of the show.  They were called “walkarounds”.    I wouldn’t use them in shows today but they are GREAT for cosplay at cons.  Pun cosplay also allows me to be more creative and it gets people’s brains going when they see those types of cosplay.  I like making people think, and I love making people laugh.  Sometimes it takes a minute for them to get it, but the reaction is ALWAYS worth it.

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?

I wanted to come up with another pun costume for this year’s CONvergence.  I decided Edgar Allan Poe Dameron was the funniest sounding one on the list and I should make it happen.

 

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

I procrastinated so I frantically put the costume together in under 2 days.  I had all day Thursday to paint and find pieces, then Friday late night after I got home from day 1 of the con, then Saturday morning to finish.

 

What was your biggest challenge?

There were a few challenges- Coming up with the makeup and figuring out how to make the oxygen hose box on the front.  I found a plastic electronics case at a surplus store and covered it with foam core to make the boxy shape and the buttons.   I studied photos of Edgar Allan Poe to get the face right.

 

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?

I try to spend as little as possible when doing cosplays.  The most expensive part was the flight suit.  (I had to buy one due to time or else I would’ve sewn one) The ensemble cost about $80.

 

What special techniques did you use?

I was able to dismantle a padded army surplus belt and spray paint the pieces to resemble Poe Dameron’s flight vest.  To make the vest I hemmed a winter puffy vest for the base.  I didn’t count on the vest being filled with down.  I am used to cotton batting.  Upon the first cut the down showered out of the vest like confetti.  Our cat was quite amused.  I, on the other hand, still had wet spray paint on my arms and hands and they were now covered with tiny white feathers.  Never, ever, cut open a down vest.

 

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?

I decided to go with greyscale makeup since it would make the character more recognizable.  It adds to the melancholy and goth look.  Without the greyscale I’d just look like Ron Swanson in a flight suit.  I didn’t have time to do any makeup tests, so I woke up early Saturday morning hoping my makeup would turn out in the first go.  At first I glued on a mustache but when I went to trim it I cut too much off.  I decided to draw on the mustache.  I’m very pleased it turned out the way it did!

 

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

I am in process of re-making the vest.  The original vest was very stiff since the front panels were originally a belt.  I need a vest that allows for more movement.  I also intend to incorporate more Poe references than just The Raven, although the BB-8 Raven is my favorite part of the costume.

About Cosplay in general:

How long have you been doing Cosplay?

My first cosplay was the Mike Meyers version of Cat in the Hat at Wizard World 2009.

 

How often do you Cosplay?

Not nearly as often as I want!

 

How many cosplay do you do?

I currently do Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp version), Floyd Pepper (The Muppets),  Professor Trelawney (Harry Potter), Purple Rey, Garth Vader, and Edgar Allan Poe Dameron

 

What do you want to make next?

I have a list of ideas.  *HINT* My next pun will be an homage to my favorite silent film comedian and an iconic 1980s movie.

 

Favorite cosplay moment?

Last year, as Purple Rey, and my boyfriend as Purple Ren (Kylo Ren),  people who knew Prince and worked for Prince came to us and told us their stories.  It was an amazing experience!

Favorite fandoms to follow?

Star Wars, Star Trek, Borderlands, Slapstick Comedy

 

What kind of sewing machine do you use?

Whichever one runs!  Currently I’m using a Sears Kenmore.

 

What materials do you like using?

PVC, Cardboard, Craft Foam, Plasti-Dip

 

What materials do you want to try?

leatherwork and 3D printing (getting a printer this Fall!)

 

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

SPANDEX.

 

What techniques are you dying to learn?

I will be learning to make my own special effects makeup prosthetics very soon.  I also just learned to ventilate so I need to practice some wig-making!

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Cosplay Conversation: Carrie Stier Talks About Her Nights King Build

 

After her amazing interview last week, we got requests for more information about how she built her Nights King cosplay. She was kind enough to share her notes with us. Thanks Carrie!

Game of Thrones

Nights King Cosplay

There are several different versions of the Nights King outfit you can find when you scroll through Google images. I consider this character the Nights King and the version with the long hair a White Walker.

 

I tried to pick materials that looked as close to this costume version as per my personal interpretation. The “skirt” and pant-legs I made using an old canvas paint drop cloth. I cut into strips and sewed together using the photo as my guide. I used grommets and a piece of leather string under the front “apron” to lace up the skirt. The front apron is held on over the lacing using a snap on either side. I held the pant legs (two separate legs) up using vet-wrap high up on my thigh, which was hidden by the skirt. If I had to do over I would have sewn them onto some leggings or other type pants to hold them up better. After sewing I dyed the pieces black. I tried using fabric spray paint and/or regular paint on a sample piece of fabric but it dried too stiff for my liking.

Now for the hard part —- the “armor” My interpretation of the top pieces is that it is more like a leather “shirt” rather than a hard armor. That being said, I wanted as close to the body fit for the top as I could get. Using pieces of leather from a few leather coats found at Good Will I fashioned a tank top with grommets down the side to lace it on with. I used small pieces of foam glued to the leather tank top to mimic the pattern on the photo. I recommend barge cement or specific leather glue. I found other glues did not work well on the leather. Because of your body type, you may be able to achieve a better look by using a form fitting black t-shirt for this piece. I used pieces of the paint canvas for the detail at the bottom front of the shirt/armor and sewed it on. Since I made my costume, I ran into another Nights King at the Con of Thrones in Nashville.  He made his armor completely from Eva foam.  It reminded me of a Turtle shell the way it fit him.  He was also tall and thin so it worked well for him.  For my body type, I am not sure how it would fit because “boobs”.

The shoulder pieces are eva foam with the small pieces of foam glued to it to create the look I wanted. I curved the inside of the foam to fit around my neck and used a slight convex curve on the shoulder edge. After several attempts at securing the shoulder piece to the leather vest, I ended up using short screws with washers on the back to hold into place. I found a collar piece that is made for a Kylo Ren costume to hide the bottom edge of the mask. If your skill level allows, I would recommend using prosthetics or make up.  I personally found the mask hard to hear and see out of.

After the top was all put together, I sprayed it with black spray foam to seal it and add a bit of texture. Then I used some glitter spray to add an icy look. Arm bracers were made from strips of left over leather. I was not happy with the way they turned out. I made several different versions. It was hard to get them to fit correctly because I didn’t have anyone to help hold them on me while building. If you end up using a black shirt for the top, get a long sleeve one and just wrap leather around the arms to achieve the look. I used a bit of white body paint on my arms and hands where the skin was showing. Not solid white but a streaked look.

Instead of a weapon, I went with Craster Baby instead because I felt it would be an unexpected prop.  I found a doll I thought looked most like the reference pictures.  To achieve the specific frozen blue eye look, I took the doll to the lady that paints my nails and she painted the eyes to give them the creepy look.

 

 

Things I learned with this build:

  • navigating a large con in a mask and substantial costume pieces is NOT easy and you probably want to test it out at a smaller con first. I can’t imagine how hard it is for the really BIG costumes.
  • It is good to challenge yourself with a character outside of your comfort zone, but it is also ok to say—Nope…this wasn’t for me.
  • If choosing a more involved costume get a buddy to go with you to the con. I was alone and this costume was difficult to get into by myself. I also couldn’t take any pictures of myself or others.
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Cosplay Conversation: Diana Quake

Name: Diana Quake

Location: Chicago IL

Facebook: Diana Quake Cosplay

Instagram: @DianaQuake

 

About this specific Cosplay: Roadhog

 

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?

I usually only cosplay characters that resemble my physique and personality, but after playing Overwatch I wanted to challenge myself and go out of my comfort zone. Roadhog is my complete opposite, loud and full of energy. It was so refreshing to become him, but also to show my take on a male character. It was my first genderbend.

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

I would say about two weeks, with most of the work done in the 3 days before it needed to be done. Con crunch is real, haha. The rest of the days were spent adding props and touching up things that didn’t work out as expected originally.

What was your biggest challenge?

This was the first time I had worked with EVA foam and Worbla so extensively. It was a whole new set of skills I needed to learn.

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?

The budget was around $200, but this is a rough estimate. Many of the materials I already had, and some were repurposed. I try to reuse and recycle things as much as I possibly can. The most expensive items were the Worbla for the hook and EVA foam due to the large amount used.

 

What special techniques did you use?

I used everything from foam smithing (a ton of foam smithing), sculpting, thermal plastic molding, airbrushing, vector design patterning… to sewing, wig styling, and a custom design for the temporary tattoo.

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?

It was very rewarding to try new techniques, and see the final product come to life. But ultimately it was very satisfying to cosplay something different, to become a completely different person, especially since I could wear a full mask.

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

Everything came out really well, but if I had to redo it, I would make use of patterns more often. A lot of the earlier pieces were eyeballed and perfected through much trial and error. The patterns would have saved me time.

 

About Cosplay in general:

How often do you Cosplay?

Somewhere around once a month at least. This includes new and repeating costumes.

How many cosplay do you do?

I don’t make a ton of cosplays. Probably around 7 a year. I like to only choose those I am very passionate about. This number is however, growing every year, haha.

 

What do you want to make next?

Next up is the Vegas Star Trek Convention. I am making my take on the Starfleet uniform and a Vulcan priestess gown from The Search for Spock movie.

 

Favorite cosplay moment?

My favorite cosplay moments are always when a kid is excited about my costume. I can never say no to a photo op with a kid. They are absolutely adorable!

Favorite fandoms to follow?

I’m a huge trekkie, so I gotta say Star Trek of course, but have recently gotten into more Star Wars and am very much enjoying learning about the expanded universe. I also suggest checking out Fallout. The mix of futuristic technology, 50’s style, and post-apocalyptic world make for a very unique environment.

What sewing machine do you sew on?

I have a Singer Brilliance for my regular sewing, and for sturdier materials a Singer 3115.

What materials do you like using?

I’m open to all materials. Since my background is in Steampunk and Victorian gowns I love working with heavier fabrics, such as beautifully detailed upholstery.

What materials do you want to try?

I would love to work more with chiffon. I am actually incorporating it in my Vulcan costume this summer.

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

Oh, 4-way stretch! Sadly most of the superhero costumes are made out of it, so you learn and adapt and become very patient, haha.

What techniques are you dying to learn?

I would love to do more embroidery. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do gold embroidery. Recently I discovered silk ribbon embroidery, and it seems like a fun way to add detailing to your costumes and even clothes! So I may start with that.

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Cosplay Conversation: Christine Diep

Name:  Christine Diep

Location: Chicago, IL

Website: www.youtube.com/user/shiningpolaris2008

Facebook: theshiningpolaris OR ShiningPolaris (Personal)

Instagram: shiningpolaris

Twitter: @shiningpolaris

Other: Facebook Event Page – CosplayersWithoutBanners

 

 

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?

I am a HUGE Game of Thrones fan.  Sansa is one of my favorite characters.  She, in my opinion, has the prettiest outfits.  I just fell in love with her “crow” dress because it signifies her change into a little girl to a woman that is starting to understand the “Game.”

 

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

This took me about a month to make.  This costume was also made as my entry to Dragon Con Cosplay Contest!

 

What was your biggest challenge?

Hand sewing each feather and bead into the dress!  Feathers were worse because they either broke or didnt look right after touching them!

 

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?

My cosplay really have no budget!  I love cosplays and spend way to much money on making them.  This probably cost me around $100.00 which isn’t bad at all.

 

What special techniques did you use?

Not really any special techiniques.  Basic sewing on the dress and cape.  But I hand sewed everything else such as the feathers and beads.

 

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?

Just knowing that I did it and it was accepted to DragonCon Contest which is super hard to get in!  Also looking at it, it was well made and fit.  It made all the Baelish cosplayers jealous!

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

Maybe redo the beading on the bottom of the dress.  I did it in a hurry so it is coming apart.  My necklace too.  That piece was also done last minute.

 

About Cosplay in general:

How often do you Cosplay?

I been cosplaying since 1996.  I now do it almost every single week!

 

How many cosplays do you do?

Last year for an example I wore 50 cosplays!  Maybe made 30 new ones!

 

What do you want to make next?

I enter the Crown Championships every year which is a huge extremely difficult costume contest to enter.  I am working on Rocket Racoon for that one.

 

Favorite cosplay moment? 

I won Best Seamstress at the Crown Championships in 2015!

 

Favorite fandoms to follow?

At the moment I love Doctor Who, Flash, Gotham, and Game of Thrones

 

What sewing machine do you sew on?

I actually won a Bernina 830 from the Crown.  But I use a regular brother from Costco!

 

What materials do you like using?

I don’t really have a favorite?  I try to buy cheap stuff that looks the closest to what I am making!

 

What materials do you want to try?

Worbla one day!

 

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

Worbla and foam!

 

What techniques are you dying to learn?

Worbla

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Cosplay Conversation: Carrie Stier

Name: Carrie Stier
Location: Scales Mound IL (tiny town of 400 in NW Illinois)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carrie.c.stier
Cosplay Affiliations: Midwesteros Game of Thrones Cosplay Group, Age of Geeks, Legends of the West Cosplay group.
Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?
Lady Olenna was my first cosplay character. She is a character that is age appropriate for me, her costume is something I felt comfortable in and I can identify with her temperament.
For Night King, I wanted to try something completely different from my “safe” choice of Lady Olenna.
How long did it take to make your Cosplay?
Lady Olenna – My first version was really only some items picked up from the local GoodWill (old prom dress, crinoline to make the skirt full and an appropriate woman’s jacket). I made the hat and the wimple myself from fabric, glue and a sturdy cardboard ovalbox purchased at a craft store. As I continued to find other pieces for the costume, I began to make alterations on already made items I found at Goodwill.
The Night King – This was my first costume that required a lot of sewing. (We will share some instructions that she wrote up on how she made this costume in a later post.)

 

What was your biggest challenge?
The Nights King required a mix of sewing and crafting skills. A challenge for all costumes is to make it easy to transport, easy to move around in
and get on and off.
What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?
Lady Olenna: The original outfit cost under $40. I have since purchased va
rious dresses and coats in different colors (depending on the Queen of Thorns mood) and have made 4
hats/wimples to match.
The Nights King: The material for the leggings/skirt was from an old paint drop cloth so it cost nothing. I probably spent $200 on the top trying out various materials and techniques to get the look I wanted.
What special techniques did you use?
I used grommets and rivets that I had no previous experience with. Getting the foam details to adhere to the under shirt of leather
was a challenge. I finally found a glue specific to leather that worked, but isn’t perfect.
What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?
My personal cosplay goal is to repurpose as much as possible and get items as in-expensive as you can (GoodWill/thrift stores). I thought the skirt of the Nights King turned out pretty well considering it was my first time sewing a garment since HS and without a pattern. (I have sewed quilt block, but that is different)
If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?
Figure out a different way to make the top part to the Nights King. It was difficult to get on/off and move around in.
About Cosplay in general:
How often do you Cosplay?
Maybe 4 or 5 times a year.
How many cosplays do you do?
5 costumes currently working on 3 more
What do you want to make next?
Just got done making a western themed Calamity Jane costume and working on a Mary Poppins/Yondu mash up.
Favorite cosplay moment?
Being chosen to participate on a panel at C2E2 and getting to go backstage at the C2E2 Grand Championship Cosplay contest.
Favorite fandoms to follow?
While I am a fan of GoT and some other shows, I wouldn’t really say I follow any “fandom”. Too busy crafting that next costume!
What sewing machine do you sew on?
Singer and a Husqvarna Huskylock 910
What materials do you like using?
Eva foam is fun and easy.
What materials do you want to try?
I have worked a bit with Worbla and would like to do more.

 

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?
Thermoplastic pellets. They are easy to melt but get solid very quickly and it can be a challenge to shape the way you want.
What techniques are you dying to learn?
Ohhh…so many. Painting and shading, making
things with worbla.
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Cosplay Conversation: Timothy Harrison of HDC Cosplay and Fabrication

Tell us about yourself:

Name: Tim Harrison of HDC Cosplay and Fabrication.

Location: Chicago, IL.

Instagram: @HDCCosplay

Facebook: HDC Cosplay

About this specific Cosplay:

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?

This costume is based off a Smuggler from the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game.  I chose to do this because I love the smuggler/bounty hunter aesthetic from the Old Republic era and it was a relatively quick costume to throw together having a lot of the items in the closet already. I also have been working on a Han Solo but that wasn’t ready for Star Wars Day so I decided to put a generic smuggler together.

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

This didn’t take too long to put together because it was primarily a closet cosplay. The things that took the most time were the belt and the blasters. Both items are modified Han Solo prototypes I’ve been working on for a Rebel Legion certified Han.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge with this was getting clean casts for the guns. This was my most extensive mold and cast project to date. There was a little bit of a learning curve with this two part mold, but it gave me the opportunity to not only learn, but also make some custom dl-44’s.

 

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?

Not too much was spent on this with it being a closet cosplay. Also, a lot of the work was prep work for commissions so it was a lot of prep work for a few builds. With resin and leather and a few other miscellaneous items, a couple hundred was probably spent on this.

What special techniques did you use?

There was a bit of sculpting, mold work and resin casting, painting, leather work, and some minor metal work involved in this costume.

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?

The most satisfying part of this was the belt and the custom dl-44, I think. I felt like one of the classic star wars prop makers just finding items to add to the blaster to make it stand out. They took a lot of random items and added them to things to give the props that classic look. It was interesting to do the same.

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

I didn’t have time to repaint the goggles and make a new strap for them. I’d also like to do a different a different hat and a more detailed vest. With the time it came together though, I’m happy with the results.

About Cosplay in general:

How often do you Cosplay? 

Depending on the events going on, probably once a month or more you’ll find me in costume somewhere.

How many cosplay do you do?

I do quite a few and the list keeps on getting larger.

What do you want to make next?

I think I want to work on finish my Rebel Legion approved Han next. Then my screen accurate Torbjorn form Overwatch for competition season next year. My Fallout garb needs a revamp too.   It’s tough to make a decision 😊

Favorite cosplay moment? 

My favorite moment so far is when I did my original take on the Final Fantasy Black Mage and wandering around the con and seeing big Final Fantasy fans light up with excitement when this classic character that they love and grew up with comes around the corner. It’s the moments of being able to bring these classic characters to life and the fans sharing your excitement. Those moments are what makes the work worth it for me.

Favorite fandoms to follow?

My favorite fandoms right now are probably Fallout and Overwatch, Star Wars as well. Star Wars is a long-time love but the thought and backstory that Bethesda and Blizzard put in to their franchises makes prop making and costuming from those respective universes all the more enjoyable.

What materials do you like using?

I love working with closed cell foam. Foam is just so cheap to work with and versatile. I also love electronics. Adding practical effects to props always adds so much, be it leds, electroluminescence, smoke, sound effects, it’s that extra little step to bring the character to life.

What materials do you want to try?

I want to play with Sintra and also Vacuum forming. Lots of different things out there but I think those would be my next two choices.

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

Easier to work with.. hmmm… Some other the more extensive sealants/coats for foam and prop finishing can be a bit of a pain. Smooth-On Epsilon provides a great finish to work with but with larger props, you’re fighting pot life to get a nice coat on the prop and then if there isn’t enough, you need to mix up more and then keep on coating.

What techniques are you dying to learn?

I would like to do more 3d modeling and cold casting. More cold casting to get that nice metallic look without having the weight or trouble of working with actual metals.

 

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Cosplay Conversation: Lisa Hale of Haelstorm Cosplay and Designs

Name: Haelstorm Cosplay and Designs

Location: Chicago (NW Suburbs)

Facebook: haelstormdesigns

Instagram: haelstorm_designs

Twitter: @haelstorm dzynz

Cosplay Affiliations: We Are Cosplay; Costumers with a Cause Midwest; Rebel Legion

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?
I chose Padmè Amidala because for the longest time—ever since the Star Wars prequels came out—I’ve wanted to make her costumes. It all started with the desire to make the very first costume she appears in: her red Theed Invasion gown. In 2005, my sister gave me a book entitled: “Dressing the Galaxy: the costumes of Star Wars,” by Trisha Biggar. At that time, I was in my Senior year in college, studying Fashion Design. But, I wasn’t nearly as skilled in costume construction as I am now. So, this costume got put on the back burner.
Fast forward 8 years later, and I finally tackled the red Theed Invasion gown for C2E2’s inaugural Crown Championships of Cosplay competition in 2014. Ultimately, I won 1st place in my category (TV/Movie) and 3rd place overall. It wasn’t until December 2015 that I joined the Rebel Legion with this particular costume. Fast forward 2 years later, and I decide to tackle Queen Amidala’s senate gown. I loved this particular costume because it proved to be more challenging, detailed, and involved more techniques  than the Theed Invasion gown. So much hand-beading!

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?
The senate gown took over 300 hours to complete, over a 4 month period

What was your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge I faced was the actual design of the bead work. There weren’t many hi-res reference photos available. And most of the bead work is covered by the outer robe. I did find at least one behind the scenes photo of model wearing just the dress for the FIDM fashion show in New York and was able to see (somewhat) the general pattern for the bead work. Some of the bead work I had to come up with a design that made sense and fit with the rest of the established bead work design.

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?
I am on a tight budget in general, so I try not to spend too much on my costumes, if possible. I think it cost almost $250 for all the materials.

What special techniques did you use?

Hand beading and hand pleating for the tunic and skirt.

Ruching, braiding, hand beading, hand painting, free-form quilting for the outer robe.

Embossing, hand painting, hand sculpting/molding/casting for the headdress.
I also had to use out-of-the-box type thinking on certain aspects of the costume. The hanging tubes are wrapping paper tubes cut in half. And I used simple circular and rectangular shapes to make the outer robe.

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?
The fact that I actual had the ability to make the costume makes me proud!
Also, I am rather proud how close to accurate I was able to get with the fabrics and materials.  It’s all in the sourcing of your materials.

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?

I’d try to find a way to make the headdress lighter and more balanced. That’s the only thing that bugs me about this costume. And I’d probably go back and put some tulle fabric over the bead work to keep it from snagging. I get caught on myself quite a bit. LOL!

About Cosplay in general:

How often do you Cosplay? 
I usually try to cosplay as much as possible. I attend about 7-8 conventions a year; some smaller ones in between. I also attend charitable events and movie premiers with a few of the  charitable cosplay groups  I’m involved with (We Are Cosplay and Costumers with a Cause Midwest). And I also try to troop with the Rebel Legion when I can. Mostly for Star Wars Day at Joliet Library.

Sometimes, my sister and I find events to cosplay at. We recently cosplayed as Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) at a Cubs game. The first Friday of June we went to Aurora dressed as Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar (Wayne’s World) to celebrate the year-long 25th Anniversary of “Wayne’s World.” Back in February, we dressed as Wayne and Garth for a special showing of “Wayne’s World” and got to meet Tia Carerre, who portrayed Cassandra in “Wayne’s World.” We’ll be dressed as Wayne and Garth for Aurora’s 4th of July Parade. A group of friends and I will also be cosplaying characters from “Jurassic Park” when we go to visit the Field Museum’s new Jurassic World exhibit.
How many cosplay do you do?
I usually do at least 2 cosplays from scratch (mostly for competitions). All other cosplays I do are pulled together from my own closet or found at thrift stores.

What do you want to make next?

I’m currently working on is Ankh-su-Namun from “The Mummy Returns.” Her 1930s reincarnated ensemble, not the gold body paint costume (yikes!). I hope to wear it when I go with a group of friends to see the new Mummy movie that’s coming out June 9th.
I also want eventually do a few more Padmè costumes and a couple of costumes to join the 501st Legion.

Favorite cosplay moment?
Gosh! There are so many!
One time, my sister and I were dressed as 2 versions of Effie Trinket from “The Hunger Games” and I believe it was at San Diego Comic Con. Several memorable moments happened in these costumes. First, we stopped by the Lionsgate booth and wanted to do a photo op really quick with the Capital backdrop.  Before I knew what happened, we literally became a part of the booth; so many people just bombarded the booth, taking our picture.
After that, we were just walking around and saw Ve Neil—who did the makeup design for “The Hunger Games”. We scrounged up the courage and asked if we could take a picture with her. When she saw us, she exclaimed, “Oh, my Effies!”

I also had several moments involving the Power Rangers. One moment happened while I was backstage, competing in a Prop competition in LA last year. I had made a Rita Repulsa staff. Some girl in the competition says to me, “You know the original Rita Repulsa is here, right?” I actually was not aware of that. The actress wasn’t even listed as a guest. So, after the competition, I walked around to the celebrity signing area–specifically near the Power Ranger actors that were there–thinking she might be somewhere near them. Lo and behold, there she was! At a table that my sister and I walked past at least five times! So, I go up to her table and we end up talking for about 20 minutes. And she even signed my staff. She told me that she had never seen someone make the staff before, and that this was the first time she had signed one. Talk about a childhood dream come true!
This past year, I finally made a Rita Repulsa costume. It was really fun being mean to people. They loved it! But what really was the best moment as Rita Repulsa was when I did a photo op with the Blue Ranger and Black Ranger in my Rita costume. My sister was dressed as Scorpina. When it was our turn to take a photo with the Power Rangers, they immediately began to pretend to cower in fear and exclaim, “Oh no! It’s Rita.” To which I replied, “Well, if it isn’t the Power geeks!”

Favorite fandoms to follow?
Doctor Who

Supernatural

Marvel

DC (Wonder Woman)

Star Wars

Star Trek

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

What materials do you like using?

Mostly fabrics (any kind)

Foam for armor and props

Cardboard

Worbla and wonderflex

What materials do you want to try?

I have such a wide range of knowledge on materials. But I really want to try my hand at metal smithing, someday. Forging my own metal. That’d be cool.

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

I can’t really think of anything.

What techniques are you dying to learn?

Leather tooling. I have been wanting to do this technique for so long.

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