Cosplay Conversation – Casey Renee Cosplay

Tell us about yourself:

Name: Casey Renee Cosplay
Location: Atlanta, GA
Website: caseyreneecosplay.com
Facebook: Casey Renee Cosplay
Instagram: caseyreneecosplay
Twitter: @caseyreneecos
Other: Twitch.tv/caseyreneecosplay

Special thanks to Alexandra Lee Studios for photos.  You can reach her at:
www.alexandraleestudios.com  www.patreon.com/aleestudios
www.instagram.com/aleestudios  www.facebook.com/Alexandraleestudios  www.twitch.tv/alexandraleestudios

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

This is my Rococo Belle costume, it is my own original design of Belle in the 18th Century made back in 2015-2016. I was inspired by historical dramas that I loved watching while crafting as well as Disney. Ever since I was little Disney has been a form of inspiration in my artistic life and as an adult the inspiration continues.

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?

Rococo Belle took over 450 hours of patterning, sewing, beading, wig styling, worbla, foam, wiring and love. At the time this was the hardest costume I have ever made and is still the costume that has the most “wow” factor.

What was your biggest challenge?

At first, constructing the garments was the biggest challenge, getting the proportion right, the fit right etc. But once I finished those and moved onto Lumiere that was by far the hardest thing for me. I knew very little about LED’s and wiring lights before this costume and I opted out of buying some tools that would have made soldering much easier, needless to say it took 10 hours and 4 attempts just to properly wire Lumiere and get all three of his lights to flicker when he was turned on. Even though I struggled I learned a lot and I am hoping to apply that to future costumes.

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

The initial budget for this costume was $300 and I spent all of that, then a year and a half after it was “finished” I made some upgrades that cost another $100 so I spent a total of $400 on this costume.

What special techniques did you use?

I learned and used several different hand sewing stitches, especially for the beads as well as more math than I could have ever imagined. Getting the watteau pleats in the back of the dress was a pain and broke my brain for an entire day but was so worth it in the end.

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

The most satisfying part of this cosplay is probably the shoes, footwear is typically painful for women and also just hard to make accurate and I made some stellar shoes that really helped to sell that this costume was from the 18th century.

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

I actually have plans to remake this costume, the first thing I am looking at is more historically accurate fabric choices, beading details and really pushing the silhouette to align better with the time period.

How often do you Cosplay?

For me costume making is my full time job, whether I am working on commissions or making someone on stream for myself. The actual act of wearing costumes I would probably say is once or twice a month. I dramatically cut back on conventions to focus on building my costume making business so I only go to about 6 conventions a year now but I do photoshoots in between so I get to dress up more.  

How many cosplay do you do?

Last year I made 19 costumes for myself, a couple of them were only worn of an hour or two and some of them were worn for over 50 hours.

What do you want to make next?

I’m currently working on Amethyst from Sakizou to debut at Twitchcon in October, I predict the build to take between 600-800 hours (I’m over 100 hours in and maybe 10% there). On the side I am also working on a Goddess Ariel costume I intend to throw underwater for a photoshoot at Colossalcon. I’m also always making myself new clothes to wear or outfits for vintage parties like the Gatsby Garden Party I will be attending in May.

Favorite cosplay moment? 

My favorite cosplay moment was probably Phoenix Comic Con 2016, I broke my foot 3 weeks before the convention and had intended on going by myself until the brake so my Mom volunteered to go with me. She had never seen me in cosplay before or been to convention and to see the joy on her face every time a person asked for a photo or wanted to talk with me about my costume really made me happy. She even cried when I won first place in the master category at the masquerade that night. It was incredibly rewarding to share this part of my world with her.

Favorite fandoms to follow?

Disney, anything Victorian Gothic, Historical dramas, and some Marvel and Dc, I kind of fell out of the comic book collecting when DC redid their universe in 2016.

What sewing machine do you sew on?

My two main machines are my Bernina 801 sport and my Singer Heavy Duty 4423 my serger is the Brother 1034D I am clearly not brand loyal.

What materials do you like using?

Sewing and fabric manipulation are by far my favorite but I also like using Smooth on Resin, Worblas Finest Art (black is my go to) and if I am going to use foam I would do with TnT Cosplay supplies but I rarely do foam crafting.

What materials do you want to try?

I actually have some sewable foam on my “to buy” list sitting on my desk so I would say that’s at the top of my list of things to work with. Also I would love an embroidery machine to level up my sewing game.

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?

Hmmm, thats a hard question to answer because all material gets easy to work with once you have the right knowledge to work with it. I guess if I had to say I would say that I wish rhinestones were easier to apply. I recently bought the HotFix tool to apply 10000 3mm rhinestones to a dress and the tool seems to hate to work properly.  

What techniques are you dying to learn?

I’m in the process of learning tambour embroidery and crochet for my current project but my next venture would be to learn millinery, I’ve always found Derby hats to be lovely and I would love to make some myself.

Thanks, Carey Renee, for sharing your cosplay and photos with us! Want to be featured on our site? We would love to show your cosplay to the world!  Check out our Submissions page and send us an email! 

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Cosplay Conversation – Chris “Papa Bear” English

Tell us about yourself:
Name: Chris “Papa Bear” English
Location: Chicagoland
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/papabearcosplay/
Instagram: @papabearcosplay
Twitter: @papabearcosplay
Other: Cosawesome.com
Cosplay Affiliations: Cosawesome studios, Chicago P.O.C. Cosplayers, Costumers With A Cause, We Are Cosplay

Photography By Noah Smith and Rick Drew

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?
Hellboy was my inspiration because I loved the film and connected with him looking like a tough guy but deep down he is just a big softy, and I really felt like I could do the character justice.

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?
Hellboy was my very first cosplay, and my very first attempt at cosplay so I put it together in a day with store bought items, and things I had around the house. Over the course of time I kept revamping it, so long story short it’s taken me years.

What was your biggest challenge?
Just understanding the nuances of costuming and what it takes to put together a costume, it was more difficult than I thought.

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?
Not knowing anything I spent a good deal of money testing products, makeup, plastics, and foam, tools so I would say close to a thousand.

What special techniques did you use?
I wouldn’t say its anything special unless you count playing and ruining materials until something good happens as special (laughs).

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?
It was satisfying just finishing something from nothing, and I was proud to have dedicated myself to something.

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?
Nothing at all, I have learned so much from this cosplay and I wouldn’t change a thing.

How often do you Cosplay?
I find myself cosplaying at least once a month right now, but that can jump up to two or three times.

How many cosplay do you do?
Right now I have about 20-30 costumes I think.

What do you want to make next?
There are so many I would be writing a novel!

Favorite cosplay moment?
Anytime I can cosplay with my daughter those are usually my favorite moments.

Favorite fandoms to follow?
Cosplay is my favorite thing to follow, watching different people from all over the world create new and exciting things. I really enjoy all things DC, I also like some anime.

What sewing machine do you sew on?
Currently I don’t own one.

What materials do you like using?
I like using foam more than anything.

What materials do you want to try?
I would love to try use various fabrics more often.

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?
For me electronics is like kryptonite.

What techniques are you dying to learn?
Would really like to learn to sew better.

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Cosplay Conversation – Kathy Skirmont

Name: Kathy Skirmont
Location: California, United States
Website: http://kay-dee.net/costume/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KayDeeCollectionCostumes/
Instagram: kathykaydee
Cosplay Affiliations: Rebel Legion, 501st Legion, Captain America Dancing Girls, Avengers Initiative

Tell us about your cosplay. What was your inspiration?/why did you choose this character?
This is my recreation of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion tightrope walker (Daisy de la Cruz or she’s also been more recently called Sally Slater). She is seen in one of the stretching portraits when you first enter the attraction. I love attending Mickey’s Halloween Party, and this looked like a fun one to put together for the event. I also love doing group costumes whenever possible, so this opened the door for friends and family to choose other characters from the Haunted Mansion.

How long did it take to make your Cosplay?
I worked on this costume on and off for over a year. It took me a while to find materials I was happy with over the summer, so I missed my original October deadline and had to finish it the following year. In all, I worked on it full time for roughly 5 to 6 weeks the first fall, and finished it up in roughly another 4-5 weeks working intensely around the clock the following year.

What was your biggest challenge?
Hand painting the silk skirt took a lot of trial and error with a variety of materials.

What was your budget? Approximately how much did you spend?
I honestly didn’t create a budget, I just went into it buying the materials I was happy with going all out to make the costume with silk fabrics. Luckily, I have several go to discount fabric sources. I lost track of the spending between trying out different silk paints on test yardage of my silk, etc. Between the custom dyed shoes, wig, parasol, and all the fabric the costume is easily well over 500 dollars.

What special techniques did you use?
Silk painting, recovering a parasol, staining & finishing wood, wig construction & styling.

What was the most satisfying about making this Cosplay/What made you proud?
I feel like it was seeing the entire look come together that made me proud, and I was very happy when cast members at Disneyland said they felt my costume looked better than their official appearance character for the parks.

If you had to remake this Cosplay, what would you do differently?
At the time I made this costume there were not fabric print shops that would print on silk for me. They have since expanded their selection of fabrics so I’d re-visit having it all professionally printed rather than struggle with hand painting. I was also unhappy with the method I used to add wefts to the back of my wig to create a center part, so I’d try a different method if I were to remake my wig.

How often do you Cosplay?
Roughly 10 times per year, more if you count each day of a convention as a different opportunity to wear a different creation.

How many cosplay do you do?
I have over 35 costumes.

What do you want to make next?
That’s always changing! Currently I’ve been preoccupied with making running costumes which I don’t actually qualify as cosplay.  Perhaps I’ll eventually get around to creating a Can-Can dancer from Moulin Rouge, a Biker Scout from Star Wars, or a new Victorian dress for the Dickens Fair. Most likely it will be none of the above and some new inspiration that has not hit me just yet!

Favorite cosplay moment?
I have so many! One highlight was dressing as Princess Leia at Skywalker Ranch for the Course of the Force event. That was a surreal moment. I also enjoy marching in parades like Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, and the annual Dragon Con parade in Atlanta, GA with our Captain America USO Dancing Girls group.  Any time children or families are thrilled to see me dressed in character at hospital visits or conventions is special as well.

Favorite fandoms to follow?
Star Wars, Marvel, and most things related to Disney.

What sewing machine do you sew on?
Viking Designer I

What materials do you like using?
It honestly depends on the project. I use polyester duchess satin for many costumes because it has a durable weight and good hand that is easy to sew with. You can hand wash it to really scrub it clean, and it has a duller look to it that is more like natural silk than shiny polyester.  For Victorian historical garments I like silk taffetas and dupioni when I can find it for a good price. I also tend to use a lot of sequin mesh fabric.

What materials do you want to try?
One day I’m sure I’ll delve into a project where I learn how to sew things like neoprene, and get better with sewing stretch vinyl. I’d like to become more proficient in leather working as well, I just need a project to inspire me.

What materials do you wish were easier to work with?
Silk charmeuse and silk velvet.
Some day it could be useful to learn how to silk screen so that I’m not limited to hand painting or iron on vinyl.  And perhaps some day I’ll find a project that introduces me to creating armor-like items with materials like Worbla and EVA foam.  All of the armor costumes I see at conventions are so amazing, but the fandoms they often come from (video games, anime, fantasy) are not ones I have a passion for. I find I have to be crazy passionate about having a specific costume before I spend all the time and money learning a new technique.

Thanks, Kathy, for sharing your cosplay and photos with us! Want to be featured on our site? We would love to show your cosplay to the world!  Check out our Submissions page and send us an email! 

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Check Out the Star Wars Cosplayers We’ve Featured!

Welcome back to our STAR WARS week coverage!  Here on the Sew Much Cosplay™ blog, we have featured a few Star Wars cosplays as part of our Cosplay Conversations.  Here’s some you can look back on!

Lisa Hale of Haelstorm Cosplay and Design

Tim Harrison of HDC Cosplay and Fabrication

Beth Grimes and her Pun Cosplay

We are always looking for more cosplayers to feature on our site.  Be sure to check out our Submissions page and reach out to us today!

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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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