Friday, May 30, 2014

The Making of Melinda May: Part 2

In making the Melinda May outfit, I had the option of purchasing most of the outfit.

Now, assembling an outfit with commercially available items is often just as stressful as making the outfit itself. You can choose to have screen accuracy (and expensive) or good enough to pass (often the cheaper alternative. Some of it was easy, and some weren't.

The easiest piece were the Shield patches, which I found on Etsy from Idzerda Designs. They were delivered very quickly and I was happy with the quality. I did find them a bit "stiff" when sewing it onto the shirt, but I figure that with use, it should soften up a little bit.


For the shirt, I found a good black base layer shirt with a mock collar and long sleeves, but no thumb holes. For $15.00, it was a pretty good price from Sierra Trading Post, and it matched some of the texture of her shirt.

I added thumb holes to the the base layer by hand sewing some very long button holes into the shirt (using my embroidery hoop to help). I did try to do this on the sewing machine, but found it fiddly, so simply hand-sewed it.


I found the perfect boots (on sale) from Steve Madden, but unfortunately, I could only get them in brown. However, a quick trip to my local cobbler (and a little bit of $$), and they were dyed a nice black color. (Also they are very comfortable and useful for every day wear and other costumes, so the boots were worth the investment.)

Here are the boots that she wears. I think it's pretty close.

The pants were a bit tricky. I couldn't find fitted cargo pants for women that had full length legs, so I opted to purchase tactical pants from a military / police uniform store.  Unlike the show, actual tactical pants aren't very fitted and are made more for movement, but I decided to forgo complete screen accuracy for ease of purchase, plus they looked good-enough. I did have some problems with the tactical pants as they were one of the last purchases I made and there were some sizing issues necessitating the need for returns and re-ordering. (Also, tactical pants are excellent for re-using for a number of military cosplays, so another worthwhile investment!)

A search on Amazon for women's tactical pants will give you several different results.

Surprisingly, getting the glasses proved to be a bit tricky, especially as they were the last bit of the costume I wanted. I didn't want to spend too much on the glasses, but finding something within budget that fit my face proved tricky. So I just purchased some 'cheap' aviator mirror glasses that worked well enough. She doesn't wear them on screen all that often, and only the cosplay nazis might ding me on the screen accuracy. I was originally going to forgo purchasing them, but they really made the outfit when I put the whole thing together. (When you see the final costume image, you'll see....)

Next up! The making of the vest.