Friday, May 29, 2015

Cosplaying Gogo Tomago

For Fanime 2015, I decided to do a last minute hall costume of Gogo Tomago from Big Hero 6, because she's a kick-ass character, who is super smart, athletic and tough-as-nails. In essence, she is wicked cool.

Her street outfit was pretty straight forward, and it was comfortable for running around the convention. It took me about a day to purchase all of the clothes & materials, then a few hours to make what needed to be made.

I went to my local thrift shop, clothing store, pharmacy, and Joanns for the "raw" materials. I also pulled stuff from my own closet, which helped cut down on some costs. The only thing I had to order online was the wig.

I love thrifting for costumes, because it usually means I have minimal modifications that need to be done, which means I can spend more time sewing other costumes.

Stuff I had to make:
For Gogo, the only thing I had to make from scratch were her bike reflector bands. I found purple waistband elastic (1.5 inches) and white fold over elastic (5/8 inches) that were slightly reflective. I sewed them together. They pretty much came out perfectly. Overall cost for both of these items: $5.00


From the Thrift Store:
Here's what I managed to thrift:
  • Used black leather jacket from my local thrift store  - $8.00
  • Black running shorts - $2.00
The black leather jacket wasn't a perfect match since hers is more of a half-jacket, but it would work in a pinch.

The black running shorts had to be modified slightly to add the red stripes down the side as well as the small "V". These shorts were popular in the 1980s, but good luck finding them now! I added red satin ribbon down the sides and made a "V" by seam ripping the bottom portion of the shorts then restitching.

From Kohls and my local costume shop:
I was going to have buy leggings and purple tights for Gogo's outfit and do some modifications.  I found cheap dark grey capri leggings from Kohl's and some opaque purple tights from Leg Avenue from my local costume shop.

In order to get her look, I put on both tights and leggings. My Viking carefully pinned the tights to the leggings while I was wearing them so that both were stretched appropriately. Afterwards, I cut off the feet of the purple tights and sewed them together around the bottom of the legs. Then it was a matter of adding "artistic" holes.

Overall cost for both of these items: $20.00

From my closet:
For the rest of the outfit, I had a few things, including her white tank top, shoes, and bicycle gloves (that you can probably buy at any bike shop or on Amazon.) And bonus, there's a "G" for Gogo. :-)

I love it when I can re-use stuff for cosplay!

For the Wig:
The wig was the biggest cost for the outfit. I found the right wig from Arda Wigs (Magnum short at $30.00). I also ordered some purple wefts that I sewed into the wig. Luckily, Arda wigs has some pretty good tutorials for wig modification.

The wig was the biggest expense for the outfit, plus, it took a few days to arrive. The hardest part of this costume was sewing the purple wefts into the wig so that they would look correctly when worn.

From the Pharamacy:

I also did have to purchase special makeup for Gogo, as she wears purple eye shadow and pink blush, which are not in my normal makeup kit. (Cost: $10.00). Also, there are some excellent makeup tutorials for Gogo on YouTube. I practiced putting on this makeup for a few days, wearing it to work.

And my absolute last purchase for the costume was the bubble gum. (Cost: $1.50)

Because, well, it's Gogo and you need the bubble gum!

Time to Woman UP!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Making the Princess Mononoke Cosplay Accessories: Part 2

For every costume, accessories must usually be made to complete the outfit. Luckily, the accessories for the Princess Mononoke cosplay were few and fairly simplistic to make.

She had:
1) Headband & arm bands
2) Earrings
3) Claw necklace, which acts as a counterweight to the cloack
4) A dagger (or spear)
5) Her masks.

For Fanime 2015, I ran out of time to make her masks, but I managed to pull enough together to go as depicted in the above image. Since she is seen in the movie without her masks, I felt I could get away with not having it, especially as I was going to be working at Fanime.

The complete dress diary is here, including the costume creation.

Headbands & Armbands
At Joann's, I found thick round shell beads and black elastic. I simply sewed the shells into black elastic from Dritz.

I made 3 versions that could be easily tied onto my head and arms.

The same trip to Joann's landed me these shell pendants (also on sale). They were the right shape and lightness. I picked up some cheap nail polish (White French tips for $0.99) and painted them.

Then I added earring findings.

For the necklace, I wanted something 'heavy' to act as a counterbalance to the weight of the cloak. I bought 3 packages of white Sculpy and 2 packages of black.

Then sat around for an hour trying to get the shapes correct, especially for the claws. I added holes before baking the lot in the oven, per the directions.

Then I took leather and strung up the beads. The loops are for where I would hook them into the cloak via very large buttons.


I could have made the dagger out of Sculpty as well. And I've also seen cosplayers make it out of cardboard. However, I have a 3D printer at work, so I thought to use that instead.

I modified an existing 3D project on Thingiverse to create the dagger for San. (The dagger files can be downloaded here, and are under a Creative Commons - Attribution Share Alike license. You can also find the original files that I modified.) 

The knife was printed in 7 different pieces. Six pieces made up two halves of the blade, then I created a new handle for it. Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the print job.

I've glued each half with an acetone/ABS glue that I made (using scraps of orange ABS). Hence, why you see orange on the handles.

After glueing the whole thing together, I sanded and painted it. 

Then it was a matter of putting on the final touches. I made a template of the "V"s on the dagger.

Then I wrapped the handle in leather to make it easier to hold.

As I mentioned before, I didn't have time to finish her mask, but I think I'll go ahead and finish up the entire outfit for next year again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Making the Princess Mononoke Cosplay Outfit: Part 1

First up in making the Princess Mononoke costume was to get the main pieces of clothing:
  • The blue dress
  • The white apron
  • The white fur cloak.

Luckily, they were really easy to make.
You can find a complete dress diary for this cosplay here, including all of the accessories.

Blue Dress
I used McCalls M6957 to create the dress. The pattern was very easy to make and the first mock-up fit nearly perfectly with only a few minor tweaks to the armscye.

It turned out fairly well, and very comfortable to wear. I chose a dark blue knit jersey. I'll probably end up wearing this dress during the summer with a nice shawl.

For the "apron", I draped and drafted it out on Esme, my dress dummy. 

I had imagined the white apron to be a leather of somesort, maybe doe-skin, but I didn't want the cost. Consequently, I used suedeclothe instead.

Because there's some inconsistencies on how the apron is drawn, I opted to go with a "tab" closure on the apron.

As a finishing touch, I used a leather stitch "X" to attach the tabs to the sides of the dress

Fur Cloak

For the fur cloak, I just didn't want plain white fur, because, outside of arctic or albino wolves, no wolf has complete white fur. Plus, there are photography issues when you have bright white fur.

I checked around all of my local fabric stores and ended up buying the fur cloak online from  I found fur that was labeled "Husky" (as the dog), and really liked it. The fabric arrived in plenty of time. The fur is white with dark fur bits running through it.

There are two important things you need for cutting fur is a marker (or pencil) and a utility knife (not scissors) You draw out the shape you want, then use the utility knife to score and cut the fabric along the lines.

First, I sketched out the shape of a wolf hide. Here's the haunches and where I'd attach the tail

I cut the tail separately, although on hindsight, I could have just cut everything in one piece. The tail is attached to the cloak after.

I sewed bits of the tail to the inside to simulate curling.

Here's the cloak just pinned to the rest of the outfit.

Here's the back with the attached tail

Fake fur tends to lay flat without any movement. I added some tacks to the inside so that it would look better when worn as a cloak. Here are BEFORE the tacks (left) and AFTER adding the tacks (right)

And of course, the cats LOVED the extra bits of scrap fur laying around, which I let them play with, but I did put away the cloak when I wasn't working on it.

  • Go here for the complete making of the outfit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cosplaying San from Princess Mononoke

For Fanime 2015, I wanted to make San's outfit from Princess Mononoke. The theme for Fanime was mythology, and what better than a Miyazaki creation? Especially since he re-announced his retirement.

For those of few of you who haven't seen this wonderful movie, I highly recommend it. Because this is a hand-drawn animation film, her outfit & accessories are fairly simplistic.

There are several elements to it:
  • The clothes:
    • Blue dress
    • White "apron"
    • Fur cloak
    • Boots -- I already own sheepskin boots that I wore for her outfit.
  • Her minor accessories
    • Earrings
    • Headband & armbands
    • Necklace
    • Dagger
  • Her masks
    • Fur headdress
    • Ears
    • Full mask
    • Half mask
I wasn't sure how much of her outfit I could get done in time for Fanime, so I went with the important and most iconic parts first that would make the cosplay recognizable -- the clothes and minor accessories.

I'll be writing up and posting my costume diary for her outift.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gift Crafting for 2015

My gift knitting is usually pretty sparse and limited to extremely close friends & family who are "knit-worthy" and whom I know will use their hand-made gifts. And I spread them out throughout the year as in-between projects.

However, this past month, it seems that I have been gift knitting a lot as a form of procrastination on my existing larger projects (two sweaters and a shawl).

First, I made a hat for a dear friend who is going to be spending a summer internship on a boat doing marine geology.  Consequently, I had to knit her a Jacques Cousteau hat! As she was slated to go out on the boat in June, I had to finish before she packed up and moved!

When she received it, she immediately sent me a text telling me she loved it and that it had been a big picker-upper for her as she is bogged down with school, finals, and the ilk. That made me feel good.

For another, a friend whom I've known for more years than I care to count was going to have a baby. I'm normally not one for knitting baby things, but I found one that was cute and (supposedly) a quick knit. It was definitely "cute", but not necessarily a quick knit for a variety of reasons  --- including not being able to count and running out of yarn, which was discontinued and having to scour the internets for another skein...which luckily I found. But, it got done. The baby is due in June, so it also had to get done relatively quickly.

I also found some cute dog buttons. Both parents are very dog-friendly, and the baby's older brother is a wonderful dog named Hank.

For them, I also found an almost-completed pieced quilt. It had been pieced together, but not quilted together. It was about the size of a baby blanket or mat.

 I took it home and (badly) quilted it together.

And the not-last project that I'm currently working on are holiday gifts. My BIL is a big San Diego Chargers fan, so I'm knitting up Charger themed hats for him as he loves knitted hats (and he is one of those people for whom buying gifts is difficult).

I've also got one more gift project on the needles, but since I'm not quite done with it yet, and the recipient might be reading this blog, I'll not mention it quite yet. :-)