Sunday, 7 June 2015

Charizard Costume

This is less a tutorial more a here is how I made my costume, there are probably better ways to have gone about this. There are also things that if I remake parts of this costume, I think I will make them differently.

Firstly, I chose Charizard as he is my favourite Pokemon, I have always liked him from the start and I've surprised myself that I haven't copslayed as him sooner. I think it may be when I was younger, I saw Pokemon as just a cartoon but when I discovered anime and manga, I still saw Pokemon as just a cartoon (and the same for Dragon Ball Z). I have to say I did grow out of it for a while, but I did keep all my Pokemon cards. Recently, I have decided to start collecting the cards again and I decided two weeks before the London MCM that I wanted to go dressed as Charizard.

How I went about the costume, like I said there are probably better ways, especially for those who have more time that I had and more money. I looked at him and thought I would like to do it Gejinka but wanted to keep key Charizard parts, the things that make him recognisable. So, I thought I would keep the tail and wings. Then I found the most amazing Charizard hat.

The hat is made by KurtabraHats off He makes them to order, and when I asked if he could make one in time for the MCM he said he had one pre-made for someone who changed their order last minute. He also said he would save it until the Friday so I could buy it. It was destiny! The hat is very well made and is even lined. What I like the most about this hat is it actually has a snout. Most fleece hats you get are very flat and 2D. The other good thing about this shop for me is that he is also in the UK, so when I ordered the hat I was very pleased that it arrived the next day.

With finding the hat, I decided to buy a wig. Being naturally brunette, I thought having my hair orange would look a lot better. I originally bought a wig for the costume off however there was a delay in it being dispatched so I bought another wig the weekend before the MCM to make sure I had one to wear (the Ebay wig did arrive in time in the end). The wig I chose to wear was a dark orange with lighter tips which I think suits the costume. The main problem was it was a bit cheap feeling and irritated my had a bit during the day, but that may also be because I think I didn't pin my hair down under the wig cap properly and my hair moved around.

I had an idea to make a romper or play suit out of a large men's t-shirt. I was very lucky with this, as the orange t-shirt I bought was the exact colour that my hat is. All I did was cut the neckline out, which, may I add, I took a little too much out of it and had to wear an orange vest top underneath as it was very low cut (couldn't wear the vest on it's own as it is a Dragon Ball Z vest top and has Goku's and Kings Kai's symbols on it). I cut off the sleeves, then took it in a the sides. I found that I had to put a couple of darts in the back and elastic to really pull the back in, let just say it wasn't very flattering. I stitched and cut between the legs to make the bottom like shorts. As I had cut too much off the neck, this did mean that I could climb in through the neck hole rather than chop it up more to try and put a zip or something in. I sewed a circle of cream fleece to the front.

I then bought some black tights with flames up the front and wore my flame Converse.

For the other two key parts to this costume, I bought two meters of orange fleece, 1 meter of cream fleece and half a meter of teal fleece. The tail was the easier one to make. I simply cut two long triangles of fleece, one in orange and one in cream, and stitched them together up the sides, but I left about two inches from the tip not sewn. I turned it inside out, stuffed it and sewed the larger end closed. The hardest part of the tail was the next part. As I was driving to the train station, I needed to make a tail and wings that I could take off and put on easily. The tail originally was to be just elasticated around
my waist, I reinforced two holes on the play suit with fleece to feed the elastic through, however it dropped too much , so I ended up with two more buttons on my play suit with elastic loops on the tail and a press stud. It still dropped but luckily my fleece jacket covered a lot of this. Then a large button on the end of the elastic went through an elastic loop on the other side of the tail. The biggest problem I had was every time I bent down the press stud came undone but apart from that, the tail stayed on all day and made for a great cushion if we sat on the floor, if not I had to find a chair with a hole in the back. 
The flame on the tail I felt looked better if I made it a bit cartoon looking, so I cut two flame shapes out of red felt, stitched them together and turned
them right way out. I then used spray adhesive to stick the yellow flames to either side, leaving the tips unglued to give it a more 3D look, ironed it to set the spray adhesive then stuffed it. I used the plastic casing to a pen (it was the only thing I could find at the time) and pushed that through the flame, then I tucked the tips of the triangle on the tail into the tail and pushed the pen down the hole. I stitched the flame into place.
The wings were very badly made if I am honest. I used foam sheets to make
the main shape of the wings then used strips of the same foam for the top edges. I cut them into shape with scissors then hot glue gunned each one to the edge of the base. I also put a strip of foam down the middle of the front of the wings to give it a bit of definition. It was very messy but once I had the shapes right, I covered it with fleece. I had plently of orange fleece but I only have one
shot of getting the teal fleece. Before I put the fleece on I lined the back of each wing with card then cut a peice of orange fleece large enough to cover the back and fold over the edges at the front. I sprayed spray adhesive on the card and the edges on the front then pinned the fabric in place. I then ironed the back and the front edges as per the instructions. I basically did the same in the teal fleece except I had cut the teal fleece to the exact size of the wings. I cut this piece the right size for the top, where the range meets ths teal, however I left a bit of extra material at the bottom so I could trim it off once I had glued it into place. I have to say, they did look a bit of a mess, I had to touch up a few places where they looked tatty or I had got spray adhesive on
the wrong bit. I also stitched the fleece together ont he bottom of the wings which really helped to tidy them up. As with the tail, the hardest part was attaching them to me, as I had to have them in a way so I could easily take them on and off. 
I made a very, very basic shrug. I long rectangle of fleece, that I laid across my shoulders and pinned the arms together. I then sewed it and realised it was much too short, so I got a large rectantgle of fleece and sewed ths along the bottom of the back. Yes, very, very basic. I then positioned the wings and sewed them to the back down the centre. I then attached elastic from the top of the left wing to the bottom of the right and the top of the right to the bottom of the left wing.
The idea was that it should help support them both off each other. I sewed a piece of cardboard inside the shrug and stitched the wings with some elastic loops crossed in the centre. These were so when I put the shrug on I had the elastic over my arms to take pressure off the shrug. I then stitched the top and bottoms of the wings to the back of the shrug. This was very trial and error as I found I ended up sewing them about three to four inches up my back to have them supported enough to stand on their own. I also had to stitch strips of fleece on either side of the shrug to tie together at the front to pull the shrug tighter. This made a big difference. 

I then declared to my sister that I would never make Charizard wings again, however the moment I told her that I said 'but if I did make them again I would...'

Basically, I am not going to remake these, I really do not want to for multiple reasons but also I have made them and only wore them once if I re-make the wings. So I plan to peel back the orange fleece, and put some thin wire along the top at the back and across the middle of the back. Maybe along the bottom if I also feels it needs to be done there. I plan to change how it fastens to my back as that was the main bit of support it needed but I am not sure how yet, I'm thinking putting wire further down my back rather than just at the shoulders.
In other areas, I am going to buy orange jeans instead of wearing the tights as this way I can attach my tail to a belt and it should stay up better. I'mgoing to wear my Ebay wig instead as I think even though the colour on the other one looks better in the respects that it is two toned, I love the length of the Ebay one and it feels better, less irritating. I'm also going to ditch the playsuit, I am still thinking about what to wear on my top half but I know I want to buy a cream underbust corset, which I could use to help support the wings. 


Apart from the little changes to mine for October, I also have a Blastoise costume to help with, an umbreon hat and tail to make, help make an Espeon hat and costume and potentially help make a Venasaur costume. Yes, we are all going Pokemon :)

Monday, 25 May 2015

London MCM May 2015

The London MCM is now over for May this year but wow it was good. I think they have managed to sort out congestion with queuing as I went in as an early entry and last May still had to queue for half an hour but this year went straight in, I think it is a lot more organised now I just hope they don't change it.

My Charizard costume was somewhat a success. My wings misbehaved quite a lot but I think overall they were okay, they survived. I've had some ideas on how to improve it, which luckily means I don't need to completely remake the wings but more add to them, like putting in support. Apart from that my only other issue was a it was a nice day on Saturday... and I was wear fleece in a room full of thousands of people, I must be mad.

A lot of people did stop me for a photo, with one of them saying that they had seen quite a lot of Pikachu's and Umbreons but I was one of the first different ones he had seen. I will do a post soon with more specifics on my costume.

 I didn't buy a lot this year, but I did come out with a The Big Bang Theory t-shirt with Soft Kitty on and I bought my first Pop Vinyl/Funk Pop figure, and so it begins! As we went around the stands I had been looking through all the figures they had, because there was only one I was looking for to start off my collection and that was Lumiere :)


I also didn't manage to take too many photos but I think my favourite that I did manage to snap was a quick one of the Pikachu dressed as Thor, ah that wig. 

The main problem I had was a lack of forward thinking, even though I took a small cheap video camera I had an issue. Due to my wings, I had to carry my backpack over my arm, then hold my handbag but due to the crowded rooms, I have to tuck the tip of one wing in my elbow joint and hold the opposite wing with my hand. Then cling to my phone with my free hand. I'm hoping October will be so much easier, I have 2 friends who are going dressed as Blastoise and Venusaur so the plan is to make the Blastoise shell into a backpack then hopefully I wont have to take one, (considering doing this to Venusaur as well then even less to carry :D)

So, for the next MCM, hopefully be a lot more photos but will be updating with progress for next costumes I will be making as no doubt, I will be making the most of the costumes for my friends but I do look forward to it :)

Sunday, 10 May 2015

London MCM May 2015

Hello once again. Yes it has been a while since my last post *cough* four months *cough* but I thought I would give an update on the London MCM cosplay. Well, lets say Alice isn't going ahead, mainly because as ethusiastic as I was when I started, next time I will order a paper pattern. Unless I have no choice I do not want to go through printing page after page for a pattern, then to find out I don't need half of it then to have to take time to line all the pages up and tape them together. Nope, not again. Next time I will buy either the dress or the patter.

So, I changed my plan, I was making a steampunk outfit for an event in June and the plan was to wear it to London if i had nothing else planned, but I have now :)

So, I wil be going to London as... Charizard! As Gejinka Charizard though, no way can I make a full fur suit in less than two weeks. Here's the plan;

  • For the head, I have bought a Charizard hat, it was destiny for me to go

    as Charizard! The Etsy store I bought it from is in England, and they are made to order and 1 - 2 weeks before shipping as I asked if he could make one and send it out before the MCM. However, he had one ready made for another person who cancelled last minute and chanegd their order, so he had one! And he shipped it out and it was delivered next day. Happy is not a word to describe how I feel about this hat! I bought the hat from KutabraHats off Etsy, he has so many more Pokemon hats, it's definately worth a look!
  • With the hat, I will also be wear a long curly orange wig.
  • For the main body, the plan is to take a large orange t-shirt and turn it
    into a romper/playsuit. The bext thing about the t-shirt I chose, is it is basicaly the same colour as my hat. In this photo it doesn't look as accuate but to the naked eye, I don't think I could have found a closer match. Fingers crossed all goes well to turn this into a playsuit but I have seen a few Youtube videos now how different people make them so fingers crossed wont take me too long.
  • The hardest part is the last parts, which will really make the costume. I'm going to make the wings and tail. I've got some cream and orange fleece on the way, I'm going to cut out 2 long triangles of each, stitch together and stuff. I just need to think how to take it on and off with ease and how to make the fire at the end. Apart fromt that, I thought about putting something in the centre to make the tail stiffer, but instead I will put an eastic loop at the end so I can have it around my wrist, easier for me and those around me. As for the wings, I''m going to make them slightly smaller than I should, again for ease of getting them on and off and others around me. At the moment, the plan is foam for the base, and I also have some teal fleece coming for the inner wings. For them to stay on, I'm making a very simple shrug out of orange fleece, then will put elastic loops on the wings to put through the back of the shrug so I can wear them over my shoulders.

That's pretty much the plan, apart from flame converse and may some flame or orange tights. Will post more when I actually start making stuff :)

Saturday, 17 January 2015

I'm back and Alice for MCM

Well, it would be an understatement to say I have neglected this blog over the past year, but to put it simply, I have had a lot going on and fell out of the habit, and that includes cosplaying not just blogging.

However, I'm back and hopefully not going anywhere for a while :)

So, I'm off to the London MCM in May this year and after a lot of umming and ahhing I have decided I am going to dress as Alice from Alice: Madness Returns in the Royal Suit dress.

Originally I was going to buy the dress as I really wanted to make the Hobby Horse however now I am going to give it a go and make the dress too. It' mainly because I was being super picky and there wasn't a dress that was accurate enough for me, either the hearts on the bow were too big or the diamonds on the front were too small. If it all goes wrong I'll be putting a quick order in for one, hence why I am looking at making it now.

For the dress, I am using McCall's 5954 as a base, then will adapt the neckline and obviously wont be
adding the long sleeves. I have a couple of ways I want to do this, either make a red dress and add the side and front black panels or I want to make a black dress and make a red over skirt and panels to go over the shoulders. I'm thinking that making the black dress will be the easier option than doing the whole dress in panels. The worst part will be all that gold trim to put on and trying to get the hearts symmetrical (which isn't going to be easy when I don't have a dress form/mannequin, time to get the duct tape out I think).
I'll go into more detail once I start making it but for now I have some dark blue fabric I can use as a tester and I've downloaded the pattern, so I need to stick all the pieces together, cut them out and then make a blue dress, which if it turns out well I can use as a 'normal' Wonderland Alice dress.
Internet photo - red eyes

Photo I took from game, yellow eyes
For the Hobby Horse, I quite like the look of the Level 3 Horse. I have many ideas on how to make it but for the base, I think making a profiile of the horse in cardboard and building the shape up in chicken wire will be okay, and I have seen some that use a polystyrene half ball at the top of the head for support. I found someone who has made a  Pepakura file that's free to download of all the Hobby Horse's which will be a great help rather than looking constantly at pixalated images trying to get the shape. I am also hoping if I keep it hollow I can sort the eyes out to make them glow red/yellow (I'm a bit unsure on the eyes, descriptions and drawings suggest red but when I play the game this Hobby Horse has smoking yellow eyes) by the flick of a switch. This I may also do to the bow on her dress. As for the 'outer shell' I might do something like mod roc but that may end up too heavy. I could go very simple and do paper mache but it's something I am going to have to do some tests on for weight and for strength.

So first, I'm going to give it a go and make the dress, I'm hoping to make it all on my own, though my mum is aware I may be taking it around hers when it comes to the zip! I'll update soon on how it's progressing, just got to finish printing the pattern (only 80 more pages to go :( )