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 :)