Results matching “Dragon*Con” from Fabric.com Blog
I often am surprised and amused when talking to people about costumes or showing them photos. There are so many reactions of "Those are really nice -- they're like normal clothes!" I think that people who don't sew are only exposed to the costumes in large party stores or temporary Halloween shops -- when they see a costume piece that's made as well as any other garment (often much better), it sort of blows their minds. And there are so many Dragon*Con costumers doing work that's really high quality -- so I wanted to share one with you.
The dress I'm featuring here is a recreation of a costume from "Titanic" -- Rose's dinner dress. The costumer is my dear friend Dawn, and she really did a spectacular job on this project. She started off using a pattern as a basis for her custom pattern, and then heavily modified it. The salmon taffeta is from Fabric.com, of course. That lovely black overlay with all the embellishment? It's custom draped by Dawn, and every single bead and sequin is sewn by hand. Every. One.
Dawn estimates she spent roughly 150 hours on embellishment alone, and it shows.
Every detail is attended to, right down to the decorative pin on the front of the bodice.
Dawn wears this dress so beautifully -- she is the epitome of grace and elegance. She's also the perfect ambassador for costumers, showing couture-level style in her recreations of film pieces she loves. I hope I get to see her wear this piece again and again, but knowing Dawn, a new creation will dazzle me first!
You really have a harder time finding people in street clothes than people in costumes at this show. It's so fun to see all the hard work people put into their sewing and craft projects -- just to be able to play dress up for a weekend and share their passion with friends and strangers. It's really what makes fan conventions magical.
I thought our Fabric.com readers might enjoy a look at just a few of the great outfits I was lucky enough to see this year, so here we go ...
This first pair is from a video game series called "Kingdom Hearts." I'm a huge fan -- I played the first title relentlessly for hours on end -- so I was thrilled to encounter these two in the hotel sundries shop.
Next up is a really impressive Xenomorph from the "Alien" movie series. This should give you a sense of the dedication that goes into fan-made costumes. This is not a costume you can just purchase -- each element of the exoskeleteton is hand made.
How cute is this classic Batgirl? SO CUTE. Every detail is just perfect.
All of the armor on these three custom robots is hand made. That's an iPad lodged in the chest plate of the largest 'bot. So cool!
The next two photos are for my fellow blogger Tara. She's a fan of the "Wheel of Time" book series, and while I was initially worried that I would never recognize the right costumes for her, the Saturday morning parade came to the rescue! There was a whole group of them, carrying "Occupy Shayol Ghul" signs and not even showing how hot they must have been in the late summer heat.
This is an instance of a costume that's tiny -- made for a hand! This Kermit puppet is made from basic materials -- fleece and ping pong balls -- but the end result is nothing short of magic.
Two lovely ladies in 18th century finery. The diversity is another thing I love about Dragon*Con -- you'll find gorgeous historical gowns with loads of handwork right alongside all the robots and Jedi.
There were numerous versions of Effie Trinket from "The Hunger Games" at this year's gathering, but this was one of the very best.
I hope this little tour gives you a taste of what the Dragon*Con is like. For every photo here, there are thousands -- literally thousands -- of other beautiful costumes that I didn't capture. I also can't give you full picture unless I can somehow simulate the huge crowds you have to work your way through to see everything, but it's always worth it when you run into something that makes your eyes widen and inspires you. I already have my project list for next year!
In my next post, I'll share close-up photos of a Titanic reproduction gown to give you a sense of just how much work goes into one of these costumes. Stay tuned!
*Special thanks to Dawn Murphy for the last three photos in this post.
So, I've been (foolishly) making large-scale costumes for a number of years, and people always want to know how these wild concoctions come together, what's inside them and how I wear or puppeteer them. For my next trick, I will walk you through one of these projects from soup to nuts: Chairry from "Pee Wee's Playhouse."
Before I kick off the proceedings, I feel compelled to confess that I procrastinated on this one. Well, that's not entirely accurate; it was more a matter of not finding time to really dig in to this project until two weeks before I was scheduled to have it done for Dragon*Con. So the pictures in this blog were all taken over a 10-day period of crammy, slammy building and sewing. When I first started building large-scale, mascot style costumes, I never could have pulled off such a short build, but thankfully, I've learned a few tricks through the years so there's not too much guesswork.
Ok, so I wanted to build a chair that people would be able to sit on. So, I started by screwing together a base. It's a sloppy affair, but as I have learned from previous endeavors, each step tends to reinforce the step that came before it, so, I wasn't too fretful about the funky angles.
The second step was adding a flat seating base to the base.
Once the base was reinforced and load tested to make sure a decent-size adult could sit on it, I traced out the backing shape onto pegboard, and cut it out using a jigsaw.
I wanted to make sure the back could: a) fold down, and b) stand stably. To make sure it would have a stable base, I made legs that attached to the back of the peg board.
I tested the placement of the backing, and once I was good
with things, I cut eye holes and then attached the backing to the seat with
hinges. You might notice that the hinges don't match. My policy is generally to
use whatever I have on hand if it will work instead of spending money. In this
case, the hinges will never be seen, so mismatched is just fine! You'll also notice a very classy cardboard wrap around the base. Yep! It's not weight bearing, and it's just there to help the shape. Recycling, always!
To create Chairry's depth, and the area where I would I would stand to puppeteer her, I used pool noodles and built backwards from the backing board. I used zip ties to hold everything in place, and reinforced with low-temp hot glue. (Note on hot glue: it can melt materials like pool noodles, so always test on an inconspicuous area.)
In this shot, you can see Chairry folded down with her pool noodles attached. The zip tie ends eventually got trimmed down, but not before I triple checked that everything was holding where I wanted it to.
Once the basic shape was in place, it was foam time! I literally use bed foam that I buy in sheets from my local discount department store. The foam was wrapped around Chairry, and in areas with curves, I simply cut darts and hot glued things as best I could to the appropriate shape. There have been times on previous projects when I mapped everything out and drafted patterns, but often, things work out just as well if I fly by the seat of my pants with no plan. Your mileage may vary.
Once the foam layer was in place, I covered the seat of the chair. If you ever watched "Trading Spaces" or any of the other speedy home décor makeover shows, you've probably seen the quick-and-dirty method of making a slipcover where you pin everything onto the piece of furniture inside out, and then just stitch as pinned, turn right side out, and voila! A cover is made. I use the exact same method. If you don't know much about Chairry, you'll eventually see why I used that pink knit on the base.
This shot shows a preliminary draping of the backing fabric. Sometimes, it's good to do a quick mock up of the next step, just to give yourself a little hope and momentum. Have I mentioned that the fabric I used is a lush, plush minky that is crazy insane delicious to sit on? It makes the whole thing feel so luxurious. I heart it.
To make the seat cushion, I used a combo of bed foam and an elderly futon mattress that was due for recycling. I kind of just dove in and hacked away at it layer by layer with a pair of heavy-duty scissors.
The same inside-out pinning method was use to make the cover for the seat cushion. It's finally looking like a real chair!
Chairry next needed waveable arms. Pool noodles to the rescue again! I slotted noodle segments over dowels and wrapped them with more bedfoam.
To slot the arms into place, I had to cut small holes into the backing board from inside, and then make a tiny snip in the fabric in each insertion spot. The arms were not permanently affixed -- that way, they can slide right out and the chair folds down for transport.
Cutting eye holes in a project like this is always daunting. It usually happens so late in the build that I'm always afraid I will ruin everything by cutting something incorrectly. For this project, I cut the eye holes open as though I was slicing an oblong pie, and then carefully wrapped the cut pieces back around the foam layer. Here's poor Chairry looking like something out of a horror movie.
A quick view of Chairry from the side.
This is the very fancy and technical drawing I made to use as a pattern for cutting Chairry's eye details. As you can see, I'm quite the fine artist.
Once the eyes go in on any project, it's usually the first time I really feel like it's working -- unless it doesn't. Fortunately, Chairry's oculars slipped right into place without much issue. The black sections are actually a lightweight Allure knit stretched taut to provide a spot where I could peek out.
I wanted to show a view of me actually in Chairry. I'm sticking my rear out to illustrate where I am (all too well). I enter and exit this costume/puppet via a long zipper in the back.
And here she is, ready to roll. As is now evident, that pink fabric that might have looked a little odd earlier is what forms the interior of Chairry's mouth. The teeth are cut from craft foam.
The next two pictures feature Chairry at the con -- both alone, and with the rest of the Playhouse gang. I am pleased to report that our crew was very popular -- I think all of Dragon*Con sat on Chairry for a hug!
I hope you have enjoyed this walk down crazy lane -- it's a peek into the sometimes ridiculous things that get built at my house. If you're thinking of making a giant beast for Halloween this year, remember that safety and health are always first and foremost. Originally, Chairry was going to be built on casters so I could roll her around, but once I realized the dangers involved in trying to wheel around a 70-pound costume with reduced vision and hearing, that detail got scrapped. Chairry is parked in place when she goes out to see her public, and I always have plenty of water and ice packs to keep cool and hydrated inside my creation. Stay safe, and have fun in all your creations!