Sunday, November 14, 2010

Halloween Crashing!

Having completed this year's costume, with a brief reference to my endeavors the year before, I now have the time to do a quick summary post on what exactly last year's project was. I'm excited to share this and make this blog look a little less lonely.

I had a pair of friends from work and we decided we all wanted to dress up together. I'd recently introduced said friends to Castle Crashers and they were sort of on a high the way a little kid wants to play with a new toy all the time. "Let's be that!"

There were only three of us total, so we enlisted a fourth -- a new hire at work and new partner in crime to our little social group. There were many ideas on what we would do for the costume itself. We knew we couldn't wear masks at work; anything that obscures the face is not allowed. I did lots of sketches that involved a cutaway headpiece that we could finish up with makeup. If anyone is interested in seeing those, please speak up and I'll see if I can find them ... they got scrapped quickly due to lack of interest and the limit of comfort they'd have to wear all day. At best, I can explain it in further depth if someone wants to know about them.

Once I trashed the idea of a helmet, I decided that we should make the Castle Crashers our own. We were women and we'd rock those Crashers with our own special sexy appeal -- while remaining 100% clothed and not exposing skin (I'm so against the 'I'm sexy because it's a miniskirt and a crop top' costume; that's trashy .. I prefer classy!). I started some pencil sketches to try and figure out what we could do. After a few drafts, I finally came to a collection of designs I loaded up on the computer and colored quickly.

(I am not an artist, drawing/coloring is not my thing, I do it just to get visual ideas of what I plan to create; please be kind to my silly sketches!)

I presented my drawing to my cohorts and they were extremely pleased and stoked to get started on the process.

We decided that the first step would be wigs; we had to get wigs to match our fabrics to. We began shopping around online immediately. The blue, green, and orange were full fledged cosplay wigs we ordered from China or Japan (they came from different places). The red one was pretty standard and poorly made. It ended up getting scrapped in the final costume because she didn't want to wear it. She was a redhead anyway (as with the green-wig lovely lady and myself in blue) so it worked out fine. Naturally, once we got the wigs, we had to pose in a stereotypical manner as to honor their location of origin ... Yeah, maybe we're a little offensive. Shhh.

Once we had our wigs, we could shop for fabric!

In the meantime, while we'd been waiting for the wigs to arrive, we bounced around and window shopped until we found acceptable footwear. Yes, pricey. But they're reusable and quite comfortable. Worth it, we all agreed.

We had also done some window shopping at the fabric stores to find patterns. I can't find the patterns at the moment (last year's stuff got packed away and my lethargy dictates that I not destroy the storage space in order to try and find them), but after browsing around online I do believe we used variation A of this B5554 pattern for our dresses. We altered the length for sexy purposes. For our waist cinches, we used M2337, but ditched the laces in the front in favor of eye hooks in the back.

All that aside, there really isn't much to explain on these costumes. We fitted ourselves, sewed everything together, and rocked hard. But it was a very fun, social experience. I have a multitude of pictures of the in progress work, but I'll just make a handy list instead of bore you with too much rambling. They're in no particular order, just the way they got loaded in to my photobucket. Feel free to look at me and my friends being crazy, cracked out on energy drinks, and sewing like we belonged to a low-wage sweat shop. It was a good time, really.

Trying to style that horrid red wig was miserable. I was trying to sew, Megan did what she could for that terrible mop:.

The process for applying our crosses was also left to Megan and her beautiful OCD compulsions. Sometimes she had to enlist help though, for an extra set of hands. They were applied with iron on transfer material.

When the first dress was somewhat assembled, I took it for a test run. I was excited. We hadn't finished the seam up the back below the zipper just yet.

When we got another partway assembled (sans zipper), Megan took hers for a spin.

We bought ourselves grey turtlenecks and black leggings to go under the dresses. Also black opera-length gloves to substitute as our war gauntlets, but femininely! Completely covered, no bare skin, but it all ended up super sexy, I think. In case you can't tell, I was very, very excited with the way things were going.

And finally; ta da!

My original drawing had to be recreated once we had it all together. My wig ended up in braids because that thing was just way too much hair to handle while at work. I'd planned on us all having lipstick to match our hair as well, but someone decided she wasn't going to play along with the rest of us. It ended up getting scrapped like, the night before. Oh well. Some people just don't like dressup as much as I do, I guess.

Other finished shots of us at work:

You may notice that some of us (namely myself) have bracelets on with bangles. We used Shrinky Dinks to create little charms for ourselves. Each one of us had all four of the main Crashers as seen in their default and well known image. In between each one we each had our own collection of other charms. Mine included some of the little pets you can obtain. Some of the other girls wanted princesses on theirs, or the king himself. We each made our own so they were all a little different, but then we could show people who we were dressed up (sort of) as when they asked. I'll see if I can't get a picture of mine taken so you can see the detail; it's hanging in my car still. I'm quite proud of it.

Monday, November 1, 2010



Night before Halloween, I did a makeup test run. I used a Ben Nye white foundation, highlighted my cheeks and lips with a light blue, and eyelined with black. My eye shadow was also blues. Unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of my face, so you'll just have to believe me that it looked alright. Whether or not it actually did look alright is another thing entirely. Remember, painting isn't my thing ...

Either way, Halloween was awesome. I ran around the town and got compliments from total strangers.

Everyone at work knew I was working on something which I had previously only described as "awesome" for my costume. Or "epic." And they knew I would be more than six feet tall with it all on. Needless to say, they were all seriously anticipating yesterday. And when I finally showed up, it blew people away.

I was spacing out by a wall, then realized my friends had started to migrate. I turned to follow and watched a customer jump. He then told me that he thought I was a display piece or something. I took that as a pretty huge compliment.

After work, we went to a diner for lunch. Then did makeup touchups at home and out to a few people's houses. They were crazy WoWnerds fresh off their BlizzCon high (to which I could not get tickets; extreme sadface). I heard more than a few times that I moved better in my hooves than anyone they saw at the Con. Also an awesome compliment. People were, through the day, generally shocked at how effortlessly I walk an extra eight inches taller without being able to use my heels. Super proud tidbit for me. Go go years of dance training!

I'm also surprised that now, the day after, my calves feel fine. I'm only as sore as if I'd done a lot of walking around all day -- which I did ... but with hooves ... hrm. =D

All in all, it was a good day and I'm super pleased with how it all came out. This, however, doesn't change the fact that I've already started talking with a friend of mine (a far more mechanically and constructionally inclined friend of mine) on how to improve ... my digi legs for next time will be even more epic, I'm sure. Squee!

Finishing Touches!; Tentacles, Tail, Hooves, Horns

Things got a little hectic towards the end (personal life, etc.) but I totally finished things on time and I damn well better win the costume contest at work. That's what I have to say about that.

Since I had been working on my costume at a friend's house, the pieces were all at her place and inhibited my ability to do random bouts of work. I had to wait until going over to place before I could do anything; no more "I've got ten minutes to spare, I'll fix X or Y." This turned out okay because my friend is an awesome lady and she would go, "I'm bored. I'm going to add shinies and make this costume even more awesome without telling anyone." Then I'd come over and find components all complete for me and it was amazing. The only down side to this is I don't fully remember what happened, nor do I have pictures of the entire process anymore.

The aforelinked gloves I pinned and cut were sewn together for me one day. That's pretty standard, though. That meant that with my lovely white manicure (fake nails are bizarre), I could basically ignore my fingers for the purpose of Halloween. I didn't want to paint them and I didn't want gloves; too hot, too much restriction on tactile abilities. I made honest attempts at this method of skintight gloves before giving up and admitting that the night before Halloween was not a good time to try and solve this issue.

Once my horns dried, I spent a few days doing spray paint layers of flat white on them. Spray paint is fun, but a lengthy process. Lots of thin layers to keep it from drying all goopy everywhere, but in the end, it worked out dandy.

I bought some very light grey-ish blue paint to do detail work and high/lowlights on the horns ... then I realized that I'm miserable with paint. After vacillating for who knows how long on what to do, I ended up fingerpainting acrylic with water. That's an interesting experience. I used a lightly damp sponge to get the horns every so slightly wet, had a little plate with water on it, squeezed out some of my paint, and used my fingers to smear it over the entire horn. I let the water disperse unevenly and it grooved itself around on the mache. I'll say now that the horns were the most difficult part for me to figure out how to handle and will definitely be improved upon in the future.

The lighting doesn't show too well, but with the grey smudged around, the horns didn't actually look too bad.

I set them up to dry and was surprised when I came over two days later to find that my gloss overcoat was already applied; seriously love that girl. It has little bits of iridescent glitter in it, to give them a nice ethereal sort of look. They passed just fine for the day. =3

I used a very thin headband that wraps all the way around the head -- the elastic kind. But the part that stretches over the actual head is rubbery, with teeth. It stays in very well. Unfortunately, the band is very thin and the horns wobble a bit when on. I then took a regular, thicker, solid plastic headband and attached it behind the thin flexible one, and to the horns as well. This added stability and worked well. (My original plan was just to use the wider band, but on top of the wig, it wouldn't sit properly; the wraparound band helped hold it down and in place.)

I used a scrap from the children's leggings (purple!) to cover the bands and make them look pretty. I used some of the shinies I bought to decorate, and called it good. Also, guess I should mention that I did this the morning of Halloween. After my shower, before putting on makeup, I decided to add the second headband (formerly was using only the thin one and letting the horns wobble; moved real slow, elegant, and gradually to compensate) and cover and bling. I regret nothing.

For my face tentacles, I did an on-the-fly sort of thing. I folded my fabric in long halves, letting me cut about ten inches in length out of them. Pinned them together, and just trimmed a very slender strip. Times four.

I then hand stitched one together quickly, handed them to my friend to invert (I fail at turning things right-side-out), and started sewing another. Rinse, repeat, until done.

Using the gold ribbon I trimmed my pant legs with, I made little loops and glued them on the tentacles. Once dressed, the tentacles were pinned in to my natural hair. My wig covered them and held them in place, giving the illusion that they came from close behind my ears.

Another piece my friend completed for me involved painting my tail rings gold. The same ribbon was also wrapped around the outside of the rings to tie it all together with subtle detail. I enjoyed it.

She helped me glue details on my boots and belt, and it was good to go! All in time, too!